Horn Loudspeakers

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seadogs1

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Horn Loudspeakers
« on: 11 Feb 2017, 12:15 am »
Why does it seem that horn loudspeakers are NOT accepted by more audiophiles and reviewers?

Phil A

Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #1 on: 11 Feb 2017, 12:47 am »
I don't know that is true.  Some people still like them.  There are pictures in my gallery from past Capital Audiofests.

Phil A

Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #2 on: 11 Feb 2017, 12:49 am »
Here's Classic Audio Speakers from the 2015 Capital Audiofest






Phil A

Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #3 on: 11 Feb 2017, 12:52 am »
Here's another from the 2012 Capital Audiofest



Phil A

Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #4 on: 11 Feb 2017, 12:53 am »
This company as also exhibited at Captial Audiofests too
http://www.cathedralspeakers.com/

Phil A

Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #5 on: 11 Feb 2017, 12:55 am »

roscoe65

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #6 on: 11 Feb 2017, 12:55 am »
Horn speakers are generally bigger and more expensive.  The need a room that can support them and generally benefit from lower power tube amps.  Putting horn systems into most domestic environments involves some compromises, typically in imaging and soundstaging.

One of my systems is horn/direct radiator Altec speakers in a 11' x 12' room.  The speakers cannot get enough room to get audiophile-approved soundstaging.  However, they sound like real music does in a room.  Bear in mind, these speakers were design to work well in smaller spaces (Altec 414A in 614 cabinet, 802D in 32A horn).

DaveC113

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #7 on: 11 Feb 2017, 01:30 am »
I've heard a full sized horn system is like owning an exotic pet, not everyone has the time, space and money.

Hybrids, usually with a direct radiator woofer or small folded cabinet, have had issues with implementation in the past with bass integration and just overall sound quality, but I think there are a lot of good choices today and hopefully they'll become more popular. Controlled dispersion patterns have some huge advantages vs direct radiators and are much more likely to sound good in an average living room without lots of acoustic devices.   

IMO, hybrids with one horn covering a wide bandwidth have the potential to exceed the capabilities of direct radiators in many ways, especially ways that are more psycho-acoustically important, which results in an overall better listening experience. My biased opinion anyways...  :lol:

roscoe65

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #8 on: 11 Feb 2017, 01:48 am »
"Wide bandwidth" can be a subjective term though.  One key, though is to avoid possible crossing over drivers in the critical midrange.  The human voice (including fundamentals and harmonics but not sibilants) has a nominal range of about 80-3,000 hz.  If we can get a single driver or horn to cover this range without a crossover our job becomes much easier.

As luck would have it, my Altec 414A is practically a full range driver, rolling off at 40hz and 4,000hz with no crossover required.  The large driver also helps to control directivity in the upper ranges.  The 32A horn is a great directivity match for this, and with an 802 driver can be brought in anywhere from 3khz to 8khz, almost as a supertweeter.

rodge827

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #9 on: 11 Feb 2017, 02:50 am »
Here's my tractrix designed Charney Audio rear loaded horns...





Amazing sound from a 6.5" driver with spot on imaging, sound stage, and clean articulate bass that fills the room.

http://charneyaudio.com/

Chris

roscoe65

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #10 on: 11 Feb 2017, 02:54 am »
How do you like the Shiny Eyes preamp?

Armaegis

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #11 on: 11 Feb 2017, 05:45 am »
And once upon a time Klipsch made horns that you were actually supposed to put into the corners of the room to properly load them.

roscoe65

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #12 on: 11 Feb 2017, 12:58 pm »
And once upon a time Klipsch made horns that you were actually supposed to put into the corners of the room to properly load them.

If by "once upon a time" you mean today, then yes, Klipsch made and continues to make the Klipschorn.

Bemopti123

Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #13 on: 11 Feb 2017, 01:50 pm »
I know of at least 2 people, including myself, who have horn speakers in their setups.  The biggest issue with horn has traditionally been placement.  They are demanding of ever increasingly smaller listening spaces.  My buddy SETMAN has been running his home made horn speakers with a 6" Fostex driver since 2004?  Since I met him over here.  His drivers are well run.  I have had a pair of 8" Fostex drivers in a smallish cabinet that I have purchased back in 2004 also but they are elsewhere but, among many speakers I have, I have purchased a pair of Finale Audio Vivace Mini speakers, since I have heard about them last year.  Everything that is said about these speakers is true and fortunately, they do not take up much space at all.....For people who did not hear about them, they use 2.5" Faital Pro fullrange drivers and the entire cabinet is about 36" tall....tiny towers.  They have ports in the back.  To be honest with you, I have yet to break them enough.....need at least 200 hours but for what they provide....they are as quick and resolving as SOTA headphones. 

Traditional horns are demanding....but the newer cadre of horns, are indeed different and perhaps better than their ancestors. 


macrojack

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #14 on: 11 Feb 2017, 02:48 pm »
I've been using large wooden horns in my main system for more than 7 years at this point in time. They sit quietly until called upon to perform and have never made any demands of any kind. I've found them to be endlessly patient, reliably co-operative and delightfully musical. They use little electricity, allow for the utilization of low powered amplifiers and possess the projection to blow out my windows. Their voice comes from a co-axial 2 inch compression driver made by an Italian company called B&C. My horns have a potential range of 300 Hz. to 17 Khz. using both elements in the co-ax. I believe the recommended XO point between the co-ax units to be somewhere in the 7 to 9 Khz range.

I cross from the horns down to a 5 cu. ft. front-ported cabinet housing a 15 inch pro woofer from RCF, another Italian driver manufacturer. XO point is around 450 HZ. There is a 3-way passive crossover leaning against the wall behind the woofer cabinets. If you would like further details about this setup, I'd be happy to try assisting you, either here in this thread or privately through email.

Horns are fun if you have a suitable room, budget and taste, and want lifelike dynamics and the purest midrange you've ever heard. The presentation is much like that of a very large electrostatic like the Sound Labs I owned many years ago.

Check into the topic --- HORNS ARE FUN!!!

JLM

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #15 on: 11 Feb 2017, 03:11 pm »
Theoretically horns could be the ultimate speaker, especially in providing life-like dynamics, but:

1.)  To gain efficiency they cut off bass and over pressurize to the point of distortion;
2.)  To reach deep bass response they get really big;
3.)  To address the high pressures involved the cabinets must be very heavily reinforced;
4.)  Bigger horns easily overwhelm normal sized rooms;
5.)  Typically have colored/forward presentation;
6.)  Typically the drivers (bass in particular) are not time aligned.

Some of the world's best speakers use concrete bass horns, each the size of a garage to reach deep.  To me, good sounding mid/treble horns must be made of thick wood. 

The Klipschorn is a rather extreme example of a classic horn loaded speaker.  Highly efficient, but only rated down to 35 Hz (and Klipsch has a reputation of overrating their specifications).  The cabinet is big and complex yet not rigid enough to avoid cabinet colorations (even adjoining walls aren't rigid enough).  The midrange/tweeter horns are not reinforced as needed to avoid further colorations.  They require two uninterrupted/adjacent corners (which after the introduction of stereo almost killed them off).  The bass isn't close to being time aligned yet the mid/treble sound is very forward.  All together they need a huge room to sound their best (as per the above show images).  Like horn speakers in general they are living dinosaurs, being in production for over 60 years.  Being so efficient they normally don't work well with solid state amps which suffer maximum distortion at very low power levels.  When introduced in 1946 they were replacing Victrola's, so a huge leap forward, and only tiny tube amps were available. 
« Last Edit: 11 Feb 2017, 04:42 pm by JLM »

Armaegis

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #16 on: 11 Feb 2017, 04:22 pm »
If by "once upon a time" you mean today, then yes, Klipsch made and continues to make the Klipschorn.

They do?!

I thought they stopped making them ages ago.

Armaegis

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #17 on: 11 Feb 2017, 04:24 pm »
I'm intrigued by the Danley synergy horn stuff. I have one of his older "unity horn" designs made by Yorkville and think it sounds excellent, though these aren't really "horns" in the traditional home hifi sense.

roscoe65

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #18 on: 11 Feb 2017, 05:22 pm »
Theoretically horns could be the ultimate speaker, especially in providing life-like dynamics, but:

1.)  To gain efficiency they cut off bass and over pressurize to the point of distortion;
2.)  To reach deep bass response they get really big;
3.)  To address the high pressures involved the cabinets must be very heavily reinforced;
4.)  Bigger horns easily overwhelm normal sized rooms;
5.)  Typically have colored/forward presentation;
6.)  Typically the drivers (bass in particular) are not time aligned.

Some of the world's best speakers use concrete bass horns, each the size of a garage to reach deep.  To me, good sounding mid/treble horns must be made of thick wood. 

The Klipschorn is a rather extreme example of a classic horn loaded speaker.  Highly efficient, but only rated down to 35 Hz (and Klipsch has a reputation of overrating their specifications).  The cabinet is big and complex yet not rigid enough to avoid cabinet colorations (even adjoining walls aren't rigid enough).  The midrange/tweeter horns are not reinforced as needed to avoid further colorations.  They require two uninterrupted/adjacent corners (which after the introduction of stereo almost killed them off).  The bass isn't close to being time aligned yet the mid/treble sound is very forward.  All together they need a huge room to sound their best (as per the above show images).  Like horn speakers in general they are living dinosaurs, being in production for over 60 years.  Being so efficient they normally don't work well with solid state amps which suffer maximum distortion at very low power levels.  When introduced in 1946 they were replacing Victrola's, so a huge leap forward, and only tiny tube amps were available.

It should be noted that when the Klipschorns were designed and built they employed off-the-shelf components (EV, Atlas, etc).  Compared to some of their contemporaries from WE, Jensen or RCA they were of lower quality.  Directly comparing a number of these classic speakers will reveal this.  A Western Electric 753c is one of the greatest speakers ever built, and the Jensen Imperial horns system will walk all over a Klipschorn.  Even when upgraded Klipschorns are not my cup of tea.  I recently had the chance to listen to a pair of upgraded Klipschorns (Volti Audio drivers and crossovers) driven by a high-dollar system (VPI table, Loesch preamp, Lampizator, Border Patrol 300B amps).  I was less than impressed.  However, there are those who replace the Klipsch "Rubber Throat" horn with a tractrix horn as well as replacing the driver.  At that point the bass horn is the only thing that remains of the original design and it is hard to reasonably state that it is an actual Klipschorn.

Bass horns remain the toughest component in the home listening environment, though some small-volume manufacturers make back loaded horns that use the room corners to extend the horn mouth.

OzarkTom

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Re: Horn Loudspeakers
« Reply #19 on: 12 Feb 2017, 04:24 am »
I would love to hear Nelson Pass's horns.

http://www.audioxpress.com/article/Interview-with-Nelson-Pass