DENAFRIPS 'ARES' R2R discrete ladder DAC - close up view
Apr 21, 2017 at 12:19 PM Post #796 of 2,160

MiguelPT

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Many thank's to all of You!!!
 
I've been reading this tread and... It just happening!
I was expecting for the availability of the Holo DAC but this Denafrips tread was keeping my attention, ARES, Pontus, Venús, Terminator.....
 
It was a big temptation, I've never expected to spend this amount on a DAC. I'ths done and I expect to be very happy whit it.
 
I'll post my opinion as soon as possible!
 
My other gear are:
 
Accutics Arts Amp II MK2
Accustics Arts Preamp I MK3
Accustics Arts Surround Player I
Lyngdorf RP1
Ciunas DAC
Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers whit special Bright Star Audio Stands
Home made music server  (AO 2.2, Jplay , Win Server 2016) 
 
Thank's 
 
Miguel
 
Apr 21, 2017 at 12:36 PM Post #798 of 2,160

MiguelPT

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Well done, Miguel
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Thank's Krell!
I could't let You be the only one 
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Apr 22, 2017 at 3:44 AM Post #799 of 2,160

Mr Pluto

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Oki-Doki, I will put some words about my experience with Ares as promised.....

 

First, I want to thank Alvin from Vinshine Audio for immaculate customer service and lightning fast shipping to EU.

English is not my native language so I apologize for misspelling and grammar mistakes.

 

My Ares arrived safe and sound and had a nice cone footers.




I basically ordered Ares because I needed a DAC between my smart TV and stereo system for occasional listening. So the goal was a good PCM processing capability. As we know R2R is strong on that.

I'm not a dedicated believer in burn-in (expect speakers) but I must admit that this thing absolutely transformed 180°. Out of the box the highs were shrill and I thought I had made a mistake. But it started to transform fast. After couple hours already it was much more listenable. I did the first critical listening after 50 hours and it was absolutely another story. My final critical listening was after both SPDIF and USB/XMOS circuits had over 300h burn-in.

 

Over the years I have owned a lot of different digital players. Pictures of some I posted here earlier. Despite the fact that I have owned some quite expensive digital front ends as Zanden, Burmester Top Line belt drive transport and 980SRC DAC combo etc., the one that has always outperformed anything is my trusty blind eye pirate Marantz SA-1.

 

So I threw the little $600 Ares straight in the fire and put it against my SA-1 that had a price tag of 8k back in the day. One of it's designers said that if it would be produced today it's price tag would be easily over 20k.

 

SA-1 transport was connected to Ares via coax. Both were connected via identical solid silver XLR cables to Burmester 035 pre that allowed me to switch between the two instantly without any pause, pop or click via remote from my listening position. Burmester 035 is a fantastic pre that reveals even the slightest nuances and makes shootouts between digital fronts a joy. Output voltage of both of the DAC-s is same and their levels matched using dB meter and test CD.




The winner of the most unfair fight was clear from the first notes. ...............But the performance of Ares was actually quite shocking to me. First thing that astonished me was the deepness of the soundstage. Such deep well defined, real 3D soundstage represents a serious touchstone for many DAC`s that cost even ten times as much as Ares and is unheard under 2K. All the instruments are solidly placed and well defined on the soundstage. Images are life sized and palpable. The soundstage is a bit lower and narrower than SA-1 so some instruments are placed bit closer to the centre. But the image stays solid and defined even at most complex passages.

 

The other thing that immediately amazes is the deep, controlled and articulated bass that just seems surreal considering the size of Ares.

 

Tonality is really sweet and not fatiguing. I would characterize it as slightly velvety. It reminds me of Accuphase DP-67. Absolutely pleasure to listen.

 

It basically has it all……….. First class soundstage, beautiful tonality, loads of details, decent micro/macro dynamics, musicality etc. Seriously, I was not able to find any flaw in it’s presentation. Ares is real high-end DAC that plays in much higher league as it’s price suggests. It's actually insane what the $600 buys to you.

If driven by a decent spinner it certainly (by memory) surpasses Esoteric DV-60, D-07, AMR 777, Naim Audio CDX2, Accuphase DP500 and maybe even DP67. Yes, the older DP67 is much better player than newer DP500 and 510.

 

How big was the difference with SA-1? Huge, big, subtle, night and day etc. are all very subjective terms. Therefore I just say that it was very easily distinguishable when I switched between them. I’m confident that even a person with not the best hearing can tell the difference. SA-1 has just a bolder, more dynamic and lively presentation. It doesn’t have the velvety tonality but it’s even more enjoyable because of it’s utter neutrality and liquid-like smooth voicing. There’s more ambience of “you are there” feeling.   

Of course Ares misses the ultimate refinement and dynamics of SA-1, SA7S1 and the Burmester digital but considering it’s the lowest animal in Denafrips food chain it would be most interesting to have a Venus or Terminator on my table.

 

Above mentioned, applies only to Ares fed by SA-1 transport via coax or opt.

From my smart TV via opt to Ares it performs it's task admirably. Even all the crap from music channels and youtube is listenable.
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As Ares is also a USB DAC that can play native DSD, I downloaded approx. 25 DSD albums from DSD64 to DSD256. I choose most albums that I also have on CD. Some of which are from Susan Wong, Vaya Con Dios, Dire Starits, Eagles etc. I set up Foobar to play native DSD and did a direct A/B comparison of DSD albums from my laptop/Ares to the same albums played on CD from SA-1. I've tried the some computer/USB DAC combos couple times before but sadly it reconfirmed me once again that this PC/USB thing has still miles and miles to go compared to a decent spinner. Probably nice digital transport like Aurender or Soundaware helps, but I still doubt if it can really rival a decent disk spinner.

I don't want to say that via USB it was bad or unlistenable. It was actually quite nice and by memory better than AMR 777 or D-07 USB DAC. Considering it's sonic DNA I'm sure it will outperform most of it's USB rivals also. What I want to say is that the difference was just much bigger compared to when Ares was fed by SA-1 spinner via SPDIF.

I did not buy it, for it`s USB or DSD capabilities so I will take it as a nice bonus that is great for causal PC listening.

 

To conclude, I am extremely pleased with Ares, and it has vastly exceeded my every expectation.
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I do not pretend on an absolute truth here. These are just my experiences that I wanted to share with you as as honestly and straightforwardly as possible. This is just my 2 cents so take it for what it's worth!



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Apr 22, 2017 at 5:36 AM Post #800 of 2,160

rafabro

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Originally Posted by Mr Pluto /img/forum/go_quote.gif
...I've tried the some computer/USB DAC combos couple times before but sadly it reconfirmed me once again that this PC/USB thing has still miles and miles to go compared to a decent spinner. Probably nice digital transport like Aurender or Soundaware helps, but I still doubt if it can really rival a decent disk spinner.
I don't want to say that via USB it was bad or unlistenable. It was actually quite nice and by memory better than AMR 777 or D-07 USB DAC. Considering it's sonic DNA I'm sure it will outperform most of it's USB rivals also. What I want to say is that the difference was just much bigger compared to when Ares was fed by SA-1 spinner via SPDIF...

Is no point compare standard PC with standard USB socket as a source, to highend CD player.
 
Any USB-DAC needs proper source like any good CD player has one inside.
 
Apr 22, 2017 at 6:43 AM Post #802 of 2,160

bodhidharma

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Agree..... so someone please donate me a Aurender or at least a Soundaware so I can make a fairer comparison!
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I can assure you that there is no need to spend so much, I have a very high resolution system (PRE Pass Labs X1 Double Layer, Yungson JA-100 Luxury Edition Monophonic Amplifier, Usher AC-10 Speakers, Schiit Yggdrasil that listened to this Context and bypass the USB input via DDC LKS interface I can assure you that it has no rivals!) And as a player I use a fearful Auralic Aries and my system flies very high. 
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Apr 22, 2017 at 6:51 AM Post #803 of 2,160

soundfanz

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A  really nice write up Mr Pluto, but my experiences differ in regards to the Ares's USB capabilities. :)
 
I use  Audirvana 3 and Tidal premium via Macbook, fed to the Ares via an iFi Gemini cable and it sounds excellent. Am really very happy with the sound quality.
 
In my system the USB implementation sounded better than 2 different CD players I tried connected via coaxial to the Ares.
 
Apr 22, 2017 at 7:02 AM Post #804 of 2,160

bodhidharma

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  A  really nice write up Mr Pluto, but my experiences differ in regards to the Ares's USB capabilities. :)
 
I use  Audirvana 3 and Tidal premium via Macbook, fed to the Ares via an iFi Gemini cable and it sounds excellent. Am really very happy with the sound quality.
 
In my system the USB implementation sounded better than 2 different CD players I tried connected via coaxial to the Ares.

Listening through the USB input can further improve by inserting a Jitterbug Auioquest filter on the PC's USB output and a Uptone Regen USB purifier on the other end of the USB cable, so I can assure you that together it will bring a significant improvement to the SQ in my system.
 
Apr 22, 2017 at 7:09 AM Post #805 of 2,160

soundfanz

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Well...I haven't tried a Jitterbug,but I did buy a USB Regen and a very good LPS and they made NO improvement to the sound quality.In my opinion this meant that the USB implementation of the Ares is very good.
I sold the Regen and LPS shortly thereafter.
 
Apr 22, 2017 at 7:16 AM Post #806 of 2,160

Mr Pluto

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Thanks Soundfanz and Bodhidharma for nice tips!
I`ve not deeply delved in PC/USB audio and sadly have none of the toys on hand. Even my usb cable is generic. Therefore please take my USB comments only for what they are worth.
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Apr 22, 2017 at 7:39 AM Post #808 of 2,160

slex

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Its been 2 weeks 24/7 on Ares. Trying to find faults on Ares against mimby and mhdt.There was none accept Ares through USB cannot play through ios10 and android 7.

Initially. It sounded shrill against mhdt. It had a much darker background ambience against mimby.

Right now. It overtook both mhdt & mimby by a distant.

One thing to note . Im having much better SQ through Singxer F1 then straight into Ares.

Actually intended Ares for my headphone listening through ipad but alas now it on my 2 channel spk.Will connect balance output of Ares to jotunium which is 8M away soon.

Pros of Ares: Good bass texture. Non-fatigue highs and great separation of frequency. Very detail in a good way.

Cons: Need future firmware to accept ios and android.
 
Apr 22, 2017 at 8:29 AM Post #809 of 2,160

joseph69

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Very nice read.
Nice set up too. I love your stand, looks like a nice solid piece!
I recently made a new stand for my GS-X Mk2/BHSE from 1-3/4" solid butcher block with a 1/4" glass top.
I also placed a black masonite board behind the back legs so the cables aren't visible (running through the trough) coming from my equipment on top of my gas fireplace.
 



 
Apr 22, 2017 at 8:37 AM Post #810 of 2,160

bodhidharma

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  Thanks Soundfanz and Bodhidharma for nice tips!
I`ve not deeply delved in PC/USB audio and sadly have none of the toys on hand. Even my usb cable is generic. Therefore please take my USB comments only for what they are worth.
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As for the USB cable, I can recommend you an extraordinary and revolutionary cable that in my system has made a real miracle, this is the CURIOUS CABLE of Rob Woodland, Australia, with a $ 340 expense wins over $ 1000 cables like Lightspeed Light Armonic, incredible holographic soundstage, fluid and dynamic sound, in short, an unbeatable cable!
 

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