KAD Audio is a new brand in the Netherlands. The man behind the brand is Ernest Kaempfer. KAD stands for Kaempfer Audio Design.
Ernest is a technical man with a background in telecom…. He has worked for numerous technical companies including Intel and Philips (yes: Philips again!). We have the first speaker of his hand in front of us. A large floorstander with a D’appolito arrangement of low / mid / high / mid / low. At the rear are also two woofers that provide a cardioid radiation patern.
Two dacs are built into each speaker – for mid/high and bass – and of course amplifiers. You can choose the power: 750 watts / 1000 watts or 1500 watts. What you will need depends on your space. We have listened to a version with the luxury units: beryllium and the chic, coated midrange units. All units are from Seas by the way. The beryllium tweeter we already know quite well from the Grimm LS1be…. We are curious to see what this one does here!
By the way: the total frequency range of the KAD K7 is 20 Hz – 25 kHz -3dB. Full range.
What is immediately noticeable – especially with the live track – is that the midrange is unprecedentedly clean. We really hear the voice of Marnie Baumer. Wow… what an experience. We are really quiet for a moment! It is quite a shock when Marnie – who is sitting next to your author while listening – is suddenly in front of you as well!
This speaker just offers a huge experience. In the track by Jacques Loussier and the orchestral piece by Bruckner, we hear the scale that KAD can put down. It is grand, controlled and tight. Very tight. Martijn has to get used to the acoustics of the Artone Studio (which is logical) and feels some dryness. We can imagine that, but this will partly be the neutral acoustics without direct reflections. All in all a very fine speaker witch offers a very neutral, honest and controlled reproduction.
Specifications KAD K7
|Brand / Type||KAD K7|
|Power||750 / 1000 / 1500 watts|
|Inputs||Depends on hub|
|Price / pair||14.950 per pair|
Devialet Phantom I 108
The Devialet Phantom I 108 is a compact speaker with a very cool design. An awful lot of thought has gone into this product. And they have to be, because 1100 watts rms in a small enclosure doesn’t go well if everything is not put together properly. Then you have in fact made a bomb. And partly due to the unprecedented amount of power – and special units that can handle this – this Phantom can deliver extreme pressure and produce 14 Hz (-6 dB).
Apart from the technical ingenuity, Devialet has also created a fine app, making set-up a piece of cake. We have everything playing in about 5 minutes. The app finds the speaker(s) and guides you through the process without fuss. What we like is that here, too, thought has been given to experience. The speaker really comes alive through this approach. Nicely done. Compliments.
“The opposite of dry”… that’s kind of the conclusion we can draw. The Devialet Phantom I is a party animal. It paints a picture that is definately a little larger than life. We estimate that the target audience wants that too. The target audience for a Phantom I is not looking for an ultra-accurate speaker that reproduces every nuance. They want to play and party on. Well, the Phantom can do that!
Jacques Loussier is standing right in front of us. We hear an unprecedented powerful bass kick. Impressive from such a small speaker. In the live recording, however, we clearly hear that the sound balance goes towards warm and that the Phantom tunes the track here and there. It is striking that softer details are pulled up. This is not a problem with pop / rock / electronic music. But with an acoustic piece or classical music this is not always desirable, because things get a little out of balance. That’s something to take into account.
All in all, a very impressive piece of technology that keeps your attention. A wonderful statement in the hi-fi industry!
Specifications Devialet Phantom I 108
|Brand / Type||Devialet Phantom I 108|
|System||Wifi / Ethernet / PLC|
|Principle||3-way closed system|
|Power||1100 watts RMS / 1500 watts peak|
|Inputs||Wifi, Airplay 2, Bluetooth, Spotify connect, UPnP, Optical, ROON.|
|Dimensions||25.5 x 25.2 x 34.2 cm|
|Price / pair||6000 per pair without stands|
Buchardt is rapidly building fame among enthusiasts. And rightly so. The product looks good and is widely usable in combination with the optional Platin hub that we also see in the System Audio Wisa speakers. Incidentally, both the Buchardt and the System Audio could also work on the Pimare i15. Wisa is a standard; everything works together as long as the manufacturer sticks neatly to the standards.
[Note: For your information: yes… we also had some issues with pairing the speakers to the hub. Both speakers locked on the left. Through the new app this should be much better; we have had the Buchardt beta app for Android and it gave no problems with pairing; just drag and drop and you’re done]
Like the KAD and Phantom, the Buchardt is a closed system. At the back we see a woofer that does a similar job as the Dutch & Dutch 8C or the KAD K7. The wonders of DSP technology shall we say. How well a manufacturer has its software in order, is of course the question. With the KAD it works very well. With the D&D 8C too…
Well: with the Buchardt too, we can say. We listened with the standard tuning. However, know that there are several tunings you can try that can make them fit better into your acoustics.
We hear that Buchardt has tried to strike a nice balance between neutrality and versatility. We’re guessing that all genres will come through excellently with the A500. The KAD puts down voices with a little more conviction. But hey: 15,000 euros compared to 3500 euros! Also in terms of scale there are of course differences, but we are drawn into the music by these monitors. And that is what it is all about: balance, calmness, conviction.
Jacques Loussier gets the power it needs to pull us along. This is really the power of active systems: everything fits together so nicely. No messing around with cables, matching…. it just works. We also hear the power and conviction in the live recording. Marnie’s voice is reproduces really well by the Buchardt! And then when we go to the big orchestra…. jeez: what a scale and dynamics this duo manages to hurl into the room. Very impressive.
All in all, great work by Buchardt! A very good sounding system for a very reasonable price.
Specifications Buchardt A500
|Brand / Type||Buchardt A500|
|Principle||2-way active with rear active woofer|
|Power||3 x 150 watts per speaker|
|Inputs (with Hub)||Chromecast, Airplay, Bluetooth, UPnP, Spotify Connect, analog (RCA and cinch), HDMI ARC, 3 x optical, coaxial, USB A, USB B. XLR analog on speakers.|
|Dimensions||36.5 x 18 x 28 cm|
|Price / pair||3500 without hub and stands|
System Audio 5.2 Silverback
The System Audio 5.2 Silverback was in fact the speaker that triggered this test. Colleague Yung had a set at home and was immediately excited by the ease of installation and playback. Now this duo has to prove itself against the Buchardt in particular, although this system is almost 1000 euros cheaper, so keep that in mind!
The funny thing is that after three closed systems, we immediately hear the influence of bass reflex. It is certainly not unpleasant, but it is a certain signature that the bass gets. A bit creamier, a bit rounder…. your author gets it; it’s less dry. The other three candidates do have tighter bass, however, which is audible in the bass kick with Jacques Loussier.
Moving on to the live recording, we hear that System Audio also handles Marnie’s voice extremely well. And again, the piano is neatly placed in front of us and everything is easy to follow. It seems that the platform is basically the same, but that this System Audio is simply the smaller version with less power. So the fact that similarities can be found is not surprising.
However, we hear that we are pushing the limits on the big orchestral work. It’s not that things go wrong, but the System Audio’s ceiling is found. We simply hear less dynamics than with the other three. However, the SA does not lapse into sharpness or harshness. And that we have found the limit is not surprising given the size of the speaker (it is really compact), the size of the studio (100m2 approximately) and the power: 150 watts. The Buchardt has three times this power and an extra woofer. The other two candidates, without kidding, have ten times the power. In other words: the System Audio can be very proud of this result. And that for 2650 euros … unbelievable actually.
Specifications System Audio 5.2 Silverback
|Brand / Type||System Audio 5.2 Silverback|
|Power||150 watts per speaker|
|Inputs (with hub)||Chromecast, Airplay, Bluetooth, UPnP, Spotify Connect, analog (RCA and cinch), HDMI ARC, 3 x optical, coaxial, USB A, USB B. XLR analog on speakers.|
|Dimensions||19 x 32 x 26|
|Price / pair||2650 without hub and stands|