Horn Loaded VS Everything Else

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by John F. Palacio, Aug 18, 2002.

  1. John F. Palacio

    John F. Palacio Supporting Actor

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    LLLLLadiiiiies and Gentlemen....(Like Michael Buffer)
    On this corner the venerable, been around forever(though with many variants) Horn Loaded Speaker. Wearing the time-proven acoustic transformer namely the Horn.
    On the far corner, wearing; Well you name it: Sealed Enclosure, Bass Reflex, Ported, Acoustic Suspension(Do they make these anymore?), Planar (Electrostatic or Electomagnetic) Ribbon and all the variations thereof.
    Let's keep it clean. No personal insults. When expressing negative thoughts on technology of some sort, it would help our understanding of the matter if some scientific or even subjective explanation is attached instead of the much abused "xxxx sucks".
    We know there will be no clear winner here, just exchanges of opinions, listening experiences, anecdotes, etc.
    I hope all those that jumped in on the Polk VS Klipsch thread initiated by Mark Russ will do so here. Hopefully on a more sedate and civilized matter.
    BELL![​IMG]
     
  2. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

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    [​IMG]
     
  3. John F. Palacio

    John F. Palacio Supporting Actor

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    Adam Bluhm f***s and says:
    JBL has made my first home theater possible.

    So are they horn loaded? JBL had a lot of great horn loaded home systems till the 80's (I think).

    Anybody knows why they dropped the horns?
     
  4. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Horn loaded speakers are the only ones that make me glad I turned off the music. They are indeed very clear but they are very very very very very fatiguing and so much so that I can't listem to them for more than 30 minutes. I've heard them with several amps known for being "warm" and that didn't do a thing. I've tried several different speakers that use horns and none of them sounded any different after I was done with them.
    The one thing I want in a speaker is to be able to listen to it for hours w/o fatigue and Horns will never do that. Soft Dome tweeters and ribbon simply do that however the very best IMHO in regards to these type speakers require some serious amplifiers(Dynaudio-softdome, Ribbon-Magnepan) to drive them to realistic levels. Both of these are ridiculously hard to drive w/o some really good juice to back it up.
    If anything that is the only advantage to Horns to me is the fact they are EASY to drive but that doesn't translate to better sound [​IMG]
    As always your mileage may vary but my ears have thanked me everytime.
    If it matters I listen to music at around 75db.
     
  5. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Fine,

    I hate horns. make my ears bleed, bright, peel off your face, nasty, noisy horns. I've owned two pairs and the day I sold them was a true highlight in my history with audio.

    That being said, I probably have never heard good horns. :b They would have to be beyond klipsch because those are what I owned, and the RF series does the same thing.

    Now that I've really stated my opinion I'm eager to get started on a DIY horn/tube stereo. Couldn't hurt to try right? Figure tubes would tame what bothers me with horns. I might change my mind.

    I've got rather sensitive hearing so maybe that's why I don't like the shrill of horns. Planars have me hooked and have their own set of problems to deal with.
     
  6. JasonWaddington

    JasonWaddington Stunt Coordinator

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    I dont know what any of you are talking about, I can listen to my RF-3II's all day without any feeling of fatigue.
     
  7. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    John--JBL still makes home horn systems for the Japanese and European markets. That they don't in this country anymore is probably a marketing decision by Harmon. Word is though that with the increasing poularity of horns in The United States some of their home horn models will be sold here soon. Look here for more info. www.audioheritage.org
    www.chicagohornspeakerclub.org
     
  8. RandyRush

    RandyRush Stunt Coordinator

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    I just upgraded to Klipsch horns all around in my 7.1 system and could not be happier; the horns have really added clarity to my system, particularly the center channel mix on movies; I am hearing things in previously watched movies that I never heard before! Klipsch----you love em or hate em! I love em!
     
  9. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    Love those Klipsch horns. In their price range, they easily beat out all the others I listened to, at least to these ears. Fatigue? Not here.
     
  10. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    What I don't understand is why Horn speakers heat up the boards the way they do.

    Either you love them or hate them?

    Why??
     
  11. Jason_Me

    Jason_Me Stunt Coordinator

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  12. Haru

    Haru Stunt Coordinator

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    Horns can be made to sound nasty when the only goal is impressing the unwashed with shrieking loudness, but thats not to say that horns can't sound good.

    I am very fond of the Klipsch Heritage line. I knew someone who had a pair of Klipschorns in his summer house, and the sound was simply breathtaking. A college music professor of mine invited me home to listen to his speakers which were Klipsch Cornwall IIs, and they too were superb.

    Not only did I love the tonal quality and clarity, they also seemed so effortless, the tiniest microdynamic details so clearly resolved. wonderful stuff.

    When I get a new system in 7-8 years, I hope that the Klipsch heritage series will still be available.
     
  13. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

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    Sorry for the confusion. The JBL deal is my tag line.
     
  14. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Manuel---People listen to direct-radiating loudspeakers their entire lives; from childhood they've been listening to clock-radios, boom-boxes, television sets, car radios and such. So to many people the sound of DRs is what they think sound reproduction should be. In hi-fi they want that same kind of sound, a better quality of it but the same kind.
    To such people the clarity and dynamics of horns can be disconcerting, they've heard sound reproduced through a veil of grunge and distortion all their lives and now this realistic sounding horn is intruding on them and they don't like it. Gone is the romantic mellowness and sweet distance they like, replaced by a stark realism devoid of sweetening. This clarity and directness is interpreted by some as harshness or shrillness, they don't like the truth.
    Direct-radiators, especially those using cone-dome type drivers (I've a high regard for electrostatic speakers) remind me of vaseline spread on a camera lens to make an aging actress look young and "pretty", a haze of distortion and poor dynamics acting as the vaseline. This gives "pretty" sound. But when you cover the wrinkles you cover the truth, the excitement and the emotion.
    Horn speakers vary greatly in sound; tonality and imaging and such, but all the good ones share the common virtues of low distortion (with attendant high clarity) and hair-trigger dynamics.
    And then again some horn speakers DO sound awful (but I ain't gonna mention no names). :)
    www.chicagohornspeakerclub.org
     
  15. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

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    Well, I'm one to take the opposing side which makes for common debates. [​IMG]
    You sound pretty confident, Tom. However, probably 99% of center channel speakers have a woofer/tweeter design. When watching movies, the dialog I hear is standard. Nothing sound phony, muffled or changed. Everyday sounds seem normal.
    When listening to orchestral pieces on my JBL's, instruments sound normal. I play the trumpet. Track #3 on Disc A of Coffeehouse Classics (recorded in Dolby Surround) begins with a trumpet playing a capella. Nothing about it seems unusual. Albeit uncommon for professionals, I can even hear when he's short of air or squeezing out notes (can often sound slightly sharp).
    Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not arguing. I'm more-so confused. It seems as though you're defending horns at the same time explaining as to how they are a harsh reality. [​IMG]
     
  16. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    Horns can sound great but you better be ready to pony up some dough. They also seem to need very careful system matching, much more so than their counterparts.

    BTW, Can anyone name any horned contenders for 3-5k that better the Thiels, Revels, B&Ws etc?

    Besides the extravagent Jadis or Avantguards(heard these once, incredible) or other extreme high enders who even makes these things?

    -rob
     
  17. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Probably all personal preference.

    I've played a variety of instruments from violin to claronet to bass guitar. I "should" have a good idea of tone given all the education. (my piano teacher would purposely slightly detune a note and play a scale. It was up to met to tell him the key played in as well as the note that was off. kinda hard sometimes if he was very sharp/flat on a note, made me change keys). they just sound off, like a trumpet glaring in your face. Doesn't sound like a trumpet.

    So why do horns bother me so much? Don't know. Personal preference, again. I also think that you can have a fabulous speaker no matter what the design, and we ALL hear/listen differently.
     
  18. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    I've never, ever suffered from fatigue listening to my Klipsch KG-4's, KG-3's, KG-1.5's or KV-3. I've also listened to Quartets, Chorus, Forte and the Academy. All have been amazing. People shouldn't judge Klipsch based on the Reference or Synergy series. The Heritage line (Klipschorn, Belle, LaScala, Cornwall, and Heresy) are head and shoulders above the newer lines. In fact, most of the older speakers are far better.
    I don't have a problem with other people not liking horn loaded speakers but it annoys me to no end to listen to people bash them. Did you ever think that there must be a reason why so many musicians and live music settings use horn loaded systems? The main reason is not volume but accuracy. I thought that was what we all strive for in our music. To my ears non-horn loaded speakers don't come close.
    Of course, if I want my Klipsch to sound like those other speakers I can just throw a heavy wool blanket over them. [​IMG]
     
  19. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Rob---Horns are not expensive at all if you want to do like the old-time 1950s hi-fi guys and roll your own. Most of the hornys I know are DIY guys. You can buy all the components (used) to make an excellent Altec or JBL horn system from ebay or dealers like Jammin Jersey and Total Audio for under $1500. Then you get out your tools and build a suitable box. You can buy used enclosures too.
    And using new gear isn't that expensive either if you build yourself. Lets price one channel of a JBL 2-way, prices from Parts Express. A model 2226 15" woofer to cover bass and midrange up to 800hz is $326. From 800 up use a 2426 compression driver ($279) on the 2370A horn ($160). Bi-amp with a prosound active crossover, you can get the Behringer for $200, it'll handle both channels. Build your own enclosures.
    Dr. Bruce Edgar makes the finest horn system I've heard, the Titan at $20,000. Yet Bruce, an old DIYer, makes the parts of this sysytem available in unfinished wood for the "experimenter" as he calls it. A pair of 80 hz exponential horn shells are $400. Use suitable drivers of your choice, lets say Altec 515Bs, an out of production 15" driver that generally goes for about $500-$600 a pair. Above 500hz a pair of his 350hz solid wood "saladbowl" tractrix horns are $900. Use these with JBL 2440 or 2441 compression drivers. These are also out of production and a pair will cost $500-$800. Above 6500hz use new Fane horn tweeters, cheap, about $75 each. Below 80hz use his Seismic folded horn sub. This costs $3500 in fancy finish and trim but guess what, if you want it in unfinished MDF it's only $1000, drive it with a $150 Parts Express plate-amp. So you've got 4 grand in this now and are left with lots of wood finishing and building simple 1st order crossovers, the work will be good for you. :)
    Putting a rig like this together will give much greater satisfaction than simply buying something, now you're involved as a doer and maker and not just a consumer; you're in the game and not just a spectator. Just like the old-time hi-fi guys.
    www.chicagohornspeakerclub.org
     
  20. Jason_Me

    Jason_Me Stunt Coordinator

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