Floorstanding loudspeakers

Michael Børresen is the man responsible for improving the ribbon tweeter design to one of the finest sounding units ever heard in the high-end audio. The former mastermind of Raidho Acoustics and Nordost power solutions is a part of Børresen – Aavik – Ansuz emporium today. He does things differently and his products sound different too; usually superior to the competition. Still, the Børresen speakers is where all his talents come together.

Function and form

Ease of use

The Børresen 03 is a second-from-the-top speaker in the range of 8 models. It is a 2.5-way speaker, with 35Hz-50kHz frequency response, 88dB sensitivity, and 4 ohms of impedance.

The ultra-light mass of the famous – and improved - tweeter (.01g) allows for exceptional speed, air, transient handling, and all the details that we are used to from previous Børresen’s designs. The tweeter section is vented to balance out the build-up of air pressure: that is why there are two sizable gill-slots in the upper part of the cabinet. Although the high efficiency ribbon tweeter is at the heart of the Børresen 03, this time it is supported by newly developed midrange and bass sections.

Børresen calls it an “iron-free revolution” and it means that the motors of the new drivers are designed without the use of any iron: 4 opposing neodymium ring-magnets are used to squeeze the flux lines together over two solid copper discs, which now act like pole pieces. The solid copper pole rings act as very effective heat sinks and reduce voice-coil inductance to an exceptionally low value of 0.04 MH (less than 10% of regular standard drivers). A much lower induction means a much faster driver, with no lag. This impacts the overall loudspeaker performance which now becomes much more refined and very detailed. Lower induction also causes less resonance impedance variation, which means less phase angles and less impedance variation for the driving amplifier. Bass performance becomes very tight, well focused, and more authentic, according to Børresen. The copper rings can be substituted on request by silver ones, see the footnote. Also, the membranes of the drivers have acquired hi-tech solutions to improve stiffness to weight ratio: they are a composite of a 4 mm Nomex honeycomb core sandwiched between two layers of very thin carbon.

While a lot of money had been obviously spent on R&D, the cabinets are less impressive. Not that the Scandinavian furniture design is unattractive, yet for the asking price I think we deserve a bit more. One notable fact is that between the cabinet and the speaker’s bottom plate there are Ansuz Darkz T2S resonance control decouplers built-in (Audiodrom reviewed them here). Another set of Darkz should be used between the feet and the floor – this needs to be purchased extra, however.  

The other notable fact is that the Børresen 03 speakers have been designed to accept banana terminated speaker cables only, preferably the Ansuz ones. The terminals are recessed and there is no room to connect anything else. For this review, adaptors were used to connect the cable terminated with spades.

Bass management


One minute into I´ve Got Music in Me (Thelma Houston & Pressure Cooker, Sheffield Lab) was enough for the Børresen 03 CRYO to send the following message: I am good in soundstaging, I am superbly coherent, and I made a progress in the bottom end.

Unlike Raidho speakers that always sounded top-down to me with their pristine highs, good midrange, and not so accomplished bottom end, Børresen finally understood the importance of good foundations and put the center of gravity in the attractive 60-120 Hz region. This is not the deep bass but the one that provides a good fundament to bass rhythms, sonority of horns, and also the range where the ‘body’ of music resides. The classical orchestra, like Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Erich Leinsdorf, sounded full and big in Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet. Although the Børresen 03 CRYO look thin they do not sound thin. Still, I found the declared 35Hz a rather optimistic number and suspect it is the Børresen’s -6dB extension at best.

Clarity & delicacy


The superb tweeter was – contrary to my expectations – almost invisible to ears. The speakers were detailed and airy, and more so than most other speakers, yet the tweeter was so well integrated that it could not be heard as such. The Raidhos used to sort recordings to good and bad, the Børresens were more forgiving. Yet, with really good music material, they shone. A capella voices (Nylons, Bop Til You Drop, Stereoplay Voices) were superbly resolved through the 03 CRYO and the instrument-less ensemble had great depth and width of image. The sound, although generated by the speakers, existed independently of them. I suspect that this disappearance was mostly due to narrow footprint of the Børresens.

Tonal accuracy

Temporal resolution

The sound fullness of the Børresen 03 CRYO is remarkable. One can hear wood (double basses), blazing brass (saxophones), felt (piano), skin (drums), and other materials, all easily identifiable as far as their size and shape is concerned. Such a connection of the textural resolution with spectral fullness leads to a realistic listening experience.

It leaves me wondering to what extent the cryogenic treatment is responsible for what I was hearing. The manufacturer says the following about it: When metal components undergo cryogenic processing, they are subjected to extreme cooling. In the wake of this process, the crystal structure of the metal contracts more and more. Alloying elements are pushed out of the grain structure of the metal, which now becomes very similar to a monocrystal. These structural changes in the metal have a profound effect on its audio properties, resulting in an increase of conductivity by 6-8%. The cryogenic processing cycle [of the speaker parts] requires a 3-day-time window. Within the first 24 hours, the metal undergoes a cooling process from room temperature to cryogenic temperatures. During the second 24 hours, the metal parts are held at temperatures around -196°C before the temperature, within the next 24 hours, returns gradually to room temperature. The gradual cooling and heating are critical to avoid any thermal stress. The process strengthens and compresses the grain structure of the metal components and reduces inherent residual stress that occurs when metal solidifies from its liquid phase to a solid phase.

Spatial resolution

Soundstage width
Soundstage depth

With a pink noise track I found the Børresen 03 CRYO quite sensitive towards how close to each other the speakers are set up and how much they are toed-in or out. The ribbon tweeter had rather narrow horizontal dispersion and acted like a laser beam, so I had to make sure that I was in the beam’s way. In the vertical axis I did not note any special sensitivity to how high I was seated; all the 03’s drivers were perfectly glued together, and the speakers sounded coherent and one-way. The Børresen’s sound did not vary with the distance from the listening position either, provided that the toe-in was adjusted.

Audiophiles have got already used to rather overshoot prices of Danish Børresen – Ansuz – Aavik, or have they? The Børresen 03 are only available in walnut veneer, yet they offer two upgrades. The CRYO upgrade that I reviewed adds 8,000€ on top of the standard version, the CRYO Silver Supreme Edition* almost doubles the price by the extra 40,000€. Although I understand material costs, such an increase in price is hardly justifiable. Still, this is my problem and it may not be a problem of someone else who wants to own the hi-tech speakers that look pretty and that do not look like they want to eat you (Wilson Audio).

*Silver Supreme Edition:

For the SSE version the copper pole rings in the patented Børresen motors were replaced with in-house manufactured, handcrafted silver rings. Since silver has better conductivity than copper  Børresen speculates that it pushes down the inductance values even further. Another decrease of inductance by 6-8% was realized by cryogenically treating all internal metal parts.

Price as reviewed:1 750 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

RP Audio, Ostrava, +420 737 366 831

Associated components

  • Sources: Gryphon Mikado Signature
  • Amplifiers: Gryphon Essence preamplifier, Gryphon Essence Stereo power amplifier
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Gryphon Vanta, Gryphon VIP Reference
  • Loudspeakers:  Borresen 03, Vivid Audio Giya G3 S2 and Giya S1 Spirit
  • Power conditioning: Gryphon VIP Reference, Gryphon distribution block



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