What are the Top Horn Speakers in the World Today? Vox Olympian vs Avantgarde Trio vs ???

morricab

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He has heard the AER only at Munich where they sounded awful.
Heard lots of Whizzer based fullrange drivers…don’t like the whizzers…
 

morricab

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Thank you Bill
Are you fond of the Vox Olympian personally ?
David
Bill is right, I hear something with the whizzers I don’t like and can’t unhear it. I haven’t had the opportunity to hear Contendo Ref 2 yet.
 

the sound of Tao

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Bill is right, I hear something with the whizzers I don’t like and can’t unhear it. I haven’t had the opportunity to hear Contendo Ref 2 yet.
Can you describe the quality in drivers with whizzers that you don’t like Brad. It’d be great to get some type characterisation on that. PS I do get the whole expectation challenge with perceiving a quality that you can’t connect with… think we all do that with different types of gear, that’s probably one of the keys to why we get such disconnect at times with other people’s preferences.
 

Audiophile Bill

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Thank you Bill
Are you fond of the Vox Olympian personally ?
David

Hi David,

I have huge admiration for the Vox Olympian in terms of the fit and finish together with the passion put into creating them. I have heard them only once before at Munich where they were playing with a full Kondo rig. Music was mainly very carefully selected stuff - some audiophile jazz and some Mozart small scale. The sound I heard there was warm, full and engaging. It was slightly too saccharin for me but I am fairly certain that is the partnering gear not the speakers themselves. I say that because Bonzo had heard them that same year but also another year with a VDH cart where they sounded much better.

In terms of the speaker execution and design. I love the Al151 and s2 drivers from Vitavox. The veneering of the beech multiplex and high gloss lacquer are executed at first rate.
 

bonzo75

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Thank you Bill
Are you fond of the Vox Olympian personally ?
David

Why are you focused on them? Is it the price, Roy Gregory's review, or is it something about the design?
 

morricab

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Hi David,

I have huge admiration for the Vox Olympian in terms of the fit and finish together with the passion put into creating them. I have heard them only once before at Munich where they were playing with a full Kondo rig. Music was mainly very carefully selected stuff - some audiophile jazz and some Mozart small scale. The sound I heard there was warm, full and engaging. It was slightly too saccharin for me but I am fairly certain that is the partnering gear not the speakers themselves. I say that because Bonzo had heard them that same year but also another year with a VDH cart where they sounded much better.

In terms of the speaker execution and design. I love the Al151 and s2 drivers from Vitavox. The veneering of the beech multiplex and high gloss lacquer are executed at first rate.
They played a lot of opera when I was in the room
 

Audiophile Bill

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They played a lot of opera when I was in the room

Same Brad but carefully selected snippets of low intensity female arias. I didn’t hear full orchestra once myself. Not to say they didn’t play…
 

morricab

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Same Brad but carefully selected snippets of low intensity female arias. I didn’t hear full orchestra once myself. Not to say they didn’t play…
I only heard jazz when I requested it…Nik Baertsch, which goes from very minimalistic to explosive jam…often more than once in a modul (song). Sounded close to live (I have heard him live in Zurich many times). I don’t agree with the saccharine characterization…instrument timbre and resolution of tone and dynamics was SOTA.
 
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Audiophile Bill

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I only heard jazz when I requested it…Nik Baertsch, which goes from very minimalistic to explosive jam…often more than once in a modul (song). Sounded close to live (I have heard him live in Zurich many times). I don’t agree with the saccharine characterization…instrument timbre and resolution of tone and dynamics was SOTA.

The strings I heard had a buttery / silky sheen, which sounds delicious just not authentic imho ymmv. Characteristic of the Kondo signature to me.
 
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bonzo75

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The strings I heard had a buttery / silky sheen, which sounds delicious just not authentic imho ymmv. Characteristic of the Kondo signature to me.

I agree with this. It is like a higher resolution tannoy, with subs. The electronics might be causing that too.

That is why the vdh helped, it brought life through sharper transients.
 

bonzo75

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Audiophile Bill

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It can be difficult to find systems playing full orchestral in demos or videos.

Yes very true indeed! Not surprising though since it is difficult to make it work vs simpler genres.
 

bonzo75

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Yes there are some, but typically the exception - more likely to hear to hear jazz, lighter stuff, ectoplasm like the one above. At shows some rooms have no classical much less orchestral.

Tune Audio, hORNs allow you to play whatever you want and Western Electrics play Shostakovich 5 and Led Zep. LV is therefore more successful.
 

PhoenixRising

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Why are you focused on them? Is it the price, Roy Gregory's review, or is it something about the design?
I haven't heard them, so probably Gregory's review sonically; the looks are a bit fancy for me & the price certainly takes your breath away, haha
 

Jägerst.

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I haven't even heard the supposed top horn systems in the world today; be that the Vox Olympian's, a range of WE's, RCA, Cessaro, OMA, Jeffrey Jackson horns, etc. Will have to visit the Munich show next year perhaps, which is said to comprise a vast representation of horn speaker systems.

With what I have heard I do feel horn size matters. That is, the size of horn subs as typically 1/4 wave iterations is pretty much set and can't be miniaturized in relation to their tune (though the mouth area can, with potential consequences), but up through the frequency range horn size can be compromised while still covering its intended span, at the cost though of directivity control and other side effects like problems with air velocity in the upper bass/lower mids area. Let size have its say with horns in particular to have matching directivity pattern at the cross-over(s) and avoid sonic anomalies.

Moreover I believe the best sounding, horn-based (hybrids or all-horns) setups are actively configured via a quality DSP solution. This offers a wide array of settings options into delay, filter steepness, notches, overall PEQ, etc. that passive filters simply cannot equal, not to mention the sonic effect (i.e.: sense of "bottleneck") a passive filter creates just by being in the signal path on the output side of the amp(s) prior to the drivers, with all that entails in terms of lack of driver control and the need for more powerful amps.

Lastly I'm confounded by seeing the general presence of direct radiating subs being mixed with horn-loaded main speakers. Horn-loading subs matters, and they need not be utterly ginormous so long no lower than a 20-25Hz tune is required. My own setup is not horn-loaded between ~85 to ~600Hz - a range some may consider to be the most vital with horn-loading - but it will be realized eventually down the road. However the vertically mounted dual 15" woofers match the directivity pattern of the large MF/HF horn above them at the cross-over, and the subs are 20cf. per cab tapped horns.

I believe in physics, proper design and implementation. Looks, luxurious woods and painted finishes, lovely they may present themselves (if sometimes acoustically advantageous with hardwoods or other resins), is of secondary importance and mostly just to impress big wallet owners. For sure one can do a hell of a lot cheaper if aesthetics aren't important and an industrious DIY-approach is applied. That's something to cherish for those of us who don't have prodigious monetary means at out disposal..

/Mikael
 
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