DENAFRIPS 'ARES' R2R discrete ladder DAC - close up view
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jfoxvol

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And I really liked it too :L3000:
Here is my review
I just ordered one (though the newer V2) based of your and other reviews. Looking to replace my Schiit Bifrost Multibit in my office setup with it. I have a Schiit Yggdrasil in my main system. If this thing is as good as you guys say, I may end up getting another or maybe one of the higher level ones for my speaker system. Nice review.
 
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Ricey20

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I received the Ares V2. It's definitely crazy how good it is, as it's better than my AudioGD Ref7. Granted the Ref7 is 10 years old but it was almost $2k. I may start looking into the Pontus now.

For changes vs V1, From their site: it says it has a new DSP FPGA & USB Audio Interface Solution. It uses a proprietary USB Audio Solution via STM32F446 Advanced AMR Based MCU and Licensed Thesycon USB Driver For Windows Platform. Because of the changes it now has a NOS mode and you can change the filter to slow or sharp. DSD1024, PCM1536 Supports On USB Input

This response in the AudioGD thread by Jasoun was what sold me, as I was on the fence for another AudioGD dac. I'm glad I decided to try something else.
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/audio-gd-r2r-dac-thread.862053/page-56#post-15028737

Also HUGE shoutout to Alvin and Vinshine, top notch service! You can't go wrong with them!
 
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Babbaista

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Ordered an Ares about a month ago, was back ordered, was finally delivered to me last Friday. Saturday, I read that an Ares 2 is coming up! I was a little pissed to be honest, as DAC technology moves quickly and I was not expecting an instant devaluation on my purchase. Wrote an email to Alvin, explaining the situation. As it turned out, what Vinshined had already sent me was the latest version, at no extra cost! That is great customer care my friends. Sounds is getting better on a daily basis, will follow up with more impressions once the burn in is complete


 
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Smokeyjoecafe

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I ordered the Ares in July after reading a few reviews and will be receiving the Ares ii this coming Monday. I’m so glad to be getting the updated version. I’m looking forward to replacing my Mojo for my digital music. I listen to mostly vinyl or my Wadia CD player. I’ll report back once I receive and start using. I’ll be comparing to my friend's chord Qutest.
 
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Babbaista

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Alright, so my Ares II has more than 40hrs of playtime on the odometer by now.

My impressions:
  • Sound is big, bold and wide open.
  • Resolution is superlative. I you spent time and money building a good low noise playback system and transmission path for your music files, you will be rewarded by the A2.
  • This is a killer DAC for metal and electronic music! Boring audiophile approved stuff will sound nice too, but make sure to experiment with music that relies on timing and punch.
  • I like being able to tweak focus and detail level with the OS-NOS and filter modes. So far, I prefer the OS on / Slow filter combo.
  • No need to shop for an aftermarket power supply, what a relief! But the Ares is sensible to AC power cord quality. I found the Nordost Blue Heaven power cord to be too analytical with the A2, I'm getting better results with the smooth sounding JPS Labs Analog AC.
  • There is no exterior indication to be found about the version of the Ares DAC I was sent, no sticker with SN number and model, you need to open the hood and check on the PC board to see AresV02.
  • Denafrips products (the Ares at least) are not UL/CSA approved. In my day job (commercial AV system designer), I would not be able able to spec that product for a project.
Conclusion:
  • I like listening to music with the A2.
  • Sound quality is very, very good overall, significantly better than the Arcam IRDAC2 (that I own).
  • The price/performance/build quality of this DAC is outstanding. I am fortunate enough to be able to buy hi-fi gear at dealer cost and I went for the Ares II at retail price, what more can I say.
  • I do not plan to upgrade this DAC for a few years, as I have the intuition that it is a better performer than other downstream components in my audio system. That's where I am going to put my attention from now on.

Bruno
 
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Smokeyjoecafe

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I just received my Ares ii today and put it in right away in my secondary system in the family room. I’m playing CDs and music on my MacBook Pro. I use Pure Music and a USB noise filter by iFi. I don’t know how to switch between NOS/OS and the 2 filters...lol. I’ve reached out to Alvin the distributor to get the information.

I’m using a better power cord and decent cables. So glad there is a decent power supply verses a cheap wall wart! Not sure if I will change the fuse to a better one. If anyone has changed please provide feedback. I’m waiting to get a better transport. Looking for a used CEC or maybe even a new Cambridge Audio CXC.

Initial findings, way much more bass than the DAC in my receiver! Soundstage much more defined and larger.. I’m going to compare to my Wadia and my friends Qutest once broken in. Funny, I really need my reading glasses to see the labels on the front. It’s also quite hefty given the size!

I hooked up both a digital cable and a USB cable. Great to be able to select the input!
 
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jfoxvol

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I just received my Ares ii today and put it in right away in my secondary system in the family room. I’m playing CDs and music on my MacBook Pro. I use Pure Music and a USB noise filter by iFi. I don’t know how to switch between NOS/OS and the 2 filters...lol. I’ve reached out to Alvin the distributor to get the information.

I’m using a better power cord and decent cables. So glad there is a decent power supply verses a cheap wall wart! Not sure if I will change the fuse to a better one. If anyone has changed please provide feedback. I’m waiting to get a better transport. Looking for a used CEC or maybe even a new Cambridge Audio CXC.

Initial findings, way much more bass than the DAC in my receiver! Soundstage much more defined and larger.. I’m going to compare to my Wadia and my friends Qutest once broken in. Funny, I really need my reading glasses to see the labels on the front. It’s also quite hefty given the size!

One thing of interest, volume from the computer is definitely much lower. I hooked up both a digital cable and a USB cable. Great to be able to select the input!

 
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Thanks, I found the videos last night, I don’t know how I missed it... anyhow. Just running in the DAC downstairs. I was going to buy the Metrome based on a recommendation from my friend until I saw and read a few reviews of the Ares. I’m glad I bought this instead and can use the extra month to buy a better transport.
 
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I purchased my CD transport, a Cambridge audio CXC and it’s a huge improvement over the DVD player I was using with the Ares ii. I’ll continue to run both, but I’ll need more time to start my comparisons with my other equipment and a DAC - I’m really. happy with this DAC. It’s really exceeded my expectation especially for the cost. It punches well above it’s weight.

Most designs comprise with the power supply and it looks like they played quite a lot of attention to this in their designs. I can only imagine how the more expensive models sound like.
 
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Hows everyones Ares 2? Is it better than the original? Any more feedback?

Is it louder, blacker, more detail, boring?
 
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I never heard the original version but I really like this DAC! I’ve read a Terminator review and they compared to the newer version to the orginal and they stated you can tell the difference between the two. The Ares ii is by no means boring. It’s very musically!
 
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abvolt

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I've seen lots of good reviews on this dac, I'm going to give this one a try also..
 
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HerrWallen

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Hows everyones Ares 2? Is it better than the original? Any more feedback?
I would also love to hear some impressions, especially NOS vs OS.

Also, I have been looking for a stand-alone dac and is currently beeing torn between this, the Soekris 1541 and the Audio-GD R2R R1: my "want" is something that plays well with the Audio-GD NFB 1Amp and a pair of HD800S and LCD2F preferably with a slight musical "tint".

Many thanks in advance.
 
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