Part 5: Horns
It was quite bad, bad on all horns…..
The first was the “new horns guy” …
(references to: http://www.goodsoundclub.com/TreeItem.aspx?PostID=484)
This year behaved quite nicely. Seeing me he immediately told that he has nothing to demonstrate to now but if I visiting San-Francisco he would be happy to take me to his client’s site and let me to listen his 5-ways installations. I still have my concerns about this guy but I like when people do not just run this mouse but demonstrate the actually accomplished results. This exactly what he was ready to do and he spoke very confidently. When I told him that his speakers were not time-aligned this time he knew what it meant and he explained that the entire system is digitally crossed and time-aligned. Well, I do not want to start again about the digital crossover and probably should withhold me negativism until I visit San Francisco and head the “new horns guy’s” intention.
Avantgarde brought their Duo model. I generally not a big fan of Dio and in addition they were in Alexis Park: the combination of poor loudspeakers and bad electricity was practically deadly. What, however surprised me that the Avantgarde guys refused to do anything with own bad sound, although there were some means to at least minimize the electricity damage.
The large Classic Audio Repudiation are not really horns but wonna-be-horns. They still did not do well. I am not a big fun of the Classic Audio Repudiation sound as there are two things that they constantly and persistently do wrong: complete non-reasonable positioning of their loudspeakers and use of the Atmosphere electronics. Both are deadly horrible for sound.
Bruce Edgar brought his new Titan II system. As I was told it was heavily customized MF drives and completely new, this time straight 80H, upper bass horn. Well, as far as I can tell the Titan II was disaster. The upperbass horns were howling like wounded in his ass wolf, the entire bass was muddy and very-very insulting, the room felt like you are being squashed by 500 tonn pile of debris… The MF has no transient response at all and was sounding worst then the Altec with symbiotic diaphragms. The tweeters were rolled off too soon and the entire systems system sounded like an 81dB sensitive mid-range driver with marble diaphragm. I have no idea in which direction Bruce decided to do, perhaps he picked a few mode customers in Mid West and it was their signature sound. With all notable problem of his Titan I system that he demonstrated last year (wich was very-very nice) sounded very far from what the Titan II demonstrated this year. I think, Bruce should very seriously rework and review the design or implementation of the Titan II as the progress in this direction would juts add to the idiots-horn-haters some credibility. If Bruce, with his experience will not be able to make more or less responsibly sounding horns then who would?
Steve, Rich from Cogent and the Oswaldsmill’s Jonathan brought a big horn installation. It hard to judge those gays hard, as it was their first introduction as demonstrators, they obviously have no experience to run the showrooms and in multiple issues they did shut themselves in this own foot. My initial feeling about the Cogent intentions, after being stressed by the titanium tweeters in other rooms, was very-very positive. I really liked soft they handled the dynamic stresses. Their electro-magnetic driven, 3 ways playback sounded very soft and very non-abusive. The electricity was fine as well and the total experience was quite relaxing. However, returning for another dozen or more times in Cogent room I liked the sound less and less each time and I felt that the new severe problems unfold themselves. The Cogent’s huge LF channels should not be used or at least in the way in which it was implemented. It is shame that they spent so much effort to built, deliver and to unstill this huge upper bass horn and that this sucker did as poorly as it did. Do you remember as in the book about the “Three Little Pigs” the wolf farted and the home of one of the piggy got demolished? I felt the very same each time the woofer went on. Probably there were not reasons to build a huge subwoofer enclosure from “papier mache” and use electromagnetic driver in there. With the flux modulation of the electromagnetic the LF will always be off the wall… unless your definition of success in bass reproduction is to play the Charly Chaplin piano soundtracks… on the “period instruments”. The upper bass horns were wrong, juts plain wrong, not to mention that the upperbass horns were overwhelmed with the not-unloaded bass. The MF horns were very resonating. In fact I head in those MF horns something the negatively unique that I never head before: the reflection of the room IN THE BELL of the horn!!! The MF driver did not have necessary phasing plague extension and as a result it was loosing (I might only estimate) 2-2.5K of its HF capacity. The MF was also more decolorized then I would like. The driver had no own “smell” and dos not be able to render the “smell” of the reproduced tones… I mean the MF drive accurately render the signal but it’s sound was very bland and depersonalized. No salt, no paper not species, juts the distill water…. I meant the Winner Philharmonic’s string sounded like Kirov Orchestra and the woodwind of Prague Philharmonic sounded like woodwind of London Symphony. Actually all tones sound very much the same, or more precise…. like nothing. The pitched were unquestionably correct and I did not detect any harmonic problems but they have no smell, not after taste, not beauty, no humanity and no dirt, the dirt when all music lives…. The longer I was listening the Cogent the more this depersonalization of the MF drives annoyed me. Steve and Rich put a lot of efforts in those driver but I think they should mentally remove themselves from the enslaving them concept that they imitate the 70 year old RCA driver and put themes in a position of the creators of their own demands and this own sound. Steve, a former piano tuner, should hear and recognize it. Now he have to tech his drivers to sing, the really sing. Not in the way in which tier cosines did in 30s and 40s but better. There were a few other things that I did not like but it would be too long to mention each detail, also without a proper LF support my comments might be mistaken. In addition, the Cogent should be more serious about the electronics as the Ron Wilborne’s amps and preamps were not adequate. Those amps were fine to drive the “yellow drivers” in the homes of the AA’s Moron’s but probably nowhere else. I think Steve; Rich have a lot of work ahead of them before getting out of their drivers something interesting. So far, they reached a point that they did something… and that “something” produces Some Kind Of Sound. Now, they need to learn hot to navigate this sound into the direction that they needed.
That peaty much end of the horn observation at CES. I was very disappointed with the horns presentation at the show. Perhaps my judgment would upset some good people but I try truthful demonstrate not a respect to the people or to the agendas but the concept of better horn sound. Still, despite, the best efforts of limited number of the enthusiasts an average audio-Joe had not opportunity to hear any properly performing horns at CES 2006. Very sad....
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche