Wannabe or true modern classic? If you've wondered just how high Heco get on their big Kraft paper driver, it's 2'350Hz. Before you confuse their Kraft paper with generic brown parcel wrapping paper, "only Nordic pine timber has the required strong fibres. Due to their low strength, other woods and cheaper waste papers are excluded. Our pulp gets mixed with 5% German-produced 6-12mm long wool fibres. During this process, all the fibres interlock into a densely conjoined weave. This mix is then pressed evenly and under high pressure into the conical cone shape. This creates a strong diaphragm with the desired acoustic properties for high mechanical loading."

So the Direkt promises not just vintage tone if with very modern bandwidth, it hints at a grown pair of dynamics. The Germans write that even a 10-watt tube amp is willkommen. Insisting on a fully preconditioned pair for this review, Heco said that it'd only take them a few days to make it so. For buyers who must do it themselves, there's no endless wait to a happy ending. Phewntastic!

Regular readers know that our top-floor flat on the hill means navigating three flights of outdoor stairs. It's where all couriers drop off shipments. Whilst a blessed elevator takes over from the end of the foyer once boxes are on the landing, if I can't physically manoeuvre a load up the steps by my lonesome, my auditions are restricted to the garage where there's not a single power outlet. Needless to say, I'd ticked off the 'can do' box when I'd looked up today's 25.8kg beforehand. On size and elbow grease, the Direkt is a friendly chap.

But does it foam at the surround? As reader and occasional contributor Michel Surdi queried, "that's a timely review for sure. But please don't forget to tell us what the woofer surrounds are made of. It doesn't look like pleated cloth so I fear for foam!" I told our man not to diss foam. Modern foams have come a long way from their vintage kin which hated UV and tended to crumble after a few years. Today Voxativ for example started with goat-leather surrounds, then transitioned to foam not because they're cheap bastards but because it sounded better. With ultra-efficient drivers, shaving even a gram off the moving mass matters. Moving mass is the totality of the displaced assembly: cone/dome, surround, spider, voice coil. Foam is very light. Also, high efficiency reduces excursion requirements. Lowthers for example do ±1mm. That's perfect for a foam surround. Contrast that to subwoofers. With heavy cones, they're inefficient. That's compensated by cheap high-power class D plate amps; and big excursion potential from beastly rubber-roll surrounds.

Heco 2016

To my eyes, the stock Heco photos suggested butyl rubber. But I promised Michel to check it out closely when my pair arrived. He's spot on that vintage paper drivers of high efficiency used either pleated cloth or foam surrounds. For magnetics, they routinely favoured Alnico. Heco even do that for their top dedicated midrange unit. And, they exploit Klippel diagnostics during driver R&D to harvest from modernity what it has to offer their general retro-inspired approach. For this driver, did it mean modern rubber or Surdi's dreaded foam? Before our retro meme feels like a lame hashtag, consider that Heco have been in business for six decades - since 1949 to be precise. In this sector, that's about as vintage as it gets. Jawohl!