Castle Acoustics Howard Floorstanding Speakers

Castle Acoustics Howard Floorstanding Speakers 

DESCRIPTION

(2) 6" Woofers and 1" Dome

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 12  
[Nov 24, 2018]
RichHawks


Strength:

I’ve had them for 22 years and each time I upgrade kit around them - latest is an Arcam UDP 411 they just get better and better. I still haven’t reached their full potential I’m sure. They will be the last bit of kit I change. The patina on the mahogany is lovely after 22 years of polishing! To my tastes there has never been a better looking speaker and with sound to match.

Weakness:

I blew up a driver once by a shock max decibels from a Yamaha DSP A1 but it wa a cheap fix to get another driver when Castle we’re still in business.

Price Paid:
800
Purchased:
New  
Model Year:
1996
OVERALL
RATING
5
[Dec 31, 2002]
mrbeaudangles
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

imaging, frequency range, beautiful wood veneer cabinet

Weakness:

not well known, and hardly ever reviewed by stereo mags,few dealers

As with most english speakers, these are very detailed, clear, neutal, and yet reserved. Certainly not in your face. Found they work best about 16" from rear wall with no toe in. They have a wide frequency range and image wonderfully. You have a wall of sound coming at you. Bass can go deep and treble is sweet. Mid-range may actually be their strength, as female vocals are so crisp and clear. But to judge the speakers alone is very difficult. It really is dependant on the whole package. The electronics and cables and even the cd itself will have a significant effect on the sound reproduction. These speakers are one of the best high end secrets out there. Castle makes about 97% of the their speakers, unlike most of their competiton cabinets , drivers , and crosssovers. And they do not have 20 different models to choose from. In fact Linn and Proac use their cabintes as well. May not excel in everything but exceeds in all around performance. Before you run out to buy some highly reviewed and advertised mfg, give these a fair listen.

Similar Products Used:

sampled various mfgs, too many to list

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Nov 02, 2000]
joe lowe
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

superb imageing, clarity.

Weakness:

tad picky with placement

This speaker is somewhat expensive in Australia $3500 Aus and that was in 98. Regardless of their price they seem to perform generally better than all other speakers I heard for the same price including Australian so in the end I bought them. The most important thing for me when listening to music or Home theatre is that the speakers disappear and the sound stage is large which I think is synonymous. The Castle Howards do this with flying colours. They are not a small speaker but they are very difficult to here within the sound they project. They create great depth and height in the sound stage. Better than anything I have heard and further more they have great clarity. I have a very small room 3meters by 6 and they perform well however like any speaker a larger room would better.

I had the opportunity to try a complete Krix Home theatre system which included the well praised Esortrix($3400AUS) which I had considered buying at one stage.

The Esortrix are a large 3way speaker and very well built cabinet. Better than the Castle Howards which is saying a lot. They were fully run in demo speakers. When I did a direct swap with the Castles(exact same enviroment amps etc) I could not believe the difference in performance. The Castle Howards absolutely out performed the Krix Esorterix at every level. Esorterix caused the sound stage to collapse there was no height and very little depth in the sound. Basically they sounded like a pair of speakers pumping out sound. The Castles sound like music. The Esoterix lacked clarity and were harsh. The Castle Howards can sound bright at times if the recording dictates this but they are never harsh unlike the Esorterix.

To top it off I compared the the Krix HT system with the Castle HT system(in the exact same env) and once again the difference was huge. The Castles were awesome, very large sound stage, the sound appears to come from way beyond the bounderies of the speakers and with great clarity. The Krix system was the opposite, poor clarity and once again the sound stage stayed within the boundery of the speakers, it sounded like you were listening to five speakers competing with each other. They sounded dead.

I cannot understand why these speakers are so popular and get rave reviews. The Castles out perfrom them in music and movies easily. When I got the Krix system I played Toy Story for the first time and the performance was well below what I was use too but I had concluded at the time that it was the DVD recording at fault. Then later I put the Castle system back in and watched Toy Sory, and the improvement was dramatic. It was like I had an improved recording. The harshness went and the soundstage was huge. I really enjoyed the movie that time round. Even my girlfriend commented on the improvement whom had also watched it previously on the Krix.

Some people might think that you don't need speakers that image that well when using 5.1 movie soundtracks because the five speakers working together will create the image. This is entirely wrong. Each speaker on its own should beable to project a large sound stage way beyond the cabinet and then when the five speakers come together in a 5.1 mix the soundstage and definition is awesome. This implies keeping your speakers out in the open and not built into cabinets or near walls so the speaker can open up. This has a dramatic effect on 5.1 mixes. Bipolar surrounds are a good idea as well because they can cover the gap between the front and rear more effectively then conventional speakers. I did try the Castle Howards as rears and although they create a large sound behind you they were unable to cover the distance between the front and rear. No speaker can cover over 6 meters without creating a whole at the centre. Wall mounted bipolars can because they are at the side of the listener and so the distance is considerably less. Personally I found this to make a lot of difference. I feel that Bipolar surrounds are the way to go.

Conclusion, Castle Howards really perform with music and movies. Superb imaging and clarity and with a bit of effort in placement can make recordings sound life like. Initially thought they were too expensive but after testing other speakers at the same price I can honestly say they are worth it. Sorry for criticising Krix speakers namely the Esorterix but it is simply what I experienced and my girlfriend for that matter and any of these speakers is of sizeable cost so you want to get it right.

Similar Products Used:

Krix Esorterix, Duntech, B&W

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 26, 1999]
Mark Haimes
an Audio Enthusiast

I saw that noone else has given a review for these fabulous speakers so I felt compelled to say a few words. Simply put, these are the nicest speakers I have had the opportunity to hear so far. After listening to a large range of speakers such as Paradigm Studio 100's (yuck) , Martin logan, NHT, Epos (very nice also) and a few others, I have to say that the decision to buy Castles was very easy. I feel as though I have purchased a lifetime speaker system which I will not be wishing to upgrade. Unless of course I come into hoardes of cash in the future. Even then I think the search would be long and tiresome. They have a very involving sound that doesn't hit you in the face, instead they draw you in and involve you with the music. You MUST here these!!!! (I have the Howard S2)
For Curious minds, I am using this as my system
Elite VSX 09 TX Receiver. (It's better than you might think!!)
Elite 300+1 Changer
Elite CD Recorder is on order and should be here next week
Quodos (sp?) 4x4 Biwire
In the near future I will be looking at an outboard DA converter and quality interconnects to complete the system.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Oct 29, 2000]
Mike
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Oh, the sound! These babies are gorgeous to look at and heaven to listen to. Cabinet construction is FLAWLESS! They sound much larger than their size would lead you to believe.

Weakness:

missing the last 10Hz, but what do you expect for a mid-sized speaker? These still have FABULOUS (surprising) bass response!

I have the S3 model (Y2K). What can I say? These are pure Nirvana. They look great (I have the maple finish), are incredibly well built (the cabinets are DEAD!), and they sound absoulutely stunning.
I have listened to many speakers, and I have owned a pair of Canton Ergo 120's (120 pounds each, 4-way, file-cabinet-sized beasts), and I feel that these Castles represent the best of all worlds. What do I mean?
Well, they have the wonderful imaging of a mini monitor (due to their narrow profile), the spaciousness of a bipolar (well, almost) because of the vertical driver, and the bass of a monster because of the quarter-wave horn and plinth port design.
The sound is laid back, but not wooly or veiled in the least. The midrange is luscious and very realistic. Natural instruments have incredibly accurate and 3-dimensional sound quality - very natural!!!!
Bass is super clean and very well extended for such moderate-sized cabinets. These are nearly the equal (bass-wise)of my old Cantons, which had 3 times the cabinet volume.
I have bi-wired the speakers, and the sound is tighter with better bass depth than conventional wiring.
My pair came without a "jumper" between the sets of terminals, so I mady my own out of good-qualty speaker cable. I bi-wired shortly thereafter.

I am driving these with a NAD 319 (370 is on order) with a NAD C540 CD player.
Boys and Girls, if you spend any more money than I have on this system, you must be rich or misinformed. I have owned systems costing several times what I have spent on this setup, but I have NEVER been more blissfully happy than I am with this system.
At one point I had an all-Naim system, with a NAC102 pre-amp ($2,200); NAP180 power amp ($2,200); CD3.5 CD player($2,000); and CREDO speakers ($2,300). Frankly, the verrrrrry small improvement that could be heard with the Naim electronics was not even close to worth the extra cash required.
The Castles handily outperform the Naim CREDO's in all areas, including the sense of realism, a Naim hallmark.

Well, enough said.

I firmly believe that if you are looking for speakers in the $2,000 to $5,000 per pair price range, and you want speakers are smaller than your sofa, give the Howard S3's a serious listen.

Similar Products Used:

Canton Ergo 120, Canton Ergo 100, Castle Harlech, Naim Credo, B&W Nautilus 805

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 08, 2001]
Tom Gomar
Audiophile

Strength:

soundstage, depth of field, easy to drive,quality of workmanship

Weakness:

Placement, No manufacturer website.

This is a beautiful speaker in both sound and looks. I have owned these speakers for a little over four years and I have just recently decided to upgrade some of my components. After listening to a hoarde of new speaker designs that have received rave reviews from various audio rags, I haven't yet found any that can compare with the Howards (mine are the S2 model in mahagony veneer). Some are stronger in certain areas, but none can match the Howards for overall quality of sound or manufacture at their price range.
Their overall performance can best be described as having a very large soundstage with good imaging, a smooth midrange and a sweet top end. I have found that their design is very dependent on positioning for good quality sound. If placed too close to a corner they can sound very boomy. After much experimentation, I have found that they sound best when placed out about five feet from my rear wall and three feet from side walls in the narrow end of my 16.5 * 27 foot L-shaped room room. The speakers are slightly angled toward the listening position located apporximately ten feet from the speakers.
My only complaint is the lack of contact offered by the manufacturer. I would like to find out about component upgrades for this model. My local audio dealer has since gone out of business and I can find no website for either the manufacturer or the Canadian distributor. I also can't understand why Castle discontinued the Winchester model, they would be an even better match for my large room.
My associated equipment is a Rega Planet CD player connected via digital coax into a Monarchy DIP reclocking device with AES/EBU cable feeding a Monarchy M33 D/A converter with built-in line stage. This is connected to a Classe CA-100 power amp via Transparent Music Link Plus balanced interconnects. The speakers are bi-wired with Kimber Kable 8TC (mid-bass) 4TC (treble).

Similar Products Used:

Martin Logans Aerius, Monitor Audio MA-800, Paradigms R80, B&W P6

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 15, 2002]
Andy Walmsley
Audiophile

I work just round the corner from the Castle factory in North Yorkshire.

I popped in and mentioned the reported lack of a website to them.

They do in fact have a good web site which can be accessed at - http://www.castle.uk.com/pages/about.htm

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 17, 2001]
Christophe Henderickx
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Detailed, exceptional soundstage, plays well on lots of amps, quality, twin pipe quarter wave concept

Weakness:

A little more documentation would be nice

It was at the end of an afternoon of listening that I ran into the Castle Howard S3. When I listened to these speakers, I immediately fell in love with them. Powerful yet detailed, broad but incredibly accurate soundstage. They pick up at 32 Hz! Taut bass, vivid treble. They need biwiring however, unlike the B&W P6. I first connected them to my Yamaha DSP-A2 home theater amp, and they actually dealt very well with that. But what really made them sing is my current setup with an Arcam CD72 and a Linn kolektor/lk85 combo. Pretty soon I am going to buy a second Linn lk85, so I can truly bi-amp with active crossovers.
The speakers always sound crisp, in control, plenty of grunt at lower frequencies without booming. The twin pipe quarter wave concept Castle uses for its Harlech and Howard is truly worth some closer examination from the competitors. The concept pins artists on a location in the room without it having to be a 'listening room' It plays well in a kitchen if you want to... Home theater use however will require an active sub on the side. Center speaker matching is not a problem: Castle has got two models. Surround speaker matching is also quite easy, unless you want dipoles. Back to the S3. Even Hifi retailers who have heard my speakers play had to admit to them being superior to what they offer in this price range. However, in Belgium, there is only one authorized Castle retailer who usually pairs them up with LFD amps. That is why I went to another retailer to buy my amp. LFD is very musical, but quite expensive, and I needed a tape loop for my home cinema input.
The craftmanship that has gone into these speakers deserves admiration. They are beautifully finished and the veneer used is top quality. If I was faced with a new purchase of main speakers, I would not hesitate for a second and buy another pair of these. I love my speakers, and coming from someone who had never even heard from Castle before, and was a sceptic towards two-way concepts, that should mean something.

Similar Products Used:

B&W P6

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 14, 2001]
alex
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

great quality, great bass (depths), very cool look

Weakness:

not enough documentation

sorry guys - but i guess i am like the only one who paid a mere $US 250 FOR THE PAIR. local store had some speakers on sale, otherwise the pair would have been $US 1200.

i am only 24 but listening to music is one of my favourite free-time activities. love these speakers - i guess they r right if they say it is a lifetime-investment. wont need any other ones any time soon, defenitely no fancy 5 speaker satellite system - my bet is that it couldnt beat these two babies in any category.

and to all other yougsters that acces this site: ass-intense music like techno doesnt even, at max volume, make em shiver... as to your neighbours though - thats another story. and to all classical music lovers: u wont find anything better - it IS like in a concert hall...

they look great, sound great and hey - $US 250!!!!!!!!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 21, 2001]
Bo

Strength:

Great build, very musical

Weakness:

may be a bit too refined for headbangers

I have always had problems with bright sounding speakers and have avoided metal dome tweeters thinking they would sound bright. However, when I saw the Howards on special at a very good price I took the opportunity to audition them, expecting the worst. When i put on the first track of a CD I knew well, I broke into goose bumps. The treble was the sweetest I had ever heard, there were tambourines in the background I didn't know were there and all I wanted to do was turn up the volume instead of turning it down like I normally have to when music gets complicated.
Unlike most ordinary speakers which start to get smeared when you turn the volume up, the Howards retain total control and every note is discernable even at high SPLs.
The great thing is that, late at night, when you want to listen at low volume, the Howards let you hear every note too.
A dealer describing the difference between good and bad speakers said: a bad speaker you back away from and a good speaker draws you in. I find myself literally leaning forward sometimes.
My tastes are fairly wide and the Howards handle everthing from pop to classical in a very musical and controlled way but I can imagine that lovers of heavy rock may find them too disciplined.
The bass is sufficient to negate the use of a subwoofer for music and very tuneful so that you don't hear the one note bass often associated with lesser designs although I use the subwoofer for HT for more effects.
I have a small room (approx 12 x 18')but I haven't experienced the boominess others have. In fact they don't seem to be room dependent at all.
For those interested in the aesthetics, they are beautifully finished and I have the antique oak but the yew veneer is definitely the most sensational. Unfortunately they didn't have any left.
The Howards have overcome my fear of metal tweeters and after auditioning many speakers in the same price range I have finally found the ones I can live with for a very long time.

Similar Products Used:

B&W CDM7, Ambience Ultra 1600

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 12  

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