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.)