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

Lagonda

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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.
No, i am sure they are excellent, but hearing them in Denmark is not realistic, except for Danish brands we rarely get the biggest speakers here. I would love to hear the biggest AlsyVox models too, maybe at Taiko next time i visit my dad in Holland. I have a sister in London too, and besides visiting Marcs chapel, hearing your latest creation would definitely be on my wishlist, he can't stop raving about them :)
 

microstrip

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Or sounds less natural.
In what sense? Unless operated outside their dynamic room I consider them as natural - please note I am not addressing "Natural Sounding".
 

Audiophile Bill

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No, i am sure they are excellent, but hearing them in Denmark is not realistic, except for Danish brands we rarely get the biggest speakers here. I would love to hear the biggest AlsyVox models too, maybe at Taiko next time i visit my dad in Holland. I have a sister in London too, and besides visiting Marcs chapel, hearing your latest creation would definitely be on my wishlist, he can't stop raving about them :)

Hi,
I look forward to Marc’s next visit after Covid opens up over here. I will have a lot of new things for him to hear so quite exciting tbh:

> I have the Horning Sati Transreference with the Peak arm and DaVa.
> DaVa mono
> Big bottle field coil supply for both DaVa carts
> A Studer 812 and a load of tapes
> My new TT clamp product (well a few of those) - a collaboration with Stefano Bertoncello
> Mahogany horns with 135hz fs
> Gates idler (hopefully running by June)
> My new mid bass horns solution flat to 58hz (-6dB at 45)
> Another beer machine
> Shed load of new LPs :)
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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Beer machine ahead of new LPs in your list?
What the Hell, why not?!
 

the sound of Tao

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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. :)
Milan, sounds fantastic and full on... big full range experiences bring so much sensation and create the whole suspension of disbelief thing.

Maybe a foundation of believably real deep bass makes for sensational moments that then makes the speakers fall back within the field of perception and the physicality and presence of subsonics does its thing in making for the realness. Kind of a next level disappearance of the parts and abduction into the experience.
 
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bonzo75

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Regarding big full range, my apogee passion came from listening to Henk's grands (followed by his restored full ranges and scintilla). But those grands were massive, they scaled like crazy, and are the ballsiest speakers I had heard. Only Mike's system with his room and bass towers going linear to 5db or so outdid them.

However, I then heard a dual woofer FLH with two 18 inch drivers. They just replaced the apogees in power and midbass in my mind, retaining all the nuance, micro dynamics, etc that comes with horns. Given their midbass cabinet was 1m x 1m x 1m they created the vertical bass stage of planars as well.

That said, disappearance is something else and I hope this is not another case where people start discussing the meaning of the word disappearance like they did with resolution and soundstage. I separate it from tone, bass, dynamics, etc. It is just like the speakers are not there and the sound comes from air. Elecrostats do that the best imo
 

adyc

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Regarding big full range, my apogee passion came from listening to Henk's grands (followed by his restored full ranges and scintilla). But those grands were massive, they scaled like crazy, and are the ballsiest speakers I had heard. Only Mike's system with his room and bass towers going linear to 5db or so outdid them.

However, I then heard a dual woofer FLH with two 18 inch drivers. They just replaced the apogees in power and midbass in my mind, retaining all the nuance, micro dynamics, etc that comes with horns. Given their midbass cabinet was 1m x 1m x 1m they created the vertical bass stage of planars as well.

That said, disappearance is something else and I hope this is not another case where people start discussing the meaning of the word disappearance like they did with resolution and soundstage. I separate it from tone, bass, dynamics, etc. It is just like the speakers are not there and the sound comes from air. Elecrostats do that the best imo
Does this FLH dual woofer disappear?
 

bonzo75

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Does this FLH dual woofer disappear?

Not like stats but Leif's does disappear quite a bit. However it requires a much larger room than the one you have, which iirc is 18x13
 

bonzo75

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A new room is coming which is going to be larger.

Personally I wouldn't think twice if I had a bigger room. Dual woofer FLH and rotate SETs to play around
 

jeffrey_t

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Hi,
I look forward to Marc’s next visit after Covid opens up over here. I will have a lot of new things for him to hear so quite exciting tbh:

> I have the Horning Sati Transreference with the Peak arm and DaVa.
> DaVa mono
> Big bottle field coil supply for both DaVa carts
> A Studer 812 and a load of tapes
> My new TT clamp product (well a few of those) - a collaboration with Stefano Bertoncello
> Mahogany horns with 135hz fs
> Gates idler (hopefully running by June)
> My new mid bass horns solution flat to 58hz (-6dB at 45)
> Another beer machine
> Shed load of new LPs :)
Have you posted pictures of the new “mid bass horn solution?”
 

DaveC

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Nov 16, 2014
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I think the largest issue with horns and disappearing is due to uneven polar response of the horns. The 2nd link has some polar patterns of commercially available speakers in it.



When you have multiple horns that cover the ear's sensitive frequency range without having the same dispersion pattern it's audible because the off-axis sound is not similar to the direct sound. So what could be benign reflections due to longer path length/delay times becomes interference the brain can't process as easily and recognizes as different. This can destroy the perception of the spatial cues in the recording and make the speaker unable to disappear.

This is the reason a speaker like Bill's, Earl Geddes, the multitude of speakers that use a dual diaphragm CD to cover from ~400 Hz on up, disappear better than a vast majority of multi-way (4+ way) or Avantgarde-type designs. The latter tend to have uneven polar patterns. Bill's and my own speaker use wideband driver that can cover the entire frequency spectrum where it matters. Earl Geddes and Duke LeJeune match the polar pattern of the woofer to the CD higher up, maybe 800-1200 Hz, but the resulting polar pattern is even. Dual concentric driver CDs use a single horn, and I'd argue the crossover is a bit of an issue vs using a single wideband driver or diaphragm, but the polar pattern is generally better vs multiple horns.

Another factor that can destroy the ability of a speaker to disappear is diffraction. This can be an issue with all speaker designs, but with horns the horn it's self often causes HOMs or horn honk, and to save on diameter horns are often not given a full round over at the mouth, which causes audible diffraction around the edge of the mouth. Also, less than ideal horn expansion profiles are often used to save on diameter, which causes some HOMs. Finally, the material a horn is made out of matters, just like the material speaker cabinets are made out of matters. So you can see some popular commercial speakers use non-ideal profiles with no round over and cheap injection molded plastic horns. Then add poor polar response on top of that and it's a wonder the speaker can image at all!

Cone 'n' dome box speakers usually suffer from audible diffraction, which is why they sound like box speakers. The diffraction is similar enough the sound signature is recognizable to many. Some manufacturers do a good job with this due to cabinet design, but it's very difficult to avoid entirely. It also explains some of the interesting shapes from Vivid and others, as well as the speakers that use a spherical enclosure as this is considered most ideal.

IME, this is also an issue with the concentric mid/tweeter designs of Andrew Jones, as used in KEF, TAD and ELAC speakers. The midrange forms a horn or waveguide for the tweeter but it's not possible for the midrange cone to be a perfect LeCleach horn shape and the compromise is audible. It is good for other reasons so I'm not saying it's bad... I own a pair of Pioneer S-1EX which use the TAD Mg mid/Be tweeter. They are excellent but only disappear 95%, and I've heard the same from a few other speaker designers. It's always a compromise so it's not wrong, but I think a separate mid/tweeter can disappear better if that's your priority.

It's also an issue with the GPA concentric woofer/horn design, the horn must be compromised so it doesn't cover the entire woofer.
 
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Audiophile Bill

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Kingrex

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I'm sure there are levels of disappearing. My PAP Trio 15 horn set up wrong are very out the speaker. Set up correct they lay a nice stage. Crossing 45 degree in front of me which I tried after Peter posted about his corner speakers makes a very nice immersive soundstage with accurate placement of musicians. I don't notice the speaker. I just enjoy the music.

Yet nothing compared to the Altec Live Sound theater speakers that are on sale here on the whatsbest for sale page. Howard was driving them with Altec 1570B to the woofers and 1569B to the multicell. It was the most incredible performance. The sensation was like sitting on a stool on the stage with Simon and Garfunkel playing next to me. Never heard anything like it before of after. It was the first of only 2 times in my life I teared up in front of a stereo. Absolutely emotional in its impact. To be truthful it was during Dylan that I teared. But it was S&G that stunned me with the shear width, depth and height of the soundstage. You were a part of it.

I honestly don't remember if there was a sense of noticing the speaker itself. But it seems to me if you are noticing your speakers, you don't have the setup correct. All speakers should for the most part disappear. Some may do it easier and better than others. But I would think most all speakers set up correct in a fairly decent room should make a nice soundstage that draws your focus to the music where you don't become distracted by an out the speaker type playback.
 
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Atmasphere

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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.
I've set up plenty of systems using both. If done properly both seem to work exactly as well. The one comment I get again and again about using the horns I do (Classic Audio Loudspeakers) is 'these things sound like electrostatics' because they are just as fast and just as transparent. FWIW the horn employs a field coil, which is the only other tech that can be as fast as an ESL and for exactly the same reason- the motive force does not sag when a signal is applied. Beyond that the diaphragm is beryllium and apparently has its first breakup at about 35KHz.
 

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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Omnis disappear amazingly well also... but whereas the presentation of big ESLs, like the big Soundlabs, is a huge wave / wall of sound coming at the listener, the omnis, such as MBLs, are much more 3D and in my experience, have better highs and a more Rocking bass... All are incredibly enjoyable
 
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Lampie519

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If you feel that ESL's present a wall of sound than the equipment driving them is not yet up to the job.
ESL's should be able to pin point the instruments like any other good speaker system. Yes, they also should totally disappear as wel as horn loaded loudspeakers can (phase corrected etc.).

Sometimes i use my "Rock Solid" loudspeakers (B&W) to make a point... (placing them on the floor facing upwards)

People are crowling on the floor towards them as they can not trust their own ears (thinking that they are actually listening to the ESL's). Only by switching back to the ESL's it is obvious that there was something missing...

This sounds "unreal" and even made up but i assure you.. i kid you not...
 
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Atmasphere

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If you feel that ESL's present a wall of sound than the equipment driving them is not yet up to the job.
Or something... Sound Labs sound to me as if they are an acoustically transparent room divider and there are real musicians playing on the other side just barely out of sight on account of the divider. Very natural and IMO one of the top speakers made.
 

Lagonda

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If you feel that ESL's present a wall of sound than the equipment driving them is not yet up to the job.
ESL's should be able to pin point the instruments like any other good speaker system. Yes, they also should totally disappear as wel as horn loaded loudspeakers can (phase corrected etc.).

Sometimes i use my "Rock Solid" loudspeakers (B&W) to make a point... (placing them on the floor facing upwards)

People are crowling on the floor towards them as they can not trust their own ears (thinking that they are actually listening to the ESL's). Only by switching back to the ESL's it is obvious that there was something missing...

This sounds "unreal" and even made up but i assure you.. i kid you not...
Let's not forget how different electrostatic speakers are dependent on brand and model. Some are frequency limited in both ends, like my old ML CLS and do not do pinpoint imaging very well, others like Beveridge or big Soundlab do a better job at it. :)
 

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