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Further SuperHemp specs from the Omega site:
  • All cabinets are manufactured in house.
  • All cabinets have triple-layer Euro Baltic birch multiply construction minus finish veneering which itself is another layer ("I use soft wood MDF because it's the best sounding, and European Baltic Birch Plywood. Together they add to 25mm or 1-inch panel thickness," Louis says).
  • All three layers are cold-pressed using PVA adhesive.
  • Only softwood MDF is used for the core. It's more expensive but sounds far superior to hardwood MDF.
  • Phenolic sheeting. ("The phenolic sheet is like a very hard brittle type of plastic and it's of veneer thickness. I use it on all the panels.")
  • Cabinets include an inner layer of 'R' compound, a heavy asphalt vinyl composite with Talc and crystalline granules. Reduces cabinet resonance and standing waves.
  • Damping is rebond foam.
  • All cabinets incorporate ladder bracing.
  • Dual cone incorporates a unique Omega broad whizzer cone with rolled edge.
  • One-piece whizzer/dustcap assembly.
  • Smoother high frequency transition @ 9kHz and open soundstage.
  • Cast basket with very open frame. Greatly reduced back wave bounce.
  • Basket incorporates venting to keep motor cool.
  • Treated and pleated accordion fabric surround.
  • Felt diffraction ring.
  • 25mm voice coil.
  • 8 Ohm, 92dB SPL.

The SuperHemps boast a frequency range of 37Hz to 18kHz, a bass reflex design with 3" rear flared port and a 10-year (!!!) parts and labor warranty covering workmanship and defects.

XRS to SuperHemp
Thinking back to my AW review of the Super XRS, certain comments perhaps hold true for all of Louis's designs including the SuperHemps. "Remember TV sets in the 50s?" I wrote. "Okay, I was only two but my mom's black and white Polaroids reveal that those old tube sets looked rather portly and had one large eye. Just like the Super 3 XRS. But the old Admirals had no bass. The Super 3 XRS produces the kind of meaty, acoustic bass-loving tonnage that I can truly get down with. Considering their diminutive size, true bass extension doesn't seem possible but they had a fair share of slam, as well as warmth. And even better tone. Of course, when I hit them with David Gray's White Ladder they folded; the small Fostex drivers clipped at the first sign of subsonic synth bass. But other CDs, be they of the small group jazz, large jazz ensemble, punk rock trio or rock 'n' roll quintet formats became the sonic gift that just kept on giving. I didn't have any worries in that department and I report on that first because I really expected so little."

Louis's hemp drivers will hopefully null and void the nasty breakup of the Fostex while the speaker's larger footprint should help enable equally beefy bass. Of course, treble, midrange and bass should work in unison and be part of a whole, a
seamless integration of the frequency ranges that lets you enjoy the music rather than single out driver characteristics. But just as you can't bake a cake without considering the ingredients; or acknowledge an arrangement when describing a piece of music; so an examination of what constitutes an audio component's frequency range may be necessary when attempting to describe its sound. Honestly, I tire of some reviewers repeating the mind-numbing mantra, "It's about the music, not the gear; not the breakdown of individual attributes or design parameters." Great! I'll leave it to those writers to go all touchy-feely and wax rhapsodic on how they "connected with the music, not the system." Heck, those people are music lovers, not primitive gear lovers, right? But they (and perhaps you) didn't spend tens of thousands of dollars on their audio system because they didn't respect and perhaps even admire 'the gear'. You can enjoy music on a boom box quite well, thank you. Deciphering the codes (synergy) that lead to solid system building is what can take your rig and listening pleasure to the next level. Not denying their existence. End of soapbox!

Placement matters
As with the Super XRS, the SuperHemps didn't instantly reveal their best. Honestly, out of the box they stunk. Bass was weak and 'hoot hoot' one note, the midrange was as flat as a pancake and I couldn't help but feel there was something basically wrong with the speaker's treble presentation. It sounded staticky, confused and aggressive. I wasn't happy. Louis came over a few days after their arrival and he wasn't happy either. "My speakers don't sound like this," he said. Even though they obviously did in this case.

I'd played around with the large foam balls that Omega includes to plug the rear ports and mediate the speaker's overall tone according to your preferences. You can plug the ports for a tighter punchier sound or remove them for greater midrange bloom and bass boom. I couldn't find a happy sonic fit with either option. Leaving the balls in killed the speaker's low end; removing them produced flabby bass on par with my growing midsection. The SuperHemps also produced an ugly, in-my-face treble. My room is small and generally all speakers sound best in the spot John DeVore found when he first installed a pair of Super 8s in my place. Speakers come and go but they all sound best in "John's Spot". But not the Omega SuperHemps. It didn't take Louis long to figure out the problem. As his speakers emanate from his personal design perspective, they don't easily sound good situated in other speakers' shoes. Louis moved the speakers from their usual mid-room point (rule of thirds) to a spot much closer to the room's corners (about 18 inches to be exact). This let the SuperHemps take better advantage of the room, producing not only fuller bass but a smoother, more refined sound overall. I was shocked. Finally we were in the ballpark. But the SHs still weren't exactly right.