pl | en

Loudspeakers | floor-standing

5degrees No110

Manufacturer: hORNS
Price (when reviewed): 38 500 PLN/pair

Contact: hORNS | ul. Turka 329A
20-258 Lublin | POLSKA


Provided for test by: hORNS


Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Images: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Marek Dyba

No 197

October 1, 2020


hORNS is a Polish, Lublin-based audio company specialized in horn loudspeakers. It was founded in 2000, but it took up speakers production only in 2008. The very first model – Mummy – was presented during Audio Show in 2010. It’s owner is Mr. ŁUKASZ LEWANDOWSKI.

ORNS is a company that is rightly associated with larger and slightly smaller, but always - horn loudspeakers. This is the first and everlasting fascination of its owner. The market, however, dictates its rules, among which the requirement of diversity plays an important role, thanks to which the "brand’s" sound can reach a wider group of music lovers. This is how the idea for the "5degrees" series was born.

And it was born among the company's distributors, who asked for speakers with more universal use and appearance. Their request also suggested that they should be as inexpensive as possible. The first speaker to be released was the 5degrees No17. And what happened? - Well, the company is so strongly associated with the higher price level, that the loudspeakers appealed to customers only with the introduction of the more expensive 5degrees models based on the idea developed for No17.

| A few simple words…

Owner, designer

I made the 5 degrees No.110 speakers for my wife. So they were quite a challenge ... The appearance was supposed to harmonize with the purity of the sound, and additionally facilitate listening to a variety of music genres that my wife listens to. So the speakers became a kind of symbolic reflection of a "woman". On the one hand, subtle, but with character and sometimes a strong punch.

One of the main ideas was that the loudspeakers should easily blend in with various interiors and to offer an unobtrusive look. We know that "diamonds are a woman's best friend," so I wanted to create a "diamond" in my class. Maybe that is why they caught on the market when the high models were introduced ... Such a position was also expressed by the distributors, whose need for 5 degrees loudspeakers coincided with my wife's dream of such loudspeakers.

Because hORNS is about passion, love for music and sound harmony, we approach each of our projects individually. 5 degrees is a great model for people who appreciate classic style, a properly differentiated sound that depends on the music they listen to, and is fickle like a woman - but that’s what we love them for. ŁL

| 5degrees No110

Drivers | The tested speakers are the largest model in the series, named after the front baffle angle that equals 5º. It is tilted to (mechanically) align the phase for two drivers on the front panel: an AMT tweeter with an area of 1.8” and a midrange driver with a diameter of 180 mm with a diaphragm made of coated paper reinforced with Nextel. The AMT comes from the Harwood Acoustics and the midrange driver was purchased from SEAS.

The bass sections is actually a separate "subsystem". It features a closed housing, similar to the mid-tweeter section, but the woofer is placed on the side. It resembles the solutions of the German company Audio Physic. From time to time, however, this solution is used also by other companies, both large and small - see Amphion and the Krypton3 model – because it offers certain benefits.

The most important one of them is the ability to use a narrow front baffle, which reduces the distortions caused by the bending of the sound wave on the edge of the cabinet, and looks good at the same time. The 5degrees No110 features a 250 mm SB Acoustics woofer with an aluminum diaphragm. The manufacturer suggests that the drivers in both speakers should face each other rather than side walls.

Design | The tested loudspeakers are a large and heavy design - their internal capacity reaches 55 liters and they weigh 60 kg (a piece). From the technical side, they look quite classic - it is a three-way system in a closed enclosure (or actually two separate enclosures). The AMT driver stands out a bit from a classic approach, but after a moment one realizes that more and more manufacturers have used it recently and it seems that it is the answer to the problems of dome tweeters. The system has a relatively low efficiency, at the level of 85 dB, therefore it requires a powerful amplifier.

When placing the loudspeakers in my room, Mr. Łukasz said that in his company he uses a bi-amping system, with a tube amplifier powering the mid-tweeter section and with a class D amplifier powering the bass section. He also says he likes bi-wiring - hence the presence of double binding posts on the rear panel. High quality ones, I must add, as these are sourced from WBT’s NextGen series. Let me add that the loudspeakers have a very wide frequency range declared by the manufacturer covering 30-30,000 Hz

Finish | The hORNS company draws its resources from the experience of the owner, Mr. Łukasz Lewandowski, who has been specializing in resin and glass fiber products for many years within the Auto-Tech company; this is why earlier hORNS was called hORNS by Auto-Tech.

That’s where certain elements of the hORNS products come from. It is also visible in the "5degrees" series, where the front baffle is covered with a high-class varnish (available in the full RAL palette) which forms a whole with the horn in front of the AMT driver. The sides are finished with natural veneer and high gloss varnish. The finish is flawless. I would like to add that the midrange driver features a metal collar, which stiffens its basket and slightly protrudes it in front of the front panel. The loudspeakers have a narrow profile and to stabilize them, metal flat bars with feet in the form of a wide cones are tightened from the bottom.


HOW WE LISTENED TO IT | The hORNS 5degrees No110 loudspeakers were placed in the same place as my Harbeth M40.1, i.e. at a distance of 2 meters from each other and 2 meters from the listening position. They were toed in so that the axes of their tweeters crossed right in front of my head. They were driven by the Soulution 710 power amplifier.

Recording used during review | a selection |

⸤ Johann Sebastian Bach, Brandenburg Concertos / Concertos BWV 1055 & 1060, wyk. Münchener Bach-Orchester, dyr. Karl Richter, Archiv Production/Universal Music LLC UCGA-9002, SHM-SACD (1968/2011)
⸤ John Coltrane, Giant Steps, „Deluxe Edition 60 Years”, Atlantic/Warner Music Japan WPCR-18311/2, SD 1311, 2 x SHM-CD (1960/2008)
⸤ Modern Jazz Quartet, Reunion at Budokan 1981, Warner-Pioneer Corporation 251 210-2 (1981/1984);
⸤ Novika, Tricks of Life, Kayax 013 CD (2006)
⸤ Peter Gabriel, So. 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, Realworld/Virgin PGVOX2, 4 x CD + 2 x DVD + 180 g LP + 180 g 45 rpm LP (1987/2012)
⸤ Roger Waters, Amused To Death, Columbia/Analogue Productions 88765478842, SACD/CD (1992/2015);

IT'S AMAZING how much different - and different they are - can speakers from different manufacturers be, even if they use similar solutions. Despite the passage of years and hearing hundreds, if not thousands of speakers, it still surprises me. It was also the case with the 5degrees No110 speakers.

These are constructions that behave a bit like a chameleon. It is possible to point out their own sonic qualities, it is not even particularly difficult, but also these features seem to support the music, not interfere with it. Take, for example, strong low, dense bass. This is the Achilles' heel of most loudspeakers, with which many music lovers cope with denial, pretending that we do not need this range to be properly extended. This is obviously not true, but it happens more often than one might expect .

Anyway, the bass in the reviewed speakers is really powerful and solid. At the same time, it is extremely well differentiated. It does not impose itself with its presence, but when it is needed it surprises with its power. I started the test by listening to the title track from the new re-edition of the Coltrane’s Giant Steps prepared for the 60th anniversary of the original release. Broken rhythms, unusual harmonies, all of this was conveyed by the hORNS with ease, effortlessly. Nothing at the bottom of the band was emphasized, although I still knew how the double bass played, because the speakers gently promoted this aspect of the sound.

Right after that, to check how the loudspeakers behave with something completely different, I played the track Tricks feat. SQUBASS Novika from Tricks of Life. It is driven by a low, synthetic bass. This piece has been reproduced with an intensity that a moment ago I would have not suspected hearing their delicate performance on Coltrane. The bass was really nicely extended and dynamic, but it was also - and probably that’s the most important element - very coherent with the rest of the frequency range. And it is so, that placing the woofer on the side comes at certain cost. And the cost is usually an unevenness at the crossover point. I haven't heard anything like that here.

Anyway, the loudspeakers sound very coherent as a whole, I did not hear the own character of the individual drivers. And even if there was some hint of it, it was unobtrusive. In this respect, the AMT speaker fits very well with the sound of the midrange driver with a Nextel diaphragm. In tandem, they sound very smooth, nice, and with no edginess. The attack seems a bit dim, though it's not a softened. It is simply a slightly warm, relaxed sound. Still, there is no impression of blurring the edges. This is a precise sound, but with precision focused more on the overall presentation than on details.

| Our albums

⸤ Modern Jazz Quartet Reunion at Budokan 1981

Warner-Pioneer Corporation | Compact Disc (1981/1984)

THE Reunion at Budokan 1981 album is a recording of a concert that the Modern Jazz Quartet played in 1981 in Japan. The CD in question is a 1984 reissue, released in Japan by Warner-Pioneer Corporation, although the disc was pressed in Germany. The sound was recorded in the Tamco Mobile Truck mobile studio, and a few days later, on October 25th and 29th it was mixed in Hitokuchizaka Studio, under the direction of Yuichi Shima.

It's a very interesting recording - one of the early recordings made using the Mitsubishi X-800 (multi-track) and X-80 (stereo) digital reel to reel recorders. The multitrack signal was recorded with a sampling frequency of 48 kHz (or 44.1) and a resolution of 16 bits. The mix was made on an analog console, and the master was digital and had a resolution of 16 bits and a sampling frequency of 50.4 kHz. It was from this tape that the varnish for the LP edition was cut, which was released the same year and was converted to 44.1 kHz for CD in 1984.

As I wrote in the history of Mitsubishi tape recorders, it is one of the best realizations recorded on this company's tape recorders. It has great dynamics, excellent treble and beautiful depth. The lower bass is slightly thinner on it, but somehow it did not bother me too much. Perhaps because the midrange is dense and strong here. The LP version is more open and selective, but after some time I found the CD version more pleasant to listen to. It's a very nice concert and a cool, really interesting recording made with unique digital tape recorders.

Keep reading: MITSUBISHI ProDigi. Digital reel-to-reel recorders – from X-80 to X-880, „High Fidelity” July 1st 2020 | № 195; accessed: 11.09.2020

IT IS THANKS to the combination of precision and softness that the Reunion at Budokan 1981 by the Modern Jazz Quartet with the Budokan concert in 1981, which is discussed above, sounded so good. Recorded digitally on the - then new products - X800 and X80 reel to reel tape recorders, it sounds a bit light. But the best systems do not stop there and show excellent clarity of treble and sound coherence. This was also the case with the hORNS speakers. The sound was internally complex, rich in detail, but also pleasant.

Because these are loudspeakers with an open, wide range sound, which, however, do not focus on a hard contours or details. Their resolution is really good, I have no doubts about that. The information they provide is organized and shown as a whole, not as a set of separate elements that only we have to put together in our heads. This is very important, because thanks to this you can listen to these loudspeakers for a very long time without getting tired, and yet the differences between subsequent discs are not blurred.

And there is also a perfect space presentation. Tested design tends to bring the foreground closer. The volume, i.e. the size of the instruments and the soundstage, are perhaps also impressive thanks to this feature. The loudspeakers generate a very large space that’s also deep, which was obvious when I listened to the announcement of the Modern Jazz Quartet concert, when the sound carried far deep into the stage, but also with huge space where the sounds generated from the Roger Waters album Amused To Death floated in. I played the latter from the new version, remixed in 2015 by the former Pink Floyd leader.

| Summary

The manufacturer of the 5degrees No110 speakers has prepared extremely versatile designs. And one might be afraid that someone who loves specific solutions - horns in this case - may be fixated on them and lose sight of other options. It is not the case. The hORNS played equally well both, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerts of Bach and Novika’s album, followed by Perfect’s concert from 1981. They also did a great job perfectly conveying the intentions of producers of the Modern Jazz Quartet concert. This sound is pleasant, slightly warm, but always resolving.

Nothing in their presentation bothers or tires a listener. It has momentum, large volume and well extended frequency range. The bass is slightly emphasized. So we get a powerful, low bass whenever it is needed. But when the music requires something else, the loudspeakers do not force low sounds. They are able to extract them out of the mix without overdoing it with enthusiasm. The presentation as a whole is not very selective, but it was - if I understand it correctly - about something completely different, about putting all the elements together into one efficient whole, and not about taking the sound apart.

These are surprisingly universal, pleasantly sounding loudspeakers with internally complex sound. They require a powerful amplifier, but on the other hand, they will perform well even in small rooms. That’s a very, very good design.


The hORNS 5degrees No110 are quite large, floor-standing speakers. This is a three-way design in a closed cabinet. The latter is actually divided into two parts - one for the mid-treble section and another for the bass. The woofer is placed on the side wall and the manufacturer recommends that it be pointed inwards. Their front and back have been tilted by 5º, which aligns the phase of the drivers on the front panel and gives the design a dynamic appearance.

The treble is reproduced by the AMT driver, invented originally by Dr. Heil, one used here comes from the Harwood Acoustics. The midrange is reproduced by a SEAS driver. It has a diameter of 180 mm and a paper, Nextel-reinforced membrane. In the center you can see a solid aluminum cone that corrects the phase and at the same time cools the voice coil. The driver features a cast basket. The 250mm woofer has an aluminum diaphragm and was supplied by the SB Acoustics. The frequency response range is divided between drivers in a crossover mounted on a printed circuit board. It uses components from Mundorf and Jantzen Audio. The crossover filters have a slope of 12 dB.

The loudspeakers are very well made - the front is varnished and the sides are finished with natural veneer. Customer can chose one of variety of colors of the front panel and the type of veneer for the side panels. As the speakers are relatively narrow, two thick flat bars are screwed to the bottom, to which the cones are screwed that allow user to level the speakers. Washers to be used under the cones are included in the set.

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

System: 3-way
• bass woofer: 1×10” aluminium
• midrange: 1×7” Nextel/coated paper
• tweeter: 1×1.8” AMT
Crossover: 12 dB/oct.
Cabinet: 55 l, closed
Sensitivity: 85 dB
Frequency range: 30-30000 Hz
Nominal impedance: 8 Ω
Dimensions (W x H x D): 235 x 1150 x 350 mm
Weight: 60 kg/unit.


Reference system 2020

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC