Traavik cop. That's what an adjustable so smart xover is and does. It's a signal router or functional decider. Its sonic benefits aren't inherent. These settings simply influence how our sat/sub balance beds into our room and frees up especially smaller 2-ways. That obviously differs from system to system. WIth Aavik asking me to focus on their filter function, my observation is super basic. It works exactly as advertised. Click on the remote's 'sun' button to call up the menu. Use the 'left' command to toggle through the menu options until 'high pass' appears. Use the up/down controls to change frequency. Use the 'left' command again for 'low pass'. Rinse and repeat. Hit the menu button to revert to the main display. Done. It's all instant and free of any switching clicks. Vitally, it's all done from the seat. Hello instantaneous A/B. That's key. It's ultra convenient and undeniably the best way to track differences while we hone in on our personal best filter values by eliminating less successful settings. Since 80Hz was my upstairs default when higher filter values had disappeared, sonic differences vis-à-vis my usual icOn two-some of fixed 80Hz filter + autoformer volume control were wrapped up in a mix of active x no gain; volume control by variable feedback x multi-tapped autoformers; and lossy x non-lossy signal splitting.

Marble caster blocks Crayon IR eye.

Without being able to break down which factor contributed what, I heard the total difference in the textural domain. The one-box Aavik was brighter, drier and starker. The two-box icOn pack was moister, subtly oilier and not as 'damped'. At stout SPL that didn't cross the line into hard turf on a 24/96 file of these Latin power vocals compliments of Lila Downs, Buika and Pitingo. The Aavik did breach that zone. Ideally I'd package its smart xover with full remote control over freqs and sub level with Pál Nagy's autoformer volume. Using infrared to trim ±6dB of subwoofer output in ¼dB increments is a lovely convenience. My sub lacks remote control. I have its attenuator set where I like it. But being able to tweak that from the seat for perhaps certain tracks or some Fletcher-Munson compensation late at night would be a most welcome addition in this room.

Time to head downstairs where a $3'800 icOn Gradient Box 2 already gives me remote control over the sub/sat balance across more than 60dB; then adds remote bypass. Now the input signal routes unfiltered through the high-pass outputs for in-seat A/B between with/out subwoofer. Aavik's filter can't do that. With the C-280 we must manually change cables over to an unfiltered output. But the Aavik adds full remote control over frequency selection. If you're not a reviewer so firmly committed to your 2.1/2.2 system, that's more relevant. When I review speakers, I'm obviously expected to hear them full-range not castrated. Now it's very trick to enable that sans manual rewiring whilst, with one remote click, I can still check on how much bass extension and/or control a speaker gives up versus a dedicated 2×15" sub. 'Normal' listeners don't make such comparisons; certainly not on a regular basis. Now Aavik's feature sets pulls ahead. Now C-280 means more control.

The main system embraced the C-280's more lit-up wirier gestalt with zero complaints. The hybrid dipole speakers' "half omni" dispersion already creates all the textural elasticity I want in the acoustic domain. Traversing all the filter permutations from the seat, I again ended up with 80Hz but for a different reason than upstairs. Extending the cardioid downstairs sub's room 'immunization' across wider bandwidth nullifies two room modes not just one. That's obviously advantageous. I'd have been curious to learn how going higher than 80Hz might do even more on said score especially since I run each woofer from its own channel of Goldmund's Job 225 amp. It's not exactly classic mono summing so could lend itself to perhaps a 120Hz transition? Not this time around. Aavik's xover also missed my Gradient Box's shelving filter which normally sits at +3dB/20Hz to give the lowest trench a little lift. That only factored on very rare material of course.

Once again the C-280's core attraction relative to stereo 2.1 circled around its filter board; the 11 hinge frequencies independently adjustable for speaker and sub/s feeds; and controlling it all by infrared command without a single switching transient. Given how hard I've preached about this concept for the last two years, conversion therapy for yours truly is a done deal and old hat. I'm all out of hail, fire, brimstone and celestial harpists on clouds. If you don't see 2.1's appeal, I'm not about to convert you away from plain-vanilla stereo. I'll just say that if you're already trending that way and prefer less over more, having the necessary functionality bundled with a single-ended preamp purely in the analog domain is a rare find. Getting it all on a remote control is like Xmas and New Year's on the same day.

On behalf of other sub-for-music listeners, I'll once more exploit this platform to petition Aavik formally. Make this noiselessly switching remote-controlled precision filter available as a separate compact component or else (our kind shall shop one of your very few competitors). It'd neatly serve those in no need of a full-blown if just single-ended preamp. There's currently nothing like it. I already own the closest thing in my Pál Nagy box; just with manual not remote frequency switching. Here the Aavik C-280, C-580, C-880 and I-880 stand aloof from the crowd. That has them lead the way into a smarter better-sounding future.

Skol to that!

PS: Asking my factory contact whether the two filter versions implement in firmware or hardware, the latter. To change requires a different physical board not an emailed firmware overwrite. Can owners swap boards in situ or does it require a return to the factory? "It has to be done by at least the dealer but the software is designed to recognize either version to involve no software update." So one decides at order time but isn't stuck should needs change. Simply have your dealer or the factory replace the original filter module.

PPS: Warsaw contributor Dawid Gryzb had previously belabored the Danes' use of Apple's silvery wand just because it didn't match the black/red livery of their components. He should be pleased as punch that the new wand has listened to his niggle and converted to his preference. Skol again, this time with viking mead not Irish whiskey.