& Atom Elite
Direct Price: Atom - $1,590
Atom (Reference) - $2,370 Atom Elite $3,120
The Osborn Atom was a mistake I wasn't looking for. I was more than happy to have the rather mind numbing Eos and Eos Reference as my smallest "Really serious" speaker. The F1 was, for me as small as I could really go, in a small speaker. The F1 was, and is an excellent speaker, and my Philadelphia Dealer used to buy them a dozen pairs at a time, as he said there was nothing in the USA that could touch them for US$1,399. but it had the next model down tweeter to the Normal Eos one, and much more cost effective crossover components, and as good as it was, the bigger Eos was a lot better.
Some time ago I ordered some of the 5" version of the very sophisticated and expensive mid/bass drivers used in the Eos for a project I was considering, but never did. A customer ordered some F1s as rears in his home theater system, something they just excel at, which is why I use them as that in my own system. I also have a pair in my van, and the sound is just phenomenal, so I am happy to spend so much time in it. I decided to use a pair of these drivers in the F1 so I could recoup some of their cost, much to the annoyance of my cabinet maker, due to the complex routing program that was required for their weird shape. When I assembled them and had a listen, I was just gobsmacked. How could such a little speaker sound like there was a full orchestra and massed choir there? My customer was a very lucky fellow. Even luckier than all my other customers. I thought if the standard version was such a knockout, what would a Reference version be like?
So I ordered a couple of pairs made 1cm bigger in every direction to allow for the lead lining, and installed the Eos Reference tweeter and crossover. And it was, and is just stunning. So although, with 42 speaker models, I didn't need another. Despite it being tiny for me, it isn't tiny. Other designers make much smaller speakers, but they do that by using a cabinet with the thickness and rigidity of a shoe box, with all the sonic attributes of a shoe box. They also use components that fit into the industry standard 500% markup, which means $5 capacitors instead of $100 ones and $20 tweeters instead of $1000 ones. Viola! The Atom. If you want a really stunning "Little speaker" that is to speakers, what the Tardis is to a phone box.
These speakers have a number of outstanding features - The ability to separate instruments and place them firmly on a sound stage of exceptional width and depth: The instruments retain their correct pitch, tone and shimmer: Dynamic range and speed unmatched by speakers in their size and price range and the ability of drums to retain most of their impact and depth. And organs to sound like organs. Something little speakers, and the majority of big ones, don't.
Recently the driver I used as a bass driver in the F1 became unavailable, so we decided to introduce a standard version of the Atom. No lead lining, but a sill very solid and rigid cabinet and fitted with the tweeter used in the Eos and all Standard models up to the Epitome Towers. This is a tweeter very unlikely to be found in any speaker under $10,000. It is a much better tweeter than the one used in the F1, as good as it is. The F1 stuns people. As it did to the Review from Stereophile magazine at the;
Stereophile Report on the C.E.S in Las Vegas. The Australian speaker manufacturer Osborn introduced two book shelf models, the F1 (US$1195) and the F2 (US$1395). I was enjoying how Strauss sounded - as if I was listening in a huge Concert Hall. I casually asked to verify that the large multi -thousand - dollar speakers which were visually dominating the room were the ones being played. Imagine my surprise when the answer was that the large speakers were acting as stands for the tiny F1s sitting atop them.
The Atoms are chalk and cheese better.
DIMENSIONS: 185 X 270 X 340 mm
WEIGHT: 7kg; Reference & Elite: 12.5kg
EFFICIENCY: 89db for 1 watt at 1 meter.
Mid/BASS: 165mm "W" Cone. 40mm voice coil with Neodymium magnet.
FREQ. RESPONSE: 40 to 19000 Hz +/- 2 db. -10 db points 30 and 21000 Hz.
Reference & Elite: 40 to 22000 Hz +/- 2 db. -10 db points 35 and 26000 Hz.
CROSSOVER POINTS: 3700 Hz @ 6 db/octave.
MINIMUM IMPEDANCE: 4 Ohm at 200 Hz.
MAXIMUM Rec. POWER: 100 Watts R.M.S per Channel.
Rec. Min: 10 Watts per Channel.
Rec. Ideal: 30 - 50 Watts per Channel.
David Taylor - Sydney.
I think less is more with these sorts of things: As a perennially fickle consumer of loudspeakers, large and small, cheap and dear, my long-suffering family can finally be at peace now that I’ve discovered the Osborn Atom Elite. Stunning speaker, stunning price, perfect size.