Home Multitest bookshelf speakers – 2500 euros – part 2

Multitest bookshelf speakers – 2500 euros – part 2


JBL HDI 1600

Followers of Alpha Audio know that your author is not a fan of horn speakers. Too “in your face,” too intrusive. However, there are some exceptions. Blumenhofer is one, and JBL has also shown a few times that it can go well.

We received the – rather hefty – HDI-1600 from JBL to see what JBL has to offer in this price range of 2,500 euros. At 2,000 euros, JBL is at the lower end.

At the top, we see JBL’s HDI driver with a 1-inch compression driver at its heart. Underneath is a hefty 16.5cm woofer. This one picks up everything below 1900 Hz. The bass port is at the rear.

The sound

With the JBL speakers, the strings of the double basses and celli sound nicely defined. There is a beautiful violin sound, clear and transparent without becoming sharp. The very soft passage continues to sound good, the JBL speakers do this best. There is a nice separation between the instrument groups, but the placement in the stereo image is somewhat diffuse.

Mammal Hands on the Pass Labs has a large soundstage with plenty of space, but it wriggles a bit with the saxophone. There is a big difference in the sound between the bass and treble. The JBLs have a lot of drive to the music. The music flows, it is quite effortless, but the balance is not quite there.

With the Nilai, that changes completely. It’s like having another speaker standing there, everything falls into place and the balance is there. What a golden combination! The saxophone falls slightly back in the soundstage and the sound is much more relaxed. This is absolutely right. The bass drum has a lot of kick.

Sohn sounds big and menacing in the bass drone, but completely controlled. It sounds like the soundtrack of a movie where the bad guy makes his entrance into the picture. The piano chords sound full and rich. What stands out is that depending on the effects used on the singer’s voice, the placement in the stereo image changes! We’ve never heard that before.

Conclusion: JBL puts out a very good speaker here that sounds fast and open, but has a lot of power underneath. It is a very specific kind of sound, and the fresh

Measurements JBL HDI-1600

Measuring a horn / compression driver, turns out to be trickier than thought. We see quite a dip between 8 kHz and 17 kHz. This, of course, is not possible. We don’t hear it either, so we estimate that this horn ‘clicks’ with the woofer at a certain distance. Now we want to measure all speakers equally, so take it from us: that dip is not present. Other than that, we see a pretty straight response. Neat work by JBL and, frankly, we expect no different from Harman group products.

Distortion is low except for one point: around 2000 Hz we see a peak. And this peak we also see in the impedance and is also something Martijn heard in the listening tests. As if something is wrong. Something in the crossover doesn’t seem to be a good match. The fact is: we see that humb in all our measurements.

Impedance is friendly. No dips below 4 Ohms and even the peaks do not exceed 18 Ohms. Sit is a friendly speaker that will also sound fine on a tube amp. In fact, we estimate that it will be great.

Specifications JBL HDI-1600

Type 2-weg, basreflex
Units 1 inch compressie driver, 16,5cm aluminium woofer
Range 40 – 30000 Hz
Power handling 15 – 200 watt
Sensitivity 85 dB
Impedance 4 Ohm
Crossover 1900 Hz
Size / Weight 23 x 37 x 29cm (B_H_D), 9,6 Kg
Price 2000 per paar exc stand
Type test
Production country
  • Brand and model: Sonus Faber Sonetto I
  • Build quality: Nicely finished, beautiful design
  • Overall impression: Fine speaker that performs above its price point
  • Price: €1700
  • Brand and model: Audio Physic Step 35
  • Build quality: Solid, beautiful materials
  • Overall impression: Very fine speaker with a rhythmic and engaging character
  • Price: €3000
  • Brand and model: GoldenEar BRX
  • Build quality: Solid, heavy, distinctive design
  • Overall impression: Fine speaker for those seeking a touch of warmth.
  • Price: €2000
  • Brand and model: JBL HDI 1600
  • Build quality: Solid, heavy
  • Overall impression: Goes very well on Nilai. Complete sound
  • Price: €2000
  • Brand and model: Neat Petite Classic
  • Build quality: Compact, but solid
  • Overall impression: Impressive speaker. Especially considering the size
  • Price: €2500
  • Winkels met Audio Physic

    St. Ceciliastraat 28
    5038 HA Tilburg, NL
    Koningsstraat 35
    2011TC Haarlem, Noord Holland, NL
    Beethovenstraat 9-b
    1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL

    Winkels met JBL

    Stationsweg 87
    9471 GM Zuidlaren, NL
    Geldropseweg 105
    5611 SE Eindhoven, NL

    Winkels met Neat

    Hermesweg 2
    3741 GP Baarn, Utrecht, NL
    Koningsstraat 35
    2011TC Haarlem, Noord Holland, NL
    Spoorstraat 18
    7491 CK Delden, Overijssel, NL
    Steenstraat 54
    6828 CM Arnhem, Gelderland, NL

    Winkels met Sonus Faber

    Sint-Antoniusstraat 15
    2300 Turnhout, BE
    Joseph Bensstraat 21
    1180 Ukkel, BE
    Pleinweg 136
    3083 EP Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, NL
    Bredabaan 1031
    B-2930 Brasschaat, BE
    Pelikaanstraat 126
    2018 Antwerpen, BE
    Laat 29A
    1811EB Alkmaar, NL
    Schoenmakersstraat 19
    6041EX Roermond, NL
    Grotestraat 23
    5931 CS Tegelen, NL
    St. Ceciliastraat 28
    5038 HA Tilburg, NL
    Breestraat 146-148
    2311CX Leiden, Zuid Holland, NL
    Beethovenstraat 9-b
    1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL