This is British Hi-Fi Week Which Hi-Fi?and what better way to start than with a pair of new loudspeakers designed, engineered and manufactured right here at Blighty?
The Castle Windsor series is a new range of loudspeakers that includes the Duke and Earl models. They are the first Castle speakers for many years to be made in the UK – using parent company IAG’s new 9,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Huntingdon – with every critical component developed and manufactured in-house. But that doesn’t mean they’ve cut every corner.
In fact, they were designed by world-renowned loudspeaker designer Karl-Heinz Fink and his Fink Audio team. Yes, the same Karl-Heinz Fink to whom we awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award at the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022, and whom we called “the most influential loudspeaker designer today”.
The Windsor Earl is slightly smaller than the Windsor Duke, but both have very similar internals, including mid/bass cones made from a polypropylene-based material. This is precisely cut into strips, woven and then bonded together to form a rigid foil, which is then pressed to shape and cut to size, creating a material with different properties of stiffness in different directions between the voice coil and the surround. This helps minimize resonances, creating a flatter response curve.
The edges of the cones are made of low hysteresis rubber that will not deteriorate over time, while the voice coils are made of glass fiber bonded with high-temperature resin, a material with a stiffness close to aluminum, but without generating eddy currents to maintain signal purity.
The magnet system of the mid/bass drivers also includes an aluminum compensation ring, which minimizes impedance variations. Castle claims this will create an open and expressive middle class.
There is also smart technology elsewhere. The treble voice coil contains a copper cap that reduces distortion and intermodulation, providing greater detail, while the cabinet’s MDF panels are separated by a thin layer of specially formulated acoustic adhesive to dampen resonance in the midrange.
Stiffness at lower frequencies is achieved through point-to-point cabinet bracing. Both Windsor models use a 4th order LKR (Linkwitz-Riley) crossover that prevents distortion.
Finally, the wood veneer finish is a hallmark of Castle loudspeakers. The Windsors’ cabinets are finished in walnut or mahogany veneer sourced from sustainable wood – only deep molded slices are used, cut from real trees rather than reconstituted wood.
The Castle Windsor Earl costs £3850 a pair (£4250 with stand), while the Windsor Duke costs £4500 (£5000 with stand). They only ship internationally with stands with the Windsor Earl priced at $5250 / AU$8000 and the Duke in store for $6250 / AU$9250.
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