Are Klipsch , JBL, Altec and other horn speakers harsh sounding?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by James W. Johnson, Apr 30, 2002.

  1. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    Are Klipsch , JBL, Altec and other horn speakers harsh sounding?

    My next speaker to try out was going to be a horn speaker of some kind probably an old pair of Klipsch (La Sacala)or an Altec or JBL. I have heard some of the Klipsh line but not in my home so I really don't know what they sound like

    after listening to them for hours.

    After my experience with the JBL S312s I am

    now wondering if this is what a horn speaker will

    be like. The S312s are very detailed , bright sounding and fatiguing. Very fun to listen to for an album, after that my ears cannot take much more.

    Does anyone here own some old Altec A7s or vintage Klipsch speakers and listen to them for 3 or 4 hours at a time?
     
  2. Bill Leber

    Bill Leber Stunt Coordinator

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    It all depends on your source and amplification. Horns are very detailed, as you pointed out, and revealing. They are also very efficient so you need amplification that sounds good in the first couple watts. You'll find horn aficionados are also usually fans of tube amps, particularly SETs.
     
  3. Harold_C

    Harold_C Stunt Coordinator

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  4. Mike Strassburg

    Mike Strassburg Second Unit

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    I recently converted my HT from a JBL tower set-up to an array of Klipsch Legends. I also use this system for music listening.

    The horns are VERY revealing, not only of your electronics, but of the recording. I like to listen VERY LOUD and have only had a few times when the horns were overly bright.

    You always have the option of using the treble setting to turn it down a notch or try some of the mods available for most Klipsch speakers.

    Personally I love my horns. Listening to my JBL's which are now serving duty in the bedroom they just seem flat unless really cranked up. The horns sound great even at low volumes, and even better when cranked up. Loud and clean!

    JMHO....Mike
     
  5. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Not at all. However, it's very important that you drive them with the right electronics. I would almost certainly try tubes with horn speakers. With 'average' SS electronics, horns may end up sounding harsh. High quality SS should be able to drive horns just as well as tubes, but IMO that kind of pairing doesn't make sense.
    You seem to be on a bit of a speaker auditioning trip. May I suggest this combination:
    ASL Waves - 8W tube monoblocks, available for around $200/pr from many places
    Any high efficiency speaker, not just restricted to horns - the Adire HE10.1 is a good choice. $300 for the kit, and the cabinets seem really simple, so shouldn't cost much to get someone to build them
    That's probably around the MSRP of the S312s. That might change some ideas about what is possible for how much money [​IMG] And you're the DIY kind too, so there are some easy mods available for the Waves which would improve them quite a bit.
     
  6. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  7. Ron Shaw

    Ron Shaw Stunt Coordinator

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    A good alternative to a tube amp is a nice class A amplifier. All the tube virtues without the hassel of tubes. Try the DIY amp here at Nelson Pass's site: http://www.passdiy.com/projects/zenlite2.htm
    P.S. I like and use tubes myself, but the cost of retubing, and the difficulty in getting good output transformers makes me reluctant to recommend tubes to people these days. This little 10 watt class A is perfect for those who like horns (I do!). Build a couple and biamp!
     
  8. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  9. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    IMO, you use horns not because you don't have power, but because you want to use a low powered amplifier.
    >>>>>>>
    Yes it seems most of the high efficiency guys at Audio Asylum are doing this, but alot of people use high powered SS amps with them as well.
    Wayne at Pi speakers uses some Crown amps if I am not mistaken.
    I like using a couple of watts out of a huge amp, never really tapping into its performance.
    I had 90% of the parts to build a set of Four Pis Pros with all JBL drivers but at the last minute I
    changed my mind and sold all the parts I had.
    This is one project that I might get back on track with.
    I noticed Pi speakers now has kits for their speakers, $707 ea for the 4 Pi pros is a really good price considering the drivers alone are about $600.
    A good alternative to a tube amp is a nice class A amplifier. All the tube virtues without the hassel of tubes. Try the DIY amp here at Nelson Pass's site: http://www.passdiy.com/projects/zenlite2.htm
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
    Thanks I will look into this!
     
  10. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    Ron, what is the cost of this Zen-lightenment kit?
     
  11. Ron Shaw

    Ron Shaw Stunt Coordinator

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  12. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  13. Ron Shaw

    Ron Shaw Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, the lightbulbs look kinda neat, and give a similar glow of tube filaments. Gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. Using a lightbulb as a constant current source is ingeneous, and the first example I ever saw of it was in the old HP 200C audio oscillator (sine wave generator) from the 1940's or so.

    Also, the Adire HE10 can be build for less. The Eminence Beta-10CX driver is $44.68 each from Martin Sound, and the Eminence APT50 HF driver is $18.85. The Adire site mentions that the HF driver is thier own unit, but the picture they show is the APT50. Eminence makes the coaxial low frequency unit in 8, 10, 12 and 15" sizes. The 8" is $42.05 from Martin. The 8" is rated at 96db/w, and the 10, 12 and 15 are rated at 97db.
     
  14. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Hm, that's interesting, I never thought about sourcing the parts individually. How easy/hard is it to get the coaxial drivers mounted? Also, I assume Adire performs some tests to ensure they meet their claimed time alignment specs? I would think that that would be important for overall coherency... how easy/hard is it to do that by hand?

    Edit: Also, you'd have to design your own crossover too, right?
     
  15. Ron Shaw

    Ron Shaw Stunt Coordinator

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    The bass drivers are made for the coaxially mounted HF unit, and have a standard 1 3/8 x 18 thread. To use the Eminence APT50 HF driver, you also need the APT3 adapter, which is a female to male adapter ($3.72 from Martin). The picture Adire shows also shows this mounted to the HF driver, so it seems they are just using stock Eminence parts (at least physically). You could probably use almost any compression driver that has 1 3/8 x 18 mounting (lots to choose from). You can check out info on these units at the Eminence site here: http://www.eminence.com/. The coax bass units are found under 'Speakers', and are in the Beta line. The HF unit is under 'Eminence HF'. The Martin Sound website is currently down and being revamped for the new catalog, so you cant get any info there right now, but here is Martins phone number: 1-800-321-6303, or in Ohio, 1-440-2286.
    You would need to come up with a crossover, but this is fairly straightforward stuff these days (I recommend bi-amping, and doing it electronically). The HF driver is rated at 105db/w, so you dont need much power there. If you do a passive crossover, you will also need an 'L' pad to turn down the HF unit to match the LF unit. As typical with high efficiency low frequency units, you wont get deep bass from these drivers. Using the parameters from the Eminence site gives
    an F3 of about 62 Hz in a 1.5 ft3 box tuned to 53 Hz for a max flat alignment. You will probably want to augument the bass.
     
  16. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    I have a subwoofer with its plate amp. I've assembled a speaker from a kit once, but haven't tried anything approaching designing a crossover. This looks like a reasonably easy place to start, should I decide to try my hand at that.

    Thanks for the info, I'll be filing all this away for a rainy day.
     
  17. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    If Adire says the HF driver is their own then it is their own, Eminence builds all or most of Adire' drivers so
    it is quite reasonable that if Adire wanted a few things changed on that driver Eminence would probably do it.
    Ron you make designing a passive crossover sound so easy,
    Adire posts the HE 10.1 crossover schematics on their website and its a little more that what you describe.
    Adire's MCD:
    http://adireaudio.com/tech_papers/mcd_crossovers.htm
    Biamping would be the best way to go if you were going to buy stock Eminence parts.
     
  18. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    Also the HE-10.1 comes with everything including the vents,wire, t-nuts , input cup and probably very high quality crossover parts from Solen.

    If you biamped them you might save a few bucks but I doubt you could build them with a passive crossover yourself for much less than $299 using the same quality crossover parts

    and even if you could they would'nt sound as good unless you are an expert speaker designer or something.
     
  19. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  20. Ron Shaw

    Ron Shaw Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, I didnt describe a crossover. I just said that building one was fairly straigntforward. Crossovers arent the great mystery many seem to think. Looking at the schematic on the Adire site, I added up the cost for the crossover using top quality parts, and it came to $24.28 for 1 speaker. This was from Martin sound. You can also get the parts from Madisound, or your favorite vendor. You could just copy that crossover if you wanted to do it passively. Doing it electronically and bi-amping would make things simpler from a crossover viewpoint, and have the added benifits that bi-amping gives, as well.

    Throw in a couple of bucks for a port (I usually make mine from wood) and a few more bucks for misc. hardware, and thats about all you need.

    It may be true that Eminence builds special drivers for Adire. They do that alot. The stock unit from Eminence is no slouch, and it has a very smooth curve. Im sure it would satisfy most people.
     

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