Dismiss Notice
We are making some updates and reconfigurations to our server. Apologies for any downtime or slow forum loading now or within the next week or so. Thanks!

Denafrips Dacs

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

  1. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    On my Venus II, I did not get any output on 1/1/1 with Pi2AES HDMI out until I used the jumper across W1 pins 1-2. Once I did that, I got sound. I just used a computer jumper pin I had laying around in my spare parts baggie. No other pins were messed with:

    [​IMG]

    Now, frankly, I'm hoping we get some sort of i2s streamer device that supports DSD1024 (ok, even just 256 would be nice) and higher rate PCM than Pi2AES does at this point. It's for that reason that I'm still using USB out from a basic Pi4 functioning as an HQPlayer NAA as I find I like it better, still, than internally upsampled i2S.
     
  2. ubiknik

    ubiknik Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    Is I2S the main draw of the Pi2AES?
    I honestly would have thought that by now I would have had a streamer going through the Pontus I2S input by now, that was my initial intention.
    Taking it slow gave me opportunity to read up more and more to the point that I was seeing some opinions that were saying to just go with a high quality USB implementation because USB has improved a lot since the time when it wasn't so great and I2S/hdmi offered better performance (?).
    Is it because of the bandwidth capability?
    That would make sense, so anyway even though I have a recorder that can do dsd, I just shudder at what the file sizes would be like for those and just stick to 24/88.2 for needle drops, etc.
    I was looking at the Allo USBridge Signature for a rpi solution and that's as far as I've gotten. It comes in a pretty nice package deal that includes their beefy power supply for around $400.
    Mainly just curious what the Pi2AES offers.
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  3. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    Honestly the appeal is mostly in the name of the device - it's the only Pi endpoint option that can offer AES/EBU output. That it offers two types of i2S out is definitely a bonus, but it's really not the primary focus of the device. It's a really good device, don't get me wrong, but just like anything else in this hobby - the system it's going in can dictate how effective it can be.

    With my old Convert-2, or the Yggdrasil 2A before it - Pi2AES was THE best endpoint one could reasonably feed into those DACs under... 4 figures? Not sure, but it's quite good and it's almost a disservice to it that it's relegated to the pile of "Pi-based" endpoints. But those DACs couldn't make use of the gaudy datastreams the Denafrips DACs can chew up and spit out, so its effectiveness is completely overshadowed by a humble Pi4 using a basic HQPlayer NAA image and literally nothing else. Network cable I made, stock wall wart, and (for now), an off the shelf USB cable into the Venus II.

    Pi2AES via AES and a very good cable --> Venus II --> OS/Slow mode - it's definitely a very good fit. But the Pi4 endpoint and its ability to fully leverage some insane HQP filters and DSD256 with the "EC" modulators... the system just kinda "disappears" better with this setup versus the Pi2AES. It's more real, more natural.

    And I can't overstate this - up until 3 months ago, I swore I'd never try USB audio ever again. I hated it, with a passion. That's the whole reason I went with the Pi2AES in the first place, to get as far away from USB as I could.

    But, it seems I've been wrong, I'm just not sure for how long. I tried USB from a Sonore MR + Uptone PSU into my Gen 5 USB Yggy and it was still nasty. But AES/EBU from Pi2AES or a nice Jay's CD transport was excellent, to my ears. So it could be a lot of things, but USB seems to be quite better these days for high end, high datarate audio. I've got a Ghent Audio dual head USB cable on the way to throw on the end of the Pi4 hopefully in a month or so, to see if it even makes a difference into the DF DACs.
     
    ubiknik likes this.
  4. radiogen

    radiogen Member

    Location:
    Gdansk
    to someone who has Pontus, I’ve got reply from Michael Kelly regarding jumpers on pi2aes.

    “According to the DAC Manual the Pontus does not need 5V for the I2S interface. But, you do need to set it into the correct mode. That would be with all 3 LED's on (111).

    Regards,
    Michael Kelly

    Pi 2 Design
    505 Hatchery Rd.
    North Kingstown, RI 02852
    +1-401-408-3177
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  5. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    Alvin also told me +5V was not necessary on i2S. I decided to give it a shot anyway. It is required on USB as it's a trigger only to turn on the USB input. No idea why it's needed on my Venus, but it definitely does not output sound if I don't also have that jumper in place.
     
  6. Tony C.

    Tony C. Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Portugal
    Just received my Pontus today. It's my first stand-alone DAC, so I'm afraid that I cannot compare it to others, but very impressive right off the bat. Associated equipment includes a Hegel h160 integrated amp, SimAudio Moon 260 CD transport, Harbeth 30.1 speakers.
     
    timind, realgone, bever70 and 2 others like this.
  7. alvin1118

    alvin1118 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    Thanks for the support, @Tony C. !

    Happy listening :)
     
  8. alvin1118

    alvin1118 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    displayname and toddrhodes like this.
  9. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage Thread Starter

    Location:
    Belgium
    Correction to the above : I have my Ares 2 sounding just as good as in the first six months...so what was the issue leading to my earlier post above...I had moved it to a different place months ago on a nearby rack because I didn't have any more place on my audio rack. So I had to use a 2m (7ft) RCA going into my preamp. I recently re-organised things and put it back where it was originally, near the preamp. On top of that I had been fiddling with my speaker setup for months and only now everything clicked. Listening to and enjoying the Ares2 again with ALL my albums. Yes the Parasound P5 dac is still very good and surprisingly close but I'm back to my first love :D.
     
    moops, timind, Doctor Fine and 2 others like this.
  10. adamos

    adamos Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southeastern PA
    I’m glad it’s working out again, enjoy!
     
    bever70 likes this.
  11. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    adamos likes this.
  12. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Just a sidebar here regarding AES-EBU connections, it strips SCMS and possibly some DMR schemes when recording via AES-EBU digital recorder.
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  13. alvin1118

    alvin1118 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    [​IMG]

    I am a visual storyteller :winkgrin:
     
  14. brownmagic

    brownmagic Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Singapore
    Hi @alvin1118

    Does the USB input of the Pontus have an advantage over the Coax/Optical? My transport does not have a USB out. Will that be a deal breaker?

    Thanks
     
  15. Silverwolf

    Silverwolf Occasional Esoteric Freak

    I don’t have any Denafrips kit, but usually a USB input if for connecting a computer. I don’t know if any CD transports have a USB out, mine doesn’t, but I may be wrong.
     
  16. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    The Schiit Urd CD transport is rumored to have Unison USB out. But are we talking a CD transport or a streaming/network transport? Because for the latter, USB can pass much higher PCM and DSD rates than optical, coax, or AES/EBU and DF DACs can leverage those very high rate media, so it could be significant.
     
    displayname and Silverwolf like this.
  17. brownmagic

    brownmagic Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Singapore
    I am talking about my network transport which only has Optical and Coax out. I am only interested in PCM of 24/192. Will USB still have any advantages on SQ compared to the other inputs? Thanks
     
  18. alvin1118

    alvin1118 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    It's a difficult question to answer.

    Some customers prefer the USB input, and some other customers prefer the SPDIF input.
    In general, presuming the transport digital output quality is the same: USB input is more details, greater extension in treble; whereas the SPDIF input is more organic, fuller (thicker) sounding.

    I have some customers spent a few thousand dollars on the SPDIF cable because they like the fuller sound signature.
     
  19. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage Thread Starter

    Location:
    Belgium
    ampguy and YtseJammer like this.
  20. brownmagic

    brownmagic Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Singapore
    @alvin1118 : Sorry to trouble you again because it is really confusing. I just saw this on the Denafrips website.




    The Pontus is being referred to as the Pontus II.

    So does that mean if one orders the Pontus now, we will be getting the Pontus II when it starts shipping?
     
    SergZh likes this.
  21. alvin1118

    alvin1118 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    Hi @brownmagic ,

    PONTUS II R-2R DAC

    We started shipping the new Pontus in Q3/Q4 2020.

    Some upgrades already implemented:
    1. Beefed up power supply
    2. Improved caps & tuning
    3. Upgraded DSP board

    These were the reasons why the Pontus received rave positive feedback in late 2020.
    DENAFRIPS decided to call these upgrades a PONTUS II this batch instead, it deserves the new badge.

    Hopes this clarifies!
     
    Influxor, displayname and SergZh like this.
  22. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Forum Resident

  23. I am loving the ARES II. Have several other DACs, but this is by far the best sounding.
     
    SergZh, bever70, adamos and 1 other person like this.
  24. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    New goodies to feed my Venus II

    [​IMG]

    Ian Canada RPi4 mods:
    FIFO Reclocker with AccuSilicon clocks good for DSD1024
    Battery (LifePO4) PSU with 5 outputs
    HDMIPi i2S/LVDS transmitter

    So far I've confirmed that just the Pi4, RoPieeeXL and HDMIPi can output DSD64 to Venus II via LVDS, so that's a great start.

    Next up is waiting for batteries to arrive
    Then it's time to wire it up
    Then... find some way to enclose it all? That should be a treat.

    I'll be powering with the PSU: FIFO Reclocker (2 inputs - one for FIFO, one for RPi), the HDMIPi board (eventually), and the optical ethernet converter I just installed tonight.

    You may be asking yourself, why?!? Essentially this will be a Digital to Digital converter with excellent clocks, all discrete circuitry beyond the Pi4 which really is just an i2S passthrough at this point, with a *really* good PSU for this and a few other devices.

    Boredom is a hell of a drug.
     
    adamos and Ham Sandwich like this.
  25. alvin1118

    alvin1118 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    toddrhodes likes this.

Share This Page

molar-endocrine