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This review first appeared in the August 2012 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of the Hornmanufaktur Aurora in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or Hornmanufaktur - Ed.

Reviewer: Martin Mertens
Sources: A
nalog - Thorens TD 160 HD with TP250 arm & Benz Micro MC Gold cart; digital - Creek CD 43 MkII, Logitech Transporter
Amplification: Phono - Lehmann Black Cube SE II; integrated - Jadis Orchestra blacksilver, Exposure 2010 S, Musical Fidelity AMS 35i
Loudspeakers: Gaithain ME150
Cables: Vampire CC, Fast Audio Compact 6M biwire
Power: Audioplan FineFilter S, PowerStar S wall sockets, PowerPlant S filter, PowerCord cables
HiFi-Rack: BassoContinuo
Review component retail: starting at €2.800/pr

Two Hörnchen please.
If one accepts limitations there to focus here instead – is that compromising or specializing? Compromise sounds lukewarm, don't it? Okay at everything, great at nothing. Pfui! Specialist meanwhile calls up the opposite impression. Great at certain things, won’t bother with others at all. Ha! Why such an opener? You’ll find out soon enough.

Pretty much two years now I’d been waiting for Hornmanufaktur’s new Aurora model – ever since I’d reviewed their A90 in fact which had left lasting impressions such that I would have loved to keep ‘em. But my life partner vetoed that. Too big, too ugly. Huh? Far from it I thought. Alas, where the living room doubles as listening room, other votes matter. My affair with the Hornmanufaktur was off. For the time being. That’s because Herr Hüpfel, owner and designer of the Austrian firm, had let slip that a smaller model was in the works in which he’d attend to the recessed treble I’d complained about with the A90. Now I was finally face to face with Aurora. Dahlin'!

Except that she looked anything than what I’d expected. By 'smaller concept' I’d imagined a somewhat shrunken A90, perhaps sans sloping baffle. And on improved treble I’d flashed on a super tweeter common with horn systems where it’s simply placed on top, say like Expolinear offers the TW-1 for its Studiohorn 2-60. But what unpeeled from the Austrians' shipping cartons were surprisingly small boxes whose 45 x 25 x 30cm dimensions were – well, shockingly compact.

In fact to work properly these require stands. Preferably of the taller sort. Hüpfel recommends that the Aurora’s center coincide with your ears. With lower stands the boxes should be turned upside down (meaning the lettering on the terminals will stand on its head). Otherwise you couldn’t tell whether the speaker is right side up, meaning widebander is top, the horn mouth bottom and the super tweeter middle. The entire front is covered by a broadly perforated acrylic plate with cloth behind it. This obscures drivers and mouth to look the same either way and has a few reasons. But first things first. As hinted already, the Aurora is a horn speaker, more precisely a rear-loaded one. Behind the driver responsible for bass sits a multi-folded line whose cross section expands based on a mathematic formula. Because of it Hüpfel claims for his widebander a bandwidth of ca 40Hz to 13.000Hz. The lion’s share of the audible range is thus covered by a single driver without crossover to approach the point-source ideal.