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Denafrips ARES II USB R2R DAC Review

ta240

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#21
Still, apparent performance no better than $90 D10, and arguably (imo) not much better - if any - than the $9 Apple dongle.. Look at all that grass! Why would anyone in their right mind pay $680 for this thing???
Can't the same thing be said about most of the DACs that test decently on here?

I'm wondering the same - is there some euphonic quality to the R2R design, like a tube amp? Hard to imagine any of it being audible, though.
Don't plenty of people buy DACs this price or higher that have 'high performance' that isn't really audible? Is it that different to buy a DAC with a lack of distortion that isn't audible or buy a DAC with some other 'feature' to the performance that isn't audible?

I don't see anything wrong with buying a DAC based on performance numbers just for performance numbers sake and I also don't see anything wrong with buying a DAC based on liking something about the implementation. In both cases the owners probably enjoy their DAC more because of those things.
 

bequietjk

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#22
Nice! Was waiting for these measurements after all of the hype. Shockingly smaller case size than I thought!
 

digicidal

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#23
Nice. I kind of hoped the Denafrips would nail it, the insides of their DACs are pretty. Definitely lots of design effort is put into them.
In the context of R2R DACs reviewed on this site - I would certainly call this "nailing it". In the context of mass produced component DACs... not so much however.
 

Newk Yuler

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#25
I'm on the side that's happy to see this DAC tested and show pretty decent performance. It would be nice to see some higher models tested, too. Thanks, Amir.

On the other hand... Since this is a loaner from the manufacturer... Anybody want to claim it was cherry picked?
 

majingotan

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#26

gvl

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#27
In the context of R2R DACs reviewed on this site - I would certainly call this "nailing it". In the context of mass produced component DACs... not so much however.
True, but it works as advertised or better, it is a 20-bit DAC after all.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #29
On the other hand... Since this is a loaner from the manufacturer... Anybody want to claim it was cherry picked?
No, no. This belongs to a member.
 
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#30
what makes all desktop units sound different is the quality of components used for the pre-out section.

if anyone didn't notice, most dac's tested here that scored very high have plain and basic insides, hence why clean and clinical signature, cuz of very basic to barely anything added in the pre-out section. After I added a stereo pre-amp to my D5 dac it became musical and easy to listen to but im sure the sinad is not as high with the added pre-amp, but so what, at least I enjoy the sound more.

this Ares 2 dac looks to have pretty good amount of components for the pre-out section, i am sure it doesnt sound harsh and clinical. But I still prefer dac's with high score like my D5 and then add a high quality stereo pre-amp before going straight to a speaker amp.
 

Celty

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#32
what makes all desktop units sound different is the quality of components used for the pre-out section.

if anyone didn't notice, most dac's tested here that scored very high have plain and basic insides, hence why clean and clinical signature, cuz of very basic to barely anything added in the pre-out section. After I added a stereo pre-amp to my D5 dac it became musical and easy to listen to but im sure the sinad is not as high with the added pre-amp, but so what, at least I enjoy the sound more.

this Ares 2 dac looks to have pretty good amount of components for the pre-out section, i am sure it doesnt sound harsh and clinical. But I still prefer dac's with high score like my D5 and then add a high quality stereo pre-amp before going straight to a speaker amp.
There are some interesting components including that toroidal transformer.
 

direstraitsfan98

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#35
what makes all desktop units sound different is the quality of components used for the pre-out section.
No. What makes them sound different is your brain. The DACS will all sound the same regardless of want preamp you use. It’s psychoacoustics. It’s also possible they aren’t level matched and your brain interpreting a louder volume as sounding better. Heck, the brain is so indesisive when it comes to music, it might actually think the less loud one sounds better!

After I added a stereo pre-amp to my D5 dac it became musical and easy to listen
This is absolute hogwash. There are practical reasons to have a preamp between the dac and the an easy way to control volume for one. But adding one isn’t going to make it more “musical” that is once again psychoacoustics at work. You are imagining that your music sounds better.
 

YSC

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#36
So could you try measure the performance of NOS mode also? That will be interesting
 

raif71

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#37
No. What makes them sound different is your brain. The DACS will all sound the same regardless of want preamp you use. It’s psychoacoustics. It’s also possible they aren’t level matched and your brain interpreting a louder volume as sounding better. Heck, the brain is so indesisive when it comes to music, it might actually think the less loud one sounds better!


This is absolute hogwash. There are practical reasons to have a preamp between the dac and the an easy way to control volume for one. But adding one isn’t going to make it more “musical” that is once again psychoacoustics at work. You are imagining that your music sounds better.
Imagining or not, if it sounds sublime then that is what matters....aahhh, ignorance is bliss :p
 

direstraitsfan98

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#38
Imagining or not, if it sounds sublime then that is what matters....aahhh, ignorance is bliss :p
I agree with you there. You can't put a price on that. It's also nice to own a well engineered and shiny bit of audio kit that doesn't depreciate too much. Same can't be said for many dacs which have questionable build quality.
 

solderdude

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#39
Let's call this DAC audibly transparent in OS mode.
Curious to see if Denafrips at least solved the treble roll-off in lower bitrates in NOS and how the slow filter in OS performs.
Those wanting to spend considerably less on a DAC with similar performance (or better) have plenty to choose from but you can do much less for a lot more money as well.
 
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