Horns for Dumbo: OMA opens a Brooklyn showroom
Jonathan Weiss, the founder of Oswalds Mill Audio and pictured above, first used this industrial loft space as a film studio, most notably in the making of his Atrocity Exhibition (2001). In the years following that film’s release, he focused his efforts on remodeling the centuries-old Pennsylvania house mill where his products are finished and assembled (which is also the site of Oswalds Mill Audio’s informal tube amp and loudspeaker Tastings). More recently, Weiss has concentrated on remodeling his Brooklyn loft into a public showroom, where he now demonstrates his company’s record players, tube amplifiers, equipment racks, and four original, full-range, horn-based loudspeaker systems.
For the listener who’s experienced horns only at audio shows and moderately sized retail spaces, the sheer vastness of OMA Dumbowith its 14’ ceilings and 2200 square feet of floor spaceis a revelation. The demonstration areas are treated with a phalanx of pro-audio sound-absorption panels, suspended from the ceiling at various intervals, and is decorated with a mix of contemporary art, Chinese antiques, and film-studio lighting fixtures, with vintage oriental rugs and a line of strikingly long velvet drapes. It works.
The showroom seems capable of adapting to every variable that would compete for my senses’ attention. Earlier this year, on a rainy winter’s day, with drapes parted from the almost unimaginably tall windows, the space amplified the solemn beauty of a Bach violin Partita, played with surprising delicacy by the physically imposing OMA Imperia ($175,000/pair; see lead photo): a four-way loudspeaker comprising three conical horns and a hefty powered subwoofer. On a textbook-beautiful day in May, it didn’t feel at all strange to sit inside with the curtains drawn and a cold Coke in my hand, hearing some of Stravinsky’s most playful and colorful orchestral music through OMA’s entry-level speaker, the two-way Mini ($18,000/pair.) After two visits, I still haven’t heard all three of OMA’s low-power integrated ampseach built on multiple platforms of Pennsylvania slate and black walnutbut I’m looking forward to doing so later in the year.
OMA Dumbo, which is easy to reach by either subway or automobileI’ve done both, the latter made easier still by the building’s private, fenced-in parking lotis open by appointment only. To book a time, or for more information on OMA gear, call (917)743-3780.