Previously known for passive loudspeakers, Heco’s Heco Direkt 800 BT incorporates an active all-in-one Bluetooth speaker into its direct line. Does the vintage design also prove itself in the compact class? We found out.
Heco Direct 800 BT test
The German company Heco has been active since 1949 and has since been developing a wide variety of hi-fi loudspeaker systems. Above all, Heco-Direkt is probably the most unusual series of the North Rhine-Westphalian company. Visually inspired by the rock’n’roll and car culture of the 1950s, the series not only stands out in the company’s own assortment.
Always faithful to the prestigious vintage design, the product line is being expanded with new concepts every year, including full range speakers and 3-way high-end systems.
With the Heco Direkt 800 BT, the manufacturer dares to venture into another area of application for the first time. It is an actively designed loudspeaker system in more compact dimensions with analog and digital interfaces and a Bluetooth interface. With regard to the design, however, the similarity to the relationship is unmistakable.
Construction and material
The case of the Heco Direkt 800 BT is 48 cm wide, 32 cm high and 22.8 cm deep. Featuring a semi-matt finish as standard, and optionally available in black or white, the front is always decorated with a stripe. The coating and the entire MDF housing has a very high quality and robust finish in the white version of the test device. In terms of quality, the metal feet that are to be screwed on are in no way inferior.
The sound is reproduced in the treble range by two 25mm diameter Silk Compound fabric dome inlays in the front. Immediately below, two additional 125 mm membranes from Heco’s own Kraft paper supplement the frequency response in the mid and low frequencies.
Here, too, one encounters high-quality workmanship: glue remains or processing errors, I search in vain. Supplied, removable front covers made of acoustic fabric cover the membranes on request.
Sonically, the speaker system on the underside of bass reflex tubes to amplify the bass reproduction is rounded off.
Overall, the Heco Direkt 800 BT weighs in at 8.6 kg, has a maximum output of 200 watts and covers a frequency range of 35 – 40,000 hertz, according to the manufacturer.
The control of the Bluetooth speaker is almost completely via the supplied remote control. A recessed display in the front shows the selected input as well as the set volume.
Uses and functions
In addition to the built-in Bluetooth wireless music streaming receiver, the rear panel of the Heco Direkt 800 BT has additional inputs for the use of wired sound sources. Analog interfaces in the form of a 3.5 mm jack and cinch will find their place next to optical and coaxial digital inputs. Even vinyl lovers will get their money’s worth at the RCA input with a switchable phono preamp.
If the bass range is to be expanded, it is possible to integrate an active subwoofer on the back.
Remote control functions include volume adjustments, source switching, and control of the built-in 2-band equalizer. This will also put the Heco speaker in pairing mode to connect to a Bluetooth source. Title jumps, play / pause and other control commands, however, I do via the smartphone or tablet.
The Heco Direkt 800 BT thus streams audio from smartphone, tablet, computer and Co. The only requirement is that the terminals must have installed a Bluetooth transmitter. If this is not the case, the cable interfaces already mentioned can be used.
Up to four devices can be connected at the same time. Turntables and CD players can be accommodated at the analogue inputs, a Smart TV and Blu-ray player at the digital connections.
A WLAN interface is not integrated.
setup and start-up
For a proper installation of the speaker system, it is first necessary to attach the supplied feet. These absorb vibrations and decouple from the ground. These are quickly screwed together with the enclosed Allen key and the Heco Direkt 800 BT can be used.
In the test, I first use the Bluetooth connection with a smartphone and laptop and switch with the help of the remote control in the pairing mode. In a few seconds, the device is ready for use and it will sound first notes. Commands from the remote control will respond instantly.
The CD player is played through the RCA input trouble-free and the TV sound is converted via the optical input without any latency.
In terms of sound, the Heco Direkt 800 BT as a compact loudspeaker system is of course not to be equated with its big brothers. However, certain sound characteristics are noticeable after a short listening time. The equalizer is set to Linear during sound analysis.
Regardless of the sound played higher frequencies are somewhat emphasized. In the bass range, the speaker looks rather slim and does not wear too thick despite its voluminous appearance.
In pop and hip-hop music, presence is more prominent than mid and bass. This creates a breezy sound and makes any associations with a boombox disappear quickly. If I play music in uncompressed formats, it opens up an excellent spatiality.
For a Bluetooth speaker, the Heco Direkt 800 BT plays multi-faceted music in a very transparent and defined way. Songs with elaborate productions or classical pieces are faithfully reproduced.
The very good fidelity of the Heco speaker creates a pleasant spatial depth of the music, but makes the quality differences between wired music playback and a Bluetooth signal clearly. Especially in the wireless playback of music files in compressed formats forgives the system hardly inconsistencies.
If you prefer to directly access online services in addition to music from your smartphone via Bluetooth, the Heco Direkt 800 BT simply adds a Google Chromecast audio. The streaming dongle docks via jack cable to the Heco speaker and costs not 39 euros world. Thanks to the Chromecast technology, the Direct 800 BT also becomes multiroom-capable and streams music synchronously with other speakers if desired.
In summary, the Heco Direkt 800 BT impresses with its robust appearance and high-quality workmanship. Even in the listening test, the smallest Heco direct loudspeaker lives up to its bigger siblings. To emphasize are its clean spatial performance and the faithful reproduction. Various connections for external players make the Bluetooth speaker a compact system of the more versatile kind.
Heco Direkt 800 BT Price: 599 euros
Heco Direct 800 BT Review
Design / Processing 9.5
Construction /Setup 8.5
Function / Accessories 8.5
Price / Performance 8