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Review: Buchardt Audio S400 MKII  Passive Compact Speaker: Aesthetic Appeal and Innovative Design

Review: Buchardt Audio S400 MKII  Passive Compact Speaker: Aesthetic Appeal and Innovative Design - The Buchardt Audio S400 MKII, a compact speaker with innovative design and sonic excellence, beckons audiophiles into a realm of unparalleled audio sophistication.

Introduction: A Long-Awaited Experience

The Buchardt Audio S400 MKII is a testament to sonic brilliance and thoughtful design, elevating the listening experience to extraordinary heights. An innovative oval passive membrane at the rear eradicates acoustic artifacts, ensuring a pure and immersive sound. The magnetic driver covers protect and offer visual versatility, allowing users to customize the aesthetic presentation. Beneath its minimalist exterior lies meticulous engineering, from the paper membrane bass-midrange driver to the extensively overhauled crossover, emphasizing tonal richness and precision. The speakers find a sweet spot between versatility and user-centric design, accommodating various amplifiers and seamlessly integrating into diverse audio setups. The S400 MKII transcends the conventional, delivering an unparalleled auditory journey with a harmonious fusion of artistry and technical excellence. Whether for the discerning audiophile or the design-conscious enthusiast, these speakers offer an irresistible combination of form and function, redefining the landscape of high-fidelity audio.

Consistency in Design Philosophy: The S400 MKII retains the core concept of a passive, compact two-way loudspeaker. Its oval passive membrane at the rear is noteworthy, a departure from the traditional bass reflex opening. This design choice, although pricier, offers acoustic advantages, eliminating flow noise associated with bass reflex ports. The design’s reverse driver placement is tilted front, and the large waveguide of the 19mm tweeter remains integral.

About Buchardt Audio: Melding Danish Craftsmanship with Sonic Excellence: Buchardt Audio, hailing from Denmark, is synonymous with a commitment to sonic perfection embedded in elegant design. Renowned for its high-end speakers, the company’s philosophy revolves around merging cutting-edge technology with timeless aesthetics. The Buchardt Audio S400 MKII epitomizes this ethos, showcasing meticulous craftsmanship and innovative engineering. With a focus on delivering transparent and authentic sound, Buchardt Audio has carved a niche in the competitive world of audio technology, capturing the essence of Danish precision and a passion for musical fidelity.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Operating principle1 x 6″ Linear long-stroke paper cone 
Tweeter1 x 0,74″ Custom fine weave soft fabric textile with CDC aluminum waveguide
Mid / woofer1 x 6″ Linear long stroke paper cone 
Passive Radiator1 x 5×8″ Long stroke passive radiator
Impedance4 ohms
Sensitivity87 dB
Frequency response33 – 40.000 Hz +/- 3dB (in-room)
Crossover point1800hz
Power recommendation40 – 200 W
Measurements (h x w x d)365 x 180 x 280 mm (14.4” x 7” x 11”)
Weight7.5 kg each / 16.7 kg shipped
Speaker grillesIncluded
Warranty5 years (10 years with registration)
Cabinet15mm Fiberboard HMR.E2 Moisture-proof with internal bracing. 
Either painted or real wood veneered. 

Innovations: Delving into Technological Advancements

Taking a closer look at the innovations that distinguish the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII, the focal point is the redesigned 15cm long-throw bass-midrange driver. Departing from the aluminum membrane of its predecessor, this new driver boasts a paper membrane chosen for its ability to produce a more natural and finely nuanced sound. The decision to adopt a paper membrane also comes with a slightly higher lower limit frequency, a challenge masterfully addressed by increasing the depth of the speaker housing. This meticulous adjustment not only compensates for the altered driver characteristics but also results in an increased volume capacity, elevating the speaker’s overall performance.

The crossover network, a critical component in any speaker system, underwent a thorough overhaul. Beyond the expected adjustments necessitated by the new bass-midrange driver, the designers took a holistic approach. Lowering the crossover point for the tweeter to 1.8 kHz alleviates strain on the bass-midrange driver. Additionally, the crossover integrates higher-quality components sourced from well-reputed manufacturers such as Jantzen and Miflex. This meticulous attention to the crossover details ensures a seamless transition between drivers and frequency ranges, contributing to the speaker’s overall coherence and sonic prowess.

These innovations underscore Buchardt Audio’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of audio technology. Integrating refined materials, thoughtful design adjustments and a holistic approach to the speaker’s internal architecture collectively contribute to the S400 MKII’s ability to deliver an elevated and immersive listening experience.

Aesthetic Elegance: The Harmonious Fusion of Form and Functionality

The Buchardt Audio S400 MKII is a testament to the philosophy that beauty is true in simplicity. In aesthetic elegance, these speakers captivate not through ostentatious embellishments but rather through a refined and minimalist design that seamlessly marries form with functionality.

The absence of unnecessary adornments is a deliberate choice, reflecting the belief that less can be more. When adorned with magnetic driver covers, the speakers exude an air of mystery, their contours and features teasing the senses. Unveiling them by removing the covers reveals a more technical aesthetic, yet one that remains harmonious. Notably, the tweeter waveguide shares the same diameter as the woofer, adding a touch of symmetry and balance to the overall appearance.

Craftsmanship takes center stage, evident in meticulous gap dimensions and a flawless paint finish. With its minimalist appearance, the single-wiring terminal exudes trustworthiness through its clean design and quality materials. At a pair price of 2,000 euros in the compact class, the S400 MKII delivers sonic excellence and makes a visual statement with its timeless and versatile design.

In a world often marked by complexity and excess, the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII serves as a reminder that aesthetic elegance can be achieved through thoughtful simplicity. These speakers effortlessly integrate into any listening or living space, offering a visual feast that complements their exceptional audio performance.

Sonorous Performance: Unveiling the Sonic Tapestry

The Buchardt Audio S400 MKII transcends the realm of mere speakers, immersing its audience in a sonic tapestry woven with precision and authenticity. The speakers unleash a formidable presence from the first notes, defying the constraints one might associate with compact audio systems.

Rocking Authenticity: The inaugural encounter with the S400 MKII is nothing short of a revelation, as it breathes life into musical tracks, exemplified by the powerful and authentic rendition of “Dog Gone” by Frank Black. Despite their unassuming size, these speakers command attention, delivering an earthy, rich, and powerful performance that encapsulates the essence of electric guitars and resonating bass. With its generous dynamic range, the mid-bass driver moves air in a way that defies the compact speaker stereotype, ensuring a captivating and immersive listening experience.

Tonality and Coherence: Tonally, the S400 MKII stands as a paragon of consistency and coherence. In a landscape where many speakers in its price range may exhibit peaks, transition artifacts, or artificially thickened upper bass, the Buchardt speakers remain remarkably neutral. The absence of distracting anomalies allows the S400 MKII to play as if hewn from a single piece, offering a transparent and authentic sonic profile. This neutrality, coupled with exceptional acceptable resolution in the midrange, enables the speakers to compete admirably with more expensive counterparts, showcasing their prowess in reproducing voices and acoustic instruments.

Dynamic Prowess and Precision: Dynamic performance is another S400 MKII’s sonic repertoire hallmarks. Whether navigating the complex passages of The Notwist’s “Pilot” or infusing energy into rock anthems like “Run Run Run,” the speakers exhibit a commendable balance between excitement and precision. The ability to reproduce delicate 8-bit electronics, ethereal backing vocals, or the nuanced percussion in “Run Run Run” demonstrates the S400 MKII’s capacity to accentuate the subtleties of diverse musical genres.

In sum, the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII transcends the conventional boundaries of compact speakers, offering a resonant performance that belies its size. Its capacity to faithfully reproduce a broad spectrum of musical intricacies and an unwavering commitment to tonal accuracy positions these speakers as a sonic masterpiece. Whether conveying the raw energy of rock or the nuanced details of intricate compositions, the S400 MKII is a testament to Buchardt Audio’s dedication to delivering an unparalleled auditory experience.

Stage Imaging and Listening Pleasure: Crafting a Sonic Panorama

The Buchardt Audio S400 MKII elevates the listening experience beyond mere sound reproduction, immersing enthusiasts in a meticulously crafted sonic panorama. The stage imaging prowess of these speakers, coupled with the resulting listening pleasure, unveils a level of sophistication beyond the ordinary.

Precision and Clarity in Stage Imaging:

The S400 MKII is a virtuoso in precision and clarity regarding stage imaging. Each musical element finds its rightful place in the three-dimensional space, allowing for an authentic and immersive representation of the recorded performance. The meticulous design choices, such as the reverse driver placement and the tilted front, play pivotal roles in presenting a stage that mirrors the recording studio’s or performance venue’s intentions.

Order and Realism: One notable aspect of stage imaging is the meticulous attention to detail, ensuring nothing is left obscured. Room dimensions unfold authentically, and sound sources are presented with pinpoint accuracy. The result is an auditory landscape that transcends the physical confines of the listening space. Whether the recording imparts a sense of width and depth or a more intimate, shoebox-like ambiance, the S400 MKII faithfully reproduces the specified acoustic environment.

Unadulterated Listening Pleasure: The immersive stage imaging created by the S400 MKII contributes to unadulterated listening pleasure. These speakers induce a sense of relaxation by avoiding the need for the listener to “search” for sound sources. The listener is not burdened with deciphering the sonic landscape; instead, they can surrender to the music, confident that the speakers faithfully reproduce the intended stage with accuracy and finesse.

A Meta-Level of Enjoyment

Beyond technical precision, the S400 MKII injects a meta-level of enjoyment into the listening experience. The absence of sonic artifacts or compromises in stage presentation allows the ear to relax and revel in the music. The speakers strike a delicate balance, playing toward the listener while maintaining a realistic depiction of the original recording environment. This thoughtful equilibrium enhances the listening pleasure, making the S400 MKII a pair of speakers and a conduit for an immersive and gratifying auditory journey.

In essence, the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII goes beyond delivering sound; it crafts an immersive listening environment where precision, clarity, and unadulterated pleasure converge to redefine the boundaries of the sonic experience.

Comparisons: Navigating the Audiophile Landscape

In the intricate landscape of audiophile speakers, the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII confidently establishes its position through thoughtful comparisons with its peers. This discerning examination reveals the unique characteristics that distinguish the S400 MKII and showcases its prowess in finding an exquisite balance within two-way compact speakers.

Resonance with XTZ Divine Delta

Drawing parallels with the more expensive XTZ Divine Delta, the S400 MKII reveals a kindred spirit in the pursuit of incorruptible neutrality and coherence. Both speakers are committed to delivering a seamless performance from a single source. However, the S400 MKII carves its niche by adding more control and emphasis in the low-frequency range, showcasing its ability to balance precision with nuanced bass response.

Contrasting with Fyne Audio F1-5

Contrastingly, when compared to the Fyne Audio F1-5, priced similarly, the S400 MKII distinguishes itself by maintaining a more neutral tonality. The F1-5, while sharing a housing volume, tends to exhibit a noticeable downward fade in the bass, offset by a slight upper bass emphasis. The Buchardt speakers, in contrast, remain faithful to neutrality without artificial thickening in the upper bass, presenting a more balanced and transparent sonic profile.

Read the complete review of Fyne Audio F1-5.

Inklang Ayers Two: A Different Emphasis

Turning attention to the Inklang Ayers Two, priced slightly lower than the S400 MKII, nuances emerge in their sonic signatures. While the Ayers Two boasts more emphasis and absolute depth in the bass range, it concedes ground to the S400 MKII in terms of satisfactory resolution. The Buchardt speakers strike an elegant middle ground, leaving little to be missed across various parameters and avoiding compromises that may compromise the overall listening experience.

The S400 MKII’s Unique Middle Path

The Buchardt Audio S400 MKII charts a unique middle path in the grand tapestry of comparisons. Its sound profile echoes the XTZ Divine Delta’s commitment to neutrality while avoiding the pronounced characteristics of its counterparts. The S400 MKII’s ability to balance acceptable resolution, control in the low frequencies, and a transparent midrange allows it to occupy a distinctive space, appealing to discerning audiophiles seeking an elegant compromise that transcends the limitations often associated with compact speakers.

These comparisons underscore the S400 MKII’s ability to stand shoulder to shoulder with esteemed counterparts, offering a sonic signature that harmoniously bridges the gap between neutrality, control, and satisfactory resolution, defining its place in the intricate landscape of high-fidelity audio.

Usability and Functionality: Crafting an Intuitive Sonic Experience

The Buchardt Audio S400 MKII not only captivates with its sonic brilliance but also excels in usability and functionality, seamlessly integrating into the user’s audio ecosystem with thoughtful design elements.

User-Friendly Design: The speakers boast a user-friendly design that enhances overall usability. Besides adding a touch of mystery to the aesthetic, the magnetic driver covers provide a practical function. Their easy removal allows users to fine-tune the visual presentation according to their preferences, transforming the speakers from a slightly mysterious allure to a more technical, exposed appearance.

While presenting a clean and uncluttered appearance, the minimalist single-wiring terminal exemplifies the user-centric design. Its simplicity doesn’t compromise reliability, ensuring a trustworthy connection for audio enthusiasts.

Flexibility in Placement: One of the remarkable features contributing to usability is the speakers’ flexibility in placement. The compact form factor and the absence of excessive design elements allow the S400 MKII to integrate into various listening or living room environments seamlessly. This versatility ensures that users enjoy an optimal listening experience without being constrained by room aesthetics.

Thoughtful Acoustic Engineering: Beyond aesthetics, the functionality of the S400 MKII is deeply rooted in its acoustic engineering. The oval passive membrane at the rear, replacing the conventional bass reflex opening, contributes to the visual uniqueness and eliminates flow noise associated with traditional ports. This thoughtful design enhances usability by minimizing acoustic artifacts, ensuring a more immersive and distortion-free sonic experience.

Enhanced Connectivity: In terms of connectivity, the S400 MKII easily accommodates different audio setups. Whether connected to a dedicated amplifier or integrated into a comprehensive audio system, the speakers provide a seamless and hassle-free experience. The user-friendly nature of the design extends to the single-wiring terminal, ensuring straightforward connection and reducing the complexities often associated with high-end audio equipment.

Elevating the Listening Experience: Ultimately, the usability and functionality of the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII go beyond surface-level aesthetics. The user-centric design and thoughtful engineering choices promote the overall listening experience. The speakers are not just an audio component; they are crafted to integrate into the user’s lifestyle seamlessly. They provide a versatile and user-friendly platform for experiencing the richness of high-fidelity sound.

Connectivity and Technical Excellence: Engineering Sonic Precision

The Buchardt Audio S400 MKII not only stands as a testament to acoustic brilliance but also showcases a commitment to connectivity and technical excellence, ensuring a seamless integration into sophisticated audio setups.

Versatile Connectivity Options: The S400 MKII embraces versatility in connectivity, offering audiophiles the flexibility to integrate the speakers into various audio configurations. The single-wiring terminal, though minimalist in appearance, serves as a gateway to an expansive sonic landscape. This design choice caters to a broad audience, allowing users to connect speakers to diverse amplifiers or audio systems without cumbersome complexities.

Innovative Acoustic Engineering: At the heart of the technical excellence lies the innovative acoustic engineering that defines the S400 MKII. The oval passive membrane, a distinctive feature at the rear, replaces the conventional bass reflex opening. This meticulous design adds a touch of visual uniqueness and addresses acoustic challenges. The speakers achieve sonic purity that defines their technical prowess by eliminating flow noise associated with traditional ports.

Enhanced Crossover Design: Delving into the technical nuances, the S400 MKII boasts an extensively overhauled crossover. This redesign is a formality and a response to integrating the new 15cm long-throw bass-midrange driver. The crossover’s meticulous tuning facilitates a seamless transition between drivers and frequency ranges. Lowering the crossover point for the tweeter to 1.8 kHz demonstrates a commitment to reducing strain on the bass-midrange driver while integrating high-quality components from esteemed manufacturers like Jantzen and Miflex.

Paper Membrane Precision: The decision to equip the bass-midrange driver with a paper membrane, eschewing the aluminum of its predecessor, exemplifies the pursuit of sonic perfection. While affecting the lower limit frequency, this change showcases a dedication to finer tonal nuances. The larger housing volume compensates for the altered driver characteristics, emphasizing the meticulous engineering that underpins the speakers’ technical excellence.

Timeless Design with Contemporary Connectivity: While the S400 MKII exudes timeless elegance in design, its connectivity options align with contemporary audio demands. The speakers seamlessly bridge the gap between classic craftsmanship and modern usability, ensuring audiophiles can experience sonic richness and hassle-free integration into evolving audio environments.

In conclusion, the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII is not just a pair of speakers; it’s a symphony of technical excellence and connectivity versatility. From innovative acoustic engineering to thoughtful connectivity options, these speakers manifest precision in form and function, delivering an auditory experience that transcends the ordinary.

Innovative Functions: Elevating the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII Experience

The Buchardt Audio S400 MKII distinguishes itself in the audiophile realm not just through sonic prowess but also through a set of innovative functions that elevate the overall listening experience. These unique functions contribute to the speakers’ versatility and user-centric design, making them stand out in high-fidelity audio.

1. Oval Passive Membrane: Acoustic Purity Beyond Tradition

A standout feature of the S400 MKII is the oval passive membrane at the rear, which departs from the conventional bass reflex opening. This unique design choice goes beyond aesthetics; it enhances acoustic purity by eliminating flow noise associated with traditional ports. The oval membrane is a testament to the speaker’s commitment to sonic excellence, ensuring distortion-free, immersive audio reproduction.

2. Magnetic Driver Covers: Aesthetic Versatility

The inclusion of magnetic driver covers serves both functional and aesthetic purposes. Beyond protecting the drivers, these covers allow users to customize the speakers’ appearance. By effortlessly attaching or removing the covers, listeners can transition between a mysterious, covered allure and a more technical, exposed aesthetic. This innovative feature adds a layer of versatility to the visual presentation of the S400 MKII.

3. Minimalist Single-Wiring Terminal: Streamlined Connectivity

In the realm of connectivity, the S400 MKII embraces minimalism without compromising functionality. With its clean design, the single-wiring terminal ensures a streamlined connection process. This minimalist approach to connectivity enhances user convenience while maintaining a trustworthy link to amplifiers or audio systems. It exemplifies the fusion of simplicity and effectiveness.

4. Paper Membrane Bass-Midrange Driver: Sonic Nuances in Material Choice

The decision to equip the bass-midrange driver with a paper membrane, departing from the aluminum of its predecessor, introduces a unique sonic signature. The paper membrane enhances tonal richness and finesse, producing more natural sound reproduction. This material choice showcases the meticulous consideration of how different components impact the sonic character.

5. Extensively Overhauled Crossover: Precision in Frequency Transition

The S400 MKII’s extensively overhauled crossover is not merely technical but a pivotal function in achieving seamless frequency transitions. The adjustments accommodate the characteristics of the new bass-midrange driver. Lowering the crossover point for the tweeter to 1.8 kHz, coupled with high-quality components, demonstrates a commitment to precision. This function ensures the speakers deliver a harmonious blend of frequencies without compromises.

In essence, the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII transcends the conventional expectations of speakers by incorporating innovative functions that go beyond the ordinary. From acoustic engineering choices to customizable aesthetics and streamlined connectivity, these functions collectively contribute to an audio experience that is as unique as it is exceptional.

Final Verdict: A Rare Urge to Possess

The Buchardt Audio S400 MKII emerges as a true sonic masterpiece, blending cutting-edge innovation with timeless elegance. From the groundbreaking oval passive membrane that eliminates acoustic artifacts to the versatile magnetic driver covers allowing for aesthetic customization, these speakers redefine what is possible in high-fidelity audio. The meticulous engineering choices, such as the paper membrane bass-midrange driver and extensively overhauled crossover, showcase a sonic purity and precision commitment. With minimalist design elements, streamlined connectivity, and functions that enhance both form and function, the S400 MKII is a testament to unrivaled ingenuity in the pursuit of audio excellence.

In the world of audiophilia, the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII not only delivers an unparalleled auditory experience but also represents a harmonious fusion of artistry and engineering. The speakers transcend the boundaries of conventional compact speakers, offering users a versatile and user-friendly platform. The innovative functions, whether the oval passive membrane or the magnetic driver cover, add layers of sophistication to the overall design. As a testament to meticulous craftsmanship and unwavering dedication to sonic perfection, the S400 MKII stands tall, inviting audiophiles into a realm where every note and nuance is crafted with unparalleled precision and delivered with extraordinary finesse.

Reasons to Buy the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII

  1. Sonic Excellence: The S400 MKII offers an exceptional auditory experience characterized by a balanced tonality, precise imaging, and a transparent midrange. Its sonic capabilities compete with speakers in higher price ranges, making it a compelling choice for audiophiles seeking uncompromising sound quality.
  2. Innovative Design Features: From the oval passive membrane to the magnetic driver covers, the S400 MKII introduces creative design elements that contribute to acoustic purity and provide users with aesthetic versatility. The attention to detail in form and function enhances the overall visual and auditory appeal.
  3. Versatile Connectivity: The speakers’ minimalist single-wiring terminal ensures a streamlined and reliable connection to amplifiers or audio systems. This versatility in connectivity allows users to seamlessly integrate the S400 MKII into various audio setups, making it suitable for different listening environments.
  4. Thoughtful Engineering Choices: Using a paper membrane for the bass-midrange driver, an extensively overhauled crossover, and high-quality components demonstrate the meticulous engineering behind the S400 MKII. These choices contribute to its ability to reproduce sound with finesse and accuracy.
  5. Flexible Placement Options: With its compact form factor and timeless design, the S400 MKII is versatile in placement, seamlessly blending into various living or listening room environments. This flexibility ensures that users enjoy high-fidelity audio without compromising room aesthetics.

Considerations Against Purchasing the S400 MKII

  1. Budget Constraints: While competitively priced for its performance, the S400 MKII might pose budgetary challenges for some buyers. Individuals with stricter financial constraints might need to explore alternatives in lower price ranges.
  2. Profound Bass Limitations: As a compact speaker, the S400 MKII may not cater to enthusiasts seeking deep bass or sub-bass capabilities. Those prioritizing a robust low-frequency response might need to consider more prominent floor-standing speakers or add a dedicated subwoofer to their setup.
  3. Preference for Floor-standing Speakers: If the desire is for speakers with a more significant physical presence and driver area, particularly for dynamic performances in large spaces, floor-standing options might be more suitable than the compact S400 MKII.
  4. Aesthetic Subjectivity: While many appreciate the minimalist design of the S400 MKII, aesthetic preferences vary. Some individuals might prefer speakers with more ornate designs or distinctive visual elements, and in such cases, the S400 MKII’s understated elegance might not align with personal taste.

In summary, buying the Buchardt Audio S400 MKII hinges on priorities. If a priority is placed on superior sound quality, innovative design, and versatile integration, the S400 MKII is an excellent investment. However, individuals with specific preferences or budget constraints might find other options more suitable for their needs.

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