Integral Aavik U-380: Tesla coils and separate DAC in Scandinavian design
The Danish company Aavik Acoustics has unveiled the Aavik U-380 integrated amplifier. The name of the novelty coincided with the name of the German submarine during the Second World War. The amplifier repeated the design and main circuitry solutions of its predecessor with the index 300, which we once talked about. For modernization, the circuits from the proprietary C-380 preamplifier were used. The Aavik U-380 power supply uses Tesla coils, which soften the peaks of ultrasonic vibrations of transient processes to facilitate their subsequent filtering.
In the basic version, the U-380 is equipped with two separate built-in DACs (PCM and DSD) and a phono preamp. There are three line inputs for analog sources. Circuitry with “virtual” grounding is widely used. The Aavik U-380 delivers 2×300 watts to 8ohm speakers, which doubles when the impedance is halved. At power up to 100W, the THD + noise parameter of the Aavik U-380 was no more than 0.005%. The on-board phono stage corresponds to the RIAA curve and was created using discrete, balanced, low-noise input stage circuitry. The “floating” input circuit allowed the use of ultra-low noise bipolar transistors. Resistance adjustment is also provided.
The PCM DAC installed in the Aavik U-380 is designed for five digital inputs. Its circuitry is mounted on a 4-layer printed circuit board, designed with minimal signal path and time alignment, and according to the amplifier, the precision of the timer is able to minimize jitter. The DAC circuit is powered by 13 built-in low noise voltage regulators. The system works with intermediate upscaling up to 24 bit / 200 kHz PCM.
The DSD DAC section is said to have a simplified single-stage amplifier and a purely passive 6th-order analog LC filter with the highest quality shielded coils and capacitors. According to Aavik, the filter effectively removes all switching artifacts without adding excess noise in the audible range. The USB input is galvanically isolated from common ground.
The design of the Aavik U-380 repeats the appearance of its predecessor – while the developers have stated that it is based on Scandinavian design traditions. Made from solid billet aluminum and anodized to a matte dark color, LED indicators indicate the current volume, gain and source option. All settings are controlled by three buttons and a large rotating knob in the center of the front panel of the amplifier. The cost of Aavik U-380 was 269,000 Danish kroner, or about 42,000$.