Why horns? - diyAudio
Go Back   Home > Forums > Loudspeakers > Full Range
Home Forums Rules Articles diyAudio Store Gallery Wiki Blogs Register Donations FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.

Ads on/off / Custom Title / More PMs / More album space / Advanced printing & mass image saving
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 10th March 2006, 12:19 AM   #1
Rafal is offline Rafal  Canada
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: London Ontario
Default Why horns?

Hi folks,

I have never heard horns. I have mainly played with BR and OB designs and found OB to be extremely appealing. I understand the adventages and disadvantages of bass reflex vs open baffle, but why would anyone build horns if open baffle does things so very well? Is it a case of finding a suitable cabinet for an exquisite driver (like Lowther)? Or do horn (BLH) speakers do something special that other designs can't do because of the enclosure design? I guess if I had an opportunity to actually hear a pair, it would be easier for me tounderstand, but since I haven't, I hope you can help me see the appeal of horns.


  Reply With Quote
Old 10th March 2006, 01:11 AM   #2
Dumbass is offline Dumbass  British Antarctic Territory
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: British Antarctic Territory
I have not heard any Lowther-style BLH implementations, but I have heard three excellent horn-loaded systems: Bruce Edgar's, Steve Schell's, and Eric Overman's.

All three are horn-loaded from top to bottom. Schell's is a three-way, the other two four-way.

The overwhelming feeling is of speed, dynamics, effortlessness. In the sweet spot, they image really well, there is no feeling of multi-way. Horn-loaded bass is TANGIBLE, a good recording makes you feel that the string bass player is right there in the room with you. On microwatts, Overman's stereo sub-bass horns shake your gut.

A horn converts high-energy, low-amplitude signal at the driver to low-energy, high-amplitude signal in the room. The horn therefore limits excursion (hence the low Xmax of Lowthers works in horn-loading) and tends to be very "fast" and responsive.

I assume a good BLH implementation of Lowther shares some of the same attributes in the bass, while having the slightly more euphonic (?) sound of DR cone full-ranger.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10th March 2006, 01:44 AM   #3
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
I've had this discission many times with my non-horn loving speaker building friend. He thinks that since he had a pair of Voice of the Theatre in the 70s, and they were bad sounding, that all horns are just as flawed. Personally, I've never heard a good horn speaker that I wouldn't take over the same driver ina conventional enclosure. Lowthers are loaded into BLH enclosures to take advantage of their ability to reproduce some low bass, without running into the wall induced by their inability to move large amounts of air in a conventional enclosure.

Lowthers, and most high efficiency drivers, have very limited excursion, and the horn allows them to couple efficiently at low frequencies. Drivers designed to operate open baffle typically have much higher linear excursion, and higher Qts.

Front loaded horns typically operate over a higher frequency range, and allow very specialized, high pressure drivers to couple efficiently to the air. Low frequency horns exist, but very quickly, their size becomes excessively large. A 100Hz horn, without room boundary effects, has a mouth several feet in diameter. The Magico uses such a horn for low frequency reproduction, but hands over the truly low bass to a conventional subwoofer below 100Hz. Front horns have an upper frequency limit, beyond which, the horn begins to limit high frequency dispersion, or roll off, due to the effects of the long air column in the throat of the horn interacting with the volume of the compression chamber formed by the air space in front of the cone or dome. Oversimplified, but there you have it.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10th March 2006, 02:24 AM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: VA
I built some horn speakers to see what they sound like. I'm impressed.

  Reply With Quote
Old 11th March 2006, 07:46 AM   #5
e-side is offline e-side  Netherlands
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: The Netherlands
Default Re: Why horns?

Originally posted by Rafal
but why would anyone build horns if open baffle does things so very well?
Because horns can produce very accurate sound (low distortion) at very high Sound Pressure Levels (SPL). OB provides accurate bass too (probably even more accurate than horns), but they're a less efficient.


  Reply With Quote
Old 12th March 2006, 07:51 PM   #6
robertG is offline robertG  Canada
diyAudio Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Montreal
Horns produce high SPL with minimum cone displacement. In BLH enclosures, the bass (and low mid) is "amplified" while retaining the same minimum movement and maximum SPL.

No movement = no distortion (OK it's actually more complex) and high SPL with low wattage means high dynamics ability.

So, no distortion, high SPL and dynamics makes for very interesting bass quality (as in slam and impact and scale)
  Reply With Quote
Old 12th March 2006, 08:15 PM   #7
Rafal is offline Rafal  Canada
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: London Ontario
That sounds pretty cool. So maybe i can expect the OB clarity + better bass and more dynamic / exciting sound in general?

Does that sound about right?
  Reply With Quote
Old 12th March 2006, 11:28 PM   #8
tade is offline tade  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ralieigh nc
Send a message via AIM to tade
I am a college guy who lucked onto some horn drivers. For me they are great in that they can generate high spl and sound great. For a more delicate solution I would definitely go open baffle but my horns will never be my limiting factor.
  Reply With Quote
Old 12th March 2006, 11:32 PM   #9
Rafal is offline Rafal  Canada
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: London Ontario
That sounds pretty cool. So maybe i can expect the OB clarity + better bass and more dynamic / exciting sound in general?

Does that sound about right?
  Reply With Quote
Old 13th March 2006, 09:44 PM   #10
TomekZ is offline TomekZ  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Wisconsin
My experience with the CSS FR125s in a couple of different back horns and then into an open baffle, found the bass a bit weaker in the open, but much clearer, quicker and more melodic. The treble of this driver, when in the open, took on much more clarity, sweetness and harmonic life. It was especially the trebles harmonic life that confinced me that in the open a full range driver is most beautiful sounding. In a back loaded horn, like in any kind of enclosed box, some of the sound that bounces around, morphing and mutating, will come back out through the driver--some say that the small compression chamber of most back horns makes for more of this mutated sound coming back through the cone. A straight front horn will not have this problem (but will be colored by the horn chamber). Drivers especially designed for a horn loading are generally well damped and exhibit little movement, thus making for a lovely midrange from a larger driver. Every driver I've tried in the open has even a better midrange when in the open. Having made numerous backhorns, zHorns, for several Fostex drivers and other drivers, has led me to appreciate the bass benefits of a back horn and how it can be manipulated.
  Reply With Quote


Hide this!Advertise here!
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
smith horns and using compression horns for a Karlson party speaker project bikehorn Multi-Way 14 30th January 2013 05:20 PM
horns jzeleznik Multi-Way 2 5th March 2009 07:25 PM
T-Horns layertone Full Range 21 28th October 2005 08:17 PM
SPL of Horns Kofi Annan Multi-Way 12 2nd August 2004 02:20 AM
Horns: Vibrations and resonances in metal horns Rocky Multi-Way 10 28th July 2004 01:38 AM

New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT. The time now is 11:57 PM.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 1999-2017 diyAudio

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2