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The Viking with English Lord manners, Axxess Forté 1 all in one smart amplifier

Since discovering Audio Group Denmark products, they have consistently impressed me. I immediately recall the resonance control devices from Ansuz, which I refer to as “little feet,” and the significant impact they had on my modest €450 monitor speakers. And, of course, the boost that writing and publishing an honest, sincere, and well-founded review on the world wide web gave to this website’s numbers. Unfortunately, everything I’ve come into contact with or known about from this manufacturer is usually priced out of my reach. Lucky are those who can afford them.

Axxess Forté 1

For this reason, the announcement of a new brand from Audio Group Denmark, Axxess, which as the name suggests aims to serve as an entry point to the Danish group’s products, set my expectations high. When Rui Pedroso from Autumn Leaf Audio, the company that distributes the Danish manufacturer’s products in Portugal, gave me the green light to test the all-in-one smart integrated amplifier Axxess Forté 1, which I had already encountered at its launch event (report here) along with the Børresen X3 speakers in Viseu, I couldn’t hide my excitement.

To do justice to the amplification in question, along with the Forté 1, and due to the unavailability of the Børresen X3 at the time, the Alacrity Audio Dundee 5 speakers were used, since I only had the Triangle Borea 03, which are in a different league.

The Axxess Forté 1 is a Class D amplifier with 100W of power at 8 Ohms. It is equipped with a streamer, a proprietary 1-bit DAC, and an integrated headphone amplifier. This amplifier offers an all-in-one solution for those who want to listen to music via streaming or analog sources. For a complete streaming setup, simply connect the Forté 1 to the network and add a pair of speakers. If you also want to use analog sources like CD players or turntables, the amplifier has a pair of RCA analog inputs, making it a versatile option that meets different music playback needs.

Axxess Forté 1

The composite material chassis, with mechanical hysteresis reduction characteristics, is midway between a full rack (43cm wide) and a shoebox, measuring 370 x 420 x 110 mm and weighing about 8kg. It has a pair of RCA analog inputs, and in the digital field, a USB-B input, an optical input, and a BNC (SPDIF). The network is connected via an Ethernet cable or a separately sold Wi-Fi dongle. A hard drive or pen drive can be connected via USB-A (up to 2TB), and a power amplifier or two subwoofers can be connected with the pair of RCA outputs. The Forté 1 has two twin brothers, the Forté 2 and 3. The only difference between them is the number of Tesla Coils and noise reduction circuits used in each. The Forté 3 also adds a copper base chassis. The asking price for the Forté 1 is €5000, €7500 for the 2, and €10000 for the third brother in the lineup.

Axxess Forté 1 Back
Axxess Forté 1 Back

The speakers used in this review are unfortunately discontinued. I used bi-wiring (Ansuz cables from the same Audio Group Denmark). They proved to be the right vehicle to convey two of this amplifier’s strengths: the enormous and focused soundstage and the timbre, which seemed to me the most accurate I’ve ever heard in this room. And yes, I’m including a lot of what I’ve heard at high-end audiophile events, with some speakers costing a fortune, in acoustically treated rooms. Side note. These speakers were measured at 81dB by Hifi World Magazine. The 100W, and whatever current this amplifier fed them with (which is something manufacturers usually don’t advertise), were more than enough to grab these not-so-easy speakers by the collar!

Axxess Forté 1

I started by using the analog line input of the Forté 1 more frequently because I wanted to save the meaty and sweet part for the end. Why? Because from the sample at the Viseu presentation, this is one hell of a DAC, from an integrated one’s standpoint. A hell of a DAC with sound touched by horns played by angels! Even using the optical input with the Apple TV through the Highsense TV as the source, where I listened to most of the streaming. Why?, Because it was easier to listen to at the time, in the installed setup, and as is proven in the review of the Eversolo Master Edition streamer, the differences between Apple Music and other streaming platforms, if they exist, they are marginal.

Without a doubt, connecting the MacBook Air via the USB input, the sound was fantastic. The soundstage was impressively wide—broad, deep, and high. But grabbing the laptop and connecting it to the amplifier is a hassle. And it’s a hassle purely for practical reasons. I usually skip the computer-as-source because I think the streamer is reaching its full potential as a digital source for the user standpoint. Only for fundamentalism and the size of my silver disc collection do I keep the CD player. Some will keep their computer as a server.

The internal streamer of the Forté 1 works through the mConnect app, and here lies the Achilles’ heel of this equipment, as the user interface is not my favorite, especially since before returning the Axxess, I had it here for a few days with the Eversolo Master Edition and Denon’s top-of-the-line streamer, with the HEOS app. Both are ahead in terms of user-friendliness. I found the mConnect unresponsive and, in my opinion, impractical in comparison. I preferred, oh sacrilege (!), using Apple Music through the optical input — it was the practical aspect (this before the Eversolo and Denon arrived).

What I listened to:

  • Bass Drops by Nenad Vasilic: This track features Vasilic’s bass alternating between the left and right channels. The Axxess presents both perfectly delineated in the soundstage.
  • Entrance (Variation) by Tord Gustavsen Quartet: The tonal richness is natural. The illusion of the musicians’ presence in my room.
  • Walking on the Moon by Yuri Honing Trio: The Police’s music, here in a jazz trio version, with the attack and dynamics typical of Class D, but with that organic and ethereal touch typical of Class A.
  • Separate Journeys by Antony Alexander: Interesting the difference between the 1-bit DAC of the Forté and the Eversolo, with a substantial gain in scale and stage from the Danish proprietary DAC.
  • Keith Don’t Go by Nils Lofgren: The transients on Lofgren’s guitar are immediate, and the high notes are bright and sweet.

Although the sound from the line input is excellent, the integrated DAC adds something more. The sound signature, which I believe is related to the 1-bit technology, has a more accurate, more organic timbre. The details are more refined, the edges smoother—especially compared to the Eversolo’s DAC. Still, the instruments gain more definition in the soundstage. We’re talking about differences that, although perfectly audible in critical listening, don’t seem to influence the choice for everyday usage. Here it comes down to personal taste, and availability for critical listening.

With headphones:

Although I had the opportunity to test the Raal Requisite headphones simultaneously (review here soon), the headphone output of the Forté 1 is a conventional 6.3mm jack. These incredible headphones were only provided for review with a full-size XLR cable. In the absence of anything else, the test was conducted with the modest Meze 99 Classics dynamic headphones available at the time of the review.

So, the sound:

The sound signature of the headphone output follows the same characteristics I heard with the speakers: Attack! Bass control. Definition, texture. Brightness. In the micro detail, the internal DAC loses a bit to the Eversolo. Musicality? I preferred the internal DAC or the Denon. The Eversolo as a source offers greater intensity and scale. However, the internal DAC causes less listening fatigue.


This amplifier from the land of Vikings has an attitude. It has the strength of a bull, the vigor of a lion, the attack of a serpent, and a majestic scale; it has a wide and deep soundstage like nothing I’ve had here in Moustaches Tower before. But this Viking was educated in the best British schools and, in that scale where everything is grand and magnificent, dramatic, muscular, and fast in attack, it is also capable of macro and micro-detail. The timbre, well, the timbre is the most accurate I’ve had in house. The Forté 1 has the ability to interpret the most delicate pieces and always deliver the musicality organically that many wouldn’t expect from a Class D with a seemingly forceful and speedy sound signature, but balanced by a character that also knows how to be restrained when necessary. This Viking conquers and pillages entire Scottish villages in the blink of an eye, but also knows how to sit at the table, distinguishing between fish and meat cutlery.



Digital input:
1 x Toslink optical
1 x USB B

Pre out – RCA
1 x Speaker output
1 x Headphones – 1/4″ jack

1 x Network – LAN RJ-45
2 x USB A:
Max. storage (HDD) capacity 2 T.

Analog input:
1 x Line – RCA


2 x 100 W in 8 Ohm


W x D x H:
370 x 420 x 110 mm


Forté 1: 7,9 kg – 17,4 lbs


UMAC™ amplifier technology
To achieve maximum performance and inspired by Aavik’s development approach, the UMAC™ amplifier technology is used in the Axxess Forté series. This technology has been designed to ensure stability, reliability, and precision in the amplifier.

Dedicated audio unit
Axxess Forté features a streamer module inspired by the one used in the Aavik streamers. This module, designed as a dedicated audio unit, contains high quality capacitors and does not use any microcomputers. This makes signal processing extremely powerful and radically reduces unwanted noise.

Headphone amplifier section
Axxess is designed as a non-switching Class A amplifier to provide excellent linearity, high gain, and low signal distortion.

Ansuz Tesla Coils
Active Tesla coils: 36
Active square Tesla coils: 72

Dither circuits: 3

Equipment present in this review

  • Axxess Forté 1 – all in one smart amplifier
  • Serblin & Son Frankie EX – integrated amplifier
  • Alacrity Audio Dundee 5 – transmission line floorstanding speakers
  • MoFi StudioDeck – turntable with (with MM cartridge)
  • MacBook Air
  • Apple TV + Hisense TV
  • Eversolo DMP-A6 Master Edition – Streamer
  • Denon DNP-2000 NE – Streamer
  • Ansuz Mainz – power distributor
  • Ansuz Mainz – power cables
  • Ansuz Signalz – RCA interconnect cables
  • Ansuz Digitalz – USB interconnect cable
  • Ansuz Speakz – speaker cables
  • Meze 99 Classics – headphones

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