Saturday, 3 December 2016

HECO Direkt - Style With Substance


My wish of listening to this stylistic-retro-looking speakers in my home came true recently, courtesy of Audio Art, Ipoh via David Kestez and an FB acquaintance. After my love at first sight (or hearing) during the KLIAV show back in July, I have been wondering how these unique speaker design will sound in living room with my current set up. The looks itself already impresses not only me but also my wife. With this high Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF), I quickly said yes when David offered me for a home review. I feel even more honoured when I was informed that this will be the first time the HECO Direkt being reviewed locally. Thanks David. Thanks Audio Art! Thanks FB acquaintance!

On a fine Saturday evening, the speakers were sent to my house together with a Soul Note 710 monitor amp. The two fine gentleman who delivered the items were fully attentive in setting the Direkt in my living room. I requested for them to set it up with my resident Musical Fidelity M6i amp first as I would like to hear this speakers with my usual set up. 













 


DESIGN


The Direkt are a 2 way speakers that combines the dynamics and bass extension of a large floorstanders. It comes with a 25 cm subwoofer  with the HeCO kraft paper diaphragm. Dont let the slim thickness fools you. Inside the cabinet is equipped with two flow optimised, rounded reflex tubes on each side of the bottom of the cabinet to provide optimum acoustic coupling to the room. The tweeter is a 28 mm silk compound cone which delivers up to 2.3 kHz.


It comes with a pair of solid binding posts and the cabinet is supported by a 3 legged support at a tilted position. The speakers come with the option of spikes with steel footers or a rubber spikes. The fabric grills for the woofer and tweeter are magnetic. If you opt to use them, ensure that you have 'lock' the grill by turning it clockwise to ensure the magnets are aligned.

The sensitivity is high at 95 dB with 4 to 8 ohm impedance, first indication that I will not have any issue drivnig this speaker with my 200 watter MF M6i amp.

Size wise, it stands at 440 x 998 x 397 mm including foot construction and weighing at 25.8 KG each.



THE SET UP
  • Musical Fidelity M6i integrated amp / Soul Note 710 monitor amp
  • Lenco L78 TT with MatYeoX RCA to phono stage
  • Musical Fidelity M1 ViNL phono stage
  • SONY HAP Z1ES Hi Res player with Siltech Classic Anniversary XLR
THE TRACKS

With MF M6i
  • Little Train by Niels Hennings and gang (WAV 24/192)
  • Whiskey in The Jar by Metallica (WAV 16/44.1) 
  • Countdown to Extinction by Megadeth (LP)
With Soul Note SA710
  • One Fine Day by Natalie Merchant (WAV/16/44.1)
  • Take Five by Dave Brubeck (DSD)
  • Temptation by Diana Krall (WAV 16/44.1)
  • Wishlist by Pearl Jam (LP)
THE FIRST IMPRESSION

Straight out of the box, the Direkt delivered quite an impression on the bass. I did not experience that during the KLIAV show. In fact, one of my concern about this Direkt  was that it could deliver sufficient bass. Boy I was wrong. With the downfiring ports, it really worked like a charm. Soundstage was big and giving me a fuller picture of music. The overall sound however was also giving me quite a sharp sound in the higher spectrum region. Time to run in the speakers....

THE SESSION 1 - WITH MF M6i

By the time the serious review started, the Direkt would have seen at least 200 hours of various musical genre being played through it. Things have started to gel together and the high frequencies have started to sound sweeter rather than sharp.


With this double bass track by Niels Hennings and gang, the Direkt delivered an impressive low frequency performance. It may not dig deep like PMC's ATL but the it could really capture every single note coming out from the 2 double bass playing with also good separation.Its not one of those jumbled up bass delivery. Excellent layering of percussion in the background as well. The high frequencies coming out from the tweeters are now more tamed and sweeter with the snare and tambourine blending in perfect harmony



James's  vocal on this Whiskey in The Jar track was revealing, stealing the show from the shredding guitars of Kirk and drums of Lars. Kirk's guitar sounded darker than usual which brings up another element of surprise. I must be frank that I was skeptical on whether the Direkt can handle metal and rock music. It surely can. It gives quite a hard hitting bass and it does make rock or metal music sounds fuller and bigger. Again, the bass section gives an overall warmer and bolder sound even for metal or rock music.


Lets try rock on LP by ex Metallica guitarist, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. The intro sounded very authoritative. Again that bass section was very evident, injecting a good vibration and energy to the overall presentation. Its about hard hitting bass but do not sacrifice subtlety with substance. Its not about focusing on a particular instrument but the low frequency encompasses everything; it injects a deeper voice to Dave, certain authority on the guitar even during the solo and a more bold percussion or drums.

Now that I know what Direkt can do with my MF M6i, time to move one to partnering it with Soul Note SA710.

THE SESSION 2 - WITH SOUL NOTE SA710

The Soul Note SA710 was introduced to the system as part as an integrated system review. It will also be reviewed with my ProAC D18 speakers in the next detailed review.



One Fine Day

Airy.... It sounded airy and just lively and full of emotion. This has been my choice of romantic track and the Soul Note just elevated the the Direkt to another level. For a 10 watter amp, it surely impressed me where it can provide enough juice to the Direkt to deliver such strong and wide sound signature. Natalie's vocal was upfront and full of life. The soft hi hat and snare hits surfaced to be very detail and the kick pedal sounded refined. What went away was a hard hitting bass effect but subtlety and refinement kicked in. very involving overall presentation. Refinement at its best.

 Take Five
The bass extension on this one if quite remarkable. Gone was the 'in you face' bass but a more extensive bass where it matters. Even the snare sounded fuller and meatier. The wind instrument sounded airier with in depth detail, giving a big soundstage but without loosing the texture behind the track. A bit loose on the high frequencies section but nothing too serious. Overall presentation was leaning towards quite a natural sounding sound with an emphasize on micro refinement on the low frequency section.


Temptation
Now, this track have been my reference track for the past few months. While with the Soul Note, the Direkt continues to serenade me with its sweet and refined sound, this track loss some energy in it. The opening percussion sounded less lively compared to when the Direkt was driven by the MF M6i. Diana's vocal was the emphasis which it sounded  very energized and deep. The string works on this track also showed a similar performance; very high on refinement but does not dig deep in the low frequency part.


Now, another challenge for the Direkt with this track from Pearl Jam - Wishlist. Even for a heavier and grungier track like this, refinement kicks in with high level of transparency. The swooshing effect in the track can be felt as it was  swirling wind going across the hall. Excellent delivery of details, layer by layer. You don't get fatigue easily with the Direkt. Eddie's vocal sounded powerful with real enforcement on his baritone side.

CONCLUSION

Are you ready for it? If you are in the market for a new set of speakers, do not buy anything yet until you have given the Heco Direkt a good demo. German engineering meets retro artistic design. Oh, did I mention the sound is pretty darn good. Vocal,sound stage, subtle bass but refined, high transparency with sweet treble. Mids sounds fairly upfront. Flexible to accustom to your existing amp may it be a power house solid state amp or mini wattage tube or transistor amp. Both will give you a different experience but no worries on whether it will sound good or not. Is just a matter of your preference is for hard hitting and strong presentation or refined but extensive overall presentation.It is currently retailed at RM22,786. Oh... just to make it clear... di I mention the sound is pretty darn good? :)

If you are interested to demo this babies, please contact the following:

KL - Selective HiFi
68-2, Block F, Zenith Corporate Park, Jalan SS7/26, SS7, 47301 PJ
Call David on +60 12-249 9823 or Vinson on 0129071955

Ipoh and Northern - Audio Art
Contact Yoon on 012-5201066
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