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.
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
|1 inch compressie driver, 16,5cm aluminium woofer
|40 – 30000 Hz
|15 – 200 watt
|Size / Weight
|23 x 37 x 29cm (B_H_D), 9,6 Kg
|2000 per paar exc stand