Early scoping out of potential DIY horns

Since moving house and enjoying a bigger room my mind has quickly turned to bigger speakers (obvs).

Once a few improvements have been successfully sorted for the house I’ll have enough credit with Hel to change the speakers and have been considering a nice pair of AG Duo Mezzo.

However I’ve also been wondering what I could get as an alternative rather than laying out £30-40k I’d likely need to get a pair of Mezzos, and the possibility of going down the DIY route. That said I don’t know enough at this stage to even make an outline start.

My wants include -

  • Sound quality at least equivalent to/ better than Mezzos
  • A professional finished look (which I’m prepared to pay more for)
  • Looks good in my room and doesn’t stand out like a sore dick
  • Not mahoosive. Less than 6’ high and doesn’t encroach too far into and dominate the room (yeah moon on a stick I know).
  • Reliable and faff free once set up

Where I need help is right at the initial concept options stage before getting into tons of detail or suggestions for stuff that won’t mean anything too me. What different designs should I be considering, and what are the basic building blocks of what I need to put together? This will help me scope the cost and budget needed and rule out certain designs.

Assume it won’t be DIY as much as pay other people to make stuff etc and I look after the key decisons and the overall cost.

Appreciate any high level pointers as I know more than a few of you have a fair bit of experience at this.

This is a great opportunity to play at spunking someone else’s money at a catastrophic failure :ok_hand:


In true style I will ignore the DIY aspect and suggest visiting Definitive and hearing:

Living Voice Airscout.
105dB/w 3 way horn with Vitavox S5 midrange and 2019 crossover.
Mahogany and Bird’s Eye Maple cabinets.
plus some subs and you should be well set.

I have seen them recently and they look very nice

These will probably meet all of your listed wants, but you will avoid all the faff, hassle and time associated with DIY, so may not like them for that reason


These would appear to meet none of your requirements, so, perfect (maybe too small?)


Hand double the budget to Simon & Pete.


A VOTT derived project would be the way to go. (as @dom was exploring)

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Yup, thats another option on my list. I had planned to go listen to that pair as part of trying to baseline the sound quality I might be shooting for.


I have always fancied an Onken derived system

Yes! Very much this, I’m just awaiting winter to start building

Anything else is a long-and-winding road-to-nowhere, paved with bitterness, self-loathing and regret. And possibly divorce.

I know what I’d do :ok_hand:


(Bitterness &c, natch. But I’m an idiot. Be less like me :+1:)

Most simpatico with the midlands

(Go full potato with the BD5 drivers.)

Go full triffid

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I’m not as familiar with the approaches and the potential pros and cons of each.

Visually I was starting with the Mezzo look and pondering what the component and build cost would be to produce something that could beat it sound wise by selecting different components and not paying the margin for an OEM product -


Has anybody suggested Kans and a chrome bumper NAIT yet?


I think these are the ones currently listed

they also had some Volti speakers, but they may have found a new home

or blow your whole budget on a Goto horn system

obvious question is what is it you are hoping to gain by changing some very nice speakers for some more expensive very nice speakers?

When spending this sort of cash, unless you are worth £100M+, remember resale value if you hate them after a year of ownership. Homemade slap-ups tend to lose about 2/3 of their value or become just the value of the drive units.

You like Aventgarde, so I would go to Trio with the bass subs.


I think it’s important to look at each frequency range:

Sub bass, say 20-80Hz. Your options here are:

1 a Lab sub like mine. This will be a cuboid monstrosity, and you won’t like it for that, I think. It’s basically a cut-off horn.

2 a tapped horn. This is a floor to ceiling in the corner thing. This might be a good option, you can paint it to match the walls. This is not a true horn, but it’s fairly close.

3 a DIY sub like a devastator. While also a cuboid monstrosity, you have the option here of having just one, and so disguising it like a table or something; it’s a bit more tolerant of positioning. This is a bass reflex system.

Then you have mid bass, say 80-500Hz:

1 the straight horn is long and big, maybe 1.5m long and with a mouth a square metre. Hmm.

2 a corner horn is a neat idea, you can make a straight horn but place it on its end in the corners.

3 a folded horn would be large but could be a feature - Simon is making some amazing snail horns that look really cool.

Above these frequencies there’s much less of a problem, as the horns are much smaller - maybe up to 50cm across, so you can choose how you want these to look and work together.

It might be ideal to have three drivers for the midrange up, say 400-2k, 2k-8k and 8k up, so you remain in the sweet range for each driver and horn (to prevent beaming), but with good quality drivers you can probably use fewer.

So to deal with current suggestions:

The VOTT basically ignores the deep bass, it’s a mid size box with a large driver, which is back loaded for some bass and front loaded to push the higher frequency sensitivity up. I prefer the idea of separating out these two frequencies, but YMMV.

The Onken system is basically a bass reflex that uses a decent driver that can go a bit further up.

If I wanted a system that was truly state of the art without looking totally absurd, I would do:

Bass a DIY devastator, built so it looks like a cupboard under the window in the centre of the wall (if you have that). Hel can choose some lovely ornaments to put on top.

Corner horns, vertical straight

The midrange and up horns vertically aligned just inside the corner horns.

This would not protrude into the room more than about 75cm.

By using the bass system you can have that with its own plate amp and crossover, so you could choose whether you wanted active or passive for the rest. You wouldn’t necessarily need to digitise your vinyl or tape.


Yoghurt based horns? How very cultured :thinking:

These are also around 30k but look amazing to my eye.

They sounded crap every time I have heard those horns.


Really, damn. That’s a shame.