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This review first appeared in October 2020 on HifiKnights.com. By request of the manufacturer and permission of the author, it is hereby syndicated to reach a broader audience. All images contained in this piece are the property of Dawid Grzyb or Ansuz – Ed.
Reviewer: Dawid Grzyb
Sources: LampizatOr Pacific (Living Voice 300B + KR Audio 5U4G Ltd. Ed.)
Transports: fidata HFAS-S10U
USB: iFi audio 0, micro iUSB3.0 and 3x Mercury cables
Integrated amplifiers: Bakoon AMP-13R
Speakers: sound|kaos 3afw
Interconnects: Audiomica Laboratory Erys Excellence, Boenicke audio IC3 CG
Speaker cables: Boenicke Audio S3, LessLoss C-MARC
Power components: Gigawatt PC-3 SE EVO+, Gigawatt PF-2 + Gigawatt LC-2 MK2 + Forza AudioWorks Noir Concept/Audiomica Laboratory Ness Excellence/LessLoss C-MARC
Rack: Franc Audio Accesories Wood Block Rack
Retail price of components as reviewed: €1'170/ea.
I recently reviewed Børresen's 01 monitor which arrived with six Darkz T2S decoupling pucks from sister company Ansuz. These tiny devices critical for the speaker's performance move easily. That created a perfect opportunity to investigate their action elsewhere. Today's review tackles that. This unplanned story originated as a quick side project to ease personal curiosity. The people behind the brands Børresen, Ansuz and Aavik offered me access to pretty much anything they make. Starting with their core products seemed the best strategy. It's of course fair to question how decoupling footers could be 'core' products. At my visit to Aalborg and Aarhus, I'd simply learnt how to these folks everything matters. It made no difference whether they demo'd electronics, big or small speakers, cables or their smallest most affordable tweaks. No component was left behind. Each was meaningful in its own way to indicate clearly how holistic and different their approach is.
Two highlights of my Denmark trip were the Børresen 01 standmounts and a record clamp which I won't review as I'm no vinyl expert. More important is how these were my two most memorable products. After all, I'd also been exposed to the biggest costliest artillery at these UpperLevel APS premises. Think Børresen 05 flagships fronted by Aavik's M-380 monos and C-380 pre all wired up with top-shelf Ansuz cables/cords fed from their matching ultimate power distributor. Why had their smallest speaker and record clamp impressed me most? Because I'd previously never experienced their types as being this profoundly effective. It proved my hosts' seriousness far below their portfolio's best.
If I now had to name a third Danish product that performed unexpectedly wicked, it'd be their Ansuz Darkz footers. Frits Dalmose, the man of the Børresen/Ansuz/Aavik group in Aarhus, had three under a Primare CD player in a smaller demo system. The performance plunge witnessed upon removing these pucks was instant and not minor. Until then I'd nursed skepticism about footers being effective beyond at best mildly. My Aarhus showroom experienced rewrote that belief. Live and learn. Even more to the point, the Darkz Frits used had been mid-level specimens – "reasonably good but not fancy" is how he put it with a mischievous grin. Fast forward to mid 2020. The Børresen 01 loaners arrived with the best Ansuz Darkz T2S. Once the speaker review published, I could try my set of six beneath standard gear. I hoped to at least partially recreate the effect I'd heard in Aarhus. What happened next was too meaningful to keep to myself. I'd navigated myself into another albeit unavoidable assignment. Book reviews talk of unputdownable.
Their website files these devices under the mechanical grounding tab. Like it or not, not only the moving bits in our audio hardware resonate to influence their surroundings and themselves. Even static digital and valve devices aren't immune. Although their vibrations tend to be of minuscule amplitude, they're always present. It doesn't matter whether the resultant pollution starts in a given component or migrates to it from elsewhere. Performance compromises either way. The Ansuz Darkz lineup promises an antidote against this pervasive radiation of micro resonances by passively damping/draining unwanted energies and making sure they don't have a return path. Although this reads simple, achieving it isn't. On the market, mechanical decoupling devices divide into soft and hard types. The former feature some form of compliant spring action/reaction. The latter don't. The entire Darkz family belongs to the hard group, then separates out into four different performance tiers: C2T, D2T, T2 and today's flagship T2S. All are hard directional sinks. They mechanically ground the product which sits on them. Vibrations transferred into them can't reflect back. Each Darkz consists of three discs with two layers of three titanium balls between. This might seem little in the grand scheme but makes for quite intricate critters. Their machining is top notch and each plate features cavities for three ball bearings. The total forms a layered cylinder held together by central bolts. The top features a small conical recess to turn spike receiver. In addition, extra dimples in the top and bottom plates allows for the stacking of multiple Darkz with additional balls.
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