Buchardt Audio S300 MKII by Dowsed
Buchardt s300 Monitor Review
Manufacturer: Burchardt Audio
Type: Nearfield Monitor
Website: Buchardt Audio
It is no secret that the market for Nearfield monitors is quite saturated, so it always intrigues me when a new company enters an already crowded marketplace. What is their “modus operandi”? What makes them different? In the case of Buchardt Audio they deal direct to the customer to deliver value and excellence way beyond their price point. Buchardt estimate that this can save 60-70% to buying through a traditional distributor to vendor chain. It is clear from looking at Buchardt audios website that they are still a fledgling company, one that values their end user greatly. Their warranty is an incredible five years and a generous 30 day returns policy, wow!
I was sent their flagship product, a pair of the Buchardt s300 in white. I have to admit the white monitors feel a little trendy for my studio, it’s the sort of finish that would belong in Will.I.Ams Future Studios. I think I would be much more comfortable with a black or natural wood version. I am sure this superficiality is not of a great concern to you so let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
Taking the monitors out of the box was more difficult than I expected; these speakers are really heavy! I am sure you don’t need to be told that such a solid enclosure is a great attribute for a speaker to have. The s300 also looks well built, the driver and tweeter look a good quality and the bass reflex ports on the rear look well designed. The s300 might live up to the “high quality and affordable price” mantra Buchardt audio are so proud of.
At this point it is worth mentioning that unlike the majority of modern nearfield monitors, the s300 are passive. I don’t want to wade into an active versus passive debate here, I’ve liked the sound of both active and passive designs in the past but my preference is usually active speakers. Mainly due to not having to worry about having to match amps and speakers, but that’s a story from another day.
To hook up the s300 I used a quad 405 amp which I usually use to power my NS10s, this delivers 100w per channel, this is well within the 40-200w recommended but well short of giving it full power. Powering with the Quad 405 the s300 seem suitable for small to medium sized rooms. As with all speaker tests I avoided judging them immediately, I gave them a loud blast for 30 mins or so before, leaving them on quietly in my studio overnight to burn them in (thank goodness for my 40-days long iTunes library).
When I returned the next day I was excited to hear how they sounded. The first thing I noticed was that the speakers extend extremely low for a unit their size (370 x 190 x 330 mm), the spec sheet on their website says they produce +/- 3dB from 33Hz to 30KHz. Whereas other nearfields I own benefitted massively from being used with a subwoofer, the s300s sounded worse whatever I did trying to pair it with a sub (even while tweaking placement, polarity and crossover), the low-end on the s300 sounds great as is! The next thing I noticed about the s300 is how great the stereo-imaging is, it was extremely wide and I could localize sounds much clearer than all of my other nearfields. Perhaps the most difficulty I had with the S300s was judging those low-mid frequencies where muddiness and masking tends to occur. I believe I was having some issues with this area mainly because of the ringing in the low-end caused from the bass port. I would consider using a secondary set of monitors like NS10s to help judge this area.
The top end detail is great, maybe a little flatteringly “good” for some people. The top-end is a little more fatiguing than some of my other monitors (specifically the ribbon folded ones) but much less fatiguing than the NS10s.
Overall the Buchardt S300 are terrific nearfield monitors, well-built and sturdy with a rich depth and width to the stereo-image. They are definitely most suited to those that like to work on speakers with a gratifying sound rather than those that like to have speakers that make you “work hard” to make it sound good. They are excellent value for money and I really like the ethos of the company. Perhaps the only other negative to some would be the process of finding and testing suitable amps to get the best out of the speakers.
Sound Quality (4/5)
Great sound quality and very usable but as with all monitors it is best to try them and see if they match your tastes.
Ease of use (5/5)
They seem to sound very good in a number of ranges and positions so I don’t think you will have any issues setting them up.
It’s hard to access the features on a nearfield monitor. It does exactly what it needs to, it doesn’t have some features I often find on modern speakers like rudimentary tone controls but it seems a little harsh to mark down based on that (as I never really use these features).
Bang for buck (5/5)
Excellent value for money and with such a generous warranty and returns policy they are well worth trying.