what do horns sound like


Ive probably only heard one or two many years ago and i may never get a chance to hear another anytime soon.

Do they work with pop music and electronic music? 

Do they disappear?

Do they have even tonality?

are they for nearfield or far field?
kenjit
Diffraction caused by angles or discontinuities anywhere within at the horn (including within the compression driver and at the junction) are a rather insidious source of coloration. What happens is, the diffraction is a spectrally-distorted signal which arrives at the ears a little bit LATER THAN the undiffracted sound travelling straight through the horn. If it arrived at the SAME TIME as the undiffracted sound it would be mostly if not entirely masked, but because it arrives LATER it is not masked by the undiffracted sound. Diffraction sounds like edginess, and the louder the SPL, the more this edginess sticks out like a sore thumb, because the ear actually has a non-linear response to this (linear) distortion.
@audiokinesis , Doesn't this also point to proper throat design? I know that the TAD maple machined horn had a problem in this regard (and was designed by a JBL engineer as his swan song) and if I have this correctly was a common problem prior to the CAD era. This is one of the things that was fixed by the horns used by Classic Audio Loudspeakers.



" Doesn’t this also point to proper throat design? "

Absolutely!

Imo included in "proper throat design" is this: The exit angle of the compression driver should match the entry angle of the horn (to within a couple of degrees at least), otherwise that discontinuity will be a significant source of diffraction.

The exit angles of compression drivers are all over the place, which means that you can’t arbitrarily combine "the best horn" with "the best compression driver" and get really good results. And relatively few manufacturers of horns or compression drivers provide such information. I have been accused of trying to steal trade secrets for inquiring.

Imo it is a mistake to assume that there is a good match between exit angle and entry angle just because the same manufacturer makes both. It seems like the compression driver department and the horn department often don’t see the need to collaborate. One solution is to have custom horns designed and made specifically for your compression driver of choice, which is what Classic Audio does.

Duke
One of the many exotica in detail you'll never know. That's why I opt for testing inexpensive solutions. I recently got one of those Klipsch THX Ultra 2 tractrix-hybrids that were bought out and sold for $35. Came with the stock Klipsch (I presume) driver. I replaced it with an Eminence neo ring-radiator driver and that combo performed better on everything from response curve to tone burst clarity. In fact, 2 such modded horns are acting as my 2400-on-up tweeters now. I opted to try them since their dispersion pattern is similar to that of my mid horns. Prior, I was using some small CD horns with absolutely uncanny horizontal HF dispersion, but they came across as 'harsh' around the xover point. The dispersion pattern mismatch turned out to have a lot to do with that impression. No issue was visible on the scope.
Realthing was that the Eminence N151M-8 driver? How did you set it up besides just sticking it on the horn? Active, passive, EQ? I have a set of those and was not real happy so I must be missing something.
Imo it is a mistake to assume that there is a good match between exit angle and entry angle just because the same manufacturer makes both. It seems like the compression driver department and the horn department often don’t see the need to collaborate.
@audiokinesis Thanks- IMO this might explain why there are so many different reactions to horns. When I bought my speakers, I listened to both the TAD machined horn (at the time- this was 1998) and the JBL tractrix horn, both with the same compression driver. I preferred the JBL at the time. Later (about 10 years later) John told me that he had found and corrected a flaw in the throat design of the TAD, which is why he makes his own machined wood horns now instead of buying them from TAD. And in listening it did seem that he had made a very significant step forward in the sound of the speaker- it was noticeably **smoother**, easier to listen to at high volumes, even better than the JBL tractrix horn. In my old listening room I was able to easily play my speakers at 105dB and they sounded completely relaxed; if not for the sound pressure meter you would have no way of knowing they were that loud (which to me is an important hallmark of a good stereo).


Thanks again for your comments!