Omuni Audio are from New Zealand and their OMUNI loudspeaker is a two-way ‘artisan audio’ design with a downward facing 8 inch bass driver in an aperiodic labyrinth. Topping this off is a 3 inch mid-high frequency driver running up to 25 Khz. This driver radiates a full 360 degrees horizontally and vertically using the “OMUNI LENS” (© 2014, All Rights Reserved) which consists of four rounded quadrants placed under each corner of the top plate. This unique design provides horn loading of the 3 inch driver over a full 360 degrees.
Designer and proprietor of OMUNI Audio, Eric Cross took another look at the mechanics of music re-creation and figured that the speaker should be like the performer’s instrument. “Acoustic instruments don’t fire their sound waves unidirectionally from an elongated box, they radiate in all directions”, points out Eric, who set out to bring what he has learned from years of experimenting with speakers to thinking – not “outside the box” – but deeply on the reasons for boxing speaker drivers. “The function of the box must be for natural musical re-creation”, he concludes.
The end result of 3 years in development, this design is certainly different.
Eric has been building speakers since he was 14 years old, and has completed many design experiments over the years since serving an electrical apprenticeship in the 1960s. He produced and sold speakers under the Southern Acoustics brand through the 1970s and 1980s, having been especially fascinated for years by the possibilities for avoiding the limitations of a ‘stereo image’.
“We carefully considered placement in the listening situation and spent many hours tuning the design”, says Eric. The OMUNIs can be placed 30cm or more from the back wall, and because performance in each room is different, mounting on castors facilitates experimentation for optimisation. Placing them well into the room produces a spectacular soundstage, and they can be wheeled back at the end of a listening session.
The OMUNIs are hand built by a craftsman furniture maker in New Zealand with multiplex Spruce and the top triangulated section of each speaker is a complex laminated sold block that weighs over 7 kilograms. “We do not use acoustic dampening materials or plastics of any kind”, added Eric but natural Hessian is applied to one internal panel.
The crossover has only two components without matching resistors and internal wiring uses Kimber product with the paper cone and the pressed steel frame of the bass driver being treated with Meranti Damar natural resin to enhance tone.