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Buchardt Audio Anniversary 10

Buchardt Audio Anniversary 10

There’s been no end of compact, active, wireless speaker systems flooding the market over the past half-decade or so. There’s been no shortage of excellent, even landmark products in this sector either – though always with the qualifier ‘within its category’. The majority of these models are designed to bridge the gap between these largely convenience-driven middle-market wireless speaker systems and serious high-end audiophilia – and many of them are still cost several thousand Pounds, Dollars or Euros, Denmark’s Buchardt Audio seeks to do much the same at a keener price point.

The A(nniversary) 10 not only marked the tenth anniversary (who’d have thought?) of Mads Buchardt’s eponymous company (the anniversary was actually in 2023), but also represents a departure in several ways. Despite the rear panel containing the inputs and controls reading ‘Made in China’ (which only applies to the electronics, which are by Platin Audio, a division of Hansong Technology), in fact these are the first Buchardt speakers built in Denmark. Unusually at any price, the cabinets are hand-crafted out of CNC-machined pieces of solid wood.

Huge margins

The A10 uses the latest RFA 19 aluminium dome high-frequency unit made for Buchardt by fellow Danes SB Acoustics with the huge CDC-profiled aluminium waveguide that already featured on previous Buchardt designs; the woofer in this two-way system is a bespoke triple voice coil version of the Purifi Audio PTT6.5W04 (a unit that retails for well over €400 on its own) – according to Mads Buchardt “the best woofer in the world by a huge margin.” For a speaker in this price range, also including 200 Watts of amplification and a quad-core DSP processor, that’s some going…

The key to this level of material value for money must lie in the company’s worldwide direct sales model. When you place an order, the price includes all local taxes, import duties, and shipping. From the day the speakers arrive on your doorstep, you have 45 days to decide whether you want to keep them, although Buchardt does charge €100 if you return them.

Buchardt Audio Anniversary 10

The upshot is that Buchardt Audio, through a myriad of online audio magazines and YouTube channel reviews, comes across as a new-age brand firmly rooted in the digital domain (though Buchardt does offer passive as well as active and wireless speakers) finding acceptance in circles of streaming listeners and amateur music producers, a demographic which is more varied of age (and on average rather younger) than the typical visitor to bricks and mortar high-end stores.

As someone who does nearly all his ‘serious’ listening from physical media, most of it being analogue records, disposing of a sizeable music collection and a myriad of ancillary equipment, my main interest has been to find out how well the A10 aligns with those sensibilities (the people bought their first ‘real’ hi-fi  – turntable or CD player, amp, speakers, cables – as a college student back in the 1980s) – that is, how far you can take them in sonic terms as loudspeakers in the context of a high-end setup, in addition to assessing them as an all-in-one, digital/wireless system.

Haptic delight

After all, there’s two ways to use the A10s – wireless using the Platin Hub that Buchardt kindly provided with the speakers along with a Zen microphone to be used for automatic room correction (or, alternatively, with a Primare SC15 Mk II streamer/preamp if you are willing to spend a modest 1,000 euro more) by plugging a line-level signal directly into the single XLR input (per channel) on the back of the speakers. Unlike the speakers themselves and the provided remote (which is made out of metal and a haptic delight), the Platin Hub is a relatively insubstantial looking and feeling plastic box which provides USB Audio, HDMI, coaxial and three optical digital inputs plus a single stereo pair of analogue RCA line inputs and has Bluetooth connectivity as well as supporting Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay, Google Chromecast, DLNA and Roon.

For the Platin Hub to work, you must install the Google Home app, which works seamlessly on my Android phone. Pairing the speakers and assigning them to left and right channels (the Stereo Hub, despite its name, also supports multichannel set-ups) was a bit fiddly. While the remote features a volume control, the USB input is configured to maximum volume by default—something I only realised as soon as LFO from the eponymous techno outfit was blasting from the speakers at full tilt!

Buchardt Audio Anniversary 10

This neatly brings me to the focal point of many a YouTube A10 review: the bass. Buchardt claims an essentially flat response from 28Hz upwards, which sounds like one of Elon Musk’s outlandish claims for his upcoming products and projects when you realise this is a sealed design of which the internal volume in litres is in the single figure range, sporting a single 6.5-inch low-frequency driver. The thing is, the claim is probably accurate. Buchardt chose to exploit the extreme capabilities of the Purifi woofer – in particular, the ability to move lots of air for a driver of this size by way of their ultra-long stroke, with very low total harmonic and intermodulation distortion figures – by digitally EQ’ing it to within an inch of its life to drop down to regions where no six and a half-incher is supposed to go, especially one that’s working against such a tiny air volume that has nowhere to go.

Fast, not thick

The bass doesn´t just go low – it’s also fast with no discernible hangover or thickening of the sound, exceedingly well controlled and seamlessly integrates with the rest of the frequency band. What it doesn´t achieve is the pure effortlessness of a quartet of 12-inch drivers working a large vented enclosure – ideally a horn – tuned to give the same frequency response au naturel. It also means that despite having that superhero bass driver, this is not a speaker to be taken way out of its context by putting it in a huge auditorium and expecting it to handle large orchestral works at realistic levels or shake the walls when playing dub reggae. It is, after all, a stand-mount monitor – albeit an overachieving one. Its comfort zone remains smaller to midsize rooms, and sound pressure levels comfortably the social side of those at an AC/DC stadium concert. Of course, you could add a subwoofer (Buchardt offers a downloadable ‘Master Tune’ that features a 60Hz low pass for this purpose, as well as several others for specific sets of conditions and listening preferences) – not, in this case, to make it go deeper still, but to free up some dynamic bandwidth.

As a second and rather significant observation, the Buchardts do everything you want from them (and, in some ways, more) as a wireless speaker system using the Platin Hub, but they really come alive when foregoing the wireless capability (and with that, the option for room correction using the Zen microphone (you can still use the alternative Master Tunes, though) and connecting a properly good preamp – in this case, a custom Pink Faun job based on their last-version Tube Pre – direct with their XLR inputs. With a front end consisting of Michell Gyro SE/TecnoArm 2A turntable, Hana Umami Blue cartridge and Allnic H-1500 II SE phono stage and placed on their optional tripod stands using Omex Symphony 2A isolating devices between speakers and stands, about 0.8 metres from the rear walls and a metre (give or take) from the sides in a medium-sized room, the A10s displayed the sort of precision and transparency, and the wide open soundstage making the speakers effectively disappear – that one expects (but far from always gets) from all-star casts with cumulative price tags deep into six figures.

Layers

It delivers this kind of clarity, unravelling layer after layer of even very complex and dense arrangements effortlessly without being ‘forward’ or displaying a hint of aggressiveness – its treble is as well-behaved as it is well-extended – is all the more impressive. Razor flat, full-range frequency response and very good dynamics (up to a point) notwithstanding, what they don´t do is emulate the scale, weight and drama of a really large high-end speaker system in an appropriate room; they are no substitute for Wilson ALEXXs or Avantgarde Trios – even when you might occasionally marvel at a detail on a recording you thought you knew well that had previously flown under the radar on such ‘big’ systems. They might be small monitors on steroids, but as monitors, they are empathic.

Buchardt Audio Anniversary 10

Not that this matters a jot to those at whom the Buchardt’s are aimed – those vast majority of music people who need their speakers to work in spaces that have more in common with the infamous hotel rooms at hi-fi shows than the halls were the big hitters of the industry tend to reside, rooms where speakers large enough to achieve a similar low-frequency extension naturally, are almost guaranteed to result in a soggy mess of a sound. For them, the sheer transparency, soundstaging capability and incisiveness of the A10 combined with an inability to sound nasty while delivering all that, must be manna from heaven. They can be the best wireless all-in-one or desktop monitor system you ever had, or go a big step further than that on the end of a serious high-end system (less power amps). Either way and also considering their classy, essentially Scandinavian appearance and build – real wood is so much more interesting and tactile than any veneer – their value for money is pretty much off the scale.

Technical specifications

  • Type: two-way, stand mount, sealed box design, active loudspeaker with WISA wireless capability
  • Driver Complement: 1×19 mm SB Acoustics aluminium dome tweeter, 1×165 mm Purifi midbass speaker with triple voice coils
  • Amplification: Texas Instruments Power DAC, 3 x 50W Class D (midwoofer), 1x 50W Class D (tweeter)
  • Frequency Response: 28 – 40,000Hz (+/-1.5 dB)
  • Dimensions (H x D x W): 37 x 17.8 x 24.5 cm
  • Weight: 6.8 kg
  • Price: €3,800 – €4,050 per pair (depending on finish); Platin Hub €300 when bundled with the speakers

Manufacturer

Buchardt Audio

Home Page: www.buchardtaudio.com

Product Page: https://buchardtaudio.com/collections/active-speakers/products/anniversary-10

Contact Buchardt Audio: https://buchardtaudio.com/pages/contact

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Tags: ACTIVE STAND-MOUNT LOUDSPEAKER BUCHARDT AUDIO ANNIVERSARY 10

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