I have been trying to think how to say this. I don't want to say anything in a negative way. I don't want to insult Dave. My experiences to date say horns do do something quite amazing. I too from the "second" start of my audiophile life (after 40) find I gravitate away from box speakers and black backgrounds to nimble and lithe with air and snap. I'm not going to say Natural as its a War Word. But I perceive my open baffle as more like what I hear from non amplified instruments than other types of speakers. I have experienced horns taking that same attribute to another level. But I have reservations about horns.
The attached images are Howards Horns. These threw something special. But at the same time, it was too much. Most likely due to them not being well tuned. Maybe a cable. Maybe a crossover component. Maybe an amp. Howard was always looking to tweak them a little. He knew it too. He wanted to try other drivers like Great Planes. He had nebulous cables from the crossover to driver, as well as from the amp to crossover. His phono pre had a ground issue. It was all a lot to take in. Even so, it was one of the most memorable systems I have heard. So my point about every day is based upon memorable experiences that stayed with me, but at the same time left me with caution. That, and having also listened to horns in 4 or more other settings and not being impressed much. Much smaller versions. Placed in nice rooms. But they don't do what Howards do. And the smaller ones I have heard sound like classic horns. You would not mistake them with a blind fold on. They don't sound any closer to a live event than any other speaker. They just sound different.
I have never heard David's speakers. Its my assumption that they are very well tuned. As such, I wondered if Ron and others experienced something special. Something that verges magical. But in the back of your mind, does it leaves you wondering if it could be your every day speaker. Can you listen to a well tuned horn system of massive scale every day and not find it, shall I say, over stimulating. Not fatigue. Just, so much to take in and absorb it might overwhelm someone. I only have one system. There are plenty of times I am in front of it with my head in something else. Just listening and doing other things. I don't know I want a full blown out of body experience every time I turn it on.
I don't feel I ever experience over stimulation from "heroically inert" box speakers. I have never experienced such a you are there live experience with box speakers either as I did at Howards. I have heard many box speakers that are much more linear and balanced. Much more tonally correct. Very detailed and plenty of life. But non have transported me to a place where I heard Bob Dylan recite a poem. Not sing a song. He recited the poem to music.
I have heard stunning in ways with boxed speakers. I still remember Mile L Led Z tape. Holly cow. I ran home and turned my Led Z record on, then turned my stereo off and didn't play it for a week.
I listened to Howard 4 or so times and every time was very impressed, but I always wondered if I had them, would I be able to bring control to them where I could listen every day. Where I could sit and read with the music on. They were like wild horses. I was unsure if they could be broken. I assumed they could if someone knew what they were doing and had time and resources to put to them. That is why I was interested in taking them off his hands if I bought land with acreage. You need a place to store such massive speakers. And then you need a very large room to land them in. They are sold now as Howard moved and could not take them. Too bad in a way. The woodwork on these was absolutely gorgeous. Very high grade plywood. The woodworker who made them was a master craftsman. And I gather he had a very modern computer controlled CNC shop that could take the original plans and recreate the speaker down to the fine details.
All of this is why when David posts to me I should look in another direction, I become very cautious about considering horns. They appear to be a commitment that you can't take lightly. I have heard enough horns I don't like at all. I have heard some I feel are good overall and.great in some ways, but need work. I don't know they won't end up a massive time and financial investment to get them right. As much as any high $$$ boxed speaker today. I am concerned you would need the support of someone like David to fly out a few times and help polish the performance. And he would not be using inexpensive parts.
Now, before anyone comes back and says all speakers take work to get right, yes I agree. This is a video of Erik's house. He wrote about the work I did at his place. His Magico/Boulder setup was outstanding. It threw the largest, complete soundstage I have ever heard from a box speaker. And he and Jay clearly note how difficult it is to get a hyper resolving speaker in a room correct. This was one of the best rooms and systems I have heard for a few reasons. But I was still aware I was listening to box speakers.
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