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
" 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!
@mahlman, that's correct. And I did stick them directly to the horn, which accommodates 4 bolts but with the same spacing. The active/passive/eq question will require some doing; I'll try to condense.

I do my active digital xovers with huge FIR filters (2M FFTs each) on an HP Prodesk i5 4-core (got it for $170 refurbished) and use a cm8828-based 7.1 soundcard ($50) for signal I/O. 7.1 is perfect for 3-way stereo with a sub. Despite the low cost they scope out beautifully. I make the filters on RePhase and run them on Convolver VST (which also does my delays and mapping). I use brickwalls with an EQ curve superimposed, all constant Q type and linear-phase. It runs through the foobar2000 DSP stack. All my VSTs are wrapped in Mux Modular, an excellent and stable VST wrapper (itself a VST). It's the only piece of s/w I paid for ($60, a bargain). Excellent graphic connection mapper with a ton of onboard processors, DAW stuff. I use before/after Sox resamplers to do the filter processing at 768 ksamples/s. The sound cards are limited to 192ks/s but they sound and test great. A similar computer is used as a front end to carry (or receive) my source material, also through foobar2000 with whatever processing I find effective, and sent through another 8828-based PCIe soundcard (in spdif stereo) to the crossover machine. There is quite a distance between them, hence the need for 2 machines. At these costs, so what?

The former CD horn I mentioned is an Eminence APT-150s. I used an adapter to mount the ring radiators. It really does have roughly 100x40 dispersion, and the ultra-high frequency dispersion is incredible. Tone bursts at 10khz are remarkably clear. But the dispersion pattern just didn't match my Atlas mids well.