HEDD Type 07 by Transistor
Choosing a monitor for your room is perhaps the most important choice you make in your entire setup. For many, the room more or less presents itself, but what you then use to actually project sound into it, will influence the end result more than any other piece of gear you get. That fancy valve EQ is good for diddly squat if you have to guess what it's actually doing. On the other hand, choosing a monitor is highly subjective, at least in a mixing context. You have to choose a monitor that you actually like to listen to, otherwise working on them will become a chore. Some mixers solve this by using more than one set of monitors, one for most of the work, and one "for checking". I happen to think that this should be unneccessary, there are more than a few monitor speakers that tick both the "accuracy" and "enjoyability" boxes. The HEDD Type 07 most definitely does.
The Hedd Type 07 has an obvious heritage. Given Hedd designer Klaus Heinz' history with Adam, it comes as no surprise that the Hedds bear more than a passing resemblance to its biblical ancestor. However, the Hedd speakers are new designs, and the product of Heinz and his son, Frederik Knop. The "tweeter", the ATM, is an updated design, and the internal construction and materials are also new. The speaker is covered in a thin coat of a slightly rubbery substance, which makes it both easy to securely place and more resistant to knocks and scratches. At the back you find the usual suspects; a power switch, an IEC inlet, xlr and RCA balanced and unbalanced inputs, input attenuator, plus hi- and low shelf adjustments. Interestingly, a blanking plate covers a "plugin" hole, where a USB or Dante card can be fitted for direct digital connections. These cards have not been tested.
My mixing and mastering room isn't big, but well treated and trapped (and its flaws are well-known). On paper, the T07s should be too big for it, but I decided to give them a go anyway. I'm glad I did. The first couple of hours with the T07s were completely ad-hoc, with them unevenly placed and not properly adjusted. Even so, when playing very familiar material, both my own and reference tracks, I could hear things in a way that made making decisions much easier. This was especially true for the lower regions, where the 07s not only reached almost an octave deeper than the reference, they did so with complete control. However, when listening closer, it became apparent that a somewhat odd artifact around 50hz was present. It turned out to be a fault in the very first specimens, and was very quickly fixed by HEDD, after which the 07s have performed flawlessly. Also, while they were on their short recreational holiday in Germany, a better set of stands had been constructed. Now the real testing could begin.
Working with the T07s
To cut a long story short: I ended up buying the T07s and selling off the old (also German) reference. This means that I have worked on them for approximately three months on a daily basis. The following is based on that experience.
After the initial joy of just going deep without a subwoofer subsided, the Type07s started presenting themselves as monitors that project what you put into them with an effortless manner that combines accuracy with sweetness. Both listening tests and measurements confirms this. The 07s are described as flat (+/- 3db) from 50khz to 38hz, but in my room they measured flat down to 34. The top end is supremely detailed, yet, for lack of a better word, pleasureable to listen to. This is probably a contributor to what after a while appeared as their perhaps strongest pre, the imaging is stunning. You can without any effort close your eyes and point to where individual sounds are, and they are described in a way which significantly helps mixing or mastering decisions.
When a monitor becomes "too nice" one might ask whether this means that accuracy suffers. While it's a pertinent question, I don't really think that one precludes the other. And, I do believe that the T07s show this. They tell you when you've made a mistake, but reward doing something right. If it sounds nice, it IS nice.
From a mastering perspective, the perhaps most crucial question is: how do they translate (ie. will a master made on them sound relatively similar on a range of playback systems)? The answer is pretty simple: they tell you what's going on in the track, so it's up to you to balance it properly. In other words, they DO translate. Using previous systems, there has always been some areas that gave particular problems, but not so with these. They simply work. As they should.
Are there negative aspects with the Type 07s? Yes, of course. First of all, they're quite big and heavy, and need proper placement and support. Using them on the desktop is probably a bad idea (perhaps the T05 may fit there?). More importantly, HEDD have made a couple of mechanical choices that I don't particularly like. The non-locking XLR input has the potential to be the source of frustration, given that it only takes a light tug on the cable to dislodge it. Also, the built-in attenuators are continuous and un-dented. While both of these isses have positive upsides (tripping over the cable simply pulls it out instead of sending the speaker to the floor, and the unaided attenuator both enables precision fine-tuning and pushes you to actually calibrate your speakers), I would have been more happy with them the other way around. But that's also just about it. I can find no other real flaws with these speakers.
To sum up, the Hedd Type 07 is a precision tool, that in addition is a pleasure to use. If you spend some time with placement, measurements and perhaps the built-in tuning controls (hi- and lo shelves + attenuators), it will serve both mixers and small to medium mastering studios very well. And, you might even just use it for playing music. If you are looking for monitors in this (and higher) price range(s), you should definitely audition the T07s. I was contemplating spending quite a lot more on my new monitors, but decided against it when I heard the Hedds.