Horn build recommendations?

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Hi. Moving into place where we can finally place some horns. We want to build something big, beautiful and dramatic with an emphasis on dynamics, depth of soundstage, effortlessness and have the room for some bass horns or baffles.
Not to say it is a large room (14' x 20'), but WAF is not an issue as both our tastes go for stuff like Western Electric 15a's. Room has plaster walls, pine flooring and 9' ceilings.
System runs on 2a3's, maybe converted to type 45's and have an updated Dynaco ST70 for bi-amping. Plays mostly vinyl and gets a lot of hours of an eclectic mix of music, so listener fatique need not apply. System will see: soul, string quartets, piano sonatas, some orchestral, hard rock, metal, old country, techno and some jazz. Very little acoustical, folk or bluegrass etc.
If anyone has any recommendations no matter how wild, please write them down, this might be fun.


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Wideband drive units and hard rock / metal / techno doth not a happy combination make. They can do it (well, some of them) but they're not optimal. If ultimate dynamic range is your thing, then you need a high efficiency multiway system. However, good examples can do the other genres you mention very nicely, and of course if you like the appearance of horns, then there are plenty of options open there. Everything's a compromise to some extent, so you'll need to decide what to prioritise.

FWIW, with 2A3 amplifiers you will obviously need all the efficiency you can get, but you still haven't mentioned buget other than to say you can't afford $2,000 Lowthers -no great loss since irrespective of their other merits (or otherwise) I can't think of worse drivers for hard rock etc. Quite a few ideas come to mind, but it does depend on how much you have to spend and what you decide you want to focus on as to what can be realistically suggested.
Thank you for the pics and suggestions!
In terms of priorities, effortlessness and dynamics without losing tone and inner-detail would be paramount.
Budget constraints demand that creativity and DIY take presidence.
Some things that have interested me so far:
Medallion II's w/ AN Super 8's
Tractrix paper mache horns w/ compression drivers and WE type bass baffles
Bruce Edgar type wooden tractrix horns and bass enclosures
Part of the fun will be designing and building this system. Been looking forward to it for a long time.
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Hi batsong,

I put together a comic "audio illusions" tale(bottom) for people who are not married to one faith like you.

"System runs on 2a3's ... "
"...have an updated Dynaco ST70 for bi-amping"

I would ... DEFINITELY bi-amp! (and start a new thread in multiway forum)

I would ... start with a sketch of my listening room with a few furniture placement options. Can you use the corners for gain and controlled directivity? Up against the wall for bass gain? Do you want audio magic for one, for your family? Where is your HT LCD display?

I would ... download Diffraction & Boundary Simulator 1.2 AND Room Response Calculator v0.6d by Yavuz Aksan and run some simple room effect simulations.

"System runs on 2a3's, mainly vinyl ... " == your audio religion == my ears are the microphones == remove power hungry room ambience effects == BIG HORN ... maybe unity horn if you are really smart ... maybe coaxial compression driver like BMS 4590 4592 if you want the Big Easy ... maybe one BIG LeCheach horn if you are socially COOL == accept that the 2a3's do not have enough power to create useful room ambience from 2-Pi room radiation.

"...have an updated Dynaco ST70 for bi-amping vinyl and I am cheap" == two low cost BIG woofers wired in parallel in a BIG ported box. Horn woofers are really, really, really BIG, and have very irregular SPL/freq response.

See you in the multiway forum ... LineSource

===========Comic Relief=========
"Do you feel lucky Punk?"

Everytime I purchase a new CD I remember this line from the Dirty Harry movie.
Stereo recordings are only a BIG FAKE ILLUSION.
The sonic quality and stereophonic presentation of each recording is a gamble.

When you bring questionable recordings and fake audio illusions into your home, your selection of speakers and room conditioning offer several very different options for the presentation.

1) Do you want to hear what the microphones hear? Horn speakers, especially converged entry unity horns and corner speakers, are good for this presentation. Many classical recordings use just two orthogonal mikes which match well with controlled polar pattern horns.

2) Do you want to add some auditorium ambience? Box monopole speakers with flat frequency response and controlled directivity can do this. Most of the 80-1100Hz vocal range can be covered by one speaker propagating into 180 degree 2-pi space. ENERGY into the room which generates new reflected "you are there" ambience illusions.

3) Do you want the illusion of the musicians playing in your room? Dipole and caridiod speakers can do this. Adding diffusion panels on the front wall behind the speaker improves the "they are here" illusion.

4) Do you want to play conductor? Nearfield listening of large linesource dipole planars like BG75, Magnepan and Apogee blend the microphone directness with stage ambience, similar to what a conductor hears.

a) TRUE THAT ... most POP recordings are MIX'ed in close mic'ed small recording studios, and heavily compressed to generate hormones with IPOD earphones. JohnK/Linkwitz 4-way dipoles are getting love because they add some realism to compressed POP.

b) TRUE THAT ... UP AGAINST THE WALL. ... there are 7 Billion people that dream of a Flat Screen TV on the wall and a pair of tall, narrow, stereo speakers. Tweeter waveguides are getting love for controlled directivity.

Research at Harvard has proven that you can increase both the quality of your life, and your Lifespan if you just PHYSICALLY SMILE 5 times per day.

My wife and daughter play piano where the low A is 27.5 Hz. Teach your children well ... about real music.


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Yup, sounds maybe like Wayne's stuff, or Econowave (Deluxe HO or SR variants maybe -- Flex Your PCD Mettle:), or 18-sound kits, or maybe diysoundgroup (fusion-tempest maybe) kits. No-affiliation with any of them, btw. Depends on sensitivity vs. cost. Many (most?) of those things, as-constituted, will need help in the bass. If, OTOH, you can tolerate ~half-refrigerator-sized boxes, you can get a bit more bass w/o the help. I would guess that if you're going to 45's, 98 would be as low as you'd want to go--probably 100-ish is where you want to be (??). That narrows things quickly. Cornscalas are still in that area, I'm guessing. Could diy some Jubilees if the money works (but those horns are quite dear). If you have corners for a basshorn, that might simplify your choices, too.

Research at Harvard has proven that you can increase both the quality of your life, and your Lifespan if you just PHYSICALLY SMILE 5 times per day.

It's like you know me, LineSource...

Lot of great ideas here. I do need 98+db efficiency, but can biamp for the bass.
The Unities are really interesting, but also complex. Though it seems that a compression driver and big woofer combo might be the way to go. My system has been bass shy for years, and am hoping that this build will rectify that, even if it means large speakers.
Honestly, I am hoping for something with a little visual impact as well. This system is all about fun and relaxation.
Thanks again, everyone.
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Jubilees and Altec A7 and the like are really cool, but my room may be too small to take advantage of such designs. Maybe a mini version?
Those Synergy horns with the array in the single horn looks perfect! I like the idea of mounting the bass driver concentrically with the mids and compression driver. I wonder how large of a bass driver I could fit?
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