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Denafrips ARES II USB R2R DAC Review

JohnYang1997

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#62
Eye candy for sure. One has to wonder if all that is overkill for a DAC and line level output.
That's O type transformer which is different from commonly called Toroidal transformer. (the cross section is also toroidal) These have even less magnetic leakage which is ideal for audio.(and relatively small chassis) They are expensive and perhaps to you an overkill but good.
 
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Veri

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#65
No problem it's a common misconception. It's in a way funny that on certain forums "NOS DACs" are revered because "back then the data was decoded as-is" while there really was oversampling back then! For example the TDA1541 had an oversampling filter via the required SAA7220 chip. The PCM1704 chip could use a PMD200 oversampling/digital filter.

R2R DACs were not NOS DACs :) not until the DIY/"audiophile" community made them so, calling it "BitPerfect".
 
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#66
high quality stereo pre-amp does not change the way the DAC sounds, but it does change the way the music sounds, deeper bass, bigger and deeper soundstage and 3d holographic imagining from my Tube pre-amp, so much more enjoyable to listen to then without the preamp.

the difference can easily be heard even by someone who lost 80% of their hearing. But I think the issue here is that some people have very thick skulls.
 

GoMrPickles

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#67
high quality stereo pre-amp does not change the way the DAC sounds, but it does change the way the music sounds, deeper bass, bigger and deeper soundstage and 3d holographic imagining from my Tube pre-amp, so much more enjoyable to listen to then without the preamp.

the difference can easily be heard even by someone who lost 80% of their hearing. But I think the issue here is that some people have very thick skulls.
I confess to being thick-skulled and not understanding this statement. What's the difference between DAC output and music?
 

maxxevv

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#68
high quality stereo pre-amp does not change the way the DAC sounds, but it does change the way the music sounds, deeper bass, bigger and deeper soundstage and 3d holographic imagining from my Tube pre-amp, so much more enjoyable to listen to then without the preamp.

the difference can easily be heard even by someone who lost 80% of their hearing. But I think the issue here is that some people have very thick skulls.
If changes are euphonic and "evident", then its a distortion/ effects box.
 

raif71

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#69
high quality stereo pre-amp does not change the way the DAC sounds, but it does change the way the music sounds, deeper bass, bigger and deeper soundstage and 3d holographic imagining from my Tube pre-amp, so much more enjoyable to listen to then without the preamp.

the difference can easily be heard even by someone who lost 80% of their hearing. But I think the issue here is that some people have very thick skulls.
I have thick skull and thick skin :D
 

majingotan

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#70
high quality stereo pre-amp does not change the way the DAC sounds, but it does change the way the music sounds, deeper bass, bigger and deeper soundstage and 3d holographic imagining from my Tube pre-amp, so much more enjoyable to listen to then without the preamp.

the difference can easily be heard even by someone who lost 80% of their hearing. But I think the issue here is that some people have very thick skulls.
We all know you’re referring to an effect box here that distorts the signal out of your DAC and lose transparency. We have a proper way of making our own effect box called DSP and this one preserves the transparency as the output from speakers are calibrated with the best microphones for speaker measurements and proper room correction. No tubes that exists in the world could ever come close to the SQ of a properly calibrated room acoustics and linear speaker response using DSP
 

drkmods

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#71
I have been fortunate enough to compare the Khadas Tone Board, Denafrips Ares II DAC, and Nagra R2R DAC ($35k) side by side installed in a $100k+ system installed in a custom designed "idealized" acoustic room. Sources were a Nagra CD player, Nagra preamp, VTL tube monoblocks, Rockport Avior speakers, Melco streamer. Various redbook CD recordings and streamed files of various resolutions. Connections were via coax for lower resolutions and USB for higher resolutions. The Khadas was powered by a linear supply of 5 volts to header pins 1 and 21 (not via USB). We used RCA outputs for all DACs. The Nagra DAC and Denafrips sounded very similar. The Khadas sounded very different. I'm not talking slight variation in sound but a LARGE variation in sound. The Khadas was more "exciting" with deeper bass drive, larger soundstage, a more forward presentation but slightly grainy in texture. The Denafrips and Nagra were more laid back and sounded more refined and smooth. The R2R dacs were superior in midbass pitch and definition most noticeable on acoustic bass and lowest piano notes. I found the Nagra DAC to be slightly superior to the Ares in refinement, but I must admit to splitting hairs and of course subject to faults of non double blind testing. At my home, I find the sound of the Khadas very similar to that of my old Oppo Blu Ray player that has been upgraded with the Burr Brown OPA1611/12 op amps, but the Khadas is a tad better for revealing ambience, reverb tails and a bit more cohesive bass response and a slightly wider soundstage. My system uses NCORE 400 amps, Pass preamp, and tall Line Array speakers. I am contemplating purchasing the Denafrips so that I can have both an R2R and DS DAC on hand. I can imagine recordings that would benefit from applying a specific DAC.
 

Spocko

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#74
Nice. The Holo Audio May already proved that R2R DACs can measure quite well too. It is the current benchmark of R2Rs.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...may-probably-the-best-discrete-r2r-dac.10161/
So you bring up a good point: at what point does a well designed/engineered R2R suddenly become a D-S DAC because if the objective is ultimate resolution/transparency, then all you're doing is matching what the D-S has done successfully. But if it's harmonic colorations you're after, wouldn't that result in visible distortions that affect the DAC's measurements? Is this a conundrum that R2R designers think about? "If I design this R2R perfectly and it measures well, it's going to sound like a cheaper D-S!"
 
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#75
It'll be very interesting for me to see how sinus and square waves look not only at 1khz @ 0db. But for example at [email protected] db
I'm pretty sure that some chi-fi that is close to Ares in your SINAD table won't make anything close to input signal at such conditions.
 
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#76
I have been fortunate enough to compare the Khadas Tone Board, Denafrips Ares II DAC, and Nagra R2R DAC ($35k) side by side installed in a $100k+ system installed in a custom designed "idealized" acoustic room. Sources were a Nagra CD player, Nagra preamp, VTL tube monoblocks, Rockport Avior speakers, Melco streamer. Various redbook CD recordings and streamed files of various resolutions. Connections were via coax for lower resolutions and USB for higher resolutions. The Khadas was powered by a linear supply of 5 volts to header pins 1 and 21 (not via USB). We used RCA outputs for all DACs. The Nagra DAC and Denafrips sounded very similar. The Khadas sounded very different. I'm not talking slight variation in sound but a LARGE variation in sound. The Khadas was more "exciting" with deeper bass drive, larger soundstage, a more forward presentation but slightly grainy in texture. The Denafrips and Nagra were more laid back and sounded more refined and smooth. The R2R dacs were superior in midbass pitch and definition most noticeable on acoustic bass and lowest piano notes. I found the Nagra DAC to be slightly superior to the Ares in refinement, but I must admit to splitting hairs and of course subject to faults of non double blind testing. At my home, I find the sound of the Khadas very similar to that of my old Oppo Blu Ray player that has been upgraded with the Burr Brown OPA1611/12 op amps, but the Khadas is a tad better for revealing ambience, reverb tails and a bit more cohesive bass response and a slightly wider soundstage. My system uses NCORE 400 amps, Pass preamp, and tall Line Array speakers. I am contemplating purchasing the Denafrips so that I can have both an R2R and DS DAC on hand. I can imagine recordings that would benefit from applying a specific DAC.
LOL you sure you are on the right forum? we dont trust our senses here give us quantifiable data.
 
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Spocko

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#77
I have been fortunate enough to compare the Khadas Tone Board, Denafrips Ares II DAC, and Nagra R2R DAC ($35k) side by side installed in a $100k+ system installed in a custom designed "idealized" acoustic room. Sources were a Nagra CD player, Nagra preamp, VTL tube monoblocks, Rockport Avior speakers, Melco streamer. Various redbook CD recordings and streamed files of various resolutions. Connections were via coax for lower resolutions and USB for higher resolutions. The Khadas was powered by a linear supply of 5 volts to header pins 1 and 21 (not via USB). We used RCA outputs for all DACs. The Nagra DAC and Denafrips sounded very similar. The Khadas sounded very different. I'm not talking slight variation in sound but a LARGE variation in sound. The Khadas was more "exciting" with deeper bass drive, larger soundstage, a more forward presentation but slightly grainy in texture. The Denafrips and Nagra were more laid back and sounded more refined and smooth. The R2R dacs were superior in midbass pitch and definition most noticeable on acoustic bass and lowest piano notes. I found the Nagra DAC to be slightly superior to the Ares in refinement, but I must admit to splitting hairs and of course subject to faults of non double blind testing. At my home, I find the sound of the Khadas very similar to that of my old Oppo Blu Ray player that has been upgraded with the Burr Brown OPA1611/12 op amps, but the Khadas is a tad better for revealing ambience, reverb tails and a bit more cohesive bass response and a slightly wider soundstage. My system uses NCORE 400 amps, Pass preamp, and tall Line Array speakers. I am contemplating purchasing the Denafrips so that I can have both an R2R and DS DAC on hand. I can imagine recordings that would benefit from applying a specific DAC.
The most IMPORTANT question I would like answered: given your exhaustive comparisons on what I consider world class equipment, can I assume that you would you be equally happy with the $100 Tone Board? Obviously, you noted differences, but nothing in your review implies "better" sound quality, just different, but all excellent sounding.
 

Spocko

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#78
I have been fortunate enough to compare the Khadas Tone Board, Denafrips Ares II DAC, and Nagra R2R DAC ($35k) side by side installed in a $100k+ system installed in a custom designed "idealized" acoustic room. Sources were a Nagra CD player, Nagra preamp, VTL tube monoblocks, Rockport Avior speakers, Melco streamer. Various redbook CD recordings and streamed files of various resolutions. Connections were via coax for lower resolutions and USB for higher resolutions. The Khadas was powered by a linear supply of 5 volts to header pins 1 and 21 (not via USB). We used RCA outputs for all DACs. The Nagra DAC and Denafrips sounded very similar. The Khadas sounded very different. I'm not talking slight variation in sound but a LARGE variation in sound. The Khadas was more "exciting" with deeper bass drive, larger soundstage, a more forward presentation but slightly grainy in texture. The Denafrips and Nagra were more laid back and sounded more refined and smooth. The R2R dacs were superior in midbass pitch and definition most noticeable on acoustic bass and lowest piano notes. I found the Nagra DAC to be slightly superior to the Ares in refinement, but I must admit to splitting hairs and of course subject to faults of non double blind testing. At my home, I find the sound of the Khadas very similar to that of my old Oppo Blu Ray player that has been upgraded with the Burr Brown OPA1611/12 op amps, but the Khadas is a tad better for revealing ambience, reverb tails and a bit more cohesive bass response and a slightly wider soundstage. My system uses NCORE 400 amps, Pass preamp, and tall Line Array speakers. I am contemplating purchasing the Denafrips so that I can have both an R2R and DS DAC on hand. I can imagine recordings that would benefit from applying a specific DAC.
I don't know if you have a comparator, but if you are serious about these comparisons, it starts with this $1,100 piece of equipment: https://avahifi.com/products/abx-switch-comparator
Plus a good SPL meter. Totally worth it if you are paying $$$ for upgrades.
 

gvl

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#79
I'm down to 1 R2R DAC from 5 and it spends its time in the closet waiting for a brain surgery. My humble subjective opinion that good ones sound very close to good DS lacking some in detail rendering so a bit laid back, the not as good ones sound euphonic similar to tube amps and are even more laid back.
 

beefkabob

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#80
I have been fortunate enough to compare the Khadas Tone Board, Denafrips Ares II DAC, and Nagra R2R DAC ($35k) side by side installed in a $100k+ system installed in a custom designed "idealized" acoustic room. Sources were a Nagra CD player, Nagra preamp, VTL tube monoblocks, Rockport Avior speakers, Melco streamer. Various redbook CD recordings and streamed files of various resolutions. Connections were via coax for lower resolutions and USB for higher resolutions. The Khadas was powered by a linear supply of 5 volts to header pins 1 and 21 (not via USB). We used RCA outputs for all DACs. The Nagra DAC and Denafrips sounded very similar. The Khadas sounded very different. I'm not talking slight variation in sound but a LARGE variation in sound. The Khadas was more "exciting" with deeper bass drive, larger soundstage, a more forward presentation but slightly grainy in texture. The Denafrips and Nagra were more laid back and sounded more refined and smooth. The R2R dacs were superior in midbass pitch and definition most noticeable on acoustic bass and lowest piano notes. I found the Nagra DAC to be slightly superior to the Ares in refinement, but I must admit to splitting hairs and of course subject to faults of non double blind testing. At my home, I find the sound of the Khadas very similar to that of my old Oppo Blu Ray player that has been upgraded with the Burr Brown OPA1611/12 op amps, but the Khadas is a tad better for revealing ambience, reverb tails and a bit more cohesive bass response and a slightly wider soundstage. My system uses NCORE 400 amps, Pass preamp, and tall Line Array speakers. I am contemplating purchasing the Denafrips so that I can have both an R2R and DS DAC on hand. I can imagine recordings that would benefit from applying a specific DAC.
Your nonsense is thoroughly unappreciated. But you sure have a lot of nonsense!
 
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