From my descriptions, you'll have already figured that the Direkt could be a most excellent accelerant candidate by way of more incisive upstream kit. That it's never the cost of the gear which wins best sound but maximal cooperation between various hardware will be perfectly obvious to our readers. Something far less costly can become our version of 'work smart not hard'. To tune into that tune meant the COS Engineering D1 DAC/pre into the Clones Audio chip monos where minimal circuitry ends in nasty op amps for actual output devices. Those obnoxicators obviously aren't nasty at all. In fact, they're most effective. But, they do offend the discrete snob police. Whilst gain clones can save big, they're major losers in the audiophile cred stakes. Burson for example have built an entire brand by demonizing op amps. And for the money, their stuff does sound very good indeed. It's simply not the only way to—tears alert—peel that onion.

To poke the snobs a bit more, I parked each compact 50-watt poseur atop one of the big amps to rile by ridiculous contrast. With zero valves in the signal path and feistier brisk operational amps on the speaker inputs—the 55pm pair sells for €899—I now made the best sound from my hardware inventory. Speaker cables and interconnects were redlevel Lupo from Chris Sommovigo's Black Cat Cable line for another budget buster sighting. I bet that Funjoe's integrated run off the Metrum Hex would have been every bit as good and saved even further cashish. No matter, now the Direkt was more direct and explicit, the bass truly righteous with more snarl and wiriness when mandated and HF effects given more attention. Sitting down during lunch, my wife remarked that surely I had our big Zu Submission on. I did not. It clearly had become superfluous.

What Heco present with their Direkt is a Snell/AudioNote related box that looks a lot better, costs rather less and as described, tangos beautifully with even affordable transistor gear, no glow worms required. If you like your sonics taut, jumpy, punchy and illuminated, I'd in fact go pure transistors. There's so much natural tone and density built into the Direkt that electronics can be picked which put the foot on the gas and flip the soft top open to let the light in. Such electronics also put more air into the tyres to effect a sportier ride.

To Direkt your attention where it matters most, I'll close out by saying that this Heco is an eminently friendly speaker. It's beautifully made for a fair price and in two distinctive finishes. It needs very little power to sing. It eliminates a subwoofer. And pretty much no matter what, it is genetically incapable of turning tiresome and fatiguing. It's no fuss pot or diva. Even in the sense of turning its broad back on modern ultra resolution with its unhealthy selectivity on what gets play time and what doesn't, the Direkt goes retro(grade). Easy does it. What a lovely break from the norm all around. If I were a dealer, I might inquire whether Heco allowed single-model representation. This one would fill a gap which most dealerships suffer just because. And if I were a punter counting my coins with the Direkt in my crossed hairs not wires, I'd hop onto the Clones Audio website to investigate their gain-clone offers. Not only don't you need any more with these... you'll likely do worse elsewhere.

Heco website