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A long film about the Buchardt Audio A500

  • At the end of January 2020, Buchardt Audio announced the A500 standmount — the Danish company’s first pair of active loudspeakers that took the S400 as their starting point and a full three years to develop.

    Six months after the initial announcement and with a pair of the A500 in situ in Berlin, I spoke with company CEO Mads Buchardt (listen here) about their design and development process. Why reverse the S400’s front baffle driver array? Why trade-in the S400’s rear-firing passive radiator for a proper driver? Why a sealed box? What’s with the backward leaning front and rear baffles?

    However, perhaps the most revealing part of that conversation was how Buchardt had harnessed the power of DSP: a user-downloadable/installable firmware file – something Buchardt call a ‘Master Tuning’ – will rewrite the A500’s crossover with a different driver configuration and voicing to lend this active loudspeaker more than one audible personality. Is it a 2.5-way or a 3-way. That’s your call, customer.

    Furthermore, Buchardt’s ‘Low-level Enhancement (LLE)’ corrects for the Fletcher-Munson effect where, at lower SPLs, our ear-brain is less sensitive to low- and high-frequency information.

    Icing the A500’s connectivity cake is WISA compatibility where any WISA-capable external hub can stream its own inputs to each loudspeaker, wirelessly and losslessly and accurate to a single sample.

    On this, Buchardt optionally supplies Platin’s Stereo Hub that gives us a trio of TOSLINK, coaxial, USB, HDMI ARC, 3.5mm analogue or RCA analogue, all for third party hook-ups. On the streaming front, the Platin lays out the red carpet to this commentator’s Holy Trinity of Streaming – Roon Ready (uncertified at time of writing), Spotify Connect and Google Chromecast Built-in – plus Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay.

    As if this weren’t enough, into the Platin’s own DSP core is baked a stupid-simple room correction system that wirelessly talks to Buchardt’s smartphone app (currently iOS only) as it reads the room for a full-minute and produces a correction curve.

    Camera: Olaf von Voss | Editor: John Darko | Motion Graphics: John Darko | Ad Segment: Jana Dagdagan

    Our short film is longer than the usual 18-20 minutes. Playing into extra time, I was able to cover the extensive ground commanded by these Buchardt actives and properly communicate my enthusiasm for a complete hi-fi system (just add turntable) whose soul is pure Future-Fi to make the Knockout Award assignation self-evident:

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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