Keith Howard, b.1955

Secondary education

Duke of York’s Royal Military School, Dover (1966-73)



Astbury Department of Biophysics, University of Leeds (1973-77)

Neurocommunications Research Unit, University of Birmingham (1978-80)



BSc (Hons) Biophysics

MSc Neurocommunications



I first worked as a journalist for Haymarket Publishing during my year out between Leeds and Birmingham universities. I was an editorial assistant initially on Popular Hi-Fi (editor David Line) and later on Hi-Fi Answers (editor Paul Benson). When I left in September 1978 it was with every intention to write occasional feature articles for HFA to supplement my student grant but full-time journalism was never my intended career.

That changed a couple of years into my research at Birmingham when I realised that my PhD work was going nowhere, not least because I spent too much time in the library reading back issues of the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society. So with apologies to the Medical Research Council I returned to my old job on Hi-Fi Answers, starting there again two years to the day after I’d departed. Shortly thereafter I was promoted to editor, a position I held until marriage provided the financial security to risk self-employment in late 1989.

I continued writing for HFA’s successor Audiophile until its demise in 1994. The previous year I had become a contributor to the audio section of Gramophone, the renowned classical music magazine, which kept me writing in the audio field while an old Haymarket colleague set up What Home Entertainment, on which I became technical editor when it started in late ’94. It survived for a grand total of seven issues but things could have been worse: payment of my three months’ notice was partly realised in the form of a MLSSA card and software, bought cheaply in the magazine’s closing down sale. It was the first audio measurement system I’d ever owned and started an itch I’m still scratching.

Gramophone asked me to become its audio consulting editor shortly thereafter, under which agreement my audio writing was curtailed elsewhere. But I had already diversified into another area of interest when I began writing for Autocar in 1991. Eventually I became technical editor, then technical consultant, then a special correspondent. Other automotive writing was principally for Motor Sport, Racecar Engineering and Automotive Design; I enjoyed the change of industry and learning new areas of technology, but no longer work in this field.

When Gramophone ceased to be a family owned operation in the summer of 1999 I resigned in order to write for the one UK audio magazine still prepared to publish the quite densely technical features I wished to immerse myself in: IPC Media’s Hi-Fi News. It’s a small world: Steve Harris, HFN’s editor at the time, was the person I took over from on Hi-Fi Answers when I moved across from Popular Hi-Fi in 1978. Today HFN’s editor is Paul Miller; he does all the lab test measurements on electronic equipment for review, I do the measurements on loudspeakers and headphones.

I additionally became a contributor to Stereophile in the US beginning with the January 2004 issue, with a commission to write quarterly technical features. My last piece for Stereophile – which harked back to my early years at HFA as it was about pickup cartridge alignment – appeared in the April 2010 issue. Most recently I have begun writing occasional technical features for HIFICRITIC.


Current job titles

Contributor, Hi-Fi News





Description: Description: Description: cast-howard


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