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Updated: 3 days ago

"Please Don't Call Me Honky! Debunking the Myth of Harsh Horn Speakers and Embracing Accurate Sound Reproduction"

For decades, horn speakers have faced unwarranted criticism from some audiophiles, who've labeled them as "honky," inaccurate, and harsh. However, modern technology and implementation have debunked this myth, proving that horn speakers can indeed deliver accurate and natural sound quality when designed and implemented correctly. In this blog post, we will explore the findings of various articles, reviews, and studies to demonstrate the true capabilities of horn speakers.

Keele Jr's (1975) groundbreaking study on low-frequency horn design revealed that by using Thiele/Small driver parameters, it's possible to create horn speakers with exceptional low-frequency performance. This research laid the foundation for modern horn designs, which exhibit enhanced accuracy in sound reproduction across the frequency spectrum.

Leach (2003) further elaborated on the advantages of horn loudspeakers, emphasizing their directivity, efficiency, and impedance matching capabilities. This study demonstrated that horn speakers can offer controlled directivity, ensuring consistent sound quality throughout the listening space, while also providing higher efficiency compared to traditional cone speakers. This efficiency translates to better dynamics and a more accurate portrayal of the source material.

Tappan (2014) provided a fresh perspective on horn loudspeakers, dispelling myths and misconceptions that have plagued the audio community. By highlighting the progress in horn speaker technology and design, Tappan showed that modern horn speakers can deliver a transparent, natural sound that accurately reproduces the subtleties of the original recording.

Czerwinski et al. (1993) investigated loudspeaker and room contributions to nonlinear distortions, focusing on their causes, subjective effects, and assessment. The study concluded that horn speakers, when designed and implemented correctly, can minimize nonlinear distortions, resulting in a cleaner, more accurate sound reproduction that is less susceptible to harshness.

Finally, Geddes (2002) explored the optimum horn mouth size to ensure the best performance in terms of directivity and accuracy. By optimizing the horn mouth size, designers can achieve a more consistent sound field and minimize coloration or "honkiness" in horn speakers.

In conclusion, extensive research and empirical evidence show that horn speakers have come a long way from their perceived shortcomings. With advancements in design, implementation, and understanding of horn acoustics, modern horn speakers can deliver accurate and natural sound quality, dispelling the notion that they are inherently "honky" or harsh. It's time to embrace the true capabilities of horn speakers and recognize their potential for delivering an unparalleled audio experience.

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Shinjitsu Audio does not currently use internal bracing to reduce cabinet vibrations.


When a speaker is playing, it generates sound waves that propagate through the air. However, these sound waves also cause the speaker's panels and enclosure to vibrate. These vibrations can distort the sound produced by the speaker, leading to undesirable effects like resonance, coloration, and distortion.

Internal bracing is a common method used to reduce these vibrations. It involves adding structural elements inside the speaker enclosure that increase its rigidity, making it less prone to unwanted vibrations. However, internal bracing only works up to a certain point, as the added bracing can also introduce new resonances and vibrations.

The difference between damping materials and internal bracing lies in the way they deal with unwanted vibrations. Internal bracing reduces the vibrations' amplitude but doesn't eliminate them entirely. Damping materials, on the other hand, actively absorb and dissipate the energy of the vibrations, which leads to a more significant reduction in distortion and coloration.

Overall, while internal bracing can be effective in reducing vibrations to a certain extent, damping materials provide a more comprehensive solution for dealing with unwanted resonances, coloration, and distortion in speaker panels.

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CD quality audio and 24/96 audio are two different formats for storing and playing back music and other audio content. While both formats offer high-quality sound, there are some key differences between them that are worth considering.
CD quality audio, also known as "Red Book" audio, is the standard format for audio CDs. It has a sample rate of 44.1kHz and a bit depth of 16 bits, which gives it a resolution of about 1.4 million samples per second. This is sufficient for most audio applications and is considered the minimum acceptable quality for audio recordings.

Below is a screenshot of Abba Gold CD-quality audio file at 44.1 kHz on the left and on the right is a high-resolution screenshot of the same audio file at 96kHz. Note the dramatic differences in the wave forms.

Which one represents the analog file most accurately?

High high-resolution 96kHz audio has a higher resolution than CD-quality audio. It has a sample rate of 96kHz and a bit depth of 24 bits, which gives it a resolution of about 8.3 million samples per second. This higher resolution allows for more detailed and accurate reproduction of audio, with a wider dynamic range and a greater sense of depth and clarity.

While 24/96 audio is generally considered to be superior to CD-quality audio in terms of sound quality, it is not always necessary or practical to use it in all circumstances. For example, CD-quality audio is often sufficient for casual listening or for playback on lower-quality speakers, while 24/96 audio may be more suitable for critical listening or for use on high-end audio systems.
The choice between CD quality and 24/96 audio will ultimately depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you are looking for the highest possible sound quality, 24/96 audio may be the better choice, while CD-quality audio may be more suitable for more casual listening or for use on lower-quality systems.
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