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Sub Sonic

What Makes Horns so Listenable?

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30 minutes ago, marten said:


Does the physical size of the horn have a significant bearing on the sound quality achievable ?

 

The good sounding horn speakers commended by Almikel and MWHouston above, the Altec 511B and PSE144, both have flares considerably larger than the 'compact' flare of a typical JBL horn speaker (photo below).   The Altec flare could be 3 x larger.  In the land of piston cone drivers, 3x larger would be a big deal to the design.

 

 

JBL_horn.PNG.9f7d029affd532b76666796b5e98ecb6.PNG

Really can’t comment. Above is not the JBLs I’ve heard in the past. Bigger more flared horns. I would have to guess yes, horn size does matter. 

 

If interested I have the refurbished Altec 511B horns, in box, for sale. They have the mid-range FaitalPro drivers installed. You don’t have to take the box.  PM if interested. It could be a cheap way to try the horny waters. 

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34 minutes ago, marten said:


Does the physical size of the horn have a significant bearing on the sound quality achievable ?

 

The good sounding horn speakers commended by Almikel and MWHouston above, the Altec 511B and PSE144, both have flares considerably larger than the 'compact' flare of a typical JBL horn speaker (photo below). 

 

 

There is no direct connection between size and sound quality. It's not the case that bigger is better.

 

The mouth size determines how low in frequency you can maintain a given dispersion angle. In a two way where a tweeter horn mates with a direct radiator, a good rule of thumb is the waveguide or horn should be close to the width of the mid. It's not quite that simple but close enough for our purposes here. Typically in an econowave type design, the waveguide or horn will match the dispersion of the mid at the intended crossover point. So a 12" midwoofer goes with a 12" waveguide that only has to maintain dispersion down to about 1.2k.

 

The PSE horn is larger because we're horn loading the midrange, with the goal of keeping a consistent beamwidth down to around 350 Hz. The result is that it behaves differently in a room. You maintain a narrower beamwidth in the midrange. Normally the only way you hear that in a room is with dipoles but they have a figure 8 pattern. When you do this with a horn, you don't have all the rear energy. Hence the sound is very different. A dipole has a deeper soundstage due to the energy going back to the front wall but the image is not as sharp.

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Many good comments here, including Red
Spade.

Generally speaking what I'd interpret you're experiencing with horn loaded speakers are the benefits of the efficiency (due to the design physically of the mouth), which allows acoustical amplification of the sound waves that exert from that driver(s).

The direct sound therefore hits the ear at a certain point in time and is less accompanied by reverberant or reflective sound waves, IF positioned correctly, in the right environment.

Definitely they will feel like a failure when not angled correctly at listening ear height, due to the high level of directivity.

Now to my knowledge, for the most smooth frequency response and least fatiguing experience I have heard it said if horn loading you want as much intelligence as possible horn loaded.
So some speakers just horn load the tweeters (typically then 1.6khz onward or so) This might be a compression driver.
In cinema the mid driver is ALWAYS horn loaded too. Typically these are 6 to 10inch speakers handling anywhere from 300hz.

Now you have a lot more of the audio spectrum directionally pointed to the listening position.

It is one huge reason when I compared speakers I went with Theatrix by Krix because mid and HF are horn loaded. The vocal and instrumental detail is exceptional and hugely dynamic
They horn load from 350hz in the mid, then 1600hz to the compression HF
Paired with a sensitive 15 inch bass driver

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I had a fond memory of horns after hearing a big pair of Klipsh in the late 70's.  Went to listen to a big pair JBL  a couple of years ago and they were OK but not what I remembered at all.

 

Got a pair of Avantgarde Zeros now and couldnt be happier.  I moved to the Zeros from harbeth which I loved. A couple of weeks ago I was listening to Harbeths again and really liked what I was hearing again but went home switched on the Zeros and it was no contest for me. 

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Guest Music monster

The Harbeths are good speakers but very different sounding to horns I like them both.im running two pairs of lasclas together and have a pair of khorns on the other side of the room.i love the modern klipsch the sound has come a long way since the 80.s . The two pairs of lasclas sounds much better than one pair, the sound is huge and effortless and very dynamic with excellent bass . Gary the music monster 😀

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Two pairs of La Scalas would definitely sound effortless 🙂

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1 hour ago, Music monster said:

The two pairs of lasclas sounds much better than one pair, the sound is huge and effortless and very dynamic with excellent bass

how does the sound compare to your Maggies?

 

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10 minutes ago, Sub Sonic said:

Two pairs of La Scalas would definitely sound effortless 🙂

Sounds like way too much to me. Can’t even try to image it.  What are you loosing. Everything is a compromise. 

 

It was the La Scala horns that Moggy and I didn’t like at the show. 

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Guest Music monster

The sound of the horns is completely different to my magnapans 30.7s and that’s what I wanted. The horns are much more dynamic and play a lot louder I use them for pop rock and heavy metal. The Maggie’s are for classical,jazz,blues and acoustic vocal music and my new reference.can understand some people don’t like la Scalas but with the right matching equipment they can sound quite good.i have herd them sound terrible and very good. I listen to all types of music and unfortunately not one pair of speakers does everything I require.gary the music monster 🎶

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Guest Music monster

Apparently there’s quite a few people around the world who use stacked la scalas or klipschorns. I once watched a documentary on tv and it was in stings house,yes the lead singer of the police and he had stacked belle klipsch.gary the music monster 🎶

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

If you think of a compression driver they have generally a very small diaphragm . Usually from about 1” to 2”. The diaphragm is extremely light weight, very thin, and rigid. Compare this with a 5” paper cone driver. Plenty to flop around, squirm and flap here.

 

With most compression drives the magnet assembly is very powerful and tolerance between former winding and poles is very fine. With all of these factors true pistonic action is guaranteed. Low distortion is part of the driver. Get the horn right to move this compressed air out and you have a realistic reproduction. Fortunately out there in compression drive/horn land there are dozens of choices and 100s of combinations and not all are expensive. 

Edited by mwhouston

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On 05/06/2019 at 3:17 PM, Neilsy said:

Definitely they will feel like a failure when not angled correctly at listening ear height, due to the high level of directivity.

I can't comment on other horn designs, but the beam width/directivity of the PSE is sufficiently wide, and the roll-off when you move off axis (sideways or up and down) is sufficiently smooth that I can move any where in the room that's in front of the speakers and maintain a good stereo image (the image does move left and right, but never collapses to one side) - I do have a small room though.

I deliberately toe-in the PSEs so the tweeter axis crosses in front of the listening couch - the left PSE points at the outside right edge of the listening couch and vice versa - the sound is very consistent across the couch, but of course I sit in the middle for solo listening.

On 05/06/2019 at 3:17 PM, Neilsy said:

In cinema the mid driver is ALWAYS horn loaded too.

The PSE does this also, but into the same horn, to produce a point source for tweeter and mids.

Each horn has 4 x small 4" drivers mounted on the outside of the horn firing through a small hole into the throat at a specific distance down the throat from the compression tweeter for good summing around the crossover frequency (approx 1250Hz).

The 4" mids firing through the small hole into the horn makes the mids operate as a "compression driver".

 

This image I copied from diyAudio shows the CD and mid mounting

1760373624_post-103688-0-91588000-1443493587(2).jpg.b0b470e81a92abd5c359708c62a3cbab.jpg

 

I copied the images below from Redspade - @Paul Spencer - I'll delete any of the images if you don't want them in this thread.

The measurements below are normalised to a flat on axis response.

PSE-dir-h.gif.06c4347dfd21a9546bc84c3fa9636c1e.gif

PSE-dir-wf-h.gif.0c34a2e52f0b877d70df640e0aeabd66.gif

Most owners (including me) high pass the PSE at 350Hz and cross to a mid bass - in my case sealed TD18s.

On 05/06/2019 at 3:17 PM, Neilsy said:

Paired with a sensitive 15 inch bass driver

My TD18s are quite sensitive (98dB/1W/1m) until I add gobs of EQ below 100Hz :)

They're in small sealed boxes so they need a fair bit of EQ to get down to cross to my sub at 50Hz.

 

Off Topic, but the specs of the Acoustic Elegance TD18 allow an incredibly small sealed box for such a large driver assuming EQ and enough amp power is available to push them down to where you need them.

My boxes are only 60 litres which gives a Qtc around 0.7 - no hump prior to rolloff to manage...not that it matters with EQ available - but my starting point for sealed speaker enclosures is a Qtc of 0.71 or less.

...a larger box (lower Qtc) would need less EQ, but I have enough amp power for the boxes I have.

On 05/06/2019 at 3:17 PM, Neilsy said:

It is one huge reason when I compared speakers I went with Theatrix by Krix because mid and HF are horn loaded. The vocal and instrumental detail is exceptional and hugely dynamic

It would be great to listen to your system, and you're welcome to come and hear mine - PM me if interested.

 

cheers,

Mike

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Guest Music monster

I have two pairs of klipsch la scalas with a pair of electro voice mth1 sandwiched in between. 114 dB on 1 watt of power.i also have a pair of 15 subs for deep bass output. I wouldn’t say it’s the best or anything like that except that I like it.the three pairs work at minimum output to achieve a smooth very effortless and dynamic sound with hardly any driver movement.the distortion is incredibley low.gary the music monster 🎶

 

60260780-E1F0-4E78-831A-552F8E5599D8.png

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Posted (edited)

Can't put my ears on it however it is the best DIY sound that I have had so far under my roof.

Altec MR94B Mantaray constant directivity horns with 288C compression drivers and Altec 413-8 bass drivers in Onken designed cabinets re-tuned to 33Hz.

Passive two way Hiraga crossovers suited for 24 ohm compression drivers and 8 ohm bass drivers as above.

Overall very smooth, detailed and gets down to 25Hz with no effort. No sub required most of the time.

 

IMG_0622.thumb.jpg.c01481c682474f86325b18748329b1ae.jpg

 

IMG_0715.thumb.jpg.b4ddcc0681532514112f00e8d27cb2bb.jpg

Edited by MarcAL

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12 hours ago, Music monster said:

I have two pairs of klipsch la scalas with a pair of electro voice mth1 sandwiched in between. 114 dB on 1 watt of power.i also have a pair of 15 subs for deep bass output. I wouldn’t say it’s the best or anything like that except that I like it.the three pairs work at minimum output to achieve a smooth very effortless and dynamic sound with hardly any driver movement.the distortion is incredibley low.gary the music monster 🎶

 

60260780-E1F0-4E78-831A-552F8E5599D8.png

Not something I would do but each to their own. What about sound stage and imaging?

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5 hours ago, MarcAL said:

Can't put my ears on it however it is the best DIY sound that I have had so far under my roof.

Altec MR94B Mantaray constant directivity horns with 288C compression drivers and Altec 413-8 bass drivers in Onken designed cabinets re-tuned to 33Hz.

Passive two way Hiraga crossovers suited for 24 ohm compression drivers and 8 ohm bass drivers as above.

Overall very smooth, detailed and gets down to 25Hz with no effort. No sub required most of the time.

 

IMG_0622.thumb.jpg.c01481c682474f86325b18748329b1ae.jpg

 

IMG_0715.thumb.jpg.b4ddcc0681532514112f00e8d27cb2bb.jpg

Looks impressive and I’ve seen your Xover. Same question as I have asked above; what of sound stage and imaging. My (more humble horn setup) images in 3D and staging is defined without being etched. The speakers completely vanish from the music (live classical works best) and a few times I’ve been tempted to disconnect the speakers to see if the music is really coming out from them. Lol. 

 

Hall reverb and decay go for ever. Not hard to get a feel for the venue. 

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