Wood Midrange Horns, a Volti Audio Specialty
By Greg Roberts
To date, I’ve personally built over 1500 wood midrange horns! I don’t think there are many people in the world who can make that claim. It’s a very specialized field of work, and that experience of designing and building wood horns has given me a unique understanding of what makes one midrange horn sound better than another. My wood midrange horns have a lot to do with the sound quality of my horn speakers, and they are an important feature that sets Volti Audio speakers apart from all other horn speaker manufacturers.
So why wood? Well, first off, wood is a material that I’m very comfortable working with. I have the tools and woodworking experience to do the job, so it’s natural that I choose to make my horns out of wood. But wood is also a great material acoustically. It is naturally damped and does not ring like metal horns. It’s also a material that allows me flexibility in design, so I can get the size and shape that will exactly fit a particular speaker design, and best integrate with the other components in the speaker.
The choice of material is not the only design choice that impacts the sound of my horns though. The most important design feature that makes a Volti Audio midrange horn sound so good is the big 2″ throat. Nearly all other midrange horns used for home audio use have smaller throats – sometimes significantly smaller. It is common to see midrange horns in home stereo speakers that have a horn throat opening that is less than 3/4″ diameter. A 2″ diameter opening has a surface area that is eight times as large as an 11/16″ opening! This makes a huge difference in the quality of the sound coming from the midrange horn. You can test this yourself. Put your hand up to your mouth, making a small opening by curling your finger up to your thumb and then speak through it and listen to the sound. The gradually open up the hole size by uncurling your finger and continue speaking through the hole. As you can clearly hear, the larger opening allows your voice to come through with a more natural sound. The same can be said for how natural the music is coming from a larger horn throat opening.
Another aspect of midrange horn design that really impacts the sound quality, is the shape of the horn lens (the sides of the horn that allow the expansion of sound from throat to mouth of the horn). How shallow or deep the lens is, the rate of expansion of the lens, and the shape of the lens, all have a big impact on the sound quality. I’ve designed, built, tested and listened to dozens of different midrange horns over the years, and I’ve learned how to size, shape, and build horns that sound the very best.
So there you have it. A little bit more insight into what goes into building a Volti Audio speaker, and specifically how the design and construction of my midrange horns impacts the overall sound quality of my speakers.