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This article was first published by German online magazine and can be read in its original version here. Due to a mutual syndication arrangement with its publishers, we hereby present a translated version for our international readership. All photos are the property of - Ed.

The first contact occurred via email. A mass notice announced the existence of a "neutrally voiced passive speaker concept with ultra high-quality external crossover" named K1. The maker was Klangfluß Manufaktur of Bühl near Baden-Baden. Additional intel was promised on the home page. Click. Wait. And wait. I do enjoy Flash animations but c’mon, video text is faster. After an eternal 20 seconds, the page finally manifested. So did surprise. Not just about the speaker—which did seem pretty far out what with its pyramidal housing, natural stone base down below, sphere above with floating triangular cap—but how the animation expert was apparently given completely free rein. Left/right clicks sailed through a virtual living room which surrounded the K1 as apparent object of desire with neat details – sound spheres, a box with Mundorf parts, a pair of white gloves. My crooked smile over this spectacle soon gave way to outright giggles when an ill-considered click deposited me unceremoniously at the far corner of the couch next to a coincidentally open newspaper. Clearly humor was with the Baden-Baden crew.

Glowing but still a prototype - a K1 in Onyx

But what might their Klangfluß K1 speaker sell for? The home page remained predictably mum as is quite common in the high end. A quick Google search whisked me off to a hifi forum where a lively Klangfluß bashing session was in full swing. The bone of contention was the sticker. One poster had discovered a K1 pair on eBay for the special price of €50K only to kick off howls of outrage and ridicule. The eBay connection should have given the armchair critics some pause before flying off their collective handle. A newcomer offering a €50.000/pr of speakers on an Internet auction? Could that possibly be for real? Meanwhile a year has passed since, temperaments calmed down and the price halved. A K1 in white costs a still princely €25.000/pr but the Munich HighEnd Show 2010 saw many speakers a lot more expensive. Klangfluß participated this year for the first time and, one has to admit, used colorful cosmetic teasers to reel visitors into their listening cabin. There musical calories weren’t merely of the pickled sort but also fresh, the latter compliments of tenor Niclas Oettermann and guitarist Uli Dumschat, two collaborators in the Klangfluß project.

In Munich I never made it inside the cabin. Curious about the speakers and people behind them, I’d committed to a visit in Bühl instead. Why sweat a show cabin when you can enjoy a more real thing a week later? At the Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airport I was greeted by a gent in a colourful shirt whose sign suggested he was looking for me. Stefan Weber turned out to be one of three principals in the Klangfluß GmbH. His areas of K1 responsibility is itemized as above and below – to be precise, the 50kg granite plinth and the stony sphere, which disperses the tweeter’s output (if not swapped for a wooden or stainless steel sphere). Little surprise there, really. Stefan’s main company is Natursteinmeister, an outfit specialized in renovations, dress-ups or new construction of homes, inside or out, with natural stone of any persuasion. During our short drive to meet his two other Klangfluß partners, I listened intently and amused to an anecdote about the special needs of a client who was designing a private hamam inside a Baden-Baden castle and had very specific notions on details.

Klangfluß exhibit in Munich - tenor Niclas Oettermann und guitarist Uli Dumschat

How steam baths crafted of stone might lead to high-end speakers would have been confusing had I not been informed already that the three Klangfluß principals all operate their own quite varied companies in the real life outside audio. Klangfluß simply became the umbrella under which they could invest into a dream speaker project done a bit differently where each would contribute his very specialized expertise. Stefan Weber painted the picture:

To be honest, it all began as a simple beer fancy or better, vacation idea since I met our technician Gerd during a holiday. That was about six years ago. I’m sitting on the beach on Furteventura when I see this guy meandering towards me collecting not shells but stones. He picks them up, claps them together, listens. A few he discards, others slip into a bag. Okay, I thought he was a bit nuts but since stone is my living, we got to talking. Later at the hotel bar, he proposed to me an ominous speaker project. Three years later the two of us plus Marcus co-founded Klangfluß Manufaktur. Had someone told me that on the beach that day…

In hindsight I’ve often wondered. Was this coincidence or celestial guidance? How likely was it that I make my living with stone only to meet someone during a vacation who desperately looked for a stone expert? What’s more, Gerd could have been from Hamburg in the far North. Instead he happened to live and work just around my corner. Did you hear how we met Marcus our woodworker? I hadn’t.

Back home again, we’re sipping red wine at the local Italian restaurant to discuss our speaker project. The missing link is someone who can fabricate the wooden carcass. Stone is my field, Gerd had all the equipment to machine metal and the core concept of the K1 was his in the first place. But the actual speaker enclosure still lacked know-how. We weren’t keen on simply contracting it out. We were looking for someone who’d be passionately involved, who would contribute his own ideas and, ideally, was financially independent since any such project tends to absorb serious funds.