Back in end of 90s, we read articles by Thomas Dunker, Joe Roberts, Bruce Edgar, and many others (some of them were designers and some of them just publicists) who were trying to persuade that horns are some kind of advantageous topology and that horns allow getting advantageous Sound. Sure, making those statements they provided various reasonings why it might be so. People who read my site know that I am not against of the idea of horn loaded acoustic systems, still, knowing something about horns and playing a devil advocate I would debate and destroy each single reasoning that would “prove” why horns are better.
It is not that I disagree with many of those reasonings. Those reasonings and rationales are fine but if a rationale might be questioned and defeated then it is not the causality but a JUSTIFICATION FOR FATE-BASE BELIEVES. So, being a new generation after Dunkes, Robertses and Edgars, I would like to express my updated alternative vision on the subject “why horns”.
Many horns enthusiasts will be disappointed with my standing on this topic but I feel that stressing the advantages of horns is useful only in context of FULL UNDERSTANDING of the subject. Yes, in many cases horn-loaded topology as we have it today is able to deliver very much advance result but the reasons for it is not in the fundamental advantages of horn loading but in the fact that electronic industry does not have a desire to produce direct radiator drivers of sufficient quality. I am not talking in this case about high-end industry but about audio industry generally.
With loudspeaker drivers we are under umbrella of laws of physics. Acoustic pressures equal to surface by exertion. More exertion means more non-linear anomalies. They say horns are good but it is not the horns are good but compression drivers that work in minimum exertion are good. Super tight, consistently saturated, underhand gaps, limited bandwidth, super tight suspension and practically no exertion - you can’t beat it but it still has nothing to do with horn loading. Did you see the audio-Morons with their high exertion direct radiators loaded into wide-throat horns? These playbacks, with no exception, sound like a lawn mower.
So, the people who advocate horns do use horns not because they are better but because horns are a convenient remedy to the fact the no one produces direct radiators drivers at truly high level quality. There are many reasons why. The truly high level quality drivers is expensive to make and the most important no one would need them (except a few derange people like you and me). The state ordinary compression drivers is equal to the state of MP3 in digital reproduction – all people like it and general public has no understanding of how much better it might be. Sure, horns with compression drivers are at advantage but it’s in a way horns are a good crutch instead of a healthy leg.
With a compression driver we can easy get 112dB sensitivity for a narrow radiating angle. The 112dB from 1W is about 100% of efficiency. Can efficiency and compliance to low currents be accomplished in wide angle? I see no reason why not: many harrow dedicated channels and hugely expensive drivers saturated in very small radiating area. It is very expensive to do properly and no one would need it. Still, it would make horns not necessary. In fact you can model the great sound for very, very small rooms (headphones) with existing direct radiators, have great result and no need for horns.
So, in the end: why horns? Because they are cheaper and convenient way to get better sound (if they are done properly). Still, a person shall understand that horns are not a panacea but rather a suitable remedy.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