Horns for HT?

Hi all,

I'm starting to set up a second HT room in our 18'x32'x10'basement game room. I have a B&W HT/music system on the main floor featuring 800ds, HTM2D, Velodyne DD18. I would like to try something different in the basement. From what I've been told horns excel at impact\dynamics\punch. So would a HT system with horn speakers work well. Does anyone have any suggestions going this direction? I will be using Arcam AVR-600 for my processor.I'm not looking at going quite as high end as I have upstairs

Thanks, Mike
You may want to take a look at the system gallery on the Avantgarde site. There are a few 5 Solo HT systems. It may be more than you want to spend, but at least they are self amplified.
This should squash any doubts(if any) about horns for home theater.


In an earlier iteration of my HT, I had B&W 802 speakers and Mcintosh amps. I it sounded great but I got a taste of horns in my main music setup (which is separate.) So when I moved into my new house, which has separate music and HT rooms, I put custom horns and low powered Audio note amps in the HT room. The sound for me was a definite upgrade with amazing dynamics and impact. The room is sound proofed (relatively) with two subs. BTW, for many years, movie theaters used horns and tube amplification.

Good luck
Altec "Voice of the Theater" comes to mind ;).
Check out the Klipsch website, they have a listing that Movie Theatre uses all Klipsch's - pretty dang impressive! I would say Klipsch RF-83 or RF-63, made in USA, assembled in USA and they use solid wood... the RF-82 and RF-62 are assembled in CHina and uses lesser quality wood.... Good Luck!
klipsch, again. No other provides the punch. Khorns with a center Belle would be ideal. I've had such a set up when I built my Media Room. Never looked back. For $5K you will be in heaven.
I've been an audio/videophile for many years myself. I've owned some Klipschies in the past, and think, done properly, can indeed offer some dynamic, well focused, coherent sounding performance for good HT/music dubties! While I do like the klipsh's - historically - with tubes in the system, they offer some efficiency advantages over typical passive speaker systems, which usually ends up resulting in dynamic advantage to the higher sensitivity horn speakers. Basically, they amplify and reinforce the frequencies they cover, making a more potent, hard hitting, and dynamic pressentation there. Their higher sensitivity also makes for a more effortless, efficient system to drive, without difficulty. The horns - especially in your bassment - offer the advantage of limiting off-axis, and floor to ceiling acoustical reflections, which can smear the immaging and dynamic impact of a sound system.
Klipsch's tend on the bright/crispy side on the treble, wiht a foreward pressentation overall (this makes for a more involved pressentation with better "pressence" for movies, IMO), depending on models, so consider. I would go with tubes first, then more mellow, laid back electonics to match, for best tonaly balance (also, EQ's like the Audyssey will help here also, if needed).
I think you can rule out ubber-buck Avantgardes, and look also at Accutech's offerings offers, JBL's THX horns, and similar. Read your reviews here,and do some searching.
For the record, as a movie system, I've not heard much better with horn passive's than the Klipsch THX system refered to here, above, for movies! Sounded very dynamic, detailed, clear, and effortless for passive system. I'd use those if I had to NO PROBLEM! Very good, infact.

Good luck
Thanks for the responses everyone.

I'll start my due diligence on a Klipsch system!

Any thoughts on the KLipsch THX system compared to the Khorn/Belle center set up maybe with a couple of JL F113 subs?
there are 3 speaker lines that I have been reading about on avsforum, jtr triple 12's, mark seatons Catalysts and speakers from Tom Danley. These all have what you are looking for. I use horns for my home theater. Klipsch CF3's mains and a KLF C-7 center. All about 100dB efficient. These are smooth and dynamic with great slam.
KLIPSCH all the way!!!

The Arcam will be a great match with the Klipsch. If you didn't already have the Arcam, Sunfire is also a great match. Just don't try and pair up Adcom with Klipsch.
I run vintage Cornwalls and Heresy's in my HT and love it. If this is strictly HT I'd go with 6 Heresy's and that bad-ass JL Audio sub. I'm still supplying my mains with the tube magic though.
In response to "Shiva" here previously, I would have to add that, if It was my theater I was building - even not having heard the speaker models he mentioned - I would not hesitate for a second to use any of the offerings he's suggesting you look at, over any typical home audio speaker offering, or even higher end B&W, Thiel, etc designs for a full on high performance home theater effort, you bet! And of course, not having heard any of these essoteric, ultra high sensitivity horn and active horn pieces in mention - even considering that other audiophile speakes out there might likely offer a more refined, better integrated, ubber-detailed and airy, sound quality - it's not telling the whole story about how any of these speaker systems will sound in absolute terms, with all sorts of material. HOWEVER. I have absolustely no doubt, based on the specs of these, that they would stomp the living bejesus out of anything else you'll likely ever apply to your sort of application, even surpassing 100% to 200% better overall dynamics and effortless power delivery than your typical home audio fare! - believe it!! Basically, you're looking at dynamics you'll find in a better commercial cinema theater here - serious speaker systems for no compromise thrills, slam, impact, and potency, if those priorities are important to you...and they are to me, in the context of an HT system.
For the record, my old little pair of Klipsch 5 1/4" bookshelf two way mini monitors were almost twice as dynamic and powerful as any other similarly sized home audio speaker I ever had! And yes, they were worse in other areas, and did best with tube gear - by far, sure.
However, since these exotic ht horn speakers mentined above are likely out of the price range being considered here, other Bang for the buck speakers you should consider, for seriously dynamic HT system applications, I think looking at the larger Klipsch reference speakers - or definitely the THX Klipsch's - like the RF7's or matching Reference Center all around, for LCR dubties, even, will be a no lose system for you! While not as refined sounding as delicate audiophile sensible designs, they offer strong detail (especially in upper registers), unbeatable dynamics in an affordable passive speaker, clear overall sound w good midrange, and powerful bass, of course. More over, they are mondo efficient, effortless, easy to drive, and coherent and focused for room friendly acoustics and room integration properties, for most untreated home environments.
I should add that, since everyone's tastes and appreciation for what a good speaker should sound like is likely personal, that you will have to audition and decide for yourself what kind of sound you like to here. For simply HT dubites however, I think you should strongly consider what's important in an effective cinema speaker. Look at what the pro systems use, what the industry uses for it's theater systems, and take it all in. Make your rounds, and chose your weapons.
Another consideration is powered speakers, loud spdeakers that integrate powered woofers for the bass. Used Def Tech speakers with powered woofers can be had for cheap around the net, used, and have a more tpical home audio sound to them, but still offer higher efficiency and a more powerful sound, thanx to powered woofer integration, due to their design parameters.
Just some thoughts
RF-7's can sound great and are very sensitive to a thorough set-up and quality processor. My 30 x 30 carpeted space also has lots of fabric window treatments.

As a "pre-A-Gonner" newbee in 2003, I bought a full RF-7 HT set-up through a dealer. Connected to a new Yamaha "higher end" reciever, they sounded harsh on every sound field through the Yamaha, even after soldering upgraded tweeter resistors to smooth them out. I added a Proceed AMP 5. It helped. One Audiogon gent has resistor's that are easy to solder into place right at the tweeter crossovers.

After I upgraded to a Proceed AVP2 +6 processor with the matching AMP 5, the RF-7 set sounded much cleaner and smoother.

In a big room, compared to the RF-7's, the RC-7 (center) was too small for a full sounding center channel. I was considering a extra Rf-7 for my center, then connected the RF-7's toed-in as dual monos as my center.

I found a exceptional set of mid-1980's Yamaha powered monitors and connected them using the pre-out mains from the AVP2. I now have the RF-7's toed-in and connected in mono off the AMP 5 as my center HT soundstage. The matching Klipsch 8 inch ceiling surrounds blend very well. The RC-7 is removed from the system.

OPPO 981 settings: My OPPO 981 DAC's are bypassed and it is only being used as a transport. The OPPO's internal settings are very important. In my system, all sound reproduction sounds best set on "raw", 5.1 (multi-channel OUT), compression defeated, all speakers set to Large in the OPPO, and HDMI audio off. All OPPO soundfields are off. I use one good digital coax cable, and 6 Mogami Gold cables for multi-channel. The optical out isn't as clear as the coax.

My Proceed goes up to 192kHz as does the OPPO. On DVD's and most redbook CD's etc., the sound is awesome at 192. However, some poorly recorded redbook CD's sound cleanest at 96kHz with minimal digital interference. The OPPO's Pro Logic II (rarely used) is bipassed to use the Proceed's internal PL II processor. OPPO Dolby Digital is set to stereo.

The Proceed allows switching between DD or DD w/THX. Both sound great at 196 with very smooth horns. OPPO's HDMI video is connected directly to a Sony 60" LCD.

My Sub - SVS Ultra PB-13 - sounds best crossed at 50Hz with my particular mains. I ran in-room calibrations seperately on the mains using a sound level meter and test disk to determine the best crossover (lowest is best). The THX recommended 80Hz was NOT, by far, as enjoyable as the 50 Hz setting in my system.

If I ran the full RF-7 set up without the powered Yamaha's, I'd re-calibrate the RF-7's first, then the sub separately. I flattened a 60Hz SVS Ultra "bump" with the "Q" setting. It smoothed out the entire soundfield. My Ultra is about 8 feet from the listening area (slightly behind and to the side) and elevated at ear level. Huge musical difference from a distant muddy corner or wall placement. It's completely free standing - no corners or walls for additional loading.

These are simply my experiences to consider. Each one effected the overall presentation of the RF-7 horns in some way.

It sounds so good, I rarely switch between soundfields. 99% of the time, I can't percieve any horn harshness. Before, it was a constant battle to clean up the sound. To me, this is MiracleLand. I'm also a stringed instrument musician and percussionist, and have a very well-trained set of ears.

The right processor and sub crossed as low as possible can really make RF-7's sound great for HT and music. To me, a great sub properly calibrated is critical. I don't feel the RF-7's play with enough deep authority "low down" as full range fronts - and need a matching sub. A fast Klipsch sub may be best to match the RF-7's. The Ultra is great, too.

My active Yamaha mains each have sealed 15's, three fabulous 6 inch mids, and six monster dome tweeters - perfectly matched.

Hope this helps someone out there.

Look into klipsch pro audio gear the best loudspeakers klipsch makes can be found there. Or consider JBL pro gear.
I dont care for Klipsch in music only applications but one of the best HT demo's I ever heard was with Klipsch Reference series speakers, for movies the sound fantastic and not much coin either, plus easy on amps at 95db!
101% agree with Chadnliz. I have seen some H/T set up such as : Yamaha with Klipsch, Pio Elite with Def Tech, Onkyo with Polk audio, Rotel with B & W and IMO, these are good combination for H/T applications.
BTW, I am thinking abt setting up a second H/T system. The RF 7 now has been discontinued, what's its replacement model ? Thank you.
I've been following this thread with some interest, since I decided to change my approach to building combined 2 ch/HT system.
Now, I'm going to built two separate, completely independent systems in the same space.
HT system will be based on in-wall, or on-wall dedicated, fairly high efficiency HT speakers plus sub, and the 2-ch system will be completely separate, using other pair of speakers, amp and preamp.
Anyway, I narrowed my choices to either:
Klipsch THX Ultra 2 (flat panel speakers, that can be wall-mounted), or
Klipsch in-wall speakers, or
Def Tech. in-wall speakers,
There is my question- actually a choice b/w Def Tech and Klipsch in-wall speakers. Which one is better for HT?
They seems to have very similar specs and price on paper, but which one is easier to drive, and is more dynamic?
My HT amp is Butler 5150, and Processor is NuForce AVP-16.