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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I went through the Speaker Forum and could not find any info. I was going to post this there, but it's really better suited here.


What are the pros and cons between the two? Obviously, there is a sound difference. Horns have been called "bright" and other creative adjectives. If one is better than the other, then why do some manufactures still make them?


So for an example, within the same line:

BIC RtR 1530 http://www.bicamerica.com/showpage.p...e=15&spkrID=63


BIC RtR-EV15 http://www.bicamerica.com/showpage.p...=15&spkrID=120


The 1530's have "2 1/2" fluid cooled tweeter", while the EV15's have "one high efficiency horn tweeter with extended output to 116dB".


There are a few other small differences, magnet size and slight difference in midrange, and whatnot.


But the big difference is the 1530 has a "Sensitivity: 90 dB." While the EV15 has "Sensitivity: 95dB @ 2.83V/1 watt, 1 meter."


Based off of that, it seems like horn makes a better tweeter.


So what makes a better tweeter, horn or dome, or other?
 

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Ok well if you look at the BIC Formula line or the BIC Acoustech Platinum line (which I own) they use a 1" aluminum dome tweeter set back (loaded) in a 6.5" square horn.


When ppl say horns are bright its probably cuz its a compression tweeter mounted back in the horn like Klipsch for example. So to me BIC Acoustech Platinum line is a nice in between sound from a regular dome tweeter to a horn loaded tweeter.


Think of a megaphone: you speak thru it and it naturally amplifies any sound coming out of it. That is how a horn works, all the mids/highs freqs that come from the tweeter are naturally amplified by the horn making them more sensitive and efficient. Great for vocals in music TV and movies. However speakers with horn loaded tweeters are more directional and if you sit too far off axis you will miss out on a lot of the high freqs.


With that said I love the horns of the Acoustechs and so does the wife.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by flickhtguru /forum/post/21747747


Ok well if you look at the BIC Formula line or the BIC Acoustech Platinum line (which I own) they use a 1" aluminum dome tweeter set back (loaded) in a 6.5" square horn.


...speakers with horn loaded tweeters are more directional and if you sit too far off axis you will miss out on a lot of the high freqs...

So for this example, it's really a dome tweeter, but the sound travels and therefore is amplified by the horn design. Making it more of a hybrid.


I understand the basics of a dome tweeter http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...1f/Tw15ul9.jpg


I also understand the Megaphone analogy.


But when a horn is used as a tweeter, either hybrid or traditional, other than the directionality of it, is there any benefits with using horn tweeters.


Or, as with most things involving Audiophilia(my word, I made it up!) as a whole, everything is subjective to the listeners preferences?
 

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Correct...


Yes it is subjective to everyones likings.


For me the horn just makes things come to life. Voices sound just as the person is in the room talking to you. A window shattering sounds just like what it should. Crisp, clear, airy highs to me is a huge benefit. The only other negative I can think of is if the midrange drivers or woofers were not efficient and the tweeter was extra efficient the highs would over power the other freqs (which IMO is how the Klipsch Reference series speakers sound). With the Acoustechs the woofers are treated paper cones and are very efficient so they sound very well balanced in highs vs. lows.


FYI.... Almost every (probably every) movie theater uses speakers with horn loaded tweeters. Some use a fully horn loaded speaker.
 

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Well, along with the directional aspects of horn tweeters, there are some other things that I has always noticed and also read about. The horn does acoustically amplify the tweeter output as was noted, but others have said it can also introduces a type of IM distortion since you have high frequency sound waves bouncing around inside the horn itself. For instance, one of the design features often pointed out on typical 2 or three way speakers using dome tweeters is that the tweeter is positioned in a proper plane relative to the other drivers so phasing is correct and. .. . high frequencies radiating from the dome tweeter are free to disperse free of interference from the sides of the enclosure or the other drivers in the same cabinet.


So in that case with dome tweeters, IF care is taken to make sure things aren't in the way to the sides of a dome tweeter because of causing undesirable effects, what does that say about having the tweeter drivers inside a small, box shaped horn with sides bouncing the waves around inside it? Possibly introducing some kind of IM distortion? Anyway, that is some of what I read regarding the "cons" of horn tweeters. I know, supposedly, the "horn" should be designed so that its driver is ideally located, but for all frequencies?


As for my opinion, I always thought horns were great for large areas and for maximum output such as auditoriums and such. But for most home use, the wider dispersion domes often would be better. Not to mention, to me, horns always sounded kind of strident and peaky to me in a home environment.


Maybe the gurus have more to say?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by flickhtguru /forum/post/21747876


Correct...


Yes it is subjective to everyones likings.


. The only other negative I can think of is if the midrange drivers or woofers were not efficient and the tweeter was extra efficient the highs would over power the other freqs (which IMO is how the Klipsch Reference series speakers sound). With the Acoustechs the woofers are treated paper cones and are very efficient so they sound very well balanced in highs vs. lows.


FYI.... Almost every (probably every) movie theater uses speakers with horn loaded tweeters. Some use a fully horn loaded speaker.

Yes, the Klipsch are a good example of what I meant about sounding "strident" or almost piercing at times. But, yes, horns seem well suited in an auditorium/movie theater. . . . or I suppose if you have a very large listening area. But it would have to be something other than Klipsh.
 

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Horns are the only way to go if you like your sound loud and clear. Horns do have a type of sound that differ from other speaker types. You need to listen before you buy.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999 /forum/post/21747705


So I went through the Speaker Forum and could not find any info. I was going to post this there, but it's really better suited here.


What are the pros and cons between the two? Obviously, there is a sound difference.

Horn-loaded speakers are also called "waveguide" speakers. Waveguide being new-speak for horn.


Your typical Dome speaker is mounted on a flat plate, which acts as a simple waveguide. It restricts the directivity of the dome to 180 degrees at low frequencies. At higher frequencies the side of the dome itself provides some additional directivity because the speaker's diaphragm diameter starts approaching 1/2 wavelength and cancellation reduces off-axis response.


Most horn speakers that are midranges or tweeters are composed of a compression driver and a waveguide. A compression driver is composed of a magnet and diaphragm assembly that looks quite a bit like a dome tweeter, but that is covered by a device called a phasing plug that gathers sound from all over the diaphragm and collects it into a tubular passage. The waveguide receives sound from the compression drivers tubular passage and guides the sound out into the room in ways that depend on the shape of the waveguide.


The waveguide helps match the acoustic impedance of the compression driver which produces highly concentrated sound, to the impedance of the room which receives dispersed sound. It's a kind of acoustic transformer.


Dome tweeters also produce concentrated sound but they make no effort to match the impedance of their diaphragm to that of the room so they are far less efficent.


There is a kind of intermediate kind of speaker that places a waveguide in front of a dome or cone speaker. While not quite as efficient as using a compression driver, the waveguide can have beneficial effects.


The big problem with waveguides is that their size is determined by the wavelength of the lowest frequency they handle so they have to be very large to be efficient at low frequencies.


The main benefit of the waveguide is that it can control the directivity of the speaker and provide many options. Wavegudes can control directivity to be wide, narrow, and different in the vertical and horizontal orientation. One benefit of controlling the directivity of a speaker is that you can use this control to prevent or reduce sound falling where it shouldn't and causing undesirable reflections.


If you use a dome or cone speaker as your baseline, the waveguide speakers have the advantages of better controlled directivity and the opportunity for greater efficiency.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by flickhtguru /forum/post/21747747


When ppl say horns are bright its probably cuz its a compression tweeter mounted back in the horn like Klipsch for example.

When people say Klipsch is bright it is because they generally use crap components. Compression drivers of high quality are not always inexpensive. I've had Khorns, LaScala and Heresy, and by the time you engineer the faults out, there's not much Klipsch left.


My point being that simply because it has a compression driver in it does not mean it will sound bright.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 /forum/post/21750183


When people say Klipsch is bright it is because they generally use crap components. Compression drivers of high quality are not always inexpensive. I've had Khorns, LaScala and Heresy, and by the time you engineer the faults out, there's not much Klipsch left.


My point being that simply because it has a compression driver in it does not mean it will sound bright.

I agree. I was just using Klipsch as an example. I like the sound of Klipsch for mids and highs I just think they lack in the bass area. Granted I've only heard the Icon, Icon V, Synergy, and the Reference series up to the RF-62IIs, so for the rest I can't comment.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by joehonest /forum/post/21747977


Horns are the only way to go if you like your sound loud and clear. Horns do have a type of sound that differ from other speaker types. You need to listen before you buy.

Fact is that there are a number of well-designed speakers with waveguides that you'd never know were built that way unless you took the grille cloth off.


Whether a speaker is bright or subdued has a lot to do with how its crossover is designed and set up.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by flickhtguru  /t/1398576/horn-vs-dome-tweeter-design#post_21750529



I agree. I was just using Klipsch as an example. I like the sound of Klipsch for mids and highs I just think they lack in the bass area. Granted I've only heard the Icon, Icon V, Synergy, and the Reference series up to the RF-62IIs, so for the rest I can't comment.

I use two pair of the Klipsch RF 5 for mains. (not my only two pair set), I always loved the horns, and found them to have excellent sound and good dispersion, in my listening area of 14 by 12 feet. Obviously you will get less bass response with only 6 inch drivers or less. These RF 5 have two eight inch bass drivers, and they are actually very good for bass. The only time i found them too bright was if I equalized up the high end of the spectrum, then you pierce your eardrum no problem as these horns will reproduce whatever high frequency you give them Given that I still like to bump up 16 and 20 kg band on my equalizer.


Below them I have two pair of yamaha yst speakers with one eight inch bass, and the usual dome tweeter. They do not reproduce the high end like the klipsch will do unless you equalize them up. I think some people call the dome smoother simply because your not reproducing the 16 to 20 k range as much as kiipsch horn, and of course your are also 15 db less efficient so the level of reproduction is a lot lower.


We all have our magic processors these days, so it is pretty easy to make up for differences in speakers with quality processing. Klipsch didnt become one of the biggest speaker makers in the world because people did not like there speakers.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999  /t/1398576/horn-vs-dome-tweeter-design/0_100#post_21747705


... If one is better than the other, then why do some manufactures still make them?

 
 

First, there is no such thing as a perfect speaker of any kind.  So when looking at which one to make, the manufacturer decides which virtues to pursue and which vices to accept.  The same idea applies to you selecting a product to buy.  There is no perfect speaker, so you select based on which virtues you require, and which vices you can accept.  Since different people care about different things, they will prefer different speakers.  Of course, many people form prejudices about these matters, and that, too, influences their choices.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999  /t/1398576/horn-vs-dome-tweeter-design/0_100#post_21747705

...


So what makes a better tweeter, horn or dome, or other?
 

Any type of tweeter (or other speaker) can be made badly, and so selecting by speaker type is not going to guarantee anything.  So I recommend that you do not select your speaker by its type, but instead by how well you like the sound.

 

That said, I personally am very fond of ribbons (though I have heard a couple of cheap ones that I did not care for; as I already stated, any type can be made badly).  My Apogee Stage speakers seem almost magical to me, though I'm damned if I know why they seem so special.  I've read various things about the low mass of the drivers, etc., but I have never found what I consider to be a satisfactory explanation of what, precisely, they are doing that I like so well compared with other speakers.  Although I like the "spaciousness" created by the dipole drivers, that is not the "magic" for me, as I also very much like the monopole Aurum Cantus ribbon tweeters I have.  And I have owned other speakers that radiate sound forward and back with conventional drivers, and they did not have the "magic."  The subjective impression of my speakers is greater clarity and less distortion, but I know enough about the value of subjective impressions to be cautious about forming any opinion on their actual performance based on that; human ears are not calibrated test equipment.  That I like the way they sound is one thing, but why it is, is another thing, that is much more difficult to be certain about.

 

 

 

Edited to add:  I now see that johnplayerson has revived a very old thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, since we are all here... How would one determine the MLP and the worst listening spot(s) for a set of L&R speakers? Adding to that, a center channel, all on the same plane. Wouldn't there be more cancellation due to the directiveness and design of the Waveguides(horns for those late to the party)? Would one use the 'Mirror' trick concept, to try to see the center of the Waveguide? Thereby, if you can't see it, then you would be less inclined to hear it. Also, would nearfeild listening sound considerable different from let's say 12' to 18' away(asumming symmetrical design with minimal room gain, absorption, et al)?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999  /t/1398576/horn-vs-dome-tweeter-design#post_21747705


So I went through the Speaker Forum and could not find any info. I was going to post this there, but it's really better suited here.



What are the pros and cons between the two? Obviously, there is a sound difference. Horns have been called "bright" and other creative adjectives. If one is better than the other, then why do some manufactures still make them?



So for an example, within the same line:


BIC RtR 1530 http://www.bicamerica.com/showpage.p...e=15&spkrID=63



BIC RtR-EV15 http://www.bicamerica.com/showpage.p...=15&spkrID=120



The 1530's have "2 1/2" fluid cooled tweeter", while the EV15's have "one high efficiency horn tweeter with extended output to 116dB".



There are a few other small differences, magnet size and slight difference in midrange, and whatnot.



But the big difference is the 1530 has a "Sensitivity: 90 dB." While the EV15 has "Sensitivity: 95dB @ 2.83V/1 watt, 1 meter."



Based off of that, it seems like horn makes a better tweeter.



So what makes a better tweeter, horn or dome, or other?

A typical dome tweeter is really a dome driver on a flat waveguide.


Look carefully at some of them and there is actually a short waveguide.


The waveguide is an acoustic impedance matching device. Normally the interface between a driver and the free air has a giant impedance mismatch. When the waveguide matches the impedances better there are fewer losses and efficiency goes up.


The downside of waveguides are likely reflections and undesirable reflections inside the waveguide.


An ideal waveguide follows one of the many solutions of the wave equation of sound in the air. Finding many new solutions and therefore more optimal waveguide shapes is part of the innovations by Dr. Earl Geddes.


How the waveguide is driven is part of the equation. A dome tweeter is a simple driver, while compression drivers are generally more optimal and therefore more efficient. A planar diaphragm is another example of potentially good driver for a waveguide.


Waveguides and drivers are diverse enough that any idea of a characteristic sound is probably a stereotype. For example many constant directivity waveguides have a built in fairly steep HF rolloff and have to be used with an electrical equalizer with rising response to sound anywhere near flat. Naturally, they sound very dull!
 

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I own Avantgarde Acoustics Duo Omega spherical horns and they are simply some of the best sounding speaker styles around. Extremely impressive for movies and for music. I am able to achieve a flat response from them and they sound holographic like electrostatics but feel limitless in power. They are very efficient (>108db) and so usually operate at under 5 watts power into 8ohms.


They must be placed perfectly with respect to the listening position to get best results but once setup right, almost nothing else compares.


There is zero hint of harshness and if i blinded you all you would be able to notice is their holographic presentation and the very large (larger than life) soundstage. You can identify spherical horn speakers easily on blind testing. They have no hint of "horn harshness"


If you can get a pair of these used, they are good enough to be purchased sight unseen. They arent around much since they are almost entirely sold and marketed in europe.


I also own B&W 802d and have a lot of other stuff but really nothing else really compares to large horn speakers. danley speakers have been compared favorably by some however I can't compare since I havent heard danleys.
 

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I used to be a big fan of waveguides (and still am) but now that I have discovered ribbons, I may never go back
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emetw  /t/1398576/horn-vs-dome-tweeter-design#post_24353959


I used to be a big fan of waveguides (and still am) but now that I have discovered ribbons, I may never go back

Monitor audio's top of the line platinum which is cheaper than 802d sounds better to be than my 802d... I was very impressed by the beauty of ribbon sound. I have been very impressed by the transparent sound of ribbons on legacy tweeters as well.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar  /t/1398576/horn-vs-dome-tweeter-design#post_24354006


Monitor audio's top of the line platinum which is cheaper than 802d sounds better to be than my 802d... I was very impressed by the beauty of ribbon sound. I have been very impressed by the transparent sound of ribbons on legacy tweeters as well.

Very nice! Ribbons do a great job blending mid-low SPL smoothness of domes with dispersion and efficiency of horns, better than I could have imagined. I just measured my Aurum Cantus G3SI's in my line arrays and they are flat to well beyond 20khz from 45 degrees off-axis!!! Even if I am in a different part of the house, it still sounds very open and real. One thing I have noticed about ribbons is that they are VERY forgiving with poor recordings, especially highly compressed content like MP3's. Just about everything sounds good with them.


My favorite ribbons of all time are my RAAL 140-15D dipoles. I originally had them paired with SEAS Excel W15 mids and I plan to pair them with Acoustic Elegance Dipole6's next (currently in storage, no room for a dedicated 2-channel room right now
). They sound incredible and have extremely low distortion/high sensitivity. Off-axis response is world-class...and most importantly they are just plain "fun" to listen to. That's the most important part, right?



I do want to experiment with a SEOS waveguide for my next project when I move to a bigger house that has a dedicated theater. They seem to be the best combination of value/performance. Paired with an Acoustic Elegance woofer, I bet they are perfect!
 
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