Author Topic: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC  (Read 44838 times)

Offline alvin1118

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DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« on: March 22, 2017, 09:31 »
Thought i would like to share this superb value for money R-2R DAC here in xtremeplace forum.

DENAFRIPS had made a come back to the market with the discrete R-2R DAC. The entry level Ares received rave reviews all over the famous forum like headfi, stereo.au etc.

The DAC lineup goes like this:

Entry: Ares
Premium: Pontus
High End: Venus
Flagship: Terminator

Official Website: www.denafrips.com




Here's some of the customers review:
Spoiler: show








soundfanz @ headfi

Thought I'd post my comments. Take them for what they are, my thoughts.

Firstly- the Denafrips Ares is my very first external Dac. In the past I've relied on the internal dacs of my CD players to play my music. Apart from my vinyl rig which is my favourite format and has been for quite a few years. I'm also now getting more and more into head-fi, and wanted a dedicated Dac to be able to play all the ripped CD's and downloads from my Hard Drive via my laptop, running into my Bakoon Headphone amp. Hence a DAC purchase.

Anyway......... I purchased my Ares from Vinshine Audio in Singapore ($598 US), and all my dealings have been with Alvin Chee. The customer service has been fantastic from Alvin and I really think he went the extra yards to help out.

The Dac arrived yesterday after ordering last weekend, and being the computer luddite I am, it took a while to get it up and running. At the minute I have been just using an AchtungAudio USB cable directly connecting it to my laptop. The Denafrips Ares connects directly into my Red Wine Audio 70.2 Signature mono block amps. I use no pre amp, and speakers are Jamo Concert 8 stand mounts.

I am awaiting a USB Regen to arrive so I can put that in the chain along with my Curious Regen - Link cable. I also purchased a Jay's Audio LPS25VA  LPS from Vinshine Audio and I should get it later next week.

Alvin from Vinshine remotely accessed my computer today to check my JRiver settings. I had the Ares playing for a short while yesterday, but when I disconnected it, and re-connected at a later time, I couldn't get it working. Alvin set it all up and it's working great at the minute.
I can't praise his efforts enough, if you're thinking of buying this unit from Vinshine, IMO you'd be hard pressed to get better customer service.

I have only had a short time playing files, but am mightily impressed. The files through the Ares sound at least the equal of my 2 CD players (Rega Apollo and E.Sound E.5 European Edition. Back to more music, here are a couple of pics. Can't wait to see whether the inclusion of the USB Regen, LPS, and Curious Regen Link cable improves it even more.









krell1967 @ headfi

The comparison between Ares and Levinson might seem to learn, there are many differences between the two, first of all the price. Levinson had cost about $ 4,500 in 2000 year, the price of the Ares is only $ 598, so it seems the battle between a giant and a dwarf. I will not analyze the technical specs of the two, just search the net and find everything you want to know, instead I want to focus only on listening. The music that I listened ranging from jazz to classical also through rock in order to have a vision as complete as possible to the sound of the two dac.

I started with Ares, the first thing I noticed was the way in which it returns the sound message, very smooth without any frequency which predominates over the other, never tiring but in the meantime, very detailed, very nuanced than with other dac (eg Gustard X20) they can not see. The soundstage is very good, deep and proportionate in three dimensions, slightly set back quite rightly as it should be. The acoustic instruments are returned each with the correct timbre, the violin plays violin, nervous, high-pitched almost scratchy as in reality, the bass is deep and very controlled, the piano is played with the right dynamic, in short, everything seems to be in the right place . Even the wind instruments are returned in their entirety, harmonically very rich. Middle notes, joy and pain of the cheapest dac, are the highlight of the Ares, very balanced, the voices are very nice and with the right focus.

To conclude this brief review I can only say that the Ares is an excellent dac, very well built like a tank, with an unbeatable value for money.

If you really want to find a flaw, I would recommend the manufacturer to make the written and the LEDs on the front most visible, it is just a tip of an aesthetic nature that takes nothing away from the excellent sound performance of this dac.

Turning to Levinson can only say that, to my surprise, that sounds very very similar to the Ares, perhaps with a hint of greater soundstage, but it's nuances, little details that you can see if you have a very revealing system like mine. I did not think precisely that Ares could compete with a giant like Mark Levinson, however that's it, more I listen to them and more I am convinced of what I wrote.

During the plays I also made a comparison with another my dac, Gustard X20U and with a dac of a friend of mine, Holo Spring level one, very similar technology as well since it is a R2R ladder dac. Well, the Gustard, unfortunately for me, is less on each parameter to Ares, impractical comparison.

Holo instead plays very well, especially in nos mode, but Ares is better, slightly, but better in the acoustic scene, it is more refined and even more detailed. The high frequencies are more airy with Ares while Holo they are a little more sparkling, bass frequency with both are very deep and controlled, on voices Ares win again on points, with Holo you hear a hint of sibilance that instead there aren't with Ares. In the end I can say that both are two excellent dac, if there wasn't Ares I definitely bought a Holo Spring, but Ares exists.

Ares has on his side which costs about one-third of Holo Spring, Ares sounds a little better, so the choice for those who want to buy a R2R dac without spending a fortune seems to be required.

In the coming days, being able to continue my plays, I will continue to write on the Ares sound that every hour that passes always surprises me more.
‚Äč
Brava Denafrips, you made the center.





« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 23:50 by alvin1118 »

Offline alvin1118

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2017, 09:32 »
More reviews in the spoiler:

Spoiler: show

seaninbrisbane @ stereo.au

I'm very impressed with my Ares DAC so far - I'm upsampling everything (to max PCM 384) by powers of 2 using Audirvana.  Previous DACs included Audio-gd Ref 5 (with Singxer F-1), Ref 7, and Metrum Octave.

Sorry, I've been without a fully complete audio setup for a good few months, and have also changed amps (was using ss, now using tubes).  All I can say is that I was very happy with the Audio-gd DACs - and I am just as pleased with the Ares (maybe slightly more so, but that might just be new gear excitement).

lukeap69 @ headfi

Ares had been continuously ON for almost 3 weeks now, Spring since November or December last year.

IMO the Spring is more resolving and and has better (sweeter?) tone. Spring extends both in the highs and lows. The sound seems more cohesive than Ares although I can understand how others may prefer the more obvious 'focussed' sound in the Ares e.g. the bass seems more 'rounded' which works for some songs and not for others. The bass of Spring does not appear to come from a specific spot but an area whilst the Ares seems to provide a tighter bass. In many songs I like the bass presentation of the Ares, in some songs with already have tighter bass sound, not so much. It can sound like the bottom end comes from a small speaker in comparison to the Spring. The highs of the Spring seems to be smoother but slighly more extended. It can get a bit sibilant with some songs though but only ever so slightly. I find the Spring to have a wider soundstage but a bit shallower compared to the Ares.

Don't get me wrong guys, I like the Ares very much and I am keeping it but my Spring is not going anywhere. Perhaps the Ares will replace my DAC-19 in my bedroom headphone rig. Not sure yet until I have done a side by side comparison.

Okay same caveat applies, all IMO and YMMV.

Oh if you talk about value for money, Ares for me is the clear winner. Hands down.

vexus @ headfi

I try to describe the differences between the Yulong D200, Mojo and Ares.
 
The comparison was done on a iMac with Audiophonics USB Link on DAC, then to a Abletec ALC0230 Amp and to coaxial DIY speakers (nothing fancy but good quality).
 
Yulong: has no depth in the soundstage and seems to be very upfront, the representation of metallic instruments (percussion etc.) is detailed but harsh -> fatiguing. Bass is detailed but not structured.
 
Mojo: Good depth in the soundstage and seems to be slightly farer away than the Yulong, very musical and seems slightly rolled off. The presentation of metallic instruments (percussion etc.) is very detailed but still a bit harsh. Bass is detailed a well structured.
 
Ares: Has a lot of depth in the soundstage and seems 1-2m farer away than the Mojo, the representation of metallic instruments (percussion etc.) is detailed and very natural -> No fatigue at all. Bass is very detailed and well structured.
 
I had problems to explain my wife that this DAC should leave the room for the main system ;-)

@Mr Pluto: I think I could solve it with my wife, I just need a second ARES or perhaps... a TERMINATOR :D
 
@Gunwale: No it's not as musical as the Mojo, it's even better ;-)


Offline alvin1118

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2017, 09:33 »
I'd like to setup a demo tour of two Ares DACs to let you guys listen to the DAC in your own setup.

It's simple, i will send the Ares to the first guy in the list, he can listen with his very-own setup for 2-3 days. The guy holding the Ares is responsible to pass it the the next guy in the list. Gogovan is a good option, within hours delivery to the destination at small fee $15 only. I will be the coordinator to assist the communication.

Demo Tour List:

1st Ares (closed):
1. wizardofoz
2. 3eb
3. Tomok
4. Poh Seng
5. Boxerfan88
6. risccpu
7. badseed
8. jaspok

2nd Ares (closed):
1. zacho
2. escutcheon
3. lamechops
4. wootzening
5. whyeme
6. simon79
7. hephiastion
8. kelvinsin
9. twlmad
10. rickysio
11. Weichiun
12. MusicEar
13. Tiagasian


Pontus (Special XMOS XU208 USB Version):
1. Tomok
2. escutcheon
3. hephiastion
4. gs11tan
5. wsdavidcheah
6. Deklan
7. zacho *
8. twlmad
9. lamechops
10. Boxerfan88
11.  rickysio
12. foomj24
13. ScoobyJoo
14. lionmax
15. fedorov
16. wbjia
17. shsh91
18. Rachael (Allen)

« Last Edit: November 09, 2017, 11:12 by alvin1118 »

Offline julery

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2017, 10:54 »
Entry: Ares vs Modi
Premium: Tomahawk vs Bimby
High End: Venus vs Gummy
Flagship: Terminator vs yggy

Your denaflips range like schiit

Offline joeling

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2017, 12:45 »
How does this compare to the Total DAC ?

Offline sypderman88

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2017, 12:52 »
the entry level Ares can even beat Holo Spring..it is more comparable to Gumby and even Yggy

Offline alvin1118

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2017, 14:10 »
How does this compare to the Total DAC ?

Not sure man. When my flagship Terminator arrives, I bring it to watchdog place AB test with his TotalDAC. Can?

Offline joeling

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2017, 15:58 »
Not sure man. When my flagship Terminator arrives, I bring it to watchdog place AB test with his TotalDAC. Can?

Thanks.

Offline escutcheon

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2017, 12:33 »
Put me in for the Ares tour as well. Thanks.

Offline zacho

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2017, 16:06 »
Sign me up for the Ares demo

Offline wizardofoz

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2017, 20:24 »
Looking forward to this one :P
I have a pile of stuff that pushes out squiggly waveforms from smaller squiggly waveforms that sometimes come from 1's and 0's.
It's wonderful to behold as long as you don't let the magic smoke out.

Life is short! Enjoy the music while it plays, when it stops, there might be a chair for you...or  maybe not.

Offline alvin1118

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2017, 20:51 »
Thanks for signing up. May put up more Ares for demo tour so to shorten the waiting time.

 ;D

Offline 3eb

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2017, 20:53 »
Can I join in the audition as well? I have the audio-Gd Singularity 19 currently and keen to see how Ares compared to it.

S19 is definitely more analogue sounding than my previous NAD M51.  But M51 has more clarity.


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Offline alvin1118

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2017, 21:00 »
Can I join in the audition as well? I have the audio-Gd Singularity 19 currently and keen to see how Ares compared to it.

S19 is definitely more analogue sounding than my previous NAD M51.  But M51 has more clarity.


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Sure, welcome to the tour !

Offline lamechops

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Re: DENAFRIPS R-2R DAC
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2017, 21:29 »
please put me up for the demo as well! thanks alvin  :)