Front loaded sub vs folded horn sub wikipedia electricity consumption


Of course horn loaded is more efficient than front load. It’s just that the lowest frequency anyone has been able to design into a practical sized box is about 60hz. Above that they get increasingly efficient and below that they roll off pretty quickly, so back in the day of 500 watts being a big amp and kick drum hitting you in the chest, horn loads ruled. Now with synthesized notes sustaining 30 hz tones @ 140 db + its hard to find a horn load design that doesn’t rattle. Gene Cerwin pioneered correct horn loaded bass back in the days of the "Earthquake" movie with "Sensurround" and I have used L 36’s to great effect. Bassmaxx and Turbosound still make some AMAZING horn load boxes. Once you understand that they don’t exhibit the even response of a reflex design you can tune them correctly. What amazes me is how good bass reflex design‘s sound since technically speaking they are out of phase with themselves everywhere EXCEPT at the tuned frequency. They DO have a more even frequency response though which system tuners seem to prefer. SOooo, you have both these boxes in stock? Get ’em out and do an A/B test. The realities of physics predict you will experience more "chest thump" with the horn loads @ lower wattage inputs while the reflex design will give you "deeper" low end. Happy sailing!

However, in general, a proper front loaded horn (FLH) will have several advantages over a reflex speaker. They have MUCH higher sensitivity, occasionally as much as 8 or 9db driver for driver compared to a reflex speaker. They will have less distortion and a much "cleaner" sound, smaller group delay and a "quicker" punchier sound, have some inbuilt directivity and have a perception of longer "throw" than a reflex speaker. They also have a perception of moving more air than a reflex speaker, or at least in a more directed/controlled way, and "flapping your trousers" or "kicking you in the chest" more.

However their big downfall is the size needed, not unmanageable just much bigger to achieve a usable "sub" bandwidth. However they do have the bonus that they gain much more from coupling than a reflex speaker does, and soon as you start to use them in groups of 4 or more you increase the mouth area enough to rescue back a lot of the low that is missing in a single cab and can easily hit 40Hz or lower.

Reflexes will be able to match horns for SPL against footprint overall as you’ll be able to fit more reflex boxes/drivers into the same space and make up for the sensitivity gains of the horn, but you obviously then have to spend much more on both boxes an the extra amps needed to power them.

To me, a small show with one or two subs a side is a no brainer a reflex sub will give you the bandwidth you need in a smaller, manageable box. Soon as your doing big shows where you can stack 4 or more horn subs, especially outdoors, then there are distinct advantages to looking at horns as a solution and a group of four or six well designed horn subs will (IMHO obviously) wipe the floor with four or six double 18", sound far better, cleaner and louder for less amp power.

However these days you also have a plethora of other horn choices which are "in-betweenies". Tapped horns, bandpass horns and ported horns of various types, shapes and sizes all allow you straddle both and gain some of the sensitivity of a horn without loosing too much of the bandwidth or make the box just as big as a FLH.