HECO Aurora 700 Black Edition

MJ20.01.2021

Floorstanding loudspeakers

I have reviewed Heco’s Aleva GT 202 as part of our low cost stand-mounted monitors group test a couple of years ago. They looked gorgeous but were disappointing sound-wise. Enough reason to approach the review of Aurora 700 with a certain preoccupation. To me it was like Hey, another Heco, let’s wipe them out! To me surprise it was me who was wiped out by the Auroras.

100% reference

Function and form

90%
Ease of use
51%
Sound
75%
Appearance

The Aurora 700 is a traditional 3-way concept with four front-firing drivers and dual reflex port firing to the wall behind the speakers. The tweeter is a textile dome (silk compound) in the middle of waveguide that resembles water ripples and should optimize dispersion of highs. Both the midrange driver and the woofers have lightweight paper cones, reinforced by wool fibers.

The cabinets of the Aurora are rather rigid, with boards doubled at critical spots and with multiple bracing inside. They rest on polymer bases to which aluminum feet are fitted. You can choose between spikes and rubber tips. The crossover is set quite high (290Hz and 3.3kHz) and allows for bi-wire/bi-amping.

The Heco Aurora 700 are sensitive speakers (92 dB) and will be easy load to drive with any amplifier. The new Black Edition version combines brushed aluminum décor with gloss, both in dark shades. Standard versions are usual white and black finishes. I recommend to have grilles removed during listening. By doing so there are no visible openings in the front baffle for the grilles are attached by magnets.

The Heco Aurora 700 are cheap speakers so it is clear that not everything that looks aluminum and wood veneer is aluminum and wood veneer, but Heco is a mass market brand and can afford superb imitations that are virtually unrecognizable by just looking at the speaker.

Bass management

Weight
60
Slam
58
Articulation
51

The best sound I got by placing myself and both Auroras at tips of the proverbial equilateral triangle and the speakers toed out just slightly for their axes to meet behind my head. It was a quick placement as the Heco were not particularly sensitive to small variations in how they were positioned in my listening space, yet it was easy to recognize the sweetest spot.

The Aurora 700 let me realize how big leap the commercial audio has made in last two decades. I dare to say that most flagship speakers from around year 2000 would have hard time to compete with the Aurora 700. Still, these Heco are commercial speakers so they are voiced to be liked. What does it mean? Deep and resilient bass, decent and well resolved midrange, and lively top end that lends a bit of spark to otherwise luxurious voicing. But this is the euphony that ears do appreciate, don’t they?

The bass is the most important part of the Heco Aurora 700 performance. It is a bit more prominent but very well controlled and gives the sound a very good foundation. If I am pressed to characterize the Heco’s bass I would use adjectives like embracing, warm, and supple, but also energetic and punchy when the music asks for it. It is like bass encapsulates you in a silk cocoon and puts you right in the center of a performance. Heco specifies the Aurora 700’s frequency range to be 25–42500Hz which I found to be quite optimistic at its bottom end, yet my subjective feeling is that of really deep bass although it is centered in between 60-100Hz.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
68
Air
56
Transparency
60

The Aurora 700 will not sort your recordings into good ones and bad ones. True that the bad ones will not sound better through the Heco but the speakers are quite forgiving and let you listen to anything without irritation and fatigue. The comfort of their sound does not mean that the Aurora 700 are missing resolution. I was surprised at how many details I heard through them and by keeping listening to them over longer time are realized that they are quite transparent with just a bit softness on transients and just a bit suppression on ambience. It is like the reverberation of venues was less accentuated in recordings – for example Handel’s Mass, though beautifully rendered, did not give me convincing picture of how the recording venue look like. The same thing I heard with solo piano which, although not entirely giving up the information whether it was recorded in a cathedral or in a studio, was presented with rich tonality and pleasant harmonics.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
50
Dynamics
52
Temporal resolution
49

The previously mentioned accent on the primary events (instruments and voices) and less stress on secondary and tertiary things (reverberations) means that the soundstage of the Aurora 700 is as good as your reference point. An example with the aforementioned solo piano: if you want to hear the beauty of its tone and where the piano was positioned relative to the microphones, you will get it. The Heco will create its own vast ambience which has incredible depth of image and will place the instrument accurately within it. If you want to explore nuances and interactions within the Heco’s ambience, then it is a different game and here the Heco misses the transparency of high end speakers. Still, when I listened to a choir through the Aurora 700 I was amazed how well they were able to draw the width and depth of the choir, as well as they were able to place the choir good 10 meters behind the front wall. I trust Heco did a very good job with the stiffness of the cabinets of the Aurora 700, the thing that was proven by comparing the Aurora to Dali Oberon 7.

Spatial resolution

Holography
65
Soundstage width
74
Soundstage depth
79

I have to get back again to the analogy that I used few paragraphs earlier - if the Aurora 700 lety me realize how big progress the commercial audio has made over years, the Oberon as if stepped out from 20 years ago. The immersive soundstage depth of the Auroras shrank significantly and the image become one dimensional. The choirs, formerly portrayed in space. became like projected on a screen between the Oberons. The piano lost its timbre and became hony-tonkish. Niels Lofgren and his Keith Don´t Go that was smooth and holographic through the Heco, became erratic and disjointed through the Dali, with too much shrill on highs.

It has been seven months ago when I reported on Indiana Line Diva 660, small floorstanding loudspeakers that have become a champion of the affordable speakers category. The Heco Aurora 700 Black Edition cost much less and are not less impressive.

P.S. Please note the list of equipment that I used for evaluation these speakers. Neither the components - the BC Acoustique amplifier and the Onkyo player - nor the cables cannot be suspected from helping the Aurora 700 shine, quite opposite. It remains a mystery to me how it is possible that this set up sounded so amazing.

Price as reviewed:26 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

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Associated components

  • Source: OnkyoSACD C-S5VL
  • Amplifier: BC Acoustique EX-214
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Sharkwire Line Magic No.1, Supra Rondo, Supra Dual
  • Power conditioning: Supra LoRad, Supra MDS-06 MkIII

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