"Can't Do 3D Like Other Technologies". Fair Criticism of Horn Speakers?

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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Is it a fair criticism of the horn technology? For which brands?

And Why?

Thanks in advance
 

Robh3606

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I have 5 speaker set-up's using combination of waveguides and horns. 4 of them image very well and have depth so from my point of view I don't agree completely. The outlier is a DIY of JBL 4344 monitors, they can image but not as well the more modern set-ups.

Rob :)
 

DSkip

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I have 5 speaker set-up's using combination of waveguides and horns. 4 of them image very well and have depth so from my point of view I don't agree completely. The outlier is a DIY of JBL 4344 monitors, they can image but not as well the more modern set-ups.

Rob :)

There is depth and then there is projection. Many speakers can do depth, but projection is something that separates the best from the good. The problem with assessing this projection is you have to have electronics and sources that can do it as well.

With that in mind, I don't think its appropriate for sweeping generalizations because these same generalizations can be made for any other design approach.

I will say that IME the most critical aspect is the crossover and if a designer can get this 'right', then it should project pretty much regardless of approach.
 

Robh3606

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There is depth and then there is projection.
Hello

What do you mean by projection?? Do you mean up close and in your face if it's a close mic recording?? For example band behind the singer??


I will say that IME the most critical aspect is the crossover and if a designer can get this 'right', then it should project pretty much regardless of approach.

I tend to think polar response is more critical. My outlier system is old school flat on axis with a not much attention to the uniformity of the polars. The baffle layout puts the HF driver and UHF side by side. This arrangement is hard to change because the vertical directivity gets so narrow that if you stacked them you might hear 2 sources. They have to be listened to on the HF/UHF axis so it is head in vise to get the best out of them.

Rob :)
 

analyzer

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May 20, 2016
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Is it a fair criticism of the horn technology? For which brands?

And Why?

Thanks in advance
I don't think it's a "Fair criticism". Many old horn speakers and some of recent design simply shows a more prominent sound towards the listener.
"Presence" Is considered better and more important goal than a window with an holographic sound.
The structure of the horns, particularly in the mids tends undoubtly to shot the sound in front of the listener. This is why I find horn speakers acceptable in terms of presentation only at mid-highs distance from speakers, normally not less than 5 meters, statistically rare in normal sized rooms.
 

jeffrey_t

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Cesar,
What is the point of your “horns can do this” posts? Go listen to a bunch of horns and then make your own decision. Random “aggressiveness,” “brightnes,” soundstage,” etc questions are irrelevant.

sincerely,
WBF Members.
 
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jespera

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Jan 12, 2018
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I once spoke to a loudspeaker designer that had done the same two way loudspeakers in two versions: with a horn tweeter and with a ribbon tweeter. He said that when he demonstrated the two different types side by side, the audience was typically split 50-50 in terms of preference.

I got to hear two of his similar speakers: one with horn and one with ribbon. I preferred the horn. It also made me clearly realise the differences.

The ribbon tweeter is over smooth and
compressed. Gives an illusion of resolution and 3d. This can be good and most impressive with delta-sigma digital but it is flawed.

The horn just has more presence and realism. Transients and trumpets are more righteous. You do need 3-4m distance though.

The typical dome tweeter sounds shouty and struggeling and (again) compressed. Old fashioned cone tweeters better but rolled off.

Single driver can be good, but beaming and nasality can be a problem.

Electrostatics a bit like the ribbon but worse and more plasticy sound.

Mbl radial strahler: nice room filling none-hifi rounded sounding. But again again dynamically compromised. Duvet dynamics. Even though it was receiving 50-100 watts according to the vu meters on the amp.

Fwiw and imuho

Jesper
 
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jdza

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I am just genuinely perplexed how any speaker with a horn tweeter suddenly becomes a "horn speaker". Surely on a platform dedicated to what is best, a horn speaker should be just that, a full range no compromise horn or at least a speaker where anything above bass is horn loaded? A 2-way box with crossover in the kilos is surely not a horn speaker? The way efficiency is sacrificed in the name of flat response by a myriad of energy-sapping eq does not even qualify these contraptions as HE.
 
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jespera

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Jan 12, 2018
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I am just genuinely perplexed how any speaker with a horn tweeter suddenly becomes a "horn speaker". Surely on a platform dedicated to what is best, a horn speaker should be just that, a full range no compromise horn or at least a speaker where anything above bass is horn loaded? A 2-way box with crossover in the kilos is surely not a horn speaker? The way efficiency is sacrificed in the name of flat response by a myriad of energy-sapping eq does not even qualify these contraptions as HE.

I was refering to two way speakers.

There arent many true horn systems around. In nearly all cases the deepest bass will be handled by a conventional box of sorts.
 

DSkip

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Aug 26, 2013
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Hello

What do you mean by projection?? Do you mean up close and in your face if it's a close mic recording?? For example band behind the singer??




I tend to think polar response is more critical. My outlier system is old school flat on axis with a not much attention to the uniformity of the polars. The baffle layout puts the HF driver and UHF side by side. This arrangement is hard to change because the vertical directivity gets so narrow that if you stacked them you might hear 2 sources. They have to be listened to on the HF/UHF axis so it is head in vise to get the best out of them.

Rob :)

By projection I mean extending the soundstage well into space in front of where center stage is. Some test tracks I use create full circles around a listener. Others do waves of music that rush at you and then pull back.

Right now my system struggles to really reach those levels because I don’t have my reference dac in the mix. It still generates it, but it only comes out about four feet instead of an almost infinite space around the listener. That is why I don’t like generalizations because there are so many factors that can create or inhibit a single components ability to shine.

Depth isn’t exceptionally hard. Solid images is tougher - I hate the cardboard cutout images so many systems portray. Give me body! Still, projection is the toughest and it seems to be the one big element I come across that separates great gear from exceptional gear. To do that in space, across all frequencies, with strong coherence and body to the images is a very tough objective to meet.
 

Duke LeJeune

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I'm going to go out on a limb and claim that my hybrid horn systems ("hybrid" because I use direct-radiating woofers) can do the 3-D thing pretty well.

Briefly, about thirteen years ago I started using additional drivers dedicated to the reverberant field in pursuit of richer timbre. With some configurations, an unexpected side-effect seemed to show up: Hearing "more of the recording venue" and "less of the playback room". Details if anyone is interested.
 
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jdza

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May 3, 2010
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I'm going to go out on a limb and claim that my hybrid horn systems ("hybrid" because I use direct-radiating woofers) can do the 3-D thing pretty well.

Briefly, about thirteen years ago I started using additional drivers dedicated to the reverberant field in pursuit of richer timbre. With some configurations, an unexpected side-effect seemed to show up: Hearing "more of the recording venue" and "less of the playback room". Details if anyone is interested.
I have been doing something similar for some years. I started with tweeters only and expanded to upper mids, using the bass horn flare as a reflective surface. I have found the effect on ambience retrieval phenomenal while before and after occasional visitors have invariably commented on the sheer size and precision of the "new" soundstage. The drivers I use for this indirect application are not what I would normally prefer but I have found the horn chosen for the "ambient" function to be important.

I would love to know how you have implemented your solution.



[url=https://flic.kr/p/2ihFBa1]
 

marmota

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Feb 3, 2016
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Cesar,
What is the point of your “horns can do this” posts? Go listen to a bunch of horns and then make your own decision. Random “aggressiveness,” “brightnes,” soundstage,”
Etc questions are irrelevant.

sincerely,
WBF Members.

I was going to post the same. There was a user on headphone forums named "Mtoc", and he did exactly the same, even the writing style is similar. The modus operandi was: drops bomb post > thread goes on fire > goes out and opens another similar thread. Probably they are related or the same person, who knows.
 
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marmota

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Feb 3, 2016
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I'm going to go out on a limb and claim that my hybrid horn systems ("hybrid" because I use direct-radiating woofers) can do the 3-D thing pretty well.

Briefly, about thirteen years ago I started using additional drivers dedicated to the reverberant field in pursuit of richer timbre. With some configurations, an unexpected side-effect seemed to show up: Hearing "more of the recording venue" and "less of the playback room". Details if anyone is interested.

Please, share more details about this, I found it a fascinating subject.
I haven't heard a speaker with an ambience tweeter, but I always had the perception/idea that, for a somewhat dead sounding room (specially the wall behind the speakers), a back mounted tweeter crossover over 10khz (for example), would be a very nice idea.
 
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caesar

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May 31, 2010
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Cesar,
What is the point of your “horns can do this” posts? Go listen to a bunch of horns and then make your own decision. Random “aggressiveness,” “brightnes,” soundstage,” etc questions are irrelevant.

sincerely,
WBF Members.
Well, there's Covid, family, work, other hobbies, time, and money.

And when I do travel, why not try to see the different technologies as they really are? I disagree that those points under consideration are "irrelevant" because there are different brands, different models, different setups, etc.

Why not try to find as many alternatives as possible? Why not try to make decisions with as much information as possible, whether I like or don't like what others have to say? Why not try judge everything on its full merits?

Of course, I can just jump on the bandwagon and pick a popular horn brand. :)

PS. You and the others can feel free to ignore this thread or put me on ignore
 

Robh3606

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Aug 25, 2010
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The drivers I use for this indirect application are not what I would normally prefer but I have found the horn chosen for the "ambient" function to be important.


Hello

Those look familiar. 2432 and a 2404?? Do you EQ them flat or just leave them be with no CD compensation??

Rob :)
 

Robh3606

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Aug 25, 2010
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By projection I mean extending the soundstage well into space in front of where center stage is. Some test tracks I use create full circles around a listener. Others do waves of music that rush at you and then pull back.

Thanks for explaining I have never heard projection used before to describe an attribute of the soundstage. I have heard that and it seems recording dependent. Really cool when it happens the sense of envelopment is really quite striking!

Rob :)
 

Duke LeJeune

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Jul 22, 2013
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I would love to know how you have implemented your solution.

Jdza, your system is just stunning. I shake my head in awe every time I see a picture of it.

I use rear-firing drivers which cover quite a bit of the spectrum, which is apparently what you are doing. Likewise my drivers are fairly directional, and are usually aimed in a direction which results in a fairly long reflection path length involving wall bounces (not many people have a bass horn handy!). Imo we do not want this additional reverberant energy arriving early, and in this context "early" would be "within less than ten milliseconds of the direct sound". So the rear-firing energy might be directed upwards and backwards, such that it bounces off the wall and then off the ceiling before arriving at the listening area. If the speakers are also toed-in aggressively (as I normally recommend), the path length for the rear-firing energy is further increased.

Here's an example, tucked into a notch on the back of a fairly large floorstander:

IMG_4986.JPG

Below is another example, this is the back of a speaker stand. The driver on the top of the notch is a subwoofer and the one on the bottom of the notch is a coaxial which is dedicated to the reverberant field:

5-1-903x1024.jpg

The holes on one side of the notch - the "bubbles" - prevent a cupped-hands coloration from sound bouncing side-to-side within the notch.

The top-end response of the rear-firing drivers is user-adjustable, as is the overall volume level, for tailoring to the specific room conditions. We have found that there's a "sweet spot" as far as how loud the rear-firing drivers are, relative to the front-firing ones. Above a certain threshold, clarity starts to be degraded.

Please, share more details about this, I found it a fascinating subject.
I haven't heard a speaker with an ambience tweeter, but I always had the perception/idea that, for a somewhat dead sounding room (specially the wall behind the speakers), a back mounted tweeter crossover over 10khz (for example), would be a very nice idea.

Rear-firing tweeters dedicated to the region north of say 10 kHz can help by adding a bit of reverberant energy which is normally missing because of tweeter beaming. But ime the actual effect on ambience is usually pretty small... ime the main benefit of a very high frequency rear-firing tweeter is an improvement in inner detail and timbre and naturalness.
 
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Duke LeJeune

[Industry Expert]/Member Sponsor
Jul 22, 2013
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I have been doing something similar for some years. I started with tweeters only and expanded to upper mids, using the bass horn flare as a reflective surface. I have found the effect on ambience retrieval phenomenal while before and after occasional visitors have invariably commented on the sheer size and precision of the "new" soundstage. The drivers I use for this indirect application are not what I would normally prefer but I have found the horn chosen for the "ambient" function to be important.
Jdza, if you don't mind me asking, WHAT IN THE WORLD made you decide to try the additional tweeters, and then the additional upper-mids as well, firing INTO your bass horn flares? Shooting sound off in other directions is highly counter-intuitive for a horn system, though obviously I think it's a good idea. I think you are the first person I've come across who is doing this on their own.

The subjective improvement probably seems out of proportion to what one might expect from merely adding a little bit more reverberant energy which arrives after several milliseconds of time delay.

How did the idea come to you in the first place?
 
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