Innovation at its best

Join Our Community Subscribe to Paul's Posts

*Chapter 28 of Resurrection is now available to read here.

When North Carolina resident, Randy Crowell first sent me the picture of his innovation I was taken aback. I mean, it looks wild and whacky, right? A French horn powered by an iPhone.

But the more I read, the more I became impressed.

This is the spirit of innovation, a spirit I applaud and encourage.

Here’s Randy’s story:

“I became interested in vintage radios several years ago, restoring some and converting others to Bluetooth devices. About the same time, I started tinkering with passive horn amplifiers for use with cell phones. I happened to come across a french horn in an antique shop, held my cell phone speaker up to the mouthpiece and was blown away by the volume and fidelity it produced with that tiny phone speaker. I bought the french horn, brought it home and with plumbing fittings turned it into a beautiful passive amplifier that sounds better than any I have heard. Doing some research I found that most french horns have about 14 feet of tubing that ends in a 15 inch bell. I know this is the reason for the massive volume and fidelity increase.

Weather permitting, my wife and I ate outside on our patio nearly every evening and greatly enjoyed listening to blues and jazz on my creation. Since it was brass, we could leave it outside all the time. It sounded great, but only with certain music as it had zero midrange and bass response. This worked for several months until I decided to find a way to add bass and more volume to it.
For my latest revision, I built a two channel class AB amplifier with 200W driving a 10 inch down-firing woofer and 100W driving my french horn tweeter. I used a Linkwitz-Riley active crossover set to 1000 Hz. An automatic input selector allows me to use it with Bluetooth, a turntable, or CD player. I built the system in a very unusual 1930s era American Beauty battery operated radio and mounted the french horn on top. I am sure you will agree it is a beautiful system reminiscent of an old Victrola.”
Thanks to Randy for such a great story and more important the guts to be an innovator.