This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Tonally speaking the results were exceptionally unexceptional. Despite conceptual eccentricity, the Klangfluss sounded perfectly normal i.e. neutral without particularly sparkling or recessed highs, without forward or generous mids but perhaps with somewhat light foundation weight. The K1 essentially played it transparent, uncoloured and to my ears without apparent tonal balance shifts. First positive impressions were of seamlessness in the tonal, timing and resolution domains. Bass didn’t lag behind by even a hair and high magnification of sound textures wasn’t limited to the tweeter.

Also clear was that bass relative to price was readily available lower and decidedly bigger elsewhere. The rule of thumb that with speakers anything north of a certain euro figure primarily buys more bass is mostly correct. The Klangfluss begs to differ however. To avoid misapprehensions, the K1 was far from lean. The lower register was substantial and suitably extended for believable integration and controlled for very quick and responsive impulse-correct bass. But €25.000/pr customers often want considerably more. Even those with ‘just’ half the budget get more punch, pressure and extension with Ascendo’s System F or the recently reviewed Neat XL6. That’s no criticism but simple fact. The K1 plainly wasn’t optimized for max SPL or reach. That much must be acknowledged and accepted going in.

The three different ‘harmonic resonator’ spheres included can be swapped to fine-tune specific performance aspects. The wood indeed sounds a bit warmer or somewhat shaded compared to the steel which has more shine and sparkle whilst the sandstone mirrors the steel but then veers into a somewhat softer more diffusive rendering. Steel and stone were my favorites but I was far from a traveler between worlds. Playing with the spheres is a final and small personalized tweak.
So far so good. Relative to the unconventional Klangfluss K1, does one really pursue just another neutral monitor? Me thinkest not. While its tonal neutrality was admirably even, this became mere backdrop rather than special virtue to define this effort. Where it got special was with the combination of impulse-correct rhythmic verve and—when given proper conditions—seemingly shoreless spaciousness. As hinted at earlier, my standard setup imposed certain limitations on the full reveal of the K1’s spaciousness which I tacitly recalled being far more generous during my visit with the designers. My first impulse was thus to throw out the sidewall absorbers. Their entire raison d'être of reflection assassins seemed very much at cross purposes with an omni speaker whose output radiates deliberately and equally in all directions. Be ye gone was the obvious response to my usual acoustic foam panels.

Hmm. The expected profound transformation remained on unauthorized leave. While differences did factor—soundstage width and height increased—the tonal balance tipped up more than I enjoyed. This had me reinstall two panels behind the speakers. But truth told, I had anticipated bigger changes. More succinctly, I still lacked that oceanic engulfment which had so impressed me in Gerd Reime’s personal setup. It was time to address my domestic speaker positioning.

Big time too, not by tenuous timid centimeters. I went whole hog for a long wall orientation, practicality and classic warnings against asymmetrical corners be damned. Little was classic about the speakers themselves after all. I ended up with ca. 5 meters between them. This had the ground line about 1.5 to 1.6 meters from my seat. This usually begs for one enormous central hole. Instead I was confronted by one ginormous acoustic guitar. Cat Power’s cover album Jukebox was at play, "Silver Stallion" at full gallop. I had no issue imagining that I was inside a four-meter long guitar, head a-peek from the sound hole watching the strings oscillate. Fittingly Chan Marshall’s seductively cool vocals arose from quite on high. Hey, the pretty lady carried me on her neck in the guitar. Smooch!

This thumbelina perspective caused a huge grin for its sheer otherness. Screw realistic image sizes! was the motto. Granted, reason would soon outlive novelty. Not only were individual voices or instruments stretched to absurdity (though I do wonder whether that would bother me much in a concert), the entire stage was in extreme Cinemascope. I’d usually call nothing too wide. This however was plainly too shallow from my extremist setup. Depth was far too limited. I had the full wide-screen effect but it was accompanied by real dimensional flatness. [The small insert above shows the Klangfluss exhibit at HighEnd Munich 2011 where Thrax from Bulgaria rotated the K1 with the Sonus Faber.]