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Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver

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Posted on June 1, 2020 at 18:32:59
PaulF70
Audiophile

Posts: 1271
Location: Midwest
Joined: June 30, 2006
In the past I've owned mid-high horns with compression drivers.

I've never heard a horn (such as Oris) that uses a large (6-8") cone, full-range driver (Fostex, AER, etc.).

Can someone speak to the pros and cons of these two types of drivers in front horns?

 

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RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 2, 2020 at 08:26:49
Don Reid
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Posts: 567
Location: Rural NW Georgia
Joined: February 2, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
April 1, 2010
I use Oris 150 front horns driven by AER BD3 8" drivers. I employ them as wide range drivers in a three way, triamplified, fully horn loaded DIY system. In my opinion as well as in the opinions of fellow audiophiles who have visited they sound very good indeed; fast, dynamic, very detailed and realistic. The only compression horns I can compare them to from personal experience are the horns in a pair of Klipschorns I owned. The comparison would be as unfair as comparing a T Model Ford to a new Porsche Turbo S.
I dream of an America where a chicken can cross the road without having it's motives questioned.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 2, 2020 at 15:09:19
mnawaz3@aol.com
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Joined: March 28, 2002
i thought front horn with a cone would be easier to create a fully integrated full ruange 30-20k system . a cone attached to a horn offers greater bandwidth flexibilty and can easily cover 250-2000...so they avoid cutting the critical voice region. or so i thought... after trying 4 different 8" cones attached to horns, i gave up. the cones/horns i tried included edgear, jbl, ev, Lowther, prospect... they just sounded dull compared to compression drivers. it maybe easier to get right but it will not sound as good as a compression driver. i am not tempted to try them again.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 3, 2020 at 07:55:54
Scholl
Distributor or Rep

Posts: 1231
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look at the JBL PD5322. Awesome paper cone front horn.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 3, 2020 at 08:10:44
Bill Fitzmaurice
Industry Professional

Posts: 4999
Location: New England
Joined: October 20, 2002
The reason why you ran into this problem is that horns are bandpass devices. If you take a driver that has flat response in a direct radiating alignment and put it onto a horn there will be positive gain at the lower end of the pass band, a region above that with unity gain, and a region above that with a loss of response. Compression drivers get around this by having a native response that's not flat. Even so there's a limit as to how wide the pass band of a compression driver/horn can be made. Look at the response of compression driver/horns and you'll see that the lower one goes the lower the high frequency limit as well.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 3, 2020 at 08:15:14
mnawaz3@aol.com
Audiophile

Posts: 393
Joined: March 28, 2002
yup makes sense and explains the dullness i experienced ( compared to comp.drivers)

 

When does tweeter "waveguide" become horn bandpass device?, posted on June 3, 2020 at 11:38:22
Jon L
Audiophile

Posts: 5762
Joined: April 6, 2000
There are many systems out there trying to load 8" drivers in large front horns, but I see even more systems with normal dome/ribbon/AMT/planar tweeters in "waveguides" of various depth and sizes.

People argue re waveguide vs horns all the time, but at what point does a waveguide become horn-enough to exert bandpass effects, i.e. roll off the very top end while achieving the (desired) effect of lower frequency extension?

 

RE: When does tweeter "waveguide" become horn bandpass device?, posted on June 3, 2020 at 12:09:43
Bill Fitzmaurice
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Any time you have a chamber between the diaphragm and horn throat that chamber is a low pass filter, making the horn a bandpass. One of the functions of horn phase plugs is to minimize the size of the throat chamber, which minimizes the bandpass effect. If you imagine the amount of space between a driver cone and the horn throat you can understand why the bandpass effect is so much greater with a cone driver versus compression driver. I use phase plugs in my cone woofer loaded midbass straight horns to reduce the throat chamber volume and improve high frequency response.

With a typical wave guide used with a dome tweeter or midrange the throat is at least as large as the dome, so there's no throat chamber and therefore no bandpass effect per se. However, when the throat is a wavelength or more in dimension there's no horn loading of the driver, it acts like a direct radiator above that frequency. That results in the lower end of the pass band having gain, while the upper end does not, so here again you'll get the best results with a tweeter that's not flat to begin with.

 

RE: When does tweeter "waveguide" become horn bandpass device?, posted on June 3, 2020 at 13:40:06
Duke
Dealer

Posts: 4417
Location: Princeton, Texas
Joined: March 31, 2000
I have been using waveguide-style horns for fifteen years and they ALL have the bandpass effect Bill describes. They ALL end up with the driver's on-axis response approximating its power response. And imo this is highly desirable, because once you have fixed the on-axis response, you have simultaneously fixed the off-axis response. I think this matters because most of the sound that we hear in most rooms started out as off-axis response.

Duke


Me being a dealer makes you leery?? It gets worse... I'm a manufacturer too.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 4, 2020 at 13:38:01
Scott L
Audiophile

Posts: 340
Location: Knoxville
Joined: February 2, 2001



I found some really nice synergy between a vintage Jensen Peridynamic horn loaded with a Tang Band w8-1772.

Exactly as per Bill Fitzmaurice observations, the native response of the TB-1772 is somewhat lean. The actual, real true response of this driver is NOT what the TB spec sheet says. The resulting sound is certainly a bit "laid back" but it is anything but dull.

There exists many, many systems similar to what I do, but at an even higher esoteric level. ORIS 150 horn, Azura surfer horns, and truncated Sierra/Brooks horns all loaded with various 8 inch full range drivers, like those from Lowther, AER, Voxativ, etc. In some cases, augmented by a super tweeter mounted above, but in other cases not needed at all. To my ears, all with more body/texture/tone than a compression driver in a horn.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 4, 2020 at 19:20:10
Bill Fitzmaurice
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Posts: 4999
Location: New England
Joined: October 20, 2002
That's an example of a horn that doesn't have a throat chamber, so there will be little to no bandpass effect. It will work best with a low Q driver, which at 0.27 the TB is. In a direct radiating alignment the TB will have high sensitivity in the mids and highs, but weak lows. Put it in a horn of that type and you get the lows too.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 7, 2020 at 19:03:52
Retsel
Audiophile

Posts: 1180
Joined: April 17, 2000
I recently had Lowther DX4 drivers in conical front horns. This was a temporary set-up using cardboard for horn walls. The frequency response was fairly flat from 500 hz to 10k hz. I straightened the whizzer, which improved the high frequencies and added a large mushroom diffuser which improved the power response of the high frequencies. The sound was outstanding. Unfortunately, the makeshift diffuser mounting device I made damaged the speaker and I will need to order new cone replacements.

In the meantime I used a compression driver with the woofer from a set of minimonitor woofers, but this setup does not have the magic of the Lowthers, but it is a makeshift system which could be part of the problem.

A fellow audiophile shared the results of a comparison at an audio gathering between Lowthers in front horns and an Bruce Edgar horn system, and most of the audiophiles preferred the Lowthers.

On DIY audio, a comparison between small, wide range cone drivers and compression drivers showed that the small, full range cones reproduced sound with less distortion.

For small venues where less output is needed, I would think that cone drivers are the better option.

Retsel

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 9, 2020 at 23:57:31
shane.
Audiophile

Posts: 389
Location: S.A.
Joined: March 27, 2004
I listened to high-end electromagnet type compression driver on AH160, and then Lowther (PM2A) on AH204.
FC CD was 3x price of the Lowther.
TBH the 8" sounded much better, immediately obvious.
I demoed and then purchased the AH204 to suit 8" from Martin at Azurahorn.com

YMMV
Shane

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 10, 2020 at 09:04:33



Hi,

Just joined the asylum today - looking forward to exchanging / learning from you all. I joined the Asylum principally for this High Efficiency area - thanks for having me here.

I have been using front loaded 8" drivers for a few years now with various drivers (Voxativ, Loth, AER). I do love the results and as has been already said, it is somewhat easier to get them to work in a system since they give you quite a bit of scope for crossover position.

That said, I am building full compression system now so will see where that leads me. I did have some BMS coax compression drivers but they aren't enormously decent on the tone front despite very healthy sensitivity.

Here is a pic of my custom 2-way front loaded 8" system.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 10, 2020 at 09:48:42
Bill Fitzmaurice
Industry Professional

Posts: 4999
Location: New England
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Strictly speaking that's a waveguide, as the throat is larger than the cone. With a full range driver that's a good thing, as I previously posted below.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 10, 2020 at 22:34:18
shane.
Audiophile

Posts: 389
Location: S.A.
Joined: March 27, 2004
Hi HornLoadedBill / all,

I'd be interested in your subjective impression of the various 8" drivers that you have tried.
I'm looking at either Lowther PM4A or Voxativ 1.6 at USD ~2100 per pair.
I could stretch to AER BD1 or Voxativ 2.6 on used market, currently both of these are listed elsewhere for sale at USD ~2500 per pair.

Thanks,
Shane

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 10, 2020 at 23:38:17
shane.
Audiophile

Posts: 389
Location: S.A.
Joined: March 27, 2004
This is interesting because the 204 horns that I heard and ordered were made for Voxativ drivers which required a larger throat to accommodate the (how do you say) forward bulging surround of the Voxativ (as being different from the others). Fitted with the Lowthers, the manufacturer claimed that they sounded better than the regular 204 with the same driver, and your posting could go some way as to explaining why this is.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 11, 2020 at 05:25:40
Bill Fitzmaurice
Industry Professional

Posts: 4999
Location: New England
Joined: October 20, 2002
It goes more than a long way in explaining it. You don't even need to compare different horns to see the low pass effect when there is a throat chamber. Take a standard direct radiator, put a restrictor plate over the baffle opening, as is done with slot loaded designs. The chamber created by the plate will give increased loading in the lows, at the cost of a loss of response in the highs.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 11, 2020 at 18:28:32
Jim D.
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Location: FL
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April 6, 2002
I've owned the Medallion cabinets and Oris 150 horns with a Lowther driver and later the AER driver. While this setup presented a gorgeous almost hypnotic mid range, I found the JBL 2441 compression driver and Edgar salad bowl sitting atop a mid-bass FLH to be more dynamic, less colored, and what seems to sound like less distortion. I have no plans to go back to the single range driver, at least in my main rig. Just another opinion FWIW.

Jim

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 11, 2020 at 23:27:29
thetubeguy1954
Audiophile

Posts: 5902
Location: Orlando, Fla
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Hi Paul,

I had a pair of Azurahorns that Martin Seddon of Perth, Western Australia designed to specifically be used with 8" full-range drivers at my request. Now the Azurahorn is a Le Cléac'h horn design. I don't know if that's what the Oris horn is based on or not, but the Azurahorns and Oris horns sure looked a lot alike to me! Sadly I ended up having to sell my Azurahorns due to some medical bills that needed to be paid at that time and as luck would have Jon Ver Halen ---{I actually knew from some previous audio dealings I had with him and also again when I decided to purchase a pair of Lowther PM5A drivers with Ticonal magnets from Jon to replace the Lowther DX4 drivers in my Beauhorn speakers}--- Jon's now from Refined Audio and from one of our conversations I learned that Jon also sold the Azurahorns before he had a chance to use them. I think he may have in turn sold them to Nelson Pass. Much like you Paul, I've always found Jon to be a very pleasant man to deal with. I believe if you contacted Jon he'd tell you who he sold the Azurahorns to and that fellow whether it be Nelson Pass or not would probably be able to answer any of your questions below! Stay safe out there my good friend...





Thetubeguy1954 (Tom)

Central Florida Audio Society -- SETriodes Group -- Space Coast Audio Society
Full-range/Wide-range Drivers --- Front & Back-Loaded Horns --- High Sensitivity Speakers


 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 11, 2020 at 23:31:42
thetubeguy1954
Audiophile

Posts: 5902
Location: Orlando, Fla
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Dang Bill, you do gorgeous woodwork, my friend! Color me green with envy...



Thetubeguy1954 (Tom)

Central Florida Audio Society -- SETriodes Group -- Space Coast Audio Society
Full-range/Wide-range Drivers --- Front & Back-Loaded Horns --- High Sensitivity Speakers


 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 13, 2020 at 04:05:52
Scott L
Audiophile

Posts: 340
Location: Knoxville
Joined: February 2, 2001
Jim,
I'm considering going a similar route, just to "hear" what this combo is all about. What crossover frequency are you using between the bass scoops and the salad bowl ?

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 15, 2020 at 18:34:33
Rod M
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March 1, 1999
My EdgarHorns with JBL2441s and D130s are crossed at 500hz, 1st order with a 20uF oil cap and 5 uH coil on the bass. The Fostex tweeter comes in around 10khz.





-Rod

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 15, 2020 at 20:46:26
PaulF70
Audiophile

Posts: 1271
Location: Midwest
Joined: June 30, 2006
Thank you - this is really good feedback.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 15, 2020 at 20:49:42
PaulF70
Audiophile

Posts: 1271
Location: Midwest
Joined: June 30, 2006
Dan, if I recall correctly you have been using this system for quite a long time. That says something.

Do you hear any horn coloration with the Aer drivers? I definitely hear some cupped hands type coloration with my new Oris 150 horns and Fostex drivers. It's most notable, of course, on vocals.

I owned Aer drivers in some back horns - lamhorns - long ago, they were very good in that set up.

I agree with you that stock klipschhorns sound quite terrible.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 15, 2020 at 22:12:06
PaulF70
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Follow up: when you say "small" full range drivers, what size are you talking about? 5 inch? 6 inch? 8 inch?

If you had a link to the thread that would be great. Thanks!

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 15, 2020 at 23:32:50
Retsel
Audiophile

Posts: 1180
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See this forum posting:

https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/261427-trynergy-range-tractrix-synergy-105.html

Weltersys tested some similar speaker designs and made a similar finding.

Retsel

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 15, 2020 at 23:48:03
Retsel
Audiophile

Posts: 1180
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The selection of diffuser and probably horn type plays a role in that cupped hands effect you are hearing from the Oris Horns. My Lowthers were mounted in conical horns and employed large mushroom shaped diffusers, like those used with the Beauhorn Virtuoso speakers. This improves the power response in the higher frequencies, and I suspect that it is the beaming in the higher frequencies which leads to that cupped hands effect.

The directivity of the high frequencies is determined by the throat of the horn, while the directivity of midrange is determined further down the horn towards the horn mouth. This is why a conical horn can provide better power response than the narrow throat Oris horns.

Retsel

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 16, 2020 at 08:23:25
Jim D.
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500 hz as Rod says below. I use the crossover Bruce told me to use. It's very simple.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 16, 2020 at 17:35:55
PaulF70
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Follow up: when you say "small" full range drivers, what size are you talking about? 5 inch? 6 inch? 8 inch?

If you had a link to the thread that would be great. Thanks!

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 17, 2020 at 02:46:40
morricab
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From which frequency?

 

What, no Edgar Basshorn? , posted on June 17, 2020 at 14:09:52
Jon L
Audiophile

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Just kidding... :)

Although I do keep an eye out on audio marts for one within driving distance.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 17, 2020 at 17:29:09
PaulF70
Audiophile

Posts: 1271
Location: Midwest
Joined: June 30, 2006
This is exactly why putting full range drivers in front horns makes so much sense: they have both rising response and a serious deficiency in response in the power region.

In terms of back horns using full range drivers, I had them all and by far the best to me was the beauhorn, because it frontloaded that Lowther as well.

Of course the range of horn loading is limited, as with all horns. With something like the Oris 150, above 500 Hz or so you're listening to a direct radiator. And that works fine as long as you've got it pointed at you.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 17, 2020 at 17:31:34
PaulF70
Audiophile

Posts: 1271
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Very interesting to hear that the consensus seems to be that full range drivers in front horns have better nuance and texture than compression drivers.

I do have to say that I've had a number of compression driver based systems, including altec, Klipsch, and jbl and for whatever reason even though they all have lots of detail they lack texture.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 17, 2020 at 17:32:04
PaulF70
Audiophile

Posts: 1271
Location: Midwest
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That's got to be the most beautiful horn I have ever seen in my life, including the very beautiful work of masters such as Bill Woods.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 17, 2020 at 18:22:15
Bill Fitzmaurice
Industry Professional

Posts: 4999
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Not always. High Qes drivers don't have both rising response and a serious deficiency in response in the power region. Low Qes drivers do.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 18, 2020 at 12:02:18
PaulF70
Audiophile

Posts: 1271
Location: Midwest
Joined: June 30, 2006
A couple things:

- I discovered that tonality is more natural (LESS "cupped hands" sound) with the xover *lower* - I moved it from 380 to 250 (24 dB/octave) and it got better.

- I just snagged a pr of AER BD1s. I'll order the BD phase plugs for them too.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on June 18, 2020 at 20:28:04
Retsel
Audiophile

Posts: 1180
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I don't know what the BD1 phase plugs are. For front horns (i.e., tractrix), Lowther users (and maybe Lowther too) recommends light bulb diffusers. I don't have a pair of these, but I intend on purchasing a pair before too long. I think that the large mushroom diffusers work for conical horns, although I will try both of these diffuser types to see which works better for me.

Retsel

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on July 14, 2020 at 20:53:23
shane.
Audiophile

Posts: 389
Location: S.A.
Joined: March 27, 2004
Hi Paul,
I noticed you have listed the AER drivers for sale on audiogon.
Would like to ask if they were not to your liking in the Oris horn, and which direction you ended up heading in.
Also, was this the pair from audiomart which shipped from MD, USA?.
Cheers,
Shane.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on December 26, 2020 at 19:35:22
Posts: 1
Location: GA USA
Joined: May 5, 2005
I just stumbled across this thread though looks to be 6 months old.

I have both the Oris-150 and Orphean horns from Bert. I have been using both for a little over a year now and absolutely love them. I have the horns paired with Bert's reference compact base enclosures. The Oris and Orphean are significantly different in their presentations. The Oris w/Voxativ AC-2.6 drivers is very smooth, very revealing but a bit polite on the top end... but significantly better than the multiple lowther drivers I auditioned and very similar to the AER BD-1. On the other hand the Orphean using the dual concentric compression driver is super dynamic, and nicely balances from 250Hz to 28kHz. Note also my 15" base units are on an xover driven by Crown class-D power thus very dynamic as well and a good match for the horns. I run the horns from Coincident 300B monoblocks wo/ xover.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on December 28, 2020 at 09:17:42
Don Reid
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Posts: 567
Location: Rural NW Georgia
Joined: February 2, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
April 1, 2010
I have found that horn mids and highs work best with fully horn loaded systems. I use Bill Fitzmaurice designed HT Tuba folded bass horns along with Oris 150/AER BD3 for wide range and Fostex t900a super tweeters. In my opinion horn mids and high mix with sealed or ported drivers like coffee and spoiled milk. The HT Tuba folded bass horns are 18 cubic Ft. each which limits their appeal to some folks, but with DEQX DSP they are stunning.
I dream of an America where a chicken can cross the road without having it's motives questioned.

 

RE: Front horns: FR cone vs. comp driver, posted on January 18, 2021 at 12:31:06
hottattoo
Audiophile

Posts: 117
Location: New York
Joined: July 30, 2011
Just got the word from Jack Elliano that Dr. Bruce Edgar has passed away. One of the true giants in horn speaker design. Ri.I.P. Bruce !!

 

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