Børresen, Aavik, and Ansuz

No hyperbole, no exaggeration: This morning, a pair of Danish speakers made me cry. Not mainly because of the hole they'd be burning in my meager finances if I actually shelled out the $100,000 needed to own them, but because of the emotions they evoked . . . without even seeming to break a sweat.

What's extra crazy is that the song that made my eyes well up wasn't some audiophile chestnut. In fact, by today's standards, the 1964 recording leaves lots to be desired. The music was "And I Love Her" by the Beatles, streamed from Qobuz, and the speakers were a pair of just-launched, deceptively diminutive Børresen M1 standmounts. Eyeballing them, I'd estimate that the handsome Danes are around 11" tall, measure barely 8" wide, and have dramatically curved side walls perhaps 12" deep. Their size proved immaterial, however.

Driven by a gorgeous-looking $70,000 Aavik I-880 integrated amplifier—200Wpc, class-A through the whole power range—the M1s produced unadulterated audio magic to the point where I half-stuttered, under my breath, "This is ridiculous."

Like everyone and their mother, I must've heard the Beatles track hundreds of times—a sweet, simplistic McCartney ditty, lovely but hardly Bach. I'd never heard it like this, though. My ears registered diaphanous acoustic-guitar strings. Crystal-clear claves whose transients arrived at the listening position with a speed that quickened the pulse and delighted the soul. A vocal that had plenty of body and yet also seemed see-through. All on a soundstage that, in my experience, has precious few equals.

It was a strange and sobering thought that even the band itself had never heard their music played back at this level; this level didn't remotely exist in those days.

(If it matters, and it probably does, the streamer was an Aavik S-580 fed into a D-588 DAC. They each retail for $25,200. The cabling was all Ansuz.)

Obviously, I like hi-fi. I love being at hi-fi shows and hearing what's new, or new-to-me, and I can truly appreciate 70%, 80% of what I hear. Easily half of the gear enthuses me. But this . . . this was different. This was revelatory.

There's a tale here of great engineering prowess (thank you Michael Børresen); of new ribbon technologies; of custom-printed zirconium driver baskets that cost $3000 to manufacture; of 450 grams of pure silver per channel; of titanium voice coils that run circles around the aluminum competition. But all of that is academic, at least for now, because all that stuff engages the brain and not the heart. And right now, I'm still eager to hold on to (and process) the emotions that this incredible rig stirred in me.

georgehifi's picture

A stand mount two way for $100,000usd!!!!!!!!!!
Now that's a "status purchase" if ever I saw one.

Cheers George

partain's picture

...of letters to Penthouse .

remlab's picture

And speaking of cry, what about that crazy cryogenic treatment?

doug s.'s picture

listen to a pair of piega 411's, at 1/10th the cost, and get back to us...
- coax ribbon >450hz
- 90db efficient at 1w/1m
- bass to 35hz
(you can translate to english)

you may now be crying for joy, that you can have sonic bliss at a still extremely expensive cost, but at least not totally absurd. have i heard the 411's? no, but i have a pair of ~20 year old p5 mkii ltd's, 2 generations (or 3?) back that are still fantastic to this day.

georgehifi's picture

Wow!! they look the goods, that's a ribbon tweeter surrounded by a ribbon mid, two way ribbon down to 450hz (would you call that concentric) then the bass driver unit for below 450hz!!!
Yes if worked out well far better proposition at 1/10 of the price.

Cheers George

Daverich's picture

As a point of reference, that amount of silver is worth a little over $300 at today’s prices.

noamgeller's picture

For every 10,000 people who shake their head with disbelief at a 100,000$ bookshelf,
There is 1 person who will buy it without a second thought. In our world this translate to good business...

georgehifi's picture

"There is 1 person who will buy it without a second thought."

More fool that guy, he's the only "status buyer"? Surely not.

Cheers George

wctampa's picture

I was there.. listen for yourself if you get the chance. You won't be sorry. Still thinking about the experience days later. Horizon expanding.

RvB's picture

You're not alone. And to the naysayers: the proof of the pudding will be in the listening. I hope you get a chance.

georgehifi's picture

For $100K usd, it should fulfill all your audio desires for grand scale listening at big levels, from top to the very bottom???

Physical impossibility they're passive and only 11" tall, they would need some serious EQ altering, and then wouldn't go above a whisper before distorting.

I doubt it could very much, and so would your pocket!

Cheers George