Jump to content

Sign in to follow this  
Sub Sonic

What Makes Horns so Listenable?

Recommended Posts

14 minutes ago, La scala said:

I agree, in the last 20 years starting with of high end traditional speakers , moving onto Planars, then Electrostats, and finally the all Horn speakers in active mode.  An all horn system has given me the non fatigue and clarity of electrostats, huge dynamics and sound evenness from whisper low to concert level sound pressures. Lenard Audio is on the rare and right track, very few have experienced what real music can sound like. 

Agree with all you say and I’m always stunned by the amount of extended reverb and endless decay of the recording area/ hall/stadium. You can feel where the music IS being performed. I’m talking all classical here. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Music monster
Posted (edited)

I have owned all different types of speakers but always go back to horns I just never tier of there sound.there more like a live performance than any other types of speakers. There easy to drive which lowers distortion effortlessly  dynamic , can whisper or thunder but always with smoothness and honestly in a well designed horn.gary the music monster 🎶

Edited by Music monster
Add

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without getting into DIY horns, what do you consider a good set of entry level horns?

Price I'd imagine isn't the complete arbiter here, it could be of course but for your average audiophile punter where would you point them?

Used obviously opens the market up a fair bit but new? No idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Music monster

Easy you cart beat the little klipsch heresy. Don’t let the size fool you they can fill a big room with effortless sound. Cheap second hand as well.gary the music monster 🎶

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


23 hours ago, Luc said:

Without getting into DIY horns, what do you consider a good set of entry level horns?

does a 2nd hand set of DIY Econowaves qualify?

There would be lot's around and if they've stuck to the recipe they should sound great.

 

I just dove into the whole horn thing and my PSE's are my first horns - they were my "entry level" horns...

 

...I took a leap of faith that @Paul Spencer knew what he was doing with the PSE144, and the outcome is a great speaker.

 

Horns can sound awful - they can also sound great with good design.

 

Not entry level, but worth looking at:

Looks like Earl Geddes has retired, so his speakers aren't an option.

 

Horns have a deservedly poor reputation in HiFi because of poor horn design - be very careful to choose a horn design that has a good reputation - esp at "entry level" - I can't recommend any commercial horns, but the Econowave is well regarded in the DIY world.

 

Bad horns sound shite - tread carefully.

 

cheers

Mike

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I’m enjoying these DIY Edgar Horns at the moment. Got the DBX Driverack analogue crossover dialled in ‘just right’ . Virtually zero coloration from the horn section, but still maintains a desirable horny effect.

 

Reckon I’ve got all the theoretical frequency spectrum holes plugged for the first time with this set-up ...the excellent German Eton 11-581 is in an 80L bass reflex box is strong down to 25Hz; Acoustic Elegance Dipole 15” in an H-frame open baffle is good from 30Hz-500Hz gently crossing to the Dynaudio D54 Edgar Horn mid section; highs are taken care of by a 109dB efficient Audax PR120 Horn ring radiator crossing at about 4kHz; and the ultra high frequency rolled in around 14kHz is handled by the original Raven R-1 ribbon tweeter good to 40kHz.  The whole shebang is run active with the Driverack and five stereo amplifiers headed by the Supratek Cortese VT-99 preamplifier, which is adding greatly to the sound with its tube goodness.

 

Overall sound is close to the finesse (well, not quite) of my Orange Direct Drive ESL , but with the added dynamics and excellent image depth that a well set up horn system like this one gives.

 

Steve.

...some iPad shots

8249D9BB-F9E4-475F-B127-25B5FEB15775.jpeg

BFD5B965-8755-4A80-BF8A-ACCCF4A61060.jpeg

 

.

Edited by Steve M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 28/05/2019 at 9:06 AM, Sub Sonic said:

So I've been playing with higher efficiency speakers of late, consisting of a 12" or 15" mid bass driver, crossed to a compression driver and horn at around 1kHz, give or take. Midbass sensitivity is close to 100dB/W/M, compression driver is around 108dB/W/M, powered by 25W and 8W class A amps respectively. Crossover/EQ is active (MiniDSP). Subwoofers take care of the heavy lifting down low.

 

One thing I've noticed is how smooth and fatigue free they sound, even thought the basic frequency response is not dissimilar (on axis at least) to other speakers.

 

I've found myself listening so much more to music, and just relaxing and letting the music take over. They just sound so smooooth

 

Does anyone have any thoughts as to why? I can't believe how different they sound, in a good way.

 

SS

Hello, and thanks for opening a horn speaker thread. I think! ;) 

 

I don't think anything makes horns sound "so listenable", other than good execution. If you aren't getting such listenable results with other speakers, then they probably aren't as well executed. IMHO there is no one speaker technology that has sole rights to the crown of listenability.

 

I am glad that you are having a great time with your horns. I have had horns, in one form or another, in my main system for at least 20 years. I would loosely describe my current DIY design as "4 way active horns", even though the MF is an open baffle 10" cone with cardioid output. I enjoy them greatly. I think that DSP is crucial to good, modern execution in horns.

 

I have delighted in reading all the horn setups in this thread. So much variety! So many good ideas. Long may they live on in home hifi.

 

Do horns have a unique sound? I'm less sure about that. As well as intimate experience  with my own system, I have heard quite a lot of horns systems over the years, and they sound more varied than characteristic. I'm not sure that there is something that I can say you will "definitely get", just by changing to horns. Most of what I would call horn character, I have heard in bad horns. Good horns don't have that, and I hope I am not exaggerating to say mine don't have that. It's all in the execution.

 

One thing about horns, though. To do them well, costs. And they probably need more development and refinement effort, to fine tune into high performance.

 

regards,

Grant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 17/06/2019 at 8:27 PM, Luc said:

Without getting into DIY horns, what do you consider a good set of entry level horns?

Price I'd imagine isn't the complete arbiter here, it could be of course but for your average audiophile punter where would you point them?

Used obviously opens the market up a fair bit but new? No idea.

Hello there,

 

these might not be the price you meant by entry level, but like I said above, below a certain price, horns struggle to be good. So, I suggest you look at Pix and Flix by Krix. Those guys don't just cobble a speaker together. 

 

Regards,
Grant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


On 17/06/2019 at 11:29 AM, mwhouston said:

Agree with all you say and I’m always stunned by the amount of extended reverb and endless decay of the recording area/ hall/stadium. You can feel where the music IS being performed. I’m talking all classical here. 

Its funny, never being one for classical music before hand, I find classical playback surprisingly enjoyable of late via an all horn system. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 19/06/2019 at 11:22 AM, Steve M said:

I’m enjoying these DIY Edgar Horns at the moment. Got the DBX Driverack analogue crossover dialled in ‘just right’ . Virtually zero coloration from the horn section, but still maintains a desirable horny effect.

 

Reckon I’ve got all the theoretical frequency spectrum holes plugged for the first time with this set-up ...the excellent German Eton 11-581 is in an 80L bass reflex box is strong down to 25Hz; Acoustic Elegance Dipole 15” in an H-frame open baffle is good from 30Hz-500Hz gently crossing to the Dynaudio D54 Edgar Horn mid section; highs are taken care of by a 109dB efficient Audax PR120 Horn ring radiator crossing at about 4kHz; and the ultra high frequency rolled in around 14kHz is handled by the original Raven R-1 ribbon tweeter good to 40kHz.  The whole shebang is run active with the Driverack and five stereo amplifiers headed by the Supratek Cortese VT-99 preamplifier, which is adding greatly to the sound with its tube goodness.

 

Overall sound is close to the finesse (well, not quite) of my Orange Direct Drive ESL , but with the added dynamics and excellent image depth that a well set up horn system like this one gives.

 

Steve.

...some iPad shots

8249D9BB-F9E4-475F-B127-25B5FEB15775.jpeg

BFD5B965-8755-4A80-BF8A-ACCCF4A61060.jpeg

 

.

Hi Steve,  a suggestion that might work on yours as it did for me, place your Audax into the front  middle of Mr Edgar.  For me , the point source sound is just so much smoother and coherent .  

 

Another finding, thanks to Lenard Audio Education info site , since yours is all active as well,  I find it interesting the way Valve amps mate so much better to impedence swings of certain  drivers. Resulting in less  req. eq.

if I am correct from memory,   Valve amps increase output as impedance rises compared to SS will reduce output. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 19/06/2019 at 2:28 PM, Grant Slack said:

Hello there,

 

these might not be the price you meant by entry level, but like I said above, below a certain price, horns struggle to be good. So, I suggest you look at Pix and Flix by Krix. Those guys don't just cobble a speaker together. 

 

Regards,
Grant

Klipsch Palladium series possibly.  In general , besides diy or Vintage or full range quallity P A gear, new Horn speakers seem to be rather pricey. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, La scala said:

Hi Steve,  a suggestion that might work on yours as it did for me, place your Audax into the front  middle of Mr Edgar.  For me , the point source sound is just so much smoother and coherent .  

 

Another finding, thanks to Lenard Audio Education info site , since yours is all active as well,  I find it interesting the way Valve amps mate so much better to impedence swings of certain  drivers. Resulting in less  req. eq.

if I am correct from memory,   Valve amps increase output as impedance rises compared to SS will reduce output. 

 

Hi La Scala, 

 

Thanks for the input and I will try the different tweeter placement, but it is a little difficult as the top surface of the horn doesn’t allow easy placement of the tweeter fore and aft. What we are discussing is time alignment of the drivers and I have tried to do this via the DBX delay settings, but it doesn’t make a big difference (with electronic manipulation, anyway). I think also, those Edgar horns, the top section, were built (not by me) on the theory of aligning the voice coils in a vertical array, which may or may not be the right approach?

 

With regards to using valve amps actively, I have tried this many times in the past and I don’t think it achieves much for all the fuss and bother and excessive heat! I have found that correct driver choice, box implementation and tweaking the crossover/G or PEq matters much much more. I’ve heard the big $50K Lenard Audio horn speaker here in Perth, amazingly coherent dynamic sound and all they use is small and simple 40w Class AB amplifier modules.

 

I had a notable audio person hear my horn system yesterday and his first comment to me was “gee, the speakers are imaging well ...that’s the best central image lock I have ever heard”. This to me indicates that I have the fundamentals of time alignment and driver phase pretty sorted. He didn’t quite like the bass coming out of the white 80L Eton boxes, but I find a lot of people are a bit unnerved by truly DEEP low bass down to 25Hz and find it too rumbling and slow perhaps, when in fact, that’s what ultra low bass sounds like to me ...you feel it more than hear it, and it does add to the ebb and flow of the music especially on some of the modern pop, ambient, reggae and techno music I listen to sometimes. Deep bass is also essential for modern jazz music I reckon.

 

Always curious to know what other people systems are, yours obviously perhaps with the La Scala spkr?

 

Cheers,

 

Steve.

 

 

.

Edited by Steve M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


6 hours ago, La scala said:

Its funny, never being one for classical music before hand, I find classical playback surprisingly enjoyable of late via an all horn system. 

Most of my music listening is classical and has been for sometime. I also find classical through my Altecs extremely enjoyable, I think it’s because the music is rarely studio recorded, it’s recorded all at once and often in a large hall or auditorium. The acoustics are usually first class and that is why they are recording there.

 

Echo, reverb and decay are generally very extended adding to the “your there” factor. Horns, as I think we all agree, can project the finest detail so the whole classical live experience is very real. Add to this lightning fast and almost unlimited dynamics and realism can be experienced. But it comes at a price. Hearing air conditioners, truck noises, page turns and bow clippings are all exposed. But you would hear these if you were there so enjoy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I may be the odd man out here is there anyone else using Class D amps with horns. My speaker setup is Altec 511B with Italian FaitalPro drivers on a 12” woofer in 60ltr sealed enclosure. I only use one 180W Class D power amp and tube preamp. 

 

Is there anyone else using a Class D power amp to power their horn setup? If so any comments on sound? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, La scala said:

Hi Steve,  a suggestion that might work on yours as it did for me, place your Audax into the front  middle of Mr Edgar.  For me , the point source sound is just so much smoother and coherent .  

 

 

I just realised that you are wanting me to create a point source with the tweeter-horn set up, which will be even harder to implement. Would involve major surgery and some spidery legs to hold the tweeter in place inside the horn throat ...too hard basket methinks? 🤔

 

37 minutes ago, mwhouston said:

I may be the odd man out here is there anyone else using Class D amps with horns. My speaker setup is Altec 511B with Italian FaitalPro drivers on a 12” woofer in 60ltr sealed enclosure. I only use one 180W Class D power amp and tube preamp. 

 

Is there anyone else using a Class D power amp to power their horn setup? If so any comments on sound? 

 

Mark,

 

I’ve entirely used digital amps in the past with horn spkrs and it works well. I have used Bel Canto amps with Tripath chip, B&O ICE modules and a few 5 channel digital Panasonic AV amps 5 x 100w/ch with Texas Instruments Equibit chips ...very handy amplifiers for active speaker systems, I like the overall clarity, power and grip of digital amps, but probably still in the valve or ss Class A/AB camp for absolute preference though?

 

Steve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Steve M said:

 

I just realised that you are wanting me to create a point source with the tweeter-horn set up, which will be even harder to implement. Would involve major surgery and some spidery legs to hold the tweeter in place inside the horn throat ...too hard basket methinks? 🤔

 

 

Mark,

 

I’ve entirely used digital amps in the past with horn spkrs and it works well. I have used Bel Canto amps with Tripath chip, B&O ICE modules and a few 5 channel digital Panasonic AV amps 5 x 100w/ch with Texas Instruments Equibit chips ...very handy amplifiers for active speaker systems, I like the overall clarity, power and grip of digital amps, but probably still in the valve or ss Class A/AB camp for absolute preference though?

 

Steve.

I like switching class D amps (always Tripath) on the horns for absolutely clarity but their effect on bass really swung me. Absolute grip on my bass boxes with depth, extension and clarity. Just can’t get it with my low power tube amps. After saying that I flick in one of my three tubers for a week or so every now and then and really enjoy what they bring. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...