Can Horn Speakers Disappear like Planars, Stats, and Omnis? Is the Disappearance Act Subjective? Or based on Placement and Partnering Equipment?

caesar

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I like horns for their dynamics, tonality, and most importantly their ability to communicate emotion. But I have never heard disappear like a 20 year old Martin Logan Aerious that used to sell for $2K or so... or the cheapest Magnepan.

Is the disappearance of horns a purely subjective perception phenomenon?

Or can one make the horn speakers disappear with better placement or by using certain partnering equipment?
 

analyzer

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In my opinion what is causing the lacks of disappearing of most of horn speakers is due to the directivity of the horns that tends to project into the room the sound toward the listener as a gunshot. This cause both an emotional pleasant effect of immediacy of the performers but also a sound that seems to exit directly from the speaker and not from a believable stage.
This is not acceptable to my ears neverthless it attenuates increasing the listening distance from the speakers, normally from 4-5 metres and more.
A look to the pattern radiation of mid and High drivers will be useful. we must consider that a few speakers have been studied for an obliged position like Klipshorns that needs to be placed in the corners; other likes a placement attached to the front wall and not in the middle of the room.
 
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spiritofmusic

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I can tell you right now I've heard the only pair of horns that successfully layer behind the plane of the spkr, coupled with an uncanny, and in my experience totally unique ability to present a soundfield so divorced from the spkrs that the music literally hangs in mid air, fully formed yet apparently free from the means of reproduction. Indeed no other spkrs, whether horns, ribbons or boxes I've listened to come close in this regard. Yes, I've heard other horns do very well w layering, good friend Blue58's AG Duos, and a stellar Cessaro Liszts demo in 2014. And of course the stratospheric, alternate universe cosmic Denman Exponential Horn.
But if one of the aims is totally invisible spkrs with a naturally layered soundstage not attempting to grab your attention, these horns I'm so enamoured with are currently so far in advance, it's crazy.
Namely Audiophile Bill's new horns project.
I have never smiled ear to ear for 100% of the duration of a demo, any longer at Bill's and I'd have got permanent facial rictus Lol.
 

cal3713

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I can tell you right now I've heard the only pair of horns that successfully layer behind the plane of the spkr, coupled with an uncanny, and in my experience totally unique ability to present a soundfield so divorced from the spkrs that the music literally hangs in mid air, fully formed yet apparently free from the means of reproduction. Indeed no other spkrs, whether horns, ribbons or boxes I've listened to come close in this regard. Yes, I've heard other horns do very well w layering, good friend Blue58's AG Duos, and a stellar Cessaro Liszts demo in 2014. And of course the stratospheric, alternate universe cosmic Denman Exponential Horn.
But if one of the aims is totally invisible spkrs with a naturally layered soundstage not attempting to grab your attention, these horns I'm so enamoured with are currently so far in advance, it's crazy.
Namely Audiophile Bill's new horns project.
I have never smiled ear to ear for 100% of the duration of a demo, any longer at Bill's and I'd have got permanent facial rictus Lol.
@Audiophile Bill Looking forward to reading more about your horns once you're ready to share! I keep looking at your profile picture and thinking about some of the design decision...
 

Rhapsody

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The Diesis speakers COMPLETELY disappear. All you are aware of is the voices and instruments on the layered 3D holographic soundstage.
 
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Atmasphere

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I like horns for their dynamics, tonality, and most importantly their ability to communicate emotion. But I have never heard disappear like a 20 year old Martin Logan Aerious that used to sell for $2K or so... or the cheapest Magnepan.

Is the disappearance of horns a purely subjective perception phenomenon?

Or can one make the horn speakers disappear with better placement or by using certain partnering equipment?
The short answer is 'yes'.

The trick is to take advantage of the controlled directivity of the horn, using it to prevent early side wall reflections.

As long as the horn design is competent its ability to image well and disappear becomes a function of how well the electronics can give it a good signal.
 

bonzo75

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I like horns for their dynamics, tonality, and most importantly their ability to communicate emotion. But I have never heard disappear like a 20 year old Martin Logan Aerious that used to sell for $2K or so... or the cheapest Magnepan.

Is the disappearance of horns a purely subjective perception phenomenon?

Or can one make the horn speakers disappear with better placement or by using certain partnering equipment?

No speaker disappears like an elecrostat And then ribbon panels, which is one of the main reason along with the mids and highs for buying them.

Now you could replace horn by any other spreaker and the question would be as valid (or invalid). Some cones disappear with careful placement in great rooms but more of an exception.

Some horns disappear more than the others. The ones with beryllium drivers like horn universum and Leif's tads are most like an elecrostat. I like others too but they are totally not like an elecrostat and it doesn't matter to me given the speaker as a whole.
 

the sound of Tao

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bonzo75

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the sound of Tao

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? I love the natural ness of an elecrostat. If you heard them sound plastic they were not well set up
That’s possible Ked, I have heard quite a few setups and they always left a trace of the slightly surreal for me and ribbon types have always approached a more suitable signature.

I tried to really like quads because that mid seductive thing they do is fantastic, maybe though it’s the sense of dynamic constriction or an issue of materiality or even to do with their power supplies. I’ve put in plenty of time with trying to connect to electrostats and ultimately been more swayed by the ribbon varieties of panel. But the electrostats for whatever reason just never jelled for me... but it’s just a personal position that is just part of diverse experience.

I’m more sensitised to the value of dynamic effortlessness now these days and struggle to unhear the horns either way so may have become a biased listener... always very possible.
 
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bonzo75

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Yes I like apogees more I was only addressing that I find stats disappear and I find them Natural. Not addressing dynamics, bass, etc
 

adyc

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No speaker disappears like an elecrostat And then ribbon panels, which is one of the main reason along with the mids and highs for buying them.

Now you could replace horn by any other spreaker and the question would be as valid (or invalid). Some cones disappear with careful placement in great rooms but more of an exception.

Some horns disappear more than the others. The ones with beryllium drivers like horn universum and Leif's tads are most like an elecrostat. I like others too but they are totally not like an elecrostat and it doesn't matter to me given the speaker as a whole.
Not sure I agree with you on planar speaker disappearance. With wide planar, I had a hard time ignoring its presence. Their wide bodies always stop me forming believable imaging unless they project the sound forward rather than behind speakers. To me, omni or baffleless speakers are very easy to disappear.
 

bonzo75

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Not sure I agree with you on planar speaker disappearance. With wide planar, I had a hard time ignoring its presence. Their wide bodies always stop me forming believable imaging unless they project the sound forward rather than behind speakers. To me, omni or baffleless speakers are very easy to disappear.

The room matters
 

Audiophile Bill

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That’s possible Ked, I have heard quite a few setups and they always left a trace of the slightly surreal for me and ribbon types have always approached a more suitable signature.

I tried to really like quads because that mid seductive thing they do is fantastic, maybe though it’s the sense of dynamic constriction or an issue of materiality or even to do with their power supplies. I’ve put in plenty of time with trying to connect to electrostats and ultimately been more swayed by the ribbon varieties of panel. But the electrostats for whatever reason just never jelled for me... but it’s just a personal position that is just part of diverse experience.

I’m more sensitised to the value of dynamic effortlessness now these days and struggle to unhear the horns either way so may have become a biased listener... always very possible.

Hi Graham,

I have owned Quad 57s for 4 years now and they do have their seductive thing for sure. There is a see through nature to the sound and naturalness in the mids that is delightful. Not sure what you found but they substantially limit seating position and required me to be in the limited sweet spot to get that presentation. Mind you I am not alone there as it is well reported. Stacked quads I haven’t heard but am sure they would be very interesting indeed.

That said they will never have the effortless dynamic range of horns as one can’t defy the physics that way. That brings me onto the definition of “disappearing” - if one takes a limited definition and only refers to a complete detachment of the sound from the speakers that is one definition. I prefer a more wholistic description that encompasses whether the tone and the believability of the sound also uncoupled makes the speaker disappear. What I mean is that one can get complete physical uncoupling yet the speaker doesn’t disappear because something is sticking out and reminding you it is reproduced. The effortless and speed together with density of the *mid bass* is ime where the stats disappearance act tends to fall down together with the lack of dynamic force.

Best.
 

the sound of Tao

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Hi Graham,

I have owned Quad 57s for 4 years now and they do have their seductive thing for sure. There is a see through nature to the sound and naturalness in the mids that is delightful. Not sure what you found but they substantially limit seating position and required me to be in the limited sweet spot to get that presentation. Mind you I am not alone there as it is well reported. Stacked quads I haven’t heard but am sure they would be very interesting indeed.

That said they will never have the effortless dynamic range of horns as one can’t defy the physics that way. That brings me onto the definition of “disappearing” - if one takes a limited definition and only refers to a complete detachment of the sound from the speakers that is one definition. I prefer a more wholistic description that encompasses whether the tone and the believability of the sound also uncoupled makes the speaker disappear. What I mean is that one can get complete physical uncoupling yet the speaker doesn’t disappear because something is sticking out and reminding you it is reproduced. The effortless and speed together with density of the *mid bass* is ime where the stats disappearance act tends to fall down together with the lack of dynamic force.

Best.
Hi Bill,

I believe that’s what it is for me also, the sense of stats not being sufficiently dynamic and (for lack of a better word) withheld in nature then reminds me they are speakers and keeps them still apparent.

The resolution can be wonderful in terms of presenting a fascinating detailed field of information but the fabric of the panel and its ultimate feeling of reticence keeps me then aware of the speaker’s presence.

I would admit that I’m not sure I’ve heard them at their best though but that sense of dynamic suppression has been a quality that is also present.

I would figure all speaker types have their constraints but well designed horns then just don’t seem to get in the way of the more lifelike experiences as much as other types of speakers for me. It is in a horns quicksilver effortless flow that the immediacy and great connectedness comes. It is so fleet that it tricks your awareness by not letting the mind to interrupt in the connection.
 

spiritofmusic

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For me, the two most impressive demos I've been to are head and shoulders above the competition.
UK Paul's modded ML panels/Concert Fidelity hybrid monos, and Bill's bespoke horns/Mayer 46 monos.
The only demos where I was really taken on a journey, virtually nothing to distract me from moments in time and musical flow.
Interestingly both systems despite being so compelling and seemingly archetype-free were quite different sounding experiences, yet both were magical in being transformative.
I'd have to agree with Bill (and they're his babies, how could I disagree with their daddy? Lol), the seamless quality I heard at his leading to pure suspended disbelief at the magical conjuring up of music in his room and thus invisibility of transducers, was on multiple levels.
A transparency borne of sheer tonal accuracy and familiarity, natural and unforced dynamics, digging deep to resolve microdynamics, and unimpeded flow/lack of room artifacts.
Cutting to the chase, and cutting out verbose audiophile checkboxes, the combination of fantastic authenticity of instruments, unfolding of music naturally, and seeming independence of the constraints of the room, really bridged extremely challenging barriers of cognitive ease and familiarity. Once these extremely hard to achieve characteristics are apparent on every piece, then a zen state of being as one with the music can happen. But so rarely does.
 

Lagonda

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Hi Bill,

I believe that’s what it is for me also, the sense of stats not being sufficiently dynamic and (for lack of a better word) withheld in nature then reminds me they are speakers and keeps them still apparent.

The resolution can be wonderful in terms of presenting a fascinating detailed field of information but the fabric of the panel and its ultimate feeling of reticence keeps me then aware of the speaker’s presence.

I would admit that I’m not sure I’ve heard them at their best though but that sense of dynamic suppression has been a quality that is also present.

I would figure all speaker types have their constraints but well designed horns then just don’t seem to get in the way of the more lifelike experiences as much as other types of speakers for me. It is in a horns quicksilver effortless flow that the immediacy and great connectedness comes. It is so fleet that it tricks your awareness by not letting the mind to interrupt in the connection.
For full tone electrostatics i agree with you, but the speakers that did the best disappearing act i have ever heard where the Martin Logan Statement E2. Those massive 4 part speakers just energized the whole room with images of a intensity and impact far outside the room boundaries. On many occasions i started looking for low flying helicopters and semi-trucks outside when watching movies, dynamics where of the chart ! But 16 7,5 inch open baffle doing mid bass and 16 12 inch drivers doing deep bass should have a impact. :)
 

Audiophile Bill

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For full tone electrostatics i agree with you, but the speakers that did the best disappearing act i have ever heard where the Martin Logan Statement E2. Those massive 4 part speakers just energized the whole room with images of a intensity and impact far outside the room boundaries. On many occasions i started looking for low flying helicopters and semi-trucks outside when watching movies, dynamics where of the chart ! But 16 7,5 inch open baffle doing mid bass and 16 12 inch drivers doing deep bass should have a impact. :)

Hi Lagonda. Did you hear the new massive Maggie 30s at all yet? I wondered how they would be. I haven’t seen / heard any over in UK.
 
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