Aavik expands its range of amplifiers with its new flagship Aavik 880 series
The 880 series is Aavik’s most innovative and sophisticated amplifier production to date. The new series consists of the Aavik I-880 integrated amplifier, the C-880 control amplifier and the P-880 power amplifier. The main development goal of this series was to create a powerful unswitched pure Class A amplifier, with the lowest possible output impedance that would contribute to better signal and less noise, thus improving the performance of the speakers, resulting in a richer sound. much more organic and more musicality.
In mid-2021, Flemming Erik Rasmussen, founder and former owner of Gryphon Audio, became a full-time member of the Audio Group Denmark design and development team. With over 35 years of experience creating and realizing “dreams” and his artistic passion for designing hi-fi equipment, he was a perfect fit for Aavik. This was the beginning of a dynamic and productive collaboration between Michael Børresen with his innovative approach and Flemming Erik Rasmussen’s touch of artistic and aesthetic design. He and Michael Børresen embarked on the design and development of an innovative new Aavik amplifier that would take the quality of musical authenticity to a new dimension. The result is the new flagship Aavik 880 series of amplifiers.
Through a long and intensive research and development process, the Aavik engineering team identified several characteristic elements in the traditional Class A amplifier design that could definitely be improved.
To prevent switching, Class A amplifiers typically apply a high constant current to the output devices. This approach is not only associated with high power consumption, but also adversely affects the sound quality. The traditional Class A power supply consists of a large transformer and large banks of capacitors. This large transformer has two drawbacks. First, the many windings create undue induction, which in turn means a transient delay. Second, these many windings create stray capacitances, causing high-frequency noise from the mains to enter the amplifier. Michael Børresen and his engineering team took up the challenge and found another way to prevent the power amp from switching.
They designed a circuit that consistently maintains the bias spread 0.63V above the required current, no matter where it is in the cycle. So no matter how much current the power amp requires to run, it always stays Class A up to an impressive 2x200W into 8 ohms, while at the same time consuming no unnecessary power.
This significant reduction in amplifier power requirements allowed Aavik to design the capacitors as smaller units and place them locally, so that essentially each of the eight pairs of output transistors has its own bank of capacitors right next to it. This means that current does not have to flow through long wire harnesses and long circuit boards. The current is always directly into the output transistor, which means a shorter signal path and therefore less noise. In addition, this innovative Aavik design also means that 880 amplifiers don’t get as hot as conventional Class A amplifiers, resulting in higher efficiency.
The power supply for Aavik’s 880 series amplifiers is designed with Aavik’s resonant mode power supplies, which guarantee sufficient power resources with extremely low noise. Background noise in the raw power supply is extremely low, but is further reduced by ultra-low noise regulators powering the various parts of the circuit. The smaller size of the power supply also means fewer windings and therefore less induction and less transient delay, which has a positive effect on soundstage and musicality.
To create the best and most effective control section, Aavik’s engineering department carefully tested and evaluated each electronic component to ensure both the lowest possible noise floor and highest signal refinement. The ultimate goal of this comprehensive approach is for the amplifier to unlock a dynamic musical range that projects even the smallest musical details onto a palpably larger soundstage with an extremely quiet background.
Volume control: influences the sound experience
The Aavik 880 amplifier features a unique inverted amplifier topology with virtual ground for maximum stability. The feedback becomes so strong that the signal can be attenuated to a gain of less than 1. This keeps the entire signal at the lowest signal-to-noise ratio whether the volume is turned up or down. This provides the speakers with a clear and distinct flow of information, making even the most subtle nuances of timbre and texture audible in an extremely quiet soundstage.
Optical LDR based components
The LDR (Light Dependent Resistor) is extremely quiet thanks to its switchless principle. This significantly reduces background noise and ensures natural sound without suppressing subtle sound details. Traditional MOS-FET relay and switch assemblies create much more noise. They suppress subtle sound details and unnaturally color the tone. The 880 series includes the following components, Switchless Optical Input Card: Based on LDR and Switchless Optical Gain Selection.
Dedicated power supply for control section
The separate power supply in the Aavik 880 amplifier ensures sufficient power resources with extremely low noise. The result is more control and seemingly limitless dynamic range. When more power is needed, the operating frequency is increased, which in turn has the benefit of also increasing power density, allowing for higher peak power when the music demands it. The noise floor of the raw power supply is extremely low and is further reduced by ultra-low noise regulators that power the various parts of the circuit.
Aavik’s analog crossover ensures precise timing when routing audio signals to receiving components. This is important to avoid a harsh and compressed sound. Aavik’s crossover is designed to drive a subwoofer very precisely or to drive a 2.1 home theater system with the built-in high-pass and low-pass filter. Alternatively, Aavik’s analog crossover can also serve as an analog room correction control.
The exterior design of the Aavik 880 amplifier is the result of the artistic and aesthetic work of Flemming Erik Rasmussen. However, his design philosophy is and always has been that design should serve a purpose.
The Aavik 880 amplifier chassis was primarily designed with the aim of maintaining the best audio characteristics of the electrical design, i.e. lowest inductance, reducing hysteresis to an absolute minimum and ensuring excellent resonance control. Also, since this was a Class A amplifier to be developed, there were some predefined premises for the design. With these goals in mind, the design process became a study of forms and materials that opened up a unique and constructive synergy between Flemming Erik Rasmussen and Michael Børresen.
Based on Flemming Erik Rasmussen’s fascination with copper for its visual look and feel, and Michael Børresen’s insight into the sonic properties of copper, copper was chosen as a fundamental component of the design. As a result, Aavik 880 amplifiers feature a solid copper housing. This results in greater hysteresis reduction, lower output impedance, lower inductance, a positive effect on damping factor, and cooler running of the amplifier. All these components ensure that music is reproduced with more energy and power.
Additionally, the amp features cooling elements on the sides and top that clearly bear the signature of Flemming’s design. The volume button is covered with a rubber layer and the control panel is designed as a large LCD touch screen.
The bottom plate is designed as a sandwich construction with a copper plate, a compact and heavy laminated plate and a layer of titanium on the bottom. This unique sandwich construction ensures minimal resonance and supports a natural, organic sound.
The choice of materials, as well as the interior and exterior design, are the result of a collaboration between Fleming and Michael and are characterized by functionality, but also by a very aesthetic and elegant design.
Valuable exchange of knowledge and technology
When Aavik designs new audio equipment, one of the main tasks is always to remove as much unwanted noise as possible to deliver uncompromising musical authenticity. This of course also applies to the new 880 series from Aavik. In pursuing this goal, Audio Group Denmark has learned that many innovative technological advances in product development for its three individual brands, Ansuz, Aavik and Børresen, can often be leveraged across brands. The exchange of knowledge and technology that takes place between the three brands has proven to be extremely insightful and valuable. Therefore, Audio Group Denmark has integrated its most effective Tesla coil technologies from the most advanced products of its three brands into the Aavik 880 series. For example, active Tesla coil technology, which is by far Ansuz technology. more effective for noise reduction.
Tesla coil technology aims to remove as much unwanted noise from any musical performance as possible to ensure uncompromising musical authenticity. The principle of Tesla coil technology is based on two coils wound against each other: a coil and a counter coil. In Ansuz’s words, “a double inverted coil”: the two coils carry voltage. When the Tesla coil encounters a voltage spike, a counter coil is activated to eliminate the noise. Since the noise spikes are pure voltage and have virtually no load, the cancellation is pretty good, but still not 100%. However, when multiple P-TC coils are connected in parallel, their noise canceling ability is significantly increased, reducing the noise level to unprecedented levels. This significantly improves the perceived blackness of the musical background.
EURO RRP: €67,000
Aavik I-880: Available now.
Aavik C- and P-880: Expected to be available in January 2023.