Can one find realism in box speakers that cost less than $150K after experiencing dynamics of horns and horn-type speakers?

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
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#1
Once one hears the startling, life-like dynamics of a horn or horn-type system, the more fake box speakers sound. They may sound good, but just not real once you have that experience and know what's possible in terms of dynamics...The box speaker technologies under $150K sound as slow as molasses to me.

What do you guys think?
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
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#2
Once one hears the startling, life-like dynamics of a horn or horn-type system, the more fake box speakers sound. They may sound good, but just not real once you have that experience and know what's possible in terms of dynamics...The box speaker technologies under $150K sound as slow as molasses to me.

What do you guys think?
Hello Caesar. I have owned box speakers for many years and now horns.

It is very true that very often horn speakers excel with their dynamic abilities - it isn’t surprising based on the laws of physics of course since horn loading drastically increases efficiency.

That said, there are other addictive aspects to some horns presentation that you’ll likely get drawn into more if you start ownership: 1. Musical flow that keeps you engaged and not wanting to flit about; 2. Micro levels of resolution that provide huge insight into the recording that is perceived as musically relevant not “detailed”; 3. Speed of transients and start / stop ability; 4. Tone to die for (please note this only applies to some horns - particularly the vintage horns often excel here but so do *some* current production ones; 5. Seemingly impervious to room acoustical issues - I am cautious here because this isn’t always the case but often they allow quite a lot of placement flexibility and still lock a great image.

Yes once you own horns, it must be very hard returning to normal box speakers imho.

Enjoy.
 

asiufy

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Jul 8, 2011
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#3
The box speaker technologies under $150K sound as slow as molasses to me.

What do you guys think?
You're just listening to the wrong box speakers. Both YG (with the right amps) and Wilson can do dynamics incredibly well.
 

Bruce B

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Apr 26, 2010
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#4
As stated above... box speakers can be just as dynamic as horns. Granted, it takes more to produce it. Horns can't move the air and load a room like good box speakers can... so there is a trade off.
 
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Audiophile Bill

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Mar 23, 2015
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#5
As stated above... box speakers can be just as dynamic as horns. Granted, it takes more to produce it. Horns can't move the air and load a room like good box speakers can... so there is a trade of.
Bruce - I am not sure I understand your comment on moving air and room loading?

Let’s say we have a nightclub (or large room) and want to load that room insanely with heavy bass (Trance) tunes, then almost everyone will select some form of bass scoop (horn loaded bass) to achieve the result. Literally no professional will select direct radiators. Obviously if we want to load humongous spaces, then this applies even further. Fuktion One and Danley being examples.
 

Gregadd

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Apr 20, 2010
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#7
Horn speakers have dynamics?
 

Bruce B

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#8
Bruce - I am not sure I understand your comment on moving air and room loading?
.
You can feel when multiple drivers on a box speaker "load" a room when a cartridge starts on the lead in grooves. A horn system will never be able to do this. Their diaphragms are much smaller. Yes, horns can get louder and more dynamic... but they can't move the air and get your pant legs to flapping!! Just ask MikeL
 

cjfrbw

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Apr 20, 2010
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#9
If it flaps my flab, it's dynamic enough.
 

Tango

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Mar 12, 2017
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#10
You can feel when multiple drivers on a box speaker "load" a room when a cartridge starts on the lead in grooves. A horn system will never be able to do this. Their diaphragms are much smaller. Yes, horns can get louder and more dynamic... but they can't move the air and get your pant legs to flapping!! Just ask MikeL
You can physically feel the air from these bass horns. Don't know if the air is strong enough to flip Marilyn's skirt though. Guess a lady should never enter Mike's listening room wearing a short skirt. :D

445C1CB9-A281-4F2E-9C33-7B9C0F4E1B26.jpeg

Tang
 

Robh3606

Active Member
Aug 25, 2010
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#11
"You can feel when multiple drivers on a box speaker "load" a room when a cartridge starts on the lead in grooves. A horn system will never be able to do this. Their diaphragms are much smaller. Yes, horns can get louder and more dynamic... but they can't move the air and get your pant legs to flapping!! Just ask MikeL'

OK but that's subsonic noise in a lead in groove. What horns have you listen too? Have you ever listened to horn loaded 15's or 18's in a PRO install?? Forget about making your pants flap it's full body message! In a domestic situation you don't have the room typically but there are still smaller horn set-ups that will give box systems a run for their money.

Rob :)
 
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Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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#12
As stated above... box speakers can be just as dynamic as horns. Granted, it takes more to produce it. Horns can't move the air and load a room like good box speakers can... so there is a trade of.
I have heard Volti Rival horn speakers at AXPONA 2017, and I was extremely impressed with the dynamics, apart from the unusual lack of coloration. Yet I don't think my current monitors, Reference 3A Reflector, driven by Octave pre/power, are any less dynamic than those. And their combination with dual JL Audio subs can move some serious air too, at least in my midsized room (24 x 12 x 8.5 ft). There is also no doubt for me that the monitor/ sub combo has even more accurate tone. It's win win all around, as far as I'm concerned.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#13
I nominate the Rockport Technologies Lyra and the VSA Ultra 9 and the YG Sonja 2.3 to answer your question.
 
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Folsom

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#14
Bass horns aren't really bass horns unless they're gigantic. All they're doing is forcing a little velocity, most of the time. They might get a bit more SPL in the higher ranges, but nothing too low. It takes just over 3ft of throat to be an actual horn at 80hz, and it gets much longer from there. Really it's about the design of the speaker more than box/fo-horn when it comes to bass. We're talking about different types of drivers, different types of box damping, etc etc. Generally speaker the types of drivers used don't have the excursion to produce huge numbers, however as we all know that ratio flips where horns get much louder than boxes as the frequencies rise.

I won't try to make arguments of dynamics, I don't like systems where things draw too much attention to themselves in an unnatural way.
 
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Bruce B

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#15
Have you ever listened to horn loaded 15's or 18's in a PRO install?? Forget about making your pants flap it's full body message! In a domestic situation you don't have the room typically but there are still smaller horn set-ups that will give box systems a run for their money.
Rob :)
I work a few times a year as FOmonitor mix engineer for a live event, so I'm well aware of 15, 18 or even larger horns at a live event. They do not move the air that a dynamic driver will.


And their combination with dual JL Audio subs can move some serious air too, at least in my midsized room (24 x 12 x 8.5 ft). There is also no doubt for me that the monitor/ sub combo has even more accurate tone. It's win win all around, as far as I'm concerned.
I have dual JL Audio subs as well..... that's the air you are feeling.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#16
You can feel when multiple drivers on a box speaker "load" a room when a cartridge starts on the lead in grooves. A horn system will never be able to do this. Their diaphragms are much smaller. Yes, horns can get louder and more dynamic... but they can't move the air and get your pant legs to flapping!! Just ask MikeL
headroom, absolute power, and driver surface, corrupts absolutely........or something like that. you get hookup from the first watt.

every molecule in the room get's excited. the tension and leverage of the music is palpable.

ease, authority, flow, scale. sense of the reproductive process is diminished. the system disappears. holodeck time.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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#18
Would you kindly name some current production horns that yield the tone you enjoy?
You seem to be the only one on this thread trying to use it to investigate something new
 

Tango

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Mar 12, 2017
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#19
Horns with a tone to die for will sound like crap with a wrong amp. Cannot make a clap with one hand.
Cones also do wonderful tone...for example Zellaton.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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#20
Tonality may be my strongest characteristic for any speaker, with coherence and dynamic facility coming along. And whatever is the form factor, full range orchestral/symphonic is the gauge for me.

We don't have the array of native horn offerings in the US - at least to my knowledge - that is available elsewhere. And with that seems to come less information than is available for the likes of Wilson, YG, etc. Thus, less exposure. So I ask those more knowledgeable.

I can get a nice pair of box speakers here for under $100k. But a pair of horns that tick the boxes, sound natural and have the level of support I get from Wilson - I don't know what that would be. Maybe Oswald Mills? I'd like to know. Caeser's post poses a challenging question.
 

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