Single Driver Horn vs Multi driver efficient spker

I have delved into SET and have gone for multi driver speakers to single driver full range. They are OK, but lacking dynamics and punch. I have been told that GOOD(expensive) horns would do the trick, but I wonder if I should go back to an efficient Multi driver speaker, i.e. Coincident Total Victory. I know that SET and lots of drivers and crossovers are not the best, but I not over whelmed with the Single driver thing. I would appreciate your thoughts.
If it's not working for you Mike.Going back to a high efficient multi driver speaker may be best. You will most likely need to move up from the SET. To get dynamics and punch from multi way bass reflex need power. Not a tremendous amount but more than 5 wpc for most.

I use single drivers... mine aren't super efficient and can't be run with a SET. So I need atleast 30 wpc of good power to wake them up. There's plenty of multi driver speakers that couldn't begin to touch the dynamics and clean bass they belt out. I had to give up high efficiency to get it though.

The Back Loaded Horns I've heard aren't bass monsters.Not in a sense of air hitting you in the face..if you know what I mean. It would take a HUGE horn speaker to give you what you want.And it still wouldn't be as dynamic as a multi way speaker.
The BLHs have a different kind of bass ..very fast and controled.Upright bass and cellos are easy to follow without the drawn out bloat some direct radiating speakers produce.

It all boils down to your musical taste and what you want out of a speaker. None are perfect so you must find what fits you best. That's just the nature of the hobby. It can be fun and frustrating all at the same time.:-)

Good luck
I found the matching the compesssion driver to the low end is the weak link, can sound like 2 diffrent systems going at once. Also the low end might be handeling too much mid frequencys. Ive used MANY compression driver systems the link is my system now.
I assume you mean lack of punch and dynamics in the bass. You are correct that you will never get that from a single driver. You don't list your driver but Lowthers and the like are very dynamic once you get above 60 Hz or so. If you are otherwise pleased with the performance then a high quality sub or pair subs might do it for you.

The other route is as you mentioned, Avantgardes or something similar. I went from Lammhorns with Lowthers and an MBL sub to Avantgarde Duos and have never looked back.
I have owned Total Victory's (twice for the original vsn, and about to own the newer II vsn). They can be run on 4 watts believe it or not, IF the amp is up to the task. Israel at Coincident has finally found an amp that can do it- I have heard them at his place- uses the type 50 tube- harmonically complete and natural sounding, with great detail that is NOT in your face- bass was also surprisingly good- very punchy. I won't reveal the amps on this thread, as it may not be my place to do so, however, the amps are heavily modded, which probably adds to their effectiveness driving a multi-driver speaker system like the TV's. I also own the smaller Victory model for the 'B' system in a smaller room. Moral of the story is that SET's will work on the big coincidents, but you have to search to find one up to the task. I have used various push-pull tube amps with the TV's- i.e. Altec 1570B's; ASL 1009 845 monos; and most recently an Audio Research VT-100 MKIII, and they will also do a super job- good luck in your choice.
I'm using Cain & Cain SuperAbbys with the C&C Bailey sub, powered by an Almarro amp with 4.8 watts/channel. If I turn the volume, for example, from the 12'00 o'clock position (silence) to the 3'00 o'clock position, the sound is far too loud. The Abbys provide big music, full-range, with plenty of dynamics. These beat every speaker I've ever owned (old 10.01 Bose, ML Aerius i, B&W 803N, Tyler Taylo Refs w/Taylo sub, Tyler Linbrooks, as well as some PSB and Thiels I've also owned ... with all due respect to these wonderful speakers, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed when I had them). The Cains (95 dB) are far more musical and do not require monster amps. Too, everyone is shocked by how great they sound.

While it's true that my Abbys are not true single-driver speakers, because they've got super-tweeters and I've integrated a sub, they sound no less big and musical without the sub. I think they hit 42Hz w/o the sub, which is more than acceptable, but I needed to get lower for some of the jazz I like.
try the klipsch heresy before you go back. a good allrounder with lots of dynamics and bass when set up in corners. most single ended/single driver combos are only a means of ultimate frustration with anything but female vocals and bluegrass. the weight of real jazz , a symphony orchestra, or vintage or newer rock come off as otherworldly(not in a nirvana kind of way). you gotta remember, when sets were invented, 'wee bonnie baker' not 'the beatles' was a big deal. in hi-fi, sometimes 'more' really is 'more'.
I agree Arkprof the Abbys are terrific speakers and one of my favorites. Basically you have a 3 way system which I imagine sounds terrific. Never heard the Abbys with the extra tweeter. I did listen too them with a ASL set(can't remeber the model at the moment). I believe it was 2 or 3 wpc. I also listened to them with some 60 watt monoblock tube amplifier made by Grommes. The Abbys sounded much better with those 60 wpc monos....much fuller and more open IMHO. There was also a Almarro in the same room albeit similar to yours unfortunely I didn't get a chance to hear it.

I'm learning the key to getting good sound from single drivers isn't just the wattage. The dampening factor plays a large part in what you hear with them. That's probably why most users pair them with tube amplifiers. The dampening factor is lower on average than SS amplifiers. Over dampening a single driver will cause them to sound rolled off, dry and thin.Op amp Chip amplifiers are also great with the single drivers IMHO.

More in some cases isn't always better.When you find that right mix of wattage and dampening factor you know it.The speakers just come alive!

Good listening!
You can get an excellent match between efficient, non-horn, dynamic, multi-driver speakers and SETs. I currently own the Total Victories, the Abbys and the Fab Audio Model 1. I now use nothing but the Fabs with a pair of ACI subs, and can't foresee changing. The M1s get along famously with PX25 amps - an Audion Silver Night in my case and an Art Audio in the system of a friend. They also work brilliantly with 300B SETs like those from Wavelength

I prefer the M1s to the TVs by a good margin because they sound much more present and alive. I could get the TVs to wake up, but not with any of my SET amps - it took a pair of 50 watt Canary P-P do do the job. I blame it on the large driver complement and the crossover. The Fabs sound much faster, more transparent and musical to me than the TVs did, even with the powerhouse amps. I've driven them both with PX25 and 300B SETs, and the conclusions were the same regardless of tube type.

I like the Abbys, but frankly they are not in the same league as either of the bigger speakers. With a pair of subs running they sound very present, spacious and dynamic - a non-audiophile friend heard them and said the sound made her break out in goosebumps. Where they lose out is in resolution and refinement. In particular the treble sounds dirtier than either the Fabs or the TVs.

I had a chance to hear a pair of highly regarded single driver back horns with my PX25 amp, and I was seriously underwhelmed in the areas of presence, resolution and dynamics. Both the Fabs and the TVs sounded better to my ears, and the Fabs especially left the back horns in the dust. This isn't a dismissal of back horns in general, just that one model with that one amp. I heard the speakers with a different (very high powered) amp and they sounded fantastic, but that's not the direction I want to go.

If asked, I recommend any of the Fab speakers as a good match for SETs. And yes, I have read the recent 6moons review. I have no idea what Steve Marsh's problem was, because his results are diametrically opposed to what I hear in my system. My speculation is that it was an infelicitous combination of room, amps and cabling. I have found that the resolution of the Model 1's makes them very revealing of things like that. All I can say is that with the appropriate amps, cabling and room environment, these speakers provide the best impression of a planar horn mini-monitor I've ever heard.

Having heard their Stonehenges a number of times as well, I think they are exceptional value for money, and would be my first choice if I had SETs but didn't have "Model 1" cashflow.
Yeah...the Fab Audio Model 1 took a serious beating in that 6moons review.LOL Probably one of the worst beatings I've seen by them.

The Stonehenge looks similar to the Hammer Dynamics S-12. The biggest difference is the Hammer is $650.00 as a kit with a 12 inch woofer and the Stonehenge $2700.00 with a 10 inch woofer.The Stonhenge is ported in the rear .While the Hammer is ported from the front. Other than that quite similar in certain aspects.
My partner is using our own Three Dimension Audio SET amplifier with a pair of Samadhi speakers. They are floor standing, multi driver, rated at 94db/4 ohms, and are full range; ie, no sub is required.

Our amplifier is rated at 8 watts and uses custom wound interstage, output, and power transformers. It is, of course, optimized for the 4 ohm speakers. The dynamics are fine and it plays plenty loud. I use the same design amplifier, with some minor changes (such as transformers), with a pair of Lowther 2.5 DX2 floor standing speakers with a REL Storm sub; works great.

The Samadhi speakers are wonderful but also cost in excess of 7000 per pair. You can find them on Dick Olsher's website.
Nice thread, and something I've been thinking/exprimenting a lot with lately.

There is a sonic coherence to single driver sound that is very, very, hard to match with multidriver systems having crossovers in the critical range. Not impossible, but generally beyond the capacity of most speakers.

When done properly, it seems that music eminates from a single, seamless, tapestry - just flowing forward. And, there is a realism that can be spooky and addicting. tonality can also be unworldly.

But, like all things in audio, there are tradeoffs and problems. Bass being the biggest for me. There's no problem with deep, tuneful, bass, many achieve this. It's power, authority, and punch that is difficult to achieve. I'm talking about tactile sensation of a drummer's padded kickdrum being hit. That sudden pressurization of air that buffets your body. For that, you need driver excursion or large driver area, something most single-drivers do not have.

I've got Cain & Cain IM-Bens w/ the Fostex T-900A supertweeter pods AND a pair of C&C Bailey subwoofers. I also have the Hammer Dynamics Super-12's. Both speakers are fantastic, albeit vastly different price ranges.

You can get amazingly punchy bass with the Hammers, not doubt about it. They also handle complex passages extremely well. With some affordable mods, they can be real top performers. If anyone is looking to get into high-eff single-drivers, they are a perfect first step. You can get years of complete enjoyment out of them without betting the farm.

The six foot C&C Ben's are in another league 3 steps up the ladder in almost every capacity. And they should be for almost 18x more(w/ dual subs). Their rated frequency range is 45-36kHz. With that, I get nimble, deep, tuneful bass. The type that lets me hear all the minor inflections and decay of standup bass strings. The minute sounds os a bow drawing across cello strings. The ability to sense the wooden body of cellos and pianos in notes.

But, in both cases, I'm still in search of the chest thumping "thhtt, thhtt, thhhtt!!" of kickdrums. Or, the deep buffeting waves of kettle drums and timpani. The C&C Bailey subs seem to be primarily designed to enhance the nimble midbass and bass of the Bens instead of absolute authority.

The other factor has been sub amps. The pro audio 275wpc Samson Servo 550 amp I had for a short while was simply not up to the task. I also tried a Pro Hafler 500 amp last weekend, but the fan was so loud it was unusable for music.

I'm hooked on single drivers, but I did hear some ATC 100 litre active speakers two weekends ago that did bass in a way that made me almost want to jump ship. This last weekend I listened to some 3 way speakers using vintage 15" Truesonic fullrangers with an added midrange driver and tweeter that had punch galore. They were driven by monster 211 SET monoblocks. Yowsa!
Great write up Darkmoebius !
You should be working for 6moons! LOL
You've pretty much said it all...I feel the same way about the single drivers. I haven't heard a multi way I would trade for mine either.

Funny you mention the pressurization of the room. I thought it wasn't possible with the single drivers.
I was most definitely wrong! As mentioned above efficiency ,a little upper frequency energy and high output had to be traded to get it.For me it was worth it. The speakers still play cleanly in my room at 100 dB with peaks around 106 db. I never listen at these levels though. I'm normally around 75 or 80 dB. Also the shout some speak of is non-existant in them.The speakers also use correction circuits which contains a zobel network.This keeps the rising impedance/high frequencies at bay found in most single drivers. While in turn taming beaming and shout.

The speakers frequency response is the flattest I've heard in my home. I'm getting near fullrange sound from maybe 16 or 17 khz down to usable bass in the mid 20 Hz range. 30 hz response is basically flat in my room.It's no lower in dB than a 50 Hz tone burst. There's also no 50 hz hump that's found in ported bass reflex speakers.

I was listening to some Jacques Loussier Trio "Gnossiennes No.5" yesterday. This is a dynamic track with kick drums,cymbals,upright bass. The Transmission line loaded Fostex F200a pressurized my room enough to make the room shutter. Not in a drawn out way. Very well controlled with the kind of bass you feel in your chest( Room size will dictate results).

A kick drum sounds like a kick drum and also feels like one.I have a friend who has two drum sets in his house. So I know what percussions should sound like.

I had my son in law over to watch a action movie a while back. I used the FTAs as the mains. Half way through the movie he ask me" What size woofers are used in the powered subs built in the bottom of those speakers ?".

There are no powered subs I replied, it's only a single driver. He looked at me with this extreme surprised look on his face. Then he got up and walked over to check them out. He could'nt believe what he was hearing.The rest of the movie he just marveled at what they did and shook his head.LOL

I have been communicating with another owner of these speakers. The FTAs ousted a pair of $5000 multi way Gershman Acoustics AvantGardes in his system! Yeah their that good..when setup properly and given proper components and break in time.
>I had my son in law over to watch a action movie a while back.<

Damn, Gymane. I wouldn't have thought you were old enough to have a son in law ;-}. Must be all that good clean livin'.

Glad you are still liking the speakers.

Hey Oz..I probably don't look old enough to have a daughter in highschool either.LOL..But I do.
Hell... I'm in the weight room or running in the park 6 days a week.:-)
My work out partner is a 50 yr old retired Marine.He can still run a mile in 5 1/2 minutes!
The FTA-2000s are here to stay.
Fostex f200a is a wonderful full range you should hear it in a larger TL without corective network.If you would want better sound add a raven r1 ribbon tweeter. I built a pair like this for a friend 5 years ago.System sounds wonderful makes me want to build a pair for myself.Iam using my f200a in a azura front horn with t900a and dual eminance 18in woofers in giant back horn system is amazingly good.Thinking of trying f200a in front- back horn cabinet next.For years I was importing 60% of the f200a brought into the states sounds like alot but it wasent realy that many ,no one was using this driver, fostex was going to drop this fine driver but I bought up a bunch and they resumed production.Glad someone made a production loudspeaker using f200a.I have built 25 pairs of f200a based loudspeak many dif cabinet designs.Its a great under rated driver.
Kloss I have followed your threads for sometime now.
You have to be one of the for most experts in this type of speaker.Especially the F200A driver. Thanks for helping to keep them around! I took a close look at this driver out side of the cabinet. I haven't seen a better built driver personally. Man these drivers are MONSTERS!From all the fullrange or almost fullrange drivers I researched. The F200a seems to be the best bargain in high end, when it comes to a true fullrange single driver.

You mention the Raven r1 ribbon tweeter. What value capacitor would I use as a filter if I decide to try them? To bad I'm not closer, I would love too hear those monster horns!

It's a shame more haven't discovered these drivers and how good they really are.
Some get caught up in the glam and glitz ..That seems to be the only thing about this hobby I don't care for.Most spend too much time looking for a particular name than just listening to different products..whether well known or not. Many miss the boat looking for the big name in lights.
Hi Gmood,

Are you using Martin King's Brines Acoustics FTA-2000 speakers or your own design? I've heard really great things about them.

When it comes to single-drivers, there is always a tradeoff - highs & lows for great mids, highs & mids for great lows, lows for great highs & mids. No driver does it all.

I suspect that Fostex offers a driver for each possible emphasis (and even more I haven't thought of). The 6.5" FE 168 Sigmas used in my Bens definetly trade bass punch for great mids/highs. They do 40Hz, but without punch, no matter how large the cabinet gets. Of course, I wouldn't expect a six incher to thump my chest.

The Hammer Dynamics Super-12 twelve inch driver trades high frequencies and absolute fine detail for great mids and lows. It has 40Hz punch when combined with it's 70 litre cabinet. The supertweeter is crossed in at 10kHz.

The Hammers have nowhere near the fine detail, articulation, or imaging of the C&C's, but do have terrific tonality. Far beyond their cost. Dynamics are a tough comparison. Once again, Fostex wins, but the Hamms are no slouch.

I just need to dial in some punch and I'm set for life.
hey Brm1/Mike!

What's your sytems made up of - speakers, amp, preamp, sources?
you are correct, I use the FTA 2000s. I agree no single driver is perfect.For that matter neither is any other speaker type out there. There will always be a trade off some where. When I think of the sound of the Sigma and F-Series as flavors. The Sigma is like vanilla and the F-Series alnico is like chocolate. The Sigma is more highlighted in the midrange while the F-series a little darker and organic.

I like how the Sigma layers the music also.You have the advantage of using very low wattage amplifiers. I do not to a certain degree. If you look at the frequency response and impedance chart of Sigma 168. You'll notice the driver starts to roll off sharply just above 100 hz without a cabinet.With the help of your BLH cabinets the bass rolls off around 60hz in your room ..I'm guessing.There's probably not much useable bass below this point.This is where your subs kick in and take over down to 40/45 Hz. Now if you wanted to add more weight to the music. The simplest solution would be to go with sealed powered subs that can do the duty from 60 hz down to the 20 hz range.

The real weight of music doesn't kick in till your at 40 Hz or below IMHO. This is when you start to feel the music and not just hear it. I'm pretty sure you'll be set for a long time once you get those subs dialed in properly.
I have heard a number of single driver speakers that I have found enchanting (but not really exciting). These included several variants of the Lamhorns, Loth-X and the Ocellia. Of these, the Ocellia, which is based on a PHY driver, was by far the best. When you move up into the muti-driver speakers, and if you still want to stay SET efficient, the pickings become very slim indeed. Among these I consider the Fab Model 1 to be excellent if set up properly, used in a not-to-big room and driven with first class electronics (just like in Gliderguiders system). Even my Reference 3A Decapos are quite satisfactory with my 18 wpc KR SET amp, although I have mated them with subwoofers to cover the bottom octave or two. However, given a large enough room and sufficient power, none of these speakers comes even close to matching the dynamics, frequency extension (top and bottom) and imaging capability of the Total Victories. The TVs are simply stunning and certainly amoung the best speakers I have heard. Yes, you can use them with fairly low powered SETs (my KR will drive them quite adequately for lower volume listening) but they really need consideraly more power and control. A friend of mine is now using a pair of TVs with a Classe 2200 amp which, I think, puts out about 200 wpc. I did not believe that this combination would work but it is sublime. Sweet when required but incredibly forceful when needed (ie. large orchestra). His room is also quite large which definitely helps.
In other words, if your room is big enough to handle a large speaker and you have a good 50 watts or more, the TVs will out perform every single driver speaker and almost all multi driver speakers that I have heard in the past 35 yrs.
Hey Gmood1, I made a mistake...

My IM-Bens use the FE-168E Sigma, not the FE-168 Sigma with wizzer cone. (side-by-side picture) I'm not sure how big of difference that makes sound wise, but there are significant physical differences and the specs are totally different. Also, my drivers also have the optional heavy mass loading brass ring around the outside. I think the added mass is supposed to enhance definition and overall resolution.

Why don't we move this conversation over to the thread about my system, so we don't further fork this discussion from Brm's questions.

I've got some interesting SPL meter readings from my speakers and room.

"I like how the Sigma layers the music also.You have the advantage of using very low wattage amplifiers."

I've been searching for appropiate term that describes the overall presentation and "layers the music" is perfect. There's a complex harmony of layers going on. And I think a big part of that is low-watage SET & PP amps.

Anyway, hop on over to the thread about my system and we can continue with your points concerning in-room response.
Punch - where does it come from?

At what freq. does the "punch" happen?

As I understand it, the actual "attack" or "leading edge" of a drum strike or percussive note, actually happens much further up the frequency range than the body of the note(s). Perhaps even in the treble region.

But, that's not what we feel hit our bodies or energize the room is it? And in the case of typani or ketle srums struck with a padded mallet, there doesn't seem to be any preceding "snap".

I know it probably depends on the note the particular drum or instrument is tuned to, but does anyone have a good understanding of this topic and can shed a little light on it? Like what frequency are the Tom-Toms of a drum set commonly tuned to?
Guys, great responses I appreciate it. Here is my system at present. I have a ModWright Sony 999 with his max modding, I really like it...very musical. I have the new Omega Hemptone 8" driver speakers, they only have 150hrs on them, but Louis says that should do it. They have an amazing amount of bass, it will not hit you in the chest, but its there. My amp is a no name, as of yet, I got to be a beta tester for a company out of Canada. The amp has the most bottom end control and punch ( I know everyone likes that word) that I have heard from a 300b integrated. Now wether its as musical as it needs to be I dont know, yet. Maybe my problem is the amp and not the speakers. My old system was the same cdp and a Cary sli 80 and Coincident Super E III's. I liked it a lot, but wanted to go SET and did not think that the Super E at 92 db would have worked. But I liked that system better than the one I have now. So I am really trying to figure out if I should just get a different type of speaker or start over with some New Coincidents and a more powerful (845) type amp.
Thanks for the responses.
Whoa, that's a cool speaker. Hemp cone material, serious cabinet construction. I'd love to hear it in my system.For those interested, here's the Omega Hemptone 8" webpage. Eight inch driver, 96dB, 20"x11"x14".

You've got give up any type of comparsion between a 50Wpc KT-88/6550 push-pull amp into 5 driver floorstanders and a low power SET into a single-driver, fullrange, monitor. It's apples and oranges or the most extreme type unless you are simply talking about musical involvement.

No way you are ever going to get the type of punch you're used to out of your current setup. Fullrangers are generally low excursion drivers and your cabinet is not that big.

But, you should be able to get a purity, directness, and imaging that is superior via the simple SET design and crossoverless speakers. You should get a "reach out touch" type of midrange richness. The soundstage should much more holographic. And minute details and articulation should be lot more apparent. Subtle nuances that you never noticed.

Have you played with speaker location much? It has been much harder to locate my fullrangers for great sound than it was with my multidrivers.

Also, are you using the same speaker cables as before? That ould be the dynamics and punch problem. High(ish) efficiency speakers tend to favor small gauge cables. Magnet wire Litz configurations, etc.

Don't give up yet, it takes a lot of work to get the most out of a high-eff, single driver, system, but it is well worth it when you get there.

Try to get someone with a lot of high-eff/SET experience over to your house for a listen. They might help shorten the learning/setup curve substantially.

I was about to give up a few months ago, then had a really experienced horn guy come over. He convinced me to switch the speakers to the other side of the room and then helped with fine tuning the placement. It made a world of difference - I'm hooked.

" Punch - where does it come from? "

From a system with 15" woofers.
I understand what you are saying about the p/p vs SET, but the musical involvement thing is what is missing. I have only heard one other SET in my home and it was a ASL layla 845, its what got me started down this path. The 3d imageing and reach out and touch factors were there, but the ASL amp was too grainy for me and their products have suspect reliabilty. So I got this Beta test 300b from a guy that could have sold be a Cary 300 sei, but said his companies amp was far better, so I went with it. I am really starting to think its the amp. I live in Nebraska, no dealers that I know of sell SET stuff, so I am in the deep end of the pool with no help on this issue, other than sites like this. Louis from Omega is now trying to help me a little now, he's a really cool guy. I am really just looking for a musical rightness and involvement from my system I don't need to get punched in the chest. I listen to primiarily female vocal, like Beth Orton, Melissa Ferrick, so I don't really need slam, but then an SRV cd gets mixed in there and ya just don't want that to suck either.
You are right, the Beta version amp(integrated?) could very easily be the problem. Everything is SET/audio is a tradeoff and there is no free lunch. It's easy to get one factor right, but all of them take skill, experience, and/or money.

The designers of your amp may be focusing on subterranean bass at the expense of midrange magic or highs. Or, they simply may not have the circuit fine-tuned yet. There is a reason why it's a "Beta", afterall.

I just started to get into high-eff speakers and SET's last year. Believe it or not, in a massive town like Los Angeles County(265 sq. miles), there are only 2 or 3 shops that carry single-ended gear. There is no way to get any idea what it's all about.

Regardless, whenever you get into something new, the first few tries are more about finding out what you don't like than the opposite(unless you get horribly lucky).

As a result, I decided to buy well known, well received, amps of mature designs (nothing new), that I could easily resell for breakeven after getting a good sense of what they have to offer. There just no substitute for 1st hand, personal, experience in your own system. I am now on my 4th this year. Every single one has had something great about them. But, then the others have been just as good in their own way.

Do not get shackled to one amp that may not have any resale value, there are a plethora of great companies making superbly affordable SET gear these days. Especially, in your ($2k-3k)price range if a used Cary SEi was possible - ASL, Welborne Labs, Almarro, Sophia Electric, Eastern Minimax, Opera Consonance, DiyHiFi, Decware, Bottlehead, etc.

All of those make first rate amps that have a proven performance record are easily resold along with keeping their value.

Perhaps you should try something different if you can get your money back.
Louis is a terrific guy. Good thing about buying from can always return the speakers and not be out much money on his 30 day return policy.

Maybe those Zu speakers are more your speed. I think they also have a try before you keep policy.

It seems like you need to go with a floorstander....What ever the choice.

Good luck ..I hope you find what you seek.
Where can I find out "everything you ever needed to now about Horn speakers"? The only one I can listen to in my area is Avante garde and they are way out of my price range. When I have heard them, I did not really liked them, is that telling me everything I need to know about Horns?
LOL..that's funny Mike. Here's a site that's bursting in info Horn Speakers. It's tough to judge equipment that's not in your room. What ever you listen to try to get it in your home. I know this route can be expensive..but it's the only way to know if it will work for you.

I believe your preference in unamplified or amplified music will dictate what direction you move towards also.
Also while I'm at it... check these speakers out.
Orion loudspeaker. They look yummy! I'm still hankering to try this open baffle thing. If they sound anything like planars with dynamics I'm sold! :-)
Ok I decided to pick up a digital SPL meter and check some in room frequency responses of the FTA-2000. From some of the above comments it makes one think ..that single driver speakers are only made for simple and soft music..though I'm not a rocker.:-)
I do like dynamic music with some oomph. So here we begin.

The room used is 20x15x9. The speakers are 26 inches from the rear wall and placed along the long wall 8 ft apart.Speakers are towed in with the drivers pointed at my head..dead center.The SPL meter is set 2.8 meters away at the listening position.

Equipment used to do these tests is a basic el cheapo Pioneer reciever(maybe $100) and a Denon 900 dvd player.
The Pioneer reciever in real world watts,may only be putting out 15 or 20 wpc...just a guess.LOL The speakers are unassisted by subwoofers.I set the SPL meter to C weighting.

I set my test volume at 75dB from my listening position.This is what I used through all the test.

First test is frequency response from 16hz to 50hz. Each sinewave tone runs for ten seconds.

There's pretty much silence at 16hz,17hz,18hz,19hz and 20hz.Basically too low to read with the SPL meter ,which stops at 60dB.So what do you expect from a single 8 inch driver? I will start the chart at 21Hz.I had some trouble getting the 43hz and 44hz readings because they weren't burned on the disc properly. So I omitted them.At 21hz ..which I find nearly impossible to hear.I can only feel the pressure on my inner ear.Too me it's almost like being in a pressurizing cabinet of an airplane.

SPL FREQ variations from 75db at 2.8 meters
60dB 21hz -15
63dB 22hz -12
65dB 23hz -10
68dB 24hz -7
70dB 25hz -5
70dB 26hz -5
70dB 27hz -5
71dB 28hz -4
72dB 29hz -3
72dB 30hz -3
73dB 31.5hz -2
73dB 32hz -2
74dB 33hz -1
74dB 34hz -1
75db 35hz -0
75db 36hz -0
75dB 37hz -0
75db 38hz -0
76dB 39hz +1
76db 40hz +1
78dB 41hz +2
79dB 42hz +4
80dB 45hz +5
80dB 46hz +5
79dB 47hz +4
78dB 48hz +3
76dB 49hz +1
75dB 50hz -0

Next test was a 60 second Sinewave sweep from 200hz to 18hz.I set the SPL meter to read for 60 seconds and give me an average SPL over that period.
This test revealed an average variance of 1dB at 75 db from 2.8 meters away.The average SPL was 74dB from 200hz to 18hz for 60 seconds.Pretty impressive for a el cheapo reciever and dvd player me thinks.:-)Makes me wonder what I will get when I do the test using the good stuff. I can only think it will improve with better frequency response from the front end equipment.

Looks like I have a slight boost in the mid 40hz.Could be just the room interactions..who knows.Not really bad though.I also checked to see what my average listening level is. I don't know how some of you fellows listen past 85dB..which was too much for me to handle.I suspect the average audiophile listens at 70dB on average and maybe a bit lower.
I was bored today, so I figured why not play around and see what happens. I really got a kick out of it.
Maybe soon I'll check the frequency response from 1000hz up to 20khz and see where I'm at.
Who said single drivers don't have punch? LOL

Important to note.The only other speakers I've owned or heard that had a freq response similar. Were the Green Mountain Europas.No where near the low freq extention but within their limits exceptional.Anyone that doesn't believe there's a correlation between the less variation in the frequency response of a speaker the more realistic it sounds...haven't heard live music... Or just don't care IMHO.

Good listening!
Very good thread, indeed. I wish it excisted when I was looking.

I'm throughly happy with my Von Schweikert DB-100's and Art Audio Jota's which are SET at 20 watts. The speakers have a built-in bass amp. No problems with dynamics and extension through all the frequency ranges. The DB-100's no longer exist and have been replaced with the DB-99's. I always wondered why more companies didn't offer this type of multi-driver. I know they are more difficult to produce well. Also, so many folks are consumed by lots of watts. Then again, many speakers demand them.
Anybody actually auditioned the Zu speakers? I am primarily speaking of the Druid and the moniter.
Gmood1 I have "auditioned" a pair of Orions someone made. They were in a largish room ~300sq.
In short they do sound a lot
like planars with dynamics
as you say.
In fact they were outstanding. The ones I heard were driven by 8 channels of amplification and had the midwoof attached to the baffle (there's a mod available now if you want it mechanically decoupled).
If you can tackle the carpentry -- mostly straightforward -- you can get by with ~4k/pair investment (sourcing the assembled x-over from Mr. Linkwitz). I found the electronics a tad complicated to diy given my poor skills. Cheers
I've owned the Druids and now Definitions. Both are outstanding and fear no music/volume. They have the intimacy of single-drivers with the tonal balance and drive of multi-ways.

They are picky with electronics. Specifically, they must be quiet. Preamp volume can be an issue too, as 101 db efficiency gets loud in a hurry.

They do have a 60-day, no penalty trial period where you just pay the return shipping charge if you don't like them. Or, at least they did when I bought mine.
Gregm thanks for wetting my appetite. I had a good feeling about these speakers. Even though I've never heard them..they seem like an all around terrific design. A little bit of everything rolled into one speaker. That amplifier/ crossover does look complicated.Oh ummm I admit I'm a little lazy also when it comes to putting this stuff together. I think I would just pay someone to do it for me than deal with the headache myself.:-)
Great thread. For those of you in the LA area, many Hi-Eff fullrange driver speakers can be auditioned at the FREE Vacuum Tube Valley show in Pasadena on Nov 19/20th. Zu, Edgarhorn, Tonian Labs (fostex and Phy-Hp), Cain & Cain, the new compression drivers from Cogent. I'm really interested to hear some of the non-horn fullrangers from Zu, Tonian Labs and Cain. I had a chance to listen to a Tonian Labs speaker recently that have an 8" fostex driver (must be FE206 or FE207) supplemented by a ribbon supertweeter. Specs go to 42Hz. Enough bass for me, but not the visceral punch some might be seeking. Incredible speaker.
I'll be exhibiting there, with a 94 dB ballpark non-horn speaker.

See ya there, Marv!

Man... I wish I could go to this audio show. There's going to be a lot of great gear to listen too.I would love to hear the new battery powered tubed preamp by Welborne Labs.
Looks like I'll just have to find out how it sounds when I get it here and put together.
Hey Mikemarv, the Cain & Cain I-Bens being displayed at the VTV show are actually mine along with my Art Audio PX-25 amp. I think the dealer, Paul Lim of Imagine HiFi, will be using a single Bailey subwoofer(I use two). For preamplifier, he'll probably be using a Pass Labs X-2.5. I don't know the sources.

It will be interesting to see if it is possible to get halfway decent sound out of my speakers in a hotel room. And I've never tried a solid state preamp with the PX-25, so who knows how that will work.

BTW, I am a little nervous about lending out my speaks and amp - never done that before. But, people really need to see C&C's in person to appreciate the workmanship and quality. Hopefully, room acoustics will be friendly so it's possible to get a hint of their true potential.
Brm1, have you considered staying with hi-eff to match with SET but employing 2 or 3-way design to achieve LF such as:

Prometheus -
basszilla -

Don't know whether either of the above would offer any more bass than I-ben + subs.

or for horns:
edgarhorn titan -
oris -

Someone already mentioned Linkwitz Orions...but I think those come with amplification. Finally, some are powering sub/woofer with ss or chip amp, and letting SET do its magic on midrange/highs. Too much equipment for my situation, but could be a solution.

Darkmoebius, can't wait to hear your C&C's...that's very generous of you. Duke, your's too!
Hi Brm1 I own a pair of omega grande 8 speakers with a pair of cary 300b se signatures and the match is heavenly.I have never heard the hemptone 8's.What I can tell you it took quite a while for mine to fully break in but,the wait is worth it.Bass is suffient and the three dimentionality is great the imaging soundstaging and clarity are teriffic.I totally agree with Darkmoebius don't give up yet.It does take a lot of work.Here is my system wadia 830 cd player directly into my cary 300b se signatures into my omega grande 8s via a pair of homemade cat 5e speaker cable.As Darkmoebius said small guage wire.