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This review first appeared in the May 2010 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of the Heed trio in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of or Heed Audio. - Ed.

Reviewer: Jochen Reinecke
Marantz SA 7001 CD/SACD, Yamaha CD-S 1000
Amplification: Yamaha A-S2000, Harman Kardon hk670, Yarland FV-34C III, Miniwatt M1
Loudspeakers: System Audio Mantra 60, DIY transmission line with Fostex F120A widebander, Nubert nuBox 101 with AW 441 subwoofer, Nubert nuBox 681
Cables: AVI Deep Blue Cinch kabel, Kimber 4 VS LS Kabel
Review component retail: €1.490/ea.

Heavenly or earthy?
Considering that obelisks are very tall upwardly slimming stones, it’s mystifying why the Heed trio is called obelisk. What ended up in my rack were three rather monolithic bricks, the Obelisk DT transport with coaxial and Toslink outputs, the Obelisk preamp and 50wpc power amp. Where obelisk fits perhaps is that the Hungarian word hid (heed) becomes bridge in German. Mythologically, obelisks were regarded as bridges between heaven and earth. Quite ambitious? These compact 22cm but surprisingly heavy units look purist and somewhat secretive in function. That prompted my female apartment co-dwellers to ask what they were for. Spartan and minimalist cool they may look but they also exude quality and solid craftsmanship. And so they should considering that the special combo price puts a solid €4.490 into the till.

A certain reputation already preceded German importer and the Heed history itself added interest. Their circuitry is based on the formerly Cambridge-based Ion Systems which hifi dealer Zsolt Huszti represented in Hungary. So excited was the man over his discovery that he soon developed a friendship with creator Richard Hay. When Hay eventually abandoned the hifi biz, Huszti and brother launched the Heed brand to protect and further develop their friend’s electronics. Unless you have Hungarian, that’s where the history lesson ends. Zsolt Huszti does blog with regular updates on

On to the gear. A core concern of all Heed circuits is the avoidance of negative feedback. Where most valve amps use transformer coupling, Heed employs capacitors for a "less digital" sound particularly for a more natural decay. The digital deck too wants to deliver the best of both worlds between digital and analog. Its over-dimensioned power supply begins with the transformer where discrete secondaries supply the Sanyo drive and signal processing stage. A 27MHz signal processor and 32MB RAM buffer are claimed to suppress jitter by a factor of 500 over "average" decks. Finally, signal amplitude is scaled up by a factor of 10 to drive up to ten meters of digital cable between spinner and converter.

Already stated, the review combo consisted of minimalist black monoliths whose mains switches live on the back. Most easily described is the power amp whose fascia sports a blue power LED and nothing else. The pre gets a positive action selector for five sources, its own blue power LED and a remote-controlled volume knob. The Obelisk DT spinner too eschews all frills with simply a drawer, blue LED and six controls for eject, stop, start/pause, bi-directional skip and display off. The Spartan theme continues functionally in that even via remote there’s no track programming, repeat or shuffle mode. Considering the very solid impression in general, the ejected drawer seemed somewhat flimsy. Since this acts purely as transport, one expects—and only gets—no more socketry than S/PDIF and optical digital outputs.