Actually, who needs help is Ed's horn, not Ed. Or so Ed believed once he came across the new "IT" driver to replace his prior 4-inch Fostex FE108EZ. According to Ed, it now makes the revised The HornShoppe Horn a Most Wanted component - dead or alive but preferably, very much alive.

"Just imagine, the efficiency went up 3dB. Now we're in the 97dB range. Top end extends to a claimed 25KHz. Gained 10Hz on the bottom. The transient response is much faster. The impedance curve is flatter and the suckers sound right from the first minute. Handle twice the power, too."

This is how Robert put it: "Well, I have great news. I just got home, it's now 3:30 in the A.M. after spending several hours at Ed Schilling's house in the Pink Room listening to his new "IT" drivers and in one word, "Wow"!

I'm only two hours from Ed's and made a beeline down there straight after work with my HornShoppe speakers so I could hear an A/B comparison between my Fostex E drivers and the new "IT" drivers. With the "IT" drivers, the bottom end is lower and more defined and the dynamics have increased enough to my ears that the change is Wow"!

Ed has hit on a fantastic improvement with the "IT" drivers, the 3dB increase makes for improvement in sound from top to bottom. I'd sold my Klipsch Forte speakers, 97dB efficient, to buy the HornShoppe speakers about a month ago and the only thing that the H/S speakers didn't do better than the Klipsch was in dynamics. The Klipsch Fortes were just a little bit more dynamic. By hearing the "IT" drivers, the dynamics hit a bull's eye! So folks, you might just want to put in a call to Ed to get all the techno stuff." To which Mullmann added, "If there is a little more low end and they're 3dB more efficient, then I think we are officially entering the promised land."

Replied Ed: "Well, here's all I can say right now. The drivers are not pretty. They will need a grill to get past the wife. Unless she hears them before she sees them. They are not expensive but require damping the basket for a start. They are not a drop-in deal. But don't worry, they are so ridiculously cheap for the gain, it's a no-brainer. After the cabs are modified, they can easily accommodate the old driver if it turns out I've gone nuts (or nuttier). As all you guys know, output has never been a problem with an amp of more than 10 watts or so. Well, that minimum (for playing music at crazy levels) just plummeted. The extra 3dB is a serious thing. It also is not at the expense of max SPL. In other words, it ain't a "test tone" number. My AN 300B will drive these things to insane levels by anyone's standard. And they are as sweet and smooth as butter. All the good stuff from the E Sigma and all the good stuff from the original - with an increase in efficiency and power handling. I would say that this driver in my application is likely to be as good as it can get (unless someone finds a way around "those pesky Laws"). At max SPL, it will
be "modulation distortion" that makes you back off. The sound goes "soft" but it doesn't hurt your ears. You just know there ain't no more, regardless of the amp power. Two watts is plenty. And 150 is not too much. I'm happy!"

Getting Ed on the horn, with Bonnie nibbling on his left ear, he explained that this new driver combines the electrostatic clarity of the original 108 Sigma with the smoothness of the 108E and adds power handling and a bit of extension on either end. Unlike the "sounds like shit" suffering of endless break-in with the 108E, the new one sounds good essentially out of the box. What changes with break-in is apparent efficiency or output.

"Srajan, this is the bomb. I know this is a strong statement to make but I honestly believe that within the context of my design for The Horn, this driver pushes things to the theoretical limit of what's possible. The only thing I wish is for a cast rather than stamped frame so the appearance of this transducer spelled more class like the 108E. But you know what? A stamped basket is far easier to damp properly than a cast one so sonically, this is actually an advantage."

The "IT" driver & Robert's present system

So there you have it, a bit of news on my favorite hillbilly in audio who could explain in terms of lowered QTS, Xmass and voice coil specs why this new "IT" driver does what it does in his folded horn but who'd much rather make you an offer you can't refuse: "Listen to the thing yourself. If I'm crazy or hallucinating, you tell me and call me deaf. Simply send it back. I won't be offended." Hmm. Ed sure knows how to tempt the best of us hardcore audio floozies. Okay then, send over an "IT" pair in the New Year while I'll brush up on my swear words and curses (just in case)...