The Forsell Air Reference is a massively overbuilt DAC. Unlike many current DACs where the innards are just crammed with all kinds of digital circuitry and chips, the Forsell just looks archaic in comparison (even thought it hit the market in 2000). Big power supply and a single-bit DAC are the only two worthy pointers in this DAC. But when you power it up and listen to it, you would suddenly find yourself talking more about this DAC. This is one DAC that really sings. Beautifully natural in its presentation, it is almost like listening to vinyl without the background “clatter”. If you had not known better you would have thought you were listening to a $30,000 turntable system.
There was depth, width and a wholesomeness that are so tragically missing in many newer DACs. Cosmetically, this DAC is not in the best of shape. There are pith marks here and there but the faceplate is clean and presentable. I would call this the ugly ducking that sings like a swan.
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