Only when we retrieved the DSP-6 digital sound processor was the big box finally empty. This DSP-6 was the original occasion for Reckhorn’s review request. Compared to the A-408, the DSP-6 has a smaller footprint and generally different look. Measuring 362 x 67 x 235mm and weighing just 2.4kg, it is a small piece of kit. We learnt quickly that the DSP-6 is not just a DSP engine, it’s also a 20wpc amplifier. We now got the general idea that with all our Reckhorn loaners in place, we’d only need one extra stereo amp to arrive at a fully active system with separate amplification for the sub, mid and high frequencies all controlled by the DSP-6 and matching software. Incidentally, the DSP-6 is built around a Cirrus Logic 24-bit DAC and a Cirrus Logic 32/192 DSP chip.

At the front there is a power switch, digital volume control and input selector. These inputs are at the back and are USB for software control, coaxial S/PDIF and optical for signal. Then there are 2 pairs of analog inputs, three pairs of analog outputs and an array of 4 screw-type loudspeaker outputs. The back is finished off with a figure 8 power IEC. That’s right, there’s no protective ground. With all the gear unpacked, we could start connecting the pieces. We took our reliable PS Audio PWT as source which doubles as excuse to revisit our somewhat neglected CD collection when streaming has become our main source of music. The convenience of Qobuz Desktop and Tidal HiFi plus their combined 30 million albums—not to forget our own few thousand albums on hard disk—render physical media really quaint and so last century. Here we went digital out from the American transport to the coax input of the DSP-6. We connected a laptop via USB to the DSP-6 as well. Next the output from the DSP-6’s A-channel went into the A-408 subwoofer amp’s input via an RCA link. From the A-408 we connected via screws the H-100 sub with a length of budget speaker cable. Channel B from the DSP-6 went via another RCA interconnect into our own Yarland tube integrated being our only budget amp on hand which still sounds remarkably nice. This Yarland became the satellite’s mid/woofer driver connected via simple budget and unterminated speaker cable. Finally the speaker output of the built-in 20wpc amp of the DSP-6 leashed to the tweeters with more no-name cable.

All in all, a lot of wires and quite the stack for a budget attempt. You might think of a sound laboratory in fact. In a way, that’s what it was for us. When everything was connected and powered up, we chose a random CD, started it and selected repeat to let the equipment settle in. Because we wanted to work with the DSP software, we needed to download it first. Initially we used a wrong link and downloaded the old version. The correct version installed like a bullet train and finding our way around it was no chore. Ready-to-use settings for the S-30/H-100 combo are available and form a great starting point for further experiments. Behind Reckhorn’s DSP sits the widely used Soundmagus software which is stable and works dandy. Whilst the kit settled in and we with its software, it was time for some questions. First we wanted to know a little more about where Klaus came from:

"I became exited about music reproduction when listening to my beloved songs from The Beatles, Stones, Hendrix and all the hippies—I was 13 then—50 years ago. A few years later I started to build speaker housings using 2- and 3-way kits. I read the books by German professor Klinger and his first issue became my bible. After sales jobs for Quad and KEF in the 70s, I founded my first own company and started a low-cost speaker production. Compared to speakers in the higher ranges, ours offered an outstanding price/quality ratio and formed a good alternative for the average income buyer. Until today my principle remains excellent sound at a low price.

"I love music with a focus on jazz and want to hear it in my room nearly as natural as sitting in front of a trio with singer. When the jazz diva seems to stand between the left and right speakers and I can locate all the other musicians, I smile. Beside the mids and highs, I am critical of natural low-bass performance. I want the bass drum deep, fast and brutal. I have received many emails from customers confirming that since they hear quality low bass with our cornerhorn, the entire sound got better even when they did not change out their satellites. That is a very interesting function of our audio brain. If the low bass is missing, it interpolates it but doing so requires a lot of brain computing which now cuts into our attention on the upper frequencies. The ‘perfect sound’ is available today from many products but costs too much for average people. I cut costs in R&D, tooling and production but spend more on the parts which influence the sound."

These were interesting thoughts on our bio computers and their workings. Now we wanted to know where Klaus sees audio going in the near future. "The CD is going to die as the vinyl record did. We can download higher resolution content online. The current middle-class audio chain is as good as the high-end products were in the 1980s. Therefore I wonder why people want to spend more when the input-output signal change is below 0.01 % but the speaker reacts 1000 times more. In other words, the relevant construction site is the speaker, today more than ever. I like to combine old Physics concepts like the cornerhorn, the spherical speaker housing, the one-point source and direct amp-connected drivers with signal inputs which are very exactly controlled by DSP.

"I wonder about the many young folks who discuss speaker and sound concepts online with enormous loads of data and theoretical information to figure out who is right and who is wrong. Very few of them have ever built a speaker to understand that a truly better idea is proven by listening. Imagine cooks fighting with words instead of putting their fingers in the sauce and tasting what their colleagues promote as the absolute sauce. Let’s focus on listening to compare products instead of believing that good-looking data are worth paying for."