Horn speakers with Imaging?

Do horn speakers really offer good Imaging? My SAP J2001mkII do offer great clarity and revealing music, but no Imaging.

A big plus with my bipole speakers is that they sound good from a larger listening zone, not just a small sweet spot. Especially when setup with radical toe-in, so the  sound crosses a bit in front of the listeners. Is this detrimental to imaging? Not to my ears. Or just a very small minus factor. Sidewall reflections are also reduced with radical toe in.

Extreme toe-in creates a larger sweet spot because the speaker that is farther away is actually closer to being on-axis, which compensates for the additional distance.  The down side, I find in most cases, is the sense of width and an enveloping soundfield is diminished a bit.  Like most things, every choice has a trade off.

From my experience, most horn speakers, while they can create a big, open sounding soundstage, do not have the best image specificity.

The only horns I have hard, that do have great imaging, are the Acapella Violincello.


@o_holter wrote:

... although I havent measured the ’radiation bubble’ in front of my bipoles I can well imagine that it changes like you say.

I find it to be an almost visually descriptive term a la ’sphere of sound,’ a sensation that can be created more effectively with certain point source speakers when the driver segments have been dialed in successfully wrt. timing/delay, power response and overall dispersion type/pattern - ideally emulated as a point source like Tom Danley’s synergy horns.

But what do you mean by ’life sized’ imaging? That images should not be too tall? Or too close up? Too bombastic?

In reference to the linked La Scala review by Alex Halberstadt, and supporting my own stance, ’life sized’ is addressing and exposing the lack of image size/scale from other speakers, and where the reviewer found the La Scala’s to excel by comparison.

Though it’s not explicitly clear it seems to me he may be linking overall image presentation and size with dynamic capabilities as directly proportional aspects, at least to some degree. This certainly makes sense to me in how dynamic prowess can more effectively "flesh out" the presentation - perhaps aided by the more narrowly dispersive nature of horns/waveguides - as something perceived akin to a live event.

Moreover the effective air radiation area of horn-based speakers is somewhat larger vs. direct radiating and lower efficiency dittos in that the combined displacement isn’t only dictated by the mouth areas, but rather extends (i.e.: grows) even further in front of the horn mouths. So, the combined air radiation area of the La Scala’s could easily be seen as taking up more than the totality of its frontal area. That being said the La Scala’s aren’t the tallest speakers around, and to me at least I find them to lack energy and ultimate fullness in the height dimension to really give that sensation of room fill and less-reproduced feel that taller horn-based speakers can more properly provide for.

Well designed, and not least larger horn profiles/geometries (and to some degree depending on the amps) aren’t up-close or creeping into your ears per se, but are rather present or immediate sounding. There’s a difference. All things being fairly equal; the larger the horn the less "aimed," more relaxed and yet physical it sounds - not wholly unlike the presentation of larger panel speakers, but more dense and visceral by comparison.

I find that this varies with the recording and production, and when the presentation is too forward and in my face, I push the listener chair back.

If the front/aft balance is right, and there’s no reason it can’t be with horn-based speakers, then the recordings and their variations in presentation should see no immediate need to shift listening position, but I guess that’s up to each to decide.

I owned Klipsch Forte III's and thought the imaging was a little non-specific.  The Volti Razz I replaced them with were much better.   I currently own both Volti Rivals and Fleetwood Devilles and both image spectacularly.  Like any speaker topology, it depends on the implementation.