Kubotek's Haniwa Horns

You'd think there was not much more to say when it came to horn speaker design. Yet there, in one of the Venetian's 29th-floor rooms was audible proof that progress can still be made. Designed by Japanese engineer Tetsuo Kubo (above), the Kubotek Haniwa SP1W33 horn speakers ($60,000/pair) use Electrovoice drivers loaded with midrange and low-frequency horns that continue the Tractrix flare around to the rear of the horn to minimize edge reflections. A separate DSP processor, the FPIC-100 Sound Signal Controller is used to correct the horns' phase characteristics independent of the amplitude response.

The sound of Mobile Fidelity's new reissue of Coleman Hawkins' The Hawk Flies High was surprisingly natural-sounding (other than its ping-pong early-stereo nature), which Kubo-san claims is due to the speaker's drivers being accurately time-aligned. My face must have betrayed my skepticism as Kubo-san pulled out a microphone and a Praxis PC-based measurement system and showed me that yes, the Haniwa's in-room impulse and step responses were indeed time-coincident. Impressive.