Someone asked me if I was still using the tannoy in my system. Since the beginning of the year I’ve return to horns.
This is the actual setup. It’s not perfect on the aesthetic department and I have to make some decent horns brackets but it play wonderfully. Take note the television is a 70″ for size reference.
The system consist of :
16-350hz = 4 visaton tiw 250 xs charged with 6 8″ css passive radiator on the back. A pair of icepower 500asp and whatever cable I had on hands.
350-5000hz = A pair of JMLC (Jean-Michel LeCleach) expansion horns made by Marco Henry (Musique Concrète) using JBL 2441 and radian diaphragms. The amplifier is a icepower 125asx2 and whatever cables I could find.
5000-20khz (and more) = A pair of raal 70-20xr (seen without the front plate in the picture). The amplifier is a icepower 250asx2 and take a guess for the cables.
Everything is feed to my DEQX crossover/preamplifier/dac. I usually use linear phase 96db/oct or more for the transition between each drivers and combined with the fact I’m using the horns inside a home, I can get the transitional frequency in the 320hz without problems. It’s nice because the 10″ visaton start to sound a little bit muddy over 350hz. I try to keep a balance between latency and high order filters so It’s not a pain to watch movies and having delay on the sound. Normally I like to keep the latency in the 20-40ms. The DEQX is fantastic for that.
The CSS passive radiators permit to tune the cabs where you position them using external added mass. This is a really nice way to optimize the system without using much corrections from the DEQX. In the end I only use little bit of correction from 16hz to 140hz and after that the horns and tweeters are perfectly fine without it. This speak a lot about the quality of the JMLC expansions and the RAAL tweeters performances.
I’ve been able to compare different raal and so far the 70-20xr are my favorite. I can’t stand the 210-10, the 140-15D are too directional and doesn’t bring anything more for a 2-4khz cut. The 70-10 is nice for 10khz and more, under that … The 70-20xr is really versatile and never sound like a ribbons as the 210-10 tend to do. You can cut the 70-20xr at 2khz if you want with a proper crossover and still get a lot of energy They need more power than you may think so I’ve used my second larger amplifier for them.
I do hook the horns and tweeters directly to the amplifiers. I would do that with tube amplifiers using output transformer or icepower amplifier only. With anything else a capacitor is almost necessary.
My source are either a mac mini with a m-audio audiophile sound card or a chromecast (just replaced the old apple tv) using the TV as a converter (hdmi to toslink) to the dac. 99% of the time the chromecast and spotify (on highest quality setting) is used and it sound perfectly fine.
I’ve installed a old realistic power meter on the low frequency cabs to get an idea of the real power need … and mostly to look at needles moving while listening to music. For most of my listening the power consumption is under 1-2 watts per channel on the visaton. Lound session will peak in the 5-10 watts. My amplifiers are way overkill even for the low frequency sections.
The horns are made of rocks dust and epoxy. It similar to concrete. They weigh a ton and by sitting on top of the low frequency cabs damp everything. I need to build a better rack eventually but for now it works quite well.
This is the best sound I’ve had home and heard from a sound system so far and I’m really happy of been able to enjoy it everyday. It play everything you throw at it with authority and accuracy without ever sounding like cheap horns can. There is no shouting, it’s not in your face except if the music played is supposed to be (ex trumpet, big bands etc) The energy from the speakers is amazing and the realism is there.