Midrange Performance

“We live in the midrange”  Paul W Klipsch

One of the often-overlooked features of the Razz is the size and quality of the midrange horn/driver.  The Razz uses a very high-quality midrange compression driver with a dome shaped composite diaphragm, an annular phase plug, and a neodymium magnet, and most importantly, a 2″ outlet.  This driver feeds into a heavy, cast metal midrange horn with a 2” throat and a shallow exponential horn flare.  Of all the horns I tested, this was the one that sounded the best to me.  The large throat and the shallow expansion of the horn sounds the most natural and effortless. 

I carefully voice and integrate the Razz midrange with the other drivers through the crossover.  Heavy damping is applied to the horn lens to reduce the chance of ringing.  The quality of components and the careful consideration given to proper voicing gives the Razz a midrange quality that belies its reasonable price point.    

Most (probably all) other horn speakers the size of the Razz have horns made of plastic that are smaller in size, and/or have 1″ or smaller throats.  They also typically have the lowest quality midrange compression drivers available, usually made in China.   I can’t imagine you’d be surprised to discover that a $200 midrange driver made in Italy sounds a lot better than a $20 driver made in China. 

The size of a midrange horn throat has a big impact on the quality of sound from the horn.  Old and lesser quality horn speakers have always been plagued with certain characteristic issues in the midrange, like ‘colorations’ or honki-ness, midrange glare, harshness, and midrange that is not well integrated with the bass and treble.  Most of these issues start at the throat of the midrange horn.  A larger throat will always sound better than a smaller one.

So, a 2” throat is twice size of a 1”?  Sorry, wrong.  When it comes to midrange horn design, we look at the throat as an area, not a diameter.  We use A = π r2 to calculate the area of the throat circle.  A 2” throat has an area of 3.14 square inches.  A 1” throat has an area of .79.  That means the 2” throat has an area almost four times greater than the 1” throat.

However, the terminology and actuality of midrange horn throats are often different than you might expect.  A 1” throat horn can be a horn that actually has a 1” opening or it can be a horn that has a 1” female threaded end that accepts a driver with a 1” male threaded end.   For the latter, the actual opening from the driver into the horn is less than 1” diameter – the throat is effectively smaller.  As an example, the Klipsch Khorn has always had just such a horn and just such a driver.  The actual opening of the driver that feeds into the Klipsch Khorn midrange horn is 11/16”, with an area of .36 square inches, or an area that is well over eight times smaller than a 2” throat.

When you think about the fact that the midrange horn throat area of the Razz is over eight times larger than the throat area of a Klipsch Khorn midrange horn, you get a much clearer picture in your mind of how I can confidently claim that overall, the Volti Audio Razz sounds better than a Klipsch Khorn.

In fact, it is difficult to find a horn speaker on the market that can compete with the Razz when it comes to midrange performance.  Go ahead, do some digging on the internet and see if you can find another horn speaker on the market with a 2” throat midrange horn.

Then see if you can find a horn speaker on the market with the combination of a 2” throat horn and cabinet construction of 1” thick Baltic Birch plywood.  If you do find something out there that seems like a good match to the quality of the Razz based on the midrange and cabinet construction, please note the cost of that example, and also, please do send me a link so I can go investigate it as well.