Give Up on Bacch?

I have sitting next to me a little suitcase with the Bacch4Mac hardware.  Implementation is scheduled for Monday, next week but I may return it before then.  I thought I would seek advice before pulling the trigger.  Theoretica gives one 14 days from shipping to return for a refund less a $200 restocking fee.  The 14 days is up Monday.  Why the cold feet?  First, I will not have the opportunity to listen to the Bacch system in my home before the return period expires.  Second, I was underwhelmed at the Theoretica room demo at Axpona.  Third, I have a modded Peachtree Gan1 that requires a coax input.  I will have to spend an additional $1000 to get that capability with the Bacch system.  Fourth, at Axpona the sweetspot was narrow  and impractical (2 seats, one behind the other).

It will cost me a $200 restocking fee and shipping to return the Bacch system.  I hate to do that, not because of the cost, but because I won't have the opportunity to hear it in my home.  What do you think?

Ag insider logo xs@2xtreepmeyer

I went in the room when Edgar was demonstrating. I never  did the demo as there were a few waiting. Little different with the camera following your head movements. 
People  that have it love it so maybe ask for more time if you have it already. They want to sell units I am sure they will be flexible. 

My two cents: this technology is in the early stages. It costs more now and will probably get better. I'd just return it and see what evolves. 

Yes I would talk to them . They scheduled the implementation for Monday so they should actually give you at least a week to listen to it. I installed the u-BACCH for Windows on my system and enjoy it immensely. Yes, it is essentially a one person listening position so when I have company I adjust the width of the presentation because even though two listeners sitting side by side don’t hear what a single listener does the software adds a liveliness to the music that wasn’t there before. With u-BACCH I am able to easily engage or disengage it to assess what it is or is not doing.

I sat in the "sweet spot" at the Axpona demo for this product.  It sounded fine, and "different" but also seemed very gimmicky overall.  They played some stuff that had a bunch of flying insect sound effects and again, it was cool in the same way that Dolby Digital (AC-3) was in the early days of home theater, when discrete surround channels were implemented, but (to me, at least) it didn't make music more enjoyable.'

This might be due to the hype effect, wherein everyone says something is the cat's PJs and my expectations were too high.

It’s hard to advise because the finance is part of the equation.  If you are Jeff Bezos than you won’t notice the $200.  If you are like the rest of us then the dilemma of being out the $200 versus the total cost for a component that you may have lingering doubts about is a real one.

  I would keep it and give it a year.  Odds are that it’s well made and will provide a lot of satisfaction.  It’s possible that if it doesn’t quite get there for you, they might do a software update sometime that might change something for the better 

@treepmeyer It sounds like you have many hesitations but are wanting to be convinced. You should follow your instinct and return it, perhaps with the intent to revisit it at a later date. You can also ask Edgar to extend the trial period, which he may be amenable to. 

I was also in the room at AXPONA and was underwhelmed, but I have also heard both the BacchForMac and the Bacch-SP in a friend’s very high end (over $1MM) system with really great results. My consensus is that it basically eliminates the room, but it is really hard to get the staging to sound realistic, even if the individual performers sound  clearer with more realistic presence. In the system I’m familiar with, when the Bacch is enabled, the stage depth flattens a bit, and the stage widens to the point where some performers are playing way off to the sides, leaving very big gaps between each of them. The end result was music that sounds and feels less cohesive and simply a very impressive sum of its parts. 

That said, it is obvious that, especially while I was playing with its settings, the presentation it delivered is very configurable. In this case, it is exactly what my friend wanted. It became clear to me that while the intent of the software is to replicate and restore what the recording and mastering engineers intended, the levels of customization allow for a very personalized result which may not be “accurate” in its presentation. 

I have heard many well-designed systems that sound as good or better without the Bacch, but I’ve also sound a few well-designed systems that sound really good with it. YMMV, and you need the time to properly evaluate it, so make sure you have that. 

@blisshifi Yes, I do want to be convinced and so my disappointment was confounded. 

I spoke with Edgar this morning (I don't know where he finds time for his day-job at Princeton).  He said the trial period runs 14 days from installation, not the ship date although that's what the website says.  In any event I will install the Bacch system and have enough time to evaluate it.  I'll post my thoughts afterwards.  

Thanks for all the comments and advice.

Looking forward to your thoughts and glad you have the time to evaluate.  

@treepmeyer, when I’d read the previous comments from the ’who’s going to Axpona’ forum post-show, there was the impression of the need to be ’sweet spotted’ due to the camera and the ear mics.....

I’ll not surmise or comment further, as it would seem beneficial to you to have your in-home experiences as free of any conceptions from ’outliers’, esp. ones’ that didn’t attend the show and the intro to the system.

It does present a potential to achieve more ’stable and fixed point localizing’ of players in recordings, which is a leap forward for all. The entry fee does limit it to whomever has the means to apply it to their equipment, which does hint loudly that it ought to as du jour as possible....

Hope the rabbit in their hats contains a coax adapter to make the install go better....

Note that the players in studio recordings are only "standing" wherever the mixing engineer put them. In live recordings it's the same thing. 

The Bacch trial period starts ONLY after you have the setup session with Edgar.

Almost nobody returns it after hearing it in their system, but there’s no questions asked.

I’m surprised you didn’t hear a difference at Axpona given that almost all the other feedback was the opposite, but I’m not implying you’re deaf or anything. It actually brings up a good point that addresses the more common feedback/concern that it makes TOO much of a difference and may be a "gimmick".

I’ll explain...the demo at Axpona was getting 14 db of crosstalk cancellation on virtually everyone that got calibrated. That is clearly audible (assuming someone doesn’t have hearing damage), but MAY not reveal itself in every recording at every spot you may A/B click bypass.

The issue is that people are now hearing recordings in true stereo like never before. This could mean drastic changes or very little based on how the song was mastered and when in the song you decide to A/B bypass test. For example, if you test certain recordings where there are tons of spatial cues intended and mastered, then you can hear drastic differences that make people think it’s a "gimmick" because they’ve never heard these cues as precisely (or at all before).

On the flip side, you may not hear much of a change if there aren’t spatial cues included in the recording. One thing to remember is that the Bacch filter ignores everything that is recorded mono, so certain bass and vocals in parts of a song or the entire song may have little to no stereo information. That’s actually one of the marvels of the Bacch that separated it from previous attempts to eliminate crosstalk and ended up brute force impacting material it shouldn’t touch.

Thus, whether you hear too much or too little a isn’t the fault of the’s something you need to take up with the recording engineer where you are just now hearing more of what was included or not included in his mix.

One other important thing to note is that the demo at Axpona DIDN’T A/B bypass test the new ORC (optimal room correction) which makes an even bigger difference on every recording because that impacts frequency response. Unless specifically asked, Edgar didn’t A/B test the ORC because people were already blown away by the spatial cues alone and staying in the chair 30 minutes at a time. Thus, further testing of ORC was done strictly by request.

I guarantee when you get your B4M setup with Edgar, you will not only hear a will see a huge measurable difference as well with ORC. You don’t see Bacch’s on the used market for a reason and almost nobody returns it after hearing it on their own system. Nevertheless, there’s no questions asked if you want to return it, so don’t feel pressure... but make sure you understand why you may or may not hear a difference on a specific recordings... and hear it first in your system with Edgar giving you plenty more attention than he can at a A/B testing the ORC too.

Then, feel free to come back and share your impressions. I have a Whatsapp group of dozens of owners who are constantly sharing recordings and feedback on measurements that help them get better sound quality. I’ll be happy to add you to the group and learn of many other side benefits these in-ear measurements provide that no other product does. We’ve found many other uses and benefits that are constantly shared.

@audiophilejunkey Check the return policy footnote on the Theoretica Bacch4Mac Web page.  It states in black and white that the return window is 14 days from their ship date.  That being said, Edgar readily gave me 14 days from implementation.

I suspect that my experience at Axpona was unfortunate.  I say that because on Friday I got to the Theoretica room about 11am.  I was only there a few minutes when Edgar had to leave to give a presentation downstairs.  I don't know who was left minding the shop, but there were no a/b demos or individual calibrations.  Judging from the comments above I think that I unfortunately missed the more revealing demo Edgar was doing.  I wish I'd known as I would have come back.

@treepmeyer ok I'll have Edgar look at that text... That's not correct and has never been the case in practice.  I guess nobody noticed before because returns weren't an issue and he usually gets you setup so soon after shipment. 

With Axpona and recent demand, he's a few days behind, but it also looks like you didn't get a dedicated demo or calibration at Axpona which makes more sense now. 

He did leave the room to do a presentation, so it's unfortunate you couldn't attend that and got a limited demo.  However, I have his full presentation recorded on my channel and you'll get a full install and demo exclusively with him and on your system soon. Enjoy!

Here's a link to the video of Edgar's presentation you referenced...I think you and others may find it helpful to better understanding why and how the Bacch works.  


Here's what I do when faced wtih a decision like this.

Flip a coin and, in your head, tell yourself that you're gonna do whatever the coin said to do.  Live with that decision for 24 hours.

If it's the wrong decision, you'll know it.  It'll nag at you.  If you feel a sense of relief, the coin made the right decision for you.

When I'm on tenterhooks about a decision like this, the real hurdle for me is the fact that no decision has been made.  My brain just bounces around and around the implications of two different sets of outcomes and never has a chance to think through a single scenario.  Once a decision is made, regardless of whether it's the right one, I seem able to finally focus and organize the facts. It's a case of an emotional state affecting cognitives.  Once you make a decision, the emotional subext can change dramatically.

Works for me every time.  YMMV, but it's worth a try.  Let me know if this works, if you do.

Unrelated: Why would you have to "schedule an implementation" for this device?  In fact, what is it about this "implementation" that distinguishes it from the usual unboxing, connection, and configuration chores?

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@cundare2 I thought your post was funny. 

Seriously, I'll let my ears decide.  If the audio experience (not necessarily the SQ) is as reported I will keep it.  The narrowness and longitudinal shape of the sweetspot is a nagging problem, but one I was aware of beforehand.  I want my wife to have the same experience, although she graciously said not to worry about her.  We'll see.

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So it sounds like you’ve made your decision, to keep the unit for now & eat the $200 if you have to?

I evaluated similar technologies at length back in the 90s, when I was a tech journalist & consultant, and ultimately found those precursors to work best with (and sometimes ONLY with) beamy speakers positioned to optimize nearfield response. Not surprisingly, the quality of the experience varied greatly. The two systems that gave me the best results were ESL-57s and a Sonigistix planar-magnetic desktop system -- for just those reasons.  Obviously, I was already living with a narrow sweet spot.

This technology is still interesting to me today, and earlier this year, while actually considering a purchase, I researched in depth the B-SP’s underlying design concept and Theoretica’s claims. What I found was that, although details have changed, the fundamental idea remains the same.

Back in the day, installation meant at most measuring the filtering characterics of each listener’s pinna and/or optimizing speaker positioning to mitigate unwanted reflections. Straightforward, but sometimes time-consuming.

So, not having had a hands-on opportunity myself, I had to ask: how elaborate are these "implementation" procedures you’re talking about? And how hard is it to fine-tune this implmentation to provide satisfactory results?

Given that so many people have had such different experiences with Theoretica’s purifiers, I’m eager to learn what you find with your particular speakers.

@OP .....I'm as curious to read your observations as @cundare2 , but have no dog nor wallet in this stage of your conundrum....

Any experiment generally has a cost.  Considering the overall $'s involved, think of it as getting to drive an F1 McLaren for 2 weeks.... 🤷‍♂️👍😎

...we'll certainly have a good idea of where you'll Be in that time.... LOL*

Man, this has been painful.  Installation was Monday and Edgar himself called me.  We didn't get far because a) my Peachtree Gan1 requires a coax which the RME supplied with the Bacch system does not support.  I have an old analog HK Signature power amp, but that was no good either because the Bacch wants to output balanced.  No go.

b) Edgar assumes that his customer will reside in the Apple universe.  I do not.  I made a decision  45 years ago not to succumb to Apple's nanny state.  I maintain that stance.  The practical consequence is that I do not have an iPad or iPhone to control the Mac Mini, nor do I have a suitable keyboard. 

Edgar said that he doesn't know anything about Android and that I am on my own,, although he said there are apps that may be helpful.  I ordered a cheap Monoprice xlr to rca interconnect and agreed to reschedule the install.

Where to begin?  First, I would have to sell my Ric Schultz-modded Peachtree  Gan1 that I like very much.  Either that or spend $1000 just for the coax interconnect.

Second, I guess I have to buy an Apple keyboard just for the setup.

Third, yes, there are apps for Android devices to control Mac Mini's remotely, but the best ones cost $30/month.  There are other options, but you need to be computer savvy.  I'm not an idiot, but this is distinctly unpleasant.  I am over my head.

I wanted to be convinced to keep the Bacch4Mac system, but I'm afraid that there are too many hurdles.  I will unfortunately not get to implementation. 

Not much of a report.  Sorry.  I'm thoroughly bummed.

Audiophile know thyself is my motto - you seem very self aware and that is always good. Best to you in your chase of better sound

The Bacch4Mac is up and running, sort of, but I need some more advice.  First, though, I'd like to make clear the Edgar is a pleasure to work with.  He is patient and, of course, very knowledgeable.

I'll keep it and explain the pros and cons for me later, but because I am going to keep it there are some consequent choices to be made.  First, I had to swap out my modded Gan1 power dac for an old HK Signature power amp.  I could either upgrade the Babyface Pro interface for $1100 to get a coax out that the Gan1 requires.  Alternatively, I could sell or repurpose the Gan1 and buy a power amp that supports an xlr input from the Babyface pro.  I have in mind Orchard Starcrimson monoblocks.  TMR has a used pair for $1500.  I like the modded Gan1 very much but am open to an alternative.  However, I have no experience with other power amps.

Second, I had to disconnect my sub  as the Babyface pro has no sub-out.  I really need the sub as the speakers are Spendor SP3/5r2 (newer version of ls3/5a).  Edgar said I could route the speakers through the sub using its high-pass filter, but this would be suboptimal because of the crossover: having a digital crossover integrated with the Bacch dsp would be better.  The Babyface pro upgrade mentioned above would allow me to integrate the sub with the dsp digital crossover.

Thus, the $1100 Babyface pro upgrade would allow me to keep the Gan1 and better integrate the sub.  Is it worth it?  Is the sub's high-pass filter sufficient?  Maybe I should take this opportunity to try another power amp and put the $1100 toward that end.

Your thoughts would be helpful.  Edgar's solution is simple: just upgrade the Babyface pro.  End of story.  However, I'm not sure.  I really could use a dealer to work with and advise me.  That's not the role Edgar wants to play, nor should he.

There are other issues the Bacch implementation prompts, such as the streamer, the dac and the webcam.  But I'll post about them later.  And then there are  my initial impressions of sound quality.  Like just about everything concerned with the Bacch, the answer is complicated.  More later.  Thanks.

It sounds like a big pain in the ass. What for? Life is complicated enough. 

Interesting story -- my two cents is that for the costs and complications involved, I'd want to be completely blown away by the improvement in sound quality.  I'm not hearing that vibe from you....

I have hesitated to comment on the effect of the Bacch system on "sound quality" because I'm not sure what I'm hearing,  or if I'm striving to hear what I think I am supposed to hear.  Or if my ears are just too new to this sound to discern and process it.  I'll try to be more clear.  Edgar steered me to an article he published in The Absolute Sound  recently:

Here is a crucial part:  "Spatial music is music in which the spatial aspect of sound—the perceived location, extent, and movements of sound sources in surrounding space—is more or less equal in stature to the traditional aspects, or elements, of music—pitch, timbre, texture, volume/dynamics, attack/duration/decay, melody, rhythm, and form. We shall call this traditional aspect of music canonical and contrast it with the spatial."  Until now I thought of sound quality as the traditional aspects plus imaging and soundstage.   The later two are spacial, to be sure, but Edgar defines spacial sound with seven terms, such as reverb, envelopment and depth/proximity.  Bacch leaves the traditional aspects alone and focuses on the seven aspects of spacial sound.

So, as I started listening to music played through the Bacch system I was trying to identify and evaluate these seven aspects of spacial sound.  I didn't get far, but I fully admit that the sound may have been there but I didn't know how to discern what I was listening to.

My initial impression is that the spacial effects are highly dependent on the quality of the recording.   Most of the tracks I listened to didn't sound different (to be sure, I did not A/B the tracks although I believe Bacch can be toggled on and off).  Tracks from the Gotan Project (Argentine tango) was a striking exception.  I believe I was hearing spacial segregation, motion and extension/resolution although I can't be sure at this point.  It's just too new to me.

Was I hearing all these things Edgar said to look for, or did I just want to hear them?  I don't know,  but for me at least sticking with Bacch will lead down a long learning curve.  Worth it?  Maybe.

Choueiri did not invent acoustics...Even if he is a genius...And he is... Reading his articles...😊

His filters gave us to perceive what i already learned to perceive in my own room experiments about spatial qualities...( but i could not and cannot eliminate completely crosstalk mechanically even if i tried 😁)

Reverberation is key, listener envelopment (LV) and source sound auditory width (ASW) are for exemple factors about spatial qualities most people who never played with acoustics of their system/room had no perception because they dont had the concept.... We cannot perceive clearly what we had no concept for before the perception.

And the BACCH filters cannot replace our room acoustics or make a bad recording greater about all acoustics aspects which were never recorded appropriately to begin with ...

I dont have the BACCH filters myself nor did i ever heard them but because i experimented 2 years non stop with my room all aspects of sound described by Choueiri make perfect sense to me when i read his article..

Most audiophiles know only superficial aspects of sound : imaging and soundstage which are anyway  only external manifestation of these 14 acoustics qualities  under controls, spatial and non spatial one...


@mahgister What you write is an affirmation that Edgar is on the right track and that investing time, money and effort to train my ears (my brain, actually) is worth it.  It was a bit of a shock to realize that a conceptual framework, new vocabulary and experience applying both are necessary for perception.

@mahgister What you write is an affirmation that Edgar is on the right track and that investing time, money and effort to train my ears (my brain, actually) is worth it.  It was a bit of a shock to realize that a conceptual framework, new vocabulary and experience applying both are necessary for perception.



Yes it is what i claim...

Your system/room/ears/brain must be tuned...

Together and each one ...

It is a process not a purchase...

And if it may comfort you the truth is BEFORE  my two years acoustics experiments i had no clue about sound.... As most audiophile objectivist as subjectivist one i was lost and i did not even know it ... ...

 Acoustics rules audio experience and design . Period.


 Takes all easy one week at a time and be relax and go on slowly at your own learning speed...