The information on Denafrips dacs seems to be all over the place, in different threads, on this board so maybe it's easier to share our experiences with them in one thread. 4 days ago I got my first R2R ladder dac. The Denafrips Ares 2. I was very curious to the sound as I only had experienced 'chip-based' dacs up until now. The package: I have been listening for 3 days now, comparing it to my Bel Canto Dac 3. The Bel Canto is about 10 years old (using a burr brown 1792 chip), it's retail price was about 4 times the price of the Denafrips Ares. I run the same Mogami rca cables from both of them into a Schiit Saga preamp, so I can switch between both dacs instantly. My source is connected via Aes cable to the Bel Canto and Coax/Spdif to the Ares 2. The Ares 2 has a choice between OS /NOS mode and (only) in OS mode you have a choice between sharp and slow filter. At the moment I seem to prefer the OS mode (which was also the only mode in the original Ares). In NOS mode I find it cuts off hi-hats, cymbals etc...they don't shimmer enough for me, but maybe this NOS mode is a good option for those tinny 80's cd's with too much emphasis on the high freqs....I have not decided on the filter mode, so all my listening was done in OS mode using sharp filter (which is also factory setup as it arrives). Compared to vinyl, I always had some problems with the way most voices sounded on cd, especially female voices. I thought the problem was with cd's. Until now, because this is one of the most obvious differences between the Ares and the Bel Canto. With the Ares voices sound more natural, as in real life. The Bel Canto seems to add something unnatural, I don't know how to explain it but with the Ares they sound more clear, without some kind of compression or distortion or whatever it is, added to it. 2nd difference : the Bel Canto sounds more 'edgy', voices as well as instruments get some kind of edgy and sharper sounding sauce draped over it. I wonder if this is what people call 'digital hash' ? The tone of an accoustic guitar, to name one, is definitely different between these dacs, the Ares sounding more like the real thing. 3d difference : soundstage. They have the same width, but the difference is in the depth. With the Ares, the center stage and everything going on in that area, is layered better and more clear. With the Bel Canto it's just more smashed together as one center stage without any additional layering going on, until you turn the volume way up! This is another thing : I used to listen to 85db and plus levels with the Bel Canto because that was where its' soundstage sounded best to me. I can listen to the Ares at 70db (measured with a simple phone app) and still get nice depth and layering. The center is really open sounding even at this volume. Switching to the Bel Canto at such volume, the center stage just collapses into a smaller bowl of sound. The Ares has a lot more presence here! Soundstage is also slightly higher with the Ares. These are my first impressions, maybe more will follow and become apparent after more listening. For reference: I went from Rega mini a2d to Cocktailaudio X40 sabre dac, to Arcam Irdac, to Rega Apollo cd player dac, to Bel Canto dac 3. I slightly preferred the dac in the Apollo cd player over the Bel Canto. I might reinstall the Apollo in the next few weeks in my system to compare with the Ares.... One question I have for fellow Denafrips and/or R2R dac owners : is it best to leave these dacs on all the time (like you do with other dacs) or better to use the standby button when not in use ? Welcome to share your own impressions or thoughts on these dacs !