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RE: Horns and high efficiency . what effect ?

It's the difference between "They are here" (the musicians that is) with horn speakers, and "You are there" (in the acoustic space but a bit removed from the musicians) with direct radiator speakers, with thanks to Herb Reichert for stating it like this back in his Sound Practices days. A direct radiator/non-horn speaker is a tuned system with the moving mass of the cone and voice coil adjusted to dominate the performance for acceptably flat performance. With a horn loaded driver the acoustic resistance of the horn dominates the performance, which is a more stable load to drive in the pass band of the horn than the mass dominated direct radiator driver. The result of this is less phase distortion with a properly designed horn compared to a direct radiator design. If you don't believe me check out John Atkinson's phase and electrical impedance measurements of the Sonus Faber Venere 1.5 loudspeaker versus the phase and elec. imp. graph for the JBL Synthesis 1400 Array BG (which has a horn loaded mid and tweeter but a direct radiator woofer). The phase and electrical impedance of the Sonus Faber are all over the place in the critical midrange and well into the high frequencies, and the electrical impedance actually goes way off the graph between 1K Hz and 10 K Hz centered at about 3K Hz! The JBL is drastically flatter between 2K Hz and into the high frequency region. As the JBL has a direct radiator woofer it has quite a bit of variance in the phase and electrical impedance below about 200 Hz where the non horn woofer crosses in.

Because a horn has a higher efficiency advantage over a direct radiator design, horns can produce sound with less Watts and less driver excursion. Lower driver excursion can produce less Doppler distortion where the movement of the diaphragm back and forth with lower frequencies can interfere with higher frequencies being reproduced.

So with horns you get more life like dynamics, but horns may come off as "drier" too, but much of the acoustic space some hear and praise in a good direct radiator design may be due to phase distortion added by the speaker which is really not part of the recording.


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