5 way horn speaker system project - tapped, bass, mids and tweeter passive active

All 5 way roads lead to Rom(e,y)(y).
He would say he hates it, although never heard it of course - use of DSP, tapped horns, layout etc etc.
However, in room, it works for me.

His knowledge about S2's, 3uF cap etc, and general info helped enormously.
Most help I had in the beginning was from a very knowledgeable former work colleague at Ericsson though.
Helped take my first 12 sided conical system, to the Scalford wigwam show over 10 years ago now.

This system is much, much smoother though and suits the smaller domestic setting.

Ah the Swedish flag - I'm actually based in the UK, but spend time in Sweden (Swedish wife, bi-lingual kids, and part of my heart is always there..
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What do think made the biggest improvement in smoothness? It not being conical for one?
Yes, in smaller rooms conicals are too pointy and direct.
Hearing the difference, first to tractrix, then to Le Cléac'h was a landmark.

It's been a steady evolution.
Changing from Volumio/RPi/Kali Reclocker to Bubble UPnP/Sonore Ultrarendu/Gustard reclocker upped the streaming front end game.

The Le Cléac'h upper mid horns definitely a big tick. Oh already mentioned that - worth saying again:)

Refined X/O points and slopes helped too. Simplifying things.
Less can be more!

Refined positioning and use of horn length time alignment being the latest.

These really helped in my room.

All sort of combined and snapped together.

These might not be so important in larger rooms?
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Here's a new system that I worked on some of..

The 2.15m tall horns have made it to their customer's home.
Here the other drivers/horns were fitted and plumbed in.
The mid horn (top yellow one), upper mid (bottom green one) and tweeter (middle red one) are sitting in the cradles I made.

Look like they are ready to take over the world😂

The big downward firing bass horns are 1.7m long (horn path) exponential bass horns.
Will cover ~50Hz to 400Hz, using 12" horn loading friendly Eminence drivers.



It's been a really interesting / fun project.
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What are the collective thoughts on speaker wires for compression drivers.

For the last 12 years I've had the same not very expensive pure'ish copper cables (10 sets of of course).
My current set up, since 2015 allows for much more direct end shorter runs..

Before multiway horns, with more conventional speakers, I tried a variety of different cables.

Recently I found multiple reels of Rex PTFE 20 AWG Silver plated wire from RS Components that I'd forgotten I had.
They were from amp building days. I used it a hook up wire.

Curiosity got the better of me and I tried it on the mid horns (JBL2482s) and upper mid horns (Vitavox S2).

I made the single wires as a twisted pair (they do twist nicely on a drill).

I found improved detail and dynamics.

I added for the Raal tweeters too.

Then I used 3 wire runs for -ve and 3 for +ve twisted, on the mid bass and tapped horns.
Every doubling is wire reduces awg by 3. So I'd made the equivalent of 15awg cables for the bass drivers.
Should be more than enough for the 5ft runs and the efficient horns I have.

I'm liking what I hear.
Either my ears or the cables have settled down with more hours and they are definitely keepers.

I remember reading folk finding silver plated wire as "spitty sounding".

I can't say I've found that at all.
Perhaps it's the short runs I have.

Lush and complex detail could be added to what I wrote above.

Any views?

I was tempted to buy some 12 or 14awg PTFE silver plated wire to try - might not though.
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Are you able to measure a difference? Connections can over time deteriorate. Whether dissimilar metals or the products of our skin when we prepare the ends. Can you refresh the terminations of the old wire and measure a difference between the two?
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Can't get any difference to show on measurements - either was confirmation bias, as was suggested, or the copper cables needed a good clean and reconnect👍

Only had time for some quick sweeps. Didn't look that anything else..

I'll stick with the new PTFE silver as I'm too lazy to change all 10 of them back now🙂.
Plus they are neater shorter runs.
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I'm thinking of trying my system the other way around🙂

Bear with me;-

For most of its life my 5 way system has been fed by a 4 stereo channel DSP, WAF Najda doing preamp, X/O, PEQs, time alignment and DACs.

I have simply run the upper frequency 4th channel pair without X/O on the upper mid channels low pass, and chained the tweeter amp on that feed, and used a 1st or more recently 2nd order X/O, the tweeters take over as the upper mid horns roll off naturally.

I've physically time aligned the upper mids and tweeters. The distance between the two is small, and alignment movement required very small at tweeter frequencies.

Having a liking for trying different things, I thought I'd try the following..

Run Najda's 4 stereo channels, tweeters down to mid bass, leave the X/O open on the high pass mid bass and chain the Tapped horn subs off that feed.

The tapped horns don't require time aligning delay - they are the reference base from which the others are delayed..
X/O for the tapped horns can be handled by DSP in the Crown amp I have.

If I like the result, I'd probably get a Crown XTI amp of suitable power for the Eminence Kappa Pro LFII drivers in the Tapped horns.

The mid bass horns model thus. The high pass cutoff is swift and clean..


Have taken measurement before, without any X/O but either didn't keep, or lost them.
I remember it being clean..
I'll take some more and see..

The Crown amp I have and the XTI series will provide the low pass X/O for the Tapped horns and can do all sorts of slopes and suitable frequencies.

The XTI can also do lots of PEQs, more than enough for the 3 room PEQs I have - to kill a room mode.

While I test the more basic Crown amp without PEQs, I'll just play stuff that doesn't excite 30Hz too much 🙂
Hehe, one issue.
I've realised that any time delay applied to the mid bass would also be applied to the tapped horns - defeating objective of delaying to align with the long tapped horn path.
Didn't think that one through properly:) / got ahead of myself with enthusiasm, until now of course.

I think I'll still try this to see how it sounds.

I do remember my system before it was full time aligned and it is more much cohesive aligned, don't remember how just the Tapped horns not aligned sounded though - this is 100Hz and below. Long wavelengths..
- I can easily remove the alignment of the rest to the tapped horns to assess/refresh that effect before, changing amps round and cabling as well as DSP settings.
I did try using my Crown XLS (normally mid bass amp), on the tapped horns.
Used the X/O feature this amp has for low pass, testing at 100 and 90Hz.

Put the Cerwin Vega amp on the mid bass.

Then reconfigured Najda DSP to feed the mid bass and up (including the tweeters).

Interesting experiment.

The Crown is not quite as good as the Cerwin Vega at controlling the tapped horns (15" Eminence Kappa Pro LFIIs).
Bass lines not quite as clean / defined. Shock and awe bass on some tracks not as dynamic.

The lack of PEQ, that Najda normally does to take care of the 30Hz room mode, was of course evident on tracks that hit that frequency hard :
Lana Del Ray's A&W, Dark but just a game,
Veronica Magio's Solen har gått ned,
Little Moon by Gone gone beyond,
To name a few..

To use this configuration properly I'd need a beefier Crown XTI amp that can do both X/Os and PEQ.

But, there was no discernable improvement in the tweeter being controlled / time aligned directly by Najda.

Interesting experiment, and the top 4 channels were of course time- alignable to the tapped horns, as they are time zero.

I put it all back as was.
Having followed threads here about direct sound (from speakers, drivers / horns in my case) and indirect sound (room effect),
and experimenting with horn toe in and out,
plus the affect of time aligning soundwave production at diaphragm vs soundwave at horn mouth (point at which it emerges to the room).

Also watching the live frequency plots of various music tracks as the bass lines wander their ways up and down the octaves.

This got me thinking...

1. More work is being done by my tapped horns subs than I have perhaps given them credit for..

X/O point is 100Hz 6th order L-R.
All fairly standard for tapped horns.
As shown, they reach below normal hearing, into feeling it range.

2. I understand that the above 60Hz stuff is recognised as the point at which bass becomes directional.
We can tell more precisely where it's coming from - Hence having a pair of tapped horn subs.

3. In my current room, the tapped horns work best firing upwards..
That's the best frequency / distortion / phase way for them to work.
In my previous room they worked best far apart firing inward, facing each other - not particularly intuitive..

4. In current room, some lower mid bass had never sounded as precise as in the previous room!
Nor as impactful on some tracks.

Take the Dire Straits News, track - Communique album.
The drums at the end should be pretty far left, and fairly far right, alternating rather nicely as Pick Withers beats away.

They were not great!
Not as separate or distinct as I remember. More towards the middle really.
I've lived with this for years now😱😂

Looking at the room its easy to see why, really!

The tapped horns fire upwards at the corners, onto a curved ceiling that funnels forwards centrally towards the apex.

Remembering direct and indirect sound listening...

I lashed up a simple reflector board.
This came to mind as I devised and cut it.


That backboard that is motorised to precisely rise up angled, and lock into place, presumably to reduce the likelihood of setting fire to the whole of Tracy Island 😂
Remember the Thunderbird 2 clip..?

Iconic sequence for any budding engineer🙂

Here's my refined test lash up.


I experimented with the angle a bit.
Adding the sides increased the effect!

Now those deep and not so deep sound waves are bounced directly at me rather than the ceiling first!

The effect is quite impressive.

Those pesky drums are out wide, clear as a bell and distinctively placed. Not so pesky now!🙂

More listening to many more tracks is required, as is some measuring and possibly tweaking the time alignment of the other drivers.

I must run the additional length of horn in the Hornresp simulator too.
See i
See if it predicts a different response etc.

So much to consider..
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Given the size of your reflector thing relative to the wavelengths of the frequencies you're talking about, that structure you built is unlikely to be doing anything substantial to influence the directivity of your subs at <100Hz. It's more likely that it's slightly changing the response of the tapped horn and/or changing how it excites the modes in your room slightly by slightly changing the location where pressure waves exit the horn and excite your room. If you measure the response right next to the exit of the tapped horn with and with your reflector and the response in your listening position you could try and tease out what's going on.
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Only had time for a quick in place vs not in place, Freq measurement.

Doesn't tell me much, apart from there are differences🙂

Green plot no reflector in place
Blue with. Left hand channel only.

Mic at the ear listening position.
6/N smoothing.


Would any other measurement using Holmimpulse - phase for instance, give more info?

What I want is to measure the stereo separation at certain frequencies. No idea if that is even possible.
Stereo separation isn't something I've ever heard of as a measurement for loudspeakers. In recording it usually deals with adding delays to the sound coming out of one channel, or delays to L+R vs L-R, things like that. In speakers you are usually trying to make both your L and R speaker identical so they reproduce whatever is in the recording. You can change the directivity of your speakers to change the image width, but that usually is more noticeable at high frequencies ime.

Anyway it looks like your reflector is rolling off the highs out of your sub and changing the response a bit at lower frequencies as well. This would also change the crossover interaction with your mid bass due to both the amplitude and phase response. So at a high level you've just changed the EQ on your system which is going to tend to be the most noticeable thing. If you want to try to see if there was some directivity effect or whatever that is audible, then EQ it to have the same response as it did before and then have a listen.
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Tried messing about with EQ and steeper X/O even, to simulate the difference the reflectors introduced.
Came to nought. Couldn't recreate the effect with them. Listening with them in place works.

Spurred on by this, I decided to try the one configuration of my set up in my room that I've not tried in over 7 years of being here!

What took me so long - well it's a fairly big commitment.

Over the weekend I bit the bullet!

Reconfig of tapped and other horns in progress🥵


Mid horns lifted off
Midbass horns and rack pulled forward.
Far enough to manoeuvre the tapped horns into position along the end wall.


Mid horns plonked on the sideboard tapped horns.
Mid bass etc back in position.

Then made a couple of lash up supports for mid horns.
They are then close and mouth aligned.


Funny the mids look almost as big as the mid bass!
Also camera illusion that they are pointing outwards and are not round!

Then I set it all up and time time aligned the 1st peak positive.
Then adjusted for respective horn lengths..

Then to have a good listen and adjust the SPL levels as necessary.

This config fires the tapped horn output directly down the rooms length.

Half a metric ton of horns etc moved!
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For now I am choosing a simpler path. A 2.5 way with a JA6681B in JMLC Iwata 300 and two pairs of Seas 10 inch Excel Nextel woofers. Those woofers are excellent at nothing special, and play almost as nice as an 8 inch woofer in the lower midrange, and goes as deep as you’d like - in the right cabinet. I have tried them in single driver 80 L ported cabinets, and now what I think is 65L sealed with four drivers. The sealed cabinet should have been a lot bigger, but this tight midbass I am getting fromt his smaller 65L cabinet is nice too. No need for deep bass all the time.
I have tweeter horns ready to be installed, that could play as low as 1400 Hz and up to 20kHz. I would need to attenuate them down. One thing I want to try is double JA6681B in each horn. Or even triple. It would strengthen the lower midrange.
For XO I went as simple as possible. A cap and a coil. I found that my DAC, the Gustard X16, has signal coming from both the RCA and the Balanced outputs, so I am just feeding one of them to the Papa V-Fet lottery amp at a fraction of 10W and then 500W x 2 class D amps for the woofers. I haven’t even had the time to measure them, but they sound just fine. Always ready to play hits for the kids, with moderate bass, just like how I like it.
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Just an fyi that time aligning the first positive peak usually won't give you the correct alignment. Not sure if that's what you're doing since you say you 'adjust for the horn length'. If you look at the impulse responses of a filtered response curve, the peaks of the the impulses of the lower frequency sections arrive later in time. Here's an example plot for a 4 way system with LR4 acoustic slopes where the impulses are normalized in level for easier visualization:

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