Horn speakers for vintage sound

I’m currently looking for budget horn speakers in university that are similar to GIP or western electric size is no issue since it will be in the living room my budget is 5 grand if even possible or might even try build GIP speakers 



GIP drivers are extremely expensive, nothing is in your stated price range and they rarely come up for sale used.  GIP drivers are in the same price range as original WE drivers.  Also, they do not so much as try to reproduce WE drivers that employ permanent magnets, all of their drivers are field coil drivers requiring a power supply.

Great Plains Audio makes various reproduction drivers including close of Altec drivers.  They might be of some help.  https://greatplainsaudio.com/

You will probably have to hunt round on the used market and it will not be that easy, absent a lot of experience, to find components that match up well and to build a system.  It will be hard to find woofers that are high enough in efficiency to do justice to a high efficiency compression midrange (if you used an Lpad to drop the volume of the midrange driver, you will be wasting the efficiency of that driver).

Good luck.  

budget horn speakers

It's hard to do big and budget at the same time. How about used LaScalas or VOT. They both offer that vintage horn sound. 

Message me i have  friend who owns a vintage audio store and he has a few options like JBL, Altecs etc that may be of interest. i'll pass his contact information on to you. 

Altec A5 is what you need. 3 way Hiraga crossovers with a super tweeter. Altec 1505, 288 mid drivers and 1505 horns.  I use 7.5 watts tube power and you can’t be in the same room at 50% volume. I augment with horn loaded subs. You could probably be all in for 5K if you shop around.   Super tweeters are Faital pro HF10AK on custom horns and Lpads since they are 110db efficient. It’s extremely live sounding.  Pete Riggle builds Hiraga inspired crossovers for a 3 way system that are hard to beat. If your ever near Dallas, stop by.  It’s worth hearing. 

I have a pair of JBL 590 for Saale in okay condition for cheap.  But no shipping. 

I have a pair of vintage University "Dean" horn-loaded speakers from the 1960s. PM if interested. There is a massive 15-inch driver in the "doghouse" that makes wonderful bass. Efficiency is off the chart at 104 db at 1 meter at 1 watt, PM if interested.

While you may be able to find some vintage horns, newer designs sound better (not to disparage the older stuff), and in some cases are price competitive with the older vintage speakers.  Check out the custom horn speakers made by John Kalinowski.  Excellent sound within your budget: bd-design.nl



While it sounds like you are looking at traditional horn-based high efficiency systems (compression midrange and horn, plus other drivers for bass and tweeter), there are other approaches to similar kind of sound (very lively and engaging, particularly at lower volume), that are more budget friendly and great for someone who is handy at building gear.  There are some quite decent full-range or wide-range drivers that can be used in multi-way and even single driver systems.

Until fairly recently, I have never heard single driver conventional dynamic speaker systems that did not have a few shortcoming that were show stoppers for me.  But, I have now heard quite satisfying single driver systems.  Some could be assembled as do it yourself speakers by someone who is good with wood working.  I particularly like some of the 8" and 10" full range drivers in "quarter wave back-loaded horn" systems (look at Charney Audio for commercial system using that approach).  While the tapered horn of the Charney might be hard to do, there are simplified versions that work quite well like the "tapered quarter wave tube" cabinet (also often described as "TQWT").  While some of the better 8" and 10" drivers are not that inexpensive as new drivers (e.g., AER, Voxativ, Cube Audio), there are cheaper alternatives out there (e.g., Tangband) that work quite well.  

Hi Shawarma, I read your question and thought I'd give my experience. I have two completes systems; the first is built around Altec Voice of the Theater components, the second is built around Theil CP3's. I prefer the sound of the VOT's. It's one of the best systems I've heard. 515B Woofer; 811B Sectorial horn; 802B hf driver; N-800-D crossover in an enclosure built to Altec's plans. They are efficient. The 15" woofers were reconed by Great Plains Audio. I can recommend them, they do excellent work. Talk to the folks at GP, they can build something for you from genuine Altec parts.

If you would like a slightly upgraded version of the classic American horn/big woofer concept, and you are DIY-savvy, Pi Speakers might fill the bill.  


5k goes a long way with Pi Speakers.

Also, USAM has a nice used Volti Razz going for under 4k, and a nice-looking CornScala for under 2k.  

Finally, there are several used Altec Model 19s available for 5 grand or less that should fill the bill.  


I have not heard any Shinjitsu Audio speakers myself, but, I find their design fascinating and the price is reasonable.  Their speakers utilize a horn midrange/top end and a back-loaded quarter wave woofer of small diameter.  

For Vintage sound and just all around great horn speakers... Great Plains Audio

version of the Altec 604's

For Vintage sound and just all around great horn speakers... Great Plains Audio

version of the Altec 604's

You will get vintage sound from horn speakers all right.  Useful for bass, correct exponentially derived horns are hard to get neutral.  The purpose as you know is to minimize diaphragm excursion so it stays in the linear range. On the flop side they are efficient, but not as good as quarter wave.  In the end, I find the sound fatiguing but you may like it.

I have a Soundcraftsmen 2640TX coaxial speaker (with brass horn) housed in a vintage wood cabinet.  It sounds great with mono and 78 rpm recordings.  Found it at a Los Angeles thrift store for $6.00 in the furniture section.

I come from the live concert and studio side of loudspeaker design. If you have the original baskets for the cone speakers, and you can find a reputable recone man, many of the original recone kits are still available in back catalog. Just a few short years ago I reconed my JBL 4333’s with  the original foam surround kit. Also, for the do it yourself, check out the work being done by the Italian speaker and compression drivers manufacturers B&C and 18 Sound. Precision made  motors with excellent specs, cost effective as well. 

 Check out the custom horn speakers made by John Kalinowski.  Excellent sound within your budget- true I sure do put my heart and soul into my builds. Have a few horn loudspeakers available. 



Used Altec A7 goes around 3-5k$, if you can find one in good condition it will work.

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Then' check out the JBL 4309. You will keep them for a long long time.