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The Børresen Acoustics M1 is a $100,000 2-way Monitor?!

Børresen Acoustics M1

Børresen Acoustics M1


  • Product Name: M1 2-way standmount speaker
  • Manufacturer: Børresen Acoustics
  • Review Date: April 24, 2023 00:00
  • MSRP: $100,000/pair
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

  • Frequency response: 40Hz – 50KHz
  • Sensitivity: 87 dB /1W
  • Impedance: 6 ohms
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 14.5 x 7.9 x 17.3 inches
  • Weight: 31 pounds

Executive Overview

Borresen M1 pic2In 2002, Lars Kristensen of Nordost teamed up with a talented loudspeaker designer named Michael Børresen, and together they founded Raidho Acoustics. The Danish company built stylishly slim, seriously high-end speakers to great success. In 2017, Kristensen and Børresen left Raidho to focus on their other companies, Aavik Acoustics (which makes audio electronics) and Ansuz Acoustics (power conditioning, cables, and isolation devices). But it wasn’t long before Børresen felt the itch to get back into the loudspeaker game, and so Børresen Acoustics was born in 2018. This new company makes speakers that look awfully similar to Raidhos, but they incorporate the designer’s newest engineering ideas. Borresen’s most ambitious loudspeaker to date is the ludicrously expensive M1, a two-way stand-mount model that sells for $100,000 per pair.

I’ve seen my fair share of expensive loudspeakers, and I don’t often balk at sky-high prices in the world of high-end audio. I’ll probably never be in the position to own a megabuck system, but after years of reading audio magazines, attending shows, and demoing statement-level gear at retailers, I’ve become accustomed to speakers with lots of zeroes in their prices. When I think of a six-figure loudspeaker, however, I imagine a hulking tower standing six or seven feet tall, with at least half a dozen drivers packaged into an exotic, sculpted cabinet that weighs a metric ton. I certainly don’t picture a 30-pound stand-mounter that would fit in the trunk of a Toyota Yaris. Even the most jaded audiophile would have to do a double-take at the Børresen Acoustics M1’s $100,000 price; it certainly caught my attention. But what really got me interested were descriptions of the speaker’s sound by reviewers who had the chance to hear the M1 in action at the 2022 Munich High End show and Seattle’s Pacific Audio Fest. 

As a fan of two-way monitors, I’ve never heard anything quite like them. Close your eyes, and the Børresen M1 loudspeaker sounds like any pair of big full-range speakers that stand as tall as a human and weigh at least twice the amount. Yeah, I questioned everything I knew about physics – admittedly, that’s not as impressive as it sounds – and I had one question. How does Børresen do it?”

— Marc Phillips, Part Time Audiophile

The soundstage was fabulous – as huge, all-encompassing, and limitless at it gets. When multiple instruments began to play, the soundstage made the side walls and ceiling disappear. When the Boston Symphony Orchestra played softly, the system captured the music's gemütlichkeit like few others I've heard. It made me want to listen to the sound of every individual instrument. I was transfixed. In simpler passages, the sound was magical.

— Jason Victor Serinus, Stereophile

M1 Basket

According to Børresen, the design philosophy for the M1 was simply to approach every decision without any economic limitations, so that no element of performance was compromised. Michael Børresen and his team had at their disposal an arsenal of technologies from previous research and development for Ansuz, Aavik, and Børresen products, but Børresen says that many of the “crucial technologies and most critical features of the M1 are new and unique to this model.” For example, the 4.5-inch bass/midrange driver uses a revolutionary basket that is made of 3D-printed zirconium, ensuring maximum rigidity and therefore reduced vibration and resonance. The company explains that the goal was to eliminate noise by designing a basket with enough stiffness, internal damping, and resonance control to handle the energy created by the driver without muddying the membrane’s extreme clarity and overall performance. The team conducted studies using finite element analysis to settle on the “topology-optimized” design and 3D printing process. Cavities in the basket are filled with zirconium powder, further enhancing its damping properties.

Boerresen M1 Mid-Woof Membrane

The membrane of the bass/midrange cone boasts the highest stiffness and lowest resonance of any speaker membrane on the market, according to Børresen. All components were designed and built in-house. The membrane comprises four skins laminated together: two layers of spread tow carbon fiber, a layer of aramid honeycomb spacers in between, and a titanium skin with a proprietary coating. “Spread tow” refers to the practice of spreading a fiber into a thinner, flatter reinforcement, and in this case, the material ensures optimum stiffness in many different directions, thus reducing “sound-disturbing vibrations and resonances to an unprecedentedly low level.” The driver is used up to about 2.5kHz, and Børresen says that resonances have been shifted a full two octaves above its operating range. The aramid honeycomb layer provides a superior stiffness-to-weight ratio in the vertical direction, while the titanium layer adds further resonance-control properties that support a natural, organic sound, according to the company. The titanium skin’s proprietary “Ansuz Supreme” coating includes a layer of zirconium, followed by a layer of tungsten, and finished with a layer of aluminum chrome nitride. This unique coating is applied in a Hi-PIMS (High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering) machine to ensure the finest and most uniform layers.

All of Børresen’s speakers use a patented, iron-free magnet system, which affords the drivers an inductance that is about twelve times lower than in conventional drivers, according to the company. For the M1, the magnet system’s copper pole rings have been replaced with made-in-house, handcrafted silver rings, since silver has 6-8% better conductivity than copper. All metal components in the M1 also undergo cryogenic treatment, which reportedly reduces inductance by an additional 6-8%.

Cryogenic treatment of metal components involves subjecting them to extreme cooling. In the course of this process, the crystal structure of the metal contracts more and more. Alloying elements are displaced from the grain structure of the metal, which now becomes very similar to a single crystal. These structural changes in the metal have profound effects on its sound properties. In this way, all the performance-enhancing sound characteristics of the M1 loudspeaker fully come into their own.

— Børresen Acoustics

Another signature element of Børresen’s designs is a custom-built closed ribbon tweeter that boasts an efficiency of 94 dB and an extremely low moving mass of just 0.01 grams. Børresen says that this fully concealed tweeter can operate at incredible speed, yet is robust enough to handle extremely high transient peaks without breaking up. The tweeter was developed using finite element methods to “linearize and optimize the magnetic flux field, facilitate driver movement, and ensure high efficiency and excellent linearity,” according to the company. It operates above 2.5kHz, as determined by the speaker’s  serial crossover, which ensures that the drivers have the same current flow in the crossover region, resulting in electrical current that is “phase-locked across the crossover area,” according to Børresen.

Unlike conventional parallel filtering, where each driver receives its own frequency and phase content, the serial filters work by diverting out-of-band currents around the current flows, creating a much more coherent system. This unparalleled and innovative technological approach takes your listening experience into an entirely new echelon of musical delight.”

— Michael Børresen

For more info on series networks, read: Series vs Parallel Crossover Networks

M1 Stand

The M1 features three built-in puck-shaped resonance control decouplers mounted between the speaker and the stand. Sold separately for a mind-boggling $4,000 a piece, each Ansuz Darkz Z2S decoupler consist of three discs made of coated zirconium. Each of the upper two discs floats on three tungsten balls to handle and absorb vibrations. The Darkz decouplers reportedly provide better mechanical grounding of the speaker cabinet to the custom-designed stand below. Børresen says that the decouplers absorb vibrations that are not directly related to the signal path, prompting “a vibration feedback that audibly purifies the sound quality.” The M1’s cabinet is based on the $35,000 Børresen 01 speaker, but with additional 5mm braced, block-milled, pressed wood structures, along with side-mounted braces that provide increased rigidity and mechanical stability. The included stand has a machined top plate made of a sandwich material: a heavy, compact laminate panel is sandwiched between titanium top and bottom layers. The stand has built-in cutouts for the Ansuz Darkz Z2S resonance control decouplers. The stand’s column and feet are made of something called Natural Based Composite Material (NBCM), which is said to reduce distorting mechanical influence, especially hysteresis. The adjustable feet on the bottom cross plate are designed to sit on another set of Darkz resonance control decouplers (four per speaker).

A Børresen M1 Speaker or a Mercedes?

Mercedes In creating the M1, Børresen says that the goal was to “challenge existing technological constraints and pioneer new and unorthodox realms of audio technology… (by) finding effective ways to fight resonance and vibrations, and searching for materials that provide the ultimate properties to elevate the sound quality to (an) unprecedented new level.” While the M1’s price will seem absurd to most, it’s possible that some of the company’s breakthrough technologies will find their way into less expensive products. After all, a company like Mercedes will spend countless millions building a single Formula 1 race car, but some of those R&D efforts might eventually benefit your daily driver. Børresen’s upcoming X-3 floorstander, for example, is expected to retail for around $11,000 per pair. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if Børresen also expands the M Series, building larger and even more expensive cost-no-object designs. If Magico can sell its new flagship M9 loudspeaker for an astonishing $750,000 per pair, the sky’s the limit.

Are you intrigued by these immensely expensive loudspeakers, or do you think they represent a kind of audio insanity? Share your thoughts in the related forum thread below.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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