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PureAudioProject Trio15 Horn1 Speaker Review

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(Picture courtesy of PureAudoProject)

The streamlined Loenidas crossover stolen from the TRIO15 Voxativ

Back in the Voxativ article I discussed the Leonidas crossover, which is designed to be configurable, enabling swapping of certain crossover elements. Partway through this review I was sent a set of resistors and capacitors so that I could install them, efficiently adapting it for use with the Horn1. This was a brilliant move on the part of PureAudioProject. Here we have a more streamlined “brain” of the speaker, one that is noticeably cleaner and provides for somewhat tighter imaging and tonal purity.

There is a single jumper to include or omit a coil that acts as a notch filter. This crossover has only one set of speaker posts, and so is single wired. Much as the four-way option on the more complex crossover, but with an even more global effect, the settings offer a softer, more plump sound versus one that is more intense and cleanly etched. Often when I assess products with similar options I settle on the setting with the highest resolution and better micro dynamics, because it is in my experience far easier to obtain a tonal change to a rig than a significant increase in resolution. However, in this instance, the longer I listened the more I felt compelled to chose the softer setting, then use components and cables to adjust the degree of resolution. Once that was settled in my mind I never changed the setting again during the review.

The more complex crossover has been selected as the default crossover; however, should customers wish to purchase the simpler Leonidas, it is available. Ze’ev says of the more complex crossover that it is, “…for fans that look for a sharper presentation.” I take that comment not to mean sharper as in more precise, but sharper as in less delineated and bolder.

The third crossover for the Horn1 is as significant a departure from the passive crossover as a horn is from a full range dynamic driver: an active crossover. Nelson Pass, founder of Pass Laboratories, is an explorer with circuit boards. His propensity to dabble in alternative amplification is well known. In a positive nod to PureAudioProject, Nelson and his team has designed an active crossover, the PAP-C1. I will be assessing that crossover in a follow up article dedicated to discussing the implications of running the Horn1 with an active crossover.


High end capacitor upgrade

The owner of the Horn1 has a wonderful ability to adapt the speaker to many systems whether using the stock crossover or the more simplified, repurposed Leonidas crossover. With the Leonidas, I went one step further than required, I personally bought a set of Mundorf Evo oil-filled caps. I was supposed to get some Teflon caps as part of a review package that was ordered through the parts supplier Madisound. However, the caps were on back order. After more than a month I called Madisound and inquired about fulfillment of the back order. They saw no clear timeline, but responded that they had an orphaned pair of the high-end EVO oil caps with similar specifications. I decided to buy them and explore for myself what an oil-filled capacitor might do for a speaker.

There were two apparent problems when I opened them. Aside from their considerably heavier weight, they were relatively huge, and in addition they had truly mismatched leg lengths for affixing to the circuit board. Between the size of the cylinder and the stubbiness of one leg, I called Madisound and said, “These must be defective!” No, it appears that’s how these come from Mundorf. I checked with a parts supplier who said that is how some caps come. I had to really work at it, but I was successful, albeit barely, getting them to fit. They had to be leaned like a tower falling and their one round edge fitted into a crevice between binding posts on the board, but they took up residence. To further complicate matters when they were installed, the body of the caps rested against the metal basket of the lower woofers and caused a mechanical noise when the listening level was high, so I wedged in a thin piece of foam to isolate them – it worked beautifully.

The outcome was an incredible elevation of the speaker’s performance holistically. The two caps cost me just over $100, but even at more than double that price it was a smack me upside the head until I’m silly if I don’t do this upgrade move. The speaker performed as if it were operating under yet another passive crossover, this one called “Ultimate Passive.” It was at this point I realized how foolish I had been to think that an electrostatic speaker design was inherently superior in terms of detail retrieval, because the Horn 1 was digging out more nuance from my reference recordings than the last system I had set up with the Kingsound King III.


“Low end” internal wiring upgrade with high efficacy

Cabling is one of the more fascinating aspects of system building for me. I have conducted comparisons of looms of cables ranging from bargain wires to $50K+ sets containing integral passive electronics. Along the way the most consistently important positive influences upon performance have been massive total gauge,  preferences regarding conductor material, and the avoidance of devices placed into the signal path on the cables.

There are aftermarket wires now being offered for the internal wiring of the Trio15, and owners may wish to pursue such cabling as an enhancement. I thought I would get in touch with my inner DIY’er, so I reached for an item that I have kept in reserve for about ten years, a special spool of speaker wire that was obtained for the golden opportunity to employ. The Trio15 Horn1 proved to be the golden opportunity. What was this cable kept like a fine wine until its time? Does anyone remember a store called Radio Shack? They are still in business, but the one down the street from me closed many years ago. For curious readers you can look up my scathing review of the Radio Shack braided copper speaker cables, which performed so poorly I couldn’t leave them in the system more than a day. People were raving about their performance, so against my better judgment I spent about $25 just to have fun and try them. They were garbage. I wouldn’t use them in my third rig. In fact, I gave them away because I would never use them.

What does that have to do with the internal wiring of the Trio15 Horn1? They say, “Don’t judge a book by the cover,” and I say, “Don’t judge a cable until you have heard it.” This particular Radio Shack wonder-cable is an anomaly, a blend of silver plated OFC and copper twisted braids of exceptionally small conductors. Rarely do we see a blended cable using silver plated and copper conductors. I knew when I saw it at the store closing clearance that it was worth a risk. It appears to still be available and is called “Radio Shack 25-Foot Square/Square Parallel Speaker Cable”.

The smallish risk on this wire I took nearly a decade ago has paid off most handsomely! Measuring the lengths of wire to size was easy, as I had the stock wiring from the speaker for comparison (copper braided wire with somewhat larger strands). Cutting them was another story. The square clear jacket was incredibly tough and I had to apply serious pressure with a sharp blade to penetrate it. I also had to watch that I didn’t cut too deeply because the individual conductors seemed thin enough to be traces on a circuit board. If I cut too deeply dozens of them would be shorn.

To say I was shocked at the resulting performance would be accurate. It pulled the speaker up another step in terms of performance, just as the Mundorf EVO oil-filled caps had done. I attribute the bulk of the improvement to the cable having a blend of silver and copper conductors.

The moral of the account is, do your homework if you want to go beyond the stock version. Do not listen to naysayers, of which there are many in the DIY community, who deride such changes. Often they have never even tried such things; they simply parrot others. The derisive sorts are often truly chintzy people, and they expect to be handed the world for a song. Know this, the outcome of this wiring change is an anomaly, not the norm. I have worked with both cheap and expensive cables over the years and “you get what you pay for” holds true most often. If cheap cables performed on average as well as more expensive ones I would use them. Performance determines what I use, not what I can get on loan from manufacturers.

Pay attention carefully to my next thoughts, for this is when readers are likely to make leaps to conclusions (the saying “leap to contusions” is applicable). I do not for a moment think that the Radio Shack wiring is “the best” of any potential internal wiring. I do not think that you will be a genius to procure some and say, “It beats all the aftermarket wires…” You would be a fool to do so. I am confident that were I to secure cables from any number of fine manufacturers and use them in this application the Radio Shack wires would be trounced. The only definitive thing I am saying is the silver/copper Radio Shack wires are an excellent choice if you want a lead in to explore swapping the stock leads to the drivers. Going forward, I plan to continue exploring this aspect of the speaker.

32 Responses to PureAudioProject Trio15 Horn1 Speaker Review

  1. Jeff C says:

    Thank you for the interesting and thorough review. A few questions come to mind. Since you are interested in DIY projects, have you ever heard or built a Troels Gravesen design such as the large Illuminator 4 or 5 or some of his open baffle designs ? I am wondering how they stack up against the Horn1. Also, since I know you think very highly of the Legacy Aeris and V Series, could you compare and contrast them to the Horn1?

  2. Dan says:

    Nice review. How would you compare these to your Legacy V? Or for us with the Legacy Focus SE with Wavelet?

  3. Shahed says:

    Thanks for your wonderful review Doug! I’ve ordered a horn1 to upgrade from my voxativ.

    I was hoping you’d write a bit more on the amplifier horn1 pairing. Did you try any tube amp/single ended/high and low power SS/Class D? I’d be very interested to hear your opinion on which amp you thought was the best match for horn1.

    Now regarding simplified vs default crossover – I’m going to use my existing voxativ crossover with the caps/resistor changes. You mention it’s purer. Which crossover do you think is more suitable more modern music rock/pop that are not the greatest in sound quality. This is assuming that I do not see myself biamping the horn1. But from your review it seems biamping provides a clear improvement. Instead of biamping, if I just bi-wire would that be a clear improvement as well?

    Congratulations on a very detailed and interesting review!


  4. Gentlemen,
    God’s Joy,

    Thank you all for your positive feedback on the article; it is gratifying that you found the article useful.

    Jeff, I was previously unaware of that DIY site. I have not done DIY myself, and restricts articles to retail speakers. I considered trying DIY many years ago, but thought that the time and equipment costs to do it properly would be prodigious. I think it would nearly have to be a second hobby to make it worthwhile if the goal was a fine speaker. Those designs look much more demanding than a weekend warrior just starting out could accomplish. So, no, I have no comparisons to other actual DIY designs.

    Dan, like Jeff, you also were curious about the comparison to Legacy products. A simple basis of understanding would be that the PAP Horn 1 is most like the Focus SE in terms of its ability to present the scale of the music. The chief difference between them all is the presence of a cabinet versus the PAP being open baffle. The presence of a ribbon tweeter also is a big departure in these other designs.

    The V is in an altogether different class of sound due not only to its size, but also its dynamic capacity. While the Horn 1 is “shy” on Midrange presence the V maximizes it, and somewhat less so on down through the Aeris and Focus SE. The bass generated by the Legacy models is typically more pistonic and “pops” with force, versus the Horn 1, which does not pop the bass, but rolls it out with less carving of the note. Finally, the Horn 1 is shorter and without elevating it this sinks the soundstage more so than these other, taller speakers. The Focus SE and Horn 1 would be the closest in terms of overall performance capability, albeit with very different sonic signatures.

    Shahed, I think you will very much enjoy the Horn 1 variant of the speaker. I have tried a variety of solid state amps with the speaker, including a pair of 25wpc First Watt J2 amps, an older Belles Theatrix stereo amp, and two other amps in for review which I do not care to divulge just yet. The Horn 1 responds readily to power structure improvement. While it sings pretty when the J2 amps are used, it takes on a more forceful, powerful character with higher power. The Red Dragon S500 Class D Amps were superb with the speaker as well. I did not have tube amps on hand at the moment, but given the cleanness of the speaker and ease of driving it, you would have no problems associating the Horn 1 with such an amp.

    By all means, bi-wiring and bi-amping are both efficacious. If you can only afford bi-wiring, do it!
    You should very much enjoy the revised Voxativ crossover. If you like super-clean rock music, it should suit you well. You must decide which is more important, a certain degree more transparency in the Voxativ crossover, or the several more adjustments to the sound offered by the standard crossover. Both have their merits and perform well.

    Douglas Schroeder

    • doug s. says:

      to raise the soundstage, simply swap the the horn for the upper woofer; w/all the tweaks you tried, i am surprised this one has eluded you (so far). ;~)

      i heard the tang-band iteration of the trio at this past weekend’s caf; extremely impressive sound in a very large room, for <$4k delivered.

      doug s.

  5. Bill says:

    Mundorf makes three versions of oil filled capacitors. One is with Aluminum, the other two with silver and a silver-gold metal. Which of these three did you use ?
    Regarding the construction of the speaker; everything looks well made. The placement of the crossover very close to the speaker is asking for resonance. I would not mount it there.
    Good luck! Looking forward to your further experiments with the Horn1.

  6. Bill says:

    VH Audio has a good selection of hook up wire, some with silver and copper wires.
    It would be interesting to see how ribbon wire works with horn drivers.

  7. doug s., BILL,
    God’s Joy to you,

    Well, in regard to swapping the horn with the bass, it’s not possible as the baffle pieces the drivers are mounted to and the mounting holes for the frame are not symmetrical. The Bass baffle pieces are approximately 50% wider than the horn baffle. If they were symmetrical you can bet I would have tried.

    Bill, the Madisound invoice says the following about the capacitors “Supreme EVO oil 33mfd”. I apologize that I do not have time to run this down further for you. I suggest that if that is not specific enough, you call Madisound. The name associated with the billing was Brian Kane 608-831-3771

    Doug Schroeder

  8. Paul Letteri says:

    I have voiced capacitors well over 15 years and when running a Hifi store when not selling
    We did resistor capacitor mods the Black Supreme I find are still their best even though
    Their new Evo Supreme are out ,they slightly elevate the upper treble region
    The White evo oil are their least expensive and least good of the 3 and have the Aluminum oil
    I believe .these even as a bypass are slightly tipped up in scale in absolute terms .
    Cost per dollar the Obbligatto Gold have a warmer balance and very good .
    My latest what I call a breakthrough for value quality – high end the New Clarity CSA- c is for a Copper lattice on the ends. In the Leonitus it has a Big 68 uf cap 250v and get them pr matched I did to within .2uf use the Mundorf Supreme solder which the cuircuit board has.
    The Fostex Copper foil,Tin foil cap 2.2 uf using their unique dialectric .a great cap used here as a blend. And does not change anything in the circuit design. The Fostex very limited on sizes due to made for their Full range drivers this mixed with the CSA Clarity cap is open warm and very good layering of instruments it cost me $250 for them at Madisound.i did these in several different speakers for friends all were elated . If you want the Absolute best in resistors the $$30 a pop Path Audio
    They tested in 12 pair every one was under 1% total variation .duelund not even close their best 5%
    Which is a 10 % variance . I may be compulsive with my audio but results are well worth the effort.

  9. Paul,
    Joyous Thanksgiving to you,

    Thank you for the thorough workup on caps and resistors!
    Now, you’re discussing use with the Voxativ, correct?

    Douglas Schroeder

  10. Shahed says:

    Hi Doug,

    Regarding capacitor upgrade – given that you used 33mfd values, I’m guessing the Capacitor upgrade was applied to modified Leonidas crossover not the bi-ampable horn crossover. Right? It seems horn1 crossover needs a much higher value of capacitor and the options are limited if someone wants to roll them.


  11. Shahed,
    God’s Peace,

    Yes, you are correct; the 33mfd value Mundorf Supreme EVO oil filled were for the modified Leonidas crossover.

    Douglas Schroeder

  12. Gary says:

    Hi D,
    He is the glorious music Maker

    I am following you sir. Bought the PAP Vox because of your review with all 4’ silver foils by Varastarr for the crossovers.

    Now after reading the 3 online reviews on the Horn 1 they are being shipped from Spain to replace the Vox.

    Ze’ev claims a big step upwards in SQ and you say the same?

    Installing 4’ Gold foils from Varastarr in place of the Silver.

    Thanks for your very helpful review of the PAP speakers.

    Christ’s Glory upon you and your family,

  13. Gary,
    The Joy of the Lord to you,

    Thank you for your enthusiastic vote of confidence! I’m glad you found the results of obtaining the Trio15 Voxativ satisfying.

    The Horn 1 is a very different critter, an animal of a different stripe, so to speak. It’s a different technology employed and that absolutely results in a different experience, one that I like very much.
    I do not have the ceiling height to review the 7′ tall Quartet, so I used creativity to do an alternative. I have employed two Legacy Audio XTREME XD Subwoofers to add the requisite 4 additional 15″ drivers to equal the eight 15″ drivers of the Quartet! It’s FABULOUS! The output is similar to the Legacy Audio Whisper – which also has eight 15″ woofers. There is no replacing speaker driver surface to create a sense of utter ease in the low end. For anyone who has a lower ceiling and would otherwise want the Quartet I strongly encourage adding some subwoofers to the Horn 1.

    Anyway, you are on a good path, I think. I mean no disrespect toward Voxativ, but it is not among their highest model drivers, and the horn in the Horn 1 is exceptionally smooth and beautiful sounding. It’s truly a bargain of a speaker, especially how you can tune it to your liking with “internal” cables, capacitors, etc. It’s an affordable dream speaker to me.

    I may post pics of the latest outrageous setup; I enjoy pushing the boundaries of what is considered conventional audiophilia. BTW, don’t forget to try aftermarket fuses in your components. 🙂

    Douglas Schroeder

  14. Jordan says:

    Thank you for this lovely review!

    I’m tempted to get the Trio 15 Vox, but reading about the PAP1 – I wonder if it’ll be better.
    Can you please elaborate on the sound differences between these two very different ‘animals’?

    Many thanks,

  15. Jordan,
    God’s Peace,

    I found that the Horn 1 casts a larger soundstage than the Voxativ, and is more dynamically capable per Watt. The Horn 1 is a bit fussier to tune to exact taste tonally, but imo is most worthwhile when dialed in. The extra cost of the Horn 1 is worth it and propels the performance toward the sound of a very large, cost no object speaker.

    Douglas Schroeder

    • Jordan says:

      Thank you Douglas,
      Can you please elaborate on the ‘bit fussier to tune to exact taste tonally’? Is this placement? XO components? Something else?

      Thank you,

      Ordered my pair…

  16. God’s Peace to all,
    I have used the PureAudioProject Trio15 (various iterations reviewed for, specifically the Horn 1 version for some time now. I have had opportunity to use it in both Portrait and Landscape orientations several times. When I use it in Portrait (typical) orientation the width of the horn lends a very attractive extension to the L/R vectors of the soundstage. This, actually, is the speaker in Landscape mode, and conversely, as the speaker is put horizontally on my custom Sound Anchor stands the horns turned upright put the speaker into Portrait mode operationally. However, as the orientation of the speaker physically typically dictates the operation I continue to refer to the orientation according to the position of the entire speaker. No other speaker I have used turns the Mode 90 degrees such as the Trio15 Horn 1. It is indeed a rare, and perhaps unique speaker in that regard – that is, one able to be lofted onto a stand and reoriented. That is one of the reasons I enjoy it thoroughly. 

    I am visiting this topic because longer term I have concluded that I have finally found in this setup close to the ultimate monitor. There is a distinct difference in experience even between the portrait and landscape modes of use of the speaker. I have always felt a pull toward having a serious monitor, and this setup scratches the itch. In fact, it goes far beyond expectations of a monitor into the category of super-monitor. There will be very few who wish to dabble in this kind of experience, but there are some. Persons who should pay attention especially are the panel fans. I found the Trio15 vastly superior in all respects to the Magnepan .7, whether in Portrait or Landscape mode (I used the .7 on the stands in Landscape mode, too). Frankly, the .7 was a big disappointment in terms of performance. The Trio15 happily stayed, and the .7 went back. See my review of it if you wish. 

    Anyway, for the few who are seeking an ultimate monitor experience, the Landscape orientation (on the Sound Anchor stands) is as close as I have come to it. The horns oriented upright turn the soundstage more vertical and create a more L/R separation, but depending upon the positioning the center image is still quite full (But, even more so when the horns are parallel to the ground). If you want to do the full boatload experience then add subwoofers. What you will end up with is an extremely powerful performance that is emanating from the mid-section of the room, as with monitors. The bass is elevated nicely off the floor and powering directly at the ears. This is a more unusual experience, but quite distinct from large floor standing speakers. There is zero floor bounce, so the bass is much more tight coming from the speakers.

    Consequently, those who demand a strong tactile feel to the bass might be disappointed with the lack of vibration of the bass, however the tautness of the bass and sense of extreme focus is superior. Obviously, you need a few things to pull this off. The stands are not cheap, so a commitment in funds will be required. However, the experience is so over the top in comparison to classic monitors that it bears little comparison cost-wise. I think you would have to spend in the neighborhood of at least the cost of the speakers and stands, about $10K, to get this quality of performance from a larger monitor, and the bass is holistically different working with four 15″ open baffle vs. whatever sized boxed woofers. In addition, I find the horn to create quite a different experience than dynamic speakers, with more vitality. Note, there is less dynamic punch compared to boxed woofers of similar size, but the spatiality and lack of box coloration is profoundly superior to my ears. You will need the room to maneuver it. My room is 13′ wide, just enough to pull it off. A smaller room would be vice-like. You also will potentially need differing length ICs and speaker cables. With an amp stand integrated with the speaker stand you have an option for close amp placement to the speaker if you wish. I have covered much of this already in the review, but wished to expound upon it more. I do not see any two-way monitor on the market that could give this combination of attributes for a rig that is specifically tailored to give a monitor experience. Usually a person who has the room to do such a setup opts for a larger floor standing speaker. However, if you are adventurous, or have a strong disposition to feel monitors are superior, then you may wish to consider this setup. Feel free to contact me if you are serious about considering it. 

  17. Gary Anderson says:

    How does the PAP H1 complete with the Vivid B1? Do they have the same SQ as the B1?

  18. Douglas Schroeder says:

    The Joy of the Lord to you,

    I would love to have a simple answer for you, but that is not possible. One must compare the speakers side by side to have a thorough understanding of how they compare.

    However, one can get general impressions from construction and specifications. The Vivid is listed as 4 Ohms and 89 dB sensitivity, and frequency response is 39Hz to 41kHz +/-2 dB and has two 6.5″ cone woofers; the PAP Horn 1 is 8 Ohms, 94 dB sensitivity and 29Hz to 32kHz “typical in room” response, with twin 15″ drivers and 1.4″ compression tweeter.

    VERY different designs and construction, not forgetting one is box and the other open baffle. The PAP has a relaxing sound and one that replicates the sound of a much larger speaker.

    Still, either one could be too strident in the upper end with the wrong gear and cables. No big deal; make some changes with cables and dial it in.

    So, how does one answer “Do they have the same sound quality?” That depends on what is important to you and what you want to hear. I would say in terms of “sound quality” the Horn 1 can give you preferable sound due to the nature of open baffle designs. But you might be sorely disappointed in the result if you don’t know what you’re looking for in terms of sound and design. Recognize the independent goals and results, and you will be able to pick the one that is right for you. As I have stated in the review, the Horn 1 represents sensational value and has terrific sound quality in its own right.

    Douglas Schroeder

  19. Mitchel whitehead says:

    Doug, I was fascinated by this review. To help me “calibrate” on your tastes, could you please provide a short list of albums you like and/or albums used in the review. Your detailed and no-nonsense reviewing still is much appreciated and I am guessing that you might have some interesting recommends with regard to music software. Thanks much…

    Mitchel Whitehead

  20. Michael,
    God’s Peace,

    Thank you for the complement! I am not so terribly “audiophile” in my musical tastes, as I enjoy Smooth Jazz, solo instrument, Jazz vocals and a cappella groups, some vintage Rock and some synthesized. I would have to dig through my pile of notes to see what I was listening to at the time, but here is some direction.

    Some of the artists I have used to asses, just a smattering…
    Mary Chapin Carpenter “I am a Town”
    Al Jarreau “Tenderness”
    Postmodern Jukebox
    Pink Martini “Splendor in the Grass”
    Paula Cole (she’s turned Jazz singer lately)
    Third Force and Rippingtons (to assess low frequency).
    Kyle Eastwood (Clint’s son – bass player!)
    Soundtracks like The Mission, The Man From Uncle (a sleeper!), Natl. Geo. album on the space dive
    Dave Sanborn’s older “Straight to the Heart”
    Acoustic Alchemy’s Live in London album esp. “Templemeads”
    (Big low frequencies – careful); Bass Addiction
    Ozone Percussion Group
    Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble “Pretend” and “Bop”
    Trombone Shorty
    Brian Bromberg

    On Roon’s music Genre categories I tend to look into the Jazz, Retro and Soundtrack segments.

    Really, you should hear the soundtrack for Man From Uncle – very nice surprise and well recorded.
    I think I’ll play that tonight.

    Douglas Schroeder

    • Mitchel whitehead says:

      Perfect, thanks very much. Was listening to some Brian Bromberg while reading your response, btw.
      Hope your a thanksgiving was full of joy…


  21. One last one for you, Mitchel, (mea culpa on the name mixup previously)

    Corinne Bailey Rae – been a while since I paid attention to her newer music.
    Seems the 2016 “The Heart Speaks in Whispers” is a departure from her previous style,
    but very nice. I have not yet analyzed the lyrics for suitability, but the music is pleasant.

    Douglas Schroeder

  22. Ben Pugh says:

    You state in your review “In a positive nod to PureAudioProject, Nelson and his team has designed an active crossover, the PAP-C1. I will be assessing that crossover in a follow up article dedicated to discussing the implications of running the Horn1 with an active crossover.

    Any idea when the follow up article may be published?

  23. Ben,
    God’s Peace,

    I’m sorry that I don’t have a hard deadline; I typically take longer than most reviewers, as I build many systems over the course of the review period. It’s not uncommon for me to build five, six or even more rigs. Normally, only a couple are mentioned of the ones I have built, and that takes time.

    I have been establishing quite a number of striking systems with this combo. I am itching to share more, but I will restrain myself. I believe the article will have some “value added” info for those who wish to take even the Trio15 and PAP-C1 to even higher levels of performance than typical. That is making the review more complex than a simple assessment of the crossover’s operation. In a rare move I am going to make a particular component recommendation to pair specifically with the PAP-C1 and Trio15.

    I am about to make the turn for home, so to speak. I could go on for weeks with additional system configurations, but the foundation of the performance is in place. It won’t be too long now before it’s public. More than a few days, but not months.

    Douglas Schroeder

  24. Ken Burak says:

    Surfin’ old reviews (and new ones) tonight during this unusual COVID 19 time (Good Friday, April 10, 2020). Just listened, since 4:00 PM, and it’s now 1:42 AM to PureAudioProjects Quintet 15 Horn 1 (Leonituis crossovers) driven by a Sophia Electric 91-03 300B using Sophia Electric Princess Mesh Plate. I wish I could post a picture of the PAP Q15 H1’s for you… which I ordered with the German White Oak UNFINISHED and finished myself in the most unique way imaginable, using a 2,100 Volt burning process across the surface of the wood (front and back of each of the 8 baffles), brushing out the carbon deposited from the burn from what looks like “black lightning strikes”, washing, bleaching and sanding the wood back to the natural color and finish, staining it a dark “Red Bamboo” stain and applying 4 coats of spray lacquer professional high gloss finish. If you go to the PAP Fans and Owners Facebook site and join (since you are either a fan or an owner, yes?) you will be able to see lots of PAP set-ups including my one of a kind probably never to be duplicated finish. (Do not attempt to do a 2,100-volt treatment unless you really know what you are doing and take safety precautions so as not to die in case you accidentally put that voltage through your heart and stop it from beating.)
    Anyway, the PAP Q 15 H1 with a good 300B is an AWESOME combination. 8 wpc is plenty! Even in this rather large listening room with 14-foot vaulted ceilings (x 40 feet long), I doubt I need more than 2 watts maximum to achieve 95-100 dB SPL, which is considerably louder than my typical listening level.

    These speakers are fantastic. Planned tweaks: I located the speaker wire that Doug described!!!! 750 strand silver tinned OFC in 8 gauge! I will wire the speakers AND make my own speaker cables as well. A new dedicated, 20 amp, fully double shielded power cable directly from the electrical panel to the amplifier location… coming soon. I keep thinking about tube up-grades, but the sound from the SE Princess Mesh plates and the stock issue 5U4G, and 6SN7’s are already so good…why? It’s gotta be a “gear thing”.
    Anyone considering the PAP Trio or Quintet with the horn 1’s is probably never going to buy another set of speakers again…sorry to spoil your fun in that regard…you will have to find some other way to spend your money. Cheers! Stay safe! Stay well! Now go wash your hands.

  25. Ken,
    Blessed Easter,

    Well, I’m sorry to hear that you are having such a horrid time with the Quintet15! 😉

    Rarely have I seen such devotion to details in setting up speakers and system, and I’m sure you are reaping all the benefits! Kudos! You realize that sleep deprivation is a side effect of such mesmerizing sound. 🙂

    Do not forsake the expected tube rolling! Sure, it sounds incredible; even so, it can get better. All systems can be improved, and tubes are an easy way to do it. I would certainly explore them and I am guessing you will be up until 3 a.m. listening! You actually have a fair bit of tuning left to do. Between “internal” wiring, tubes, speaker cables, etc. you have many options to elevate the already prodigious sound. It will get much better than it is now. I’m not jesting; you have several levels of improvement available to you yet before you should say that you are “finished”.

    Douglas Schroeder

  26. Doug,

    I have the Trio 15 horn. I put my speakers on a 9″ thick chunk of LVL. That is laminated veneer lumber. Its a piece of leftover beam that spanned my garage door. Each piece weighs maybe 50 to 60 lbs. That was one of the single biggest improvements to the speakers I made. I brought the horn up near ear height, raising the sound stage. And for some reason the bass jumped in dynamics.

    I also bought the Active crossover and distribution boards yesterday. I am going to drive the horn with Black Shadow 845 and the woofers with KT88 PP amps.

  27. Rex,
    God’s Peace,

    Congratulations; you have discovered one of my secrets! Shhhh… don’t tell anyone! Want to know a secret? I have six smallish (perhaps 12″ diameter) acrylic small desk sized (perhaps 14″ tall) trash cans with hard rubber rims, and they are my “speaker elevators” to raise the pair of Trio15 Horn 1 up much taller than its normal height. This makes a world of difference in scale and size of soundstage! The bass is cleaner and directivity much closer to the ears, and thus more impactful, not a perfect recreation of my Landscape orientation, but a fair approximation of it. If I were using a smallish tower longer term I would use that method to fake as though a more prodigious tower. It won’t replace a dearth of Hz only attainable with a much more formidable speaker, but it will improve the size of the presentation.

    Kudos for being creative and discovering some extra magic available with the Horn 1! You’re going to have a lot of fun with the active X-over!

    Douglas Schroeder

  28. God’s Joy to all,

    I thought I would give an update on the unusual Landscape orientation of the Trio15. I have returned to this setup several times over the years, each time attempting to drive the performance higher, with great success. (See page 4 of article for an image of Landscape Orientation)

    I am engaged in a review of a most extraordinary class D amp (Just underway; don’t expect the review immediately). I am once again playing with thousands of watts, and the result is so compelling that I no longer feel a desire to work with SET amps. I think I’m done with lower power tubes.

    I am realizing the dream of Landscape orientation with this combination of amp and speakers! The Trio15 in Landscape orientation is a MONSTROUS monitor, quite impressive in every respect. The joy of joys is that this class D amp is unmatched in terms of timbral character, tonal sweetness – something quite unusual for a class D. This is a very, very special pairing, and I look forward to sharing more about it in the review of the amplifier.

    The Trio15 in this setup is highly recommendable. If anyone is interested in attempting a Landscape orientation setup with the Trio15, feel free to contact me, and I will share the secret. You deserve to get the best shot at this wonderful speaker application!

    Douglas Schroeder

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