A blind listening test is described in which 16 loudspeakers are compared with four reference loudspeakers under anechoic conditions. The test is concerned with the perceived sonic similarity between midrange horn loudspeakers and direct radiators and is intended to pinpoint the physical cause of a "characteristic sound" attributed to many studio monitor systems equipped with midfrequency-range horns. Comparisons are made between the listening test results and measurements of on-axis frequency response. The results indicate that short horns sound more similar to direct-radiating loudspeakers than long horns.It is concluded that the reflections from the mouth termination of long horns is responsible for the characteristic sound and that for studio monitor applications, a midrange horn should have a length not exceeding 340 mm and should be free of flare discontinuities.
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