Stereo I Kolorowo - S400

Conclusion 

Buchardt Audio S400 are outstanding bookshelf speakers. Their build is of first rate and the fit and finish is flawless. They ensure big and extensive sound with a sensational level of suggestiveness and wholeness of sound reproduction. With magnificent, because legible and full blooded, midrange, vivid and exposed treble, as well as exceedingly flexible and present bass. 

I cannot point out any downsides of Buchardt Audio S400 - I can write about them exclusively in superlatives. These are "total" speakers - extremely well tuned, properly harmonious and perfectly euphonic. They reproduce and love music in a perfect way, to the maximum. It can be said that this is typical High-End sound for Hi-Fi price. Five stars recommendation.

Introduction

Only in the mid August of this year, I picked up the new Buchardt Audio S400 bookshelf speakers from Sopot based Premium Sound hifi shop. And I was supposed to get them in the beginning of July. I was waiting a bit for them then, as Danish manufacturer is trying to keep up with the demand as these speakers sell as soon as they come out of the factory.

Resulting from this, in August only three or four pairs came to Poland, and one was destined for me and my review. 

As one can see, there has to be something to these speakers when they sell like hotcakes. 


Buchardt Audio 

As I have never written about Buchardt Audio company before, it feels appropriate to mention few words about it. It is Danish, and as it is known Danes carry first class honours in terms of speakers' development - and acoustics in general. There is an enormous amount of renowned Danish audio companies - it is pointless to mention all of them here. But Buchardt Audio is connected with (up until recently Danish) a company called - Dynaudio (Dynaudio was bought out by the Chinese in 2014). Ex Dynaudio engineer, Kasper Raun had designed first Buchardt Audio speakers, S300 model to be specific. I don't know if he had designed further products, and the S400 tested here, but we can have high hopes for that. It is worth mentioning, that Buchardt Audio was founded a couple of years ago by an other Dane - Mads Buchardt. The philosophy of sound which is adhered to in this company is: as high Hi-Fi sound as possible for reasonable price, but generally speaking Buchardt Audio products are not cheap. How was this achieved? To answer this, I will allow Buchardt Audio themselves to explain this here in a best way. 


"Don't let the price of our speakers to discourage you. They can compete with products from much higher price ranges. Achieving these prices without compromises is impossible. If compromises with product or development processes are not possible, we have to look elsewhere. We have eliminated marketing, distributors, agents and Hi-Fi dealers. By selling directly to the end user, we eliminate 60-70% of costs in comparison to our competition. Direct sales is nothing new. More and more of small companies do just that. What makes us stand out is that we rely on large scale production, where we manufacture thousands of speakers in batches, which enables us to get best prices for parts, which we are using. 


Our goal is exclusively performance and quality. In order to reach this we subcontract the manufacturing to a well respected Danish / Chinese Hansong factory in Nanjing. Hansong has a rich experience in manufacturing of the most well known high-end Hi-Fi brands in the world. S300 and S400 models are assembled, quality checked and tested in Denmark. S400 is an outcome of higher testing demands, assembled in China, and because of its construction a specialised testing equipment is required, which we don't have in Denmark. For us, the key importance factor is that the manufacturing plant that we use, offers the best working conditions for employees. Hansong offers special health benefits for all employees - a rare sight in China. Hansong has ISO 9001 certificate and has plants in China, Denmark and USA. 


General impressions and construction. 

The speakers are delivered in one, not so big, box. After opening it, one can see protective foam framed in cardboard. Underneath it there is owner's manual, warranty and...vinyl disc in an envelope (Danish band Aztek). The speakers are sheltered from the top and bottom by white foam forms, which stablize S400 speakers very well in the box. Additionally the speakers are put in protective linen sacks. In the top foams there is bay in which a small box is placed. Inside the box there are four round grills, which can be mounted directly to the speakers by magnets. Thanks to this, the fronts of these speakers are not blemished by any grill mounting holes. 


For my review I received S400 in "dark smoked oak" wood finish. It looks beautiful, but it is more expensive from the standard finish by 500PLN (8 490PLN vs 8 990PLN). The carpentry finish and its quality is of highest standards. Everything is laid out evenly and cleanly. S400 is an example of extremely good manufacturing and finishing work. Bravo.


The company uses quite unique technology in this model's manufacturing. The midwoofer is mounted on the top of the speakers' fronts (6 inch aluminum cone), and the tweeter on the bottom (0,74 inch). Why is Buchardt Audio using an aluminum midbass driver? The answer is: "Usually, aluminum bass drivers are good only for clean low tones playback because they don't handle the mid frequencies that well. It was fixed though by decay compensation in the cone. Look closely and you will notice "stripes" in the in the cone itself. This enables us to use all the aluminum potential without its natural downsides! Our aluminum bass driver is able to reproduce sound with unbelievable control and power!". For the crossovers only high grade Cobber air coils are used. Metallized capacitors used are considerably more expensive than electrolytic ones, but they don't dry up, and they don't change their behaviour with the passing of time. 


Additionally, S400 have a passive radiator at the back (passive membrane), which is a more expensive solution than bass reflex. As Buchardt Audio states, passive radiator was chosen because of the following reasons:

-possibility of 30% reduction in cabinet size

-similar bass performance to S300 model

-lack of bass reflex port distortions 

-lack of bass reflex port compression 

-speakers can be placed very close to the wall (in need of doing so at least!).


Apart the passive membrane, on the back there are also speaker terminals. In the case of S400 these are single version terminals, but they are of very high quality (made out of metal). They are mounted on a black metal plate which is screwed in to the cabinet with four screws. 


Technical data

Construction: 2-way with passive membrane

Tweeter: 1 x 0,74 inch

Midbass driver: 1x6 inch aluminum cone

Passive membrane: 1x 5x8 inches

Impedance: 4 Ohm

Sensitivity: 88dB

Frequency response: 33 - 40 000 Hz +/- 3dB

Crossover point: 2 000Hz

Recommended amplifier power: 40-200W

Dimensions (H x W x D): 365 x 180 x 240mm

Weight: 10kg each 


Sound

I have connected the speakers to the following amplifiers: Unison Research Unico 90, Haiku-Audio Bright MK4 and Hegel H160. Speaker cables were XLO UltraPLUS U6-10 in every case. Comparison bookshelf speakers were AudioSolutions Figaro B, Guru Audio Junior and Martin Logan Motion 35XT. 


At the beginning an important remark. In order for the S400 to work at their optimum they have to stand on a massive bases. It can be a heavy cabinet or a desk. If it is to be the speaker stands, they have to be very heavy. In my case the best results were achieved with Rogoz-Audio 4QB80 stands. One stand weighs around 20kg, and with additional weight adding material (and that's what I have) 35kg. Speakers on these stands sounded fullest - with their whole weight. I do recommend that. Of course, Buchard Audio offers their won stands. Their price in Poland is around 1100PLN.


S400 speakers don't have big dimensions (365 x 180 x 240mm), but generate relatively a lot of big scale sound. The sound is muscular and focussed and in paralel very vivid and quick. Saturated with music to very high levels. S400 sound with their 'whole body' while generating a reference stereo image. The manufacturer recommends said S400 bookshelf speakers for use in rooms of up to even 60 square meters (!) - and there is no exaggeration in that. These speakers have fast and lively sound with high degree of tonal saturation and vitality. Therefore they will manage in large rooms without any problems. In my listening room with 30 square meters they were giving off a very truthful musical picture with legible mid range, evident and distributing treble and outstanding bass fundament, which we will discuss in the next paragraph. 


What is interesting, bass is also extensive and full in response, even though S400 are monitors. Maybe they are not as titanic as with the floor standing Triangle Genese Quartet (which is understandable), but considering power and their spectacular impact they can put to shame a lot of compact floor standing speakers from other brands. Low frequencies are exceptionally deep, have a solid state of focus and a high weight while at the same time they are multilayered, flexible and full of shape. They give off a good idea of instruments like double bass or bass guitar. Their strings have clear and unequivocal sound, audible vibrations and tangible personality. Of course, a lot of advantage for reproduction and credible reception of bass frequencies are brought by passive membranes (passive radiators) of a large size placed at the back of the cabinets (well tuned too!). Thanks to them the bass is not only voluminous and stout, but also exceptionally natural and healthy. Hitting with mass, but not over dominating and not overlaying other sub ranges. It can be written, that it is well stitched but enormous, stalwart but harmonious. 


These speakers surprise with vividness and nice in reception addition of warmth in tonal character, which is not caused by either artificial warming up, or sweeting up, but only fluidity of sound being directed towards physiology i.e. temperature close to human body (if one can describe sound in that way). In truth this "warmth" also results largely from the optimal saturation of bass frequencies, but it is not connected with an overall softness, because that is not what you get here. The sound is ripe and vivid, but without the signs of being flabby or flaccid. 


It would be best to say that Buchardt Audio offers sound which is alive, free and expansive. It is not skimping on treble, doesn't overload the membranes, and at the same time giving off a very discerning audio picture that is looking deep inside the recordings. Buchardts sound light and attractive with a good drive and power, while at the same time providing quite good subtlety and musical elegance. This is a culture and fullbloodedness in one. Not very often one encounters such a mature level of sound in speakers costing less then 10 000 PLN. 


But this is not the end of trumps of Danish speakers. S400 provide extraordinary resolution and amazing selectiveness (similarly with the level of detail and analyticity). The upper registers are neatly exposed but well resolved, airy and work well for credible legibility of the whole sound picture, which is at the same time rich and communicative. Almost everything can be heard, as Buchardt Audio monitors solicit for a total and effective sound. Resulting from this, they generate a very wholesome sound with lucid, tangible and convincing dimension - here "everything sounds". The suggestion of euphonic sound is phenomenal. 


Conclusion 

Buchardt Audio S400 are outstanding bookshelf speakers. Their build is of first rate and the fit and finish is flawless. They ensure big and extensive sound with a sensational level of suggestiveness and wholeness of sound reproduction. With magnificent, because legible and full blooded, midrange, vivid and exposed treble, as well as exceedingly flexible and present bass. 

I cannot point out any downsides of Buchardt Audio S400 - I can write about them exclusively in superlatives. These are "total" speakers - extremely well tuned, properly harmonious and perfectly euphonic. They reproduce and love music in a perfect way, to the maximum. It can be said that this is typical High-End sound for Hi-Fi price. Five stars recommendation.


Caption of the photos:

2. Two S400 photos from Buchardt Audio website

4. Protective foam on top of the box

6. A nice addition - vinyl by Danish band Aztek

7. Owner's manual, certificate of authenticity and warranty. 

9. Four oval speaker grills in a separate box

10. Solid shipping foams holding speakers in place

12. Speakers are additionally put in linen sacks

14. At the top midbass driver (6 inch aluminum cone), at the bottom - 0,74 inch waveguide tweeter

16. First class carpentry

18. S400 on top of Rogo Audio 4QB80 stand with a weight of 35 kgs each (!)

21. Passive membrane takes nearly all of the surface of the back walls

22. S400 connected to a tube amplifier Taga Harmony TTA-1000

23. I use pre/power combo Pioneer C-90/M-90

24. Using Hegel H160 amplifier

25. Main amplifier Unison Research Unico 90 and a CD player Unison Research CD Due 



Full review : 

http://stereoikolorowo.blogspot.com/2018/09/kolumny-podstawkowe-buchardt-audio-s400.html

mads steffensen