That meant Soundaware's SD card reader as transport into the U-380's coaxial input. It meant Ansuz cabling, Ansuz Mainz8 power cords, Ansuz Mainz8 power delivery, then additional noise filtering and dielectric activation with the Ansuz PowerBox. If you read my prior Ansuz review, you'll recall how their Mainz8 distributor and matching cords had acted as accelerators and energizers where our Spanish Vibex power products with Allnic Audio power cords represented a mellower fuller more fluid balance. Now you won't be shocked that swapping out cables, power cords and distributors made the same difference for the U-380. Cynics suspect that synergy is a dirty word which manufacturers hype to sell you on one-brand systems. In this instance, it wasn't a dirty word. I'll spare us the dielectric activation detour and signal cable insertion since this isn't an Ansuz review. Instead we jump right into the finale, all Nordic guns blazing.

Full-bore Dansk sound

This rather transformed the entire energetic equation around Aavik's U-380. Everything surrounding the earlier 'slow' judgment like duller edge definition, cloudier separation and softer focus gathered speed, firmed up and stripped out virtual cobwebs. Dynamic articulation in the micro domain improved. This created more subcutaneous separation for more ripped/shredded textures which no longer hid beneath a layer of fat. In short, excitement and speed picked up and the lazier gear shifts and plusher suspension of the earlier ride faded in the rear-view mirror.

Our 1MHz class AB monos fronted by the same Ansuz loom retained their earlier advantage particularly in the air/brilliance region and overall speed. Now their balance simply shifted too far onto the front foot of attack over bloom and sustain. Now advantage devolved to mere difference and at that, exceeded what I really like. It's why it can be unrealistic to expect that any mature system, curated over many years of listening and equipment swaps, would automatically behave ideal with a newcomer without subsequent counter-steer adjustments. It's why we'll happily stick to our Vibex/Allnic power and cable solutions. Those interlink like praying hands with the rest of our main kit. By the same token, if I considered the Aavik U-380, I'd really want Ansuz power to recreate our general domestic balance. It's about complementary combinations.

Doing a quick retrospective on my three Aalborg reviews, the component which impressed me the most were the Børresen 02 speakers. It's why those made it into my Standouts of 2019 list. Next were the Mainz8 distributor then Mainz8 power cords. With our residential amplifier yardstick set by Bakoon and LinnenberG, I'd probably have to investigate Aavik's separates to come up with direct equivalents. Back to the U-380, I'll characterize it as an advanced take on Wyred4Sound's ICEpower sound. That's because it equally celebrates warmer, thicker, meatier and softer sonics. It's the far side of early class D. That erred with monochromatic chalky flatness, then got hyper detailed but hard. For those who mean to exceed top wide-bandwidth DC-coupled linear class AB with far more rapidly switching outputs, I've so far only heard the €15'000 Merrill GaN amp go there. It's been the exception of class D which actually eclipsed our best traditional circuits on resolution across the bandwidth. To give the U-380 more hustle, spunk and sass than it exhibited with our own supporting hardware yet without at all breaching earlier class D sound, Ansuz power delivery is tailor made. It's from the same designer and same factory. It means built-in synergy. Here I'd focus on an Ansuz power distributor followed by at least one AC cord. The signal cables are far less decisive if what you own is solid already. Now you can build a sonically ambitious but simple system around one core component which only needs a source to be complete. And isn't doing more with less whilst ticking off fine style the new black and orange? If that's you, your wallet willing and the creek not rising, Aavik's U-380 fronted by some Ansuz power goods should be on your shortlist.