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Denafrips ARES II USB R2R DAC Review

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Jan 17, 2022
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I had a very different experience with the dac :( Plugged it in, it sounded OK. So I checked it on my oscilloscope (Owon XDX3062A 12bit 60Mhz) and it's a complete nightmare. I even thought that something was off with my oscilloscope, but RME dac tested perfectly as did other 3 dacs.

It appears that QC is close to non-existent.

This is with USB and 1K sine wave:
View attachment 191757

This image is with USB completely disconnected:
View attachment 191758

Needless to say, it's going back to Denafrips.
Glad to hear I'm not the only one. Mine arrived earlier this week. I don't have measuring equipment but after about 20 minutes of listening it went back in the box and was sold the next day. What a joke, I thought. It was audibly inferior to an Ifi Zen dac. The distributor told me I should have let it "burn-in". The warranty was transferred to the new owner so if he deems it's a bad unit he can deal with Vinshine/Denafrips. Maybe I'll point him to this thread to see if he can have it measured.

I just figured that's the way they sound. And if that's the case, it is quite mind boggling that everyone is going gaga over these things. One hell of a hype train. I also recently bought a pair of Triangle Borea BRO3's that sound absolutely awful yet every youtube reviewer said they were amazing. I'm starting to think they're all paid off. Either that or they can't hear worth shit.

May I ask, what is your measurement showing? Distortion with no input??
 
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Teroz

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It really needs burning in time. Truly.
 

roderickvd

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I ordered one yesterday. The confirmation email I got today said that 100 hours of burn-in is part of the QAQC process. So regardless of the merits of burn-in, the argument that it should burn in some more is at least disputable. Did you get that mail too?
 

giordy

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Jun 17, 2020
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Needless to say, it's going back to Denafrips.
you were right to send it to Denefrips ...
it is definitely faulty electronics.
i took an ares II right after reading Amir's test
just for the evaluations of him .....
an entry level R2R cannot have record-breaking measures
but I can say that in my system it reproduces what I give it, in the way an R2R can do ....
as for the use .... I never turn it off it is always on
 
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I ordered one yesterday. The confirmation email I got today said that 100 hours of burn-in is part of the QAQC process. So regardless of the merits of burn-in, the argument that it should burn in some more is at least disputable. Did you get that mail too?
I sure did. Would love to know what you think when you get it.
 

nick-fl

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Mar 11, 2022
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Glad to hear I'm not the only one. Mine arrived earlier this week. I don't have measuring equipment but after about 20 minutes of listening it went back in the box and was sold the next day. What a joke, I thought. It was audibly inferior to an Ifi Zen dac. The distributor told me I should have let it "burn-in". The warranty was transferred to the new owner so if he deems it's a bad unit he can deal with Vinshine/Denafrips. Maybe I'll point him to this thread to see if he can have it measured.

I just figured that's the way they sound. And if that's the case, it is quite mind boggling that everyone is going gaga over these things. One hell of a hype train. I also recently bought a pair of Triangle Borea BRO3's that sound absolutely awful yet every youtube reviewer said they were amazing. I'm starting to think they're all paid off. Either that or they can't hear worth shit.

May I ask, what is your measurement showing? Distortion with no input??
Sorry to hear about it. Something is going on with the devices.

Since distortion is a product of a signal, I don't know what it is with no input, but noise floor was a miserable -67dB, that is 2x higher than advertised. Since I'm still waiting for the shipping label. I let the device to burn in - no change in any parameters - still huge amount of distortions and noise being generated by the device.
 

SIY

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Sorry to hear about it. Something is going on with the devices.

Since distortion is a product of a signal, I don't know what it is with no input, but noise floor was a miserable -67dB, that is 2x higher than advertised. Since I'm still waiting for the shipping label. I let the device to burn in - no change in any parameters - still huge amount of distortions and noise being generated by the device.
Be careful about noise floor. It’s a direct function of the FFT parameters you use- narrower bins mean a lower “noise floor” even though the actual noise is the same.
 

nick-fl

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Be careful about noise floor. It’s a direct function of the FFT parameters you use- narrower bins mean a lower “noise floor” even though the actual noise is the same.
Sorry, I misspoke, it was not a noise floor, but noise generated by device (spikes at multiple audio frequencies), noise floor itself was about 20db lower.
 

Freddy

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"Possibly you like it that sound more than something else. Does not make it better."
If it sounds better to him, then of course it is better. It certainly sounded better to than any Topping I heard. Though I agree, the measurements charts that I hang on the wall to show listeners are not as good as Toppings. Never mind the sound, look at the measurements.
 

flz

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Opinions on this DAC are all over the place. Some say it sounds very similar if not the same to many delta-sigma DACs (e.g. Topping, etc). Other say that it sounds very different & much better than delta sigma DACs, and yet others say it sounds very different but much worse than delta sigma DACs.
 

BDWoody

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Opinions on this DAC are all over the place. Some say it sounds very similar if not the same to many delta-sigma DACs (e.g. Topping, etc). Other say that it sounds very different & much better than delta sigma DACs, and yet others say it sounds very different but much worse than delta sigma DACs.

It's almost as if without level and sight controls, you are shooting in the dark.
 

cheapmessiah

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Theres a fact about this DAC that goldensound mentions on his review of it thats very important, and i believe it should be on the OP, I dont know if it was mentiones before on the thread.

The manufacturer seems to be using a proprietary USB controller that has variable input lag, and while xmos based DACs have input lag of aroud 1ms, this unit can get as high 200ms, its a random variable too that seems to change every time the dac pairs with the source, so this unit might be unusable every now and then for watching movies/videos and gamig.
 
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