Lowther drivers, front horn or back loaded horn?


Normally Lowther advice to use their drivers in back loaded horns like the medallion but Oris and Azura front horns have also made themselves a respected name in lowther based designs. So, I would like to know what are the differences in soundstage, imaging, inmediacy, low level information reproduction, room interaction,,etc between these 2 options.

A lot of people talk about the magic of the lowthers to make music present in the room, as grab and touch and to recreate the ambience of the venues, so,
Which one of these aproachs if properly used will enhance the lowther experience?
alanbrain....you have a great system. if you're thinking horns, go straight to klipsch cornwalls or heresys....lowther based systems (except for the most expensive and heavy cabinets)won't do bass, and in all honesty, your tylers are pretty darn good.
In a front horn more dynamic has controled dispersion,less interaction with room, trebile will roll off sooner you will need to add a bass system probly biamp.If in a back horn you can get by without added bass system you will lose some dynamics trebile will not roll off as soon you can pick up more colorations from BLH cabinets then front horn.A front horn will need more room for drivers to integrate at listening postion.A blh you can use in near field.Add arround +4-+6db for front horn this means lower power amps can be used but also amps must have lower noise floor for front horns.Of the 2 I perfer front.And why not look into fostex lowthers while good do have compition.
Front horns are much better than back loaded horns, BLH are IMHO boring, they dont do anything bad, but nothing real good either.
Front horns are the king of low level detail and dinamics, and thats were the fun is!
With both setups you will need a subwoofer!
Lowther in front horns becomes softer sounding.
Lowther in a Back loaded horn is "funny" sounding, if you go BLH get Fostex better.
Lowther is an interesting and good sounding speaker. But there is one thing that bothering me is the different timing of the mid/high and the low frequency arrive at the listening position. The mid/high go straight to the listening position but the low frequency has to travel 6 to 8ft more than the mid/high. A horn loaded Lowther is inherently flaw sounding speaker but still sound way more interesting than most of the shoe box speakers available. If you like the sound of the horn loaded Lowther, than you will for sure like the sound from full blown Altec/JBL or other horn speaker systems. When done correctly, there is no time delay in the low frequency when comparing to the mid/high.
Thanks for the answers.
I was planning to put a Lowther PM2A in a 160 Azura Horn without crossover. For the bass, I was thinking on making to use a JBL 2226, in a bass reflex bos or a bass horn.
Any advice?

As long as we are just thinking about it, do look into compression drivers, they do everything Lowthers do but better, after a lot of listening to Lowther I developed an aversion against whizzer highs, so I went on to compression drivers.
Azura can make a smaller throat horn for compression drivers, maybe get a pair of Altec, GFA, Beyma or TAD drivers. Then a JBL bass reflex box will do just fine up to say 500 hz, (pushing it, try a 12" woofer here).
Not heard the Lowthers so cannot comment. I love my Oris 150 with Fostex F200a mid/ bd-design bass cab and T900-aex Tweeter. Wow what an engrossing sound. I have to say the Oris 150/F200a is a great combination. And is (for me anyway) up there with the big boys (and maybe beyond many).IMHO.Can't wait for the Denver show to compare speakers.
Hi Jsadurni,

Thanks for the advice.
So, do you think that the compression driver does the same kind of inmediacy, low level information, reproduction like the lowther?
Which one is better in tone reproduction?
Which one has more "presence"? presence like feeling that the musicians are there...

I was thinking that can be an Azura 340 with throat for compression driver and for the low part of the spectrum, a bass horn or a bass reflex.
Which compression driver will you recommend me for the 340 horn?
My new room is 13 feet wide x 17 feet large, Im planning to put the horns on the 13 feet wall. I will seat at 12-14 feet from the horns, do you think is enough space for the waves to integrate and produce image?


Gawdbless I built those horns, you have a t90aex a rare limited edition fostex tweeter and wonderful f200a the gent you purchased from put much $ into that system you got a great deal.
Hola Alanbrain,

Compression drivers are much more detailed and dynamic, with the wrong horn they can be punchy and have horn colorations, I am sure the 340 Azura horn will make the sound nice and full, the tone will come from the horn and the diaphragm.
Presence I would think is a combination of detail, tone and dynamics, so compression driver have these in spades.
With a 340 hz horn you will want to go as low as possible, I am sure you can get away going down to 500 hz, which is pretty low. If you want no trouble shoot for 700hz. Start loading up on capacitors to play around with Xover freq.
The most dificult part IMHO about a horn loaded system is Bass integration, go for a driver that will go up to 3khz or higher!!! Bass horns are really complicated...
Going down to 500hz limits the amount of drivers you can use but aids at bass integration, that low the usual suspects are JBL 2440 and gang, Altec 288 or GFA new ones, Beyma 800 series, Big radian maybe, TAD and of course GOTO and ALE, how much you want to spend? I think a good start is Altec or Beyma 700 series IMHO. Ask Martin from Azura to recommend a driver he knows works best with his horn!
Hi Gawdbless,

Your system sounds like a very dynamic one.
Tell me, the Oris with the fostex produce any ringing?
What is the distance between the horns?
What is the distance between you and the horns?
Have you compared to the Azura horns? Some people say that the Azura is made of heavier fiberglass and thats why it doesnt ring.

Hi Jsadurni,

So, a 340 Azura with a compression driver all the way up.
And a bass horn or reflex from 40 to 400 but with a driver capable of going to 2 or 3Khz?
But, if a set up the crossover at 500 or 700hz Im cutting in the middle th frequency range of the human voice, am I?
So, just to understand, in that case is not better a Lowther that can go down to 180 hz, where it will be easy to make the crossover point?

There is always a trade off..
General recipe for horns systems are cut from 500 to 800hz , you will need a tweeter at around 5k to 8 khz, and a 15 inch woofer from 500hz to 40hz. Depending an the drivers chosen.

I have tried a bunch of drivers horn loaded from 150-180hz Lowthers loose authority at 150hz but have a beautiful tone in a front horn, Fostex do get down to 150 hz nice but sound less dynamic and transparent than lowther
(I didnt try the F200, its in my list of things to do!)
The thing about this IMHO is that you get the whizzer highs... If you cut the Lowther at 1 or 2khz or higher over to a tweeter or a compression driver, then you fix that but you have a cut right there in the middle, which is worst? You decide based on listening tests. You can try the smaller Lowther...
You can get a GOTO driver specified from 100hz to 8khz, but GOTO recommends smaller freq. spans.
Or you can try a Phenolic Diaphragm Altec or Great Plains Audio compression driver that goes down to 300hz up to 5khz on the Azura 340 horn and stay away as posible from the human voice freq. range (this driver was designed for the human voice freq. range) Of course you will need a tweeter but the bass integration will be easier, then again you are cutting the compression driver too close to the freq. rate of the mouth and that induces colorations, which is worst? Lets try them.
A good compromise was found a long time ago with the general recipe, what I dont like about that is the tone of the 15 inch driver at 800hz, it sounds dull, that is why a lot of people are trying to get their compression drivers to go lower, maybe loosing definition in highs (depending on the driver) that is why I recommend a bass driver that goes up to 3khz, so that bass at 800hz has the same dynamic taste and detail as the compression driver and you dont get a "step" in performance...then we need to find a really sensitive bass driver, maybe two!
Hi Jsadurni,

Thats a good solution. To use a bass driver like this maybe:
it goes until 2.5 khz and is very sensitive.

I can use it from 30 to 800hz and then use a compression driver like the BMS 4592 all the way up. What do you think?
For the 4592 I can use the 550 azura horn and for the jbl we can use a bass reflex or bass horn.
Well a bass horn for 30hz is a monster, better go Bass reflex!!

If you are going for that BMS driver better try to get the 340 azura horn or even the 160 and cut driver down to 300hz, it has a coaxial tweeter...I heard mixed things about BMS...

Up to 300hz the JBL 15" driver will do fine.

For 800hz I would get something like this:
Johnk- The nice chap who sold them to me told me that you built them when I first made the enquiry.Thats why I snapped them up when I did without an audition and without hesitation. I Had to drive 2000 round trip for them, but was more than well worth the effort, time and money etc. Had a good time in Las Vegas also, I kept reassuring my better half that It was a holiday.lol. Cost me heaps to keep her sweet (and still is).
There is another pair of your speakers (I believe)here on Audiogon, that are two 150's per side I bet they sound awesome, If they had been an other colour but blue I may have been able to swing it. For the price that they are they are a steal. I don't understand why they have not been sold already. Seems different strokes for different folks. Perhaps horn speaker lovers have different ears to the rest.
Hi Alan,
I am unsure of what you mean by 'ringing'? I only hear music from the speakers and do not hear any Intrusions. The distance is about 8' between the speakers and will eventually go perhaps 10', although I will try to find the optimum when the room gets a make over. They are 'toed in' but when the wall that they are against is fully clear only then can I move apart etc. I'd like to try corner placement also in the future to see what they sound like. I sit about 15' away at present for normal listening, but when 'I'm in a mood for a bit of AC/DC' I put out a 'loud noise' warning then crank it up. They do go loud!very. And the 18" bass cones pump out some wonderfully articulate bass also with oodles of depth, dunno how low they go but there is no need for a sub! I have not heard any Azura's or even these 150's til I bought them so can't comment. Of all the equipment I have to be replaced (funds permitting) these fantastic Johnk creations will sure stay for the duration. I use my Nagaokas with Fostex FE168Sigma cones for late night listening as the Oris are Indeed a little to dynamic for the oh-so quiet moments.

Hi Jsadurni,

That Beyma looks very good, What exactly did you heard about the coaxial 4592 BMS?
I think that is the same that BD design use in his orphean.
If I use the 4592, I wont have to use a tweeter and i can keep the system two ways.
I mostly listen late at night, and I like to listen in moderate volume levels so I dont awake my family..do you think this kind of horn system bass reflex/compression driver can make it at low levels?

azuras have a slightly more open sound trebile is a wee better than oris.A oris produces deeper bass this can make for better integration with bass system.None of these horns ring azuras are thick fiberglass oris is make from the same plastic car bumpers are.Now keep in mind oris has a 150 200 250 horn azura also makes a few sizes this comparison is azura 204hz- to oris 150.
Th combination is a success, the Orphean horn from DB is doing according to Bert even better than the Oris, It seems to be a hard Xover to get right. Remember the horn only loads around 3 octaves.

Horns are great for low level listening, you get full sound at lower levels.
Hi Jsadurni

What do you mean when you said that horns only load around 3 octaves?
By the way,,
Did you compare the Great Plains 902 to the BMS 4592 compression driver?

Hi Alan,

I have moved my Oris's Into the corners now. The room Is 13'wide so they are about 10' (center of mid cone to mid cone) apart approx, the sound has had a big Improvement In every aspect. This Is where they are going to stay now. These Johnk built speakers have got to be the biggest bargain on planet hi-fi. I would not swap these for any of the speakers I heard at the Denver Show 2007.