What Horn loaded speaker/ speaker system for $10k'ish and under

I’m looking to go potentially go back to a horn loaded speaker, or hybrid budget under $15k. I’ve had LaScala’s in the resent past (prior to my current Spendor D9.2’s that are for sale now) and loved them but I feel there is better out there for similar money.

JBL horns like the 4367 or 4349, S3900, S4700? Volti? LALS? others I’ve forgotten or not known.

I’d like to have efficiency above 90db,

extension to 35hz or close to it, I could live with subs though.

I’m not apposed to used in good condition, I will not buy black speakers though.



The term “horn” has several meanings, so it is a bit tricky determining what is a horn system.  Some drivers may have a wave guide in front of the driver cone or dome and that may qualify as a “horn” to some people but not to others.  I tend to think that a horn system as having compression drivers plus a long throat and a waveguide.  Others will look at the cabinet the speaker is in, and if it has a long folded channel for the backwave that increases in cross section to a large opening, that makes the driver a back-loaded horn.  Rethm speakers, like Charney speakers are back-loaded horns.  The large, single full or wide range drivers, like those in the Rethm and Charney and Cube Audio speakers, have wave guides coming off the center part of the drivers which, depending on one’s definition, can also be considered “horns” (those smaller cones are also intended to vibrate so they do much mor than act as wave guides).

JBL Hartsfield. JBL's answer to the K Horn.

Available as a replica or you can build your own from plans online.

Is SIZE a consideration? Those who mention Klipsch Cornwall or LaScala  are talking about HUGE Space Takers; really big footprints.  If you're interested in Klipsch, the Forte series give big sound in a more reasonable size.  I have Forte IIIs which are not much different than the newer IVs. They are very efficient, work well with bi-wiring, need a sub for most music if you like bass to be more pronounced, and in my opinion should be raised a good 8 to 12 inches at the bottom for the best sound quality.  I have mine standing on 4 isolation pucks atop 4 subdude platforms for each speaker.  That increases the height about 10 inches. Not only are the speakers raised higher using the pucks and subdude platforms, they have excellent vibration isolation that they would not have, otherwise.  One thing I don't like about the Forte is the lack of protection for the massive 15 inch passive woofer in the back of the cabinet. I sourced simple plastic waffle grilles from Parts Express for them.  The grilles prevent little fingers, paws and claws from damaging them.  For the Price, the Klipsch Fortes are a good buy.  They provide realism, clarity, and actual good looks (nicely finished cabinets), but they are heavy at 72 lbs each (consider that the pricier, larger Cornwalls are about 100 lbs each) and they DO need to be raised higher unless you sit on the floor when listening.  Why Klipsch hasn't corrected this is anyone's guess.  



I've had LaScala's in the past in my room so not a concern. I prefer the bass loaded bass of the LaScala over both the Cornwall and forte even though both go considerably lower. but I'd like to try something a little more refined. 

For me, horns are the way to go. I have owned all the Klipsch Heritage models ( not all of the different series ), and I feel the Lascala, which I own, offers the best bang for the buck. Of course, they need some attention with vibration and resonance control ( and the correct crossover specific to the listener ), and if you need the extension of the lowest 1/2 octave, a pair or more of subs can do the trick ( not all subs are fast or agile enough ). For me, the LSs do more right than wrong, work great in my room, allow me to listen near field, and sounds great with a number of many different amplifiers. By themselves, the bass reproduction and " tunefulness ", is awesome, and they are, imo, very coherent. I get quite a lot of musical satisfaction from them. I have heard others, with conventional woofer set ups, such as the 4367, lower priced Volti's, Altec 19, Avantgarde, etc. and often hear a disconnect between the bass, and the horns. Keep in mind, this is based on my listening, my room, and what pleases me. YMMV. It comes down to what characteristics, both good, and maybe not so good, you can live with. Every speaker / room is a compromise in some way. 58 years in this hobby ( I am 69 ) has taught me this. Enjoy ! MrD.

I agree with mrdecibel. One should be aware of the large design differences between horn models and the comprises they entail. Some of those horn loaded woofer designs sound very different from hybrids and have different setup requirements. I have owned the 4367.  It has lower efficiency, requires a very high-watt amplifier and has a better step response. It is not full range, like a D9 but LF extension satisfaction will largely depend on your taste and your room. When given power the woofer is outstanding, though.  

If you liked LaScalas but want something more refined, consider the LS II or the AL5. Much better than vintage LS.



While we're on the subject of LaScalas....I own a pair of them powered by the Raven Blackhawk tube amp. Recently I finally decided to try the Bybee Quantum Clarifiers. They cost $200 for the pair. They conveniently magnetically attach effortlessly to the rear protruding mid horn magnets. (I love non-invasive tweaks that don't cost too much) Fantastic improvements beyond words. But I'll attempt to voice some impressions...clearer for sure, instruments are less hazy, the sound stage isn't as tunneled but pleasantly naturally spaced out. Vinyl playback has gained an air and sharpness which stuns me. LaScalas apparently can benefit immensely from these small square "magic" attachments! Revolutionary. I'm just sorry I'm so late to the Bybee creations!

My older 1989 LaScala's were not stock by any means, all the drivers were from Crites, Crites 4500 crossover as well, i also damped the horns with dynamat and the cabinet was extensively damped as well. so they did not sound anywhere near what the originals sounded like. They were really nice and I regret selling them but I I hate black speakers and they were black, and looked like black holes.  I was going to buy the new ones in a wood finish but thought I'd try some Spendor D9.2's after a listen at my dealer along side the Klipsch's. Regrettably the Spendor's did not work in my room, reason I'm back on the speaker hunt. 

I have LS IIs. Had khorns a few years ago. For me LaScalas + 2 subs is better than khorns. They just push all my buttons so I think they will be here a while. Hard to beat horn loaded bass and 104 db efficiency.

ozzy62, if you have done any damping, to your horns, woofer backets, and isolating the mid horn and the crossovers from the boxes ( vibrationally ), your LS IIs could not be a better reproducer to my LSs. I also heavily damped and added mass to the cabinets. If you have not done these simple upgrades, you are leaving a lot on the table. In my experience, this is the most dramatic improvement you can make to the design. You will realize where PWK did not go all of the way, because as a PA speaker, it did not matter. But at home, things NEED to be done, to get rid of the nasties. My best, MrD.

No doubt those mods bring the performance up a notch. But unless you’ve addressed the cabinet resonances as the LS II did, you are not all the way home.


I see you did modify the cabinets. Good job 👍