These horns were a lot of fun to listen to and measure. Before any measuring I formed my subjective opinion on all eight of these horns. Some spent weeks in my system while others were swapped out within hours. The scores reflect my subjective opinion. The measurements back up my decisions.
I used an inexpensive mic connected to an iPhone. I ran the test signals from an iPad connected to a digital amp. I took care to ensure everything was consistent. My test is NOT professional and represents the in-room response of my apartment. Take these measurements as you wish, but they collaborate well with what I heard.
To be fair, all of these horns could be made to sound very good. All you have to do is adjust the compensation at the crossover (thank you EarlK over at http://www.diyaudio.com speaker forums). Additionally, an L-pad was used to dial in the volume of the horn to match up with the rest of the speaker system (another article to come). I am using the stock Eminence PXB2: 1K6 2-Way crossover board which has a crossover frequency of 1600Hz. All things being equal – my results are below. The results you get in your room, with your crossover will be different and I reserve the right to change any score as I listen and enjoy more music.
Dayton Audio H6512 plus Dayton Audio DT250P
This was the first horn I purchased. I had high hopes since the reviews online were always excellent. Well, I was somewhat disappointed with the sound which prompted me to purchase additional horns to try.
This horn is cheaply made compared to the better made ones in the group. I was never able to completely screw the driver on.
The chart indicates a smooth response from 1000 thru 5200 but then things get ragged. For some reason the raggedness of this horn is audible to me. It sounds thin and wispy compared to the others. Between 5500 and 6500 is a dip, again from 8500 to 9200 – a quick peak at about 9500 and drops off after 10000.
This horn is very similar in shape and sound to the Deveno SEOS12. Sonically they are practically identical with the SEOS12 being a bit smoother overall. I did not like either of these waveguides with the Dayton DT250P but look forward to hearing them with the more expensive B&C DE250.
Dayton Audio H812 plus Dayton Audio DT250P
This horn is made from thick plastic and sounds very good to me. It’s physically the deepest. Because of this, it’s a bit unique sounding.
This horn has a lively sound that’s not quite flat. It’s an acquired taste some will like and some won’t. I like it but my two teenage sons found it bothersome when listening to certain vocalists. For example, Ed Sheeran always sounds a bit like a chipmunk. I can hear this too (I don’t hear this on any of the other horns) and attribute this sonic character to the physical depth of this horn. Any vocalist whose range is about the same as Ed Sheeran takes on this colored sonic quality. Other vocalists I enjoy, for example, Diana Krall, Holly Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and all of the male vocalists like Sinatra sound great. High voiced male singers don’t fare well with this horn. Perhaps the longer throat is what produces the hump from 1000 to 3000 accompanied by a nearly 30db dip creates this issue? Otherwise, the measurements are up and down almost like a sine wave. Treble is detailed and the overall sonic character is a fun, colored sound that works really well on Jazz. If I only listened to instrumental music, this might be my favorite. It’s a very good horn but it’s just not kind to every vocalist.
Goldwood GM 500PB plus Dayton Audio DT250P
The Goldwood GM-500PB finds its way on top of my speaker often since I really enjoy the sound. It’s not the best of the bunch and maybe a bit of an acquired taste but certainly easy enough on the ears and quite cool to look at. It’s 15″ wide! The reason it’s not one of the top picks is due to a lack of high frequencies off axis. The chart indicates a gradual rolloff (the measurements are taken on axis). Somewhat off axis there is a dulling of the high frequencies. They don’t disappear, rather, they just soften. It’s actually a non-fatiguing sound some might prefer. Small details in the treble don’t stand out and sometimes don’t even seem to be there at all. Upon critical listening you find everything is there. If you listen in the same spot all of the time – perhaps a comfortable chair – than this horn sounds very good. If you want a non-fatiguing sound and prefer a rolled off treble, this is a really great looking horn that works well with the Dayton DT250P.
Selenium HM25-25 plus Dayton Audio DT250P
This is a nice horn and stayed in my system for quite a while. Very listenable and sweet sounding – which is its one downfall. If you prefer a thinner (sweeter) sounding treble this one is for you.
The chart indicates this combination is pretty flat overall with an unusual dip from 8500 to 9000. No doubt this contributes to it’s sonic character. I like it and rank this combination highly. This might be the best combination of the bunch and I could certainly live with this satisfying setup.
The Selenium HM25-25 is a quality, aluminum horn built for screw-on compression drivers. Whenever screwing on the Dayton DT250P a horrible screech was deafening at each twist. This is solved with a small amount of Vaseline smoothed over the grooves. Installation is silent from then on.
PVR WG-35-25-B plus Dayton Audio DT250P
This waveguide is on sale at Parts Express for only $10 and it’s well worth it. Made from a softer, thick plastic, it sounds dull when tapped with your fingernail. It doesn’t make a clicking sound like the others do. I think the material will prevent this driver from cracking if dropped and might even be sonically beneficial.
Other than a strange peak at 2000 this driver sounds and measures smoothly. Output is strong all the way to 12000 where it begins to smoothly rolloff.
Honestly, I did not like this horn at first. Without some contouring at the crossover it sounds dull and lifeless. Once I began to understand how to contour the crossover slope the sound came to life.
This horn has a wide sound which might be partially attributed to its wide shape. The overall presentation is wider and maybe more diffuse than the other horns in this group. I had to warm up to this presentation but after extended listening you realize this horn does a lot of things right that the others don’t. This horn lets the music come thru allowing hours of fatigue free listening.
I had a difficult time choosing this one as my overall favorite of the group since the Selenium also offers great sound. But the PVR edged it out since it measured flatter and sounds a little smoother overall.
Denevo SEOS 12 plus Dayton Audio DT250P
Overall warm sound with a touch of sibilance. Highest frequencies sound muted sometimes. This horn sounds similar to the Dayton H6512. Placing them side by side show they are physically similar – to me they are essentially interchangeable sonically. I just found myself looking up every once in a while while noticing something fuzzy or tizzy with the sound. There are peaks at 9500 (just like the Dayton H6512) and again at 7500 (the Dayton peaks at 7200). They both have peaks at around 2000 and 5200 as well.
Physically this horn is lovely and smooth. My son thinks it looks like a toilet bowl. I think it looks purposeful and correct. I was hoping to like it more because it looks so nice. Looking forward to trying it out with the more expensive B&C DE250.
Goldwood GM 600PB plus Dayton Audio DT250P
This horn works very well with the Dayton DT250P. In my room, it measures among the flattest and certainly sounds very good. It’s made from the thinnest plastic of the group and I nearly discarded it due to how cheaply made it is – but it’s a very good performer indeed. In fact, I like this horn very much! Very easy on the ears. You can easily hear the layers on vocal harmonies. Small percussive sounds in the background are apparent without having to strain to hear.
This horn is inexpensive at under $10 and is a very good match with the Dayton DT250P.
It looks and feels cheap but it sounds very good. If this horn was made from thicker plastic or aluminum it might have received a 9 or higher.
FaitalPRO LTH102 plus Dayton Audio DT250P
This may be my favorite horn – but not with the Dayton DT250P. When I first heard the FaitalPRO LTH102 it was with the B&C DE250 bolted on. This combination produces a fantastic, smooth sound that I can listen to for hours without fatigue (the measurements using the B&C DE250 show a flatter response than any measured with the Dayton DT250P). Switching to the Dayton really shows the sonic difference between these two compression drivers. The Dayton in this horn isn’t bad and does retain a lot of the good qualities of the B&C but somehow misses the boat. How? The sound is more congested and less balanced. As you can see from the chart the overall trend is smooth enough but with several dropouts. At 3200, 4200, 8500 and 9200 there are nearly 20db dips!
This is a very well made horn and it looks beautiful. I consider it a work of art. But it sounds much better with the more expensive B&C DE250. I’d recommend selecting one of the other horns in this comparison if you are on a budget and want to use the Dayton compression driver. If you expect to upgrade to a better compression driver in the future, consider this $57 aluminum horn an investment in sound.