hORNS Universum MkIII - hORNS by Auotech

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#1
I am quoting from my own Munich notes here My Munich Notes

"The WE disappointed, this year they had some 11a (he brings in new ones each year from his museum) and these were nothing like the previous ones. So that gave me more time for the rest.

- I then first heard AMG with aesthetix atlas hybrids and verity, and compared it to the aesthetix romulus and the TT was much better.
- Then brinkmann spyder and Wilson Sasha with audio research. Pre was some other company had an A to D built in. AR 150SE as usual sounding great till orchestra starts
- Then went to kaiser kawero with kondo g1000 which is much costlier and supposedly better than m1000. With kondo TT, arm and cart. Took out the Artur Rubinstein. Bummer. Super low resolution on the rubinstein. No dynamics. Scheherazade. Nothing.
- Also went to the Goebbel with the kronos and zyx omega premium. Didn't like the tone, left.
- Then I went to the horns autotec room and that had the best sound till then, on some small tt with ortofon a95. Best tone and realism till now. Natural. Dynamics, detail, and fit into medium sized rooms, perfect for a central London room. Need to listen to them in a proper set up to see how good they sound on bass and what are their limitations. Were running on 12 watts, amps from cube audio, EL84 valves. "

I got to hear them yesterday and would additionally like highlight this quote from an Audiobeat review - "For all those who have long craved a pair of Avantgarde’s superb Trios, it looks like there might well be a more affordable alternative in town -- aesthetically speaking at least. The AutoTech speakers are also considerably more compact, and if the evidence of the show is anything to go by, they seem happy in smaller rooms. Fit, finish and presentation were all first class, making this a brand to watch for all lovers of spherical horns."

And then this review by Morricab in Positive Feedback - where he rated them at 3, after Vox Olympian and Tune Audio Anima

In London these are distributed by the same distro as the Lampi, he had been chasing me to listen to these for the past 2 years. I ignored them earlier as they had not sounded good in Munich in 2015, but was keen to check them out now as they sounded great in 2016.
 
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bonzo75

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#2
Well I heard these yesterday outside London and think these are the speakers I am looking for at my crossover point. Crossover point is where I am willing to give up for great sound, without having to go absolute OCD and spend a lot of money on the room and speakers. These speakers are by no means a substitute for Henk's Apogee Full Ranges/Grands, Trios with bass horns type horns and/or Wilson Alexandria type cones, all of which require a large room and loads of investment. I did not know what my crossover point was, but occasionally you hear something, and decide this is sufficient. Upgrading from here will take forever and too much money and a room I cannot have in the nearby future, unless Brexit causes a big property price drop and helps me grow rich at the same time.

These horns below are the best I have heard for a normal room. They are extremely natural, the music just floats through them, and they enthralled me completely without me having to analyze them while listening. We played them with a 35k Ming Da amp (80 watts), a 2k Ming Da integrated (16w), and an old Lampi GM70 (22w). A low cost integrated can handle these speakers just fine, putting a different perspective on budget. We heard them on a Golden Gate, a modded Linn LP12, and a 1200 quid Ming Da CD player.

The LP12 had a low cost sub 300 quid Audio Technica cart on it. The LP12 itself, I think cost 2 - 3k, and was playing through a DIY phono.

What totally excited me was this was one of the best systems, if not the best that I have heard, short of the extreme systems that I have recently reported on. Christoph's Acoustat system was one such system that surprised me. Seriously, if any of you are in the market for a speaker that falls short of the extreme set ups in super rooms, e.g, if you are in the market for a Wilson Alexia/Q5 type speaker, a Vivid Giya, an Acapella Violincello, AG Duos, Cessaro Chopin/Liszt, Avalon, etc etc, to listen to in a normal sized room, you will most likely not only be compromising, but facing room issues. So my best advice is, please listen to these hORNs first. I definitely preferred it to all these speakers plus JBL K2s. Fly over to one of the EU countries and listen to this horn. http://horns.pl/en/distributors/

Again, you might find shortcomings, if you compare them to the top of the family horns like Trios and Animas, or to extremely large cones in good rooms where the bass doesn't cause issues, but I have never been a fan of horns which are second in rung in a family, e.g. I love the Trios but not the Duos, as I always find a big compromise when a level is dropped. This is more unique to horns than to Cones or Panels. Now, these hORNs are the top of their family. What you should note is, their second rung and below is a totally different design which are the horns fp15 and horns fp10, reviewed here by Joel. http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/autotech/1.html

These fp15 and fp10 I find as better alternatives to the AN-E/Tannoy type of speakers, i.e. boxy sensitive speakers, a type which I am not a fan of, but some people love and place in smaller rooms in the corners. Not my taste.

As I have repeatedly said before, there is no similarity in horn sounds, which is why I don't like classifying "horns" as a category except for horny looks and high sensitivity. To emphasize the point, these big hORNs reminded me of Quads - transparent, neutral, fast, musical, but with more dynamics and bass than quads, and with higher sensitivity and better off axis. The sound can be tailored with the use of cartridge and valve amp, but I think such systems are best airy, neutral, fast. I would prefer the Ortofon a90 types on this as compared to a rolled off cart as the timbre comes across great. My Tara Cobalt, which is a slightly dark cable, did not do well on this system, as you need something airier rather than darker.

The amp choices are huge - viva, aries cerat, jadis, lamm, KR, New Audio Frontier, Mastersound, wavac, kondo - I would just start with the cheapest integrated in the used market and play from there. 211, 845, 300b, 805, pick your choice.

It was interesting how Cecilia Bartoli's voice was floating cleanly through the room to the listening seat even at low volumes. Magic of a SET and a nice horn.

The analog was magnificent for such a low cost set up. One could spin away through the day. I also realized when I left my ears were not strained at all - some of you know I like listening loudly. Modded Linn LP12 from Missing Link/Vinyl Passion, and a small valve phono built by the distributor of Ming Da in the UK
 
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bonzo75

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#3

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bonzo75

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#4
In really narrow rooms they could probably be switched around with the bass horn inside...that would fit it in nicely.

From another thread by Billy Shears http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showt...iversum-3-MKII&p=340293&viewfull=1#post340293
"I cant offer first hand experience but there was a very detailed review in the german stereoplay magazine which i found very interesting: This Design is differnet from other Horn loaded Speakers,
- The Midrange driver is a Berillium dome with pressure chamber and is limited to max 3 octaves (so no broadband here) which minimises coloration according to hORNS.
-The Bass has its own A/B Amp... detachable (so its semiactive quasi bi-amped)
-The speaker is 95.6 Db Sensitive.
Sound? Apparently it had much less coloration and better imaging than most other horn speakers they heard."

I understand in his new design he has tweaked it more, and now is 99db, with better bass, which is the model I heard
 
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bonzo75

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#5
Demo music was the usual - Scheherazade for dynamics and tone, Oistrakh Bruch Scottish fantasia for violin, Winterreise, Bach Cantata for Chorals/Baritone/Soprano vocals, Pictures at an Exhibition, Cecilia Bartoli's Vivaldi album, Rubinstein Beethoven's Emperor, Mahler 2. For large symphony you need to have a good amp for speed and dynamics and bass, which suffered marginally on the 16w integrated.
 

User211

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Jul 28, 2014
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#6
I've heard them a couple of times at shows.

Kedar and I usually agree on a lot of things, but on these? Well, from what I've hard they suck badly in my book. No dynamics or deep bass to speak of. And I can't live with that!:) Trios and basshorns slaughter them. Even Duos do. And Nanos.

Here's a few pics of what I heard Silverstone 2012. I did a show report and didn't even think they were worth a mention.







Conversely, I really like the FP10 and 15 box speakers.

Something odd going on here. Can only conclude that somehow in that room Ked was in with that kit they sounded good!
 

bonzo75

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#7
Hi I found them lacking in bass in Munich in 2015 and not in 2016. You heard them in 2012, maybe the design change added to the bass? Or the show room was losing bass? Trios and bass horns are a different category with their bass horns they do bass better than any speaker other than Henk's big Apogees. Which is why I suggested not looking at these as alternatives to those, where the jump in room and budget requirement is much higher. That said, these have better tone than the Trios. Trios have more bass, a dense soundstage caused by the bass horn, and a superb sudden dynamism that makes you go wow. The bass here is pretty normal but fits in much better and integrates well better than duos. And their tone is way superior
 

User211

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Jul 28, 2014
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#8
Hi-fi can be a deceptive thing sometimes, especially at shows, where you can write stuff off that doesn't deserve to be relatively easily. TBH I didn't rate the Tune Audio Anima much with Modwright power amps, but with top of the line Aries Cerat monos they can be wonderful.

That they sound more integrated than the Duos and Nanos is almost certain. But one thing I don't like about the Anima or these is that the bass fires into the ground, and the mid and treble horns fire at you. That kind of sounds odd with both designs IMHO, leading to a disparity in sound that is different from the Duo and Nano issue, but nonetheless still there.

I have heard them more recently than 2012 trying to find the pics, if I took any, now, to jog my memory.

BTW I heard the huge Ming Da Dynasty Cantabile Grande monos driving Art Audio Alnico 12s and that was a fabulous combination.
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#9
I think you are comparing it to SOTA bass and my point is that the trio with bass horns is the only one that does that. This is much more easily affordable. To go beyond this I need to pay loads more for the trios and a bigger room, likewise Apogee FRs while not much more expensive will need a way bigger room. These horns are fit and forget speakers, and once you spend on the speakers, you can have a low cost integrated and such electronics and you are done. Next step, for that perfect integration and room costs way too much money and effort.
 
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User211

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#10
If you like them, get a pair, especially if they are only going to be an interim speaker. I think they look good in white. They also look better made in the flesh than they do in photos.

Next time I come across them I'll pay them some more attention.
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#12
I think I will. But they are not interim. Short of wanting to spend a 100k more to do a room plus speaker upgrade don't see an alternative, so interim will be very long term. I think only if I come across a very good duetta or diva that gives me the FR pleasure, or a nice DIY horn voice of theatre types that is even cheaper, this is the crossover point for me.
 

User211

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Jul 28, 2014
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#14
What is the UK list price?

My thoughts are that these will be very genre limited speakers. If you like acoustic based and classical music, they'll sound open and easy. If you want bass balls, loud electronica etc noooo waaaayyyyy.

Kedar, you'll never find any Duetta to match Full Range. They are too different to sound similar.

Best get these then...:) How did Zep fare on them? Did you try?
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#15
Hi don't know the list price. Will find out.

Didn't have my zep CD but i don't expect them to make or break a system. They are pretty non audiophile so I don't care what system I listen to them on. My component audition is these days purely on operatic vocals, violin/brass tone, piano and full symphony. I don't want to build a system for anything else. Btw, Nirvana sounded really good on Bill's L.P. and focal Maestro utopia. That nirvana vinyl is really good
 

User211

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Jul 28, 2014
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#16
If you mean Nevermind - that sounds AMAZING on vinyl. Just doesn't seem to work on digital. Sounds way too sterile.
 
Jul 27, 2015
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#17
Hi Bonzo
Thanks for the report. Very Interesting!
Can you confirm that they manage to throw a localized image and soundstage instead of blurring everything?
Best Wishes
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#18
Hi Bonzo
Thanks for the report. Very Interesting!
Can you confirm that they manage to throw a localized image and soundstage instead of blurring everything?
Best Wishes
Hi this is a difficult question to answer. Nothing was blurred and everything was clear, but I don't know if not being blurred implies a localized image. Guess I am not familiar with using the phrase localized image to describe what I hear.

Also, being transparent, whether you use a turntable like Linn Lp12 (that is not locked in) or digital, or direct drive, will change the imaging.
 

FrantzM

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Apr 20, 2010
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#19
Hi

Just curious about the bass. This looks very small for a true horn loaded bass. Looks to me like an enclosure in the shape of an animal horn. It could be ported or sealed, I can't tell from the specs. The system requires bi-amping BTW. It could well be 100 dB for the "mains" I am not sure the bass enclosure could provide the 100 dB specs...

Not clear if it requires an active crossover for the bass too... In my experience similar horns configuration require a good distance, 15 ft at least, for the (rather widely separated) individual drivers to blend for a cohesive image. That would make this a room with at least one 20 ft dimension, not "small" IME.
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#20
Hi I heard these biamped in Munich with 12w amps, 4.2m wide room, and maybe 4m to the listener with 1m behind. I heard them single amped in UK, and thought the room was wide - 7m, they were placed more with 4m between. I sat both inside the triangle and at the apex, I think they can do very well in a 4m * 5m room, with ability to put the bass horns inside in an even narrower room. For trios, I would look at minimum 4.5 room with 6m. length, and then the more you get the better they will sound.
Apogee FRs I would look at minimum 7m length, preferably more, which in London starts bordering on Luxury. The good thing about horns is they can go in the corners, so you get a lot for your room. To your active bass point, I don't like that on other horns either, for example on Duos, they cause a problem in continuity from top to bottom, which is exactly what this designer seems to have addressed. Not that he is getting trio Bass horn like bass, but his bass is not standing out, making the listening rather easy.
 

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