Keith Howard

Keith Howard  |  Oct 15, 2019  |  0 comments
Keith Howard explains how and why HFN has expanded its test regime

Time flies when you're having fun. I bought the equipment to measure headphones for Hi-Fi News as long ago as May 2007, since when I've tested around 115 different models for the magazine. These have included circumaural (over-ear) designs, supra-aural (on-ear) and insert, active and passive, priced from under £100 to almost £5000.

Keith Howard  |  Aug 07, 2019  |  0 comments
They're crucial to hi-fi, but how do they work? Keith Howard explains all...

There isn't much in a modern hi-fi system that would be familiar to the great 19th century English physicist Michael Faraday. But a time-travelling Faraday – bemused by radio frequency communication, lasers and sound reproduction in general – would find something reassuringly familiar in the transformer. For it was he who first demonstrated that electromagnetic induction can be used to link one electrical circuit to another.

Keith Howard  |  Apr 08, 2019  |  0 comments
Want the best bass from your subwoofer? Keith Howard has the answers

Is it my imagination or has the subwoofer faded from audiophile affections? In the 1990s a generation of audio lovers discovered that subwoofers could do unexpected things: not just add low-bass heft, but also improve midrange sound quality and the spaciousness of the stereo image.

Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011  |  0 comments
An aesthetically attractive and somically capable loudspeaker Surely the most impressive-looking speaker of this group, the Elac FS 189 is a five-driver three-and-a-half-way sporting three 175mm bass drivers, a 140mm midrange unit and Elac’s vaunted JET tweeter, whose pleated diaphragm identifies it as a development of Oskar Heil’s famous Air Motion Transformer. The lower two bass drivers are rolled off at 180Hz, leaving the upper bass unit to crossover to the midrange driver at 500Hz and it to the tweeter at 2. 8kHz. Like the FS 247 Sapphire [HFN July ’11], reflex bass loading is accomplished via two ports, one located near the top of the back panel and the other in the cabinet base, where it vents to the outside via the gap between the cabinet and integral plinth.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011  |  0 comments
Larger than average drivers give the Dali a performance edge Compared to the other speakers in this test the Lektor 8 – largest of Dali’s five-model Lektor range, not including the centre speaker and sub – looks almost old-fashioned. It isn’t size zero thin, for a start, because it uses twin 8in (200mm) bass drivers rather than the ~170mm units of the Quadral, Elac and Paradigm. Moreover, those drivers – along with the 5in midrange – don’t boast hi-tech- looking metal diaphragms but Dali’s familiar wood fibre reinforced coated paper cones, which are a dull brown colour. It’s a lot of speaker for the price, though, and those unmodishly large bass drivers – reflex loaded by ports front and rear – promise to move plenty of air.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011  |  0 comments
A handsome design with some likeable characteristics If you ask me, the bow-fronted Aviano 8 succeeds in looking modern while retaining a certain British reserve. Certainly it’s a notable contrast to the rather garish Teufel, and not just in the looks department. A four-driver two-and-a-half-way, the Aviano 8 has three 6. 5in drivers featuring M-S’s dished CPC (Continuous Profile Cone) aluminium diaphragms and a 25mm aluminium dome tweeter, nestled behind a protective grille.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011  |  0 comments
A sophisticated design making use of some interesting technologies As befits the product carrying the largest price tag here, the Paradigm Studio 60, now in version 5 guise, looks the classiest of the bunch. A four-driver, two-and-a-half-way design, it is visually most notable for the side and back panels of its enclosure being transformed into a single, continuous curve, the inherent stiffness of which bodes well for low levels of cabinet talk. Also distinctive is its 25mm gold anodised aluminium dome tweeter whose diecast mounting protrudes from the top of the cabinet to reduce diffraction effects and is compliantly decoupled from the baffle to isolate it from vibration. The 140mm bass-midrange driver, with its satin anodised aluminium cone and large phase plug, is decoupled too, as are the twin 140mm bass drivers with mineral-filled polypropylene cones.
Keith Howard  |  Dec 16, 2011  |  0 comments
These floorstanders from direct retail giants Teufel are strong value for money It’s not so long ago that I asked, rhetorically, in these pages how JBL could sell a four-driver, three-way floorstander (the Studio 190) for a mere £480 a pair [HFN May ’11]. Well, JBL eat your heart out: the Teufel Ultima 40 is also a four-driver, three-way floorstander and it sells for just £349 a pair, plus a delivery charge of £20. During the review period, in fact, it was on special offer for even less: a barely credible £299 at one point. How does Teufel do it? A significant part of the answer is that it sells direct to the customer, cutting out the middleman.
Keith Howard  |  Nov 30, 2011  |  0 comments
Following the success of its keenly-priced Studio 1 models, JBL ups the ante with a no less distinctive Studio 5 range The company’s marketing philosophy is pretty simple: if you’ve got it, flaunt it, ‘it’ being JBL’s long and distinguished history in professional audio. Think PA speakers and you’ll probably envisage direct radiating bass drivers coupled with hornloaded midrange and treble units – exactly the image JBL wishes you to have and echoes in many of its domestic speakers which, fl ying in the face of fashion, continue to feature horns. Cue the new Studio 580, middle of the company’s new Studio 5 range which looks to build on the reception accorded JBL’s lesser Studio 1 series, which included bagging the recent EISA European Loudspeaker 2011-2012 Award for the high-value Studio 190 [see HFN Oct ’11, page 11]. Compared to the 190 [HFN May ’11] the costlier 580 might appear to be a retrograde step.
Keith Howard  |  Sep 02, 2011  |  0 comments
The high-end hi-fi industry is perhaps unique – certainly unusual – in that it continually holds the present to account, against its past. Many audiophiles, often not with nostalgia foremost among their motivations, wilfully divest themselves of the ‘benefi ts’ of modern technology, preferring vinyl to digital, vacuum electronics to solid state and full-range drive units to the meticulously developed multidriver speakers that purport to represent the state of the art. If we think of this as a spectrum of design approaches rather than Montagues versus Capulets, the Aurousal VSx – the new, improved version of the VS that won our group test in HFN Aug ’10 – is certainly not at the extreme occupied by single-ended triodes and re-entrant horns. Although the VSx does turn the clock backwards somewhat: in eschewing multiple drivers knitted together with a crossover network in favour of a pair of full-range drivers supplemented by a dome tweeter.

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