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Why aren't corner speakers more popular?

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Posted on June 16, 2011 at 09:36:24
Craiger56
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Location: San Jose CA
Joined: April 3, 2002
Contributor
  Since:
December 29, 2003
Seems like a taller, narrower K-horn would make use of wasted space in many rooms, and eliminate the need for 'behind speaker' room treatment.

I would like to make use of the huge volume of space wasted in the corners, why don't I see more corner speakers?

Thanks, Craig

 

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Lack of good corners could be one reason, posted on June 16, 2011 at 09:54:28
Paully
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Posts: 5748
Location: West Virginia
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I will let others chime in on sound differences they find unacceptable, but I don't actually have a set of useable corners in any area where I can put in an audio system. And since I don't, and I certainly wouldn't bother with the faux corners that some construct for one or both KHorns when faced with that problem, I never seriously considered corner horns even though the Klipsch were plenty good when I heard them.

 

I didn't have corners either; So, I remodeled...........nt, posted on June 16, 2011 at 14:22:11
Cut-Throat
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Posts: 10394
Location: Minneapolis - St.Paul Area
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nt


Cut-Throat




 

RE: Why aren't corner speakers more popular?, posted on June 16, 2011 at 18:32:35
bcguitar
Audiophile

Posts: 1010
Location: Maryland
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I would have remodled for these if I had to..

 

RE: Why aren't corner speakers more popular?, posted on June 17, 2011 at 04:25:36
c3conv2
Audiophile

Posts: 277
Joined: March 31, 2008
nice looking speakers. open baffle? any site about them?

 

Definitely...or just not corners where you want them..., posted on June 17, 2011 at 09:16:32
caffeinator
Audiophile

Posts: 1361
Location: Pacific Northwest
Joined: August 22, 2003
I've been packing around some corner speakers for a couple of moves now, and seems that even in rooms with four 90 degree corners, the unadulterated corners (without windows, doors, etc.) seem to often be in the wrong places vis a vis where one would want the speakers oriented to the listening area...

In my current place, I was elated to see a perfect corner in the kitchen for my Fisher TA-500 and matching corner speaker...but alas, no power outlet close enough...

 

RE: Why aren't corner speakers more popular?, posted on June 20, 2011 at 11:47:45
Cask05
Audiophile

Posts: 39
Location: N. Central Texas
Joined: November 11, 2007
I'm a little confused about your goal to have a taller speaker than a Khorn. I'm also curious why you need a narrower speaker than a Khorn.

However, note that Klipsch produced the Shorthorn (2 models) and Rebel (2+ models) in the 1950s, but discontinued them in favor of the Heresy, Cornwall, and La Scala. Later, the Belle was added. All three speakers were said to be corner-optional speakers. In fact PWK said that you can place any speaker in the corner and get better bass (in fact, you'll have to EQ the lf down, but what you will achieve is much lower bass frequency modulation distortion).

Assuming that you might use an off-the-shelf tower speaker, I think the biggest issue that you will run into is controlling the midrange SPL polars so that they don't interact with the walls which significantly affects stereo imaging. Tower speakers with horn-loaded midranges all seem to lose polar control below about 1500 Hz (vertically) and 1000 Hz (horizontally) due to the small linear dimensions of the midrange horn mouth horizontally and vertically.

I'd look at the K-510 horn from Klipsch's commercial product line as the smallest possible size for a corner-loaded speaker, and plan on putting a little ceiling treatment halfway to your listening position. I've not heard the Peavey Quadratic Throat horn, but it may not require ceiling or side-wall treatments. There are other midrange horns out there that could also do the job less well but none of the viable options are "slim".

You could use a La Scala II, but turn the bass bin around to face the wall--which will produce significant lf bass extension and aid lf smoothness (counterintuitive but well documented in JAES papers).

Another approach is to use a pair of horn-loaded woofers or even subs in each corner and crossover ~150-200 Hz to smaller conventional tower speakers placed away from the walls for soundstage imaging performance to keep them small in size. You'd need to correct for time misalignment using an active digital crossover or AVP --which will also do lf EQ.

Chris
Chris
"As far as the ear can tell, consistently clean and spacious bass can be reproduced only by a driver unit coupled to a horn-type acoustic transformer..."; Jack Dinsdale, May 1974

 

RE: Why aren't corner speakers more popular?, posted on June 20, 2011 at 21:47:10
RGA
Reviewer

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I run Audio Note J/Spe speakers which are designed for corners but also sound excellent out from corners (just not as balanced or as much bass). My Wharfedale Vanguards are front ported speakers using horns and while not designed for corners sound pretty good in corners. Perhaps sealed and front ported speakers would be ok since the Audio Note's are not inexpensive.

The 10 watt amp plays stupidly loud before I get to the halfway point.

 

RE: , posted on June 21, 2011 at 14:44:48
Craiger56
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Hello Chris

Thanks for your thoughtful reply, I'm liking the big 'Montana type' speakers, or maybe something from the crazy guy in the sweater, but in the corners not free-standing out in the room.

I was curious why I'm not seeing 6'+ tall speakers designed for placement in a corners, I remember small corner speakers from Allison Audio but haven't seen any larger.

Your comments about interaction with walls is likely the reason.

We can't use K-horns because there's a window in the way.

I'll have to read up on Mr.Dinsdale, thanks Craig.

 

RE: , posted on June 21, 2011 at 14:50:05
Craiger56
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Wife and I got to hear Audio Notes just a couple weeks ago at Deetes Sound Room in Carmichael (CA) they were awesome!

 

RE: , posted on June 21, 2011 at 17:03:07
RGA
Reviewer

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I am a bit surprised - usually it takes a few listens and they kind of grow on people. I remember way back when I first had a short audition the AN E did absolutely nothing for me whatsoever. Just ho-hum.

It was actually the K/spe small standmount in a shootout I was doing that really got me remembering the brand. A follow-up session with the AN-E and a Meishu integrated where I just sat down and listened - basically changed my entire view of audio reproduction. It was a kind of BLIND listening session since this was my first real listen to a SET amplifier (but I didn't know it was a tube amp since the Meishu looks like a giant Krell. I sat in amazement at the bass and piano reproduction that I never got from any speaker the 20 years prior.

Then after several albums I asked about the power - assuming it had to be a kilowatt beast of an amp. The dealer smiled and said "8 watts" and that it was a SET. But wait - SETs are that old out of date rubbish technology with lots of second order distortion and it should sound fuzzy and rolled off. Guess reading forums was a big waste of time since most on forums regurgitate false information with no actual experience.

Since then I have heard a lot of good systems but the AN E/SPE HE IMO is the best speaker that I have heard for this money. Some speakers do certain things very well but as all-rounders they it's a tough speaker to beat.

Why? The AN E (and J to a lesser extent) are sensitive enough to play very loud with low watt amps. So they're not super sensitive but in most rooms they can pound on 5-10 watts. They're efficient in that they present an easy load to amps - though not to the degree of big horns.

But that trade-off is met since I have yet to hear any horn speaker match the E(J) on the timbre tone front. Many horns sound shouty and uneven and when they get it right it usually costs many times the price. For instance I prefer the E to any of the Klipsch, Altec, Avantguarde speakers I have heard. What these speakers do though is utilize the very low powered SETs and they do have a "live scale" thwack that the E doesn't quite get. The AN's sound a little more diplomatic. Still most music isn't "big" music and the AN's still do a terrific job but just don't get the "massive" scale thing down like a Khorn. That tradeoff is met with the subtle tones and overtones and goosebump factor of smaller scale music - singer with a piano kind of music where the basic E and J are as good as any speakers I have heard from anyone. They're as close to a single driver speaker as a two way can get while beating the single drivers in the frequency envelope (read - better treble and much better bass). The Teresonic Ingenium is pretty good here too but the E and J does have a fuller landscape and more dynamic headroom at considerably less dollars.

But one factor not often mentioned is size. I really don't want a speaker to take up the whole damn room - especially if it really isn't offering an advantage doing it. I auditioned a Wilson Sophia and it's a physically big speaker compared to the AN J or E. Yet both AN speakers have deeper and IMO better bass response. Plus it sounds cohesive while the Wilson did not. The Sophia sounded good but not as good and it costs 3 times the retail price of the AN J. It makes no sense. I assume people buy with their eyes and assume because the driver is bigger or the box is gigantic that it must be better. But stick a speaker in the corners and it frees up huge amounts of your living space. The walls act as an extension of the speaker cabinet.

But housing designers for some dumb reason waste a lot of living space by creating oddly shaped rooms. Argh!

 

They are called Angel Horns made by , posted on June 21, 2011 at 17:45:57
bcguitar
Audiophile

Posts: 1010
Location: Maryland
Joined: March 2, 2005
Andrew Vanderkruk of Bentwood Horns in Canada. They are not open baffle. They are back loaded, the corner becomes a vertical bass horn which gets down to 22 hz. Best speaker I've ever heard.

 

RE: Dinsdale articles, posted on June 22, 2011 at 07:00:44
Cask05
Audiophile

Posts: 39
Location: N. Central Texas
Joined: November 11, 2007

You can find articles by Dinsdale here: http://www.volvotreter.de/dl-section.htm

My cornerhorns are about 6' tall, but they're not narrow (see linked picture at
http://gallery.audioasylum.com/cgi/wi.mpl?u=45900&f=IMG_1576_16x9_small.jpg&w=500&h=281): they're Klipsch Jubilees.
Chris
"As far as the ear can tell, consistently clean and spacious bass can be reproduced only by a driver unit coupled to a horn-type acoustic transformer..."; Jack Dinsdale, May 1974

 

RE: Why aren't corner speakers more popular?, posted on June 22, 2011 at 15:58:25
cids
Audiophile

Posts: 552
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People's mind were poisoned by Xtereophile + XAS magazines.

 

RE: Why aren't corner speakers more popular?, posted on June 23, 2011 at 00:33:01
Steve Schell
Manufacturer

Posts: 1408
Location: So. California
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Paul Klipsch advocated the use of corner speakers (obviously), and the placement of corner speakers along the longer wall in a rectangular room, with perhaps a center speaker like the Belle Klipsch to firm up the center image. This wide spacing is no longer in vogue, although it can provide thrilling reproduction.

I once hogged through the math to conclude that a trihedral corner is equivalent to a square cross section conical (straight sided) horn of 73 degrees included angle between opposite walls. This is quite a rapid expansion, enough of a containment of the expanding wavefronts to help most bass horns somewhat though too rapid to really maintain the flare expansion of most horns with any accuracy. Still, the corner placement is worthwhile for bass horns.

For mid and high frequency parts of a multi-way system, corner placement presents problems due to the nearby walls creating closely timed reflections which mess up the imaging severely. One can fix this with generous wall treatment, but with big corner speakers and shaggy walls one now has to deal with severe Spouse Acceptance Factor issues. This last aspect has lead to the current unpopularity of corner placement IMO.

 

RE: A slim 6' high corner horn...how to do that?, posted on June 23, 2011 at 04:59:47
Cask05
Audiophile

Posts: 39
Location: N. Central Texas
Joined: November 11, 2007
"I was curious why I'm not seeing 6'+ tall speakers designed for placement in a corners"

This is an interesting observation. Note that the width of most cornerhorns is usually a function of "bifurcated" or "W" horn section in order to evenly load the mouth of the speaker's bass horn with the room's corner extension. It you try to move a Khorn to one side or the other reltive to the corner centerline, what you get are two unequal horn "mouths" that are not conducive to lf Hi-Fi reproduction. One way to fix this is to enclose the back or the Khorn (something that was done on the 60th Anniversary Khorn design) so that you can actually move the speaker out of the corner a bit (up to about a foot before you significantly affect the 200-300 Hz band) and so you can aim the speaker at your listening position. This is a pretty big deal, as it turns out.

If I were to design a corner-loaded speaker to be high and slim as you suggest, I would first design the midhorn to control its polars in order to keep early reflections off the walls, floor, and ceiling. This means that the midrange horn mouth would necessarily be about 2.5 feet wide and tall (speed of sound dvided by the low crossover frequency: 1132/~500 - the wavelength at which the horn loses polar control) .

The bass bin, if it were to be horn-loaded down to a reasonably low Fc, would need to have about 12 feet of horn length (a folded design of course). [BTW: using a direct rediating bass on a speaker with a horn-loaded midrange/tweeter isn't going to be very aurally satisfying since bass frequency modulation distortion will be the ruling factor in how the speaker "sounds" for dynamic sound reproduction. This is why the Khorn has survived for ~70 years of production.] So the basic choices are: a bifurcated horn or a folded single horn. A tapped horn design (e.g., Danley, etc.) would have interesting horn-mouth bounce dynamics, but at least 3 dB more sensitivity but reduced bandpass relative to a conventional folded horn. As you might see, this is not going to be easy to design in a "slim" style, but it could be done. That's where I'd put my greatest effort: designing a 40 Hz Fc corner-loaded folded horn that is about 4 feet tall and about 2 1/2 feet wide, and TBD feet deep. Note that a single horn would tend to experience higher-order modes that would tend to be cancelled in a "W" design with its symmetric-but-opposing horn mouths. Additionally, the 1/4 wavelength distance corresponding to the distance between the two horn mouths horizontally determines your crossover point to midrange horn/driver - above that frequency, diffraction starts to come into play.

An interesting problem...Hoffman's Iron law still holds (TANSTAAFL).

Chris
Chris
"As far as the ear can tell, consistently clean and spacious bass can be reproduced only by a driver unit coupled to a horn-type acoustic transformer..."; Jack Dinsdale, May 1974

 

Thanks!, posted on June 23, 2011 at 09:29:13
Craiger56
Audiophile

Posts: 3105
Location: San Jose CA
Joined: April 3, 2002
Contributor
  Since:
December 29, 2003
And I'm liking your speakers now, is the signal to the electromagnets steady DC or an inverse music signal?

 

RE: Thanks!, posted on June 24, 2011 at 14:12:17
Steve Schell
Manufacturer

Posts: 1408
Location: So. California
Joined: December 16, 2001
Wow, now there's a photo essay from the dustbin of history! My living room actually looks about 5% nicer these days. The field coils in both our mid/high and bass compression drivers are fed direct current of 12 to 14 volts, roughly two amperes, for a dissipation of roughly 25 watts per coil.

 

RE: Why aren't corner speakers more popular?, posted on June 26, 2011 at 11:46:26
mhardyman
Audiophile

Posts: 194
Location: Somewhere in Vermont
Joined: December 14, 2010
For the OP. Design-wise, corners are very valuable real estate. We have too much stuff nowadays with too few places to put it. Corners are bookshelves, boob-cubes and very comfortable chairs out of the traffic patterns. For corner speakers to thrive we need dedicated space. Of late, with open floor plans, post and beam construction, the options keep getting reduced.

Always wanted a pair of K-horns. Where do I put the damn things? Now they are made to order as there is a very limited market...

 

RE: , posted on June 30, 2011 at 11:45:24
DougE
Audiophile

Posts: 244
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RGA, wow! I am completely on with your assessments. Not only of the ANE which is spot on, but also horns and single drivers and their relative merits. Each has it's own forte and it's fun to switch between them to revel in the things they do well. But, over time, the ANE is simply better all around and so a longer-term partner as it were.

Back to the original question, I find that there's another factor corner-horns aren't as common. In the few rooms that do have two corners for a possible corner-horn setup the darned walls are either too close or too far apart. --what are new home designers thinking? Don't they listen to music?!

Best,
Doug

 

RE: , posted on June 30, 2011 at 21:39:35
RGA
Reviewer

Posts: 8755
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It's funny but older places seem far better suited to home audio - especially for corners.

Personally, I would prefer a BIG rectangle room and I will figure out how to place things rather than some wierdly shaped "new" "cool" floorplan that limits your choices of where to put things.

The way I often describe the AN E (and J in a medium room) is to say it gets 90% of what the best horns do well and 90% of what the best panels/single drivers do well. Maybe a bit more of each percentage as you go up the line.

The problem is the best horns only get about 70% of what the best panels/single drivers do well and the best panels get about 50% of what the best horns do.

So for me the AN E represents the best "balance" of those two types of speakers. My second choice would be a big horn since I value dynamics over holographic soundstage. Third choice would be ESL/Teresonic kind of speaker - the latter I prefer since you can run SET (which so far sounds the best in terms of general technologies).

The Teresonic Ingenium is also very senstive and easy to drive - but it had some trouble with Trance/house music that the AN E doesn't have problems with. But the Teresonic is of course perfectly cohesive being a single driver and has that edge.

At CES 2010 I have two lists - 5 best rooms with speakers over $10k and 5 best rooms with speakers under $10k. It depends what you can live without. I can certainly get the perspective of people would take the Ingenium or King Sounds or on the horn front the Aporia full range or Trenner and Freidl Ra box.

Interestingly, I like the opposite perspectives.

Here were the rooms that made my top five under $10k

Audio Note E/Spe He
Gallo 3.5
King Sound Prince II (Electrostats)
Studio Electric type 3 speakers
Sonist Recital speakers (easy to drive ribbon tweeters)

Over 10K
Audio Note E/Sec sig (the $51,000 model)
Trenner and Freidl RA box (2 way horn floor ported)
Acapella High Violoncello II
Teresonic Ingenium (single driver 100db+ senstive)
Silbatone Aporia Full Ranger (Manger single driver horn)

What was interesting is that to a large degree these are wildly different designs and can get you there.

But even some of these you have to be a little careful of what you play - and some are less amplifier friendly. I thought I would hate the Gallo but on rock music and Sarah mcLachlan pop (well recorded though) it sounded terific - it's a kind of bass and openness that makes a solid case for that kindof "punch" sound.

And don't laugh - not long ago I heard Cerwin Vega CLS 215 speakers - with 2 15 inch woofers with those pink condom looking surround rubber woofers - and you know they actually sounded good - and with female vocals. I was stunned - I remembered the old days of CV when females would sound like men the bass was so overblown and muddy. But this model at an absurdly low price given the sound and "pride of ownership" factor of HUGE cabinets, is a hugely fun speaker to get people into this hobby. I would buy these over a LOT of "so-called" high end speakers that are gutless wonders.

 

RE: , posted on July 6, 2011 at 22:02:56
the old school
Audiophile

Posts: 727
Location: marin county
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RGA, I thought that the $15,000 Teresonic was better than the $15,000 Audio Note E at the 2010 CAS. However, the Audio Note room only had digital! BTW, I think my three-way Fulton Js are better than either the Audio Note or Teresonic. My friend's triple set of quad 57s are also fantastic!

 

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