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On the subject of horns.
http://forum.talkingmachine.info/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=35975
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Author:  epigramophone [ Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:18 am ]
Post subject:  On the subject of horns.

This period advertisement of about 1920 demonstrates that the tonal superiority of external horn machines was well recognised, even though they were rapidly going out of fashion. The early table and cabinet machines, with their boxy little internal horns, were acoustically a step backwards.

The Decca referred to in the ad would have had the Dulciflex bowl in lid sound reflector, which was neither one thing nor the other, but was remarkably effective.

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Author:  Marco Gilardetti [ Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: On the subject of horns.

I don't get exactly what your point is, but people had troubles finding an appropriate placing for gramophones back then just as today. And at the same time, the number of people who had an ear educated enough to care about differences in sound fidelity was a tiny minority, back then just as today. Internal-horn machines were more convenient - to place, clean, etc - and moreover I still have to understand if those big flowery horns that we find so amusing today were indeed considered a nice piece of furniture back then. At this point, I doubt it.

For demanding people, makes like EMG etc. went ahead building high-quality external horn machines.

Author:  estott [ Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: On the subject of horns.

Marco Gilardetti wrote:
and moreover I still have to understand if those big flowery horns that we find so amusing today were indeed considered a nice piece of furniture back then. At this point, I doubt it.


A lot of them were disasters. A prime example is that pedestal machine which needs a huge wrought metal support to hold a traveling arm and outsized brass trumpet - there is no way you can convice me that is a piece of good design. I think that German and French makers realized this and said "They'll never fit into the background - we'll just make them gaudy"

Author:  Marco Gilardetti [ Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: On the subject of horns.

I have to agree. The more I go ahead, the more I'm persuaded that external horn machines became iconic in a relatively recent time.

To begin with, they were sold for only a handful of years. Especially in Europe few people could afford them, and when records bacame broadly popular they were already superseded by internal horn machines or even portable units. When you say "gramophone" most people think about an external horn machine, but nearly all of them ignore which short commercial lifespan they had and how rare they are in comparison to internal horn units and portables.

In all ads that I come across I realise that as soon as internal horns became available, the demand for external horn units fell all of a sudden, to the point that they became hard to sell even with heavy discounts or if bundled with a huge assortment of records.

The more I study the matter, the more I'm persuaded that, possibly, back then they were not perceived as "well engineered" or as form-follows-function cutting-edge technology, and that they were not as desired as they are today from an aesthetic perspective.

Author:  epigramophone [ Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: On the subject of horns.

"...the successful designing of a horn to fit in the limited cabinet space was not so easily dealt with and caused acoustical difficulties never completely resolved to the end of the acoustic period. The bell, or outermost part of the flare characteristic of the better Victor external horns had to be sacrificed and as a consequence the tone reproduction was adversely affected. Actually, as it is still possible to demonstrate, the open horn Victor VI of 1906 or any of the larger open horn machines made by Victor were better reproducing instruments than any of the internal horn Victrolas made right up to the period of electrical recording. Many of the persons who bought the new Victrolas had never heard one of the better open horn Victor machines and thus had no criterion for evaluating the comparative reproducing qualities of the two types of instruments."

Not my words, but those of Messrs Read and Welch in "From Tinfoil to Stereo". Their comments are about Victor, but are just as relevant to HMV and other quality makes.

Author:  gramophone-georg [ Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: On the subject of horns.

Marco Gilardetti wrote:
I have to agree. The more I go ahead, the more I'm persuaded that external horn machines became iconic in a relatively recent time.

To begin with, they were sold for only a handful of years. Especially in Europe few people could afford them, and when records bacame broadly popular they were already superseded by internal horn machines or even portable units. When you say "gramophone" most people think about an external horn machine, but nearly all of them ignore which short commercial lifespan they had and how rare they are in comparison to internal horn units and portables.

In all ads that I come across I realise that as soon as internal horns became available, the demand for external horn units fell all of a sudden, to the point that they became hard to sell even with heavy discounts or if bundled with a huge assortment of records.

The more I study the matter, the more I'm persuaded that, possibly, back then they were not perceived as "well engineered" or as form-follows-function cutting-edge technology, and that they were not as desired as they are today from an aesthetic perspective.


Hmmm. The HMV no. 32 was manufactured until nearly 1930, wasn't it? I think we could rightly say, then, that the outside horn era existed roughly 1880-1930, give or take, and so was hardly a handful of years- more like half a century.

As far as them being "iconic", I'm pretty sure they always have been, and Nipper was why.

Author:  Marco Gilardetti [ Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: On the subject of horns.

No. They did not significantly penetrate the society until the beginning of 20th century, as the scarcity of early machines proves, and by the end of the Great War they were heavily discounted and relegated to the corners of advertisements. They were at the top for 15 years, 20 to be generous. Horrible machines like the 32 have nothing to share with the great classic gramophones like the Monarchs etc.

Author:  epigramophone [ Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: On the subject of horns.

Marco Gilardetti wrote:
No. They did not significantly penetrate the society until the beginning of 20th century, as the scarcity of early machines proves, and by the end of the Great War they were heavily discounted and relegated to the corners of advertisements. They were at the top for 15 years, 20 to be generous. Horrible machines like the 32 have nothing to share with the great classic gramophones like the Monarchs etc.


Horrible or not, The Gramophone Exchange of Shaftesbury Avenue London offered the HMV Model 32 with a Wilson Panharmonic horn and an Astra soundbox.
Some say that this outfit was a poor man's EMG.

Author:  Orchorsol [ Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: On the subject of horns.

epigramophone wrote:
Marco Gilardetti wrote:
No. They did not significantly penetrate the society until the beginning of 20th century, as the scarcity of early machines proves, and by the end of the Great War they were heavily discounted and relegated to the corners of advertisements. They were at the top for 15 years, 20 to be generous. Horrible machines like the 32 have nothing to share with the great classic gramophones like the Monarchs etc.


Horrible or not, The Gramophone Exchange of Shaftesbury Avenue London offered the HMV Model 32 with a Wilson Panharmonic horn and an Astra soundbox.
Some say that this outfit was a poor man's EMG.

Still is! I have one myself, more or less (sporting an EMG Mk IX horn). I'm interested to hear why you dislike the Model 32 Marco.

Author:  Swing Band Heaven [ Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: On the subject of horns.

Marco Gilardetti wrote:
I don't get exactly what your point is...


The advert is clearly inferring that horn gramophones whilst bulky sound better than the more compact internal horn machines. It does this by the comment about the Decca machine which it is inferring has the best of both worlds - ie is compact and sounds great. The fact that the advert dates from 1920 shows that even fairly early on in the transition between external and internal horned machines advertisers were savvy enough to use this information in adverts to create a further point of difference between the different horn (reflector) arrangements available...

S-B-H

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