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RE: Horns and high efficiency . what effect ?

"They are here" is a mis-application of the phrase. The apparent presence or lack thereof is much more a function of how the recording was made, rather than the type of speaker it's being played on. However, since most horns are more directional than appropriate direct radiators with similar crossover frequencies, there 'is' a difference in the soundfield of the listening room, which may account for the perceived difference regarding the "they are here" aspect. Personally, in a home environment, I prefer direct radiators (or maybe stats if a person has the space for them) because well-designed ones tend to better mimic the radiation patterns of real instruments (this is a generalization, since instrument radiation patterns vary quite lot), thus creating a more natural ambient soundfield.

With regard to high efficiency, this is a sticky wicket. High efficiency has its advantages, particularly for large high-output systems such as for concerts, but, to achieve very high quality sound in a home environment, they also require amplifiers which perform (sound) very good at low output levels. You may already know that many amps have higher distortion in that first 0.5 to 1 watt or so output than they do at higher output levels. Matti Otala and John Curl did landmark research on this back in the early 1970s. So, choice of amplifier becomes much more important.

With regard to horns in general, many are not well-designed or matched with drivers and crossover frequencies which are appropriate. Two of the drawsbacks which result from this are distortion of the air in the horn throat (where the SPL can be VERY high), and acoustic reflections within the horn. These both contribute to what is often termed "horn sound". Some people don't mind it, and actually like it.

Having said that, if a horn sounds fine, then it sounds fine, at least to that listener. I suggest that you look into resources which describe "horn theory" and related physics.


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