I need advice on Lowthers

I am a dedicated tube-a-phile, low powered SET amps (Wavelength Cardinals). I have been considering a pair of Lowthers for a while but am leary of spending the money without hearing them first (no local dealers). I would hate to buy a pair, break them in and then hate them.

I currently have a pair of Reference 3a Royal Master Controls/ REL Strata III that are wonderful speakers. Can anyone with experience with the Lowthers please lend some advice on sound quality/character etc. Would this be a move down, lateral, or just different?

If you've got enough power to drive a rel sub then here's what i have in mind. Check out the "kits" on various web pages. I have a low power (40 watt Jadis) and am designing a Seas W22 + Seas W12CY + Philips RT8P. I considered going single source (midbass + tweet fq's) but these 3 drivers will offer much more dynamics that a single source. I've heard that the Lowthers are good. The quality in these drivers are spectatular, "superior". There are other superior drivers avaliable. Ravens ESg Skaaning
Doc, Lowthers are great speakers, but they are not for everyone. Like anything else, they have a particular sound. If you are a 3-way with a subwooofer type of guy, you may not like them. They have extremely good detail and efficiency levels, but the bass only goes to 50Hz or thereabouts and there is no subwoofer that can blend with them really well. Most Lowther owners do not use subs. Also, there is a distinct peak around 1500-2000Hz that is present. Most Lowther designs use a back loaded horn design to bolster the mids and bass below 1500Hz to even out the response with the peak as best they can. This works, but some don't like the colorations imparted by the horn design. With that being said, however, I think that Lowther speakers are one of the finest speaker systems that money can buy. If you have not listened to an efficient 1-way speaker, then you likely do not even know what real detail is. The overall strengths of Lowthers far outweigh the weaknesses IMHO. Much of the strengths of Lowthers come, not only from the Lowthers themselves, but from the 1-way design that I am a strong proponent of. Elimination of the crossover network is one of the best things you can do for a speaker. I have posted ad-nauseum on this subject on other threads. They are worth a listen, but make sure the ones you listen to are broken-in. They take about a year to break-in. Once they do, they sound like a very efficient set of electrostatics, except with great dynamics and the ability to play quite loud. The midrange peak will be tamed, but still there though. Other speakers that you may try in this category would be the Lammhorn with the REPS-1 fullrange driver which is excellent, but expensive. Carfrae horns with Lowthers, Hedlund horns with Lowthers, Beauhorns, Oris horns, Avantgarde horns, and various DIY kits like the Voight pipes or Ace are available for consideration. With SET amps, the single driver system is the only way to experience what is possible with an amp like that. There are trade-offs though, and you have to be sure you can do without the bass "thump" of your subwoofer, in order to get the great advantages in the rest of the spectrum. As far as whether it is a move up from what you have, I would say emphatically yes, but you are the one who has to decide that. You really must go to listen because nobody can really describe the sound of a loudspeaker adequately. If you are handy, a good way to start is to get a set of plans for Voight Pipes from the Single Driver Website and a set of Lowther DX-2 or DX-3 drivers. This is a simple project and will get your feet wet with the sound of Lowthers. While they are breaking in, you can decide if you want to go all the way to a high end Lowther system or not. You could do this for under a thousand dollars for the drivers and the materials for the Voight pipes. The Voight pipes, while not the ultimate Lowther design, are VERY good and will outperform 98% of the speakers on the market today. Many SET owners have gone this route and never changed away from the Voight Pipes they built because they were so happy with the sound and the low cost. They are a combination of a transmission line and horn design in a vertical wedge shape. No curves or anything difficult, you could probably make them in a day. And they look very cool too. I hope this helps.
Lamhorns with AER drivers powered by Tenor 8 watt OTLs and AudioAero CDP produced one of the best sounds on the last year Stereophile show. It's around 6k with these drivers.
They don't have a lot of dealers but if there are sombody with Lamhorns in your area they may arrange home audition for you.
I have wavelength Napoleon's driving lamhorns with REP drivers. The rep's do not have the Lowther peak. I am sensitive to bright so to me the Lowther peak is annoying. The Lamhorn is just an excellent cabinet with Lowthers. The best I have heard. I use a pair of audio physic Luna subs which blend in very well. I tried Rel and for whatever reason they do not work. Front end is Vecteur transport with Audio Note DAC sig 4. Audio Note M3 pre. If you value music and emotion this is one of the best systems I have ever heard.
Thanks for the input. I think, in the not to distant future, I will have to try the Lowthers or Lamhorns.
You owe it to yourself to give them a listen. The newest Lowthers have been redesigned to tame the midrange peak. For details go to


I have an MBL sub that blends very well with Lowthers in a Lamhorn cabinet. I would suppose there are others.
The only horns I have ever heard were Klipsch. The conditions were not very good and I did not like what I heard. They sounded like....well, horns, loud horns.

But I find Hedlund Horns to be one of the most attractive speakers I have ever seen. I have always thought about trying horns done right.

But my big question! Can they produce good imaging. Imaging is essential to me and the Klipsch were totally directional. No imaging at all, everything came right out of these two big HORNS.

I like the idea of a single driver without crossover components. Bass is nice, but not as important as detail and a glorious midrange....along with imaging! I want my speakers to disappear and produce a realistic soundstage.

Could some of you guys address these issues.
Doc: If you plan on hanging onto the 3A's and budget is a consideration the Voight Pipes (as TWL mentions) might be a fun project (we discussed these off forum). I will probably use Fostex speakers due to budget. I realize that they (the pipes) are not the best, but they are very attractive/unusual and good results are being had by those who like to experiment a bit with the original design. I had first thought of using a single (flat board) baffle with a Lowther "type" speaker but upon looking @ this design figure that they are easy enough to build, if I have the lumber yard make the cuts for me. Here is a website that will give you some insight into this design (it is also the Single Driver Website, or one of them anyway). My main speakers are a pair of Reynaud Twins (which I will be keeping) and these will just be for a different sound.


I have yet to hear the "modern" Lowthers, just the vintage ones which were too bright for me. The new models look to be very interesting and have addressed this problem per the ad copy.
Fiddler, the imaging of the horn loaded speakers is really related to the frequencies that the horn is presenting. In the Lowther type back loaded horns, the driver is handling the mids and highs, with the horn working primarily to handle the lower mids and bass. As such, the critical midrange area is providing a point source which is excellent for imaging. The imaging problems of horns generally occur with front loaded horn designs, although I have heard of some which seem to image well. The Voight Pipes mentioned above are a very good imaging design with the point source, direct radiator design augmented in the bass with a combined back horn/transmission line in the shape of a tall wedge. This is a very easy/cheap way to get into single drivers that is very rewarding in sound quality. Also, the bass is better than you might imagine. Some Voight Pipes can get down to 40Hz with the right drivers and line length.

Thanks for the link. I just printed off the Voight Pipes design. Looks like a pretty straight forward weekend project.
You are welcome Doc (and thanks to TWL as well). Please give an update if you try them. I purchased my wife a car today (one that we have been searching years for) and have also been off work for two years, so it looks like I will be putting this project off for awhile. The car is a 72 Citroen ID (@ an unheard of price for the condition). I have no regrets (and hey it even has a stereo:-).