Because the three times more affordable sound|kaos Vox 3afw loaner was still on hand, the 01 naturally had to battle it. My Bakoon AMP-13R and FirstWatt F7 lack power to show off what the 01 can truly do. The EX-M1 was overkill for Martin Gateley's more efficient 4-driver 3-way. The only setup fit to handle both with equal finesse was the combo of Thöress DFP preamp and AGD Production Audion monos. Instantly it became clear how very different these speakers are. Shared background blackness in fact was the only common denominator. The Vox was leaner, more contoured and sunny, the 01 more grounded and dark. Despite its ballsier attitude, the Dane easily kept up on articulation yet didn't highlight this aspect as much and had the more refined top end. The 3afw went deeper and its nimbler upper bass further enhanced this. The Børresen masked its lesser reach with top control, speed and muscularity to strike me as the more fearless, massive and subjectively bigger. Neither was hollow or missed anything but both were very different indeed.
Although both staged enormously large and rendered all images with utmost accuracy, two distinctive executions of spatial tasks set them apart. The Swiss with its critical widebander put expressiveness, meticulousness and intimacy on the pedestal to emphasize each image's outlines and directness. On this count the 01 didn't pursue the same particularly fetching incisiveness to instead project wider, a bit more distant and weighty. This netted a somewhat dreamier still perfectly pronounced effect. The Vox's sharp sonic pencil highlighted contours, the 01's rounder tip pressed harder for bolder edges. On qualities related to tissue complexity, water color was the more light-footed Swiss filler material of choice where the 01 mixed in some oil paint to feel denser. In the context of nearby amps, the sound|kaos was the Bakoon, the DFP/Audion combo the 01. It should be clear that these descriptions transcend the usual better/worse to narrow down to two unique skill sets. Different driver choices are bound to highlight different sonic features which affect our musical perception on a whole. The Vox's custom widebander is geared towards on-stage directness and charm that's off-limits to any other transducer type including Børresen's. The latter is the one to beat on ripped dynamic, slam, guts and resolution. Although both were fully adult and represented two distinctive kinds of elegance, one couldn't do what the other did nor vice versa. Would the Vox's more delicate, lucid and investigative talk suit you more than Børresen's ultimate shove, treble refinement and muscularity? Or would it be the other way around? That's your call. My job is now done.
Summary. Speakers engineered as distinctively as today's aren't riddles which take hours to solve, especially when they're from industry veterans famous for their demos and previous Nordost/Raidho work. In Aalborg they did so well that I quickly heard what their most compact model was capable of. To a large extent, its hefty price then was simply still a mystery. After testing the same speaker under my own roof nearly a full year later, all dots connected. Perhaps somewhere there exists a similarly sized and voiced passive 2-way that would compete for less but as of today, I'm aware of none.
Although nicely put together and styled, the 01's dynamically flowing exterior remains modest. If it's visual flamboyance you're after, this isn't that. Instead focus on peak performance, domestication and advanced in-house components not seen elsewhere. This combines real engineering, avoidance of off-the-shelf parts and willingness to pursue extreme measures. Already the smallest 01 reflects this no-compromise attitude and unsurprisingly for a price. It delivered everything it promised but this statement still misses the big picture. Its articulation, textural exuberance, treble elegance, bonkers power and control achieved without active drive, big woofers or high-volume enclosures spell out next-level engineering beyond subjective voicing. That's the real money drain. Considering the measures which have turned the Børresen 01 into what it is, I now understand why its makers charge this much for a performer this small. If you still don't, I was told that their recently launched down-scaled Z range sells for far less and isn't too far off where it matters most.
But that's a story for another time.