View Full Version : What are the best horn-loaded speakers


CRobinson
08-07-2012, 02:31 PM
Ok, I know that's a loaded question (sorry), as everyone has an opinion, probably a fairly strong one too, when it comes to which are the very best speakers. I really like the sound of horns, but have very little experience with the best systems, and other than my little EV 8HD/1824M T350 setup in a modified Speakerlab 7, have not a clue which systems really are at the top.

I know there are many members on AK that believe horns make the very best systems, and what I'd like to know are which are the systems you like most.

Thanks,
Carter

telemike
08-07-2012, 02:40 PM
Here' some modern ideas from a great designer. Pro-audio market but can work in the home as well.

http://www.danleysoundlabs.com/

the Parts

Every so often, an individual has an idea that changes things in a fundamental way. Tom Danley’s Synergy Horn™ is one of those ideas. The Synergy Horn™ makes it possible to build loudspeakers that perform the way loudspeakers should perform. In the past, horns have fallen out of favor, not because horns are inherently bad sounding, but because no one could figure out how to build a practical full range horn. The Synergy Horn ™ allows Danley Sound Labs to build full range, point source loudspeakers which are phase accurate, and consistent in response over the entire coverage angle. The Synergy Horn ™ is at the heart of virtually all full range Danley loudspeakers. It is the technology which allows us to put multiple drivers of different bandwidths into a single horn


http://www.danleysoundlabs.com/danley/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/danley_sh50_MAIN_032.png

cubdog
08-07-2012, 02:45 PM
There are alot of nice ones. Most are way out of my price range. If you can visit one of the large audio shows for a good selection to sample.

cubdog

bowtie427ss
08-07-2012, 03:03 PM
What are the best horn-loaded speakers?The ones that don't ever strike you as "sounding like horns".

House de Kris
08-07-2012, 03:03 PM
Lot's of questions come to mind. Based on the components mentioned, it seems you are asking for the best horn-loaded midrange and horn-loaded tweeters, right? Are you not interested in horn loaded woofers? Just the speaker components, or are you looking for systems with horn mids and tweets?

Also, best ever or best that is available for new retail today? There are tons of good ones out there, and the best way to narrow the field is to describe what you're looking for. What kind of coverage angles are you looking for? How close are you going to place ears to these speakers? Will these be used in a bedroom in a home, or in a stadium?

You know, give a bit more info, and we can help much better.

hugeroost
08-07-2012, 03:04 PM
Carter, buy anything in the Klipsch heritage lineup, the biggest you can afford, and call it a day..

libertycaps
08-07-2012, 03:25 PM
Another vote for Klipsch Heritage, esp. Cornwall 2's. I've owned Heresy II & Quartet and demo'd Forte II's. Cornie 2's for the win. They can be had w/o breaking the bank too.

bowtie427ss
08-07-2012, 04:00 PM
Carter, buy anything in the Klipsch heritage lineup,

Another vote for Klipsch Heritage, esp. Cornwall 2's.

That's a pretty rudimentary dip into horns, and little more than a lateral move from what the OP is currently listening to.

The OP's current speakers are very much on par with the heritage Klipsch models, especially where the horns are concerned.

cubdog
08-07-2012, 04:22 PM
That's a pretty rudimentary dip into horns, and little more than a lateral move from what the OP is currently listening to.

The OP's current speakers are very much on par with the heritage Klipsch models, especially where the horns are concerned.

Thanks for stating what should be obvious. It's easy to recommend something just because one likes it. Rarely is it useful however.

cubdog

hugeroost
08-07-2012, 04:56 PM
hang tight, I need to look up rudimentary in my Charlie Harper dictionary...

CRobinson
08-07-2012, 04:59 PM
I've liked Klipsch from way back when I heard the Khorns at Shrader Sound in NW Washington, D.C. Always wanted a pair and was planning to build the Speakerlab version when I realized they'd be too big for my apartment, and build the '7's' instead. My primary home theater is all Klipsch Reference, which sounds pretty good for what it is.
Although most sane people would never think, I feel my '7's are easily the equal of any of the larger Heritage speakers, LaScala or Cornwall. They were extensively modified, with new enclosures, baffles, mundorf crossovers, and of course, the new horns. Course, I'm probably a tad partial to them after listening now for over 30yrs, so please understand it's just my opinion.
This is why I'm here: to open my eyes, sorry, ears, and hear a new world, the one most of you guys have created.
I heard the JBL Everest's two years ago and never forgot that sound. I'm essentially looking for something along that line, but don't really want to drop $60K (yeah, the wife will understand if I sell our house to buy some speakers). I've seen how some, perhaps many, of the members have bought or built BIG speakers that have tremendous presence, bass, soundstage width and depth. Speakers like EV Sentry IIIs are at the front of my list, but would not be adverse to building something with Altecs.
Probably not looking for horn woofers, as they're usually bigger like the K-horns, and EV Sentry IV (right?) but my listening room could take speakers that size if the sound justified them.
So, what do you guys think of the Sentry III?

libertycaps
08-07-2012, 05:18 PM
That's a pretty rudimentary dip into horns, and little more than a lateral move from what the OP is currently listening to.

The OP's current speakers are very much on par with the heritage Klipsch models, especially where the horns are concerned.

Sorry for posting a pedestrian opinion shared by many. I'll try to do better next time.....:rolleyes:

telemike
08-07-2012, 05:21 PM
Look over the Danley horns. one horn with all drivers coherently phased and aligned for point source imaging. the subs he makes can make the brown note

Sent from my LS670 using Tapatalk 2

kfa888
08-07-2012, 05:35 PM
Altec 19's are great semi affordable view into what a good horn system integrated with a good LF driver can sound like. Stunning mid range. It's not all the horn it is how it is integrated too.

bwaslo
08-07-2012, 05:50 PM
Ditto on Danley Synergies.

Tom Brennan
08-07-2012, 06:03 PM
I haven't heard the new Danley speakers but if they're on a par with Tom's previous Unity stuff they're first rate.

Bruce Edgar's Titan system was top shelf, I assume Bruce is still in the business.

CRobinson
08-07-2012, 06:26 PM
Many thanks guys for all the good info. Never heard of Danley before, but hey, I've been living in a cave for thirty years, so will definitely check em out.

Tom, what's this about Bruce Edgar's Titan System? Sounds interesting. When I hear the word Titan think of big liquid-fueled rockets that carry nuclear devices - are Edgar's also the 'bomb' in the world of speakers? (sorry, couldn't resist that one). And I thought you were a Sentry III guy - Isn't that your primary system?

-Carter

bowtie427ss
08-07-2012, 06:37 PM
Sorry for posting a pedestrian opinion shared by many. I'll try to do better next time.....:rolleyes:Maybe the pedestrians should familiarize themselves with the Speakerlab 7, and appreciate it's similarity to the heritage Klipsch models.:scratch2:

dc270
08-07-2012, 06:49 PM
I admire the Altec Valencia's, 19's, 14's, Klipsch Belles, Cornwalls, LaScalls, Corner horns, Speaker Lab Super 7's, EV Interface D's, Econowaves and yet plenty more!

When it comes to horn loaded speakers there are a LOT to consider ......
DC

CRobinson
08-07-2012, 06:49 PM
Ok, just took a look at the Danley site, and Wow! Hold on, I meant to say WOW! Their stuff is amazing! I had no idea speakers like that existed!

telemike
08-07-2012, 06:51 PM
Tom Danley is a genius like Infinity was in the 70's.

Sent from my LS670 using Tapatalk 2

dc270
08-07-2012, 07:20 PM
Check this guy out as well- he designs some outrageous horn loadfed stuff!!!

http://www.billfitzmaurice.com/

I have built the tuba 30......most impressive bass I have heard from anything near this size
DC

AVService
08-07-2012, 07:30 PM
Please do not forget the Butt Cheeks!:tears:

http://www.audiocostruzioni.com/r_s/diffusori/diffusori/jbl-studio-monitor-4330/jbl-studio-monitor-4330.htm

http://www.lansingheritage.org/images/jbl/specs/pro-speakers/1984-4430-35/page01.jpg

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.trocmusic.com/images/annonces/upload/222976.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.trocmusic.com/annonces/222976_MONITORS-JBL-4430.html&h=500&w=500&sz=57&tbnid=Z_uI7Ic6Fn1_UM:&tbnh=105&tbnw=105&prev=/search%3Fq%3Djbl%2B4430%2Bpics%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo% 3Du&zoom=1&q=jbl+4430+pics&usg=__v86bzmX8V3xdwFMAzBDqIxqISbM=&docid=k5vBuBhbmajS0M&sa=X&ei=6aUhUOLUBYb68gS3loGgAg&ved=0CFkQ9QEwBw&dur=2535

Tom Brennan
08-07-2012, 07:53 PM
Tom Danley is a genius like Infinity was in the 70's.


Unlike Infinity, which in retrospect appears fairly conventional (there was nothing new or unusual about electrostatic and planar magnetics), Danley has come up with novel ways of moving air such as his ServoDrive woofers and the "saloon door " planers I heard at his house. And his Unity horn appears novel.

http://i254.photobucket.com/albums/hh92/Irishtom29/hi%20fi/Contrabass_clam.gif

frommerstop
08-07-2012, 08:11 PM
I'm not sure what they cost, but I was very impressed with what i heard from a pair of Avantguard G2s powered by a pair of new Quad II amps at my local "high end" dealer. He's a died in the wool Audio Research,Magnepan,Quad, & Vandersteen dealer. Normally he wouldn't give horns the time of day, but when he heard them at CES, he decided to carry them... after hearing them, I understood!
Too bad they look so darned strange!
http://i1102.photobucket.com/albums/g445/frommerstop/teac_avantgarde_g2_speakers.jpg

Tom Brennan
08-07-2012, 08:18 PM
Tom, what's this about Bruce Edgar's Titan System? Sounds interesting. When I hear the word Titan think of big liquid-fueled rockets that carry nuclear devices - are Edgar's also the 'bomb' in the world of speakers?

Bruce Edgar is the guy that brought the tractrix horn back into modern use, it hadn't been used much since the 1930s. He's been a very big influence on modern hornys and several vendors shamelessly copy his work published in the old Speaker Builder Magazine. I think his Titan systems sound about as good as anything, I heard the one in the photo at an audio fest and one of the guys in our old Chicago Horn Club has the Titans. It's a 4 way system and fully horn loaded including the large subwoofer.

http://i254.photobucket.com/albums/hh92/Irishtom29/hi%20fi/horny007.jpg


And I thought you were a Sentry III guy - Isn't that your primary system?



Nah, I like the Sentry III and once used the midrange horns from them in a project but I never owned them. Hell, I don't use any horns now but Martin Logan electrostats. But I used horns for almost 40 years and many types too both turnkey and DIY--Altec, Klipsch, JBL, EV, Edgar, Fostex, PAudio, McCauley and Christ knows what else.

sealy
08-07-2012, 09:21 PM
I like this one.:yikes::yikes:

bowtie427ss
08-07-2012, 09:43 PM
And his Unity horn appears novel.Let's not forget the wide variety of tapped horns DSL has put into commercial production. Plaster and drywall fear some of Mr Danley's creations.:yes:

sealy
08-07-2012, 10:07 PM
Off topic slightly, but I must ask this question. Danley states that their horns radiate energy specifically toward the listener, instead of, "splashing it all over walls." If that is indeed the case, Is there any reason that a conventional speaker system could not be adapted to a horn design to do the same thing? In other words a horn which would cover the entire network of drivers on the front baffle.

Tom Brennan
08-07-2012, 10:23 PM
Off topic slightly, but I must ask this question. Danley states that their horns radiate energy specifically toward the listener, instead of, "splashing it all over walls." If that is indeed the case, Is there any reason that a conventional speaker system could not be adapted to a horn design to do the same thing? In other words a horn which would cover the entire network of drivers on the front baffle.

Horns are bandwidth limited devices,they can only cover so much range and have cutoffs on both top and bottom. I doubt a single horn that would cover the entire range is possible. Maybe some kind of a "directional baffle" would be possible but I doubt it would have constant directivity---the same at all frequencies.

sealy
08-08-2012, 01:19 AM
Horns are bandwidth limited devices,they can only cover so much range and have cutoffs on both top and bottom. I doubt a single horn that would cover the entire range is possible. Maybe some kind of a "directional baffle" would be possible but I doubt it would have constant directivity---the same at all frequencies.You're probably right. Perhaps some raised, sound-absorbing material around the perimeter of the baffle would be interesting.

House de Kris
08-08-2012, 10:27 AM
OK, since we're talking horns for the home, I like the sounds of the AvantGarde speakers. Specifically the Trio (http://www.avantgarde-acoustic.com/trio-product-en.html) and Duo (http://www.avantgarde-acoustic.com/duo-product-en.html). I didn't like the Uno so much, and I haven't heard the Solo. They also make a horn subwoofer called Basshorn (http://www.avantgarde-acoustic.com/basshorn-product-en.html).

I'll also give another vote to the Unity horn. I've listened to this horn on several occasions for many hours. At one point I exclaimed it was the best sound above 300Hz that I'd ever heard.

I don't know the best horn-loaded speaker out there, but I've heard some pretty good ones.

analog addict
08-08-2012, 10:56 AM
The size of your speakers is relative to the size of the room. For example my new center channel rig....

http://i443.photobucket.com/albums/qq158/analog_addict/Altec/4e51d217.jpg

theophile
08-08-2012, 03:54 PM
Jeez, what a teensy weensy center channel. :D

TerryO
08-08-2012, 05:07 PM
This is what we call a real horn loaded speaker:

http://www.6moons.com/industryfeatures/vsac20082/experience1.jpg

AVService
08-08-2012, 05:15 PM
This is what we call a real horn loaded speaker:

http://www.6moons.com/industryfeatures/vsac20082/experience1.jpg

Holy Crap!

jaguar06
08-08-2012, 05:49 PM
In the summer, they can double as lifeguard stations. In the fall, deerstands.

Tom Brennan
08-08-2012, 05:49 PM
This is what we call a real horn loaded speaker:

http://www.6moons.com/industryfeatures/vsac20082/experience1.jpg

Those are from that Jeff Jackson guy down in Memphis, aren't they? A friend of mine uses L'Cleach type horns from Jackson.

http://jeffreywjackson.com/

AVService
08-08-2012, 05:56 PM
I remember at a CES Show in the 90's there was a Korean guy in the room next to the Carver Room that had an entire line of boxes that had what looked like Musical Horns at each driver position.

There were Tubas as Woofers and smaller ones for the Mids and High Freq. if you can picture it?

It was so completely ridiculous I have never forgotten it and I also can not remember what they were called?

They also sounded terrible and he was very proud of them.

Some ideas just should not be explored!

TerryO
08-08-2012, 06:43 PM
Those are from that Jeff Jackson guy down in Memphis, aren't they? A friend of mine uses L'Cleach type horns from Jackson.

http://jeffreywjackson.com/

You're certainly correct Tom. Jeff drove all the way from Tennessee to Vancouver, Washinton with these in his tailer. They took Best Sound of Show at VSAC 2008. In case anyone is wondering, they sounded absolutely excellent! Used GOTO Silver Compression Drivers on all the horns.

Best Regards,
TerryO

cornwallguy
08-08-2012, 08:05 PM
The Klipschorn of any vintage! And if you find that you and the horns can't live together anymore you can sell them for almost exactly what you paid for them.

Not everyones cup of java, but they are a nice fit for most residential uses.