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The Hornshoppe The Horn
17 Reviews
rating  4.65 of 5
MSRP  525.00
Description: A single-driver rear-horn-loaded speaker Hand built, full range, folded, horns. Capable of reasonable SPL using SET (or other flea power) amplifiers.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (17 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Cory Melvin a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: January 3, 2016

Bottom Line:   
I recently acquired a pair of Horn Shoppe's The Horn speakers, and noticed that they haven't been reviewed for awhile. I thought that I'd throw my 2 cents in, especially since these reviews (along with the professional's) helped me a lot in my decision to buy these. I have the latest version with the Fostex FE126EN drivers. The MSRP listed above is outdated- these speakers now cost $925, S&H included.

Background:

I am a "Maggie Man" in general, having owned 4 pairs now. I have climbed the ladder from MMG's to my highly modified 3 series. I have put a lot of time, work and expense into my system, and enjoy the journey as much as any crazy audio obsessive. I put together a second, smaller system in the loft awhile back, and that's what got me tuned in to the virtues of point source speakers and simple tube amps.

My main system is pretty elaborate. It consists of actively XO'ed, tri-amped, DEQX'ed true ribbon Maggies in mahogany ("Gunned") frames with dual subs. Most of the tricks/ tweaks under the sun have been employed. Of course, it sounds very good, and can do many things that the simple system with the Horn Shoppes can't. But, it still sounds kind of "hi-fi" at times, so I find myself chasing "upgrades" in an endless circle. Don't get me wrong, the Magnepans aren't going anywhere. They are also integrated with my home theatre, in which they really excel.

My experience with the Horn Shoppe Horns so far:

I'll admit, I did get myself a bit hyped up by reading the reviews before I received them, so I had high expectations. I'm happy to report that they lived up to them, and then some. I listened to tunes last night for a good while, and had the same reaction as I do every time I hear them: These speakers just reproduce satisfying music, period. It's an experience that leaves you smiling, dancing, singing along and craving more.

The Horns just let the music do it's thing. There is something to be said about keeping it simple. The sound is very pure, and they are doing things that I just didn't expect at all. Their detail retrieval and texture is just stunning. I am hearing ambient bass and spatial information in the background. The bass doesn't go as low or get as powerful as some, but I just don't miss it much because I am hearing more of the actual music as a whole. That's one of their greatest strengths- coherency, top to bottom.

The treble is crisp and extended, even without a tweeter. They have no problem recreating the sizzle of a brushed cymbal or the startle of an electronic pulse. No listener fatigue, even after a couple of albums in a row. They are much faster than I expected- they really are peers of, or dare I say better than the Magnepans in this regard. Those Fostex drivers are really something else. Someday, I may try adding the Heils and/ or the Horn Shoppe bass module, but I am more than satisfied without them, and want to avoid the "more is better" syndrome again.

For the record, in reference to and also to quote the review below, I completely disagree (with Nick). I'm not saying that what he heard was wrong, but obviously something was wrong. I listen to a lot of complex music, and The Horns tracked it all with ease. They are finicky to set up, but when you find the optimal positioning of the speakers in the room, there is plenty of mid- bass and low-ish bass down to about 50 Hz., in a 12x18' room anyway. I also found that they imaged like crazy in the sweet spot, yet sounded amazing even in other areas of the house. I've played them LOUD, experimenting with my big Counterpoint hybrid amp hooked up to them, and they only showed signs of strain during intense crescendos.

I am really enjoying listening to MUSIC with The Horns. Definitely a winner, because they get the one thing that matters right.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2010



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Nick a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 25, 2010

Bottom Line:   
Just writing this review as a response to some of the other posts.
2-way and 3-way systems are not all that bad or evil. When you refrain from a religious debate point source vs. multiple x-over vs. line source vs. active x-over etc. at the end of the day you need a speaker that sounds good in your room.The horns are difficult to set up right and only make sense for one person sitting exactly in the tiny sweet spot.
Still no bass. Typically in a room half of the notes are missing. No mid bass. If you had a track with only bongos playing, I'd say the horns are fantastic. More complex music: something is missing. Even with a sub. A single 4" driver can not be the answer to all questions. I used flea SET, regular tube mono amps, now solid state mono blocks and I can't get the sound right. I have RTA and a tricked out system and my other speakers image much much better. If you drive the horns loud they start to smear. If making a great speaker was as easy as smacking a single 4" driver in a relatively plain enclosure.....that's what everybody would be doing, don't you think? I just needed to post this because the other reviews are so one-sided and I completely disagree with them. I would say the horns are a good investment for a secondary system to experiment with (not expensive) but I doubt that many people would be happy with the horns for their every day listening needs.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2008



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jim Roy a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 5, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I researched full range horn speakers for some time. Though I was impressed with the sound (for instance 8 inch Lowthers) the size of the cabinets and cost held me back.

Ed Shilling, the creator of the Horns has come up with a no-compromise solution - 4 inch full range drivers in a good looking and, mercifully, medium-sized cabinet.

The Horns simply don't disappoint. I listened to them for a year without subwoofer with great satisfaction. I have recently added an excellent subwoofer (from another system). While there is some improvement the original Horns have a natural and very satisfactory bass with some sensitivity to placement in the room. They are best driven with a low wattage tube amplifier. I have a LEAK Stereo 20 (with Telefunken tubes). The clarity, imaging and overall presence is phenomenal.

Ed is one of the best people you'll ever meet for honest advice and excellent after sales service.

Highly recommended.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $700.00

Purchased At:   www.thehornshoppe.co



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jimmy Jang Boo a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 22, 2003

Bottom Line:   
PART 2

SETTING THE STANDARD

Because The Horn has only one driver, it is essentially a point source. This gives it the edge and ability to task imaging unlike anything you’ve ever heard with multiple drivers, including line source arrays. I have owned a lot of speakers over the years, and thought I knew what good imaging was. You have to experience The Horn to know what I’m talking about. Nothing from Magnepan to mini monitors can image like The Horn.

Some manufactures attempt to time align their drivers, but this doesn’t even come close to being the same thing as the sound still comes from more than one location. Think of it this way, the entire range of the human voice comes from only one mouth, not from two or three separate holes in the head (or body) lined up on a vertical plain. On this point alone, the logic of multi driver systems is inherently flawed from the get go. No amount of ingenuity can alter or compensate for the laws of physics. Experience The Horn!

At the output terminals of your amplifier, the electrical signal is complete and ready to become mechanical energy. With The Horn this is exactly what happens. However when a signal gets butchered by a crossover and delivered to multiple drivers, it becomes filtered, reconstituted and enriched with distortion. Every electronic part including the circuit board they are mounted on will affect and add it’s own signature the signal delivered from your amplifier.

This damage the integrity of the amplifiers signal is very audible. Listen to The Horn and you will soon discover just how much a crossover can corrupt the signal from your amplifier. Crossovers implemented in the mid range are evil, a black curse on audio resolution. If used beyond the jurisdiction 120 Hz, they are nothing more than a lame excuse to merge multiple inadequate drivers for compromised performance.

As The Horns do not have a crossover they are ruthlessly revealing. This is clearly evident in the midrange where conventional two way systems are crossed over. With The Horns, vocals take on a presence that is so uncanny you’ll swear the artist is in your room performing live without a microphone. I have yet to hear a conventional 2 or 3 way speaker at any price point that can equal The Horn in this regard. The single driver and lack of a crossover is so coherent and true you’d think you radically upgraded your electronics upstream.

The original 4” driver had a maximum frequency response of 17K. That’s high enough for most people, but the new driver shoots up to 20K. Regardless, the high frequencies sound as clean and crisp as anything I’ve heard from the best tweeters, including the very same tweeter mounted in Focal’s JM Lab Grande Utopia. Low frequency extension reaches 70 Hz at which point it falls off sharply. By placing The Horn in the corner, you can reach 50Hz, however like many discriminating audiophiles, I like my speakers positioned well out into the room, as far as possible from the walls.

Even though the quantity of bass doesn't dig as deep as I'd like it to, I am stunned by the quality of the bass by The Horn. A 4" driver doesn't muddle the bass like bigger drivers do. It's extremely clean, tight and responsive. If a sub were to be integrated, I wouldn't expect much unless it was capable of the same excellence in its range as The Horns do within their range. So of course The Horn Shoppe also makes a Horn Line augmenter for The Horn. It too utilizes a small driver and provides seamless integration down to 30Hz.

CONTINUED BELOW

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jack McMack a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 22, 2003

Bottom Line:   
PART 3

COMPARED TO WHAT ??

I have heard a variety of electrostatic speakers over the years -which by the way are usually single drivers operating within the same range of The Horn. Electrostats are very coherent but unlike The Horn they are not very efficient and require a very stable amplification as the impedance tends to be all over the map. The other concern with electrostats is that they lack dynamic range. Even if you never heard live drums in your life you’ll quickly recognize something is terribly wrong when you hear them through electrostats. Electrostats are great –within their limitations.

That’s the great thing about The Horn. Regardless of your mood, musical preference, or how loud you like to listen, The Horn can convincingly play any kind of music with a supernatural realism that is very difficult to describe. Ed Schilling, father and creator of The Horn has measured sound pressure levels of 115db sitting 15’ back. It takes tremendous power do that, in excess 500 watts. Yet The Horn is efficient enough to be driven reasonably loud with just a few watts as is the case with the excellent Decware Zen.

So here we have a small speaker with a single 4” driver, actually if you measure the diameter of the cone it’s more like 2.5”! You would think small speaker equates small sound stage, right? Wrong. Using a single ended triode amplifier with a total output power of less than 5 watts, I get a huge solid wall of sound. Lateral width and depth of field is astonishing. Of course placement in the room, the quality of amplification and components up stream will make a difference.

Although these speakers are not by far the most expensive I’ve ever bought, performance wise they surpass I everything ever owned or had the privilege to listen to. But before I owned or even had a chance to listen to The Horn, I read a post on Audio Asylum about a Horn owner who had made some intriguing comments about his Horns. He compared them very favorably to his Martian Logan CLS (5K) and his Wilson Watt Puppies (20K). I was very skeptical but his remarks caught my attention.

I had also heard some other reports coming from people that owned the highly esteemed Magnepan 1.6 QRs, New Form Ribbons and many other highly regarded speakers boasting great value according to the audio magazines. Then one day I had the opportunity to hear them for myself. My skepticism stayed with me right up until I heard Anne Wilson’s voice coming out of The Horn. It was so live, so real and present it completely took hold of me and blew me away like an adolescent experiencing his first orgasm!

A speaker ought to reveal what it has been given. And once you’ve heard The Horn it is utterly shocking how bad even the so called “best speakers” fall short of this mark.

Ed Schilling at The Horn Shoppe sells these with a no hassle 30 day money back guarantee. You can find out more by visiting… www.thehornshoppe.com

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast




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