Next Level HiFi's Major Step Up: Aavik, Ansuz, Børresen

Jumping to the top level for the models whose entry-level brethren were demmed in Next Level HiFi's other room, the Wayne, IL-based dealer joined forces with Audio Group Denmark to display the Børresen B01 Silver Supreme Edition standmount loudspeaker ($60,500/pair with stands); the Aavik U580 class-D integrated amplifier ($35,000; 300Wpc into 8 ohms), which includes a DAC that does, over USB, PCM up to 32/192 and DSD128 as well as MQA; and the Aavik 5580 Streamer ($25,200). The entire 580 series utilizes external titanium supports for extreme mechanical resonance control and a copper-lined internal chassis for electrical noise control.

The sound was excellent—colorful, engaging, and full range—with none of the grayness that I normally associate with class-D.

Most of my time in this room was devoted to comparisons of Ansuz accessories (above). First we experienced the Sparkz TC2 ($1200), a three-pronged plug-in capsule meant for the wall or power conditioner. Based on the Tesla coil, it is claimed to counter electrical noise peaks and noise in general. To these ears, when it was unplugged, the excitement of the system's ear-opening three-dimensional presentation diminished considerably.

Then we experienced the Ansuz Sortz. Each Sortz contains a resonator with a wire wrapped around it. These are designed to cancel out airborne noise, and are intended for open inputs and outputs on electronics. There are versions for RCA, BNC, XLR, USB, and RJ-45.

The Sortz come in three levels: Normal ($860), Supreme ($1200), and Signature ($1600). If one has to prioritize which components to use them on, Audio Group Denmark suggests the preamp first and streamer second. Said to work on all components from all companies, including Sonos, their use, to these ears, increases soundstage dimensions and noticeably decreases noise (resulting in blacker backgrounds).

As we listened to Fink's "Trouble's What You're In" and progressed from lower to middle level, I heard more colors from instruments and greater air around them. By Signature level, I sensed more texture from guitar strings. When all three were plugged into the system, it felt as though I'd moved closer to the guitar. Then, when all three were removed, the perspective flattened out some and extra illumination vanished. The sound was still; very fine, but it wasn't as superb.

Would I love to try these babies? You betcha.