Our November Issue: What's Old Is New Again

Horn speakers, with their often ridiculously high sensitivity and ear-shocking "jump factor," fascinate many audiophiles. But their sonic flaws can be as big as their musical and technical virtues. The November Stereophile features on its cover, and in an extended version of Art Dudley's "Listening" column, the Hommage Cinema speaker from German company Auditorium 23, which features remanufactured versions of classic Western Electric compression drivers.

A full set of measurements for this speaker will be published in our January 2017 issue, but as a sneak peek, we'll tell you that the Hommage Cinema is one of the most sensitive speakers JA has measured in 27 years, clocking in at a true 105dB(B)/W/m.

Conventional speaker are not forgotten, as in this issue's 50 pages of products reviews, Bob Deutsch reviews the latest version of Monitor Audio's well-regarded Platinum PL300 tower. Other reviews include exotic amplifiers from Heed, Classé, and PrimaLuna, electrostatic headphones from Koss and Shure, and DACs from Mytek and PS Audio.

Good times for Stereophile readers!

Anton's picture

I am really interested in the review! I admit to being a horn lover and was very encouraged by Art's comment about it last month: "And how was it that companies in the 1930s could offer, for reasonable prices, technologies that all but a few modern manufacturers declare are "too expensive"?"

This may be the affordable grail for me!

Or, it may give me a sad glance at a world in which "affordable" equals the price of a new Toyota or VW.

spiritmachine's picture

I could be wrong but I thought these were closer to 50K.

tonykaz's picture

they're just mechanical amplification. You get 9db of gain ( or maybe a bit more ). We made em all the time, back in the 1960s & 1970s, until the LS3/5 made it's debut. The little British 16ohm monitor dazzled with it's beautiful abilities but needed a good bit more power ( 35 w.p.c. ). Then stuff like the Linn Kann and ProAc raised the bar even further, phew. Then we had the $,$$$ to buy stuff like the Quad 63's and Audio Research D90 amps.

The Horn's interest faded because we could get 'nice' powerful Amps for less $$$ than the cost of a nice Horn.

Anyone can make a Horn outa Cardboard Scrap by cutting and Epoxy gluing the sides together. You can drive em with nearly any loudspeaker ( nearly all have a horn shaped diaphragm ). The beautiful horns ( like the one pictured above ) have tons of hours & materials involved in their manufacture.

Horns are cost prohibitive ( and space ) plus, they can sound "honky", although they are way-cool "statement" pieces to have in your living room along with an vintage crank-up Victrola.

I made a Horn, a couple of years ago, with an old TV speaker, it sounded pretty good ( for being junk ), it was for a big picnic, after the event I tossed it in the garbage barrel.

Tony in Michigan

Anton's picture

I can buy a 100 dollar amp on Amazon that makes 160W/channel. Those mega buck amps are no big deal.


Allen Fant's picture

I am looking forward to Kal's article on the new Sony universal spinner.

mrvco's picture

What does JA mean by "But its sonic signature will be far from neutral, especially with lower impedance speakers."? I guess I'm missing what the implications are of this statement.

John Atkinson's picture
mrvco wrote:
What does JA mean by "But its sonic signature will be far from neutral, especially with lower impedance speakers."?

The PrimaLuna amplifier has a very high output impedance, meaning that its frequency response will be affected by the manner in which the speaker's impedance changes with frequency.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

mrvco's picture

Thanks. I tried a few times to clarify my question, but kept getting a db error. I was just trying to get my head around how that would sound. It sounds like it would vary by speaker, but the effect would not be pleasant regardless.