Calla Horns ~ Hardwood

Please call 773.489.4830 or email to discuss details and make arrangements for your commission.

Call  for items in stock or to order custom colors. Custom horn speakers require 3 – 6 month production time.


Specimen Calla Horns

This new series of Specimen Horns speakers are luxurious. They are made of Italian Poplar and finished in lacquer. The tight lines and pristine appearance set them apart from my more eco-friendly horns which were featured in the Sonic Arboretum exhibitions. Years of development have led to the hand craft embodied in these new models. Natural woodgrain and bold saturated color make these a perfect choice for discriminating audiophiles and interior designers alike. These constructions are so arresting, the sonics so splendid, that I hereby offer them as my flagship models
-Ian Schneller

Custom finishes are available as special order.

In terms of physical stature, they fall in between the 36″ Little Horn and the 40″ Liederhorn speakers.  Their more pronounced truncation produces an enhanced spatial sound-stage. In other words, bigger sound in a smaller package.

  • Dimensions

    - 43" tall overall
    - 17" horn diameter
    - 8" cube base
    - 12" minimum shelf depth

  • Driver

    Fostex FE-108EZ 4" full range driver

  • Impedance

    8 ohms

  • Sensitivity

    1 W/1m 90 dB

  • Frequency Response

    77Hz - 23kHz

Specimen Luxury Calla Blue Horn Speaker

Calla Horns

The Calla’s pronounced truncation produces an enhanced spatial sound-stage. In other words, bigger sound in a smaller package. The first Callas utilize re-cycled newsprint and dryer lint in their construction as with other Specimen Horns.

The prototype Calla horn speaker was originally produced for my 2014 show Aero Dynamisms at Packer Schopf Gallery. This installation introduced eight new and unique horn speaker designs in an 8 channel audio system for a sculpture/sound exhibition in collaboration with composer Glenn Kotche.

Considering a special Calla Horns design for the ICA Boston museum shop in conjunction with the museum’s installation of the Sonic Arboretum in 2015, it seemed logical to have the horns integrate well with nature. These materials accomplish this as they create their own foliage-like effect. They work exceedingly well in any botanical setting. They almost look as if they have grown in place.

Design & Construction

All Specimen Horns are entirely handmade at Specimen in Chicago, IL.

The bases are made of premium quality Baltic birch plywood. The horns are made from Italian poplar. First, the hardwood is cut into flats. The edges are then beveled to the perfect angle.  After this, the flats are bent into curves that will make up the octagonally fluted horn shape. Assembly is a tricky process that requires two people working together with dexterity and perseverance. The seams are then reinforced with micro fiber filled epoxy and hand sanded inside and out. The assembly is then registered into the flange used to mount the horn to the base, or compression chamber. A natural nitrocellulose finish is then applied to the outside of the horn and an opaque saturated color applied to the bells. This serves as a stunning contrast to the beautiful hardwood exterior.

A full range driver is rear loaded with a horn shape to match the acoustic impedance of the air in the compression chamber with the air in the listening room. There is no crossover distortion.

This meticulous process requires several hundred hours per pair. The result is luxurious.

Form, function and hand work coalesce into a package of stunning beauty and performance.


Compatibility and Placement
All Specimen Horn speakers can be paired with my hi-fi tube amplifiers for a beautiful sonic symbiosis. Or they can be paired with virtually any other system and achieve excellent results. They are also perfect for home/office theater use.

These speakers are designed to work well elevated as a typical bookshelf speaker, out in the open, or even placed on the ground to achieve a more spatially expansive installation, as in the Sonic Arboretum exhibitions.

The sound of Specimen Horn speakers has been described as “holographic” and “etherial” in that the sound seems to be coming from behind the enclosure, making it difficult to identify the sound source. This can evoke the sensation of the instrument being in the room with the listener.