The Buchardt P300 Speaker Review
By Steve Huff
My Video Review of the Buchardt P300
The P300 is sort of like the “junior” to the S400 II even though it is the same size (uses the same cabinet) and only has three changes compared to the more pricey speaker.
I say “junior” as the P300’s come in for around $1500, which is quite a savings from the S400II ($2100) yet they offer the same character of sound, the same looks and yes, the bass performance is still rather amazing (if not more plump).
Buchardt has stated that the P300 was made for those who want the S400 style/looks and sound quality in a less expensive speaker. There are some areas where the P300 falls short when compared to the S400 II but they are pretty dang close in tonality and flavor. I am not sure I have ever heard a better speaker for what these cost.
The P300 is a bookshelf speaker, a true bookshelf. It’s compact and easy to place within a room but you will need some stands for them to sound their best. I had three lovely stands on hand and tried them all with the P300. All sounded fabulous with the speakers.
The Buchardt Tripod stand, Dynaudio Stand 6 and some very nice and costly stands for the Falcon LS3 speakers. They all worked out very well with the P300’s but I did enjoy the Buchardt stand as they look unique, modern and pretty snazzy with the speakers.
They may not be to everyones tastes but they work very well with the P300 and S400 models. You can see the stands in my video at the top of the page!
ALMOST THE SAME!
The P300 uses the same tweeter as the S400 MKII but the three changes come in the form of a new paper woofer, a less exotic crossover and rather basic speaker binding posts (all shown in the video review). There are also all new colors for the P300 and the finish is an all matte look without gloss or shine.
In my review video at the top of this page you can see all colors as well as see how I placed the P300 into my space. I also talk about these in depth compared to the S400II.
The speakers come in peach, olive, blue, black and white.
Buchardt sent me the Olive color for review as I live out in the woods. A fitting match indeed! Even so, the Peach color above is quite striking and has a very cool pop of color. Blue looks serious and could look cool depending on your decor. Black and White is also available in the P300.
When I set up the P300 in my space I removed my larger reference speakers, which are my Fleetwood Deville SQ. While the P300 is in no way a competitor to those, when I started streaming from Qobuz via my DCS Lina DAC and Clock the sounds that poured from these littleP300’s surprised me!
I was not prepared for the bass quality and quantity from the P300. Whoa!
While I have heard small bookshelf speakers with fantastic bass (S400 is one of them), I am not sure I have heard any speaker of this price put out as much bass as these do. I swear that these are putting out a more plump midrange than the S400 II though it has been a while since I had those here.
It’s also a quality bass that these P300’s are delivering, rather than a loose wooly bass. This makes the P300 a neutral to warm leaning speaker. It’s warm as the mids and low end have that bass warmth but the treble is airy and expansive. This creates a gorgeous full balanced sound that doesn’t feel lacking in any areas unless of course you are an all out analytical detail hound.
While they put out a much smaller sound than my much larger Deville’s, for their size they can really fill a small to medium sized room with effortless ease. In my 13X18 room they had no issue in this regard.
The P300 has the same passive radiator in the back of the speaker for extended bass. This is a great design and allows the P300 to put out some serious bass down to 37hz.
The P300’s are not an easy to drive speaker. In fact, at 86DB efficiency and 4 ohm you will want some quality power and current to drive these. As Buchardt says, these will scale well with high end amplification and front end equipment. When these were in my referencer system with a Pass Labs XP22 Pre, Pass X250.8 Amp, DCS Lina DAC and Clock the sound was very high end. I am a huge believer in spending as much as you can on the AMP/DAC portion of your system, as well as always getting very good (though not insane) cables.
I use Nordost Red Dawn interconnects and speaker cables and I consider this the minimum for my system. For my power I use a Puritan Audio PSM 156 with a full loom (7 of them) of their Ultimate Power Cables. This alone has taken my system to all new heights since I added them.
This system makes the P300 sound high end, smooth, refined, expansive and it allows the little speakers to show their full character. I also tested the P300 with a $600 integrated amp with built in DAC and I will talk about that later in this review.
As it is though, the P300 will sound best with power of at least 100 WPC into 4 OHMs. A $300 receiver will not be a great choice for these as they will reward you with better sound if you drive them with quality power. They seem to like Class A/B power as well. Tubes may not be the best choice for the P300 as I found they do like current and power. The Pass X250.8 I am using with them puts out 500 WPC into 4 OHMS but the first 25 watts is in class A.
When cranked up to dance levels, the Pass amp busts out of class A, evident by the meter that rocks up and down (usually pass meters do not move, unless you push them out of class A).
So yes, the P300 will want some power behind them to sound their best.
The most beautiful amp I have heard in my life is this Pass X250.8. I now prefer it to my old faves, the XA60.8 mono blocks. It has a more open sound, more spatial and with such a sweet tonality.
After a couple of weeks of 24/7 time on the new P300 I did notice a small change in sound from brand new. When out of the box the speakers seemed very full sounding and almost too warm. They were more direct and the soundstage was smaller than I had expected and hoped for. Keep in mind this was the first 10 minutes of use.
After a few days the speakers opened up quite a bit and lost the direct sound they had when fresh. They really started to provide a very wide soundstage and the bass became less pronounced (but was still very full and nice) which allowed the treble to sound extra sweet and even airy. Something I rarely see in a speaker of this cost, if ever. Yes, the P300 have a refined high end smooth as butter sound with a large wide soundstage along some 3 dimensional effects.
SETTING THEM UP
When I set them up I found they sounded best pulled out into the room.
The P300’s were placed in my 13X18 room in a way that allowed them to disappear and blend with the room perfectly. This meant they were pulled out about 3 1/2 feet from the wall behind them and 2 feet from the side walls. They were placed about 7 feet apart and I sat about 8 feet from them. My listening chair is about 3 1/2 feet from the back wall.
I preferred the P300 with very little toe in, so the tweeters fired behind my head. This brought forth the widest soundstage and best imaging performance from them in my space.
This placement allowed the P300 to vanish and provide a rich fluid effortless sound. These sounded like small high end very musical refined speakers. The imaging was rock solid, with vocals dead center and instruments had meat to them with body and fullness. This is so important if you want your music to sound musical rather than flat and lifeless.
I fired up “Punisher”, an album by Phoebe Bridgers.
Hardly an audiophile recording but I do not build these systems to listen to only very well recorded demo music. Some do, yes, but I prefer a system that shines with ALL music. I can not stand systems that only sound good with certain music, and to me, that is a waste of money. Why invest hard earned cash into a system that only sounds good with well recorded audiophile music? I never understood that.
In my 35 years of HiFi I have found that the more I spend on gear, the more specialized it seems to get. I mean, if a system costs $100-$500k it may only sound fantastic with well recorded audiophile recordings. This usually means boring music only, lol. Most very high end big dollar systems can not do rock, metal or other genres very well so this is why we often see these systems being demoed with vocals, jazz or specialized recordings. Some can and do well with various genres but most in the very high end range do not.
I once heard a system that cost a cool one million dollars. I wasn’t a fan of this system at all. It sounded huge, yes. Its sounded holographic, yes. It also sounded hard edged. A little too pristine and clean and focused on treble detail which made it aggressive. I couldn’t listen for more than 20 minutes and forget about playing anything but the best recordings. I never did understand that system nor would I have bought it for even 1/10th the cost.
MUSICAL bests ANALYTICAL for me ANY DAY!
It’s why I enjoy my Pass Labs amps and Deville Speakers. They do well with all music and sound like real flesh and blood music rather than hyper detailed presentations of instruments.
The P300 fits in this musical category as they are extremely musical and fluid. They sound like real emotional human music and offer up that body and flesh to the music that some speakers lack. I feel this is a speaker for the masses who want extremely great sound in a system, but do not want to spend thousands to get there. It’s for those who like ease of setup as the P300’s are an easy speaker to place and they will sound fantastic even in less than optimal rooms, just due to their design.
On axis or off, these P300’s sound wonderful.
WHAT ARE THE CONS?
At $1500 they must give up something to pricier designs, right? Well, yes there will always be comprise when lowering costs.
Compared to the Buchardt S400II these will not play as loud or with quite as much composure. They are not as all out refined sounding as the S400 MKII but they are very close. The sound signature is the same with those velvety mids, sweet treble and hefty bass but the P300 is a little smaller sounding and a touch more constrained vs the 400II.
Dynaudio Special 40
Compared to a Dynaudio Special 40, the P300 compare very favorably and the sound is simply different rather than better or worse. The Dynaudio will have more snap and pop up top, and be a bit more dynamic and punchy in the mids with a cleaner more extended top end. The Special 40 will not be as smooth or velvety as the P300 but honestly, I would take either and be happy. The Dynaudio S40 are a couple grand more in price than the P300 and both are fantastic speakers for small to medium rooms.
As I listened to the Punisher album in its entirety on the P300 I was hearing such a beautiful midrange as the vocals were sounding sublime, rich, and were projected a bit into the room (which I enjoy). The instrument separation and layering was not the best I have heard but the P300 did a respectable job here as well. We can not get $10k of performance from a $1500 box but we can get 80% of it.
“Garden Song” has a nice beat with holographic vocals and hidden details that you may or may not hear on some systems. When the male vocal comes in under Phoebe the P300 allows us to hear every detail in this voice that lay under Phoebe’s voice and that voice is full, fat and just sounds “right” to these ears.
In fact it does this very well and sounds more like a $3k speaker here. Some speakers present this song in a dark and muffled way, others are hard sounding and some, like the P300 and S400II bring forth the vocals with just the right amount of warmth and soul and a gentle separation of instruments rather than a jolting separation.
I recently invested in a subwoofer for my reference system. A REL S/510. This is the first sub (out of 4) that I have been able to implement into my space perfectly without issues.
Did I need it with the P300? Well, no.
If I wanted the lowest bass to be heard, down to 20HZ (which is rarely in music) the sub did add this to the P300’s, and it blended perfectly with them. The P300’s go low as is and I found them to not need the sub with 98% of music. I set up my sub to be invisible, like the speakers. It doesn’t boom, nor does it call attention to itself, ever. It is just there to open up the soundstage (yes, a quality sub can do many things for your sound) and lay a solid foundation to the music.
The S/510 did make the music sound better but it was not needed. In fact, the P300 put out more bass than my $20k reference speakers do. They are fantastic as is when placed in a small to medium room.
While I love my REL S510 with the Deville’s (MAGIC) and I will add a 2nd one this year, with the P300’s I almost preferred them without the sub.
That is pretty amazing for a $1500 speaker.
The P300 comes from Buchardt Audio and they are based in Denmark. The P300 is made in Indonesia and the Buchardt special editions are made in Denmark. While made in Indonesia the quality of the P300 is just as good as most speakers I have seen no matter where they were made. No flaws, no issues, no cheap outs. I can not say the same for some other brands in the $1k range that use ultra cheap parts.
The P300 appear to be quality but I would not expect less from Buchardt.
The reason these can be sold for $1500 is because there is no middleman here. No dealer network. No massive marketing plans.
These are sold only by Buchardt DIRECT so they pass the savings on to the consumer. If these were sold at a dealer my guess is that the P300 would be $2800 and the S400II would be closer to $4-5k.
WITH A $600 AMP
With the P300’s sounding so good with my reference gear how did they do with an integrated amp that sells for $600? An integrated that has a built in DAC? I am talking about this integrated amp from Emotiva that I was impressed with for the cost last year.
It’s not an exciting, exotic design nor does it use his quality parts. Even so, it’s got some grunt and power and it comes in at a low cost.
When hooked up to the P300’s the sound was still very nice and the Buchardt character remained. While the sound wasn’t nearly as smooth, refined or sweet as it was with the $20k Pass Labs combo, I would never expect this to be possible. What it showed me was that the P300’s sounded great with the Emotiva amp but they had some magic with the Pass Labs amp.
If budget doesn’t allow for a more exotic amp the perfect solution may just be from Buchardt themselves. They make an integrated amp for their speakers and this amp was matched to their speakers. I have not heard it but it seems like a no brainer and most likely offers up a brilliant sound. Buchardt even offers a discount on the integrated if you buy a pair of their speakers at the same time.
If you are looking for new speakers that sound supremely musical, are small, look amazing and do not cost thousands of dollars then you must look at the P300 by Buchardt. If you have been eyeballing the S400II but did not want to spend the $2100 that those cost then the P300 is a speaker you must check out.
It uses the same enclosure as the S400II, the same tweeter and waveguide and the same passive radiator on the back. It differs only in the woofer, the speaker binding posts and the crossover.
The P300 keep the same flavor of sound as the S400II. That sound is neutral to warm with a fullness to each voice and instrument due to the impressive bass these boxes push out (down to 37hz). The treble is sweet yet extended and somewhat open. These image very nicely as well with vocals dead center. While instrument separation is not at world class levels, these offer up just enough of a high end sound to make them spectacular buys.
I have not heard a speaker of this price sound this good, ever. This absolutely bests any speaker I have heard under $1k by a huge margin. There is a purity, a smoothness, a fluidity with the P300 that is usually reserved for speakers that cost 2-3x as much as these cost. Because there is no dealer network and no big marketing buys, these speakers are able to be sold for $1500 direct from Buchardt. This means you are getting more for your money.
I enjoyed the P300 with the Buchardt tripod stands as well as my Falcon Acoustics LS3 stands. They are small yet pack a mighty punch for small to medium rooms. They sound great off axis and are simple to set up in a space as they are not fussy about placement (too much).
These are a musical speaker, sound fantastic with almost any music you throw at them and can create a dance party in your room due to the bass performance. In small to medium rooms, a subwoofer is not needed. I listened to these mostly with my REL S510 turned off.
The Buchardt P300 are wonderful and may just be what you have been looking for if budget and sound quality is important to you.