It's always interesting to follow the gut feeling and instinct when discovering the products that might serve Mono & Stere readership. The diversity of the products in our (still) niche market is certainly the key to reach, yet with an abundance of offerings, one can easily become bewildered with the power of choice :). Over the years audiophiles and music lovers have become (rightfully) more demanding and they're always in the quest for more. More bang for the money, more of the performance and more of the music's interaction, as well as more technological proficiency...
So when I was asked by Rafal Szczepaniak if I've would be interested in evaluating Horn Acoustic Vivo speakers the answer was an easy yes. Vivos are different from the usual offerings and with their design they're nicely fitting in the spot of interest and request acknowledged by many of you.
"Music is very important to us. We are great fans of music, especially when it is played live. The dynamics of a live concert, its energy and the emotions it evokes seem to be too difficult to be recaptured in home conditions. The process of searching and testing out the equipment available in the market continued for more than a dozen years, left us with a feeling of wanting more. A few years ago my friend and I decided to consolidate our efforts and to start working together on the design of horn speakers, whose capacity would be considerably higher, among other, in terms of dynamics, when compared to traditional dynamic speakers. It was supposed to produce the sound whose quality would approximate live performances.
That’s how Horn Acoustic was born. We had worked on Vivo speakers a couple of years. We were not time-pressed, because it had been obvious from the onset that we would present our loudspeaker to a wider audience only when the sonic effect was more than satisfactory to us. The Vivo model is the first representative of our brand on offer, the subsequent ones are already planned."
THE HORN ACOUSTIC WAY
"The sound that is heard in live conditions is vivid, colorful, and easy to identify as being natural. It is our intention that similar emotions may accompany those who prefer to listen to music using loudspeaker sets made by our Company. In our opinion, by using our tubular loudspeaker sets it is much easier to obtain a more natural representation of dynamic contrasts, speed, and scale which is slightly tempered in case of classical loudspeakers. In most cases, tubular loudspeaker sets are higher than average in size, whereas our compact designs are excellent for use in mid-size rooms as well."
The Vivo loudspeaker column is a two-way passive design. One of this loudspeaker system’s design assumptions was its compact size so that it could be used in rooms up to about 50 m2 in area. In order to obtain a full bandwidth without supporting the loudspeaker system by means of a subwoofer, Horn Acoustic decided to use a 10-inch bass-midrange speaker.
Since among high-efficiency transducers, we could not find an interesting loudspeaker that would support the low-frequency range, and since among classical established brands of transducers 10-inch loudspeakers performed not so well in the midrange, Horn Acoustic decided to design our own loudspeaker that would meet our expectations. "Our bass-midrange loudspeaker has an excellent impulse response, well-balanced frequency response, and clear distinct bass."
The tweeter, which operates inside a tractrix horn, is a compression driver provided with mylar membrane with the diameter of 1.75", and the neodymium magnetic system. The tweeter has been selected based upon many hours of testing using various constructions and membranes with different hardness levels and different characteristics.
The entire design was confined inside an elegant, timeless design enclosure which can serve as a nice decoration for both classical and modern interiors.
THE W10.8 DRIVER
The W10.8 transducer is an underhand type 10-inch bass-midrange loudspeaker, in which the entire coil is moving inside a magnetic field. The speaker will perform very well in relatively small rooms. Parameters of the W10.8 transducer have been optimized for enclosures that are approx. 50 – 70 liters in volume, which is the optimum volume for the best performance of the speaker. Horn Acoustic loudspeaker concept has been designed and executed from scratch according to their uncompromising assumptions. It comprises: an ultra-linear lower suspension system, a coil, the ferrite-neodymium magnetic system, a coated cellulose diaphragm, a reinforced aluminum basket, and a rubber upper suspension made by the renowned German manufacturer. The entire arrangement is completed by a perforated dust-proof cover.
The powerful ferrite-neodymium magnetic system provides for a strong magnetic field of 1.1 T and is characterized by very high linearity and low sound distortion levels. Over the entire amplitude range, the coil is working within the system’s magnetic flux, which directly translates into high quality of the sound and its clear legibility, even at low volume settings.
The key component of each loudspeaker is its membrane. In the case of the W10.8 transducer, its membrane was coated with a coating material that is used in the violin-making craft. The sound-damping coating has significantly contributed to the transducer’s enhanced sound quality and well-balanced frequency response.
Proper propagation of music's flow is always closely connected with tractrix horns. There is something about the speed, a speakers' sound detachment phenomena and I've had enough time to explore Horn Acoustic Vivo speakers with a wide variety of music and preferred reference tracks. As always here are few of the albums and songs that point out Vivos great attributes...
Mstislav Rostropovich Haydn: Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2
belongs to one of those albums where fluidity is at the forte. Haydn music is all about comeliness, stylishness, and accuracy, and Rostropovich's grandeur rendition is both feather like and witty when it's presented via the well-matched system and most importantly greatly balanced loudspeakers. There is also Rostropovich's hefty tone and powerful playing (too Herculean for some) that is the result of his Stradivarius cello. Competent speakers should reveal this virtue vividly! Vivo speakers surprisingly exhibited finesse and beautiful tone without grander endeavors. The Horn Acoustic speakers have painted cello's distinctive colourant notes without a smearing effect. They've also easily filled the room with the authoritative presence which brings us to the spatial expansion, another tractrix horns' quality.
Miroslav Tadic's "Duerme Negrito" from the album Spavati, Možda Sanjati
at once reveals any speakers' ability to reveal a distinctive drama was impressive. The sense of scale and weight at the very intro of the alone pushes any speakers to serious stress. On this album, Tadic shows his mastery to embrace different genres and styles regardless of origin by playing la puerta del bajo, fretless baritone guitar, electric and acoustic, classical baritone guitar, etc.
Horn Acoustic Vivo speakers re-assembled Tadic's virtuoso rendition of "Duerme Negrito" (Latin American lullaby) convincingly and with the refreshing aptness. Spavati, Možda Sanjati demands speed, tonal richness, and dynamic swiftness and Vivos have plenty to deliver.
The implementation of W10.8 has proven to be more than just justified. Seamless integration with the tweeter has produced a highly involving and music-rich impact that was lingering after each listening session.
When implemented rightfully, speed is further stand out attribute of tractrix horns. Following the tempo, tone and the interaction between the cello and piano can never be called an easy endeavor. Gregor Piatigorsky's "Stravinsky / Suite italienne (arr. Stravinsky & Piatigorsky). ⅠII. Aria. Allegro alla breve-Largo" from the album Stravinsky / Suite Italienne & Debussy / Sonata For Cello And Piano In D Minor.
The piano sprightly accompaniment was rendered with a surprising easiness by the Horn Acoustic Vivo speakers. Piatigorsky's unmistakable romanticism was instantly admissible, which is a rare case, but clearly a result of a great matching with my Lamm M1.2 reference hybrid amplifiers. The Vivos allowed a captive sheer emotional nucleus to luster without the traits of sonic patina, that can too quickly smite the Piatigorsky's tempestuous inner momentum.
This was also evident with the portrayal of Wilhelm Backhaus's "Haydn: Piano Sonata in C Major, Hob.XVI: 48 - 1. Andante con espressione" from Haydn: Piano Sonatas Nos. 34, 48 & 52; Andante con variazione: Fantasia in C Major. Horn Acoustics Vivo speakers performed their role eminently, showcasing the piano with a fuller scale than expected and with the interactive ability.
My reference listening room is just a bit below 50m2 and Horn Acoustics Vivo speakers were designed to fill up to exactly the same volume. So in a way, this was a proper evaluation of their true potential at the real world scenario and at the conditions that they've planned for.
Nothing can easily reflect the speed of the sound coming from a tractrix horn driven by the compression driver. The speed and immediacy are instantly recognized and Horn Acoustic's clever implementation of 10" W10.8 driver resulted in a great synergy, that produced rather unexpected well balanced and refreshingly captivating reproduction.
With two-way speaker design, a lot of things might seem a bit less complicated. In a way, this holds the merit. Nevertheless, it's not easy to deal with juxtaposition of bass-mid driver and tweeter, what about creating a workable solution. And what to talk about creating a good or even great sounding pair of speakers.
The key is voicing, proper matching of the drivers, right selection of the materials and proper implementation of know how. These days literary anything is available on the tip of the few clicks. Consequently, we have an overflow of mediocre sounding speakers and brands that fights for their share of the market.
Rafał Szczepaniak certainly didn't want to create just another pair of loudspeakers and this is instantly evident. Horn Acoustic Vivo speakers are well tuned, musical speakers with a lot of foundation and ability to engage the listener into the prolonged enjoyments.
Horn Acoustic Vivos encapsulate the right ingredient and blends the past and present with more than an interesting product. The stand out the sonic impact is without a doubt the result of particular design choices. It's very easy to step in the shouty realms with the tractrix horn and overemphasized lower frequencies with the bass-reflex enclosure.
Szczepaniak found the right sonic balance and energy distribution balance. The Horn Acoustic Vivos does need a bit time to position them properly into the listening environment, but nothing more complex than with the usual pair of dynamic speakers. Each and every room operates with its own rules and room modes. The optimum positioning requires a bit of effort and technical knowledge. While measurement and psychoacoustics' logics gets you to a certain degree, one cannot escape completely hands-on trial and error.
Even the heavily treated room will still react to the bass nodes, that like sinusoid has its peeks and lows. This is one of the reasons to do the homework properly and trust your ears also.
Once I've figured out the right placement, interestingly Horn Acoustic Vivos ended up being placed not too far where my Raidho D4.1 reference speakers reside.
With Horn Acoustic Vivo speakers I've really enjoyed the wide propagation of horn and overall potent sonic potency that allowed an instant and palpable renditions of the music.
Anyone that seeks a pair of the speakers that can rather easily project an energetic, musical and involving reproduction of their beloved music's catalog should surely look towards the Horn Acoustic speakers.
- 12.000 EUR
- Power: 15/150 W
- Impedance: 10 ohm
- Frequency: 35-20 kHz
- Efficiency: 92 dB/1W/1m
os. Rzeczypospolitej 94/9
61-392 Poznań, Poland
Tel: +48 509 734 919