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Considering the new Buchardt A500 Active system


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G'day all

 

Whilst driving around from job to job, I sometimes listen to podcasts. Sometimes John Darko.

His most recent discussion is; Mads Buchardt talks A500 actives and the power of DSP. See link below to 57 min podcast.

 

As I've been considering the NAD C658? for all things DAC, Streaming Room Correction etc, the new  Buchardt A500 Active system goes a couple of steps further and combines all that with active speakers.

https://www.buchardtaudio.com/products

 

There is one delivered cost, irrespective of where you live on the planet and a 45 day trial, coz you can't demo them anywhere.

As I don't have need for ear bleeding music anymore, and I want some of the modern stuff; I'm a bit keen.

 

Probably a pair of Osborn Interludes going cheap soon...

 

Does anyone here have additional info?

Gee Emm

 

 

Edited by Gee Emm
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Looks like a winner to me.

Like the walnut finish and the bigger A700 looks like a beast.

The hub is probably the perfect device - can stream anything, DSP capable, WiSA subs and HDMI ARC!

 

I think you would be going from awesome old school speakers to an awesome modern speaker system.

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I love the idea of being able to download different DSP settings to a USB key and simply load them into the speaker to get a slightly different presentation to the sound. I think they currently had 5 different configurations available on their site with more to come.

 

This won’t suit the audio purist but so often audiophiles aren’t so much after an upgrade to our system, but just something different.  Great innovation.

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4 minutes ago, jt301 said:

I love the idea of being able to download different DSP settings to a USB key and simply load them into the speaker to get a slightly different presentation to the sound. I think they currently had 5 different configurations available on their site with more to come.

 

This won’t suit the audio purist but so often audiophiles aren’t so much after an upgrade to our system, but just something different.  Great innovation.

Hmmm, kind of IMO. What would have been really impressive to me is if one could change numerous profiles on the fly with a remote control a la Dirac Live.

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11 minutes ago, Satanica said:

Hmmm, kind of IMO. What would have been really impressive to me is if one could change numerous profiles on the fly with a remote control a la Dirac Live.

Dirac is room correction.  These have their own version of room correction on top of what I was talking about.  Eg. you change these speakers from 2.5 way speakers to 3 way speakers just with a configuration download.

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You should definitely buy these, use them for 6 months then sell them to me on SNA for 30% off. I was impressed by Max Buchardt in this interview, he seems like a real music first audiophile (to coin a Darko phrase). I liked that he was open about the technical aspect that he wasn't certain of too.

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3 minutes ago, jt301 said:

Dirac is room correction.  These have their own version of room correction on top of what I was talking about.  Eg. you change these speakers from 2.5 way speakers to 3 way speakers just with a configuration download.

I know.

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Very excited about these. I agree that it would be better to store the different configurations onboard the speaker and change via the remote. Must be a storage/software issue, which they can probably solve in a future update/model. Seems pretty clunky to have five USB keys lined up in a drawer. 

 

Apart from all the DSP and room correction goodies, one thing that stood out for me is the claim that they adjust dynamically to sound better at low volumes (Fletcher-Munson effect). Very few systems sound as good at conversation levels as they do at 'proper' listening levels. I'd love to save my ears and listen at lower levels if I could still get that 3D effect and hear everything in the music. 

 

At about $6,200 AUD landed for the A500, they're a pretty compelling package. By the time I sell my streamer, DAC, pre-amp, power amp, speakers, sub and cables, I wouldn't have to chip in much extra. I have a feeling they'll go up in price pretty soon after that Darko video. For those buying, I think I'd like my second hand pair in white, if you could. 

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I'll take mine in walnut. ?  And with the hub, please.??  A most interesting proposition since they would replace everything in my present system except my headphones/headphone amp and my TV.  I used to enjoy playing around with components in my youth but I'm getting a bit long in the tooth to bother with all that now.  I haven't used vinyl for nearly 40 years, all my CDs are ripped and I'm streaming more and more anyway.

 

I'm looking forward to reviews showing up on SNA.  I've seldom if ever seen Mr Darko as enthusiastic about a product as he is about these.

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I almost pushed the BUY bottom on these on the Buchardt site the other day. I like all the features and what they promise. John makes them sound like the best thing he’s ever reviewed but what I have noticed with him is that he tends to like functionality and technology/software over sound quality. In the end I decided to sit on it for a few days. I just can’t see how a pair of AUD$6500 speakers with built in amps and Dacs can out perform my current $6000 passive speakers and $10000 integrated amp/dac. 
 

would still love a listen on day though...

Edited by JC.
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15 hours ago, JC. said:

I just can’t see how a pair of AUD$6500 speakers with built in amps and Dacs can out perform my current $6000 passive speakers and $10000 integrated amp/dac. 
 

 

You'd be surprised what DSP and an active crossover can achieve. My Devialet Od'A and Dynaudio C1 sound better than my KEF LS50W but not by as much as the difference in cost. Some days, when I feel like really cranking it up, I prefer the KEFs.

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On 05/09/2020 at 1:03 PM, Gee Emm said:

G'day all

 

Whilst driving around from job to job, I sometimes listen to podcasts. Sometimes John Darko.

His most recent discussion is; Mads Buchardt talks A500 actives and the power of DSP. See link below to 57 min podcast.

 

As I've been considering the NAD C658? for all things DAC, Streaming Room Correction etc, the new  Buchardt A500 Active system goes a couple of steps further and combines all that with active speakers.

https://www.buchardtaudio.com/products

 

There is one delivered cost, irrespective of where you live on the planet and a 45 day trial, coz you can't demo them anywhere.

As I don't have need for ear bleeding music anymore, and I want some of the modern stuff; I'm a bit keen.

 

Probably a pair of Osborn Interludes going cheap soon...

 

Does anyone here have additional info?

Gee Emm

 

 

I'm following a similar path. Was originally going to pair c658 with Elac Navis B51. Finally had a listen to the B51 and they didn't live up to the John Darko hype so am wary with his suggestions from now on.

 

Have looked into the A500 and hubs, seems like a great compact solution for home use. Note that if you want multi room streaming you will need another hub - I was hoping is would be able to stream to and WISA compatible speakers. 

Another option I am considering are a pair of Barefoot Footprint 01 paired to the nad C658. Speakers are a similar price point to the A500s but don't come with room correction hence the C658.  The Barefoots are available in Melbourne to audition so once COVID restrictions are released I will be going to check them out. 

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On 25/09/2020 at 2:14 PM, Topman_Chief said:

Apart from all the DSP and room correction goodies, one thing that stood out for me is the claim that they adjust dynamically to sound better at low volumes (Fletcher-Munson effect). Very few systems sound as good at conversation levels as they do at 'proper' listening levels. I'd love to save my ears and listen at lower levels if I could still get that 3D effect and hear everything in the music. 

Devialet SAM can do exactly that, as well as phase correction amongst other things. It works incredibly well from my own experience.

Edited by emulator
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17 hours ago, emulator said:

Devialet SAM can do exactly that, as well as phase correction amongst other things. It works incredibly well from my own experience.

Good to know. I hesitated and now all the A500 bundles are sold out. I expect the discount will be gone once they're back in stock, which means they'll be about $750 AUD more. 

 

If anyone buys a pair out of curiosity and is looking to move them on, let me know (ignore the 217 others in line).

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It seems you can try these at home for 45 days. It will cost you around $250 (for the A700 floor standers less for the A500) if you decide they don’t suit. Money well spent if considering replacing a multi $k setup IMO. 

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The A700 looks great, though I’m unclear about the amp/speaker driver ratio, unclear how that works.  

 

Both packages look impressive for the price, and the hub is a genius idea that the D&D 8c would benefit from immensely. There are some reviews on ASR that talk about the trade off between LF extension and SPL and distortion, which I expect would be mostly negated with the A700. 
 

The “money back” offer is appealing, but after consideration,  I don’t feel the need to rush/pull the trigger for a $750 saving until the reviews come in. Though I almost did pull the trigger. Heh. 
 

I hope they are great and Mads does well. You can’t stop innovation! 
 

 

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22 hours ago, emulator said:

Devialet SAM can do exactly that, as well as phase correction amongst other things. It works incredibly well from my own experience.

That’s not my understanding. I thought SAM did phase correction and allowed bass drivers to go lower via DSP. That bass extension reduces (to protect the speakers) as you crank up the volume. 

That’s not the same as loudness correction. 

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40 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

That’s not my understanding. I thought SAM did phase correction and allowed bass drivers to go lower via DSP. That bass extension reduces (to protect the speakers) as you crank up the volume. 

That’s not the same as loudness correction. 

You’re correct. However it also ups the lower bass SPLs as the overall amplitude is lowered, which is effectively a loudness correction at lower SPL. It’s particularly evident as you dial up the SAM % 

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38 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

That’s not my understanding. I thought SAM did phase correction and allowed bass drivers to go lower via DSP. That bass extension reduces (to protect the speakers) as you crank up the volume. 

That’s not the same as loudness correction. 

Agree. Although the Dev can sound good at low volumes, i don't think it's necessarily due to a specific Fletcher-Munsom curve (loudness effect).

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5 hours ago, Topman_Chief said:

Good to know. I hesitated and now all the A500 bundles are sold out. I expect the discount will be gone once they're back in stock, which means they'll be about $750 AUD more. 

 

If anyone buys a pair out of curiosity and is looking to move them on, let me know (ignore the 217 others in line).

 

Ha! I thought i'd give the A500's a crack after reading about them here and Darko's review. Alas i was too late and they're all gone!

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Just now, wikeeboy said:

Agree. Although the Dev can sound good at low volumes, i don't think it's necessarily due to a specific Fletcher-Munsom curve (loudness effect).

True, they’ve never referenced F-M curves specifically. I should have been more explicit that there’s some kind of algo that raises the relative LF levels inversely to overall amplification. 

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15 hours ago, wikeeboy said:

 

Ha! I thought i'd give the A500's a crack after reading about them here and Darko's review. Alas i was too late and they're all gone!

Me too :( 

But I will get a pair when they notify me the walnut package is back in stock.

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1 hour ago, wikeeboy said:

Shall be interesting to see if the discount is still offered, or if price goes up. I thin Darko's review has cost us money!

May not be the 1st time ?

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On 25/09/2020 at 5:03 PM, JC. said:

I almost pushed the BUY bottom on these on the Buchardt site the other day. I like all the features and what they promise. John makes them sound like the best thing he’s ever reviewed but what I have noticed with him is that he tends to like functionality and technology/software over sound quality. In the end I decided to sit on it for a few days. I just can’t see how a pair of AUD$6500 speakers with built in amps and Dacs can out perform my current $6000 passive speakers and $10000 integrated amp/dac. 
 

would still love a listen on day though...

It might be a poor comparison, but i've owned the Kef LS50's and ran them with a $10k+ integrated. I soon sold the passive LS50's and tried the active LS50w's. Hands down the active LS50's beat the passives.

 

There's a lot to be said about all in one actives. Instead of playing the mix and match game, you get something that has total synergy because it's exactly how the designer intended. 

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12 minutes ago, Irek said:

I am finding it funny that nobody is mentioning class D amplifier when taking about active speakers.

Hasn't that ship already sailed? Quite a few still use AB class amps for the tweeter, but let's be clear, IMO, it's class D improvements that has enabled this surge in the range and quality of actives.

 

I couldn't care less what class the amps are as long as the sound is to my liking.

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22 minutes ago, blybo said:

 let's be clear, IMO, it's class D improvements that has enabled this surge in the range and quality of actives.

Agree. It's not the speaker (driver, cabinet), it's the internal amplifier that nobody is taking about.

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48 minutes ago, Irek said:

Agree. It's not the speaker (driver, cabinet), it's the internal amplifier that nobody is taking about.

I don't know that you should separate things with this sort of speaker. I imagine the designers don't.

By that I mean, the choice of amplifiers, DACs, drivers, box design, crossover design and whatever DSP they apply should all work in tandem with each other.

 

So IMHO, it's not the driver or cabinet that's important on it's own. Nor is it the amps on their own that are important. It's the fact that when you build a complete unit like this you have an opportunity to makes sure everything works well together

Edited by sir sanders zingmore
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1 hour ago, blybo said:

Hasn't that ship already sailed? Quite a few still use AB class amps for the tweeter, but let's be clear, IMO, it's class D improvements that has enabled this surge in the range and quality of actives.

 

I couldn't care less what class the amps are as long as the sound is to my liking.

Agree, wholeheartedly. Class D with  Hypex n core and now with Purifi amplifiers are a better fit for purpose. Engineering to allow for heat dissipation if using AB amps would be a backward step. 

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1 hour ago, Irek said:

I am finding it funny that nobody is mentioning class D amplifier when taking about active speakers.

Many audiophiles maybe even most don't even consider active speakers in the first place so for them it's a moot point.
Me, I prefer speakers with active crossovers but with all of the electronics outside of the speakers because they are easier to keep cool.

Perhaps I'm thinking too much but surely this means the speaker drivers should be cooler too than if everything was crammed inside.

Having the active electronics and amplifiers outside of the speaker generally means they're going to be less proprietary and easier to maintain.

The proprietariness of the Buchardt speakers is what turns me off them especially when they are a purchase from the manufacturer and one who happens to be in Europe.

I'd be shocked if they didn't sound superb though.

Edited by Satanica
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3 hours ago, Irek said:

I am finding it funny that nobody is mentioning class D amplifier when taking about active speakers.

It's a fair observation, given the assumption "Class D is inferior to Class A or A/B" is still being held by many. I can only go by what I've read, but for me it feels like Class D is being unfairly branded as inferior due to early versions - just as early CD player reviews caused many long term views that digital audio was inferior. Being poorly implemented in AVRs probably hasn't helped its cause either. Class D seems to have caught up in terms of sounding relaxed and organic, while still retaining better overall performance specs. Again, this is what I've read, because I'm not fortunate enough to be in a position to try them all out. But the real point is that there is so much great tech in the Buchardt A500, Kii Three, Dutch & Dutch 8c, etc. that the amplifiers and the drivers are assumed to be great because the overall sound is great. 

 

The good news from all this? We'll see more and more of these types of speakers, and they'll only get better and cheaper. Think about the materials list for these speakers compared to what is sitting in your system today. Much of the tech is in the software, which will be quickly replicated. Look at the three manufacturers above - all are fairly new. The big brands are capable of most of this, but they know it will canabilise their existing ranges. 

 

Edited by Topman_Chief
grammar
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