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jason str

Why horns.

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Horn loaded subwoofers have advantages and disadvantages.

 

The biggest disadvantage is size & possible placement options.

 

The biggest advantage is sound quality.

 

Direct radiators are easy to build, just about anybody could build one but they do eat up lots of power in comparison.

 

Why spend my time building horns you ask ?

 

I build just about anything but feel horns have a major advantage so i like to recommend them.

 

Why ?

 

Lower distortion, cleaner midbass, higher crossover points, minute nuances, true sound, better attack without bloat.

 

This equates to better all around sound and easier blending with your mains, big or small.

 

Do i make more money building horns ?

 

No, i can usually whip up a DR cabinet in one day where correctly building a horn takes time because leaks severely impact performance.

 

If you place them side by side the differences are enormous.

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Man I hope this thread takes off. I've seen the discussions in other threads and it has got me super intrigued.......I'll just say that. 

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Horn loaded subwoofers have advantages and disadvantages.
true

 

Direct radiators are easy to build
true for someone like you who builds stuff all the time. for the average joe building a nice, braced, sealed box is not all that easy.

 

Do i make more money building horns ?
thought you said in another thread that you do this for a living?

 

If you place them side by side the differences are enormous.
 this seems like an opinion to me. i have heard some very nice horns and in the same room heard a high quality sealed sub, and to me, they all sound like really good subwoofers. that's it. 

 

horns are very efficient. that seems like the only real advantage to them to me. but a QUALITY subwoofer sealed, ported, or horn loaded can all sound absolutely fantastic if the time is take to properly integrate and place them in the room. 

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Scrappy, i agree with you for the most part.

 

I have heard fantastic sound at sound venues, concerts, home theater systems and plain old stereo but by a wide margin i prefer horns all around and it is my preference by choice.

 

The first THT i built was ran with my La Scala's and something clicked and it was stuff i was missing like a bass guitar string being struck, not only did i hear the string with clarity it felt like it was right in front of me not the cones interpretation of what it should sound like but a transparency unlike anything else.

 

This had me hook, line & sinker.

 

Maybe growing up with tons of horn loaded systems was the cause i don't know, most of them were Altec's including my fathers system but the weak point was always the woofer.

 

Even the first time i heard the K-horn it was special though placement could have been better.

 

Preference is a good thing, without it life would probably be boring.

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Scrappy, i agree with you for the most part.

I have heard fantastic sound at sound venues, concerts, home theater systems and plain old stereo but by a wide margin i prefer horns all around and it is my preference by choice.

The first THT i built was ran with my La Scala's and something clicked and it was stuff i was missing like a bass guitar string being struck, not only did i hear the string with clarity it felt like it was right in front of me not the cones interpretation of what it should sound like but a transparency unlike anything else.

This had me hook, line & sinker.

Maybe growing up with tons of horn loaded systems was the cause i don't know, most of them were Altec's including my fathers system but the weak point was always the woofer.

Even the first time i heard the K-horn it was special though placement could have been better.

Preference is a good thing, without it life would probably be boring.

fantastic reply!
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My main argument stems from just what a single horn sub can accomplish, and the reliance upon just one or two assemblages of incomplete data for justification otherwise.

 

The treatment of the topic, like this is some how ground breaking discussion, is just absurd....along with the insinuation that a few of us don't know what we're talking about, and are "missing the point".

 

The data is already there. The Klipsch library, papers by JBL, Toole, Geddes, Leach, Allen, books by Yamaha....yet people instead insist on cherry picking (what are essentially) editorials by industry armchair quarter backs.

 

Maximum acoustic power across the bandwidth, IMD, impulse response, phase response measured for compare....it's all been hashed out already. Flat out ignoring all that research under the recent context is going to cultivate some pushback.

 

Try a few days out in the 2-channel and Tech/Mod sections for example. There's more horn users than we can shake a stick at there. Only in this section as of late, and for whatever reason, is the use of the direct radiator being held sacred.

 

The Tuba HT (THT for short...not to be confused with a Tapped Horn) is a great sub, over ten years in the making. I was very close to taking home a Danley DTS-20 or two back in '05, until I saw the charts for the Tuba HT. Haven't looked back since.

 

I experienced the TRW-17 subwoofers for the first time in '07 and again in '10....and represent only a smattering of the large coin systems I've been privy to over the years.  Between large horns and those fans, I find it rather diffucult to get excited about hoarding (and subsequently powering) a pile of large dynamic drivers.

Edited by Quiet_Hollow
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There is no direct radiator subwoofer composed of a single driver cabinet that can beat one good horn loaded sub cabinet with the same size driver. Multiple DR cabinets can approach the performance of horns at the expense of more amplification. Still won't equal the horn in impulse response or modulation distortion (or lack thereof).

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not only did i hear the string with clarity it felt like it was right in front of me not the cones interpretation of what it should sound like but a transparency unlike anything else.

 

That's a very good description.  I've never been able to put that idea into words like you just did.

 

I like having a choice, though.  I like brass, but there are times I don't like to have a real trumpet screaming in my ear.  It's nice to have a system capable to reproduce that sound in the times I want a live sound.

 

I realize we are talking about horn loaded subs, but to my thinking the concept is similar.

+++

 

Question for you horn sub guys:  I don't think bass reproduction today is the same as it was even ten years ago.  We have had electronic music for quite some time, but dub step and its ilk have changed the way bass is transmitted or reproduced, and even movies with the LFE channel.  it seems multiple large subs are required.

 

Is a horn sub a good match for the new electronic stuff, both music and movies?

Edited by wvu80
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Is a horn sub a good match for the new electronic stuff, both music and movies?

Sure, but most HT crowd just want the walls to shake and do not care that much for the quality of the bass and certainly the little woman wants the sub to disappear from sight. Certainly there a few audiophiles that want better but they are in the minority. Two channel listening audiophiles tend to want better not quantity.
i wouldn't say most. I'd say 50/50. With a lot of the nicer offerings from the ID companies people are getting quality bass for a 700+ product. Trust me when I say ALL the guys I know that have stacks of 18's prefer quality bass. Just cause we have a lot doesn't mean we want quantity. We like headroom. Plain and simple. Just a different approach to less distortion as having a horn is to you. And also my 18's take up much less room than a horn.
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And also my 18's take up much less room than a horn.

 

Go with an IB and you'll take up even less floor space.

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This has probably been covered enough elsewhere but just from the opposite viewpoint, with home theater in mind, consider the graph below. This is a graph from Bill Fitzmaurice himself, most likely in-room response and loaded in a corner since that seems to be how all his measurements are done but I can't tell for sure.  The squiggly line is a tuba HT with a 15" sub in it.  The solid line is that same sub loaded up in a sealed box but without the horn.  This was his answer to "what is the maximum response".  First, notice the ski slope response below 26 hz.  Secondly, notice the area around 15 hz which is a perfectly legit concern for movies nowadays.  Yeah you still get a maybe 4 db boost from the horn but you're also nearly 30 db down from its peak at that point.  

 

30 decibels.  This isn't something that can be fixed with a DSP, its just gone.  

 

 

IB.jpg

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Infrasonics are a big part of movies today.  You don't get that with horns and you're right it's a big consideration for HT.  It's a non issue for music.  With a horn, you either need to filter the stuff out below the tuning frequency of the horn (and lose part of the .1 soundtrack) or the horn will actually amplify the distortion the horn creates trying to reproduce sounds below the fs of the box.

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The first THT i built was ran with my La Scala's and something clicked and it was stuff i was missing like a bass guitar string being struck, not only did i hear the string with clarity it felt like it was right in front of me not the cones interpretation of what it should sound like but a transparency unlike anything else.

 

This had me hook, line & sinker.

 

That's great and I can appreciate that as much as anybody, I played bass guitar for 20+ years, I've played on Fender amps, Gallien Kruegers, Ampegs, simulators, played in bands where another guy had a Mesa Boogie, etc.  I know what they're supposed to sound like live.  Muddy bass guitar is very annoying.  It's nice to hear the amp's growl.  If somebody plays on a classic Ampeg tube setup, you should be able to recognize the brand name.  I got rid of a couple of 15's for this very reason, just sloppy in this regard.  

 

That being said, much of this issue is due to blending with your mains.  Bass guitars can play all the way up to 10 kHz.  2-4 kHz is very strong.  It's got everything in between as well.  Yes, the snap of a kick drum comes from your tweeters and lots of bass guitar comes from your midrange.  Blending with your mains is the key to getting the result that you did.  

 

Interesting read on this:

 

http://www.soundstage.com/maxdb/maxdb061999.htm

 

"What about bass detail? How come one speaker has so much more bass detail than another? This too is strictly driver integration and NOT the quality of the woofer itself, as you may have heard. The fact is, bass detail comes from the midrange driver. But your ear/brain is so completely fooled by this complex interaction of midrange and bass sound that you believethat it is strictly a bass-related thing. It isn’t, and you can prove it by listening to something very boring but also very instructive. Listen to a subwoofer all by itself for a while. You won’t hear anything vaguely resembling speed coming from that slow, soggy-sounding, plodding subwoofer. It has no detail and no speed whatsoever when heard all by itself. Integrate it carefully with a nice set of main speakers, however, and suddenly the subwoofer has scads of detail, and if the integration is off a little, the bass will sound fast or slow too. All of that sense of speed and detail is coming from the main speakers, but from the midrange, not the woofer. That is why the integration of the woofer and the midrange drivers is so critical to getting a good-sounding speaker."

Edited by MetropolisLakeOutfitters
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This topic seems to always go in the direction of which is better, horn sub vs direct radiators.  It is not that simple.  Both have their pro's and cons'.  For example a folded horn sub has a much larger footprint than most DR with a similar sizes driver.  The advantage of a folded horn dimish greatly compared to a DR sub  as large as the folded horn, for example my dual 18 subs.  Horn subs in the 80's and early 90's provided more output compared to DR subs.  That has change with many DR drivers having more Xmax.  At the same time power amps with more watts became available and cheaper.  This resulted in an increase use of DR subs.  The DR subs tookup less space and had higher consumer appeal because of the smaller size.

 

A feature of horn subs liked by many is compression of the sound wave as it travel down the path to the narrow throat.  This is most noticeable concerning drums.  This is not the cone altering the sound wave but, related to the design, which is still coloration no matter how much you like the sound.  In the same vain, DR subs relie on electronic compression to accomplish the same thing.  Not a problem if that is what people like.

 

Also, there are horn subs that can get low like DR subs, although they tend to be very large.  Danley comes to mind in this category.  As far as distortion, the gap has close tremendously.  For example the UM 18 distortion figures from database.com are 2% or less from 30 Hz and up.  These number are great for recorded music.  Most mixer take out content lower than 30 Hz.  Removing the lower content also allows the stylus to stay on the record.  As far as IM distortion, that does not become audible until extreme levels are reached.  This is important at a concert venue but, does not hold the same significance in the HT setting.  A key point is what is audible to most people and can pass a blinded listening test?

 

As far as impluse response and phase, I read a paper that used a train analogy.  You are standing on the street, where did the train start?  Depend on which street you are on depends on what you see as the start of the train..  This is important when it comes to system setup and integration of a horn or DR sub.  The key is to link the sub to the mains, for example 100 Hz.  Measure the mains and subs and set the appropiate delay.  DSP does this quickly and efficiently in most case.  The increasing role of DSP has made many of the arguments of the past no longer valid concerning the difference between the two sub systems such as fast vs slow and tight bass..

 

Horn subs have a more forward sound due to the design.  This forward projection is good in large spaces but, in the HT or 2 ch system, this may not be the best in every situation.  Horns get louder the further away from the MLP.  For example, a horn sub is not as loud at 8-9 ft compared to 20 ft.  Maybe what we should be talking about is applicatio of the bass system and not generalizing everything.  Enough rambling for now. :)

Edited by derrickdj1
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Horn subs in the 80's and early 90's provided more output compared to DR subs. Than has change with many DR drivers having more Xmax.

Even in 1995, a Rockford Punch 15 was about the baddest mamma jamma out there, yet you can tell how crappy they are comparatively just by looking at the surround. Google Mark Fukuda. Dude took 16 of the things and loaded them into a Blazer, it was like a money-is-no-object build. Won the world record in SPL competitions. Had to have amps that were rated at 8,000 watts on the first build, swapped them out later for 32 500 watt amps, basically rated at 16,000 watts, but that was at 12 volts, he bumped his electrical up to 18.7V and had 600 amp alternators. His power wire was the size of a coke can. He held the world record in SPL... a measly 156.5, and I'm pretty sure that was back when you could put the microphone anywhere, like in the far corners of your dash. Guys are doing that with laughable rigs comparatively now. There's several cars are going over 150 db just from two 18's, a cheap amp, and a stock electrical system. World record numbers are nearly 30 db higher than Mark's, and that's at the listening position. Subwoofer technology is just ridiculous nowadays.

 

At the same time power amps with more watts became available and cheaper.

Yes class D amps have changed a lot as well. The idea that for $350 you can get 4,400 watts rms that won't trip a 20 amp circuit breaker is just insane compared to the reality of back in the day. Power is cheap.

Edited by MetropolisLakeOutfitters

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Horns get louder the further away from the MLP. For example, a horn sub is not as loud at 8-9 ft compared to 20 ft.

 

Wanna bet? Horn loaded sound is subject to the same inverse square rule as all sound sources - doubling distance will result in 6 dB less sound pressure. Any deviation is the result of standing waves and/or boundary effects (cancellation and reinforcement). 

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Horns get louder the further away from the MLP. For example, a horn sub is not as loud at 8-9 ft compared to 20 ft.

 

Wanna bet? Horn loaded sound is subject to the same inverse square rule as all sound sources - doubling distance will result in 6 dB less sound pressure. Any deviation is the result of standing waves and/or boundary effects (cancellation and reinforcement).

The interesting thing about sub-bass frequencies is that the wavelength is so long that right next to the transducer is rarely the loudest place you can measure at, especially if cabin gain is a factor. But yes if we're talking about an open-air measuring space and are already 9 feet away, I'd have a hard time believing that moving to 20' away would be louder. Too many variables to generalize here I imagine.

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^^ This may be completely wrong, it's been like two decades since I was familiar with it, but it's my understanding that you have to be at least a 1/4 wavelength away from a sub before you can hear it properly. If that's the case, let's play a 20 hz tone... the wavelength is 56.5' long. Divided by 4, that's 14.1'. If you're 8' away from a sub when the quarter wavelength is 14', you're not going to hear the full effect. If the sound was concentrated through a horn and not blasted out like a shotgun, what Derrick said may be true even in an open-air environment.

Again, that may be completely wrong.

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Horns get louder the further away from the MLP. For example, a horn sub is not as loud at 8-9 ft compared to 20 ft.

 

Wanna bet? Horn loaded sound is subject to the same inverse square rule as all sound sources - doubling distance will result in 6 dB less sound pressure. Any deviation is the result of standing waves and/or boundary effects (cancellation and reinforcement). 

 

 

You are right Don.  I should of have said compared to standing a foot away.  This is because the sound has to reconstitute and expand after leaving the throat.

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Wow, more replies than i expected.

 

I will catch up later, headed out to another nickel/dime poker game today.

 

Have a nice day. :)

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