When the Sonab OA-116 was introduced in 1975 the reviewers were lyrical about it.
Swedish magazine Radio & Television wrote: “the overall excellent characteristics give the speaker extraordinary good performance: A very large frequency range, ultra low distortion and a tonal richness in all ranges makes it unique”.
The first Swedish high-end speaker worth the name had seen the light. The model defined a new and higher standard level that affected the quality requirements for the whole loudspeaker market.
The loudspeaker was equipped with a separate 5.3 ohms 6.5 inch Peerless bass element.
As the midrange element an odd 16 ohms version was used and 6 pieces of 5 cm Peerless cone tweeters of which several was directed towards the listener, giving a higher level of direct sound, compared to earlier omni directional designs.
With its linear tone curve (even today it is beating much more expensive high-end speakers), the OA-116 soon became a favourite among the professional musicians in Sweden. The model was however – similar to its predecessor the professional model OA-2212 – too low as a studio monitor since it most often was hidden behind the high mixer tables. Still a large number of musicians, composers, directors, music technicians and other golden ears bought a pair of OA-116 as their private home speakers.
Many are still using them as their reference speakers. There is a well known choir conductor using restored OA-116 in almost every room in the house! OA-116 is also the 1970-model that the Swedish sound technique guru engineer Ingvar Öhman considers as his special favourite.
OA-116 is a comparatively large and hard to restore speaker, requiring that you remove both the double top baffles and the bottom baffle in order to reach the filter, cabling and bass element. It takes a long time to restore a pair of OA-116 and even if it looks easier than restoring a pair of OA-2212, you should consider if you have the time and have the energy to do a complete restoration.
However what is absolutely necessary – as in all other Sonab speakers from the 1970 – is to replace the bass and midrange speakers. It is absolutely essential to do this in order to avoid destroying both the speaker elements, but also the amplifier. Additionally you should also replace the often tired and therefore whistling and beeping sound in the original tweeters against the new extraordinary Peerless CT62 (a replacement recommended by the “Ljudtekniska Sällskapets” technical guru Engineer Ingvar Öhman and also by the Stig Carlsson Foundation).
More concerning restoration of the OA-116 is found in the RESTORATION section.
As with the OA-2212 there are a number of OA-116 speakers in Swedish (and German) homes, modified according to the original instruction that was produced by Stig Carlsson. Two authorised companies at that time made the restoration according to these instructions. Most of this modification of the OA-116 agrees with the corresponding actions regarding the OA-2212. A complete instruction regarding the modification of the OA-116 according to the Stig Carlsson recommendations (and with the filters adapted to the CT62 tweeters) is available at CarlssonPlanet. This also discloses what exactly actually differs between the two different series of OA-116 produced (certain tweeters direction).
You may order this instruction here.
TECHNICAL DATA Sonab OA-116
According to the Sonabs instructions manual and/or HiFi-Handboken 19788
Volume: 45 litre
Measures B x H x D: 26 x 67 x 46cm
Weight: 21.5 kg
Principle: Omni directional, bass reflex type. With increased quota between direct and reflected sound.
Diagonally facing mid-bass speakers. Six tweeters, three facing listening position and three diffusing/omni directional. The speaker is equipped with wheels.
Impedance: 8 ohm
Frequency range: 24-18.000 Hz
Frequency range: 28-15.000 Hz within 3 dB measured against a wall in a room
Crossover frequency: 400 Hz (6 dB) (From the beginning (in 1975) it was 500 Hz)
1800 Hz (12 dB)
Bass: 1 pc 6.5 inch 5,3 ohms Peerless SC 165
Mid range 1 pc 6,5 inch 16 ohms Peerless SC 165
Tweeter: 6 pc 5 cm Peerless MT 24 HFC (initially the smaller MT 20 HFC was used) 2 pc 16 ohm, 4 pc 8 ohm
Connection: Cannon 4-polig XLR
Finish: Rosewood, walnut, teak and black or white lacquer
Price 1978: 3800:-/pair
Second hand price from 500:- up to 3.500:-. Seriously fully restored pairs costs 7-17.000:- depending on number of replaced elements etc. If the speakers are seriously modified according to Stig Carlsson’s authorisation – expect a couple of more thousand.