April
2020

Country of Origin

Denmark

Z01

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref,  AURALiC Vega, Jay's Audio CDT 2 MkII & DAC-2 SE
Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE 300B/VT52 or Elrog ER300B/50; Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module); April Music Stello HP100 MkII
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, SIT-3, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; April Music Stello S100 MkII;  Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; SAG AIO; Bakoon AMP-13R
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Acelec Model One; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence; Fram Midi 150 & 120; Simon Audio M3 [on review]
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL3000/5000 and Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub, Puritan Audio Labs PSM156 & PS106-DC
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands 
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: TBA

The €25'500/pr – €32'200/pr model 01 with its rakish shape and narrow spine is what the Z01 scales down.

At Denver's 2019 show, attendees had their first exposure to Børresen's new monitor. It's to their main line what ScanSonic is to Raidho, former home of Lars Kristensen and Michael Børresen. Today these Danes and their business partners run UpperLevel ApS, parent company to their brands Aavik, Ansuz & Børresen. Those are manufactured in these premises in an Aalborg industrial park.

Upon hearing the new Z01 stand mount, PartTimeAudiophile called it "an absolute assassin at this price point. With so many ultra-high-end brands debuting bookshelf speakers in this price range almost monthly, none off the top of my head other maybe than Vimberg impressed me more than the new Z01."

During my August 2019 visit to the Aalborg factory, I'd spied first prototype cabinets but no opportunity yet for a sneak listen. The B01's geometrically complex vents for dipole ribbon operation on the cheeks and its cross-vane-enhanced vertical bass reflex slot would give way to a simpler horizontal rear slot. The low-mass carbon-composite mid/woofer's low-inductance neodymium motor with copper would have to do without the copper, perhaps even go ferrite. I'd be the old song and dance of shaving off build costs without too much stepping on the current monitor's toes. Ergo, simpler squared-out cabinets to slash labor fees with the ruthlessness of Zorro's blade. More bill-of-materials cuts on the costliest ingredients. Still, Michael's signature ribbon tweeter would have to stay. With a less aspirated classical silk drone, er dome, it'd be no Børresen. These folks prioritize speed and dynamics. Now low mass and maximum control are the mandate, superior stop'n'go the aim. With it comes low energy storage from proprietary drivers built in-house. My prior review of the B02 described what that sounds like.

By the time Warsaw contributor Dawid Grzyb traveled up north after I'd returned from my factory tour, he could already take these snaps of working Z01 protos. I inserted the equivalent ScanSonic model for historical continuity. With said MB-1B still to market, Børresen's Z01 would obviously be most keen to offer a competitive edge. "Newer equals better" is what consumers expect no matter what came before. And what do we think the MB of Scansonic's model name stands for? It can keep a designer who already did good sleepless. Given current delays—Børresen are waiting on their first batch of cabs from their supplier—we just have to be patient to find out what they dreamed up, exactly. Scandinavia's crop of ambitious monitors, just around the time of the cancelled HighEnd Munich 2020, had grown another contender in Mårten Design's Parker Duo. That applies a concept and execution very similar to Vimberg's Amea. What is it about these countries that makes them so good at transducer design both for raw drivers from AudioTechnology, Dynaudio, ScanSpeak, Peerless, Viva & Co; and loudspeakers like Amphion, Arendal, Audiovector, Aurelia, B&O, Børresen, Buchardt, Dali, Davone, Dynaudio, Gamut, Gato, Genelec, Gradient, Gryphon, Jamo, Mårten, Peak Consult, Penaudio, Qln, Raidho, Scansonic, Transmission, XTZ and others I forgot or don't know of?

… to be continued…