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Buchardt Audio S400 stand mounted speaker - my impressions

Flint

Dog Faced Pony Soldier
Superstar
This week I got the opportunity to listen to a pair of Buchardt S400 bookshelf speakers, which the hip audiophile crowd is going ga-ga over at present.


The pair I was able to hear were setup in a nice large performance room in a recording studio and was driven by a very capable high power Adcom amplifier and fed from the mastering gear in the mixing room (so the best audio gear you can get).

I listened to my usual speaker auditioning playlist as well as some other chosen tunes I have on my Sony hi-rez portable player as well some stuff the studio owner wanted to show off to me, which he thought would make these speakers shine. The studio bought them specifically because they are very popular among audiophiles so they could use them as reference when mixing higher quality acoustic or natural sounding recordings. This is a common practice when mixing and mastering to ensure what is released will at least not suck on common non-perfect systems.

My impression?

Well, they sound quite good. They sound far better than their size, design, or appearance would suggest. In fact, it is very shocking to hear what they can do while looking at them at the same time. They do not look like they would sound this good, at all.

However...

They don't sound half as good as any of the quality speakers selling for the same price that I've heard.

Assuming a US price of right around $2,000 for a pair, I can think of dozens of better sounding speakers at that price - including many studio monitors which would save the owner the cost of an amplifier to drive them.

The good?
  • They are voiced to sound as if they are playing louder than they really are (like Klipsch does) with a boosted bass, a slight dip in the upper midrange, and sharp sounding treble. \
  • They handle dynamics pretty well at reasonable SPLs for their size.
  • They have a nicely controlled dispersion patter which isn't displeasing off axis.

The bad?
  • The performance does not justify the price
  • The bass is far too loud for my ears and at my preferred listening levels is very overbearing and clearly congested and compressed
  • They are kinda ugly to me
  • The waveguide on the tweeter presents the same old harshness in the treble that all horn suffer from at some level - more obvious in this model.

I don't recommend them if one is looking for the best sound for the money as there are so many better options of various sizes and style selling for this price or less. However, they don't suck, as many audiophile darlings do. So, there's that. If they were priced at about $700 for the pair I'd say they were a decent product for the money. If they were $1,000 a pair, I'd say they might be worth it. But for $2,000 they are not a good deal at all.
 

Flint

Dog Faced Pony Soldier
Superstar
I'll add, I believe they are so popular right now mostly because they don't obviously color the sound sound in the midrange and still have a strong, boosted bass which gives them the perception of being much larger than they are.
 

Randy

Well-Known Member
Famous
I watched a review of them recently and was going to watch the folloe up where they tore into them but didn't get to it.

The review didn't give much information and certainly less than your review.

They stated they were surprised by their construction and lack of internal baffling and they said they sounded good.

They also mentioned they were current audiophile darlings.
 

Flint

Dog Faced Pony Soldier
Superstar
There's some useful and trustworthy measurements here:

 

team_tsp

Active Member
That's disappointing considering all the hype that built up around these speakers. I think a lot of what you mention is apparent even in the manufacturer's measurements:

Also just recently, the main guy at audiosciencereview did his own measurements. Initially he didn't seem too impressed either given the price/hype, but after the CEO of Buchardt chimed in, the guy edited his conclusion to be more positive.
 

heeman

Well-Known Member
Famous
Marketing and Salesmanship.....................

AH...........................................

Best of the year!

Best under $2500!

Best in white (or black)!
 

gpinch1

New Member
This week I got the opportunity to listen to a pair of Buchardt S400 bookshelf speakers, which the hip audiophile crowd is going ga-ga over at present.


The pair I was able to hear were setup in a nice large performance room in a recording studio and was driven by a very capable high power Adcom amplifier and fed from the mastering gear in the mixing room (so the best audio gear you can get).

I listened to my usual speaker auditioning playlist as well as some other chosen tunes I have on my Sony hi-rez portable player as well some stuff the studio owner wanted to show off to me, which he thought would make these speakers shine. The studio bought them specifically because they are very popular among audiophiles so they could use them as reference when mixing higher quality acoustic or natural sounding recordings. This is a common practice when mixing and mastering to ensure what is released will at least not suck on common non-perfect systems.

My impression?

Well, they sound quite good. They sound far better than their size, design, or appearance would suggest. In fact, it is very shocking to hear what they can do while looking at them at the same time. They do not look like they would sound this good, at all.

However...

They don't sound half as good as any of the quality speakers selling for the same price that I've heard.

Assuming a US price of right around $2,000 for a pair, I can think of dozens of better sounding speakers at that price - including many studio monitors which would save the owner the cost of an amplifier to drive them.

The good?
  • They are voiced to sound as if they are playing louder than they really are (like Klipsch does) with a boosted bass, a slight dip in the upper midrange, and sharp sounding treble. \
  • They handle dynamics pretty well at reasonable SPLs for their size.
  • They have a nicely controlled dispersion patter which isn't displeasing off axis.

The bad?
  • The performance does not justify the price
  • The bass is far too loud for my ears and at my preferred listening levels is very overbearing and clearly congested and compressed
  • They are kinda ugly to me
  • The waveguide on the tweeter presents the same old harshness in the treble that all horn suffer from at some level - more obvious in this model.

I don't recommend them if one is looking for the best sound for the money as there are so many better options of various sizes and style selling for this price or less. However, they don't suck, as many audiophile darlings do. So, there's that. If they were priced at about $700 for the pair I'd say they were a decent product for the money. If they were $1,000 a pair, I'd say they might be worth it. But for $2,000 they are not a good deal at all.
Thanks for the honest review. I am interested in their upcoming active speakers and hub. A500. BUT I would love to hear which bookshelf sized speakers you would recommend in the $2000. and under range that you like. I would like to also consider the ones you suggest. I live in an apartment. Thanks !!!
 

heeman

Well-Known Member
Famous
Thanks for the honest review. I am interested in their upcoming active speakers and hub. A500. BUT I would love to hear which bookshelf sized speakers you would recommend in the $2000. and under range that you like. I would like to also consider the ones you suggest. I live in an apartment. Thanks !!!

You won't be seeing Flint around here for awhile........... He is on Sabbatical....
 

PaulyT

Behind the Curtain
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Superstar
Thanks for the honest review. I am interested in their upcoming active speakers and hub. A500. BUT I would love to hear which bookshelf sized speakers you would recommend in the $2000. and under range that you like. I would like to also consider the ones you suggest. I live in an apartment. Thanks !!!

Thanks for dropping by @gpinch1! @Flint isn't around much these days... anyone else have suggestions? I've been out of this market for a long time...
 

mazersteven

Well-Known Member
There are many Excellent Bookshelf speakers in the $2000 Range. There are also some really good performing Bookshelf speakers under $2000. I'll post what I would be considering
 

mazersteven

Well-Known Member
 

CMonster

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the honest review. I am interested in their upcoming active speakers and hub. A500. BUT I would love to hear which bookshelf sized speakers you would recommend in the $2000. and under range that you like. I would like to also consider the ones you suggest. I live in an apartment. Thanks !!!

A lot of us on this forum are Dynaudio fans and $2k puts you around the Evoke 10 or 20.
 

heeman

Well-Known Member
Famous
PSA is well-regarded around here:

https://www.powersoundaudio.com/collections/speakers


@heeman had some of these - maybe he can comment?


I had the MTM 210's when they first came out. Remember that these are rated down to 80Hz and need a sub, so if you are looking for a true bookshelf speaker that digs below 80Hz, these are not for your. If you like the horn sound and high efficiency with a sub, you may give them a try. PSA offers a free trial period. They are a stand up company.
 

gpinch1

New Member
All of these suggestions give me tons to go research now. Thanks to everyone !!!

Thoughts on 'Active' monitors ????
 

Randy

Well-Known Member
Famous
All of these suggestions give me tons to go research now. Thanks to everyone !!!

Thoughts on 'Active' monitors ????

Audioengine are pretty highly revered active monitors. I have the A5+ and they are pretty badass little speakers. These are in my home office.

I have a pair of M Audio's on my desk at work but the L speaker quit and it is apparently a pretty common problem.

Mackies used to cone very highly reccomended around gere too.
 
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