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Topping D90 vs Denafrips Ares II?

Best sounding DAC under $1000?

  • Topping D90

    Votes: 23 74.2%
  • Denafrips Ares II

    Votes: 8 25.8%

  • Total voters
    31
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#1
Obviously these two are very different in that the D90 is a DS DAC, whereas the Denafrips is an R2R. They're both around the same price and both test very well. Anyone have experience with both? Looking to make an upgrade from my Modi 3. All help is greatly appreciated!
 
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Thread Starter #3
Unless you must have some specific feature great DAC's are available for under $200. Balanced outputs will cost more, if you really need them for long cable runs or an amp which has low sensitivity like some of the Hypex units.
Definitely don't need balanced outputs or long cable runs. Just been seeing all the rave reviews of the Denafrips lately and it's great sound. Figured this would be the place to go for info.
 

BDWoody

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#4
Definitely don't need balanced outputs or long cable runs. Just been seeing all the rave reviews of the Denafrips lately and it's great sound. Figured this would be the place to go for info.
Welcome to the site!

What you will hear from most around this site, vs most others, is that most DAC's will be virtually indistinguishable, in an audible sense, from each other in the real world of science and physics...unless broken, or designed with something other than fidelity in mind.

Pic a DAC based on needed features...not on which chip it uses or whether one measures slightly better...when you are already orders of magnitude beyond audibility for the most part.
 

Spocko

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#5
Definitely don't need balanced outputs or long cable runs. Just been seeing all the rave reviews of the Denafrips lately and it's great sound. Figured this would be the place to go for info.
The D90 has volume control so you can plug it directly into your amp. The Ares requires a line level preamp for volume control - direct connection to amp not recommended. Some R2R DACs are designed to color the sound that may be noticeable to its fans, who describe it as "analog". Whether it's worth that premium is up to you.
 
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Thread Starter #6
The D90 has volume control so you can plug it directly into your amp. The Ares requires a line level preamp for volume control - direct connection to amp not recommended. Some R2R DACs are designed to color the sound that may be noticeable to its fans, who describe it as "analog". Whether it's worth that premium is up to you.
I'm using a Luxman integrated amp, so the preamp function is moot to me
 

gvl

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#7
Maybe wait for the Topping E30, can't beat that performance and features for $130.
 

Tks

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#8
Maybe I'm missing something, but aside from a few more inputs, the D90 plows through the Ares in virtually all respects.
 
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#9
Even with the limited number of DACs I've tried, difference between DACs are EASILY audiable. DACs tested include Topping D50, Project S2 digital, Parasound HINT, Bechmark DAC3. Speaker is GoldenEar Triton Reference.
 
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#10
Maybe wait for the Topping E30, can't beat that performance and features for $130.
I like the E30 form factor (I'm a bit of a minimalist). Would have been nice if they would have paired it with the AK4499 chipset, though. Say a Topping E90.
 

Veri

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#11
Even with the limited number of DACs I've tried, difference between DACs are EASILY audiable.
Ah yes, I'm sure that "even your wife" heard the difference, and that those who don't hear a difference do not have as "revealing gear". Something like that?... Have you considered the possibility that sighted listening suffers from an extreme confirmation bias?

I like the E30 form factor (I'm a bit of a minimalist). Would have been nice if they would have paired it with the AK4499 chipset, though. Say a Topping E90.
Topping E60 :D would be cool
 

JohnYang1997

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#12
Ah yes, I'm sure that "even your wife" heard the difference, and that those who don't hear a difference do not have as "revealing gear". Something like that?... Have you considered the possibility that sighted listening suffers from an extreme confirmation bias?


Topping E60 :D would be cool
or not level matched.
 

gvl

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#14
I like the E30 form factor (I'm a bit of a minimalist). Would have been nice if they would have paired it with the AK4499 chipset, though. Say a Topping E90.
That would result in a higher price and marginally better performance if at all, so kind of pointless.
 

BDWoody

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#16
Output stages vary wildly. Not sure why a difference in sound quality would be hard to believe.
They do indeed, but that can be determined very reliably through a handful of measurements to assess said competences.

If the DAC component (not the chip) is not broken or designed incompetently, the differences aren't big enough to be audible to humans.
 
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#17
I have zero interest in arguing with or convincing anyone of anything. The context was subject listening, and I shared mine.

I had no expectation going into the listening/comparison, and was surprised by the results. For those that dont believe, have you considered the possibility that a pair of Stereophile Class A speakers could make a difference? If you have tried and tell me you didnt hear a difference, I will be totally fine with that.
 
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BDWoody

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#18
I'm pretty sure most audiophiles would be able to tell the difference when the DAC is paired with Stereophile Class A speakers.
Sure...if they are peeking.

Otherwise, not so much. Put money on it if you are so sure.
 

Koeitje

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#19
I have zero interest in arguing with or convincing anyone of anything. The context was subject listening, and I shared mine.

I had no expectation going into the listening/comparison, and was surprised by the results. I'm pretty sure most audiophiles would be able to tell the difference when the DAC is paired with Stereophile Class A speakers.
You always have preconceptions, even if you say you don't. Even the color of the lights on your gear influences how it sounds to you.

Anyway, your last statement makes it sound like the differences in sound are easily heard. Yet they never tend to show up in measurements, unless a DAC is designed to have a certain sound or its badly designed and has clear issues.
 
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#20
You always have preconceptions, even if you say you don't. Even the color of the lights on your gear influences how it sounds to you.

Anyway, your last statement makes it sound like the differences in sound are easily heard. Yet they never tend to show up in measurements, unless a DAC is designed to have a certain sound or its badly designed and has clear issues.
I really dont want to open that can of worms, but... perhaps there ARE measurements that will reveal the difference but just have not been done here?
 

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