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Firestone Audio Spitfire review

If you don't need a USB output, then we think this Firestone Spitfire is the pick of the DACs Tested at £250

Our Verdict

It might not have a USB input but, that aside, the Firestone Spitfire is the pick of the affordable DACs

For

  • Timing and tonal balance are impressive
  • simple to use

Against

  • No USB socket
  • slight hardness to lower treble

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

It might not have a USB input but, that aside, the Firestone Spitfire is the pick of the affordable DACs

Pros

  • + Timing and tonal balance are impressive
  • + simple to use

Cons

  • - No USB socket
  • - slight hardness to lower treble

This is a very simple product, with a 24-bit Burr Brown DAC inside, and just optical and coaxial inputs on the back, along with the standard stereo RCA output for connection to your amp.

So no, the Firestone doesn't have a USB input, but you can still connect a computer via optical if it is so equipped (laptop headphone sockets often double-up as mini-optical connections).

Otherwise you'll be looking at using the Spitfire in partnership with a digital dock, CD transport or music streamer. Do so, and you'll be rewarded with excellent sound.

Play Broken Bells' eponymous debut album, and you're treated to a wonderfully full-bodied, solid and deep-reaching delivery.

The leading edges of notes are excellently defined, but not at the expense of the organic, melancholic pacing.

Focused, cohesive delivery
Overall timing and tonal balance are very impressive, and where some rivals create greater separation to instruments, a comparison with our reference hi-fi system proves the Firestone's focused, cohesive delivery to be the more accurate.

The only slight flaw in the presentation is a smidge of hardness to lower treble. However, because this is only occasionally noticeable, and because higher treble is nicely controlled, we're not going to mark the Spitfire down.

In fact, so long as you don't need USB, this is the pick of the affordable DACs.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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