I am a fan of so-called “augmented wide bander” speakers, by which I mean speakers that use a wide band driver for the majority of the audible frequency range, supplemented below with a woofer, and (sometimes) above with a tweeter. Such speakers have the benefits of wide-band drivers (namely, their dynamics and coherence) but without their major drawback (namely, limited frequency extension). An example of such a speaker is the Surreal Sound Fifth Row speaker; which I previously reviewed in these pages (http://dagogo.com/surreal-sound-fifth-row-speakers-review). I was thus intrigued when last year, while surfing the ‘net, I learned of a new augmented wide band speaker from a company called Bache Audio. I contacted Bache and spoke to the owner and designer, Belman. is originally from Russia but now living in Brooklyn, offered to bring the speakers to my home in NJ, for an audition.
Disclosure time: Over the course of the past year, Gregory brought a number of revisions to me, and I provided feedback about what I was hearing. The final product (the subject of the review) differs considerably from the first version I heard. I want to make clear that I have no financial stake in the company whatsoever, nor did I receive any compensation for providing feedback. I have provided feedback to other designers (though admittedly, never to this degree) simply because I enjoy helping manufacturers produce the best product they can (within the constraints of their budget, course). With that out of the way, let’s return to the review.
The Bache 001 is 46” tall, 11.5” wide, and 13” deep. The cabinet is made of MDF, is reasonably solid and well-braced, and covered with an attractive veneer (a variety of which are offered). The sides have a gentle slope to them; while this is presumably to minimize internal standing waves, it has the added benefit of improving their aesthetics as well. I find them attractive to the eye, as did most visitors to my room. The speaker has a downward-firing woofer (more on that below) and comes with an integrated base which is the full width and depth of the speaker, above which the speaker proper is raised approximately 1.5”. The base has padded footers which makes positioning the speaker considerably easier. It does not have a provision for spikes.
The Bache 001 is a three-way design, the “heart” of which is the Tangband W8-1772; this is also used the Fifth Row speaker, to which I referred above. Like many wide-band drivers, the W8-1772 has a whizzer cone to extend its high frequency range. For reasons I will address below, Gregory modifies the Tangband by removing the whizzer cone, an approach also used by Tommy Horning with his Lowther-based designs. According to the Tangband website, the 8” W8-1772 has the following features:
• A sturdy cast frame
• Multiple-element neodymium magnet system
• Paper cone
• Cloth half-roll surround
• A precisely machined integral plug which prevents phase cancellations and improves high frequency extension and dispersion.
• An underhung 1-1/2″ voice coil which is said to reduce second and third harmonic distortion while still delivering high efficiency (95 dB 1W/1m ) and 3 mm of Xmax.
Gregory uses the modified Tangband with a second order (i.e., 12 dB/octave) high-pass crossover at 80 Hz (to prevent over-excursion at low frequencies) but without a low pass filter, opting instead to use the natural roll-off of the whizzer cone-less Tangband in the upper frequencies.
Removing the whizzer cone necessitates the use of a dedicated tweeter, for which Gregory chose the Fostex FT-96 EX-2. This is a Limited Edition, “high-end” version of the FT-96H. The FT-96 EX-2 is not distributed in the United States, and Gregory had to order them directly from Japan. This driver utilizes an aluminum diaphragm, copper-coated pole piece, alnico magnet, brass at the horn opening, and gold-coated copper terminals. Gregory uses the tweeter with a 4th order (i.e., 24 dB/octave) high pass crossover at 10 kHz. It is flush mounted above the Tangband. Both drivers can be covered with a magnetically-attached grill, though I listened without the grill for the entirety of the review.
The 001 comes in two versions, the passive 001 PB and the active 001 AB. The 001 PB uses a 10” Aurum Cantus AC250/75C2C woofer, which has a non-woven carbon fiber sandwich cone, and a copper-plated flat aluminum wire 3″ voice coil which is said to provide high efficiency and excellent power handling. The 001AB uses a 8” Vifa-NE265-8 woofer. Both woofers are downward-firing, and work in conjunction with a rear-facing port. In the 001 AB the woofer is powered by a built-in “BASH” (Bridged Amplifier Switching Hybrid) amplifier. (The BASH is claimed to be a hybrid of class AB and class D.) Gregory replaces the BASH amp mounting plate with one of his design, thereby simplifying connectivity and adjustment (see below), and also improving its appearance (though of course, being on the back of the speaker, it is not visible when listening). I listened to, and will comment on, both models.
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