Why are most high end speakers direct radiator and not horn loaded. - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
 8Likes
  • 1 Post By torii
  • 2 Post By They_call_me_Roto
  • 1 Post By steve71
  • 1 Post By coytee
  • 1 Post By steve71
  • 1 Post By darrellh44
  • 1 Post By coytee
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 22 Old 08-21-2017, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
Advanced Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 565
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 332 Post(s)
Liked: 173
Why are high end speakers using direct radiator woofers and not horn loaded woofers

I ask this question because I've seen people state midbass/bass with horn loaded woofers sounds cleaner with less distortion than direct radiating woofers. So why are most high end speaker designs almost always using low direct radiating woofers?

Last edited by LumensLover; 08-21-2017 at 07:46 PM.
LumensLover is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 22 Old 08-21-2017, 07:15 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
torii's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 3,183
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1484 Post(s)
Liked: 794
wider dispersion and smoother sound possibly...I think we have the science to make anything sound great nowadays.
vzphoneman likes this.

Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300
Speakers: Focal aria 948, Focal cc900, Klipsch synergy KSF 10.5 Subs: Rythmik FV25HP, Rythmik FV15HP
torii is online now  
post #3 of 22 Old 08-21-2017, 07:47 PM
Advanced Member
 
They_call_me_Roto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Detroit Rock City
Posts: 534
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 298 Post(s)
Liked: 217
I think one factor that comes into consideration of direct vs horn loaded is the physical size of the speaker enclosure.
Blacklightning and vzphoneman like this.

Packing a lot of sound into a small room.
268 square feet/2144 cubic feet
7.2 surround sound.
They_call_me_Roto is offline  
 
post #4 of 22 Old 08-21-2017, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
Advanced Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 565
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 332 Post(s)
Liked: 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by They_call_me_Roto View Post
I think one factor that comes into consideration of direct vs horn loaded is the physical size of the speaker enclosure.
Good point.
LumensLover is online now  
post #5 of 22 Old 08-22-2017, 06:23 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
steve71's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,316
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Liked: 44
It's much simpler/cheaper to build a small rectangle, vs a horn loaded structure.

Not to mention WAF.

High end 3-4" compression drivers are very expensive (~$400+) and then you still need the horn itself. Good luck trying to make that look like something that belongs in the average house.


IIRC a horn has to be a least 1/4 wave length long. The 80hz front loaded horn I built was over 1 meter deep.

Folding horns don't work that well above 200hz or so IIRC.

The more you look into it, a fully loaded horn system is huge and has big compromises such as C2C spacing.

In the end the best compromise is IME horn loading above 500hz and direct radiators below that.

The mid range detail I get out of my Altec horns is sublime. They are leaps and bounds better than any direct radiator I've ever heard.

However I haven't experienced much difference in sound with bass horns vs direct radiators. In that part of the spectrum, room treatments make all the difference.
BufordTJustice likes this.

Last edited by steve71; 08-22-2017 at 06:27 AM.
steve71 is offline  
post #6 of 22 Old 08-22-2017, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
Advanced Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 565
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 332 Post(s)
Liked: 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve71 View Post
It's much simpler/cheaper to build a small rectangle, vs a horn loaded structure.

Not to mention WAF.

High end 3-4" compression drivers are very expensive (~$400+) and then you still need the horn itself. Good luck trying to make that look like something that belongs in the average house.


IIRC a horn has to be a least 1/4 wave length long. The 80hz front loaded horn I built was over 1 meter deep.

Folding horns don't work that well above 200hz or so IIRC.

The more you look into it, a fully loaded horn system is huge and has big compromises such as C2C spacing.

In the end the best compromise is IME horn loading above 500hz and direct radiators below that.

The mid range detail I get out of my Altec horns is sublime. They are leaps and bounds better than any direct radiator I've ever heard.

However I haven't experienced much difference in sound with bass horns vs direct radiators. In that part of the spectrum, room treatments make all the difference.
Can you expand on why you feel horn loading woofers above 200Hz and cnc spacing is a compromise?
LumensLover is online now  
post #7 of 22 Old 08-22-2017, 11:54 AM
Advanced Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: College Station, Texas
Posts: 660
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 315 Post(s)
Liked: 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by LumensLover View Post
I ask this question because I've seen people state midbass/bass with horn loaded woofers sounds cleaner with less distortion than direct radiating woofers. So why are most high end speaker designs almost always using low direct radiating woofers?
Pretty easy answer but someone beat me to it, size. Generally speaking horn style cabinets are not small. Although that is essentially what Bose does with the Wave Guide radio, they have a variation of a horn in that speaker to help with the low end with small speakers.
liffie420 is offline  
post #8 of 22 Old 08-22-2017, 12:00 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 442
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 255 Post(s)
Liked: 187
There is a huge thread about the horn loaded m2 (upper range anyways) vs direct radiating revel salons here that discusses this quite a bit. They are both state of the art designs from the same parent company. The direct radiating salons were prefered even thought the m2s have the advantage of being active and dsp processing.
aschen is offline  
post #9 of 22 Old 08-22-2017, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
Advanced Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 565
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 332 Post(s)
Liked: 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by aschen View Post
There is a huge thread about the horn loaded m2 (upper range anyways) vs direct radiating revel salons here that discusses this quite a bit. They are both state of the art designs from the same parent company. The direct radiating salons were prefered even thought the m2s have the advantage of being active and dsp processing.
It is a great thread which I have read in it's entirety. However my question is in reference to horn loading woofers in the low frequency enclosure for high end speakers. Not horn loaded upper ranges.
LumensLover is online now  
post #10 of 22 Old 08-22-2017, 04:05 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
darrellh44's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: North Dallas
Posts: 1,172
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 764 Post(s)
Liked: 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve71 View Post
It's much simpler/cheaper to build a small rectangle, vs a horn loaded structure.

Not to mention WAF.

High end 3-4" compression drivers are very expensive (~$400+) and then you still need the horn itself. Good luck trying to make that look like something that belongs in the average house.


IIRC a horn has to be a least 1/4 wave length long. The 80hz front loaded horn I built was over 1 meter deep.

Folding horns don't work that well above 200hz or so IIRC.

The more you look into it, a fully loaded horn system is huge and has big compromises such as C2C spacing.

In the end the best compromise is IME horn loading above 500hz and direct radiators below that.

The mid range detail I get out of my Altec horns is sublime. They are leaps and bounds better than any direct radiator I've ever heard.

However I haven't experienced much difference in sound with bass horns vs direct radiators. In that part of the spectrum, room treatments make all the difference.
I guess you haven't seen the Danley SH50s. It's a true point-source and is completely horn-loaded from 50 Hz to 18 kHz. Many reviews on this forum rate its SQ as among the best of any speaker at any price. It is rather large and will set you back about $4500/ea unless you can score some used ones.
darrellh44 is offline  
post #11 of 22 Old 08-22-2017, 04:24 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
coytee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,553
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 220 Post(s)
Liked: 361
(disclaimer: I own some all horn speakers, as defined as ALL horn, including woofers (and sub-woofers....if you consider the Danley tapped horn a "horn")

Anyway, they're big... they're essentially ugly... wife isn't going to go for them. Fortunately, I had mine before I met my wife so I keep telling her I was a package deal.....then I got even bigger horns.

I think it's all about money. As has been said, it's easier/cheaper to build a nice box and stuff it with drivers. A horn is going to have a fraction of the distortion.

I contend that your average speaker builder has it bass-ackwards with a direct/radiator woofer and horn mid/high's.

You want a horn woofer to get that lower distortion where it's distorting the most ("if it moves, it distorts"....and what moves the most but the woofer?)

Absent a full horn system, next best (IMHO) would be horn woofer and cone/dome/other mids/highs... the more you add horns (starting at the bottom and working UP) the better it's going to sound.

The dynamics I have are hair trigger, the fidelity continually impresses those that hear it. The scale of the sound is absolutely "life-like"...

Yet, some people say "gads, you must go deaf with those things... (or some other stupid comment about how loud they will go and, they WILL go very loud)

It's not about loud... they will do that, but, they will also play as quiet and tender as your most fancy electrostatic. (a 200 MPH Ferrari can still go 15 MPH in a school zone, just because it can go fast, doesn't mean it must go fast)
Peternz1 likes this.
coytee is offline  
post #12 of 22 Old 08-22-2017, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
Advanced Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 565
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 332 Post(s)
Liked: 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by coytee View Post
(disclaimer: I own some all horn speakers, as defined as ALL horn, including woofers (and sub-woofers....if you consider the Danley tapped horn a "horn")

Anyway, they're big... they're essentially ugly... wife isn't going to go for them. Fortunately, I had mine before I met my wife so I keep telling her I was a package deal.....then I got even bigger horns.

I think it's all about money. As has been said, it's easier/cheaper to build a nice box and stuff it with drivers. A horn is going to have a fraction of the distortion.

I contend that your average speaker builder has it bass-ackwards with a direct/radiator woofer and horn mid/high's.

You want a horn woofer to get that lower distortion where it's distorting the most ("if it moves, it distorts"....and what moves the most but the woofer?)

Absent a full horn system, next best (IMHO) would be horn woofer and cone/dome/other mids/highs... the more you add horns (starting at the bottom and working UP) the better it's going to sound.

The dynamics I have are hair trigger, the fidelity continually impresses those that hear it. The scale of the sound is absolutely "life-like"...

Yet, some people say "gads, you must go deaf with those things... (or some other stupid comment about how loud they will go and, they WILL go very loud)

It's not about loud... they will do that, but, they will also play as quiet and tender as your most fancy electrostatic. (a 200 MPH Ferrari can still go 15 MPH in a school zone, just because it can go fast, doesn't mean it must go fast)
Love the bottom half of your post. It really annoys me when people see my speakers and state ignorant comments like "you are going to be keeping the neighbors up with these". As you so eloquently stated, large horn loaded speakers are efficient and give excellent dialogue quality and good dynamics at very low volumes.

It is not like we have to crank them just because they are very capable speakers. I also like to use the car analogy. Every guy that hops into a Corvette does not have to floor the pedal over a 100mph when he can choose to cruise through downtown at 40.
LumensLover is online now  
post #13 of 22 Old 08-23-2017, 06:39 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
steve71's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,316
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Liked: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by LumensLover View Post
Can you expand on why you feel horn loading woofers above 200Hz and cnc spacing is a compromise?
Center to center spacing is one of the things you need to get correct when designing a speaker.

IIRC c2c spacing needs to be less than 1/4 wavelength at the crossover frequency for the sounds waves to sum correctly. Dispersion also has to match, but that's another story.

The other thing you need to get a smooth frequency response out of a horn is a large mouth. In other words, a correctly designed bass horn is going to be too large to integrate correctly with a mid horn.

However you might around that with 4 way design, but size, cost & complexity are getting out of hand.

Last edited by steve71; 08-23-2017 at 07:12 AM.
steve71 is offline  
post #14 of 22 Old 08-23-2017, 07:05 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
steve71's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,316
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Liked: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by darrellh44 View Post
I guess you haven't seen the Danley SH50s. It's a true point-source and is completely horn-loaded from 50 Hz to 18 kHz. Many reviews on this forum rate its SQ as among the best of any speaker at any price. It is rather large and will set you back about $4500/ea unless you can score some used ones.
Good point. Danley has found a way around the problem, but it's not something other manufacturers can use due to his patent.

Also it's not really horn loaded down to 50hz. IIRC it's acts as a direct radiator at the point where 1/4 wave length exceeds the length of the horn.

A 1/4 wavelength 50hz horn would be ~ 2 meters deep.
darrellh44 likes this.
steve71 is offline  
post #15 of 22 Old 08-23-2017, 07:11 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
steve71's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,316
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Liked: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by coytee View Post
I contend that your average speaker builder has it bass-ackwards with a direct/radiator woofer and horn mid/high's.

You want a horn woofer to get that lower distortion where it's distorting the most ("if it moves, it distorts"....and what moves the most but the woofer?)

Absent a full horn system, next best (IMHO) would be horn woofer and cone/dome/other mids/highs... the more you add horns (starting at the bottom and working UP) the better it's going to sound.

The dynamics I have are hair trigger, the fidelity continually impresses those that hear it. The scale of the sound is absolutely "life-like"...

Yet, some people say "gads, you must go deaf with those things... (or some other stupid comment about how loud they will go and, they WILL go very loud)

It's not about loud... they will do that, but, they will also play as quiet and tender as your most fancy electrostatic. (a 200 MPH Ferrari can still go 15 MPH in a school zone, just because it can go fast, doesn't mean it must go fast)
In a nut shell, horn loading reduces cone excursion by 1/3. So to get the same (lack of distortion) from direct radiators, you just need three of them.

Bass horns have issues with ripples in their responses as almost all of them have undersized mouths. Play around with hornrep and see for yourself.

Every design is a series of trade offs.
steve71 is offline  
post #16 of 22 Old 08-23-2017, 07:57 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 442
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 255 Post(s)
Liked: 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve71 View Post
In a nut shell, horn loading reduces cone excursion by 1/3. So to get the same (lack of distortion) from direct radiators, you just need three of them.
I think this is the crux of it. What advantage does a fully horn loaded woofer have over say 3 direct coupled woofers? Probably the size of the later is smaller. The former is more efficient electrically by orders of magnitude but watts are cheap these days.
aschen is offline  
post #17 of 22 Old 08-23-2017, 09:45 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
darrellh44's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: North Dallas
Posts: 1,172
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 764 Post(s)
Liked: 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by aschen View Post
I think this is the crux of it. What advantage does a fully horn loaded woofer have over say 3 direct coupled woofers? Probably the size of the later is smaller. The former is more efficient electrically by orders of magnitude but watts are cheap these days.
In terms of FR magnitude, I agree that direct radiators should be as capable as horn-loaded woofers. But I think there is another aspect of horn-loaded woofers that is easily overlooked. That is larger bass horns have dispersion control well down into the mid-bass region that direct radiators do not possess. I have Danley SM60Fs that are not even that large (mouth opening is about 18" square), but they have a definite mid-bass 'growl' when called upon that I have not heard with any direct radiator regardless of cone area or displacement (except maybe for headphones). My assumption is this mid-bass dispersion control allows better articulation in this region due to less time smear from early reflections.
BufordTJustice likes this.

Last edited by darrellh44; 08-23-2017 at 10:07 AM.
darrellh44 is offline  
post #18 of 22 Old 08-23-2017, 04:27 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
coytee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,553
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 220 Post(s)
Liked: 361
Quote:
Originally Posted by aschen View Post
I think this is the crux of it. What advantage does a fully horn loaded woofer have over say 3 direct coupled woofers? Probably the size of the later is smaller. The former is more efficient electrically by orders of magnitude but watts are cheap these days.
I was once at the engineering facility at Klipsch. We were hosted by Roy (head engineer at that location and right hand man to PWK prior to his passing... also shares the design credits for the Jubilee which PWK designed to replace the Klipschorn as the Klipschorn II)

Anyway, we did a lot of listening over the weekend at their lab (how cool was that!)

Various speakers, various (electronic) crossovers, various amps, various drivers... none of it was scientific per se', but we gave it some serious listening and critical discussions. It was designed to be a learning experience for us by Roy.

Here, you see the Jubilee verses (forget their model number)

Jubilee has two 12" drivers in the horn loaded cabinet verses four 15" drivers in the other.

For my (tin?) ears, they sounded close enough to call it even. There were some that felt the Jubilee still bested the other because of some other types of distortion (all the technical talk/babble is over my head, I was just busy tapping my toes)

So yeah, they're large...and to get sound large with direct radiators...you're still going to go large.

If I recall one of Roy's "quips", he muttered on more than one occasion, something similar to "Killing 4 radiators with one horn" or something like that.

BTW, this is in their listening room at their engineering lab and the room has not been treated to be 'perfect'.... instead, the room (which IS treated) is designed to sound more average BUT, both corners have been engineered to be the same.

(if I recall correctly)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_2164.JPG (51.8 KB, 17 views)
18Hurts likes this.
coytee is offline  
post #19 of 22 Old 08-24-2017, 05:21 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
steve71's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,316
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Liked: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by darrellh44 View Post
In terms of FR magnitude, I agree that direct radiators should be as capable as horn-loaded woofers. But I think there is another aspect of horn-loaded woofers that is easily overlooked. That is larger bass horns have dispersion control well down into the mid-bass region that direct radiators do not possess. I have Danley SM60Fs that are not even that large (mouth opening is about 18" square), but they have a definite mid-bass 'growl' when called upon that I have not heard with any direct radiator regardless of cone area or displacement (except maybe for headphones). My assumption is this mid-bass dispersion control allows better articulation in this region due to less time smear from early reflections.
IME any advantages of controlled mid-bass dispersion (from a horn), pales in comparison to treating a room with bass traps.
steve71 is offline  
post #20 of 22 Old 08-24-2017, 05:38 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
steve71's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,316
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Liked: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by coytee View Post
So yeah, they're large...and to get sound large with direct radiators...you're still going to go large.
True, but my 80hz conical horns are over 3ft long. My 2x16" bass cabs are only 1 ft deep... and they play to 60hz. Efficiency is still good at 102db/w/m.

You get a lot more options with cab dimensions with direct radiators. Slim is good for HT if you're trying to fit them behind an AT screen.

For 2ch it's not such a problem, and your K-horns are pretty compact and make use of the rooms corners as part of the horn.
steve71 is offline  
post #21 of 22 Old 08-24-2017, 08:40 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
darrellh44's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: North Dallas
Posts: 1,172
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 764 Post(s)
Liked: 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve71 View Post
IME any advantages of controlled mid-bass dispersion (from a horn), pales in comparison to treating a room with bass traps.
I don't disagree, but it also depends on where bass traps are located and if you can get thick enough ones between the direct-radiating woofer and all problematic walls that smear the mid-bass arrival times. Typically bass traps go into corners and not early reflection points.
darrellh44 is offline  
post #22 of 22 Old 08-25-2017, 03:47 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
coytee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,553
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 220 Post(s)
Liked: 361
Quote:
Originally Posted by darrellh44 View Post
In terms of FR magnitude, I agree that direct radiators should be as capable as horn-loaded woofers.
I always had the understanding that a direct radiator (say a 15") would play lower than a horn loaded 15" driver... essentially, putting a horn in front of the driver narrows the FR of the output however, it also lowers the distortion and increases the output. Various trade-off's.

Take the Klipsch K33. They use it in the Khorn, LaScala and Cornwall. The Cornwall won't be as sensitive as the Khorn but it will play deeper than the Khorn. Same driver, different cabinets.

Some that have the Cornwall don't feel the need for any subwoofer. Some that have the Khorns DO feel the need for a subwoofer however, it can't be a direct radiator subwoofer because the higher distortion of the DR subwoofer would clash a bit with the lower distortion Khorn bass.

Enter Tom Danley with his tapped horn subs, the DTS-10....
coytee is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply Speakers

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off