I recently replaced my 16-year-old ATC SCM12 studio monitors with a really interesting pair of new speakers based on classic hi-fi design principles — the Omega Compact ALNICO Monitors (CAMs). The Omega CAMs harken to the classic days of hi-fi (the 1950s and 1960s) when high-efficiency (lots of volume per watt of amplifier power), single-driver and horn-loaded speakers ruled the market. Think of the enormous classics from Klipsch, Altec Lansing and Electro-Voice. But unlike those monsters — any of which I would have if I had the space and the cash — the Omega CAMS are “bookshelf” sized and utilize a combination of old and new technologies.
The heart of any Omega speaker is it’s proprietary driver — a design that covers the entire audible frequency range without the need of a crossover network that typically would connect a separate woofer (for the bass) and tweeter (for the treble). Omitting the crossover circuit eliminates all kinds of problems, including distortion during the “transition” from the woofer to the tweeter, and the inherent “power sucking” characteristics of passive crossover designs. Crossover circuits require amplifier power to activate them, and unless you use a complex (and expensive) design that incorporates multiple active (externally amplified) crossovers, you lose a lot of performance. I’ve heard speakers from Linn and Naim that pulled off the active crossover trick with aplomb, but none has been anywhere close to being financially within reach.