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Article: Review | Buchardt Audio A500 Speaker System


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5 hours ago, lolligagger said:

Have you tried removing Audirvana and then loading it again? I think that is what I will do with mine, but I want to talk to Audirvana about it first. 

I am actually trying an different Mac right now.  I will let you know.  I CANNOT BELIEVE that I did not try this myself.  Lost in so many things.

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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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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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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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  • 2 weeks later...

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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  • 3 weeks later...

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

 

PC/NAS/JRiver/Roon - PS Audio P5 Regenerator - KEF LS50 Nocturne - Rel 328 subwoofer - PS Audio AC5 Power cables 

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  • 2 weeks later...

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.

No electron left behind...

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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. 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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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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