Are horn speaker colored or more open and dynamic?

I think there are good and bad horns, but that the best are unrivaled by other speakers in terms of dynimics or pace they lend to music reproduction. Other dismiss horns as colored or honky. What is the overall opinion of audiophiles?
I think it is pretty obvious that the overall opinion of audiophiles leans toward colored and honky. I don't hear either on my Köchel K-300 horns. I love their effortless, transparent quality and now think of other speaker types as constipated by comparison. I am especially fond of the bass definition I get with the Köchel horns.
I love my horns too (Duos) Once properly set up they have provided me with some thrilling moments. I think they are especially good at reproducing the feeling you get from say a smokin' jazz trio onstage. They seem really great with smaller groups and solo stuff, and not as good as reproducing the full scale of an orchestra, but still pretty good. You just can't help but getting into the groove of music through horns. I have 2 other systems, one with stats and one with box speakers and I by far get the most enjoyment out of the horns.
With my SET (single ended triode) amp, the horns sound as open and live as I've heard. My wife says, "You get rid of those Klipsch La Scala's, and you better pack my bag because I'm going with them!"
I love women like that. My wife isn't that way, but to her credit, she is very tolerant of my passions. :0)

I'll pass along the compliment to my wife. Very kind of you. She is a wonder, really. I always say that if I could have designed a wife according to my specs, I would have fallen far short of the one I have. She takes every passion I have and makes it her own.
Wellfed and Ejlif, I noticed that you both use Walker hi def links in your systems. How do you like them and what is the benefit of using them? I've been curious. I have both a single driver and also a planar system. Best-Gary
Gmele, the Walker links reduced the noise floor in my system as well as removing some distortion noticeable in the high frequencies. The improvements noted actually were in relation to my previous speakers; NEAR 50Me II's. When upgrading to Köchel speakers I did not bother to recheck my results which I really should do one of these days.
pure horn gives you nothing except voice.
i listened to Avantgarde Unos and they were on the list of the first horn system i liked. still would realy never stand them against good dynamic speakers for sure...
From what I own and what I have heard, the horn speakers are not really colored. I would say that they're less exaggerated and give listener more control over how they want to listen via both active and passive crossovers.
Due to the larger and more open sound, the lower frequency is not as well define due to the open enclosure. That's why some folks prefer to match horn speakers with subwoofers with seperate amplication. However, the listening experience is very different from the conventional cone speakers. Once you heard, it is hard to live with conventional speakers. If there is no size and space restriction then I would go with horn speakers for more versatility ( especially for large orchestra, opera type of music )

Just my 2 cents
Depends. There are some older horn designs that I wouldn't give a nickel for. And then there are the Avantgarde Duos. Over the years I have owned conventional speakers, planars, and electrostats. I have abandoned them all for the Duos. Nothing compares to the LIVE sound offered by these speakers. They excell in effortless reproduction of dynamics and uncolored, transparent, microdetailed sound. The speakers simply disappear and you hear only the music. I love these speakers and plan to live with them for a long time.

On the negative side, the speakers can be difficult to set up. It took me a few days to get the placement and vertical adjustment right. But once I did I was rewarded with breathtaking reproduction of music. The speakers are also very revealing of source material and amplification so you will want to use good components throughout.

- rmf
Performance of horn speakers is very design-dependent, and must be assessed on an individual basis. The designs and implementations of "horn speakers" varies so greatly, that it is almost impossible to make a generalization. Auditioning is strongly suggested before buying.
Twl, I entirely agree, but at the time of this initial post, it seemed to be the concensus on Audiogon that all horns were colored.
TBG, I agree that is the consensus, and that consensus has merit. Horns are very likely to impart additional colorations to the sound, due to the nature of their operation. However, if the horn design is very good, the colorations can be minimal, and the improvement of efficiency, and its attendant improvements is producing deep detail, can outweigh any minimal colorations imparted(at least with some listeners).

All speakers, no matter what design, will impart colorations to the sound. The key is to have the colorations not intrude significantly into your sensitivities, while still achieving other important aspects of producing your sound. All in audio is a trade-off. No free lunch. Sometimes you make a small sacrifice in one area, to achieve superior results in another area which may be more important to you as a listener.

While this may seem both obvious, and vague, at the same time, it is one of the most important things for any audiophile to realize. Nothing is perfect. The key to your listening happiness is to maximize the things that are most important to your sensitivities as a listener, while making the smalles sacrifices possible in the areas of less importance to your listening sensitivites. This is different for different people. That is why some are in nirvana with a certain system, and others couldn't even stand to listen to it.

Generally, with horns, the efficiency level is improved to the point that you require much less amplifier power to achieve desired SPL, which makes the amplifier less strained and improves the sound of the amp. Also, dynamic range is improved, as well as low-level detail. If the horn doesn't make any objectionable colorations to you personally, then it is good enough, being that you are achieving these other benefits. One of the really limiting factors of horns occur in the bass, where proper horn size is too large to fit into the listening room, and engineering compromises are made for compactness, that hurts the performance of the bass horn. The result is that deep bass is not readily achievable out of a compact bass horn. This makes designers resort to non-horn bass drivers, and then integration problems occur, where the bass is not as "fast" as the rest of the spectrum. These are just some of the difficulties that designers face, in trying to make these horn systems.

Basically, a horn is an impedance-coupling device to more efficiently couple the driver motion to the surrounding air. It does this very efficiently, but may make colorations in an objectionable way.

This is why I wrote what I did, because it is truly the listener's decision if the trade-offs are worthwhile in each individual case.
Well said. But I think that few recognize that all speaker systems have colorations or suppressed dynamics. I personally cannot deal with the lack of dynamic realism of inefficient speakers or the lack of clarity in the amps that are necessary to drive them.

At the time of my initial post I was reacting to someone who said that since I relied on colored horns in my evaluations, my reviews were worthless. My reaction is that ONLY someone with a well done horn system can truly evaluation many components.

I recognize your sincerity and agree with everything you say.
Ah yes indeed, the second law of thermodynamics creeps in yet again. The trade-off doesn't exist only in audio, but in EVERYTHING. The energy balance has to hold.

This is the very idea that has lead me to lose interest in opinionated posts in audio forums. Everyone is different, likes different things, and cannot possibly obtain the perfect combination of any components and so we all have a floating ground. You have to decide on your own (or let your wallet do it) when to stop and accept the compromise you have before you as good enough - at least for the present. Other's opinions are not really any help but rather pure entertainment that satisfies curiosity, IMO, which is good enough to apparently keep it going. To this end, taking opinions as seriously as some do is folly. Don't worry about colorations, or what he likes, or what audiophiles like. Just find something You like and enjoy it - simple as that! Arthur