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In Reply to: RE: Horns and high efficiency . what effect ? posted by J. Phelan on April 02, 2017 at 17:21:01
Well JP, those are advantages that horns have over conventional box speakers as I acknowledged earlier, but none are valid as advantages over electrostatics. I'd suggest that ESLs take these mechanical advantages a stage further. As I also acknowledge, this doesn't necessarily make ESLs "better" but it probably does make them more accurate.
I respect your support of ESLs - but honestly, they're not more accurate (than horns).
However, along with Magnepan, they held the torch in the dark days of cone speakers, esp. from the 1960s to the 90s. Shocking transparency when they came out.
For one, without a XO, they suffer from Doppler distortion. Some have a XO to the bass but I don't think that saves this problem.
There's low dynamic range -can't be accurate if they're not reproducing live SPLs.
The treble beams.
If used, cone-bass doesn't blend properly with a panel midrange.
They suffer from 'skeletal sound' (have no 'body') as Harry Pearson said.
They rattle and cause self-noise.
They (still) suffer from wall and ceiling reflections, despite being 'figure of 8'.
Unless you have Quads, they don't have point-source imaging.
They're tough to drive.
Their panels damage and don't last forever.
Maybe (some) of these issues were solved. I heard Roger Sander's ESLs are winners.
Were you talking about horns or 'stat panels?
Rooms. Listen to me. Read my profile. Think. Buy "Why You Hear What You Hear" by Eric Heller.
I 'get it' that you're a budding audio guy. Good! But, if you want to be knowledgeable (rather than a 'sheeple'), you have to get your head out of the magazines and read a real book or three. Start with that one, and then, if you're still interested in learning, get Harry Olson's "Music, Physics and Engineering". Trust me, your entire perspective and understanding of sound will change.
One of my points was their 'panels damage', so you're the one not reading.
I read one book each by Eargle and Toole. Then one on mastering audio.
But will any book guide us to the right speaker technology ? How many talk about the virtues of compression-horns ?
Of course on this forum there is polarised support for high efficiency speakers including horns and scepticism of other type of speaker - understandable as most of the posters here (including myself) own these things. Likewise if one goes to the Planar forum, people would generally praise ESLs and criticise horns - again understandably.
However most of what you say about ESLs is simply untrue, at least in relation to the latest Quads. I'm sure other ESLs are equally good or better than Quads.
Like you, I have always discounted Quads as being rather feeble and lacking in bass. However, as a result of a Quad 2905 owner replying to a posting of mine on a completely different subject, I visited his home. I was stunned at the quality of the sound, played at robust levels, in particular the imaging - better than my horns, though both systems need careful speaker placement.
That one audition prompted me into buying a pair. I now have both speakers in my room, each powered by appropriate amps. The horns have 845 monoblocks or Accuphase E-36 Class A and the Quad gollups up the 200 watts from the GamuT. Both are very good systems. Which do I prefer? It's very close - the Quads are undoubtedly better for some music, but the horns are just a tad more "exciting" to listen to on much other music. I'm going to keep the horns, but if I was a classical music fan, I'd keep the Quads.
No polarization -these are very definable problems.
You did the right thing -as panels have all but disappeared from high-end audio. Listeners are using Emerald Physics, ATC, Harbeth, JBL, etc.
Interestingly ATC were the WORST sounding speakers I've ever owned. They were the Active 50s and I bought them to replace KEF Reference 107s. The ATCs were so much "in yer face" you wanted to push them back another 20 feet. I sold them within a few months - the guy who bought them was delighted with them in his rather smaller listening room.
I've found that equipment designed for studio use is often positively unsuitable in the home. The ATCs as I described and the Benchmark AHB2 amplifier which is lifeless, though possibly very accurate. You wanted to turn the volume down and maybe skip to the next track in the hopes of a more exciting listen. I sold that after a few weeks despite it's dead silence - an advantage with horns. It was drearily DULL.
I got the Gamut to replace the Benchmark and even though it's rated as 200 watts, it has gain reduction dip switches and the -14dB setting really gets the horns going. In particular it offers exceptionally detailed bass with the Avantgardes, not heard with any of the SETs or Class A amps I've tried. It's undoubtedly the best amp I've had with the horns.
One of the very few 'high end' amps I have ever liked. Amazingly musical and engaging.
"... only a very few individuals understand as yet that personal salvation is a contradiction in terms."
This flies in the face of reviews, in the past 5 years. "Best speaker they ever heard". There are a number of reviews, BTW..
Even for classical music, people have gone cone or waveguide/horn. Emerald and Harbeth have done best (with former panel owners) but there are more inc. Verity.
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