July
2019

Country of Origin

Denmark

S400

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 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref,  AURALiC Vega, Jay's Audio CDT 2 MkII & DAC-2 SE
Preamplifier: Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature Preamplifier
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, SIT-3, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos; SAG AIO; Bakoon AMP-13R
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Kroma Audio Mimí; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence; Fram Midi 150; sound|kaos Vox 3f [on review]
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL3000 and 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; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands 
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: from €2'000/pr [incl. VAT]

S300 Mk II | S400 Signature Edition

Denmark. As a hifi country, the home of Shakespeare's twisted bard sings loudly indeed. Population density versus 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 of behaviours. 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 stylishly functional. 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 shows 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." That's what I wrote in late 2016 when Mads had sent me his …

The possibly patent-pending cast aluminium wave guide's very expensive mold will get amortized over time by being shared across future models.

… S300 MkII for review. "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 Hansong. 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 from SB Acoustics developed by Ulrik Schmidt, 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."

One tricky pony begets another. For an encore, there's now the S400. It obviously inverts the S300's tweeter/mid position, then replaces the rear-firing port with an oval radiator. That and the dishy cast aluminium tweeter wave guide has certain cognoscenti flash on Finland's Amphion for shared bullet points.

Compare specs between the Buchardts—a 25-pair limited edition of the S400 with upgraded filter parts and special rear plaque had sold out already—and the 1" tweeter of the first model has become a ¾" unit. The mid/woofer Ø remains at 6" but its diaphragm material changed from polypropylene to aluminium. The 2-way filter hinge descended from 2'600 to 2'000Hz. For the same published -3dB bass reach of a whopping 33Hz, the cab shrunk from 37x19x33cm to 36x18x24cm so particularly in depth. The concomitant weight reduction of 2kg indicates similar construction. Sensitivity remains at 88dB and nominal impedance at 8Ω. Key changes are thus upgraded drivers in the front; that big 5 x 8" long-throw auxiliary bass radiator; and a new crossover to bring it all together.