Horns for Dumbo: OMA opens a Brooklyn showroom

Oswalds Mill Audio, the Pennsylvania-based company that designs, manufactures, imports, and sells a range of vintage-inspired and mostly bespoke domestic playback gear, has opened a showroom in New York City. OMA Dumbo, named for its historic neighborhood (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), now occupies the entire top floor of an industrial building at 110 Bridge Street in Brooklyn, walkable from either the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridge.

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 Dumbo—with its 14’ ceilings and 2200 square feet of floor space—is 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 amps—each built on multiple platforms of Pennsylvania slate and black walnut—but I’m looking forward to doing so later in the year.

OMA Dumbo, which is easy to reach by either subway or automobile—I’ve done both, the latter made easier still by the building’s private, fenced-in parking lot—is open by appointment only. To book a time, or for more information on OMA gear, call (917)743-3780.

JoeinNC's picture

Are you a Brit, Art, or is that an affectation?

Art Dudley's picture

Is "bespoke" an exclusively British term? That's news to me: It seems I hear it more and more often these days, as a one-word synonym for "custom made."

But if I called you an "arsehole"...well, that would definitely be an affectation.

JoeinNC's picture

I'm well aware of what "bespoke" means, Art.  

I also know the definition of "pompous."

A little thin-skinned, are we?

Jack_Mlynek's picture

Are you Amurricans entirely intent on eradicating all English terms from English? What a narrow vocabulary would ensue. Just my Canadian 2 cents (soon to be 2 nickels, since the penny is now gone from Canadian currency).

DetroitVinylRob's picture

Nice coverage Art, and always, always a good read, even when someone raises the hare a little and makes us go rabid. I'll give you three bunnies on the response.

Happy Listener, Happy Listening!