CAF 2014: Blowing my Sousahorn like I just don’t care











One of the most visually striking demos I caught at CAF this year was from show-organizer Gary Gill and his Sousahorn display. The Sousahorn is derived from the Le Ceac’h exponential horn designs, currently sold under the brand names of Azura or Oris — essentially, it’s a honkin’ big horn, a component in a DIY loudspeaker design.

Gary, who manufactures and sells the Sousahorn locally, says there are two sizes available, both with a 7″ “throat opening”, large enough to suit a Lowther, Tang Band and many more full-range drivers. Price for the 34″ diameter horn is $750; the 40″ diameter is $950.

Shown here with some bass cabinets that Gary made to show off the horns, the resulting speaker shown was a large, high-sensitivity three-way with a Tang Band shoved deep into the horn, with tweeters dangling off the audio rack. The whole thing was tri-amped using electronics from Emia and LM Audio and wired up with cables from Triode Wire Labs.

Emia’s Dave Slagle was running the room and taking requests. On an iPhone. In the hall. Jammed into a vintage horn. No, seriously. Dave was in the hall way, brandishing a beat up horn with a foam block he set on the end, with a small slot you could jam an iPhone into. Which he had. Guess what? Damn thing worked, too. And not too shabby, either. But this was the mood in the Sousahorn room — merry. And once inside, the sound field was huge and immersive and dynamic like nothing else at the show. In the spirit of full disclosure, the sound was a bit erratic on Day One, but had largely settled out by Day Two with the impromptu conversion of the speaker systems from a two-way into a three-way. I’m pretty sure there’s a whole story there. Whatever. What it was, was fun, and the energy in the room carried away minor concerns.

As I mentioned, the electronics were mostly sourced from Emia. If you’re looking for bespoke, hand-made audio jewelry with a clear heirloom chic, you’ve found a haven. Dave and Jeffrey Jackson are well-known (for Dave at least, seemingly uncomfortably so, something you’ll catch quick by watching him squirm when someone says anything approaching admiration within his earshot) for their custom-wound transformer-based electronic components, but their finished products are just incredible.

In the rack, a refurbished Garrard 301 turntable mounted with a RS Labs RS-A1 tonearm and a Denon DL-103R cartridge,was wired to an Emia Silver SUT ($3,600), in turn connected to an Emia phono pre ($5,400), and from there to the sonically invisible autoformer-based Remote Attenuator (Silver = $5,400), and on to a pair of Permalloy 50 microwatt monoblock amps ($15,000/pair). Oh, and there were a pair of tweeters in there, too.

What? Where do you hang yours?

More superficially, I’ll note that I’ve been a big fan of Emia’s “drug-through-the-Hudson aesthetic” (Dave’s words), and seeing the full kit here on display was a great opportunity for photojournalistic excess, so naturally I indulged.

More details about the Emia product line can be found on their website and you can contact Gary Gill directly at Capital Audiofest for details and availability on the Sousahorn.