Chinese Horns Are Less Than, Not Equal To, Sexy

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by Josh Ray on April 05 '06

 Products Images Eric-Linear M15

What's with China and antique horn speakers? Enjoy the Music claims the M12 and M15 speakers from Opera Consonance are new but I have my doubts. In any case, horns, for those not in the know, offer extremely high sensitivity (94dB+) which means you don't need gobs of power to drive them. The Zu Druid (101 dB), another high sensitivity speaker (though not a horn) rocked an amp with only .75 watts at a recent show. Yeah, you could probably power these suckers off of your iPod. Why does high-sensitivity matter? Good question. Some just say it sounds better, though the majority of "world class" speakers have low to mid sensitivity.

In any case, China seems to have a thing for mating huge horn tweeters and massive bass drivers. Above is the Opera Consonance M15 with a 15" front woofer and what they claim is a 28" "Dome titan. compressive alt driver, rear-radiant." Not sure what that means but I guess it explains the largest port I've ever seen.


Above, the Usher Audio D2 rocks dual 15" bass drivers and a wooden horn with an exotic beryllium tweeter. Sensitivity is 98dB and freq is 28Hz to 20kHz.

 Images Sp-B-2-S-1

And finally, the biggest damn horn of all, the $50k XLH REF-1812 distributed by AAA Audio combines an 18" bass driver with two 6" midranges and a retro megaphone tweeter. I saw these suckers in Vegas and, yeah, they're as massive as you imagine. Some magazine needs to give an award for "largest speakers shoehorned into a CES coffin." I'm told they weigh 1000 pounds and stand 7 feet tall. Lord help the man who buys these without consulting the wife.

As for sound, Positive Feedback has a MUST READ REVIEW of these giants and the companion $25k XLH 600 watt monoblock amplifiers. High sensitivity is for low watts, right? So what's the deal with hugh wattage? Best quote ever:

"The six hundred watts threw those behemoths around like a Pomeranian's chew toy."

XLH = Pomeranian chew toy. If I don't see that on an XLH magazine ad I'll be very disappointed. And then we hear the ultimate truth about this audio industry and single men:

"So, now I can't invite anyone to my house. It would be like having a prospective mate over for dinner and then introducing her to my eight-foot, blonde Burmese python...and wondering why she screams and runs out the door when I try to get her to feed it a live rat. I simply do not understand women."

I love it because it's so true. Sit a woman down in front of your bazooka speakers, ask her to experience the sonic micro-dynamics and she'll think you're foreshadowing your late night, under-the-covers micro-dynamics. Which brings up an interesting point. As rock star comedian David Chapelle says, "why do men buy nice homes? Because women like nice homes. If we could have sex in a cardboard box, we would." So why isn't there a brand of speakers made to attract women? Is it just impossible to make audio attractive? Men, from this moment forward, I'm dedicating my life to a new company: Aphrodisiac Audio. If I'm successful, I expect nothing less than demigod status and a shrine built in my honor.


I have 47 Labs Shigaraki components and a Michell Gyrodec SE. My wife loves the way they look and integrate into the decor. And they sound so sweet. It's not all behemoth speakers and huge black boxes out there.
This has got to be about the funniest most delightful review I have read in a dog's...err-- pomeranian's... age! Just superb all around. Thanks for pointing this one out, Josh! David
I have a small pair of dynamic Ushers (6311s) that are wonderful, but I hear those big D-2s are just awesome with SET amps and outboard tube crossovers. I've yet to read a bad word about Usher and their build quality -- particularly per price point -- should send shudders up the backs of U.S. and European loudspeaker companies.
Very funny, Josh!