Aavik Acoustics U-380 integrated amplifier

Finally—a way to get a handle on the sound of Aavik Acoustics electronics. I'd heard the Danish-made components many times at shows, but always in the context of Ansuz Acoustics cables and Børresen Acoustics loudspeakers. As much as the threesome was inevitable—all three companies are owned by Michael Børresen, Lars Kristensen, and a third shareholder—there was no way to determine the unique sound of each component in the mix.

Not that I hadn't tried. Reporting from the 2019 High End show in Munich, I noted the distinguished "earth-rooted bass and midrange" produced by the combination of Aavik M-300 mono power amplifiers, Børresen 05 loudspeakers, and Ansuz cabling. "There's a very special, aged-in-wood component to its bass sound that I find fascinating . . . combined with clear highs that, while not shy, are capable of conveying intimacy." But that was with a pair of the Aavik M-300 class-A monoblocks (since replaced by the M-380).

The subject of this review, and my first opportunity to audition an Aavik product in a known reference system, is the very different U-380 class-D integrated amplifier ($39,000), which includes a PCM-based DAC as well as a phono stage. A second optional phono stage is available for systems with two tonearms. (When installed, it replaces one set of analog inputs.)

Readers may recognize the names Børresen and Kristensen. The men, who met while Børreson was studying engineering at Aalborg University, and Kristensen was running an audio store, founded loudspeaker company Raidho Acoustics in 2001. Børresen served as speaker designer and Kristensen handled sales; at the same time, Kristensen also conducted Nordost cable demonstrations at shows and dealerships. After the financial crisis of 2008 altered the audio landscape, Dantax became a financial partner in Raidho. In 2017, Børresen and Kristensen moved on from Raidho, and with the help of a third shareholder, who handles marketing, took ownership of Aavik electronics and Ansuz cabling from Dantax. Børresen loudspeakers hit the market at the start of 2019.

520aavik.2

The Aavik U-380, which was introduced in fall 2019 at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, has the same functionality and circuitry as the model U-300 it replaced. However, every printed-circuit board (PCB) has been rerouted, some components have been updated, and lower-noise automotive transistors have been introduced to the phono stage. "We identified 10 or 15 places on every module where we could do something with a higher degree of perfection, and that's what we did," Børreson explained during one of many long WhatsApp chats and exchanges.

Asked about the meaning of the name Aavik, Børresen said that it means "a Bay of Eels" in old Danish: "It's the name of the area where we have our factory. Today, its name is Aalborg, which means 'the Castle of Eels.' As for the 'U' in U-380, it signifies 'unity of function.' I think one of the U-380's strong points is that it has a very good DAC and an excellent phono stage. I wanted to make something at a very high level and stuff it into one box. The Scandinavian way of thinking is for something less intrusive in the room. When I started designing the exterior, I wanted something to be simple yet a bit high-tech and three-dimensional. With only the three buttons and a large volume knob, I've achieved my goal of simplicity overall."

Børreson also designed the phono stage's analog circuitry and the DAC's analog conversion and current-to-voltage elements. Fritz Sørensen added to the enclosure design, and Mikkel Simondsen, as the primary designer of the DAC, was responsible for the digital circuitry, control software, board layout, etc.

In describing his engineering goals, Børreson said, "When we come to hi-fi, the idea is to impose as little as absolutely possible on the sound. It's okay for a guitar amp to have a specific tone—a Gibson has a different character than a Fender—because some musicians like it. But when we reproduce things, we should be true to what's on the recording. We listen for scale, density, and color of tone, impact, slam, presence, and extension, [and work to] maximize dynamics rather than filtering them away. When you have a transient, how long does it remain floating in the room? How well and long can you hear the complexity of overtones to a violin? These things all relate to the extremes of resolution. You can measure distortion and other things, but they don't matter. Every time we take away noise, even if the noise level is below the floor at which we can hear, it matters. If you lower a power supply's noise suppression from –120dB to –130dB, it's so low that it shouldn't matter, but it does. As another example, you may not be able to hear above 14kHz, but if you play a sound wave at 18kHz and another at 19kHz, they modulate at 1kHz, which you can hear. Everything you design, you design from the point that enough is never enough."

Børresen, like many high-end audio designers, holds strongly to his beliefs. "When we made the DAC section, clock precision was important. When you know what a piece of cable does to a clock's phase shift, and how it destroys the timing, you discover that an outboard clock is not the best way of doing things. If you want a clock to resample or multiply, the clock's output has to be at the point of the signal it's trying to synchronize. If it's 10cm away, you have induction in the trace, and that skews the clock and affects precision. Similarly, where you position a power supply matters. Regulation of our DAC's 14 power supplies is located right at the legs where regulation is required."

520aavik.ins

The U-380, which has a 6-layer PCB, employs the Pascal M-PRO2 module, which Børresen prefers because it doesn't triangulate. "When most class-D modules modulate the signal, they use an oscillator with a triangular waveform. This is why they are noisy and in need of heavy filtering in the output. The Pascal, which uses a sinewave oscillator to modulate the density of signal, doesn't have the noisy high-frequency component of other class-D amplifiers and needs much less harsh filtration and inductance at the output.

"Immediacy and transparency come from very low inductance. I think that's the biggest differentiator between a class-D module and a class-A module. With class-A, the response is more immediate because you maybe only have 20% of the inductance that is needed in the output of a class-D amplifier. But I think ours is absolutely the best class-D module you can buy because of the way it does PWM." That's pulse width modulation, the technology underlying both DSD and class-D amplification.

The U-380's mixed-mode DAC, which Børresen describes as "the closest thing you can get to a R2R ladder DAC," uses a 24/192 Texas Instrument Burr-Brown 1794. "When you turn down the volume, the specifications get better and the noise doesn't increase. This is because we increase the amplifier's feedback ratio around the line stage, which lowers noise and distortion and heightens performance. Technically, we do this by using a low-noise precision DAC to set the resistor values in the feedback network."

The U-380's phono section has 62dB gain that, according to the product manual, is "suitable for most low to medium output MC cartridges." Cartridge load impedance is adjustable in 18 steps from 50 ohm to 10k ohm. The manual includes a cartridge balance setting chart. The phono stage uses a large BISS bipolar transistor designed for automotive purposes. "The go-to solution is a JFET, but in my opinion, JFETs are not very clear and transparent, so the sound is a little muffled," Børresen said. "Because of the transistor's large die, it has very low noise. . . . Because the noise is so low, I can run it balanced. The advantage of using a floating balanced input is that you can servo out any bias currents. The reason you normally cannot use bipolar transistors in a phono stage without any capacitor coupling is because there's a chance that base current would leak out, go through your cartridge, and destroy it. But here we have a balanced pair of bipolar transistors on one chip; this creates a floating balanced bipolar input with a very, very low noise floor. We have successfully made a phono stage with a –94dB noise floor. Find any phono stage out there that's as quiet as this one. You can't; it's simply impossible."

COMPANY INFO
Aavik Acoustics
Rebslagervej 4, 9000
Aalborg, Denmark
+45 40 51 14 31
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
jeffhenning's picture

And it sure is pretty expensive.

Given all the milled aluminum in this thing, I'd hope that the delivery truck backing up onto it was the shipping damage. If not, then it's either shoddy packaging or shoddy manufacturing. I'm tending to think that it's the latter.

Of course, there is also one more option: the unit was malfunctioning from the start and still got a huge thumbs up. General audio review protocol is to do the listening session before measurements.

It would be very interesting to learn whether "the finest class-D sound that I've ever heard in my system" was made by malfunctioning, damaged amp.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

You're not the only curious one. Nonetheless, your inherent bias - "I'm tending to think it's [shoddy manufacturing]" - without having either seen, touched, or listened to the product is telling. I try to approach product reviews with a mixture of curiosity, expectation, and healthy skepticism, but to leave my biases at the door.

In six - eight weeks you will read my review of a low four figure DAC. I approached it no differently than I approached this product.

I don't know about "general audio review protocol," but our policy is to listen first, write the review, and then get equipment to John for measurement. At this moment, for example, I do not know how that DAC I sent to him last week has measured. Do I want to know? Absolutely. But I'm waiting until the time is right to ask, or until the pre-print comes my way for a final go-over.

JHL's picture

...what good would free digital 'Phile be without the wisdom of the drive-by commenter?

jeffhenning's picture

You print it we read it and, possibly, comment.

As to the unit in question:

• It could have been malfunctioning when you got it and any damage to the packaging in shipping it to JA was of no consequence (that would be embarrassing for you)
• If it was properly packed, a 10 ft. fall onto concrete should not damage the unit
• If it was properly packed and some some minor, incidental damage to the package occurred, but the product is damaged, it's poorly built

As a piece of industrial design, it's stunning. They might have, though, taken most of that money spent for custom billet milling and used it in the area that counts: creating a durable product.

Again, if the delivery truck didn't run it over, there is something dreadfully awry here.

JHL's picture

Either that's the wrong word or I see a somewhat inflated view of purpose and merit, Jeff. Nothing you've asserted in these pages has yet, that I've seen, risen to the level of the formality, much less the official record of "protocol"; and it certainly fails another of its components, which is *etiquette*, not infrequently with thudding noises.

The word that instead comes to mind is discretion, failed. Or purpose, biased.

On to the ordered points, such as they are.

-Already contextualized, prompting your retraction, missing
-Define "properly" and include industrial proof thereof, statistical
-Ditto: Define "properly" and include industrial proof thereof, technical and statistical

There is *assertion* - and trolling based on presumption and the intent to, as you put it, embarrass - and then there is *reason*. Reputations are thereby earned, Jeff.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

If JVS is still the 'door-to-door' sales person, he probably has to make two trips ...... One to deliver the U-380 and another to pick up the broken U-380 for repairs ..... Make that 3 trips, the third one for delivering the repaired U-380 back to the customer :-) .......

spyder1's picture

Class D Amplifiers are COOL! {Running}

Bogolu Haranath's picture

This is not the first time this has happened to an audio component for review by Stereophile ...... Are these manufacturers testing their products before sending them for a review and measurements by Stereophile? :-) .....

jeffhenning's picture

Check out my comment above. I don't know what it is, but something about this smells wrong.

Having gotten electronics and instruments via UPS, etc. for 4 decades as well as seeing some fairly mangled packages with the contents OK, I'm curious as to the damage that tanked this amp.

Dimes to donuts that we will never be privy to that, brotha!

Jim Austin's picture

Among other issues, on the test bench the Aavik U-380 displayed a very high level of power-supply-related spuriae; something like -36dB @ 60Hz, relative to a 1 kHz tone with the volume control set at its maximum. The 3rd-order harmonic was at about -50dB, and even-order harmonics were lower in level. In other words: AC hum, at levels not expected in a high-tech class-D amplifier.

To me, and to JA, this looked like a grounding issue, so JA spent a lot of time experimenting with grounding schemes--no improvement--and he opened up the case to look for loose wires; none were found.

There were some other issues, but this is the one that seemed most clearly to point to some sort of shipping damage, if only a loose wire.

I remain committed to Stereophile's policy of testing all loudspeakers, digital players, amplifiers, etc., for which we perform a full review. Aavik knows that we expect another unit in soon for measurements, in a follow-up review. Aavik has committed to supplying one, I and I believe that commitment was made in good faith, and I expect it to be honored. But these are not normal times, and supply chains are disrupted. It's hard to say when that will happen.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

jeffhenning's picture

It's admirable that you have gone the extra yard to go into this. Thank you.

My point is this: I'm not understanding how this is "shipping damage" rather than lousy design or crappy construction... or both.

And, again, what may be even more embarrassing, if the packaging was intact, is that it means that your reviewer may think that a malfunctioning product is the best class D amp he ever heard.

This isn't our president lying and conspiring to cover it up. To call it a tempest in a tea pot might be assigning too much importance.

Any person with a bit of real knowledge, though, won't give this review any credence.

You have published it and have to own it.

If you know anything about the amp module used, PASCAL's are actually really good. The rest of the box is highly questionable.

My suggestion to you is to just purge this review, act like it never happened, fire JVS and get a reviewer that still has hearing. Just a thought.

Regardless, it really doesn't matter. We all have way better things to do.

Jim Austin's picture

I didn't take you for a hostile--my error, won't happen again.

Of course much of what you say makes little sense. The only thing I've told you about his hum at -36dB with the volume control at max. I didn't mention that when you lower the volume, the hum goes down proportionately. So at normal listening levels, we're looking at something more like -50dB, perhaps lower. Probably not audible.

Is the Aavik just badly engineered? We'll find out soon enough.

Your schtick--"you're all a bunch of idiots but I don't care, so nothing you say can hurt me"--quickly wears thin. This is a civil site, intended for courteous conversation among respectful people. Demonstrate courtesy and respect or go away.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

jeffhenning's picture

If stating facts is being hostile, you really need to grow a thicker skin or leave the journalism.

Jim Austin's picture
Goodbye
John Atkinson's picture
Bogolu Haranath wrote:
This is not the first time this has happened to an audio component for review by Stereophile ......

It's been pretty consistent over the years - see my 1989 essay on this subject at www.stereophile.com/content/when-things-go-wrongit-hurts-me-too.

Bogolu Haranath wrote:
Are these manufacturers testing their products before sending them for a review and measurements by Stereophile? :-)

I believe most companies do. But one hypothesis put forward by, IIRC, Richard Vandersteen is that magazines are not sent samples that are manufactured by the experts on the production line but are put together by the engineers, who are not as skilled at actual assembly as they are at designing the products.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

Bogolu Haranath's picture

This raises the question, how many audio products are out there being reviewed by other audio magazines, which are not functioning properly, which get great reviews? ...... Many of those magazines don't test the audio equipment ..... Scary thought indeed :-) ......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Another good reason why every audiophile should read Stereophile :-) .....

davip's picture

Class-D for $39,000
...AND it doesn't work properly

Absurd

jeffhenning's picture

In the past, I've called out marginal, high dollar products on Stereophile to be "absurd" and had Michael Fremer and his mob descend upon me. Be afraid. Be very afraid!

Naah. Just kidding.

My life is going great. I do find it hilarious when people blow this out of proportion.

Of course, you do have to remember that it's only "good" if it costs an incredible amount of money.

"That the best amp in the world is only $3K and weighs less than 15lbs. cannot be so! It needs to be way more expensive and weigh at least 100lbs.

Cost, weight, the amount of custom milled parts... that's what determines quality of an audio amp. If you can't hear how great those aspects of an amplifier are, you must be deaf."

In all seriousness, though, would you want to buy an amp so expensive yet so brittle that shipping can break it? This is not a rhetorical question.

DaveinSM's picture

-> davip: Succinctly and well put.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

That -50dB third harmonic (approx. 8-bits) sounds like a tube amp ...... May be that is the secret to success ....... Just kidding :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Recently reviewed VAC Statement amp has -60dB third harmonic distortion, for example :-) ......

dial's picture

As for D'Agostino gear, I find the design extremely ugly. For the sonics I can't tell. Does an amp or a pre have his own sound ? Or is it the interaction with other devices ? So here speakers as it's an integrated with DAC ? Usually the power supply is crucial so I'll always prefer separates.

Anton's picture

Didn't a similar circumstance afflict a darTZeel amplifier back a few years ago?

I think, also, a broken pair of interconnects by some other manufacturer were not audibly inferior.

I do recall a review or column where JVS was actually able to tell an amplifier had a blown tube and he was able to discern that, so not all problems are inaudible.

In the case of the darTZeel and the interconnects, I think the verdict was that the same units heard in proper operating condition had the same characteristics as the broken models, only more so.

Apologies for not remembering the brand name of the faulty interconnects.

Stuff happens. Luckily, high end gear is so good that even when it's broken it's still great.

daveyf's picture

On another forum I asked a question about this particular piece of gear...it was..
Does this Aavik integrated translate to $39k worth of gear? So far, the resounding answer seems to be no way, no how.
OTOH, there is also a well known NY dealer posting that he is so busy selling gear in the mega price ranges to folk who own $50M townhomes that he is working day and night taking orders...
So, if I am the folks at Aavik, I would suggest raising the price forthwith, after all...why miss out on this unusual selling opportunity. Only problem...they will need to get the darn thing to last as long as their warranty, lol!

tonykaz's picture

This is Exactly what I would hope and expect from a professional Review: an accurate representation of the ownership experience.

So:

I feel like this is the best review Mr.JVS has done, maybe.

The Manufacturer should've completed a thourogh Durability test.

I feel for the Manufacturer, this device is probably a good piece with two or three minor issues piling-on, forcing a wreck .

Electrocompaniet would present an ideal ( or even Great ) Company for Port Townsend based Audio Adventuring.

Tony in Venice

ps. Over the last Decades I have purchased and sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Home Audio Gear that seldom performed as described by reviewers. Reviewers try to be supportive of Manufacturers. I have to agree with the ZU Audio guy's opinion on Amplification Quality: only a small few Amplifiers are outstanding.

foxhall's picture

I think he makes such an important point regarding DSD. Maybe we need more straight talkers regarding DSD support.

"All but one digital audio workstation worldwide is PCM. Because almost everything you get these days is PCM converted to DSD (footnote 1), it makes absolutely no sense. [In addition,] a mixed mode DAC really isn't optimal because the filtering needed for DSD is so different."

Kursun's picture

Everybody is entitled to his/her thoughts.
Here is what Ken Ishiwata thought about DSD vs PCM:

https://www.whathifi.com/features/ken-ishiwata-forty-years-of-preserving-the-marantz-sound

davip's picture

"...All but one digital audio workstation worldwide is PCM ... Because etc., it makes absolutely no sense".

No, there is One model of DAW worldwide that is DSD, but that's not the same as saying there's only 'one' DSD DAW worldwide (which is what his text might be taken casually to mean). The number of people who subscribe to a particular view is no guide to its validity, whether it be in science, religion, or audiophilia.

By extension, there are numerous Pro-ject turntable models worldwide but there's only one Kronos Sparta. I know which 'One' I'd rather have...

Ortofan's picture

... the (made by Pro-ject) E.A.T. Fortissimo turntable and F-Note tonearm?

davip's picture

The Flying Lichteneggers -- it's almost Pythonesque, isn't it -- "I made this turntable, and so did my wife" !!

Ortofan's picture

... perfume with the name Stylus.
https://www.europeanaudioteam.com/en/stylus-eau-de-parfum-wp000036.html

When will Heinz introduce his complementary eau de cologne, with the fragrance of spindle bearing oil, perhaps?

Bogolu Haranath's picture

No Ketchup? :-) .......

davip's picture

It seems that no amount of money is enough for some. Rather distasteful, really...

DaveinSM's picture

Class D and well over $1,000/lb, I just don’t see the value in this product. That’s five times the price of solid silver per unit of weight.

Not that I judge the quality of components by these measures, but I would expect some magic to be happening here. Has class D come so far that they can charge multiples for it over class A or A/B amplification with massive transformers, huge capacitance, and elaborate heat sinking?

There are SO many other places I’d rather spend my audio dollars than a $39k class D integrated amplifier. You could buy a very decent entire System with just the sales tax (here in CA, anyway) on this thing... a system that I would bet most casual listeners couldn’t distinguish from this thing using the same speakers. In fact, some may prefer it.

Ortofan's picture

... posted, then why are the objective test results not available - or been retracted? Some readers might want to see how the unit on which the listening tests were conducted actually measured.
https://www.stereophile.com/content/aavik-acoustics-u-380-integrated-amplifier-measurements

If the unit being reviewed was determined to be defective and/or damaged, then either withhold the entire review, or post an update to both sections after a replacement unit has been evaluated.

In the specifications section, the approximate number of dealers is shown as 6. On what region is that number based?
The Aavik website lists only two dealers for the US.
https://aavik-acoustics.com/dealers.html

Before dropping $39K on this unit, one might be curious as to how well - or not - it compares to the one-fourth the price combination of a Marantz PM-10 integrated amp and a Benchmark DAC3B.
The Marantz amp uses Hypex power amp modules and can output 600W into either 8Ω or 4Ω loads.
https://www.sarte-audio.com/sites/default/files/reviews/marantz_pm-10_hi-fi_news_review.pdf

Jim Austin's picture

If the unit being reviewed was determined to be defective and/or damaged, then either withhold the entire review, or post an update to both sections after a replacement unit has been evaluated.

That is a fair and reasonable suggestion. Indeed, I would have preferred to withhold the whole review. But practical considerations made it necessary to publish the subjective part. In particular, each month we have a certain number of pages to fill--although I can't always know that number in advance, and I had nothing to replace it with. All things considered, I felt that this approach is a reasonable compromise. Some patience is required, but readers will eventually get to see the complete picture. To repeat something I wrote earlier: I am confident that we will receive a second unit to measure--based on our interactions, I trust the manufacturer's good faith--and if that confidence proves unfounded, we can always publish the original measurements later.

... and if the manufacturer takes this opportunity to improve the product and then sends us an updated [edit: product for] review--well, that's not what we're here for, but that would be a positive development.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

JHL's picture

You did the right thing, Jim, as Tony Katz has well pointed out.

The reasonable reader doesn't take comments like Ortofan's seriously. These commenters appear mostly to project FUD or gainsay, not likely being in the market themselves.

The closest the armchair critic ever got to credibility was the execrable Audio Critic, long may it never publish again.

When the premise is to rail and damn, naturally the instinct is to invent and filter.

Ortofan's picture

... learn that at least one potential customer is eager to spend $39K on a product that either leaves the factory in a defective state or can't survive the rigors of normal shipping.

Do tell us, have you placed your order?

davip's picture

A loudspeaker to partner this amplifier:

https://audiofi.net/2019/11/boenicke-audio-w5-speakers-sleek-small-and-mighty/

georgehifi's picture

$39K
And uses the Pascal M-Pro2
https://www.pascal-audio.com/product/m-pro2/

That is also used in the $15K JR Contiuum-2
https://www.theaudiobeat.com/equipment/pics/jeff_rowland_continuum_2_lar...

That's also used in the $900 Red Dragon S500 amp
https://ibb.co/VmvR0sD

That are used in a $300 subwoofer plate amp
https://ibb.co/JjnrzXw

That all come from Sanway in China, that sold these modules on Alibaba a year ago for $100!! just like these.
https://ibb.co/NWnRPbJ

Cheers George

Anton's picture

It must be the case that sounds so great.

This Aavik reminds me a lot of the Lexicon/Oppo...

https://www.stereophile.com/content/lexicons-stuffs-500-oppo-bd-83-chassis-and-sells-it-350000-1

Bogolu Haranath's picture

That is a clever business model :-) ........

Anton's picture

In a hobby where "everything makes a difference," from tiny little thimbles in the room to microdots on your headshell, only the Lexicon/Oppo has ever been able to pull off the "sounds identical" sonic daily double, despite being in a better case and having had "special sauce" applied compared to the base model.

It seems righteous indignation clouds one auditory acuity!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

May be that was Proceed division of Harman :-) .......

cgh's picture

That's nuts. Forgetting the milling and anodizing of the chassis and the parts, which are a fraction of the total cost of a high-end amp, the remaining plug is the IP, the years of design thinking, the topology, etc. Or, in this case, the pascal. Nice.

Ortofan's picture

... "when you analyze where the money goes, all expensive, high-end amplifiers have at least 98% of their cost in front panels, metalwork and heatsinks."

https://www.musicalfidelity.com/products/m8series/m8-story

prof's picture

Is there any reason (any reason whatsoever) to suspect that the "shipping damage" occurred while in transit from JVS to JA as opposed to while in transit from the manufacturer to JVS?

NeilS's picture

"...On David Byrne's bass-heavy "I Dance Like This," from his much-too-short album American Utopia (Qobuz 24/96 FLAC, footnote 2), bass was prodigious and absolutely solid, with different complex lines easily distinguishable. Moving up the scale, Byrne's low vocal range had a worn earthiness all its own, high-pitched instruments could be heard clearly through the raucous mix, and the top was alive yet non-fatiguing. Taken as a whole, the sound was musically satisfying, visceral as hell, and totally unsuited for Aunt Tillie's invitation-only tea socials at the Wilmington Garden Club. Save for just a touch of the toned-down dryness often associated with class-D, it sounded just as I expect artist and recording engineer intended...."

When I read this, I was curious how in his review JVS determined and attributed the effect on sound quality from the amplifier versus the contribution of the recording itself.

For example, this track, according to JRiver's audio analysis, has a dynamic range of 5 DB. When I listen to it, no matter what I listen to it on, and no matter how amplified, the dominant sonic impression for me is a crushed dynamic range and loss of detail I'd expect from a track with a dynamic range of 5 DB.

Anton's picture

I think we all have certain parameters that we are more attuned to than other people. And vice versa.

I agree with you about the unfortunate sonic mess that compression creates.

Or, maybe this amp is so good, it can achieve a 12-14 dB dynamic range and you and I are missing the boat, entirely!

Disclaimer: I am able to enjoy music in my car and feel musically fulfilled, so maybe I shouldn't even have an audiophile card.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Do you have some of those subwoofers in your car which can rattle and shake all other cars on the road? :-) ......

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one's there to hear it, did it make a sound?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Is it possible to see a bone without picking at it?

One could simply conclude that the Aavik is a woefully over-priced, lousy sounding Class D piece of excrement: that I live in a fantasy world; that if I'd seen the measurements first, I would have written a very different review; and/or that I am so seduced by any high-priced component with a unique appearance that I am powerless to shake its hold on me. As an alternative, one might consider that before I completed my 8 or 10 pages of notes and began writing the review, I had compared the sound of this recording through the Aavik to the sound through my reference D'Agostino Progression monoblocks several times over, and that if hadn't summarized all of my listening observations, this review would have run to at least 8000 words.

You could ask the same question about this recording with any other amp, set of monoblocks, or integrated amp. Which wouldn't stop anyone who likes David Byrne and this piece of music from listening to it on whatever equipment they have at hand, nor anyone from wanting to see just how much detail they could hear from an inherently compromised recording.

NeilS's picture

Why the anger and where you gettin' this stuff from my comment? I didn't say anything at all about the price, sound, or Class of amplification technology or quality of the Aavik, or anything at all personal or derogatory about you. I wasn't picking a bone. What I wrote reflected the question that came to my mind when I read this section of your review, and I believe my comment posed it in a civil and courteous way. I mean, really now!

In answer to your questions: Yes, chicken and depends how much meat and whether it's on your own plate.

cgh's picture

Jason, I haven't heard the amp, and it's great that it sounded good, but it's really expensive by any standard. I'm in a position to blow $40k on an amp, which I am guessing most people aren't, but based on this review, it's questionable what I would get in terms of ROI. Hopefully, regardless of financial means, we all agree that $40k is a lot of money. Even if it didn't sound good, I would hope I got something unique, or special; but what is there that's special, or unique; not meta, or borrowed, for a much lower price? Uggh.

direstraitsfan98's picture

I don't know how to quote but my comment below is directed to NeilS's observation that JVS was either unwilling to comment on, or unable to hear the clear lack of dynamic range in some of his choice recordings.

Do you really expect a gentleman such as JVS, who no doubt has severe hearing loss in midrange and upper treble to hear distortion like that? I think it should be mandatory for all stereophile reviewers to take and pass a hearing test. They need to be able to hear flat in the audible spectrum. I know as you're old you lose hearing at the upper end, thats just how biology works. JVS no doubt has rolled off hearing above 8kHz, not going to knock that against him. But I really question the validity of subjective reviews when in fact it's more than likely they also have significant hearing loss at certain frequencies, such as 300hz, 1kHz, 1.5kHz, etc, etc.

When you are reviewing $50,000 dollar equipment, the people who rely on you, trust you, should know that the person reviewing their equipment has good ears. Otherwise what's to trust about what they say? You will have same results closing your eyes and throwing darts at a board to pick your gear.

I take solace in the fact I can hear better then any of these guys old enough to be my grandfather.

Anton's picture

This flat curve fallacy is an old canard.

Let's say someone who lives to be as old as as JA or JVS has a curve that is down 3 dB at 15 KHz, or 6, whatever.

Hearing live music still sounds like live music, it is a reference.

If a piece of gear has an emphasis or dropout, a person would still be able to detect if the frequency performance of a system was 'hot' or 'dull' based on comparison to that person's reference.

If a speaker's performance in the treble range was shelved upward, the person would still be able to easily distinguish this.

The constant is the ear, not a flat hearing curve.

So, please drop the old wrong cliche.

Side question: what is your hearing curve? Please post it, or no street cred for you and your 'special grandchild' ears.

John Atkinson's picture
direstraitsfan98 wrote:
I take solace in the fact I can hear better then any of these guys old enough to be my grandfather.

As has been pointed out by another poster, there is no correlation between the gradual loss of top-octave sensitivity and hearing acuity. Stereophile's founder, J. Gordon Holt, had hearing that cut off above 11kHz when he last took part in one of my listening tests, yet his ability to detect differences in sound quality was still impressive. Research shows that it is hearing damage at lower frequencies, such as that caused by gunfire, that leads to problems differentiating sound quality.

I have published details of my hearing sensitivity, as has Kalman Rubinson. But I don't think reviewers are obliged to do so unless all of them do.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

Bogolu Haranath's picture

JVS is a decorated veteran who fought for America during WWI and WWII :-) .......

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

You forgot the Spanish American war. I have stories...

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Sorry .... I also forgot to mention that you (JVS) were the right-hand-man for General/President Ulysses S. Grant :-) ........

Kal Rubinson's picture
Quote:

I have stories...

.........and, I hope, antibodies.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

have hopefully been replaced by new ones. I haven't had those tests. But as for Gen. Grant, I declined the honor of serving as his right hand man because - I only share this for the first time now because he is long dead - he had such bad breath.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I saw ads for 'immunity certificates' for sale for $9.99, at couple of places :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

However, JVS still has the antibodies from serving as an honorable soldier for America during the Revolutionary War :-) ........

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Some of the people who design components that receive consistent praise are older than I am. Since my age seems to have grown exponentially since the start of this comments thread, that means that they are very very very very very very old.

Herb Reichert's picture

one day I messaged Jason a link to David Byrne's American Utopia (24/96 FLAC Qobuz) asking him to play it on his system (which is higher resolving than mine) and report back to me. I wanted to know on "I Dance Like This" how easily (or not) his rig would sort and separate out Byrne's vocals and the driving powerful synth-drum-machine bass. This track is a good test for transient compression in loudspeakers; and of course TIM distortions. To play it well you need bandwidth rise time and a rock-steady amplifier power supply. My Abyss TC and RAAL SR1a headphones sort it out perfectly - my floor speakers do not. If your system can not play it with absolute razor sharp clarity - don't blame the recording. Blame your system.

NeilS's picture

In my mind the only one responsible for making that unprofessional and non sequitur comment directed at me is JVS.

I'm glad that you have a system where 5 dB dynamic range recordings have "absolute razor sharp clarity" (and please forgive me for not knowing exactly what that really means). I wish you all the best in enjoying them.

Whatever the system, I don't care for recordings with little or no dynamic range - they don't sound good to me. My experience with playing such recordings on a "more revealing" system is that it reveals more of what I already don't like to hear.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Generally, a 2-way speaker exhibits more TIM distortions than a 3-way speaker, where the treble, midrange and bass frequencies are reproduced by separate drivers :-) .......

dc_bruce's picture

but just about every shipped carton I know has printed in big letters words to the effect that the recipient should immediately inspect the packaging for evidence of damage. If the packaging is damaged, then it's likely that the contents are, too. If that was the way that the amp arrived at JVS's residence, I would assume he would stop right there and go no further. However, since he proceeded to review the product, it seems reasonable to assume that there was no physical evidence that would suggest shipping damage -- neither a damaged carton nor visible damage to the contents. If that is the case, then shipping damage becomes a whole lot less likely.

Likewise, the amplifier was shipped from JVS's residence to Mr. Atkinson's residence for testing. So, it would be reasonable to assume that, if it appeared to have been physically damaged upon arrival, Mr. Atkinson would not have proceeded to put it on the test bench. He did begin to test it, so it seems likely that Mr. Atkinson received the unit apparently undamaged.

Which is why the commenters are suggesting either a manufacturing or a design defect . . .
Speaking personally, I think it's reasonable for someone who has purchased an amplifier that costs somewhat more than the average price of a new car sold in the U.S. to expect it to be free of defects when it goes out the door and for it to be sufficiently tolerant of physical shocks that do not damage the packaging. At this price, 100% quality control does not seem like too much to ask.

If, in fact, the packaging appeared to be damaged when it arrived at either JVS'a or JA's residence, then I apologize and take all of this back.

But, if that were the case, it would have been nice of one of you to have said so.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

1. 90% of the cardboard cartons that arrive at my house have a dent or a rip or some mark on them. Like it or not, it's par for the course. The ones that don't are often shipped on heavy pallets and wrapped in plastic. But even that doesn't stop a forklift from denting them or dropping them.

2. Are you suggesting that the first thing any reviewer should do is open up a product and apply a probe to every single part of the signal path to try to determine if anything is wrong? In which case, of course, that reviewer might be wise to obtain a complete schematic of the product beforehand, and have the training required to perform such tests with accuracy. Otherwise, what does visual inspection mean?

dc_bruce's picture

in suggesting that an over-the-top response to a civil comment (that implied no personal criticism) is, as they say "not a good look." Of course, I never suggested anything like your point number 2; not even that you should conduct a "visual inspection."

Quite simply, if the shipping container were grossly damaged (in a way that likely would suggest damage to the contents), I would expect a reasonable person to notice that in passing even without "conducting a visual inspection." Apparently, like Mr. Atkinson, you didn't see anything amiss and proceeded normally to review the product. . . as any reasonable person would do.

All that said, I would hope and expect that Stereophile would be at least somewhat sympathetic to the consumer who might purchase an item under review -- and be appalled that an apparently broken product sample of this price was allowed to leave the manufacturer's premises.

Back in the day, I recall buying a pair of new B&W speakers from my local audio dealer (DM7s, if I recall) Inside the carton for each speaker was a B&K readout of the measured frequency response of that particular speaker that was in the box. While they weren't cheap, they cost way less than $39,000. That's 100% quality control.

Ortofan's picture

... you estimate, arrives double-boxed?

At least one pair of speakers I've bought were packed in an "export" outer carton, which was separated from another inner box by foam corner blocks, leaving an air gap of an inch or two between them.
Factory packaging for several Thorens turntables included double boxes, as well.

The (late, lamented) New York based retailer J&R used to pack equipment in an extra outer box, as much for security - even in the days before porch pirates became rampant - as to reduce the possibility of damage.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

arrives double boxed.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

The same iceberg which hit the Titanic hit this Aavik amp, during shipping :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Interestingly, that iceberg hit this Aavik amp twice ...... Once, when it was shipped from Europe, and a second time when it was shipped from JVS' place to JA1's place :-) .........

John Atkinson's picture
dc_bruce wrote:
Likewise, the amplifier was shipped from JVS's residence to Mr. Atkinson's residence for testing. So, it would be reasonable to assume that, if it appeared to have been physically damaged upon arrival, Mr. Atkinson would not have proceeded to put it on the test bench. He did begin to test it, so it seems likely that Mr. Atkinson received the unit apparently undamaged.

The Aavik's packaging was well-designed, sturdy, and hadn't appeared to suffer any damage in the transcontinental shipping from Jason's crib to my place. As Jim Austin writes above, I did open up the amplifier but couldn't find anything visually wrong that might have led to the higher-than-expected levels of noise and distortion with the volume control set to its maximum.

Note that both noise and distortion dropped at lower settings of the volume control and, if the damage had occurred earlier, would have been inaudible at the volume setting typically used by Jason for his auditioning.

John Atkinson

Technical Editor, Stereophile

Bogolu Haranath's picture

'We are only tourists in this life ...... Only tourists but the view is nice' ........ David Byrne :-) ........

volvic's picture

In no way am I passing judgment on the makers of this amplifier or their engineering prowess, as I haven't heard or seen this amplifier. But reading this review took me back to one of Art Dudley's old articles. As he said;

"It's time to call bullshit on five-figure interconnects and four-figure isolation cones. It's time to call bullshit on $30,000 amplifiers that would be priced to sell for $10,000, tops, if not for their massive, jewelry-like casework. The compulsion to make the best of anything is noble, but the inclination to rely overmuch on the brute force of excess and opulence in doing so is sloppy. And while I understand that the imperilment of the middle-class consumer base forces some start-up companies to aim up-market in order to survive—see JA's essay on this subject—I feel that the inability of so many present-day high-end audio manufacturers to offer outstanding performance for less than astronomical prices does not speak terribly well of their engineering talents."

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I'm afraid I committed a cardinal error here. After reading critical comment after critical comment, I reacted. Not a wise move. To those who have felt offended by my post, my apologies.

If Stereophile did not take consumer's interests to heart, we would neither report any problems we had with the product, nor cite unfavorable measurements. In addition, if we wanted to claim absolute perfection on our part, we certainly wouldn't print measurements that might be seen as conflicting with a reviewer's assessment.

When we feel the need to consult with manufacturers to help with set-up or operation, especially in a case where there's no manual—I've run into a slew of those of late— we say so. We also mention if we suspect that the help we get is different than what any consumer would get from a dealer or manufacturer. When a dealer or company head visits to set up the product and get a good understanding of the context in which their product is reviewed, we tell you in the review. I've had lots of those visits, and I assure you that not once, no matter what I was hearing or thinking, did I share my observations with the person sitting next to me.

One reason I write for Stereophile is that we do not share the results of our listening tests, observations, or measurements with manufacturers prior to a review's layout. Only then do we submit the pre-publication pdf to manufacturers to give them the opportunity to submit a Manufacturer's Comment.

dc Bruce writes: "All that said, I would hope and expect that Stereophile would be at least somewhat sympathetic to the consumer who might purchase an item under review -- and be appalled that an apparently broken product sample of this price was allowed to leave the manufacturer's premises."

Every Stereophile reviewer I know personally takes the consumer's best interests to heart. Ditto for JA2 and JA1, who review as well as edit and measure. But we have no evidence that the product was broken, or apparently broken, when it left Denmark, or that Aavik's quality control is substandard. (Frankly, without a tour of the company's manufacturing facility, I have no idea what their quality control is.) Nor, as JA1 has mentioned, would I have heard the issue at the volume levels I listen (which, for the record, usually peak between 90 and 92dB, but go higher for rock).

One person has asked, and I'm sure others are wondering, if It's necessary to spend $40,000 to get good sound. I'd refer you especially to my review of the Krell K-300i integrated or, to go farther back and cite a different product, to the little $600 Vanatoo Transparent Encores, for examples of two products that offer exceptional value. I'll certainly be holding the value question in my mind when I evaluate my next product, a Yamaha Integrated. And, if you refer back to my reviews of music servers from Innuos and Wolf, you'll see that I asked basic questions of what you get for your buck when I compared the sound and functions of both products to those of the much less expensive Roon Nucleus + (which comes without storage and does not rip CDs).

My thanks to Anton for pointing out the fallacy of the "old people can't hear" posting.

Finally, about the David Byrne recording. I was led to that album by Herb Reichert, who was curious to learn how well my system addressed its complex bass layering. Hence, I listened to it in multiple equipment configurations. Whether or not the recording is dynamically compressed, it's music that a lot of people listen to, and it certainly tests a system's ability to handle complex information in the lower octaves. Hence, IMHO, it's valid music for a reviewer to reference.

Over two years ago, people took me to task for reviewing another dynamically compressed recording, Teodor Currentzis' rendition of Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6. (I review his Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in the current issue.) Currentzis is a brilliant conductor, and the Tchaikovsky received just critical acclaim from multiple publications. I certainly wasn't going to recommend it as a Recording of the Month, but I saw and continue to see every reason to review great performances, and to use non-audiophile approved recordings of merit in my reviews.

jason

Ortofan's picture

... that Yamaha integrated amp can successfully drive your Wilson Alexia Series 2 speakers, with their minimum impedance of 2.4Ω and an EPDR of 1.2Ω.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

JVS could have chosen the McIntosh MA9000, instead :-) .......

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

We'll all find out soon enough. Well, sooner for me than for you. It arrived today. I'm about to unpack, set it up, and start to break it in.

jason

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I certainly do say something if something is obviously wrong. See my review of the D'Agostino Progression monoblocks which are now my reference.

daveyf's picture

A question for the Stereophile reviewing staff ( and JVS in particular)- is it ever the case that for you, as the price increases of a component, that your discriminatory abilities increase commensurately?

Jim Austin's picture

Daveyf, your question confuses me: How could the price of a component affect one's discriminatory abilities? I just don't follow.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

Bogolu Haranath's picture

JVS may not be a good candidate for DBT :-) .......

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

"is it ever the case that for you, as the price increases of a component, that your discriminatory abilities increase commensurately?"

No.

However, as a New York Jew whose friends and relatives tended to answer a question with a question, I can't help but wonder about the statement beneath the question, or the question that has yet to follow. If you're wondering if my expectations increase with increased price, to some extent, yes. Hence, when I find a component in the three- or four-figure range that delivers what I hope to hear from five figure components, I get very, very excited. I've recommended the Vanatoo speakers to more than one couple in my little city by the Salish Sea, and believe that my friend, Dr. Gary Forbes, may soon buy a Krell Integrated. On the higher end of the spectrum, my friend Steve brought over his Chord DAC for comparison about a year ago, soon headed to Definitive Audio in Seattle to buy a dCS Rossini, and ended up with a Vivaldi. He's also got D'Agostino electronics.

mcduman's picture

i own the previous iteration of this amp, aavik u300, together with ansuz d cables and raidho d speakers. these 3 brands used to be in the same group (dantax) and they played and continue to play beautifully together.

my personal experience tells me that jvs can be pardoned for liking this amp and this review does not invalidate his listening skills. these amps look beautiful, do next-gen dynamics and are lifestyle and environment friendly.

if the u380 is inherently a faulty design i am sure my amp is too. this surprises me because i would tend to think they would be in the measures-perfectly-but camp.

i do not know about the u380 but my amp has two gain settings and i preferred the low gain from day one. may be that correlates with increasing noise at high levels. and i use balanced power which could be curing the grounding related anomalies.

daveyf's picture

@Jim Austin. I think JVS somewhat answered my question, when he stated that his expectations to some extent increase as the price asked increases. Expectations and increased discriminatory ability maybe should go hand in hand...don't you think? IOW, listening for smaller errors/ sonic anomalies should increase commensurately as the price asked increases, and as such should be reported/highlighted. IMHO.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

My attention to smaller errors / sonic anomalies does not increase commensurately as the price increases; it remains consistent regardless of component price. I certainly hope that the degree of error / sonic anomalies will decrease as component price increases, but when all is said and done, I expect nothing other than to spend time listening and discovering where I am led. I always strive to be prepared for the unexpected.

Apologies if I'm sound a bit contradictory here. I've just realized that I've been on the computer far too long and am getting dizzy from all this parsing of terminology, the point of which is not to me self-evident. It is time to run around the track and head to the music room.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

"Expectations and increased discriminatory ability maybe should go hand in hand...don't you think?"

@JVS does not think so.

"IOW, listening for smaller errors/ sonic anomalies should increase commensurately as the price asked increases, and as such should be reported/highlighted."

@JVS disagrees. @JVS listens to all products in all price ranges with the same set of ears and discriminatory facilities, and does his best to report what he hears and feels.

Beyond the sound is how the sound feels. It's the meaning beyond the notes. That is the essence of the musical experience, and what I hope to convey in my reviews. I confess that sometimes I do a better job of that than other times, but as I look back at my reviews, I feel that my abilities to say what really matters are deepening with the passage of time.

They who are not busy being born are busy dying. I'm occupied with the former.

daveyf's picture

So, JVS, you are telling us that you set the same standard for all gear under review, and as such the price being asked is an irrelevancy. Interesting perspective...

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

It is an interesting perspective, but it's not mine.

I do my best to state my principles, beliefs and experiences with clarity; how you interpret those words I cannot control. I think the time for me to bow out of this dialogue has come.

daveyf's picture

JVS...you stated.."I don't think so" to this...expectations and increased discriminatory ability maybe should go hand in hand. So therefore, a higher standard is not applied to ever more expensive gear under review.
BUT when I state that price being asked is an irrelevancy to you...you claim that's not your perspective. I don't see how you can have it both ways.

Peter2520's picture

I'm sorry, but it's so demoralizing for me to see war on words. I myself do not have any gear from BB ('Dantax') except for a USB and a power cable with which, incidentally, I am very satisfied. In recent months I have heard U380 and talk two BBs who are extremely determined about sound and have started his personal and logical war against inductance which he considers to be one of the worst enemies against good sound, and I do not entirely disagree with him. BB is extremely passionate and goes to extremes in terms of innovation and development, which naturally makes most of his products expensive. He himself and his partner Lars Kristensen, like very few Europeans, have really been able to gain a foothold in the American market with Raidho in a relatively short time, which I regard as a great achievement in a well-established market with excellent speakers. I have no idea at all what has gone wrong, but I am quite sure that we will get a sensible and factual explanation that will satisfy most of us. Many thanks to Mr. JVS, and 2xJA for your great work and exciting descriptions. Please continue everyone with your good work: )

dfh's picture

Wow, I detect some coronavirus shelter at home frustration channeled into accusations and rants. No matter! Let us all wait for Aavid to diagnose what indeed is wrong with the unit, repair it and send to JA, or perhaps even better send another U-380 directly to JA for measurements. If the harmonic distortion is the same as the purportedly damaged unit, well I'll leave others to finish that sentence. However, if the repaired, or 2nd-copy of the U-380, tests differently with lower HD -- then reverse the typical order, JA does all the requisite measurements, then sends the unit to JVS. The measurements are not shared with JVS until after his re-audition. If the U-380 sounds no different than the 'damaged one' then JA1's explanation of JVS listening at less than full gain may hold-water--and it is plausible given the high sensitivity of the Wilson Audio speakers in JVS's system. However, if it sounds unlike the original U-380, I look forward to the analysis/report from JVS who is a "sharpener". If anyone can detect the difference, it will be JVS. I trust Stereophile magazine's ethics and that of their review Staff, as well. I don't know if this scenario is palatable to Aavik Acoustics--I hope it is palatable and supported by JA and JA1 and Stereophile. And I agree, while the assumption is the unit was damaged when JVS reviewed-it, since it measured poorly at JA1's while packaging looked intact--there is no substance to this conclusion. Truth will be told/revealed if the next steps scenario I posited takes place and is disclosed to the Stereophile readers.

As to publishing the subjective review without measurements, when a damaged U-380 was (and still is) suspected, my opinion is it was a bad call. If you needed to fill space in this magazine issue (and there is always pressure to do that), I'd have rather seen a more in-depth memorial and tribute to Art Dudley's passing (than the brief one on the website); I miss Art already, knowing his articles in this magazine issue are the last. Heaven knows if AD would have had a different opinion on publishing the U-380 review in the face of a potentially defective unit. And, space could have been filed with a more substantial welcome of Julie Mullins (than the brief Internet site note), and perhaps Julie could share her listening biases, what she considers the most important and less-so, on the sliding-scale of reviewing equipment. And if you needed 1000 more words, perhaps a (re)introduction of Tom Gibbs as an audio reviewer, would have been nice.

georgehifi's picture

"It'll be interesting to see if that Yamaha integrated amp can successfully drive your Wilson Alexia Series 2 speakers, with their minimum impedance of 2.4Ω and an EPDR of 1.2Ω."

This is a joke no? If it's said by someone it can, I'll call BS on him without even hearing it.
Because on the Alexia's I have heard the Musical Fidelity M250 monoblocks, they couldn't do it to any satisfaction and complained when things got tough.
Then I heard the Parasound Halo JC1's on them, they did and sound pretty darn good.
Until I heard the Gryphon Antillion Evo driving the Alexia's, it then made me say the JC1's weren't quite there, maybe the new Parasound Halo JC1+ is. And what!! a Yamaha integrated, yeah right! pull the other one, it plays jingle bells.

Cheers George

SNI's picture

Any news about the measurements og the Aavik U380?
In case of no replacement amplifier is received, will the original measurements then be published?

Jim Austin's picture

In case of no replacement amplifier is received, will the original measurements then be published?

For now let me just say that I am still counting on getting in a new unit to measure.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

Bogolu Haranath's picture

If the new unit measures well, may be it is a good idea for JVS to do a follow-up review of the new unit :-) ......

dcolak's picture

What happened?

SNI's picture

Almost another month went by.
What´s going on?
This is really strange.

Jim Austin's picture

to get another sample to measure. So far without success. As I wrote before, I still believe in the proprietor's good faith.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

SNI's picture

A dead end to me.
The people at Aavik must think, that their reputation is not worth fighting for, or they must have realised, that their amplifier simply isn´t better than measured by JA.
In both cases it would be fair to everyone, to publish the measurements as is, I think.

mcduman's picture

Jim is a talented writer, his piece on Murakami, for example, is some of the best writing about audio.

But the aavik incident shows that he is there to serve the interests of manufacturers at the expense of the readers. a manufacturer can stop him from publishing the measurements for 4-5 months since the official review date back in april.

i do not remember such a thing happening in recent history. Even if he decides to publish measurements now, his credibility is lost with me forever. it seems we have a new robert harley.

glad it happened early on his new role, so we now know.

Jim Austin's picture

>> Even if he decides to publish measurements now, his credibility is lost with me forever.

It has been clear to me for years that there's a small army of people out there who are eager to destroy Stereophile's reputation, and the reputations of its reviewers and editors. Typically, as here, they post anonymously, which to me is a bit like hurling insults out the window of a fast-moving car. In any case, suffice it to say that I'm not losing any sleep over your libel.

I recently got some information--secondhand but from a very reliable source--that sheds some light on the situation. I'm not going to post it, though, until I have confirmed it.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

davip's picture

I started reading this review thinking that it was another review of a product that I read a review about earlier this year, one that I recall thinking was absurdly priced (all the more so given that it seemed to be either defective or incompetently designed). Scanning the comments and finding mine from back in May and realising that it was the same review, I'm wondering why its on the Home Page again as I see no change -- neither Measurements nor Manufacturer's Comment are added.

What gives Jim -- is Stereophile needing to fill blank-space again..? :P

N.B. Without wishing to add fuel to the previous subjective fire, I've also had cause to question the use of dynamically-compressed audio in Stereophile equipment reviews before -- take a look at JAs reference drum-track 'Fit Song' in Audacity -- you won't find more squashed garbage masquerading as audio, yet at one time I could hardly read a JA review without seeing this track mentioned as some sort of bass-and-dynamics metric. It was questionable then and it's questionable in this review -- it doesn't matter how much you like a track (or how many other people do); if it's been loudness-compromised and squashed in the mastering then it has no place in equipment reviewing, and in using such audio (and definding its use after the fact, as in this review), you compromise your subjective assessment and give the reader cause to question your offered opinion.

Oh for the days of the Sheffield Labs Drum Record!

Jim Austin's picture

This review was posted online on 19 May and has been here ever since. It is here now because it never went away.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

davip's picture

...(most) everything is still on the interweb somewhere but why is this back as a Stereophile new item on DailyAudiophile.com -- it implies that something is new, no?

Jim Austin's picture

We don't publish Daily Audiophile. I don't know how it works. We aren't responsible for it. No idea why it's back there again. But here it never went away.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

SNI's picture

That can hardly be questioned.
A nice and positive Stereophile review is money in the bank for manufacturers, a more negative one can take manufacturers out of business.
So I really do understand your precausions.
It was a gentlemans deed to withhold the measurements for some time, unregarded that the rest of the review had to be published anyway.
But I think that the measurements should be disclosed now, unless the whole calamity was caused by some very spooky issues corrupting the measurements or so.
Anyways I´m delighted that you will post only confirmed information. I´ll look forward to it.

Best regards

Søren

X