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    Review | Buchardt Audio A500 Speaker System

     

     

    Buchardt Audio A500 Speaker System
    45 days and counting...

     

     

     

    September 25th, 2020


    Buchardt A500 Driver.jpg#FutureFi

     

    I have been on a multi-year quest for simplicity in audio systems around my home.  Recently I have mostly been listening to the Kii Three speakers with the BXT modules.  The Kii speakers are an incredible system, but they are out of most "normal budgets." I have been looking for something simpler and more in-line with personal finances.  Unexpectedly I also still have my Dutch and Dutch 8C system, and I tried the Elac Navis ARB-51 system, which falls on either side of the Buchardt A500's budget-wise.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  

     

    Denmark based Buchardt Audio uses a direct to consumer sales model for its equipment.  They pay the import taxes and fees.  You purchase the system, and you have 45 days to evaluate and possibly return the gear.  There is a modest return fee. For the A500, it is $50.  

     

    The A500 is a nicely sized self-powered bookshelf speaker from Denmark available in three finishes, White, Black, and Walnut.  The cabinet has an unusual shape that slopes backward from bottom to top.   There are three drivers; a forward-facing tweeter is in a large waveguide. There is a second 6in forward-facing driver and a third rear-facing 6in driver.  The drivers have individual 150-watt class D amplifiers.  Also, the speakers contain a multi-core DSP system that manages the crossovers and a bit more. The primary input is via a WiSA standard RF interface operating at 24bit 96kb PCM. There is a second analog input via balanced XLR. There is a USB port on the rear of the speaker for loading DSP configurations called Mastertunings.

     

    As I write this, there are multiple Mastertunings profiles available for download on the Buchardt Audio website. Each of these tunings changes the performance/operations of the DSP crossover. They are easy to test by installing the tuning on a USB stick and booting each speaker up with the USB stick inserted in the speaker.

     

    Just one more thing that the A500 provides. The DSP implements an equal-loudness contour called the Fletcher-Munson Curve (ISO 226:2003) that compensates for human hearing at lower volumes.  The Buchardt monicker is Low-Level Enhancement (LLE).

     

     

    Buchardt A500 Hub.jpgThe second part of the system is the Hansong Stereo Hub that Buchardt sells along with the speakers. The Hub is an optional purchase, but it is a primary tool for using the speakers.  The stereo hub is the WiSA transmitter and provides multiple inputs along with Wi-Fi streaming.  It comes with a nice wireless remote for controlling volume, input selection, and more.  

     

    The stereo hub has some smart tricks up its sleeve.  

    - It is a Chromecast and Airplay receiver and has Spotify Connect.  

    - There is also Bluetooth and UPnP.   

    - There are multiple physical inputs, Line, three optical, one digital, USB, 3.5mm, and HDMI ARC.

     

    There is one other feature; Room Correction, for frequencies below 300hz. Using an iPhone app to sweep the room with the speakers emitting an audio pattern, the software calculates the needed adjustments.  It sends the info to the Hansong Stereo Hub for operation.

     

     

     

     

    The above is a short intro video we shot for The Three Techs!

     

     

    September 30th, 2020

     

    I have the speakers connected to AC power using Puritan Audio Laboratories power cables and the PSM-156 Mains Purifier.  An HDPLEX-200 LPS powers the Stereo Hub.  

     

    The speakers are on Elac single post filled stands using Isoacoustics Gaia-1 isolators.  The speakers do not have mounting inserts, so I use Sound Anchor Blue Dots to hold them on the speaker stands safely.

     

    NOTE: I already had the ancillary devices listed above available for use on the system.  While they are "upgrades" and optional, they add significant value!

     

    My everyday listening tool has been my Ryzen 7300 based Roon Server.  With the Hansong Stereo Hub, I have many other options.  The Hansong hub and the AURALiC Altair G1 are both Roon endpoints.  The Hub only through Google Cast. 
     
    I am also listening with Spotify Connect, Tidal app, Qobuz app, Audirvana, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, etc.

     

    I have played with MConnect, Bubble UPnP, and a couple more control point apps on iOS and Android.  I am going to leave this for later.  There is just too much to do.

     

    According to Buchardt Audio, the speakers need around 100 hours to break-in.  I found that after about 20 hours or so, things started to relax a lot!  The "piston-rings" seem to have gotten their Groove-On!  As time goes on they continue to improve.  

     

     

    October 3rd, 2020

     

    Room Correction and listening paths

     

    In my room, there is a 30-40Hz bump at about 5db. There are also a couple of dips above that. I have a lot of carpet, fabric, and the room's rear is mostly open to the home's entryway.  No listening room is perfect!  In this case, the Living Room has to function as a Listening Room, and I really cannot embellish it with acoustic add-ons.  Some DSP software helps things out.


    I have two paths to the speakers that I want to outline.  The first path is the Buchardt supplied WISA Hub.  I do not know precisely where the magic is in the WISA system, but I have not heard anything in its price range that comes close to the sound quality I am getting.  The flexibility that the Hub provides to this system is an almost perfect intersection of services for streaming music playback.  I also connected my Rega Planar 8 turntable and pre-amp to the line-in.  What more could I ask of the Hub?  At least one more thing, I can tell Google Assistant to play music on it!  

     

    The second path for my music is through my AURALiC Altair G1 directly to the A500 speakers via their balanced analog inputs.

     

    There are a couple of advantages to the G1, from the lovely display on the front of the device to the Lightning DS application that ties everything together, high-res Local Music, Tidal, Qobuz, Internet Radio.  

     

    So, the G1 and the Hansong Stereo Hub pair give me access to virtually every streaming and local music source I can think of.  I get to play with Room Correction, listen to LP's, talk to my stereo; WOW!

     

     

    Buchardt A500.jpgI have been putting off writing about the sound for a long time now.  It takes quite a while to accumulate hours on speakers located in the core of the home during the ordinary course of family life!  

     

    The other part of the problem is what audio path do I evaluate?  I really do not want to decide what the "best test path is."

     

    I am trying to promote the use of the system, so I have been testing multiple approaches.  While Sound Quality is essential in our home, the simplicity of operation may override sometimes. Having the Virtual assistant play something on demand is very compelling. Does Apple Music over Airplay sound better than Spotify Connect? Do I really care? I am not sure.

     

    During this process, I have found many hiccoughs in multiple systems, software and hardware. I may note them in a separate thread here on Audiophile Style to not confuse this report.

     

    The Primary Paths that I have chosen are as follows:

     

    I am streaming via Google-Cast and Apple AirPlay from apps on my iOS and Android devices. 

     

    Altair G1 via Analog XLR, the A500 Speakers using the Lightning DS app on iPad.


    The other issue here is the data path.  Using all of these services and streaming protocols, I do not always know what the sampling is.   Some of the testings are about functionality and not Sound Quality.

     

    Did I cover my tracks well enough here?  Or is the light at the end of the tunnel a Freight Train headed my way?

     

     

    October 10th, 2020  

     

    Short-cut to a sound quality test? I am not sure.


    I used the Hub and the G1 as two Roon Zones in my testing, comparing the WiSA path vs. the Analog XLR path into the A500 speakers.  

     

    For a few days, I used both sighted and blind to expose the difference between the two paths.  The Altair G1 has a better presentation than the Hansong Hub. The G1 has a tighter presence and more clarity. The overall feeling of the music with the G1 is striking. I have had two friends visits, masks on windows open.  Both were really surprised by the A500's.  One vote for G1 being a lot better.  The other was an abstain as we did not have enough time. For me the Buchardt A500 is the clear winner here.   I can enhance them with my Altair G1 and that has been three steps forward for me.   

     

    NOTE: I conducted the same test with the ELAC Discovery Connect and the Altair G1.  The Discovery Connect and its wireless protocol have pronounced performance degradation to the ELAC NAVIS ARB-51 Speakers I was testing last month.   It was not an acceptable solution for me.  The Elac's have been returned.

     

    I told you that this was hard!  Simplifying my system design has gotten more complicated to evaluate than expected.


    The A500's stated frequency specifications are 25hz to 40,000khz +-1.5db. I will not pretend to be able to measure this or hear it for that matter.  I can talk about what I hear, and that has been full of surprise and delight. 

     

    Out of the box, the A500's did something new for me.  The treble did not sound harsh.  The bass response was jaw-dropping.  How did the Buchardt Audio team make this happen?  As I have been auditioning them, I have not once felt something was off.  I am repeatedly amazed at the depth and breadth of the sound stage. Vocal and small ensemble performances feel almost alive.  The A500 speakers have exceeded my expectations in several areas, apparent sound stage, bass response, and WiSA sound quality.  They have responded well to the sound quality enhancements I have used, and their system flexibility fits right in with my desire to play with things.

     

    In communicating with Mads Buchardt, who seems to answer everyone's email, he suggested a couple of things from my initial setup.  He indicated that I should keep them further apart because of the way that the tweeter waveguides work.  He also outlined the procedure for measuring the room with my iPhone, as they have not done a video yet! 

     

     

    Oh, back to my listening report.  

     

    I consistently find vocals to be very pleasing with these speakers.  A couple, in particular, are Dominique Fils-Aimé and the lead singer from Blues company.  It has been wonderful to sample Annie Lennox across the years.  In Eva Cassidy's Live at Blues Alley I can hear more of the human sounds in the recordings, breathing, mic distance changes, etc. They seem more present.

     

    I enjoy piano music.  Getting a piano recorded well, and playing that back in a home environment is challenging.  I have found that many piano recordings sound harsh or odd to me. Many times the faults were with my reproduction equipment! With the A500's the number of recordings that exhibit that problem seems to be shrinking one by one as I listen to them.  I have a lot of listening to go before I get to zero, and there is always the internet with more!

     

    In my discussions with Mads Buchardt, he suggested I try the "new default master tuning." You have to format a USB stick and put the master tuning file on it.  Then power down the A500 speaker, insert the USB stick, and power it up.  The LED's will do a little circle dance to indicate success.  You have to do this for each speaker.

     

    I have only played a little bit to see if it worked.  I re-loaded the original MasterTuning so that I could finish these listening tests without any change.  Time is running short.

     

     

     21 Days in -- Small changes-- October 15th, 2020

     

    I have decided to keep both of my streamers in the system.  I am using the Hansong Hub to do the "casting stuff" and have the analog input for my turntable.  When there are some software updates, I will look into other uses.  

     

    I have proven to myself that the Hansong Hub and WiSA streaming sounds excellent and provides a lot of functionality I want.

     


    Streaming Week -- Friday, October 16th, 2020

     

    Things are progressing rather well here.

     

     

    This feels like Cake Week on The Great British Baking Show.  So many flavors to taste! I have been listening to Apple Music.  The User Interface of Apple Music is excellent.  Playing back Apple's streams of AAC  audio is a pleasure on the A500's.  It is a great way to discover music.  Apple has an extensive selection of music, and its curated playlists are great.   I am also trialing Spotify Premium to test Spotify Connect and understand their systems better.  

     

    On the Altair G1, I have my local music with Tidal and Qobuz.  I have been playing a lot streaming from both Tidal and Qobuz.  

     

    At some point I have to make up my mind and pick ONE streaming service.  Simplifying is not just the hardware side of things!

     

     

     

    October 24th, 2020  -- 30 days and counting

     

    Buchardt A500 Setup.jpgThe Battles on Stage — 8c vs. A500

     

    It has been a month! I have done too much work to get here.  Messing about with different streaming systems, control point apps, speaker stands, and locations, WHEW!   

     

     I have settled into a routine of just listening to the system when I want no heavy planned sessions.  The only requirement I am still observing is to make sure I listen through both the Altair G1 and the Hansong Hub in the same session. Nothing fancy, just keeping both in mind.

     

    I am still finding the soundstage's overall presentation to be one of the outstanding features of the A500's.   As I noted before, vocals stand out on these speakers.  Singers like Eva Cassidy are some of my favorites.

     

    I have also completed a SHORT comparison of the Buchardt A500's to the Dutch and Dutch 8C speakers this weekend. I am using the Analog XLR interface from the Altair G1 for my listening. The differences are smaller than the similarities. Diminishing returns?  Both systems have lovely imaging; they both have extended bass range.  8c's sonic presentation has more midrange detail, and they have a lot of weight.  They are a bit more forward. The 8c's let you know that they are in the room both physically and sonically.  I realized that I had been using a loaner set of XLR cables in the system before this test, and that has changed the Analog character of things. That will be remedied shortly when my AudioQuest Water cables arrive.

    As I mentioned early in this process, this is not a fair comparison.  The  8c's are around triple the price of the A500's.  This review is not about the Dutch and Dutch speakers, but they influence my thinking, as do the Kii Threes!  

     

    Finally, I have been put in contact with the engineering team at Hansong.  I have sent them the list of issues I have found so far.  They have helped me with a couple of cases where I was doing the wrong thing.

     

     

    October 28th, 2020

     

    My Playlist

     

    I took some time today to start building a playlist to highlight some of the music I have been listening to during my trial.  You will find the Qobuz playlist down at the bottom of the article.  I am also linking to a couple of other playlists that have been fun!

     

    https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/4833309

     

    AustinPop

    https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/2469971

     

    Kii Audio Spring 2019 — Updated

    https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/2236115

     

    Audio Consultants Playlist

    https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/2316959


    And the icing on the cake: We also figured out one of my problems—the A500's need a bit higher volume from the Altair G1 to wake up from sleep.  I thought I had a problem.  It was user error.

     

     

    November 9th, 2020

     

    This is the last day of my trial.  Let me level set my decision here.  I am comparing the A500's and the Hansong Hub against the Dutch and Dutch 8C and the Kii Three with BXT.  Being able to directly compare these three systems is a very unique opportunity.

     

    The A500 has a split personality.  The first is their analog side.  The audiophile in me almost giggles to see that.  I can hook just about anything up to that input.  It allows me to dig in and play around.  The second side is the Hub.  This little Swiss Army Knife has so many possibilities for digital, wireless, and analog my head spins.  So I am a kid on a merry-go-round, dizzy and laughing!

     

    I am fascinated by the Hub. I mostly use it for AirPlay, background listening, research, discovery, etc..  I am also playing with Spotify Connect to see if I can tell the difference between it and Apple Music.

     

    In my testing, I have exposed several software issues with the Hub, mostly with Google Cast.  All of my problems have been reported.  Since I mainly use AirPlay and Spotify Connect, this has not been a significant issue for me. 

     

    I am looking forward to proper Roon Certification although I have mostly abandoned Roon due to multiple interactions issues and reduced sound quality.

     

    As noted above, the Altair G1 is my Server/Streamer/DAC to feed Balanced XLR analog to various systems.  


    So, Bob, are you keeping them???   The answer is YES!  

     

    I have never experienced a pair of speakers that present this level of musical reproduction experience at this price point.  The A500’s show you when you have all of the pieces linked up to produce amazing sound in your own living room. When something is not right they show it to you.  When something soars to great heights, the shine a light on it.  These are truly what I consider “Performance Listening” speakers.   Mads Buchardt should be very pleased to put his name on these speakers.  The teams that built them should be celebrated.

     


    There is more to be done!

     

    I really want to see some software updates for the Hansong Hub.  I want to try different mastertunings.  I would like to see Roon Ready on both the 8Cs and the A500 hub.  I am breaking in my AudioQuest Water cables, and  I am waiting for some Herbies Audio Labs, Cone/Spike Decoupling Gliders.  I want to see if I can use them in place of the Gaia-1’s

     

    I hope that this journey through my evaluation has been enjoyable and encourages others to try out other system components.


    Thanks to Mads Buchardt for spending so much time responding to my emails and connecting me to the right folks directly for reporting my issues.  His support has been very encouraging.

     

     

    So "Enjoy the Music"

     

    ** I am closing this report here to satisfy my goal of getting this review done in the allotted time.  There is another chapter going on as I type this.  Keep a watch on Audiophile Style for more.  We will also do another video when I am “Finally Done”


    ----------------

     

     

    Product Information:

     

    • Buchardt Audio A500 Speakers — Walnut W/ Hansong Hub.    4,350.00 Euros (LINK)
    • User Manual (13MB PDF) (LINK)
    • Stereo Hub Quick Start Guide (6MB PDF) (LINK)

     

     

     

    AURALiC Altair G1
    Melco N1-ZH60 

     

    IsoACOUSTICS Mini-Pucks for the Altair G1 and Melco

    Rega Planar 8 Turntable with Ania cartridge
    Musical Fidelity MZ-VYNL phono stage
    Audioquest Evergreen RCA cables for Phono to Hub
    Mogami Gold XLR Cables
    AudioQuest Water XLR cables

     

    Elac Single post stands.

     

    Sound Anchor Blue Dots to stick the speakers to the stands 
    IsoACOUSTICS Gaia 1 isolators
    IKEA Cutting boards as platforms

     

    Puritan Audio Laboratories 
    PSM-156 Power Line Filter
    PAL power cords as needed to equipment 

     

    Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (first generation) as a control point

     

    Misc

     

    DIY RYZEN 7300 based Roon Server 
    2014 Mac Mini for Audirvana
    Pixel 3a control point
    iPhone 11Pro MAX Camera and control point

     

    Other Items

     

    Dutch and Dutch 8C speakers
     on Sound Anchor adjustable stands
    Kii Three+BXT Speaker System

     

    VIP
     With speakers spread all over the living space for the last six months, it is great to have a very patient spouse! 

     

     

     



    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    3 hours ago, ShawnC said:

    I have used Mogami Gold RCA to XLR for a center channel amp I had.  Worked perfect and sounded great.  Most of the time when it comes to apples to apples, RCA and XLR can sound the same.  XLR has advantages with distance and that they usually lock into the sockets.  RCA can suffer from terminal exposure and lead to long term tarnish on the ends.  XLRs usually come with better sheathing reducing RF interference.  Think of the rats nest behind most peoples audio systems.  All those wires crisscrossing each other can create hiss in the signal path.  That's why their ubiquitous in studios and professional settings.  

    Good point... that about the rats nest. Thanks

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    2 hours ago, bobfa said:

    I said that "I" have a surprise.  Not Mads.......🤐😇

    I misinterpreted!  Thanks for setting me straight. I would have been waiting for the surprise to come from Buchardt. 🤣🤣 

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    4 hours ago, bobfa said:

    Peter, thanks for your observations.   One of the tests I am conducting here is with the A500's and XLR cables.  I have a set of Mogami Gold and a set of AudioQuest Water.  The Mogami are around $100 or less and the AuudioQuest are at around $1000.  Are the $$ worth it.

     

    The same can be said for the Hansong Hub vs my Altair G1.  Is it worth it?  To replace the Altair I need some computing stuff so it is not only the hub.    

    Excellent!  I look forward to your results.  I'm very glad to have spent a fair chunk on cables.  But over several rounds of comparisons, I was surprised more than once in the process.  I ended up thinking it's easy to improve a system with high end cables, but it is almost as easy to spend a lot and have no impact or even negative impact.

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    3 hours ago, bobfa said:

     The Mogami are around $100 or less and the AuudioQuest are at around $1000.  Are the $$ worth it.

     

        

    Are you asking if it is worth a $1000 for the cables? I don't know. if the cables are clearly superior, then I guess it is worth it. 

    I have the Light Harmonic Lightspeed USB cable, which retails at $999. But I bought it when it was being offered as a perk on Indiegogo so I got it for a really good price. And recently I bought Wave Audio BNC cables to connect my Chord MScaler to my Chord Dave. You need two of them. These are the ones that, apparently, Rob Watt uses. Normally they cost about $1000. But these happened to be a demo pair, practically brand new, so I got a really great price on them as well. Would I have spent the whole retail price on these cables? Probably not. 

    The Mogani are used by pros. They are supposed to be very good sounding cables. And they are very reasonably priced. So I think I will go with those. 

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    1 hour ago, lolligagger said:

    Are you asking if it is worth a $1000 for the cables? I don't know. if the cables are clearly superior, then I guess it is worth it. 

    You have seen what good cables can do.  That is not the core question in my mind.  

     

    I have the speakers and the Hub and on the “side” have the AURALiC Altair G1 part of the system.  The G1 is really amazing for the price.  The G1 does double the total cost of ownership of the system.   ($1500 in cables, $2800 for the G1 and $600 for 4TB of storage)  

     

    For me the Question of the Day is Hub VS G1.    The similarities between the two are rather interesting.  

     

    The Hub will be driven by a Mac Mini using a Transparent USB cable until I can get UPnP working right.  On the Mac I will use Audirvana. I will use my NAS for music storage.  

     

    Another 20 or 30 hours of listening will help determine that.    

     

     

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    By the way, here is something I wanted to say earlier but I forgot to do so. 

    I have heard Kii 3 speakers several times at HiFi shows and I never liked them. They always sounded too analytical to me. 

    This, in my opinion makes the music sound cerebral. 

    To my ear, the A500 system sound more musical and more emotionally involving.

     

    Also the bass is extraordinary for such small speakers. 

    I have many tracks with powerful bass lines and I can definitely feel that bass in my body and in the couch I sit on. They serve also for watching films. Last night during the credits of a film there was music with a deep continuous bass. I could feel the continuous vibration in my couch. 

    So, not only does the bass go deep, but it also moves some air. 

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    10 hours ago, bobfa said:

    You have seen what good cables can do.  That is not the core question in my mind.  

     

    I have the speakers and the Hub and on the “side” have the AURALiC Altair G1 part of the system.  The G1 is really amazing for the price.  The G1 does double the total cost of ownership of the system.   ($1500 in cables, $2800 for the G1 and $600 for 4TB of storage)  

     

    For me the Question of the Day is Hub VS G1.    The similarities between the two are rather interesting.  

     

    The Hub will be driven by a Mac Mini using a Transparent USB cable until I can get UPnP working right.  On the Mac I will use Audirvana. I will use my NAS for music storage.  

     

    Another 20 or 30 hours of listening will help determine that.    

     

     

    The way you describe it, the Auralic Altair G1 seems like a very good product. You have a lot invested in it. I think you said that it even offers room correction.

    The only thing missing is the WiSA connection. But the Altair G1 has a preamp which is how you send an analog signal to the speakers XLR inputs. 

    So, if it will do almost everything that the present Hub will do, why would you even consider this Hub? Is it because you want the WiSA capability? That would make sense if, as you said, you are interested in more simple solution. 

     

    The new hub looks like it is going to be quite something: 

    Here are some of the things that Mads wrote to me: 

    1) ''Our hub would be able to remove all the wireless errors so it would be much easier to find the error for customers. Usually its WiFi based issues we see people have, but with ours we can have customers to just plug in wires both to speaker and internet. 

    And the fact that we would go with a BlueOS streaming module which is both better but also more stable as Google cast does seems to be a bit of a struggle for some.'' 
    2) ''I also can't wait for our own hub as it would be a more smooth solution and it should work much better! :)''
    3)  ''The new hub has a DAC yes. The hub you have now does not. 
    The limitations of the resolution is WiSA, the speakers upsample to 24/192, with the new hub you could wire the speakers to the hub for 24/192 like you also can today with another preamp.''
    4)  ''The limitations of the resolution is WiSA, the speakers upsample to 24/192, with the new hub you could wire the speakers to the hub for 24/192 like you also can today with another preamp. ''
    5) ''No matter the connection type to the speakers, you can not bypass the speakers internals, and this is the same with all active speakers that uses Digital Signal Processing (DSP) 
    So when a signal gets to the A500 it goes like this : if digital : DSP - DAC - AMP. Each driver has its own DAC and AMP which is why the a500 has 3 x dacs and 3 x amps in each speaker. 
    If the signal is Analog then its ADC - DSP - DAC - AMP. 
    The only reason for using the new hub dac would be either for using it in a passive setup as a preamp, or if you want to use cables to the A500. ''
     
    So as you can see from this,  amongst other improvements, the Hub will have improved WiSA connection... and this might bridge the gap that people like yourself are reporting between the WiSA sound quality of the present hub and the sound quality of the direct XLR correction.
    And having also superior preamp to the one in the present hub, this might also bridge the sound quality gap because the improved sound quality that you and the other reviewer are getting when using XLR direct may be due to the fact that your preamps are superior to the one in the present hub. 
    I am not sure why you are wanting to compare the present hub with your G1 but if it were me, I would enjoy my Altair G1 and wait for the new hub to do the comparison. 
    As a matter of fact I realize that I am talking myself out of spending the money for RCA/XLR cables at least until I hear what the new hub is capable of. 
     
     
     
     
     

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    @lolligagger Thank you  for the response.  The detail that Mads passed along to you is very interesting.  We can have a long discussion of BlueOS, but for now we do not have it. 

     

    I am very familiar with speakers that have integrated electronics like the A500.  I am downsizing from a pair of Kii Three s+BXT and a pair of Dutch and Dutch 8Cs.   (I used to sell audio gear).    I think we can both agree that the A500 has a very high price/performance ratio.  

     

    As I have stated the goal for me is simplicity.  There have been multiple roadblocks to that simplicity.  The Hansong Hub and WiSA are very good at what they do.  Part of that is the ease of getting it hooked up.

     

    I have not yet said that the XLR inputs of the A500 actually sound better than through the HUB.  With a stable input to the Hub using Audirvana (I think I got it working), I can do some serious comparison.

     

    That will start today!

     

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    1 hour ago, bobfa said:

    That will start today!

    Along with running Roon as an alternate to the Lightning DS system.  And, YES it adds more hardware.

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    3 hours ago, bobfa said:

    @lolligagger 

     

    I have not yet said that the XLR inputs of the A500 actually sound better than through the HUB.  With a stable input to the Hub using Audirvana (I think I got it working), I can do some serious comparison.

     

    That will start today!

     

    In your review you said this:

    ''I used the Hub and the G1 as two Roon Zones in my testing, comparing the WiSA path vs. the Analog XLR path into the A500 speakers.  

    For a few days, I used both sighted and blind to expose the difference between the two paths.  The Altair G1 has a better presentation than the Hansong Hub. The G1 has a tighter presence and more clarity. The overall feeling of the music with the G1 is striking. I have had two friends visits, masks on windows open.  Both were really surprised by the A500's.  One vote for G1 being a lot better.  The other was an abstain as we did not have enough time. For me the Buchardt A500 is the clear winner here.   I can enhance them with my Altair G1 and that has been three steps forward for me.''

     

    Unless I am completely misunderstanding what you are saying here, it seems to me that you were using the Altair G1 connected to the A500 XLR inputs and that you found the sound to be better than that of the Hub using WiSA. One of your friends found it to be a ''lot'' better. 

     

    This is what another reviewer found to be true as well... although he didn't say it was a lot better. 

      

    room correction .jpg

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    The comparison of the Hub vs The G1 has been really hard.  I stand by my early results.  BUT I have not been able to get a digital path that I  can insert the “device under test” properly yet.  I still stand by my early on testing that the G1 sounded better.  The setup at that time was using Google Cast in the middle of the system to the Hub, it is too much of a black box to me to understand the software path.  

     

    Now I can try USB to the Altair and USB to the Hub using Audirvana from my MacMini.  That should help me feel better about A.B testing..    

     

     

     

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    Hi Bob,

     

    I understood you had a Roon core running, why don’t you use the Chromecast in the HUB, and stream from Roon to the Hub?

     

    On my system (A700) the Room correction gives a big benefit, most in the midrange—if you haven’t tried it, I urge you to 😊

     

    Happy listening.

     

    Morten

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    14 minutes ago, Morten said:

    Hi Bob,

     

    I understood you had a Roon core running, why don’t you use the Chromecast in the HUB, and stream from Roon to the Hub?

     

    On my system (A700) the Room correction gives a big benefit, most in the midrange—if you haven’t tried it, I urge you to 😊

     

    Happy listening.

     

    Morten

    I have done that but it keeps failing. Roon loses control of the device.  I am waiting for a software update to the hub.   I have room correction running in Roon.  I had to re-arrange the system for the holidays, so the system is across the room rather than the length of the room. 

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    Sorry to hear that, it is the way I’m running it, it runs best on the 5Ghz net, I know Buchardt recommend 2,4Ghz. I hope you get it working, and can test the room correction on the Hub, it have a dramatic impact, and I do believe it should be part of your test...

     

    Br. Morten

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    I was following a thread on the  PS Audio website and somebody posted this on the A700 speakers.  There's a couple more links on YouTube if you search Buchardt A700.  

     

    Attention @firedog

     

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    Today I tried a little change.  I setup my Sound Anchor stands under the A500's with a set of  4 Iso-Pucks under each speaker.  The change from using the Gaia isolators under the stands is downright stunning!  I sat and listened to a playlist for over an hour in amazement.

     

     

    IMG_0011.jpeg

    IMG_0012.jpeg

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    47 minutes ago, bobfa said:

    Today I tried a little change.  I setup my Sound Anchor stands under the A500's with a set of  4 Iso-Pucks under each speaker.  The change from using the Gaia isolators under the stands is downright stunning!  I sat and listened to a playlist for over an hour in amazement.

     

     

    IMG_0011.jpeg

    IMG_0012.jpeg

     

    Bob, I have 3 of those under each of my speakers and I agree, they are absolutely stunning in how effective they are.

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    1 hour ago, AudioDoctor said:

     

    Bob, I have 3 of those under each of my speakers and I agree, they are absolutely stunning in how effective they are.

    At about $120 for four of them it is one of THE BEST upgrades I have done.  I had been trying the Gaia-1s that I had under my Kii Three BXT and they were not as effective.  I bet the speaker stand was acting as a lever arm...  

     

     

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    2 hours ago, bobfa said:

    Today I tried a little change.  I setup my Sound Anchor stands under the A500's with a set of  4 Iso-Pucks under each speaker.  The change from using the Gaia isolators under the stands is downright stunning!  I sat and listened to a playlist for over an hour in amazement.

     

     

    IMG_0011.jpeg

    IMG_0012.jpeg

    Nice Bob. Thanks for the pictures. 

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    Currently my system is pretty stable.  The Mytek Brooklyn Bridge is acting as the core for the A500 Speakers.  I am still hoping that the Buchardt/Hansong Hub software will be stabilized so that I can really test it some more.  

     

    At the core of my music playback system is a Roon server should be replaced in a couple of weeks to improve performance!  

     

    Tomorrow I will be moving the system back into the end of the living room which helps with the room performance.  This will let me relax more when evaluating/reviewing equipment.   That is exciting.  I will post some more pictures and post them.

     

    ahhhh.....

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    Hi Bob, interesting review! I have the Buchardt a700 and it is fantastic. I use it with the bundled hub. 

    Recently I also got hold of Aries G1 streamer, but it doesn't include DAC unlike the Altair. Would you recommend getting a DAC and having a parallel setup of G1-DAC-analog speaker input, or is the quality improvement over the Wisa hub not sufficient to justify the investment? Thanks 

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    31 minutes ago, Shrek1982 said:

    Hi Bob, interesting review! I have the Buchardt a700 and it is fantastic. I use it with the bundled hub. 

    Recently I also got hold of Aries G1 streamer, but it doesn't include DAC unlike the Altair. Would you recommend getting a DAC and having a parallel setup of G1-DAC-analog speaker input, or is the quality improvement over the Wisa hub not sufficient to justify the investment? Thanks 

    I have not found the WiSA hub up to what the speakers can do.  I have been running DAC direct to the A500 with AudioQuest Water XLR cables.  I have tested two streamer DAC using just the DACs and not the streamers to see what I liked best.  I am looking at an R2R DAC to test next,; I will report on that later.

     

    I know that Mads Buchardt is working on his own Hub.  I have no idea as to date.

     

    Bob

     

     

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    Thank you for the prompt response Bob! Ok I think I am going to get a DAC then to make it macbook-G1-DAC-speakers. 

    By the way, could you please share what DACs you are testing? I am not sure if I should stick with the price range of Chord Qutest, or go higher like Hegel Hd30, or even Chord Dave /Ayre qx-5 20. I am assuming a good balance is to keep the rest of the components cost lower than speaker cost, but not sure how much quality impact at the various price points. Thank you. 

    BTW Mads replied to my email saying they are targeting year end 2021 for own hub. 

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    I would not go overboard on DAC for this.  I am looking at the Soekris DAC2541.  

     

    Do not jump in too fast.  Also you may want to consider the whole chain.  The server/streamer is a lot more important than you think.

     

    If all goes well I may be selling my Altair G1 shortly.  

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    Bob, based on some responses I just got from Auralic and Buchardt, I should be able to connect the G1 with the Platin hub. The G1 will be the streamer and the hub just a Wisa transmitter upto 24bit /96K. I tried this and sounds somewhat sharper than previous setup without G1, though not sure if it would get better with DAC /xlr. 

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