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Horns vs. Regular Speakers: Paul McGowan, PS Audio take


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He always speaks slowly saying basically little, wonders off topic, and laughing. I can’t listen to him. He only says good of what he sells. I only watched this video because it was posted here, but struggled to watch it to its end and it’s the same as the rest of his videos that I never finished or started many of.

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About a year ago I bought a small pair of British monitors to play around with. I was impressed by the smooth response, wide soundstage, and even dispersion of sound throughout the room.


However, the speakers are now in storage because ultimately they sounded like speakers and not like music. As a musician, I know what live music sounds like; if I was led blindfolded into a room with music playing, cones-and-domes would never fool me into thinking it was a live performance.  A blindfold and some Khorns; well, it is startling how well they can approximate a live performance (Dave Brubeck, Take Five at live levels, anyone?). I think a lot of the issue with even some of the quite well designed, non-horn speakers is the lack of dynamics that is ever present in a live performance.
 

(I do realize IM distortion is also a factor, but that issue has ties to efficiency and in turn dynamics…)
 

Interestingly, getting the dynamics right when playing a piano score is very important; it has a tremendous impact on how good the piece sounds during a performance. The same goes for speakers.

 

Reproducing music that is not faithful (“fidelity”) to the live performance from which it was recorded is “non-fidelity” and therefore a form of distortion per Mr. Paul Klipsch. 

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I agree with you on all points. But I still enjoy my Stirling Broadcast LS 3/6 and LS 3/5 V2 for other reasons besides my old LaScala and the Underground Jubilees. I find that the richness of tone and naturalness of timbre for acoustic instruments like a classical guitar or string quartet is very good with these British BBC designs. Even a piano sounds very natural and with attack. But it is and remains (only) a psychoacoustic imagination. They are not more than imagined attacks, perhaps because the stop of the tones also works quite well. That's all I demand from these speakers. Never would they match the dynamics and stage size of the real sound event, as horns achieve this much better. But they have a meaning for me. It is just something different.

I would also never think that the very large and very expensive cone and dome designs which use many drivers, such as those from Wilson, KEF, B&W or others (did someone say "Aspen"?🙃) can ever even come close to matching the "natural dynamics and power" of good horns. No, my personal experience is that big loud cone designs always tend to sound too much "electrical" and not natural. Cone designs like this BBC style speakers are no more to me than a good old tube kitchen radio used to be. A cozy fatigue-free nice sound that reminds me of the original only at moderate volume levels.

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Amazed at sound one can get from smallish Linn Kan, small monitors similar to LS 3/5 and I bought some for my Aunt.  But there are some compromises when compared to Heresy which will of course play much louder and deeper. 

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1 hour ago, Racer X said:

Amazed at sound one can get from smallish Linn Kan, small monitors similar to LS 3/5 and I bought some for my Aunt.  But there are some compromises when compared to Heresy which will of course play much louder and deeper. 

Yes, my speakers are the KEF version of the LS3/5a. They are in storage now (notice not sold) as I do plan on using them in the future; they do deliver a solid musical experience. I may use them in my music/piano room. I personally would not (and did not) choose them for my MAIN system. 

 

The point of my previous post was more of a response to the video you posted. I was pointing out that cones and domes, albeit some can be quite good, have their own set of issues. 
 

I do stand by faithfulness-to-the-original-performance being the best metric to measure the fidelity of a loudspeaker (but not the only). 
 

Thank you for posting this thread, RacerX. 

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Especially the little versions like LS 3/5a and their derivates like your KEF really need a smaller room to shine. If these small sealed boxes are then placed on the long side of the room at some distance from the wall, with a little trial and error you can excite the 40 Hz mode that most rooms have. This makes them sound "felt" a whole octave lower. You are doing exactly what you would normally want to avoid with other speakers.

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On 8/17/2022 at 2:27 PM, Racer X said:

OMG, Paul is still at it.  Suggest watching muted, 2X speed, with closed captions, you've been warned.

 

Um, the comments for the video have far more wisdom on this topic than Paul, no surprise.

 

 

Yea, It’s amazing how we all perceive  sound differently ,and how our preferences to sound quality can evolve over time. For example when I was younger, I kinda liked an exaggerated top end, it seemed to add detail to the music, now I prefer a more balanced sound. Another  example would be what happened the other day when I ran into the ex old lady,(just couldn’t shake her) I immediately noticed that her once angelic voice,now projects a shouty , strident ,just plain annoying quality, funny how I didn’t  notice this years ago.🤷I’m sure  others would disagree with my assessment  , and many would even love the sound of her voice😳 ,but I’ve moved on , just not my style anymore 🤓

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On 8/18/2022 at 12:00 AM, soundbound said:

He always speaks slowly saying basically little, wonders off topic, and laughing. I can’t listen to him. He only says good of what he sells. I only watched this video because it was posted here, but struggled to watch it to its end and it’s the same as the rest of his videos that I never finished or started many of.

Paul's videos are mostly about Paul. 

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