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This review first appeared in the June 2011 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of the Klangfluss K1 in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or Klangfluss - Ed.

Reviewer: Ralph Werner
Sources: Analog – deck - Acoustic Solid MPX; tone arms - Phonotools Vivid-Two, SME M2 12-inch; carts - Denon DL-103, Ortofon MC Rondo Bronce, Zu Audio DL-103; phono pre - SAC Gamma Sym; digital - (SA)CD player - Luxman D-05; Computer & Co - Logitech Squeezebox 3, Readynas Duo NAS-Server, HP Notebook; DAC - Benchmark DAC1 USB
Amplification: Preamp - Octave HP300 with MC phono; power amp -  Electrocompaniet AW180; integrated - Denon PMA-2010AE
Loudspeaker: Ascendo System F, Thiel SCS4
Sundry accessories, cables, racks etc
Review component retail:

Bitchin’ how those drums decayed just now! That was my spontaneous first and very private thought following Lives’ "The Dam at Otter Creek" whilst I was crouched behind the laptop in my writer’s corner handling boring site maintenance.

With me some rather strange-looking speakers occupied the living room, two well elongated pyramids atop granite plinths and with spheres on top that were lit by what appeared to be stylish bedside lamps. 'twas high time to log out of administrative duties and pay full attention.

Regular readers by now will have déjà vu. Didn’t we cover this earlier? Indeed, about a year ago with a RoadTour to Bühl near Baden-Baden to meet the people and technology behind this height-aspirated speaker called simply but suggestively K1. With our report quite comprehensive, today needn’t start with Adam & Eve. Just follow the link. If you merely want technical specifics on the K1, skip ahead here. Those too lazy get the mini debrief below.

The Klangfluss K1—that’s German for sonic flow or aural river—is a sealed two-way tower of 1.5-meter height. On the very top and inside the lookalike lighting sconce sits a treble dome which fires down into a ‘harmonic resonator’ for 360° omni dispersion. Mid- and bass bands are jointly covered by one front- and one downfiring Mivoc 6.5 incher with white honeycomb membrane. The lower one aims into the slightly convex granite plinth to duplicate the tweeter’s dispersion pattern. Only the upper mid/woofer acts as a conventional direct radiator. Both mid/woofers operate in phase loaded into the same internal volume.

The first distinctive attribute of this design is thus omnidirectional radiation as pursued also by speaker houses Duevel and mbl. The second is the network – not for being external (though in my time with fairaudio that was a first for me) nor for being visible through the anti-reflective glass lid and packed with Mundorf’s finest (which mastermind Gerd Reime calls unusually luxurious) but primarily because the circuit is conceptually different.

The underlying concept goes by shockwave conditioning. It describes a behavior whereby the incoming signal from the amp remains pure for one or two phase cycles before the filter kicks in as usual. The reason is best explained by the drawing. The small drum represents live music which is characterized by transients whose very first wave front shows slightly higher amplitude than anything which follows. Microphone capture during the recording process diminishes or weakens this shockwave and playback gear undermines it further. The latter is heavily handicapped by the crossover which robs the signal of additional energy. Reime believes that this is key to why hifi so easily sounds canned.

"The challenge is to reinject this missing shot of live vibe into the music. Hence our dry term ‘conditioning’. The signal exiting the amplifier needs to be conditioned to offset the unavoidable losses which already occurred inside the recording and playback chains. That’s what our crossover accomplishes" claims the developer. Interesting theory.

I first parked the K1 where most floorstanders in my 30m² brown stone room end up – two meters from the front wall, a meter from each side wall. This has my ears at about 3 meters and thus a touch closer than the speakers are from each other. It’s a text-book short-wall setup, albeit with more than 2 meters of space behind the seat. To minimize early reflections at the ear I have carpets, acoustic absorbers and strategically placed bookshelves on the side walls. The omnidirectional K1 was thus asked to fend for itself in a room where half its radiated energies would encounter deliberate curtains and sundry absorbers. I doubted that any of this was ideal. In fact I worried a lot that what was right for normal speakers would be wrong for today's charge.