Børresen, Aavik, Ansuz | AXPONA 2019

AXPONA 2019 Show Coverage brought to you by the LSA Group

I’ve been telling folks for about 12 months what an excellent emerging brand Børresen is.  At AXPONA we were finally able to hear the flagship speaker, the Borresen 05.  It was worth the wait.  Michael Borresen and Lars Kristensen were both on hand and, as usual, Lars was spinning a variety of Compact Discs on a Naim CD player feeding his Aavik preamp/DAC.

At 165 pounds a piece the 05 towers sounded magnificent.  These speakers have furniture grade dark wood cabinets with a gorgeous grain structure and nice texture and include some triangular vents on the side with modern metal work.  Sleek and tall, I could see these fitting in quite well into quite a number of decors.  The frequency response is wide from 25 hz to 50 khz. Impedance is greater than 5 ohms and they are quite sensitive at 90 db.  The cabinet is 50 inches high, 23 inches deep, and a foot wide.  And they sound bigger than they are.

The Borresen speakers have always impressed me as being ultra-fast and very dynamic.  Listening to Steely Dan, I heard a very clear guitar and very fast transients.  The Borresen sound is clarity and openness but with a strong bass foundation.  On one track, the 94db efficient tweeter created a large, lifelike saxophone with gobs of presence on a jazz track.  The piano was crystal clear and real.  This was a sound I could easily live with.

But perhaps the most impressive cut was the Joe Satriani track S.M.F.  Joe’s virtuoso guitar work sounded, well, glorious.  Guitar tone was spot-on.  Bass notes felt alive.  There was great bass slam.  Drums were big and dynamic.  This was very natural sound and a Top Five room for me in terms of sonics.  I made three trips to the room and came away with a smile each time.

How do Michael and Lars get to this level of dynamics and clarity?  Technology in two key areas: driver construction and their magnet system.  The drivers use a membrane that weighs a fraction of a gram, in the case of the tweeter, just 1/100th of a gram.  The thermal capability of the tweeter is improved to better than that of aluminum. In fact, the ribbon tweeter is so super thin that, according to Michael, it acts essentially as an electrostatic driver.  The midrange cones use carbon for a cone that is so stiff that Michael says he can stand on it.  The magnets create a 1.2 Tesla field for the lowest distortion and highest accuracy.  Michael’s execution for a state-of-the-art driver was to take out the iron but add copper which makes the magnetic system more rigid for a near-perfect pistonic action on the driver.  It also creates a better environment for heat dissipation.  A pair of the 05s retails for $120,000 but it sounds that good too.

All the cables and line conditioners were from sister company Ansuz.  But the Naim was also just sending the bits to an Aavik C-300 preamp and DAC combination.  The Aavik conversion was the secret weapon for Lars.  Not unlike the Gryphon room, CD here was also spectacular.  The C-300 is especially interesting as it has separate PCM and DSD DAC signal paths.  There are RCA and XLR inputs and the volume control is realized with a microprocessor-controlled resistor-ladder (R2R) circuit.  There is also a phono circuit with 70 db of gain and load adjustable from 50 ohms to 5,000 ohms.

There were two Aavik P-300 mono power amplifiers which use 150 watt efficient Class A technology.  They have an incredible damping factor of 16,000.  A very cool joystick-like front button toggles between inputs and off/on status.  The Danish design here is really special and complementary to the loudspeakers.  Total gain is 28 db.  Circuit design is described by the firm,

The Aavik P-300 has an ultra short and simple signal circuit design, where all gain and feedback is performed by a single transistor pair. This short signal path gives the Aavik P-300 a unique gain structure with extremely low distortion and a more than 90-degree phase margin for absolute amplifier stability.

Add in some nicely transparent cables from Ansuz, establish a low noise power foundation with their DTC products, and you have an ensemble that produced a genuinely dynamic and lifelike sound.  I went back on Sunday and heard some classical cuts from Lars.  A beautiful presentation of multiple instruments playing in a real space.  I am hoping I can get a set of these speakers in for review.  If you have the means, they are a must audition.  I remain convinced that Borresen is the speaker brand to watch over the next few years.

AXPONA 2019 Show Coverage brought to you by Core Power Technologies