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February 2024

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Børresen X2 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Review
Fantastic-sounding sleek speakers.
Review By Tom Lyle

 

Børresen X2 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Review Fantastic-sounding sleek speakers.

 

  The Børresen X2 is the smallest speaker in Børresen's X-Series. Even though it is Børresen's smallest speaker in that line, it is a floorstanding speaker 3.5 feet tall and weighs 80 pounds. Børresen's website calls the X2 intro-level speaker. At $8,800 a pair, whether one considers this price entry-level is debatable, but everything is relative – compared with the other speakers in Børresen's X-series, the X2 is reasonably priced. And as you'll read in this review (spoiler alert!), I have nothing but praise for the Børresen X2.

 

Stylish
After unpacking the X2s, I discovered that this slim, stylish 2.5-way floorstanding speaker had quite a small footprint. Viewed from above, the speakers are more or less triangular. The X2's front baffle is about one foot wide, but its cabinet narrows as it reaches its rear panel, which is a mere one inch wide.

This narrow rear panel appears slightly wider at points to allow for the speaker's ports, three round cylinders near the top of its cabinet, and three near the bottom. At first glance, I thought that the ports resembled exhaust pipes! More importantly, I thought the glossy, black piano, lacquered X2 with its streamlined, aerodynamic profile looked fabulous. The X2 is also available in white piano lacquer, which I assume would look similarly refined.

 

Recordings
One of the first recordings I usually play after setting up new speakers is Kraftwerk's 1991 album The Mix, on which they re-recorded their most popular songs in a more modern electronic dance music style. I use this album not to test speakers' ability to reproduce a realistic sound, but to get familiar with the speakers' frequency and transient response. This is music made totally on synthesizers, although co-founder Ralf Hütter occasionally sings with no effects applied to his voice.

 

 

The first track on this album is "The Robots." There are dueling bass lines early in the song, an excellent test of the speakers' low-frequency response and resolving power in this range. Every track on the album has plenty of deep bass, sizzling high-frequency sounds, rather complex arrangements, and a host of other sonic traits. And it is also an excellent album to listen to when I'm not reviewing speakers. I think it's an outstanding album, from start to finish.

My first sonic impressions of the Børresen X2s were very, very good. I was impressed with the vast soundstage that surrounded the speakers, and their very good center-fill. On most material, including the Kraftwerk album, the X2's center-fill was superb, it created sharply outlined images in their surprisingly vast soundstage, reminding me of speakers that cost much, much more.

 

 

The midrange of the Børresen was the star. Combined with the X2's lightning-fast transience response, the vocals on the Kraftwerk sonically appeared as the real thing (that is when effects weren't heaped upon them, such as a vocoder). The X2's 4.5" bass driver might not be able to produce thundering bass, but the speakers had an extremely tight transient response. The X2 exhibited this characteristic by reproducing voices, instruments, and sounds with zero hang-over.

Often, I'm weary of manufacturer descriptions of audio products in their literature or on their website. It sometimes seems as if these descriptions, filled with hyperbole, were written by an ad agency rather than those who designed the equipment. But Børresen's description of the sound of X2's ribbon tweeter is spot on. The transient response of these speakers' treble was impressive but even more impressive was how they didn't draw attention to themselves but reproduced the high frequencies with an ultra-realistic sound.

I bet many listeners won't need a subwoofer or subwoofers with the X2s, as these speakers chose quality over quantity when it came to the bass frequencies. But some will want to use a sub, and because of the Børresen's tight as a drum mid-bass, the X2s paired seamlessly with my subwoofers, which provided the below 30 Hz bass frequencies needed when listening to certain selections I played during the review period.

 

 

Denmark
Børresen is part of Audio Group Denmark, which also includes the brands Aavik, Ansuz, and Axxess. Those who have been reading Enjoy the Music.com for some time, especially the many reviews that have featured Aavik components, should be familiar with Audio Group Denmark. In the past, I've reviewed many Aavik components and still use a few Ansuz cables in my system. However, the X2 is the first Børresen speaker I've reviewed.

Børresen speakers bear the name of Michael Børresen, the Chief Technology Officer at Audio Group Denmark. Before he joined this company, Mr. Børresen was with the speaker manufacturer Raidho, which was one of the reasons I requested a pair of Børresen speakers for review. However, the Raidho speakers I reviewed in the past were far from "entry-level," at about 15 times the price of the Børresen X2s. Still, at first sight, the Børresen X2's appearance reminded me of the speakers that his older company produced.

 

Ribbon
The Børresen X2 has one 4.5" carbon midrange/bass driver, one 4.5" bass driver, and a rectangular-shaped ribbon tweeter, the same type of drivers found on Børresen's other X Series speakers.

 

 

Both 4.5" drivers use a very stiff membrane, with "unrivaled technical requirements" that demand that Børresen design them in-house. This membrane is made of three laminated skins to form a single unit. Two of these skins are made by spreading the fiber into a fragile but very strong material. They use two layers of this spread carbon fiber and "aramid honeycomb spacers" in between them, making this driver material very stiff. This process reduces vibration and resonance to an extremely low level. The aramid honeycomb has an outstanding stiffness-to-weight ratio. This made it possible to reduce the size of its magnetic motor system, which lowered costs but also gave the driver a very flat response and a very transparent sound.

The magnet motor system of the Børresen X2 uses double copper caps on its pole rings to attain high flux and low inductance. They previously used copper caps in their Z-series speakers, giving them a flatter inductance curve and lower electromagnetic resonance. Lower inductance reduced the number of spikes in its impedance curve. The speakers' high efficiency is due to Børresen's use of two pole rings. Even though this reduced the driver's flux and efficiency, using a larger magnet compensated for this slight loss.

 

Powered
For this review, the Børresen X2 speakers were powered by my reference Pass Laboratories X250.5 solid-state power amplifier. The linestage used was primarily the vacuum tube-powered Nagra Classic Preamp, but at times, the solid-state, two-chassis Pass Labs XP-27 linestage.

Long-time readers should be familiar with my reference system's analog and digital front-ends. But as a reminder, the analog front-end consisted of a Basis Audio Debut V turntable, with the magnificent Top Wing Suzaku "Red Sparrow" MC phono cartridge mounted on a Tri-Planar 6 tonearm. The tonearm's integral interconnect was connected to a Pass Labs dual-chassis XP-27 phono preamp.

The digital front-end comprised a computer-based music server, its USB output connected to an EMM (Meitner) DA2 digital-to-analog converter. I sometimes used the much less expensive ones for fun, but For 5" silver discs such as SACDs and DVDs, I used a now discontinued but excellent OPPO BDP-203 Blu-Ray/universal disc player. I connect the OPPO's analog outputs to the linestage when listening to those discs above. When playing CDs or one of the rare times I stream through the OPPO, its digital output is connected to the EMM converter.

The low-frequency extension listed in the speakers' specifications rates them down to 40 Hz, which is certainly respectable, yet some will want to augment these speakers with a subwoofer or two. But I said, "Some will want to..." as some listeners don't require the lowest bass frequencies to enjoy their music selections. Because I listen to many genres requiring the deepest bass possible, I used a pair of SVS SB16-Ultra subwoofers with 16" drivers. Surprisingly, the Børresen X2 didn't need nearly as much help in the lower bass as I expected. I set the subwoofers' low-pass filter at a conservative 80 Hz but with the volume set only as high as needed to begin to hear the output of the subs.

 

 

Tweeter
I mentioned the X2's tweeter above, but I should add that it is a very high-efficiency driver, with a sensitivity of 88dB/W/m, with its crossover sending signals above 2.5kHz. One of the reasons that many prefer ribbon tweeters is their extremely low moving mass, and this one is no exception, weighing a meager 0.01 grams. A tweeter with low moving mass can reproduce high transient sounds without causing any annoying dips.

I set the Børresen's up in about the exact location as my much larger reference Sound Lab Majestic 545 electrostatic monoliths. The speakers were up almost 3 to 4 feet from the front wall and about eight feet apart from each other, slightly toed in. I ended up with the speakers three to four feet from the front wall, which made them about a third of the way into the room, with my listening seat about a third of the way into the room on its other side.

 

 

Playing
I had just seen the Leonard Bernstein bio-pic Maestro. Soon after seeing it, I couldn't resist playing the finale of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection). One of my favorite versions is George Solti conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, a recording made in 1967. Decca originally released this, but my best copy is an audiophile-approved reissue pressed by Speakers Corner of Germany. I also listened to the 24-bit/96kHz digital version via Qobuz. Still, I always seem to return to the vinyl – in my opinion, it better captures all the power that Solti injected into the proceedings.

 

 

No two-channel audio system can replicate the sound of a symphony orchestra in one's listening room, especially one such as Mahler's Second, with a full chorus and vocal soloists added to the large orchestra. But a sound system with the appropriate speakers, such as the Børresen X2, can capture the gestalt of the orchestra, giving the listener a nearly complete sonic picture of this masterpiece with such a fat-free sound, my brain could readily fill in the missing portions of this enormous work. This was made possible mainly because of the X2's extremely transparent midrange, combined with its vast, drawn-to-scale soundstage, which made the music appear not as coming from the two slim speaker cabinets but from the entirety of the front of my listening room.

 

 

While playing the Second Symphony, I had plenty of head-turning moments. These happen only with speakers that possess superior imaging prowess. The Børresen X2 unquestionably has this quality, so when a percussion device is lightly stroked, or an offstage instrument enters the soundstage, I would sometimes quickly whip my head around as if someone was entering the room!

 

 

Obsessed
From the first time I heard their recordings, I've been practically obsessed with Miles Davis' recordings of his quintet from 1965 through 1968. In the late 1990s, Mosaic Records released a vinyl box set, "The Complete Studio Recordings Of The Miles Davis Quintet 1965-June 1968. "Soon after it was released, I began to think of a way of acquiring a copy. The title of this box set is quite a mouthful, but this is a must-have for any mega-fan of this period Miles Davis. When I began my quest to add this set to my collection soon after it was released, I was expecting it to be quickly sold out, but 1998 was a year that was smack-dab in the middle of vinyl's decline in sales; the CD was king. I was a very happy owner of this collection soon after.

What makes this audiophile set spectacular is the boundless musical talent that is on these recordings: Miles Davis on tenor saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and my favorite jazz drummer, Tony Williams.

The Børresen X2 brought back memories of the sound of the very pricey Raidho TD4.2 speakers I reviewed in July 2020, although in miniature. It was in miniature only because the Raidho speakers were seven driver speakers that stood more than five feet tall and were two feet deep. But the X2's treble response was awe-inspiring, enabling Tony Williams' snare drum and cymbals on many tracks to float about halfway between both speakers but mainly toward the right speaker.

After listening to many sides of this Miles Davis box set, I could have easily filled Enjoy The Music.com's server space by describing the many album tracks, alternative takes, and outtakes from the sessions during the four years of this ensemble's lifespan. But it bears repeating that the midrange of these speakers was extremely lifelike sounding, with a transient response to match. The micro- and macrodynamics of these speakers were one of the primary reasons I think they are worth their asking price. This, along with their very tight mid-bass, made listening to the various sessions recorded throughout the band's history come to life in my listening room.

 

 

Speakers
These sleek, fantastic-sounding speakers are very good-looking. I can imagine them in the living room or listening room of a comfortable suburban home or an apartment of an audiophile or avid music lover who wants a pair of speakers more than a cut above. The Børresen X2 is more than deserving of its asking price. I recommend them with no reservations.

 

 

 

Tonality

Sub–bass (10Hz – 60Hz)

Mid–bass (80Hz – 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz – 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth

Soundscape Extension Into Room

Imaging

Fit And Finish

Self Noise
Emotionally Engaging

Value For The Money

 

 

 

Specifications
Type: High-performance three-driver floorstanding loudspeaker.
Frequency Response 40 Hz to 50 kHz
Sensitivity: 88dB/W/m
Impedance: >4 Ohms
Tweeter: Børresen Planar Ribbon
Midrange: Børresen 4.5" bass/midrange driver
Woofer: 4.5" Børresen bass driver
Finish: Black or white piano lacquer
Dimensions: 43.3" x 11.8" x 21.7" (HxWxD)
Weight: 80.2 lbs.
Price: $8,800

 

 

 

Company Information
Audio Group Denmark
Rebslagervej 4
DK-9000 Aalborg

E-mail: info@audiogroupdenmark.com 
Website: AudioGroupDenmark.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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