Haven't heard anything else in that league.
Haven't heard anything else in that league.
I have not heard many like that actually.
Some I would like to hear are Avantgarde and Classic Audio Reproductions (I think their horns qualify though I do not know their efficiency specs).
Cardersound is a reasonably priced line that I would like to hear.
Of course the usual culprits, the Klipschorns (the only ones I have actually heard though its been a while).
The thing with these very high efficiency horns is they tend to be BIG! You have to have the right room for a lot of them, althoughif WAF is not a concern, I've seen some monster horns fit into pretty tight quarters!
Also Cain & Cain Abbeys. Very slick looking!
The Tonian TL-D1 is an interesting design. Think of it as a single driver wannabe, but with super tweeter and very simple crossover. I had been wanting to try these for 4 years (up until recently they listed for $1750) and found a great deal on a used pair here. Unless you pay extra, the finish is basic and will easily show some flaws, but the sound is extremely fast and transparent. They go down to the low 40's, and placement is flexible as you can tune the bass via the adjustable bass port. The cabinet is lightweight and has very thin walls (think acoustic guitar, violin, or similar instrument body) using the reverberations to voice the speaker.
Duke and Tony make great speakers (the new Audiokinesis Prism is interesting too for $2500), but take some opposite approaches in design. I don't think the TL-D1's have the timbre of the Jazz Modules, nor the punch, but they play a lot bigger than their size and are slightly more balanced tonally. In many ways they remind me of my old Spendor's but more neutral.
I have owned or heard all of the following and in general favor these high efficiency designs
Audio Note AN/E sec
KCS SEAS Exotic
Tonian Classic 12.1 (currently own these)
Klipsch Corner Horns
Merlin VSM MXE
Acapella (not sure which model..ion tweter)
One of the best I've owned was the ADS 1530, with an efficiency rating of 95 db. They could play loud, could handle 500 watts,and sounded great. They were Telarc's studio monitors for years, until they updated and went to Waveform Mach 7's. Their only drawback was their immense size, being 2" wide, 52" high, and weighing over 100 lbs. Sometimes I still wish I had them back. I'm currently using their 1590's, not quite as efficient as the 1530's, but only 12" wide towers.
The Lamhorn is very good - can be forward.
The Beauhorn is also very good, quite a bit smoother, but less heft.
Of course neither of these have any real highs (and if you 'throw in a super-tweeter' you're now building your own speaker).
Devore are great speakers but they are really not high-eff in any sense, though they will play on a 300B.
Klipsch can sound decent but the people who say they are mid-fi speakers stock do have a point.
The various Fostex backloaded horns have beguiling qualities but I have not heard one that did not have some forwardness/peakiness issues.
The Audio Note AN/Es are very special and will play decently on a 45 SET. Unfortunately in a great many rooms it is nearly impossible to get smooth bass in the corners and out of the corners the bass reach is quite compromised.
The Tonian speakers are absolute, pure genius.
The "best" I've heard...size and cost not object...have been the Classic Audio Reproductions T1.3 with field coil drivers.
Coincident speakers are very nice, and are available in sizes to fit all rooms.
When I was auditioning speakers last year, I shifted my evaluation paradigm by giving less weight to technical analysis and perfection, and more weight to emotional impact and fun-factor. When I gave more weight to my tapping toes and bobbing head, I voted for Audio Note AN/E.
I've been interested in trying high efficiency horns primarily based on fun factor as well as being at the other end of the design spectrum from everything I run currently.
The CAR speaks with the field coil drivers must be absolutely fantastic (and expensive), perhaps without comparison in certain ways.
When the time comes, I'll be wading into these waters to see how it feels before going for a major plunge!
WAF is a major inhibitor for me with these high efficiency horns because I would like to target them into my wife's sunroom where the Dynaudio monitors sit relatively unobtrusively today.
Very informative thread here!
Thanks for all the responses.
I admit the Tonians, Coincidents, and Audio notes were high on my list when I started this thread. Thanks for chiming in on those TVAD and Paulfolbrecht.
There is definitely something special about the Audio Notes but they're certainly not cheap. The pair I heard were like $50k retail. But it sure seems like a lot of people end there after trying around. However I'm guessing the Tonians have a lot of similarities to the Audio Notes and they are considerably cheaper.
It seems like there are a lot of other companies flying under the radar which is what I was hoping to hear about. I feel like there is a small resurgence in high efficiency designs going on.
There have been at least a few suggestions I have not heard of before, and a lot I've never heard.
A few people chimed in 92db is not efficient and I agree but I figured it was the bottom end of what any sane audiophile could classify as efficient. I had to pick some bottom threshold so there it is.
The Audio Note AN-E/SPe HE speakers I heard at RMAF and eventually purchased have a frequency response of 17Hz-22KHz (-6dB) and start at $7500 in the standard finishes.
From my research into Tonian speakers, including emails with Tony, his models with similar frequency response cost about the same or more. The Classic 12.1 for example (32Hz-40KHz), I believe retails for over $12k (someone please correct me).
The Tonian TL-D1 that everyone considers a bargain, have a frequency response of 42Hz-40KHz. Limited bass response.
Be certain when comparing prices, you compare speakers with apples-to-apples specs.
You are correct on Tonian. The 12.1 w/ copper voice coils are $11,900.
I'm totally lost on the Audio Note models and prices. I just can't make heads or tails of them. perhaps I'll call Audio Federation which is who displayed them at RMAF. It seems like the base models are fairly affordable and the high end model is the same basic speaker with upgraded parts. I can't imagine what they could do though to add $40,000 though. Even Tony's PHY drivers, which are some fairly expensive around, can be had at Madisound for a few thousand each.
I thought that model they had at RMAF was the same one I heard at their showroom which they told me was $50k+. They must have brought something else. Every time I was in their room at RMAF they were blaring rock music to show how well they can do rock music. That really turned me off and sent me moving on. If I wanted to play rock music I sure wouldn't be looking at Audio Notes. :)