| Paul S wrote:|
| I never managed to come up with a horn that did not sound like a horn… |
As many times I heard similar comments as many times I feel that people rather demonstrate own foolishness on the subject then express a sane opinion. Truly, since then the terminology “sounds like a horn” have become a derogatory characteristic and why “sounds like a horn” is worse then the “sounds like box”, or “sounds like open baffle”, or “sounds like a single driver”, or “sounds like electrostats”, or the “sound like port”? I do not think that anybody with a listening audio IQ higher then today mortgage rate would deny that any loudspeaker topology has own auditable character. So, why the “sounds like a horn” gets such a bad reputation but “sounds like any other crap in audio” get nomination for the stupid audio gold medals and looks like a universal positive acclaim from audio public?
The answerer is the same as with many other audio subjects – the people’s superficiality and unawareness in the field, sponsored by brainless and ignorant propaganda by the industry. Badly made horn installations do have many troubles and the “sounds like a horn” is just one them. However, as many times you heard people toss the common “sounds like horn” judgment as many time you would NEVER heard those people provide a specific criticism about the nature of “horn sound”. People declare something as “horns sound” but it might imply a dozens of different characteristic. The horns critics NEVER looks distinctively ingot them. It is like if you have a pain in your liver and you go to a doctor saying “Doctor I am sick”. Probably doctor would ask you to define what your complains are but you refuse to identify, insisting that you are generally sick. This attitude most likely would help neither to you nor to your doctor…
The point that I am trying to make is that what people call “horns sound” is a derivative of VERY many reasons and without the identification of the specific negative characters of Sound there is no sensible criticism but only a demonstration of own listening ignorance. (Not to mention that majority of audio people are trained do not approach sound critical at all). The sweeping generalization “it sounds like horn” is absolutely not indicative and most of direct radiators for instance are not able to “sound like horn”. Sit in orchestra and listen bras instruments. The trombones, French horns, trumpets, euphoniums, tubas, cornets, flugelhorns and many other instruments have specific harmonic colorations that are absolutely normal when you are in Symphony Hall but the very same colorations are recognized as the offensive “sounds like a horn” when it being plays via a playback. Listen the harmonics of life performing valveless brass instruments – you would hardly be able to find a direct radiator acoustic system that will be able to handle those tones. By saying it, do I imply that horn-loaded acoustic systems have any intrinsic inclinations for specific sounds? Absolutely not. I’m just saying that improperly and mistakably MADE horn-loaded installations has tendency to exhibit a common negative characteristics.
Let go back you my doctor example. You are complaining to your doctor without identifying what is wrong with you, the doctor did “something” and you died. Would it be a remote interest for anybody, at least for a people of medical profession, to express a curiosity about what was wrong with you and what the doctor did? Sure it might be a “simple” explanation: you were sick and you died. This explanation sound as intelligent as “it “sounds like a horn”. The fact that a live singing full-blown contralto singer in an open large hall has a lot of those “sounds like a horn” colorations in her voice seems dos not bother anybody. I know Boston Symphony Hall quite well and I can say that there are very many sitting locations in there were BSO has very much “honky sound” but it also seems does not bother anybody.
The point of all of it is to say that playback sounds in the way that reflects the perception of the playback architect and organizer. The stupid criticism that “it sounds like a horn” is not a criticism at all. If a person with a deep understanding of his sonic objectives will hear your complain about his payback that it was “sound like horn” then he would ask you “did it sound to you as what kind of horn?” Was it proper “horn sound”? Was it musically and sonically beneficial “horn sound”? Did that “horn sound” exist inappropriately during some algorithmable inappropriate moments? Can you identify those moments tonally, dymickly or phraseologicaly? Was the amplitude and the accent of the “horn sound” altering with any other aspect of sound? Was the “horn sound” inclusive on the total sound of playback? What was misting from sound if you mentally remove the “horn sound” component? Is any specific characteristics of the given recording you might observe that makes you to feel that the playback has “horn sound”. Can you hear the “horn sound” over a playback when you play a regular person taking, like news on radio? You can ask yourself those and many-many other questions and it will all bring you to a realization that there is good “horn sound” and there is a bad “horn sound”. The good “horn sound” and the bad “horn sound” is not a characteristic of horn-lording topology but it characteristic of the system organizer vision.
So, if you are experiencing a playback that floods listening space with the “brainless honk” then there is no need to blame in it the horn-loaded topology. All that you need is to inform the person who organize the playback that he did something wrong and that you are annoyed with honk and if you have expertise and the person deserves it then you might point out what specifically he did wrong with his playback. The “horn sound” has as much connection to the horn-loaded topology as the sound of resonating panels has connection to box loudspeakers. Sure many of box loudspeakers suffer from this problem but at the same time there are some that do not. It is not to mention that some loudspeakers are made intentionally to have very flimsy boxed and they sound very fine.
Rgs, Romy the Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche