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Bache Audio 001 Loudspeaker Review

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System Set-Up

Speaker placement in my large room is generally straightforward, and such was the case with the Bache Audio speakers. With only minor adjustments, they ended up (with all measurements taken from the middle of the face tweeter) 76” from the side walls, 159” from the rear wall, 108” apart (i.e., tweeter to tweeter), and 120” from the listening position. They seem to have a fairly wide dispersion, as they were not overly sensitive to toe-in, and sounded pretty good when listened to off-center. I preferred them aimed just outside my shoulders, but of course this is dependent on room acoustics and listener preferences. Although I did not test this directly, my sense is that the downward-firing woofer will make setup easier in small rooms, as compared to speakers with side-firing woofers.

Gregory has wired the speakers so as to make the connections as simple as possible. A single set of interconnects ran from my Miracle Audio Divinitive preamp to my amps (either the Tube Distinctions Soul hybrid monoblocks, or the Merrill Audio Veritas monoblocks), which then connected by speaker wire to the inputs on the speaker. (As noted above, Gregory’s custom plate removes all extraneous connections, including line-level inputs). The signal is then split internally with one branch going to the BASH amp’s active crossover (whence to the BASH amp, and on to the woofer), the other branch going to the internal passive crossover (whence to the Tangband and Fostex). Thus, setup requires only one set of interconnects and one set of speaker wires, precisely the same as for any passive speaker. It should be noted that because the crossover is before the BASH amplifier, the amp connects directly to the woofer: I previously wrote about the benefits of such a configuration (see

The Bache 001 AB has two adjustments, one for woofer gain, the other for woofer cross-over point. The fourth order (i.e., -24 db/octave) crossover is adjustable between 50-150 Hz; I used it at the 12 O’Clock position — about 100 Hz — which seemed to work the best. I adjusted the woofer gain so as to blend optimally with the upper bass from the Tangband; too little and the music became thin, too much and it became boomy. Although the BASH amp puts out considerable power, the low frequency output of the speaker is limited (as is the case for all speakers) by the internal cabinet volume, the port dimensions, and the woofer’s excursion limits. Accordingly, one must exercise restraint in setting the gain on the 001AB, so as to not overload the speakers.
The passive 001 AP version has a second order (i.e., 12 dB/octave) high pass filter at 120 Hz. Neither the cross over point nor woofer gain are adjustable.

The Bache 001 is of reasonably high sensitivity; the 001 PB is rated at 91 dB, the 001AB at 95 dB. As noted above, I drove the speakers alternately with my Tube Distinctions Soul amos and with the Merrill Audio Veritas amps. The preamp was the Miracle Audio Divinitive (review in progress); the digital sources were a Mac Mini running Channel D Pure Vinyl or a modified Sony CD Player used as a transport, both feeding either a Lynx Hilo DAC (, a PS Audio Direct Stream DAC (in for evaluation), an Aqua La Scala DAC (review in progress), or a Meitner MA-1 (which Merrill Wettasinghe was kind enough to bring over on a number of occasions).


Though the sound of an “augmented widebander” speaker is a function of all its parts (i.e., drivers, cabinet, cross-over), the widebander has the most significant contribution. Speaker manufacturers who use wideband drivers do so because such drivers tend to be “punchy” and coherent; their downside however is that they often have annoying peaks, and/or other colorations. In the time I spent with the Surreal Sound 5th Row speakers, I found the Tangband W8-1772 to be devoid of annoying peaks (i.e., it did not “shout”), though it did have a bit of a “kazoo-like” coloration. Moreover, although the Tangband W8-1772 is claimed to be relatively flat to 20kHz, it clearly lacks the extension and “air” of a dedicated woofer. (Surreal Sound now offers a version in which the Tangband is augmented on top with a Heil tweeter.) Last, like all widebanders, the W8-1772 lacks powerful and deep bass. Gregory has done an admirable job of eliminating or bypassing the Tangband’s weaknesses, while retaining its strong points.

By eliminating the whizzer cone, the kazoo-like coloration is eliminated. Gone, and happily forgotten. Thankfully, the modified driver retains all that was good about it – – most notably, its transient response. Music is about subtle changes in texture, tone and shading; for a speaker to reproduce these subtleties (often called microdynamics), it must be “fast,” which equates to quick transient response. For me personally, this is a make-it-or-break-it quality, one on which most modern speakers fail (often miserably). The Tangband-based Bache Audio speak distinguishes itself in this regard, with both human voice and instruments. “Neutral” is a term used often — in fact, far too often — by reviewers. Virtually all drivers have a “flavor” — which is in fact a coloration — and the Tangband is no exception. The Tangband W8-1772s errs slightly to the warm side, though only a bit, adding a bit of a “glow” to the sound. Importantly, despite being fairly detailed, it is neither analytical nor fatiguing. Overall, the sound is crisp, clear, and refreshing, but never grating.

In a typical 3-way speaker, the crossover point between the midrange and tweeter is typically between 1 and 2 kHz, which is smack-dab in the region to which our ear is most sensitive. No matter how well designed a crossover might be, the tweeter and midrange drivers invariably differ in their dispersion characteristics, transient response, and distortion characteristics. Making matters worse, the crossover often introduces phase shifts. Although these differences are often not recognized per se (except in especially poor implementations), they become apparent when they are absent, as they are in a speaker based on a wideband driver. As implemented in the Bache Audio speakers, the Tangband covers the range from about 100 Hz to about 10,000, or almost seven octaves. Not surprisingly, they are superbly coherent. As a result, music has a wholeness — or oneness, if you prefer — that makes it seem more lifelike. One has a sense of being more relaxed while listening, a trait I find very desirable in a speaker. Not surprisingly, instruments that span many octaves — like the piano — are especially well served, yet all instruments benefit.

Removing the whizzer cone necessitated the addition of a tweeter for the upper frequencies. Gregory chose a high-quality, high-efficiency Fostex tweeter. In an effort to let the Tangband run as unimpeded as possible, he opted to forego a low-pass filter on the Tangband, using instead its natural roll-off. The transition from Tangband to Fostex is smooth, aided no doubt by the high crossover point (approximately 10k Hz). Because of the high crossover point, the Fostex is in some respects more a supertweeter than a conventional tweeter, as most of the high frequencies are delivered by the Tangband. The Fostex adds the last octave or so, which is mostly heard as air and higher harmonics, with the Tangband handling the fundamentals. The Fostex handles this role admirably. I am quite sensitive to high frequency distortion, and find far too many tweeters unpleasant, almost painful. Such was never the case with Fostex. It had surprisingly little distortion, and certainly no overt break-up, even at high(er) volumes. Horns in particular were extremely well served, and cymbals sounded like the real, full-bodied instruments they are, rather than the 2-dimensional facsimiles I have heard from many other speakers. Based on my experience with the Surreal Sound speaker, the whizzer-less Tangband + Fostex has considerably greater extension than the stock Tangband, and does a far better job with high frequencies. All-in-all, the Fostex FT-96 EX-2 is an excellent tweeter, that is well implemented in the Bache 001.


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