Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 12.2), PureMusic 3.02, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, Fore Audio DAISY1, COS Engineering D1, Aqua Hifi La Scala MkII, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi Formula [on review]
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVC module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F5, F6; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Gato Audio DIA-250; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; AURALiC Merak [on loan]
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; Sounddeco Sigma 2; EnigmAcoustics Mythology M1; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5; Zu Audio Druid MkV & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Krion amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, Verictum Silver X block on preamp and amplifier
Room: Rectangular 5.5 x 15m open floor plan with two-storey gabled ceiling, wood-sleeved steel trusses and stone-over-concrete flooring
Review component retail: DKK 8'995/pr, ca. €1'210/pr at publication time's exchange rate


Denmark. As a hifi country, the home of Shakespeare's twisted bard sings loudly indeed. Population density vs. hifi brands makes for an unusually packed index. A prevailing theory claims that bad weather has Danes spend more time indoors which leads to more music listening, hence more companies serving that most bizarre behaviour. Not only that, Dynaudio's slogan of yore, Danes don't lie, suggests that the country's hifi culture is built on truth telling, not fanciful embellishing. Scandinavian design for furniture certainly tends to the unpretentious but functional. Anyway, there I was sitting on my work desk minding my own Germanic business in Ireland, with Denmark a faint nordic notion of costly living at a very high level—in annual surveys of best countries to live, Denmark always scores in the top 10—when this email showed up. "My name is Mads Buchardt. I'm the owner of Buchardt Audio. We are a Danish speaker company. Our goal is to provide High-End sound quality at a more reasonable price. To achieve this, we have chosen to sell directly to the customer. This cuts out around 60-70% of the price tag compared to normal dealer types. Our speakers are developed by a previous Dynaudio engineer and we work closely with the driver manufacturer whose engineering is Danish as well. We are still a pretty new company but had huge success in Scandinavia so far and are starting to get better known in the US also."


When I asked what model he intended to send, "a pair of s300 MkII. It was developed by Kasper Raun, a previous Dynaudio engineer. He is the man behind their new Xeo series, Focus Xd range and many more. He recently quit there to work for Primare. For your room it's a small speaker but I think you will be able to hear what it is capable of in the bass. It's very important that you understand how our company operates. We aim to offer the absolute best price/performance ratio ever seen. We do this because we think that everyone, no matter their budget, should enjoy the opportunity to get the real high-end sound experience. We use Danish drivers developed by Ulrik Smith, the same guy who brought us the popular ScanSpeak Revelator drivers. In fact, our warehouse is in the same building as theirs so we work closely together."


Liking where this was headed, I asked for more. "As childhood friends, Kasper and I both shared a big interest in hifi. Kasper always had his focus on the technical problems whilst mine was the music. He is an engineer, I am a musician with experience running a musical instruments store. We started our first  company called RABU Acoustics (RAun & BUchardt) in 2008. It was and remains an online DIY shop. My job there was in customer relations and shipping, Kasper took care of all tech matter where we offered measurement and developing assistance to both private and business costumers. By this time Kasper was rapidly getting attention for his brilliant development skills and soon retained for speaker projects in other countries, for companies I can't mention. By 2011 he began development of what ended up being our s300 speaker. His idea was to make a speaker that could outperform anything in its price rage. It's clear from the design that all the focus was on performance, not appearance. Years of development went by and it was finally completed. Now we needed a brand to sell the speaker through. Just then, Kasper's wife got pregnant. We didn't yet earn any money and RABU Acoustics was no goldmine either. For his growing family, Kasper needed a secure income. Luckily Dynaudio approached him as an engineer and he secured a great job."


"As a great friend, he now simply gave me his years of hard work. We both still wanted to get this speaker out into the world and by 2013 launched Buchardt Audio to do it. I spent that year and most of 2014 searching for factories with the proper experience in speaker manufacture. I tried countless Danish and Polish factories but without the results I wanted. I then contacted Sinar Baja in Indonesia, a company with many Danish roots and many Danish employees which I already knew well from RABU. They craft speakers for some of the biggest Danish brands and some very respected high-end American brands as well [they also manufacture the SD Acoustics drivers - Ed]. The only problem was that I needed to order container loads of speakers before knowing whether they would actually sell. I took the chance and ordered a big batch. This turned out to be the best decision of my life. Buchardt Audio's debut was at the big Danish Hifi & Surround show at the Copenhagen Hilton in 2014. It was an enormous success. The  host of the show said that ours was the busiest room of them all. We had a constant line of people trying to get in for both days. It was a breath of fresh air for many hifi enthusiasts to listen to something that sounded far better than its price point promised. Many even called it best of show regardless of price. Today Kasper is back for new R&D and we are currently working on a completely new series of speakers."