we just had to post this review on the outstanding streaming system comprised of the Aaavik S280dac/streamer along with the ansuz power swich and powered ethernet cables the result of this entire pairing and a throughly well engineered streaming system is a joy.


aavik is one of the very few audio companies to make every device in the chain amplifier dac streamer ethernet switch ethernet cables loudspeakers powere conditioner power cables and the result is pure magic


n a nutshell, I feel spoiled with the Aavik S-280 digital streamer and the Ansuz PowerSwitch ethernet hub and all those Ansuz digital cables. This is what I’ve always wanted digital streaming to be–effortless in operation, magnificent in sound quality. This is the set-up, along with the U-280, that could make me sell all my CDs and just go with streaming and LPs for the rest of my life.


Dave and troy

Audio intellect nj

AAvik ansuz borrenson dealers


@arafiq  Hoping you can elaborate some more on the D-280 vs T+A DAC 200 & throw in the Aqua La Scala Opto mkii for good measure. Where did you prefer the Aavik over the DAC 200 ?. Was the Aqua La Scala ever on your audition list. I have had some limited experience with the D 180, thought it be precocious and at times over animated in it's presentation. While the D 280 promises of a more mature confident smooth and musical sound gets me wondering , Out of the bunch so far, the Aqua La Scala is the one to beat. Still would love some input on the Aavik D 280

@sagur80 Just to be clear, I own the Aavik U-280 which is basically I-280 and D-280 in a single chassis. I’ve never heard the Aqua La Scala so not sure if I can offer my opinion when it comes to that particular dac.

When compared to Denafrips Terminator 2 and Plus, I preferred the Aavik DAC by quite some margin. It brings out more detail and has better instrument separation and transparency, i.e. I feel that I can see deeper into the music and the instruments and singer just sound a little more fleshed out and real. The Denafrips Terminator Plus tended to sound more hifi’ish but I can see how some might actually prefer that type of presentation.

Compared to the T+A DAC, the differences are much more subtle. I thought the T+A DAC had a little more air and the treble region was slightly better than the Aavik DAC. But, to my ears, the Aavik has a bit more weight and oomph. It allows the notes to linger in the air just a little bit longer. It kinda paints the music with a broader brush, compared to the more chisel-like character of the T+A. Also, it tends to present the music in a bolder fashion. I can see how this might sound a bit ’over animated’ to some. For me, this is actually a quality that in the end made me choose the Aavik. The other thing that might have affected my decision is perhaps better synergy between the Aavik amplifier and DAC. It is quite possible that T+A might sound better with a difference mix of components.

The D-280 is almost twice as expensive as the D-180 and from what I hear the primary differences lie in two key aspects: more transparency and a more organic (smooth) sound compared to the I-180. But I’ve not owned the 180, so feel free to take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I've auditioned Borresen Z1 Cryo with Aavik S-280 + D-280 +  I-280 with assorted Ansuz cables. 

It was perhaps the best bookshelf setup I've heard so far. Huge and organic sound. 

Recently I've heard a pair of Berlina RC3 driven by Perreaux 300ix with Synergistic Research cabling. Surprisingly, this setup sounded identical to the Aavik+Borresen+Ansuz. Aavik DAC is R2R according to the dealer, but the ES9038PRO Sabre DAC in the Perreaux sounded very musical and organic also. 

All in one boxes are getting really good nowadays. 


@arafiq I concur with you regarding the T+A DAC 200 and the Terminator from Denafrips. The former is incredibly measured yet realistic with vocals in particular. Yet when instruments enter the fray, the DAC 200 has this rather curious habit of pushing the vocals much more back on stage , leaving a bit more weight and impact than normal with the instruments. If listening to vocals exclusively , the DAC 200 would be an excellent choice. In addition the lower midrange and top bass note freqs seem to  cluster all elements of the music performance. With the latter, the Terminator might be better labelled the Taminator , this is one of the most underwhelming DACs in quite some time. Visually built like a tank , just with a mid size sedan engine under the hood. 

In my research , the Aavik D 180 was auditioned vs the T+A DAC 200, the Aqua La Scala , Aurender N200, Grimm MU!, Holo May Kte and a Mola Mola DAC. 

Just three made the cut : The Aavik, the T+A and the Aqua la Scala. The Aavik was the most exuberant, bold and in doing so defined it's own signature sound quite well. Only shortcomings seemed to be in the area of microdynamics and dynamic swings. This DAC was happy going forward full throttle for most of the time. My interest was piqued with the D 280 as it seems to offer a more mature and insightful presentation and captures the overall  musical flow better . Definitely a contender in my books for my next DAC along with the Aqua La Scala , devoid of any digital filters, nor any visual display for that matter, this minimalist approach does not extend to the music performance. At times addicting, smoothing any harshness or hard edges with the tube warmth. 

Do you find the U 280 musically engaging, immersive in the music experience , non fatiguing ?. Aavik claim their low and mid tiers DACs to be warm , musical with good soundstage. Would you agree given your own experience with the U 280 DAC section?

@auroravengeance I had a brief listen to the very excellent Borresen M1 bookshelf speakers at an audio show and found them to be exemplary bookshelf speakers. The Z1 cyro have received quite favorable reviews too since their release. 

@arafiq yes I owned one and no it is not the best. @dbagstrick yes I owned one for a year and sold it. Did not hold a candle to my current gear. Perfect name also dbag.