Horn speakers , high efficiency but not “shouty”


I am interested in a high efficiency horn with SET AMPS, in a 12 ft by 18 ft room. 9 ft ceiling .
I have narrowed my choices down to Charney audio Excalibur http://charneyaudio.com/the-companion-excalibur.html
and rethm maarga v2
https://www.google.com/amp/s/audiobacon.net/2019/04/18/rethm-maarga-v2-loudspeakers-listening-sessio...
would appreciate input from any one who has heard the above speakers or someone who has a similar system . 
listening choices are vocal music , no classical music.
Very rarely might want my system to play loud party music .(extremely rare ) does not have to play it like solid state system. Thanks in advance 


newtoncr
I've heard the Charney Companion speakers at two audio shows and I was extremely impressed both times.  This speaker system is a rarity--a single driver full-range system that does not have a rough, peaky response, has reasonably strong bass, and retains all of the positive attributes of single driver system (very lively and dynamic and very clear sound).  I also liked how rich and harmonically saturated the system sounded.  I've heard it with both the Voxativ and the AER driver option.  Both are good, but for me, spending a bit more for the AER driver option is well worth the money--the frequency response is a bit more extended, particularly on top.

With the exception of the Bhaava, I have not heard Rethm speakers in quite a long time.  The Bhaava that I did hear a couple of years ago was very good sounding for the money.  

Good luck on your search.
Horn speakers , high efficiency but not “shouty”


i have been looking for 30 years, haven't found em yet - let me know when you do ok?
I think we need a technical description of "shouty." A lot of sounds in nature could be described as shouty and a lot of speakers can't produce them with the lifelike intensity that a horn speaker can. Maybe it's the inability to shout regardless of source material that some people really want. A softer, dimmer, more pastel presentation can be easier on the ear while still providing a highly detailed insight into the music.  

comparing just a couple.
the auditorium 23 cinema hommage and the line magnetic 812 .
the line magnetic was shouty and loud , the auditorium sounded open , easy , natural not shouty .
I am trying to find a speaker with a similar balance to auditorium but a lesser price point ... 
I would agree with Larry on the Charney's they are really lovely sounding speakers and not peaky or shouty at all. I would also recommend the Volti Rival's also a really composed sounding hornspeaker.
Charney, Volti, and Klipsch Heritage.  I love all three.  
I am planing on visiting Charney audio to audition them. Volti seems to be an interesting option as I am reading that it can play loud unlike the Charney’s. Those with experience can please correct me in that.
The only thing i can say about both systems is that loud party music is not what they are for they are small diameter limited bass systems with lowther style drivers you will need a larger full range horn system for loud party music and the other thing i can tell you is systems like this are highly prone to the voice coil of the driver staying in alignment just like a lowther which can cause damage if you do not work through the kinks of the driver.
for sure volti, or volti mods for klipsch heritage products.  border patrol set amps.
I have enjoyed Classic Audio Loudspeakers T-3.3 field coil horn speakers for better than 4 years now and they mate quite well with my Atma-sphere Novacron  amps. OTL's seem to have a special dynamic with these speakers. They are very special. I previously could not stand a horn speaker

A lot of the horn and other high efficiency systems I like that manage to tame excessive midrange peaks and nasal colorations are quite expensive (e.g., Goto horn systems, G.I.P. Laboratory drivers, Feastrix drivers).  The Charney, Volti and the Klipsch heritage systems are the exception (particularly something like the Klipsch Cornwall IV).  The Classic Audio field coil speakers are also not excessively colored or peaky, but, for my taste, they are a little too bright and a little to hard and brittle sounding (I still think they are certainly worth a serious audition).

While I thought the Charney speakers I heard played loudly enough, I did not hear them pushed really hard.  I would not expect a single 8" driver to be really capable of extremely high volume levels, but, on the plus side, I like horns and high efficiency systems because they sound very dynamic and lively without having to play at high volume levels.
Not sure how sensitive you need but the JBL 4367 at 94db is not shouty at all to my ear. Just move from the Heresy IV which was also very easy to live with but the JBL takes it to another level. Maybe too revealing at times but I’ll take an honest speaker I can tune with amps and sources.
hORNS by Autotek out of Poland are outstanding as well, and not shouty in the least.  I have the Symphony model @ 95db efficiency- have run it with 211 SET/Aries-Cerat Incito S preamp; and Grandinote Shinai 37-watt pure class A solid state integrated with equal success.  The Beryllium compression horn driver is super smooth yet revealing, and as mentioned above, plays so well with a variety of good amplification- HIGHLY recommend you put this brand on your radar screen.

I have also been to Charney Audio in NJ a few years ago- the big Concerto speakers were quite good, however given the ultra-revealing nature, SET was mandatory to get the best out of it.  Brian had an amazing custom Audio Note type 300B setup; preamp; and dac- and he built everything.  His woodworking and metal shop in the basement are incredible as well- he is a true artisan and super nice guy as well.  He even built the battery power supply and modded my excellent 47 labs Flatfish cd transport.
From my personal experience I can only confirm that Lowthers are shouty.
Nevertheless, SET amp tames that down to acceptable levels. I used 15 Ohm Lowther DX2 in home-made Fidelio enclosures for quite some time before I wanted a change, and I still hesitate to let them go as they were very good at some things. Shouty, yes, even with 300B SET. They were basically useless with solid state, that includes Pass Aleph 4. My room is bigger (around 20’ by 23’ with large openings), with solid state amps there was no bass.
@jjss49 --

i have been looking for 30 years, haven't found em yet - let me know when you do ok?

Have you been trying to deliberately avoid horns these last 3 decades, or.. 

@asctim --

I think we need a technical description of "shouty." A lot of sounds in nature could be described as shouty and a lot of speakers can't produce them with the lifelike intensity that a horn speaker can. Maybe it's the inability to shout regardless of source material that some people really want. A softer, dimmer, more pastel presentation can be easier on the ear while still providing a highly detailed insight into the music.  

Exactly - well put. The vivid immediacy, dynamics and effortless presence of live music has been largely filtered out with non-horn loaded, typical audiophile speakers for a, in your words "softer, dimmer, more pastel presentation .." In other words the reference in home audio reproduction is less of a live event than one constituted by audiophilia itself.

Good horns, and there are quite a few of them, don't shout to my ears, but their characteristics as horns with a narrower, more controlled directivity pattern and thereby more of the sound being emitted towards the listener directly vs. reflected, as well as them using high efficiency compression drivers, may come across as more direct, dense and visceral. The perhaps most relaxed sounding horns I've heard are large JMLC iterations. 

@kevinhughes77 --

Not sure how sensitive you need but the JBL 4367 at 94db is not shouty at all to my ear. Just move from the Heresy IV which was also very easy to live with but the JBL takes it to another level. Maybe too revealing at times but I’ll take an honest speaker I can tune with amps and sources.

I wouldn't call the JBL 4367's shouty either, but I did find they had a rather evenly distributed, slightly mode-y character to their waveguide sound (my guess is waveguide material resonances more than the profile itself), which surprised me given the general praise here. I find they are praiseworthy speakers in many respects, but they balance slightly on the über vivid/agile/punchy side of neutral - to my ears/taste, at least - making them a bit too much of a "hot rod" over time. Classical music, strings in particular, felt less than natural to me. Excellent monitors, no doubt (and which they natively are, anyway), very insightful, and a highly entertaining and coherent speaker, except for some excessive warmth in the lower to central bass. 
Not well known but fantastically musical: Duevel of Germany. I have owned Bella Lunas for the last twenty years and I haven’t heard anything in that time making me want to replace them
Yes you can crank up the volume with Charney Audio horns. As with any speaker your room will determine the effect. The Volti’s will play loud and clean but lack emotional engagement to the music/artist. More of a pro-sound if you will. The Charneys will draw you into the music and relate what the artist’s intentions are. It’s the difference between someone who can play the notes (Volti) vs someone who has command of the instrument and their personality is revealed (Charney).
I own Charney Companion horns and very happy with them.

newtoncr-You mentioned purchasing the Excalibur which driver are you considering?
I have posted it before, but will again:

Horns belong on top of poles at high school football stadiums, period.

I challenge you to A/B your horns with any model of Magnepan speakers and see if you still want the horns.  Listen especially to voices and "quiet" instruments.

If so, fine.  If not, maybe you can move on from them.

Cheers!
Just like some ears prefer the characteristics of vinyl - with all its known colourings - so might some prefer the sound a horn gives them.
Speaking for myself, my very large back-loaded horns are perfect for the large room we live most of our life in. My monitors in the studio are perfect for that task. My line arrays are where the band moves about a lot. Different colours for different listens.
The key thing is to couple the driver(s) to the room in the right way for you. 
PureAudioProject Quintet trios with Voxativ widebanders. 5 watts extremely loud, user adjustable XO and EZ caps changes. Not shouty. 
I like Maggies too, but, as is the case with all speaker types and models, they have their own set of strengths and weaknesses that may not fit the particular priorities of any given listener.  For me, the biggest issue is that they come alive at a volume level that is a little bit too high.  The other issue I have with them is that they don't pair well with the type of amplifier that I much prefer--low-powered tube amplifiers.  I've owned Maggies, and can very comfortably live with them, but, I prefer the particular horn system I've assembled.

The Charney and Rethm systems the OP is asking about have very limited distribution and are really only known to audio cognoscenti, while Maggies are ubiquitous.  I am pretty sure the OP and anyone who are interested in them have run into Maggies before and for whatever reason, are not considering them.
@rodge827 
i don’t know , I have to visit Brian and decide .
I also want to talk to him about amplification for the speakers .
I am also going to be researching more about all the other brands mentioned in the above posts. I never knew there were so many horn based moderately priced speakers out there .
Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
really excited to dwell into the world of horns and set amps .
It is all a matter of personal taste. Horn "coloration" can be a problem if the horn is not designed correctly. I do not know what "shouty" is.
The speakers the OP mentions are not horns in the classic sense and whizzer cones are out of bounds as far as I am concerned. The Charney in particular looks wonderful but is poorly designed from a woodworking perspective as they are cross graining wood that is too thick. In environments that have a wide range of humidity's like we have in New England the wooden faces might crack. Maple in particular is a very bad wood to do this with. You might get away with mahogany as it's expansion coefficient is very low as is Teak's (that is why these woods are used in boats) The Rethm speakers are a similar but less flamboyant design that looks like it is made from synthetic materials, can't tell. But, it also uses a whizzer cone. 
I think the OP would be better of with a more classic design from Kipsch or JBL. They are not as cool looking but this is supposed to be about sound not looks.
I have had my Charney horns in Cherry since 2016 with no cracking issues whatsoever! I live on the coast in South Jersey and we have high humidity year round with heat in winter and ac in the summer. 
Interesting how you can comment without actually having seen/touched/listened them up close. 
A friend owns the Zeus Ellipse DX45 speaker. It's a back loaded horn design, and the guys says it's one of the best he's ever owned. I have never heard it in person (he lives in another state), but something I might consider in the future.
Here we have the misogyn again dissing prodcts he doesn’t know and hasn’t listened to: same old same old....
A friend owns the Zeus Ellipse DX45 speaker. It's a back loaded horn design, and the guys says it's one of the best he's ever owned. I have never heard it in person (he lives in another state), but something I might consider in the future.
This is a Horning Hybrid speaker and agreed they're lovely. Will sound amazing on a SET and the Zeus or Aristotle would be a good match for your room size. Exceptional bass.

Industry disclosure: I'm a Horning Hybrid dealer.
antigrunge2,
Why are you mentioning Duevel when they aren't horn speakers?

I have posted it before, but will again:

Horns belong on top of poles at high school football stadiums, period.

I challenge you to A/B your horns with any model of Magnepan speakers and see if you still want the horns. Listen especially to voices and "quiet" instruments.

If so, fine. If not, maybe you can move on from them.
 
Challenge accepted. I've owned 1.6 with highly modded xovers and 3.5r. As good as they were, I'll take a good horn anytime over either of them.
Post removed 
@roxy54 

Duevel are omnis that use a horn conus for 360 degree sound dispersion. As such they are a hybrid. they at 94db efficiency also approach horn-like efficiency and have an easy load for SETs
antigrunge2,
I owned Duevels for a short time, and I have never heard them described as horn. The drivers are not horn loaded. The pointed cone above the driver is only a means of dispersing its output. That's not a horn.  
If you check Duevel‘s own description of the Sirius on their website, you will see them decribe them as omni-horn speakers: the conus has amplification and dispersion effects, hence the horn designation. If you chose to rule them out as such, so be it.

I deem them relevant for this discussion for their horn like driving characteristics and they sure as hell don‘t ‘shout’
The horning hybrid Aristotle seems to be an interesting option after talking to Colin in Nashville.
The dx-65 driver vs the pm-65 driver how much is the sound quality difference. I see a horning Aristotle in Audiogon with the dx-65 driver for a great price. Thank you 
I have owned Wilson and Sonus Faber and I will easily vote for a horn over either of these speakers.  I went on a year long search for Horn speakers and considered many including Charney, Avantgarde, hORN Univesum, Deja Vu, Klipsch, JBL, Aer, BD Design, PureAudioProject Trio's and Odeon to name a few.  Then I found this small boutique company called Viking Acoustic who does amps and speakers.  I ended up buying Viking Acoustic Grande Voix's and I am super happy.  They have a line of speakers in all price ranges.  

I do like Charney becasue of the drivers they use.
Thanks everyone,
I have narrowed my quest of horn speakers with 300b set amps down to 2
charney audio with his electronics vs 
horning hybrid with maybe tron electronics.
i don’t have the luxury of traveling and listening to multiple brands.
any input on comparison between the above 2 is welcome before I make my travel plans to listen to them .


newtoncr,

I like your approach of narrowing candidates to a few that you can realistically audition.  As it is turning out, you are looking at single driver or single driver used as wideband driver in a multi-way system, rather than traditional "horn" systems (compression midrange driver).  Personally, I've not heard many single driver systems that I would consider completely successful (Charney and Voxativ being the exception).  I really do like systems where a driver intended to be used as a single driver is used as a wide band driver in multi-way systems.  I've heard drivers that I thought were very rough and peaky sounding become remarkably well behaved when used in two and three way systems.

I have heard a couple of different Horning systems and I do like their implementation of single drivers in multi-way systems.  Their speakers are very lively and vivid sounding.  I find them a touch bright, and a bit ragged and sibilant, but, this is a matter of taste, and overall, I do like them.  I cannot recall the electronics used in the demonstration, but, it may have been Tron one time and Thoress another time.   A friend has Tron electronics that I think are quite nice sounding. 
I personally like immediacy, dynamics, clear, effortless sound.  Set up properly, horns are quite smooth and relaxing to listen to.  Are people saying shouty meaning forward?

Also, Volti had a low impedance dip so will a small watt amp play them properly?
Vintage Klipsch Cornwalls.  I picked up a pair from the 1980 and the imaging and rich sound quality and depth of stage I find second to none!

I've owned 19 other pair of speakers, detailed in another thread, some very good, and none can compare to my Klipsch Epic CF-4 Version 1. A work of a great mind, Roy Delgado. I owned Khorns from 1976-1983, and I imagine that the new Heritage line must be really great as well.
@daledeee1 --

I personally like immediacy, dynamics, clear, effortless sound. Set up properly, horns are quite smooth and relaxing to listen to.

Indeed, completely agree. Good horn-loaded speakers are both uninhibitedly present and relaxed sounding. There’s this effortless, liquid flow to the music, even.

Are people saying shouty meaning forward?

In my book "shouty" would/should be a way to address the sonic outcome of horn modes that obtrusively sticks out in a particular frequency band, typically perhaps in the upper midrange for the, at least to some ears, worst effect. There are quite a few horns though that avoid these modes in most of their band, so I can only assume the more or less consistent impression of horns sounding "shouty," to whom this may concern, is being at odds with the characteristics of a horn qua horn, which is to say a sound with a higher ratio of direct vs. reflected sound compared to, perhaps paradoxically by name, direct radiating speakers. Horn speakers as acoustic transformers with their narrower and more controlled dispersion effectively aims the sound at the listener more prominently, and thus the more direct, vivid, present and visceral sonic imprinting this usually leads to, no doubt aided by the use of highly efficient compression drivers, may strike some as a shouty character.
+1 to phusis......Also, as far as " shouty " is concerned, we are not just listening to the speakers. Associated equipment, the room, the speaker / listener relationship, and let us not forget the recordings, can all make a good horn system seem shouty ( example : a Crown IC 150 / DC300 combo feeding Altec 19s or a pair of my klipsch Lascala ). My experience, when this happens, it is exposing weaknesses elsewhere, and / or a lack of synergy within the whole. Just as the character who only likes the Maggies ( he is a joke, imo ), not everyone can listen to live, unamplfied music, close up, as their ears are sensitive to this, and horns do resemble this more than other designs. Not everyone likes horns, but imo and ime, it is the closest to live ( as I described above, not like a Madison Square Garden event ). Be well all, and enjoy.
have a look at the Polish hORNS speakers, I've owned the Mummies for a few years and upgraded recently to the Symphony 13.
My experience, using the older Avantgarde Duo, which could sound great or terrible depending on set up, was that the associated equipment upstream could make or break the results. The synergy with the Lamm ML2 is a known relationship-- I'm not advocating amp or speaker, but together they bring more than the sum of their parts. As I changed out gear gradually to what is currently in use in my system, added subs and readjusted the integrated woofers to more closely align with the mid horn, changed cartridges to something that delivers more deep bass, the overall quality of the presentation has improved. It's not just the speaker. My puzzlement now, much as I love the character of the original Lamm SET, is to find a set of speakers that will eventually replace the Duo but can still work with the Lamm at a meager 18 watts/channel. 
I'm have been using Altec 604e since 2005.
I used Mordaunt Short, Dynaudio and Spendor 2/3 before.  
Horn and compression drivers are much more sensitive to equipment issues.
For example, I have 300B amplifier with 6f6 driver. When I started to use it Spendor sounded smooth but Altec sounded harsh with it. The reason was cheap 6f6 tubes. When I changed them to good Mulard 6f6g all harshness is gone.
Since that time I did a lot of tweaks in my electronics. And I can tell Altecs with compression drivers horns can sound smooth and refined. The quality of vocal reproduction is better then most speakers I listened on other systems included audio show.
And in addition you get a real, uncompressed dynamics, huge soundstage, live energy, realistic bass and other unachievable by low sensitive speakers.
03-12-2021 8:08pmI have owned Wilson and Sonus Faber and I will easily vote for a horn over either of these speakers.  I went on a year long search for Horn speakers and considered many including Charney, Avantgarde, hORN Univesum, Deja Vu, Klipsch, JBL, Aer, BD Design, PureAudioProject Trio's and Odeon to name a few.  Then I found this small boutique company called Viking Acoustic who does amps and speakers.  I ended up buying Viking Acoustic Grande Voix's and I am super happy.  They have a line of speakers in all price ranges.  
I agree with willgolf - the Viking Acoustic speakers (formerly dc10Audio in Santa Fe) are exceptional, with all of the benefits of horn speakers and none of the weaknesses.  They're very efficient, are easily driven with tube amps (SET amps and others).  Magical sound - among the best. 

I have the Berlin R MKII stand mount monitors and they sound superb - just as in these videos! 

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=viking+acoustics+berlin+r
   
Here are my videos of my Altec 604E

Heifetz - Sibelius Violin Concerto
https://youtu.be/LYXm9NL_RuY

Louis Armstrong ‎– Satchmo Plays King Oliver "St. James Infirmary"
https://youtu.be/l4iTxmxvJfU

Reiner - Chicago Symphony - Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade
https://youtu.be/trdFb6zO9OA


@alexberger -- 

Great set-up and overall philosophy.