Denafrips Dacs

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by bever70, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    Thanks, so you are doing DSD rips?
     
  2. ubiknik

    ubiknik Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    Nah, I haven't crossed that bridge yet.
    I will play around with it at some point, I'm concerned I'll like the sound of DSD too much...
     
    DavidR likes this.
  3. tomlomtimlim

    tomlomtimlim Well-Known Member

    Location:
    UK
    Ah OK, thanks again.
     
  4. MC Rag

    MC Rag Forum Resident

    I have a Hestia/Hyperion in black which I got from Willowtree Audio. I doubt I can add much to the Darko review but if you have any specific questions I'll try to answer. FYI previous amps I've owned: Kinki EX-M1, AVI Lab Series Integrated, Linn Classik.
     
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  5. Voodoo Child

    Voodoo Child Just A Flea-Bit Peanut Monkey

    Location:
    London
    I'm using RCA. I've got some good quality cables from Kimber that I'm happy with so I'm in no rush to switch over to XLR yet.
     
  6. Shangri-La

    Shangri-La Well-Known Member

    Location:
    CA
    Not sure about Pontus, but my Ares II definitely improved after 100+ hours vs when new. Even from 100 to 300 hours I heard a difference. I know because I have another DAC for side-by-side comparison. My experience with delta sigma DACs is 100+ hours is needed (I heard an improvement on SMSL M400 from 72 hours in and 96 hours.). So I'd guess your Pontus will definitely sound better over time. I suggest only listen to your Pontus briefly periodically to check burn-in progress. I left mine running 24x7 and checked every few days.
     
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  7. Tom_P

    Tom_P Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Calif
    I've ripped all of my SACD's. The key is to get a blu-ray player that allows the data to be sent over the network. There are great instructions in the forums on the audiophilestyle site.
     
  8. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    A few quick observations of the Ares II after 100hrs vs my Brooklyn DAC+ (1000hrs+).

    CD fed via coax from my Denon DCD-A110.

    Ares II Pros over DAC+
    • A very noticeable deeper bass extension.
    • Absence of any digital glare.
    • Non Fatiguing sound , you can listen to the Ares II for hours.
    DAC+ Pros over Ares II:-
    • Resolution, it just pulls more info out of the recordings.
    • Wider soundstage makes instruments easier to locate.
    One thing I did note is the lower RCA output of the Ares II compared to the DAC+ I really have to crank the volume up to match them.

    My DAC+ has a trim value of -7db that equals around 2.2V output... So the Ares must be running well under 2.0V on the RCA.

    I will update again after 300 hours!

    P.S DAC+ was running in bypass with the SRMP filter, and the Ares II in OS mode with SR filter.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
    freesole, LeeS, joeym3 and 6 others like this.
  9. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    Anyone with a Denafrips DAC try this, it actually works!

     
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  10. anhton82

    anhton82 Member

    Location:
    Vietnam
    Hi, I'm a new bie. I'm going to buy a second hand Pontus manufacture on 2019. And when the Pontus MK2 ( I mean Pontus with much change with some WIMA caps ) is born? I want to know it is old or new version with Wima caps and I don't want to open it. Many thanks !
     
  11. alvin1118

    alvin1118 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    Hello @anhton82 ,

    New Pontus with upgrades were released in June 2020.
    Hope this helps!

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. anhton82

    anhton82 Member

    Location:
    Vietnam
    Thanks for your infor. So how much it improve compare to old version? And XLR output is EU or US standard. Pls give me some advice!
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
  13. alvin1118

    alvin1118 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    rodentdog, displayname and anhton82 like this.
  14. moops

    moops Forum Resident

    Location:
    Geebung, Australia
    So, if I'm understanding this correctly, he's saying to loosen both XLR screws, then tighten them again, but just enough so the XLR sockets don't turn ? :confused:
     
  15. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    I just loosened the screws a couple of turns, and loosened the RCA's and re-tightened to finger tight.
     
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  16. Tom_P

    Tom_P Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Calif
    I don't buy this. Mike says that loosening the screws lets the board resonate?? What the?? Seems ridiculous to me. I would love to know Alvin's take on this.
     
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  17. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage Thread Starter

    Location:
    Belgium
    Tried this myself (I'm always in for a tweak)... doesn't make any difference in my system.
     
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  18. basie-fan

    basie-fan Forum Resident

    I’ve always heard that solid state electronics aren’t affected by vibration, unless it’s so violent that it breaks a solder or trace. After watching the video I think that Mike has a different screw loose. :sigh:
     
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  19. alvin1118

    alvin1118 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    [​IMG]

    FAQ: What's the use of IRIS/GAIA DDC?

    IRIS/GAIA are a DDC, Digital To Digital converter, it accepts USB (for Iris) /Coax/AES/Optical input.

    For computer audio system users, I would highly recommend a DDC as the DDC helps to isolate the computer noise effectively.
    The sonic improvements are evident. DDC reclocks and FIFO buffer to 'clean' the digital signal, and outputs the ultra-low jitters digital signal to an external DAC.

    Hope this helps!
     
  20. brownmagic

    brownmagic Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Singapore
    Tested the Ares II in two setups over a period of 5 days. I live in Singapore so we get the Ares to demo at home for 5 days.

    1) Ultrarendu USB to Ares II RCA to Mcintosh MA8900 to Kef Ref 1
    In the above setup the goal was to compare the Ares II against the internal DAC of the MA8900. Straight out of the box, the setup sounded quite flat and warm but in about 4 hours of the DAC being turned on, the first thing that was noticed was the sound stage. It just was going much outside of the speakers. We played multiple tracks and when we close our eyes and try to point where a particular sound came and each time it was outside the realm of the speakers. When the Ares was removed from the chain, the soundstage from the internal dac became much smaller.

    However we noticed that when playing fast complex tracks with a lot going on, the Ares just could not keep up. Felt like the instruments were falling into each other like a collision. The bass was also not as impactful as the internal DAC. A quick message to Alvin and he advised that the Ares needs to be on for about 24 hours before it settles down. Let the unit on for a about 48 hours before we sat back again for a session of critical listening. This time we started of with Metallica’s Master of Puppets where the Ares struggled on Day 1. We noticed that the Ares 2 was a completely different beast than what it was on day 1. Leaving the Ares on for 48 hours seems to have given it a shot of audio voodoo and it managed to play the fast heavy metal songs much better. However there were instances when it still lost steam even compared to the internal Sabre dac. The internal dac managed to hold the song better together with clearer details but sounded digital. I will not recommend the Ares II if your music has too much going on with too many instruments. For all other genres, it is amazingly good for the money.

    So my friend who has the Mcintosh feels that maybe moving up the chain will address the faster tracks. I think in all other areas, the ares was simply better and it made us rethink the idea of buying any integrated amplifier with an internal dac. The MA8900 costed him close to 14 times the cost of the Ares so it was quite a bit of a shock when we saw how the Ares bettered the internal quad balanced dac. I most certainly did not expect a 1k dac to add this much improvements to a high end integrated amp.

    2) Elac Discovery Optical to Ares II RCA to Line Magnetic LM88IA to Elac Adante AF61
    In this setup, the impact of the sound stage with the Ares was not as much as in the first setup. The sound stage did not expand as it did in the first setup and I think the reason being this setup had a pretty wide sound stage in the first place which I think is the nature of the Tubes or it could be that my setup is not as capable of extracting the most of the Ares. I don’t know so I will not speculate further.

    I use my wife’s ears when auditioning any gear because high frequencies irritate her more than mine. So made her sit down and just told her to listen to Dreams by Fleetwood Mac with and without the Ares. I did not tell her what was what and just referred option 1 and 2. This was as close to a blind test as possible.

    Her observation was that option 1 was easier on her ears. She could follow every instrument clearly. She could hear the background vocals clearly. Option 2 was good by itself but if compared with Option 1, she would definitely prefer option 1 and that was a big win for...

    Option 1 was Ares acting as a Dac for the Discovery
    Option 2 was just Disco as a streamer and dac.

    My feeling after the trying the Ares 2 in different setups is that, it surely is an upgrade over the internal dac of your integrated amplifier or budget streamers (the discovery was bought for 1.8k sgd so it is not really budget but you should get the idea..). I am keen to hear the other Denafrips DACs especially the Pontus which at around 2.5k is more price appropriate to the rest of my gear.
     
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  21. brownmagic

    brownmagic Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Singapore
    Hi Alvin - The Pontus does not get the II badge? Like Ares II or Venus II? Thanks
     
  22. alvin1118

    alvin1118 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    Thanks, @brownmagic .

    Nope, it's doesn't get the 'II' badge. :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    Just as an update to my first thoughts above. I decided to sell my Aries II in the end. the DAC is very good for the money but after spending more time with it I found it color's the sound to much in lower registers for my liking. Don't be put off however you may like the sound signature and it is significantly better then any DAC's from Topping or SMSL.
     
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  24. joms

    joms Member

    Hi guys, im new to this and im interested in getting the Pontus. However, can you suggest to me a good streamer that is not as expensive as the Pontus? (I believe that the DAC should be more expensive than the streamer). I originally planned on getting the Node 2i and use it as a streamer but as per "Hans Beekhuyzen" of youtube, he commented that the digital output of the Node 2i will impair the performance of the Ares2 and much more with the Pontus.

    In this regard, what would be a good alternative streamer to use for the Pontus? Hopefully, it also has an i2s output.
     
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  25. adamos

    adamos Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southeastern PA
    For what it’s worth, I use a Node 2i with my Ares II and have been happy with the combination. But I’m not familiar with the issue pointed out in the YouTube review that you mentioned so I’ll look it up.
     
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