Why A Horn?
Horn speaker technology is superior to technological alternatives in their areas of greatest strength, and when executed to the highest level, the performance is breathtaking.
By its very nature the high efficiency and controlled directivity of horn technology produces greater scale, energy and dynamic range than conventional driver loading techniques. This is not a matter of opinion it is matter of physics, and it is the thing that most separates the experience of reproduced music from that of ‘live’ music. If pure and unadulterated musical performance is your objective there is no good reason not to adopt horn technology.
You could rightly ask ‘then why doesn’t everyone make horn-loaded loudspeakers?’
An iterative development methodology is the keystone of completely resolved design, and to cover the full audio bandwidth a horn speaker needs to be a four, or preferably, five way system; each driver with its own specific horn geometry and precision filter network. Integrating this complexity into a seamless whole imposes corresponding time and cost implications an order of magnitude greater than conventional loudspeaker design.
A full bandwidth horn loudspeaker is a complex animal and the fact that the Vox Olympian was seven years in development illustrates this point perfectly. The prototyping process is painfully slow and leaves no room for shortcuts. A horn ruthlessly reveals any errors and leaves the designer nowhere to hide. If the geometries are not precisely right they cannot be repurposed so it’s back to the drawing board and back to the cabinet maker. It takes a certain passion and perseverance to climb this mountain but the lure of ultimate performance makes for a tantalising climb.
In other words, if you want an easy life, don't design a horn.
Now, Kevin Scott of Living Voice is a master of mating different horns to make a truly integrated whole. In this category it’s a true winner – and way above competitors. Best male vocals I’ve heard from a horn system. Delicate upper mid and a seamless integration of the three upper horns, never – ever – heard better. The ease of presentation, the dynamics, the weightlessness of micro transients, I could go on. It takes years of fine-tuning to produce such a system.Troels Gravesen, loudspeaker designer, Denmark.
The Vox Olympian is about absolute performance fidelity.
There is a misconception that horns are all about snap and attack, instant energy and immediacy, if somewhat compromised in other respects, but when fully resolved – and the Vox Olympian is most certainly fully resolved – the listener is blissfully unaware of any mechanical process being involved – it’s a visceral and unmediated connection with the music.
A fully horn-loaded loudspeaker also has the compound benefit of allowing the use of inherently superior amplifier technology; amplifiers that are concerned with musical values, tonal quality and human expression rather than power output and load tolerance.
In every way it is a win-win.