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Take Manfred Krug’s Ein Hauch von Frühling with "Das war nur ein Moment". Krug? Wasn’t that the bearish jello-consuming Liebling Kreuzberg actor? Yep, the one and only. But he was and remains foremost a stunning singer with a particularly morph-happy voice. The two records which in the 70s were produced and released in the former DDR today are reissued on a single CD. The listener gets high-carat music and lyrics occupying the four corners of Chanson, Soul, Philly Sound (you bet) and Pop. Günther Fischer’s complex but humorous arrangements meet an exceptionally trigger-happy band with a drummer of truly diabolical groove – and of course Manfred Krug who depending on whim and inspiration whispers, croons, roars or rocks. To this add hip sound engineers and production values which despite the hoary age of this music even today make for phenomenal shove, fun and variety. The mix has élan, energy and exciters and dynamic compression limiters were avoided like the plague. Oops, this is a speaker, not music review. Where did I leave off?

In ways no speaker had before, the M6 showed me the true extent of Krug’s uncanny vocal variability. I was really impressed by how the Swans feathered out each nuance and detail with apparent nonchalance, i.e. without any emphasis in the respective registers. On "Sonntag" for example Krug exploits a solo passage to transform his voice into a type of human tenor sax. Jazz would call it scatting but to pin Krug with that tattered label would be insulting given the extremely self-conscious utterly unnecessary stuttering of others who simply want to feel very jazzy for a moment. Not Krug. "Wop Wop Wopdeewop" he goes for 16 long bars in which he transforms his pipe into a virile buck in heat.

It didn’t matter one iota that Krug occasionally pushed the vocal track of the open-reel recorder into saturation and minor overload. Here it simply added extra spice and over the M6 made for massive fun. Krug’s voluminous baritone had depth, impact and mass. All this changed on "Baden gehen" on lyrics already and the accompanying Dada-ist musical character. Here Krug sings in a seductive head voice. Again the M6 tracked the tiniest dynamic gradations and timbre nuances of his vocal exploits which are so fetchingly liberated from the usual studio chicanery. Sibilants had authentic bite to weave the voice into the surrounding action without feeling highlighted or foregrounded. In general vocal differentiation was a true forté of the Swans. I’d recommend to listen to the M6 with an older recording that was cut pre compression limiters. The scope of nuance on tap will truly shock you.

I was equally smitten with soundstaging to believe that the deliberately broad off-axis response cultivated with the two top drivers behaved as promised. I actually noted this with the very first bar the M6 produced whilst I was engrossed in a Monopoly session with my daughter. For that we enjoy hunkering down on the living room floor where said Manfred Krug album often accompanies us. This entails me sitting more or less directly in front of the left speaker. Though the right M6 stood 3 meters removed and blew into the room past rather than at me, the Swans still managed a respectable degree of dimensional soundstaging. This album pans the guitars, brass, strings and piano across a rather generous stereo panorama and particularly so for the female backup chorus which sneaks into the action here and there. All this translated surprisingly well despite my truly disadvantageous listening position. Obviously the M6 too has its real sweet spot but a lot of pleasure gets shared with even very sub-optimal conditions. This I found very sympathetic to consider it a solid contributor to the real-life usefulness of this speaker design.