New Head-Fier
Pros: That Big Deep Smooth Sound
Cons: Nothing other than needs to be on for a while for the magic to happen
If your budget minded about your Hifi, and your on the fence weather you should upgrade your DAC (from for example from a Schiit Modi) after hearing all the hype of this Ares2, i say don't think about it just do it. Here Vinshine Audio has made the Ares2 intentionally cheap to get you to upgrade to their better DACs, like a gateway drug, so for us budget minded hifi heads this DAC is an absolute steal.

Its all about the music with the Ares2, no harsh detailed and analytical sound here, its just a big deep smooth relaxing sound. You get no listening fatigue with the Ares2, you can listen to it for hours. It has a deep punchy bass and a dark 3D sound with a rounded off upper end. You don't need to turn up the volume, at low listening levels it still has a very dynamic sound. and DSD mode sounds amazing on this DAC too.

Many nights I find my self saying how will the Ares2 sound with this track? and then i hear that smooth Ares2 sound kick in and end up listening to the whole album, this goes on for many albums to the early morning hours, it has a very addictive sound.

You need to have it on for a few hours for the sound to come good, but don't get me wrong its still very good from cold but it gets much better when it warms up.
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Just got mine yesterday, paired it with Jotenheim 2 amp...sounds great, but I know it needs to warm up for a week or so.
Any idea how this might compare to the HiFiMan EF600?


100+ Head-Fier
Denafrips Ares II Review - By WaveTheory
Pros: R2R. NOS and OS modes. Class-leading spatial presentation. Energetic, lively sound with neutral-ish signature. 5(!) digital inputs. More-than-enough decoding options. Rugged construction.
Cons: Detail retrieval falls a touch behind competition. Needs to be left on round-the-clock for best performance (a reality of R2R DACs, unfortunately). Some ergonomic and build quirks. No remote control.
Note: This review was originally published on HiFiGuides Forum on 18 January, 2021.


It’s been almost a month since the Ares II was added to my collection and that means it’s review time! The Ares II is the second DAC in the ~$700USD range that I’ve had the privilege of spending time with. It’s current MSRP – mid-January 2021 – is a bit hard to nail down. Vinshine Audio ( lists its price as 1028.00 Singapore dollars, which Google tells me converts to 772.35 USD. As far as I know the Ares II is still in production but in a COVID world its availability might be a bit spotty for the time being.


The Ares II is very good DAC that offers lots of decoding options, 5 digital inputs, balanced outputs, excellent soundstaging, and a very energetic, engaging sound. It likely would have been a gamechanger – as I described the Schiit Bifrost 2 – had it reached my desk before the Bifrost 2.


The Ares II is a true R2R (discreet resistor-ladder) DAC. It can decode PCM up to 32-bit and 1536 KHz (which, is straight-up overkill) and up to DSD1024 (also overkill). It has one USB input, 2 coaxial spdif inputs with RCA connectors, and 2 TosLink optical spdif inputs. It has both unbalanced RCA and 3-pin XLR balanced analog outputs. The front panel has a standby button on the left side and a total of 7 buttons on the right side. There are dedicated buttons to select each of the 5 inputs, a phase button (which toggles between positive and negative phase in much the same way that Schiit’s Bifrost 2 does, to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never had to use it), and a mute button. There is also an array of small red LEDs to indicate which input is selected and what signal the DAC is receiving. Finally, the Ares II offers both oversampling and non-oversampling (NOS) conversion modes. They probably exist, but I don’t know of other DACs that offer a NOS mode at this price point [much later edit: Soekris dacs!].

The Ares II is surprisingly heavy. It has a fairly thick, rugged metal chassis and a beefy internal power supply. I was quite surprised how much heft it had as I was rearranging my desk to accommodate it.

I have two complaints about the Ares II’s build. The 7-button array on the front panel is the first. The buttons are small and black on a black chassis with small white lettering to label them. In a darkened room it can be a challenge to push the right button. There is also no remote control so if this DAC is for a 2-channel speaker system you’ll have to get your lazy keister out of the chair to switch inputs. The second complaint is the feet that are on the bottom of the chassis are sturdy, but surprisingly tall. I see no reason for the chassis to have this much clearance off the desktop – no ventilation holes on the bottom – and I’ve had more than a few pens/pencils roll underneath there and I had to find something to fish them out.


Test Gear

Headphone amps I’ve paired it with include Monolith Liquid Platinum, Cayin HA-1Amk2, Lake People G111, Schiit Asgard 3, Schiit Jotunheim 2, Schiit Magnius, iFi Zen CAN, Massdrop + Eddie Current ZDT Jr., and several budget models. It’s also been connected to my old Onkyo AVR that has a dead HDMI output and is now used as my desktop power amp to power a pair of Definitive Technology SM45 desktop speakers with a Polk PSW-505 sub connected via speaker-level connections. The Headphones I’ve used include HiFiMan Edition X V2, Audeze LCD-2 & LCD-3 (both prefazor), Audeze LCD-X, OG Audioquest Nighthawk, Massdrop + Fostex TH-X00 w/ Lawton Purpleheart chambers and driver mods, Massdrop + Sennheiser HD6XX, Beyerdynamic DT-880 600Ω, and Focal Elegia – oh, and Koss Porta Pros just for the heck of it. So, yeah, a lot of different stuff.

Sound Signature & Presentation

The Ares has a very neutral presentation. There really isn’t any frequency range emphasized or recessed. In oversampling mode, the presentation is a bit soft and relaxed. However, activating NOS mode really wakes it up. In NOS mode the Ares II has a very energetic presentation. I’ll use the word “fun” to describe this energy, but want to make sure that in this context “fun” is not to be confused with how “fun” is often used to describe a bassy sound signature. Here, it’s the liveliness of the presentation that adds an element of fun. This liveliness also makes the Ares II sound like it’s very detailed. It has good detail retrieval with nothing obviously missing from familiar tracks, but I think it comes across as more resolving than it actually is because of this energy. Timbre is solid. The timbre is not a standout feature like it is on many of Schiit’s amps and dacs, but nor is the timbre ever distracting or lacking. So to sum up this paragraph, the Ares II has a very neutral sound that can be somewhat soft and relaxed in OS mode and energetic and lively in NOS mode.

That’s No Moon, It’s a Space Station!

Where the Ares II really shines is with soundstaging. It creates a sense of space that can be absolutely enormous. Concert halls sound huge. Pipe organ recordings sound like they’re recorded in enormous cathedrals (because they usually are!), recordings of rock concerts sound like they’re in large arenas, etc. For the price point the Ares II also does an excellent job with soundstage depth. Moreso than any other DAC I’ve listened to the Ares II sound is not just wide and tall, it’s deep. The Ares II also images quite well, placing sonic images within its large soundstage quite well. The separation of those images is also good but maybe not be quite class-leading for $700ish DACs. Still, if you tell me that you have $700 for a DAC and soundstage is the most important thing to you, here it is!


The Ares II represents a large step up in performance from $250 or less DACs. It’s a very large step up, in fact. As I stated in my Schiit Bifrost 2 review, there is somewhat of a “DAC hole” between about $250 and $700, meaning that if you want to significantly improve performance from a $250 DAC you have to move up to this 700ish Ares II level (or Bifrost 2 or Soekris dac1321). It’s difficult to communicate in words how big of performance jump there is here, too. Many will balk at spending $700+ on a DAC, but that performance jump is huge and will be worth it for many.

At $699USD is the Schiit Bifrost 2. I already compared the BF2 and the Ares II in my BF2 review so I’ll basically just copy/paste that here and massage a few words to make it all fit together. The BF2 and Ares II are essentially equals from a technical standpoint. To say one is better than the other at any particular aspect of performance in no way means the other one is bad. They’re both really strong across the board. It’s really about preference between the two. I think BF2 has better bass control and slam, slightly more natural timbre, and while it takes time to tease it out, is slightly more resolving/has better detail retrieval. The Ares II has better staging, sounding both a little wider and deeper to my ear. A passage from Why So Serious? from the Dark Knight soundtrack beginning at about 3:27 has a deep, driving synthesized bassline with a softly played snare drum that sounds like the drum was recorded in a parking garage or empty gymnasium. Both DACs made that space sound huge and placed that drum seemingly several feet in front of me. The Ares II made that space seem just a bit more cavernous, placed that drum a little deeper into the soundfield, and I think the Ares’s imaging was a little sharper too. The BF2 made that synthesized bassline punishing and almost tactile. The Ares II, especially in non-oversampling mode, also has a more energetic presentation to it in every frequency region except the deep bass that can sound more engaging, or even fun, than BF2. This energy can present initially as being more detailed, however I think the BF2 actually draws more out of the recording than Ares II, it just does so with a more laidback presentation. From a features standpoint, the Ares II offers more decoding options than BF2. So, if you have 500 SACDs and native DSD decoding is important to you, that might be a deciding factor. Ares also has 2 optical and 2 coaxial inputs and to my ear less of a difference in sound quality between spdif and USB. However, for me on most material that I listen to BF2’s bass and timbre with still very good spatial performance make it my preferred DAC between these two. BF2 is the one I use for critical listening and exclusive modes more often. The Ares has become the DAC I lean to while working because its bigger sense of space fatigues me less quickly over longer periods of time; I just feel less claustrophobic with it after wearing headphones for hours. I want to emphasize though that neither BF2 or Ares II are bad at anything here and neither feel claustrophobic in sound, it’s a question of degree and the differences are slight.


I initially ‘borrowed’ the Ares II from the previous owner just to do a review. About two weeks into that borrowing I just said “Shut up and take my money!” and kept it around [thanks to that seller, btw, excellent deal!]. Right now the Ares is my primary long-listening-while-working DAC. It’s spaciousness is less fatiguing than my other DACs during those marathon sessions. It really is a fantastic DAC and should be on the short-list of DACs to check out if you’re using a $250 DAC right now and looking to breathe new life into your whole system. In my Bifrost 2 review, I referred to the BF2 as a gamechanger. The Ares II likely would have been too if it had made it to my system before the BF2. You can’t go wrong here, though. Ares II is an excellent DAC.

Hey, that was shorter than most of my reviews! Not as many quirky features to discuss in this one, I guess. Solid, solid DAC though. Enjoy the music, everyone!
Nice review. I have a renewed interest in the Ares II DAC, to use with an Raspberry Pi & HAT, ultimately feeding into a 2ch amp/setup.
Thank you for the feedback. I think the Ares II would do well in a 2 channel system, especially one with subwoofers. It's staging ability seems tailor-made to work in a room more than on a head. The subwoofer comment was because it can be a touch lean in the subbass. Having a sub to boost the subbass level a tad might be handy.
Ordered it...waiting for it to come. Also ordered the Jot 2 which will arrive next week. Just curious what interconnects you used? What is the synergy with Jot 2? Some people think it is too warm...


Galvanically isolated his brain
Great sounding R2R offering
Pros: thick 3D sound
Cons: no remote control
New to the DENAFRIPS DAC's, I'm currently playing around with their ARES II DAC borrowed from a friend.
Much coverage has been made already but I figured I might as well post my own review

As described by the other reviewer in here, there's no volume control and no remote control.

It never gets hots, doesn't do any clicking noise or auto-mute between tunes so that's great.

It also comes with a fuse, might seem normal but at least if it ever encounters a spike you can fix it easily and it ever malfunctions badly it'll instantly shutdown. I believe a fuse should be part of any serious CE/UL certification, yet many audio appliances don't provide one in order to save a buck I guess.

There is a literal army of caps inside so they do take a good while to settle in:


R2R, why when you can get a Sabre IC for a few bucks, huh???? Reinventing the wheel or something? This should shed some lights:
Some of us just used our ears and heard the much improved instrument realism

Story goes like D/S DAC's actually provide 5-6 bit resolution with a whole lot of dithering in order to improve performance and shape the extra noise, this link also explains it nicely:

ARES II runs FEMTO clocks for 44.1 & 48kHz multiples that ensure tight imaging and high details.

Installing the usual XMOS USB Windows drivers was as easy as it gets, a few clicks and you're playing music in WASAPI Exclusive as intended

Quite a few R2R DAC's don't do DSD but DSD over USB is fully supported this time, up to DSD1024.

You also get both RCA & XLR3 outputs together with 2x coax and 2x toslink inputs :

Attach01 (1).jpg

Unit comes with a 115/230V switch underneath so that's quite convenient but do double-check it upon receival, or else.

I've used it as a USB DAC fed to my LittleLabs Monotor headamp and HE500 headphone(headband's in bad shape so didn't warrant a full family picture):

Attach01 (2).jpg

After proper break-in, it's finally ready for audition

I've been using Soekris DAC's for years and was always thrilled by their thick 3D sound and ARES II certainly doesn't disappoint on that front.

I'm still in strong honeymoon with HE500 due to its great bass, natural SS & mids and harmless trebles and that matches perfectly ARES II's sound as the latter also comes with pretty much the exact same qualities. No shrillness, Very organic sounding mids and trebles, percussive bass, bluray movies appear very very real for that matter

You don't get the extreme digging for trebles informations and details you'd hear from say a Sabre chip, details are certainly there but it's more of a laid-back experience that's meant to suck you in and enjoy the ride with a big grin on your face.

Another nice touch is that you can switch between OS/NOS and OS filters as described on

Differences are pretty subtle but I ended up preferring NOS with 192kHz upsample from the PC, trebles seemed ever so slightly more to my taste on HE500.

All in all, it's hard to fault this DAC for the asking price and the 3 year warranty is a nice touch so I'll happily give it two thumbs up
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Dobrescu George

Reviewer: AudiophileHeaven
R2R Alive – Denafrips Ares II Balanced R2R DAC
Pros: + Build Quality
+ Soft, Musical Sound
+ Good Power Delivery
+ Good USB input implementation
+ Excellent overall design
+ Great support from Vinshine
Cons: - No remote included in the package
- Lacks Volume Control
R2R Alive – Denafrips Ares II Balanced R2R DAC

Denafrips is a name that will bring a smile to many music lover’s faces, especially when they have such an awesome product, but today we’re putting it to the wall, we’re going to see just how good it actually is, and if the Ares II is worth its money. The main competitors will be SW1X DAC I Special, which is also very pricey, and also R2R, the might Mytek Brooklyn DAC+, and even Aune S6 PRO. There are far more worthy competitors out there, so I decided to also add the Young MK III from M2Tech to the list, based on your requests. The price of the Ares II is about 800 USD. For the pairings part of this review, I went with HIFIMAN Jade II, Wells Milo + Rosson RAD 0, and a Feliks Euforia Tube Amplifier driving a HIFIMAN He6SE.


Denafrips is provided, served, serviced and supported by none other than Vinshine Audio! If the name doesn’t ring a bell, they are like the gurus of high-end audio from Asia, the ones who take care of the mighty Denafrips. Denafrips is a brand that’s become better known and gained more love than even Chord Audio, or Mytek, they are slowly becoming the most wanted DACs in the entire world. I’m not just saying this, I know this, because just in Romania, I know at least seven people who ordered DACs directly from Vinshine Audio, and who own Denafrips DACs. Most of them also did so after my video review, which made me happy, because I love to know that I’m helping you guys getting what you’re looking for.

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Vinshine or Denafrips. I’d like to thank Vinshine for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with the Vinshine Denafrips Ares II R2R DAC. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Vinshine Denafrips Ares II DAC find their next music companion.

Product Link

You can find Ares II and other Denafrips DACs / AMPs at Vinshine Audio:

About me


First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:

I always feel good when I see a proper package. The Ares II doesn’t come with a remote or a USB cable, but you’re better off sourcing yourself a good USB Cable if you did the effort of getting such a great DAC. The provided Power Cable should be good enough for most users, especially considering the friendly price of the Ares II. Can’t say that the remote isn’t missed, but the Ares II doesn’t have volume control, so it wouldn’t have made too much sense.

You can press a button to mute it, but since you’ll be controlling the volume from your amplifier, regardless whether it is a power amplifier or Headphone Amplifier, you won’t need a remote.

What to look in when purchasing a flagship R2R DAC

Technical Specifications

Proprietary R2R + DSD Architecture
True balanced 24BIT R2R + 6BIT DSD (32 steps FIR Filters)
Native DSD decoding with 0.01% precision resistors
FEMTO Crystal 45.1548MHz, 49.152Mhz
Low Noise Power Supply
FIFO Buffer
Digital Signal Processing via FPGA
DSD1024, PCM1536 Supports On USB Input
Proprietary USB Audio Solution via STM32F446 Advanced AMR Based MCU
Licensed Thesycon USB Driver For Windows Platform
Driverless On Mac & Linux


DSD64-DoP On All Input
DSD1024 On USB Input Only


24bits / 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192KHz On All Input
1536kHz On USB Input

Sampling Mode: Oversampling OS / Non-Oversampling NOS

Digital Input

Coax x 2
TOSLink x 2

Analog Output

RCA at 2.2Vrms, 625 Ω
XLR at 4.4Vrms, 1250 Ω

Frequency Response: 20-70KHz -3dB
THD+N: 0.004%
S/N Ratio: 115dB
Dynamic Range: >119dB
Stereo Crosstalk: -124dB
AC Power Requirement: 100-240VAC, 50/60Hz (Worldwide Voltage, Manual Selector)
Power Consumption: ≤20W
Dimension: 215 x 230 x 45 mm
Package Dim: 375 x 330 x 115 mm
Package Content: DAC & Power Cord. No remote control.
Weight: 3.5 Kg
Color: Black
Warranty: 36 Months

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Functionality

Ares II is one of the few high-end DACs that don’t look bad. I would actually say it is beautiful. It has just the perfect size for a DAC, and despite its name being colorful, it is sleek, elegant and looks awesome on my desk. It has a fair weight, and is supported by spiky feet with rubber at the tips, making it a very stable and cool-running device.

The front of the unit has all the buttons, which are mainly the input buttons, the mute button, and the on/off button. The back of the unit has all the connections, and boy oh boy do we have plenty here.

We’re looking at two optical, two coaxial and one USB inputs. Next to the power plug, there is also a fuse, so even if you get a voltage spike in your house, Ares II’s delicate circuits won’t be fried. The outputs include two XLR Balanced outputs, and two RCA single-ended outputs. All in all, Ares II feels like the best, most prepared DAC you can get for 800 USD.

I would like to start by saying that it never runs hot. In fact, it is not only cool-running, but also has a beautiful operation, simple, ergonomic, elegant. Windows need the Thesycon drivers, and it is easily recognized by both my desktop PC, and my portable laptop. It has zero delay, so perfect for gaming, movie watching. For music, you will be delighted to know that where DAC I Special from SW1X got around the issue with USB inputs by not including one, Denafrips includes a high-speed linear supply power for its USB board, so that there is no noise when using the USB cable, compared to the Coaxial or the Optical inputs.

All the outputs are plated with a thick gold layer, and look really professional, with the entire device having a matte finish that screams high-end without being pretentious about it.

Switching between the OS and NOS modes is easy, you just press mute, and you switch back and forth. In OS mode, you have a slow and a sharp filter, which gives you either a quick decay for sharp, or a slow decay for slow. Those basically give textures either speed or weight and nuance.

If I were to mention a few downsides to the whole build part, you should keep in mind that it doesn’t come with a USB Cable, or other cables, does not come with a remote, and it does not have volume control, it is as much of a simple DAC unit as it can be.

Video Review

Sound Quality

Of course, if you’re purchasing an R2R DAC, you’re getting it for the sonic performance. That is it. You’re surely not very interested about it doing anything else but achieving that pure sonic bliss that you’re expecting from an R2R DAC. And, with the Ares II, you’re in for it!

The overall sound is ever so slightly gentle, with the punch and impact taking a second place after the colorful dynamics, transparent presentation, and with a really gentle way of portraying details. I would call this sound not just natural, but extremely well presented for those who want naturalness. R2R, also called ladder DACs, always has this magical presentation with an extreme amount of dynamics, but without having all those edgy textures and harsh edges that your typical Delta-Sigma DACs. I mean, I also reviewed countless high-end Delta-Sigma DACs and R2R surely has a presentation that makes you go “That’s R2R” the first moment you hear it.

The bass of the Ares II is quite dynamic, having a lot of nuance and emotion to it. There’s no trace of distortion or struggle, even if you throw technical death metal, or aggressive hardcore songs with multiple bass notes being struck at the same time. Slow Jazz is slow, quick rock is quick, and metal has everything presented nicely. Especially at the bass level, though, the impact is not as hard hitting as I first expected given the dynamics & detail. This was, of course, until I engaged the NOS / OS and figured that there’s a more mellow mode, and a natural one. If the entire sound feels soft or mellow, try to switch, you’ll be surprised to notice how each of those present music.

The midrange is always refined and gentle, despite being crazy detailed. Given the R2R tech, it handles Metallica and slower rock songs just as expected. With voices that are harder to handle, like Jill Tracy, you can notice how Ares II can present a deep, yet crystalline woman voice without having any hard edges or grain. In fact, I loved the experience with Ares II so much that I put on some Panic At The Disco, and even some Brain Drill or Massakren, just to be greeted by a really musical guitar, lots of information in the background, and a really nicely layered sound. In fact, besides the dynamics, this also surprised me, the soundstage and imaging is spot-on. Songs that are made to sound wide, really do sound wide. Passages that are supposed to whisper in your ear really feel close. I’d say that Ares II is perfect for those looking for a honest / transparent DAC.

The treble is generally a touch gentle, regardless of whether you’re using he NOS or OS mode. The treble never hits hard, and it never strikes a nerve. Zero Grain, Zero Harshness. But also all the detail you’d want from a natural treble. It is an unlikely combination, but this worked equally well for metal, classical and even jazz. The treble is a really nice surprise even when you connect some brighter cans like HE6SE through a neutral headphone amplifier like the Master 19 from Audio-GD, but also with smoother and rich-sounding cans like Rosson RAD-0 through a minimalistic AMP like Wells Milo.


Since you asked me to compare the Ares II to so many other DACs, I did my best to compare it to the most requested competitors. Those include Aune S6 PRO, Mytek Brooklyn DAC+, Young MK III from M2Tech, and even SW1X DAC I Special.

Adding something like the Plixir BAC400 isn’t really necessary for the Ares II, as the power stage is handled exceptionally well. BAC400 tends to help most of the competitors though, and I wanted to mention that for most DACs, you’d want to employ some kind of power filtering, while for the Ares II you really won’t feel the need. This is also why I don’t think including a basic power cable is all that bad, Ares II just works nicely with it.

Denafrips Ares II vs SW1X DAC I Special (800 USD vs 2400 USD) – The price difference is huge, Ares II has a much better input selection, where SW1X has just Coaxial Input in the base version. The overall usage scenario is similar, but Ares II has Balanced XLR outputs, where SW1X has just Single Ended RCA outputs. In terms of sonics, SW1X DAC I Special tends to be a bit cleaner, also have a bit better dynamics and impact. Ares II shows the same R2R magic, with a grain-free presentation, effortless way to portray a stage, and a transparent presentation. SW1X is a bit better, but it clearly is not as good of a value as Ares II is.

Denafrips Ares II vs Young MK III from M2Tech (800 USD vs 1600 USD) – Young MK III is pretty grain-free, but comes through as bright when compared to Ares II which is perfectly transparent. Young MK III also has fairly hard edges sometimes, with a much wider soundstage at all times. This means that certain passages that are supposed to be intimate sound distant on the Young, where they sound exactly as intended on Ares II. There’s a certain magic about Ares II and they way it can portray a slow song slow, and a quick song quick, where Young MKIII tends to be quick more often. The impact is higher on Young MK III, where Ares II has better dynamics.

Denafrips Ares II vs Aune S6 PRO (800 USD vs 650 USD) – Aune S6 PRO is a perfect example of a one-to-one comparison, because it is closer in price to Ares II than most of the other competitors in this review. In a one-to-one battle, Ares II wins in most aspects, except for versatility, as S6PRO also has volume control, a headphone output. Ares II also has both balanced XLR otuputs, RCA outputs, and even a balanced headphone output. The sound is much much wider on S6 PRO, with more detail and apparent clarity. When switching to S6PRO, one can hear a much deeper soundstage, with more layering, better depth and a much more transparent sound. Ares II sounds natural, where S6 PRO sounds really exciting, bright, open, but lacks some ulterior refinement that R2R DACs in general tend to bring.

Denafrips Ares II vs Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ (800 USD vs 2000 USD) – I really love the Brooklyn DAC+l, and it is far more versatile, having a display, or rather two of them. Also, headphone outputs, two of them, more versatility in how it can be used. At the end of the day, I was expecting it to sound better, but as a DAC it is a bit more colored, more warmth, at the sacrifice of some transparency. Ares II feels more gentle, less punchy, but also has a pretty similar detail. It is a feat that it can be as clear and transparent as a high-end DAC, and I feel less compelled to spend 2000 USD when I hear them side-by-side, although I must admit that DAC+ is indeed better in some ways.


When it comes to pairing the Denafrips Ares II, I tried once again to match the high volume of requests, so I picked Feliks Audio Euforia as an Amplifier, paired with a pair of HIFIMAN HE6SE.

I also decided to go with a pair of Rosson RAD-0, driven by a Wells Milo. HIFIMAN Jade II is also a nice setup to pair the Ares II with.

Denafrips Ares II + Feliks Audio Euforia + HIFIMAN He6SE (800 USD + 2300 USD + 1600 USD) – Feliks Euforia is an amazing AMP, but fairly neutral, so it needs a softer DAC to avoid becoming too firm and bright, especially when paired with a brighter headphone like He6SE. Ares II shows good abilities to keep the sound transparent, wide, but also detailed and gentle. There’s no trace of grain, and it is impressive how good a neutral-neutral combo can sound when paired with a neutral, but gentle DAC like Ares II.

Denafrips Ares II + Wells Milo + Rosson RAD-0 (800 USD + 2200 USD + 2000 USD) – Milo is slightly warm, and RAD-0 is extremely warm, so it makes sense to see if Ares II can keep them under control too. I was amazed to see that its neutral tuning helps a lot with making this combo vivid, but rich in sound, without edging to darkness. The overall treble performance is extremely gentle and smooth, and the entire sound is very liquid, but don’t take this as a negative, it works well with any bands, from Escape The Fate all the way to Jazz.

Denafrips Ares II + HIFIMAN Jade II Electrostatic System (800 USD + 2500 USD) – Jade II is a complicated system that I haven’t gotten to listen enough when I first reviewed it, but thanks to a happy twist of fate, I was able to pair Ares II with it, and I was surprised by how much it helped that system become more musical, It was detailed, clear and somewhat gentle, but it was never very musical, and Ares II is just the perfect companion to help with that, giving Jade II a beautiful stage, airy treble, and a flat, but nuanced bass.

Value and Conclusion

There’s no arguing that the value of Ares II is simply exceptional. The package is nice and it comes nicely protected, but not with a lot of extras. Still, the build quality, and the kind of sound you get for your money, is simply a 10/10.

The body can cross between classy, stylish, and even edgy at times, fitting the aesthetic pleasures of pretty much anyone who gives it a look. Lack of a remote control, and lack of volume control is compensated by it having two sonic modes (OS and NOS), which gives you a natural, and a softer presentation.

If you ever had a rough day at work and needed to lay low for a while, the relaxed mode, Ares II has it. And if you just woke up, with a cigarette and an energy drink, and if you want to kick start your day with the sound of a chainsaw, you can totally blast some grindcore and paint your walls red at the best resolution with Ares II.

Before the end of this review, I want to add Ares II to Audiophile-Heaven’s Hall Of Fame thanks to its exceptional performance, price-to-performance ratio, and great support by Vinshine Audio.

At the end of this review, if you’re looking to start with R2R tech, and if you want a more gentle presentation, if you don’t like hard edges, and if you want the ultimate detail, and a precise soundstage, Ares II from Denafrips & Vinshine should be at the top of your list.

Product Link

You can find Ares II and other Denafrips DACs / AMPs at Vinshine Audio:

Full Playlist used for this review

While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

Youtube Playlist

Tidal Playlist

I hope my review is helpful to you!

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Nice review. Also I like your musical tastes. Here I thought I was the only who'd listen to vocaloid on high end gear lol.
Dobrescu George
Dobrescu George
@marcgii - I keep saying it, always listen to what you enjoy the most!! :)
I find that coaxial sounds a bit better than USB but that is just my preference. It sounds a bit more rounded off and laid back (than it is already).