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How do single driver (read loaded) horn speakers actually sound?
How do single driver (read loaded) horn speakers actually sound?
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Old 8th February 2006, 11:42 AM   #1
hugz is offline hugz  Australia
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Default How do single driver (read loaded) horn speakers actually sound?

Ah yes, this is the world's biggest n00b question.

I've been wanting to DIY myself some speakers for some time now (I've never done any before, but I have some experience in some other DIY electronics).

Somewhere along the way I fell in love with the single fullrange driver idea and started investigating various enclosure designs.

This further peaked my interest because the various enclosures all just look so amazing. They look a bit more fun to build than a normal speaker enclosure, and also oooze in geek appeal.

However the bad news is that I've never actually heard full range drivers before, and I'm not sure that I'll really get a chance to since I've never seen them in Hifi stores before.

Someone warned me that unless I listen "simple vocals wtih sparse backing instruments" then I will be disappointed. Is this true? I like to listen to artists like the beatles, i like classical music, jazz, and also artists like bjork, massive attack, and some hiphop.

Are full range drivers capable of playing these genres well? I dont really want some speakers which perform nice in a few select genres and then fall over on others.

Sorry for such a simple/dumb question, but everyone has to start somewhere, right?

Also I plan to buy a ming da mc34-b because it's cheap and i want to introduce myself to tube audio. I have read that full range drivers are good for tube amps because of their high sensitivity. That site says that the ming da has "Output Power - 22watts RMS x 2".. so this sounds like another potential reason for me to want to go with full range drivers rather than a 2 or 3 way speaker setup

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Old 8th February 2006, 12:20 PM   #2
analog_sa is offline analog_sa  Europe
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You'll no doubt get lots of encouragement in this thread but unless you hear for yourself it will all be pretty much meaningless.

Single drivers substitute the problems of 'normal' speakers with their own. Whether this compromise works for you is only up to you to decide.
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Old 9th February 2006, 01:19 AM   #3
hugz is offline hugz  Australia
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Can anyone tell me if single driver rear loaded horn speakers sound nice with a variety of music genres, or if they only specialise in a few genres and fail in others?

I'd like to build some speakers soonish, but I dont want to go into the design entirely blind.

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Old 9th February 2006, 01:40 AM   #4
Dumbass is offline Dumbass  British Antarctic Territory
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I have a pair of Fostex FE207E in simple vented enclosures and I listen to all sorts of music including jazz, rock, electronic, reggae, orchestral, chamber music, opera, etc.

The argument that one would only listen to cocktail music on full-rangers is dead in the water. There are reasons one might not like full-rangers, but this is not one of them.

A well designed rear horn can give excellent quality bass down to roughly 40Hz in domestically-acceptable size. If it were me starting from scratch, I'd build Ron's Dallas II design for FE206E. For smaller size and lower budget, he also has designs for FE166E and FE126E. Check 'em out:

If you really need bass down to 20Hz, simply add a powered subwoofer.

If you don't want to go whole-hog to start, you could go with a simpler and cheaper design, such as some of the projects on Bob Brines' site:
(Scroll to bottom for projects.)
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Old 9th February 2006, 01:43 AM   #5
Josephjcole is offline Josephjcole  United States
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Everything is based on perspective. Certainly some driver do better then others. You might very well be disapointed trying to listen to hip-hop on a 4" fullrange driver. As a general rule the smaller drivers tend to sound sweeter, but are weaker in the dynamics and bass. For Bjork and hip-hop I would recomend a larger fullrange driver. But it all depends on how loud you like to listen and what kind of speakers you've been exposed to in the past.
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Old 9th February 2006, 01:45 AM   #6
Dumbass is offline Dumbass  British Antarctic Territory
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P.S. I should add that the articles on Brines' site are good reads, whatever path you follow with your speaker building.
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Old 9th February 2006, 02:26 AM   #7
ScottG is offline ScottG  United States
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Originally posted by Josephjcole
Everything is based on perspective.
hmm, now where have I read that before???
perspective is everything
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Old 9th February 2006, 08:20 AM   #8
planet10 is offline planet10  Canada
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How do single driver (read loaded) horn speakers actually sound?
Kind od a broad question... there are a many horns with many different FRs... some work, some don't, the rest of the system, and the room, all play a roll. Costs range from <$100 to enuff to buy a car.

The better single driver rear-loaded horns i've heard are amounst the most enjoyable speakers i've listened to. The poorest aren't listenable.

You need to get out and listen to some... or just committ some cash & build some. For instance the Buschorn II with one of the FE103 family is right affordable & will give you a taste.

community sites t-linespeakers.org, frugal-horn.com, frugal-phile.com ........ commercial site planet10-HiFi
p10-hifi forum here at diyA
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Old 9th February 2006, 08:31 AM   #9
fergs1 is offline fergs1  Australia
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greetings hugz, firstly I was in you boat 1 1/2 years ago and since then I have built two pairs of horns and bought a great locally made valve amp made by weston acoustics. firstly with horns, build Rons Dallas II horns for the fe206e, they are a great design,,once the drivers are broken in and the speakers slightly toed in they're fantastic.and I listen to every thing from massive attack thru to miles davis to stravinsky and while there is something to be said about single driver liking simple music rons horns certainly don't fall over with other styles of music.there are of couse better horns and drivers but not for the money..
secondly for the money they want for the plethora of valve amps coming in from china(ding, music angle etc) you could get earle weston to build you a totally hand built amp of exceptional quality and value, and he is a gentleman to deal with. his email is ehtcom@bigpond.net.au . I strongly advise my first point and implore you on the second
all the best fergs
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Old 9th February 2006, 03:17 PM   #10
hugz is offline hugz  Australia
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Hi all

Thanks for your replies. This has definately made me a bit more interested in going through with it and building some horns. The ron dallas 206e design looks quite nice and if it's as good as you say then It's very tempting.

I have a quick question for the australians (or anyone in the know..). Where is the best place to buy some fostex drivers? I know of madisound but they're quite expensive on the shipping. I sent a request for quote on some other drivers a while ago and the shipping costs came to 42% of the driver costs. ouch! And those drivers were similarly priced but lighter than the 206, so i fear that for the 206 i'd be paying 50% in shipping.

Is there anywhere more local or more internationally friendly?

Also, if there's anyone in brisbane (or again, in the know).. can anyone tell me if there are any local hifi stores which have any horn speakers that i could test? I've been to quite a few of the local stores and auditioned quite a bit of gear, but have yet to stumble upon any single driver horn speakers.

Are there any brisbane based diy horn makers keen to show of their wares to a horn newbie?

Thanks all
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