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

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by pitbul34, Jan 28, 2017.
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  1. tvr2500m
    Not that I needed another piece of audio gear, seeing/hearing/reading about the Denafrips Ares, it seemed to check all the boxes for me. I bought one and was fortunate enough to have ordered an original Ares model and received an Ares II. Not that I'll likely now ever know what the DAC sounds like that initially attracted my interest, the Ares II is a spectacularly good-sounding, versatile, nice-looking, well-made DAC. I'm very pleased with the DAC and with Vinshine. All are exemplary. Thanks to Alvin at Vinshine and Denafrips.

    Thesycon USB driver for Windows. The Ares II uses/licenses a USB driver software from Thesycon. When I first set up the DAC, I simply plugged and played. All seemed to work just fine. Inquiring about the software available for the Ares II, Alvin at Vinshine said to install the Thesycon USB driver. I have and have been using the DAC with it. With JRiver MC25, after the Thesycon driver installation the MC25 configuration options went from something like "high res USB device" to choices identifying Denafrips specifically and a choice of ASIO and WASPI.

    My question is, why use the Thesycon driver? I'm running the latest builds of Windows 10. Is there a benefit to use the Thesycon driver with the Ares II? Better sonics (which I suppose the the ultimate objective/end point)? Better something? Does anyone know what is going on with the Thesycon technology?

    displayname likes this.
  2. Smokeyjoecafe
    A description from the USB vendor on the driver:

    Thesycon’s USB audio class driver TUSBAudio targets USB audio devices for professional and semi-professional use and highest quality audiophile HiFi systems. The driver supports devices which are compliant to the USB Audio 2.0 or USB Audio 1.0 device class specification. The driver provides an ASIO 2.3.1 compliant software interface and integrates with Windows as a standard WDM/DirectX compatible sound device. If the device provides MIDI features the driver exposes standard Windows MIDI ports.

    To meet professional audio requirements, the audio class driver is optimized for low latency and low CPU load. Buffer depths can be adjusted by the user to optimize settings for a given computer. The driver implements a transparent (bit-perfect) playback and recording data path.
  3. Smokeyjoecafe
    I finally had a chance to compare my Ares ii/Cambridge Audio CXC and my Wadia 830 CD player. I used same interconnects, Rollerblocks/super balls3 on Fat pads on stacked MDF platforms and Wadia on rollerblocks/super balls3 on Symposium Ultra platform. I swapped platforms to remove the Ultra advantage.

    1) Wadia had a bigger soundstage and more air around voices and instruments.
    2) bass was equal between the two
    3) the Ares ii had clearer defined presentation (more tangible or solid) of the sound with less airy soundstage
    4) Wadia was fuller sounding on complex music but the Ares ii presentation was not too far off
    5) both were relaxed sounding
    6). I used NOS and slow slope filter on the Ares ii.

    Honestly, I could live with either, but I’ve decided to keep the Ares ii in my main listening room and move the Wadia downstairs to my secondary system due to space considerations of the 2 box setup.

    At the price of the Ares Ii, it’s quite an accomplished and refined product. Also, thanks to Alvin for all his support. You can’t go wrong with the Denafrips products and buy with confidence!
    displayname, XERO1 and abvolt like this.
  4. abvolt
    I definitely need to try this dac been wanting an r2r for a long time..
  5. Spareribs
    Good stuff. I’ll probably get this DAC maybe in about 6 months
    Wes S likes this.
  6. rascalion
    robm321 and Wes S like this.
  7. HerrWallen
    Any problems with DSD reported? Pops, noise etc?

    I'm basically down to a choice between the Audio-GD R2R R-1 and this one but with all the reports about problems with DSD in the Audio-GD thread, I'm leaning towards the Ares ..
  8. Vingard
    Did you ever get a chance to compare the Ares to the Qutest? Curious to know how these two compare.
    kid vic likes this.
  9. Smokeyjoecafe
    Hi, sorry for the late reply. I have not been able to get access to my friends Chord Qutest. The other DAC I have is a Mojo but I don’t think it’s much value to compare.
  10. attmci
    DENAFRIPS Terminator?
  11. DarkMatter1
    Why not? I would love to hear a comparison.And in what areas is the Ares is better than Mojo.
  12. abvolt
    Thanks I'll be looking at this one..
  13. Smokeyjoecafe
    So, today was the day to play around with my 2 DACs. Ares Ii, and Chord Mojo.

    I’m using a custom silver wire USB cable between Mojo and MacBook Pro running Pure Music and Audio Sensibility copper cable between Mojo and Integrated amp.
    I’m using a silver wire Audio Sensibility USB cable between MacBook Pro running Pure Music, the DAC is connected to the Integrated amp with Actinote Mesa interconnects.

    For both tests, I need to switch amp inputs and swap in the iFi Audio iSilencer 3.0 USB EMI noise suppressor (only have 1). Also select USB output and restart Pure Music app. Used non sample and non sharp cutoff filter

    Sorry, it’s the best I can do as I don’t have all the same cables.

    1) Bass - very similar, I was surprised about the Mojo performance, just a touch softer, maybe because midbass more pronounced
    2) soundstage - Mojo smaller soundstage, less air between instruments and vocals.
    3) piano - Mojo portrays it with less definition but with longer decay but sound more exaggerated than Ares Ii
    4) vocals - Mojo, a bit larger but not as refined, much more forward

    Overall, the Ares ii is more a refined, a more natural sounding DAC which is also a bit more relaxed with a larger soundstage and being less forward than the Mojo. I do prefer the Ares ii but the Mojo is also a headphone amp and portable. If I had to assign a percentage, the Mojo is about 75 of the Ares ii.
    Nickol, Anaz, displayname and 2 others like this.
  14. displayname
    Great feedback! Thanks for sharing.
  15. Bonddam
    I bought this dac from drop, wont be receiving till next month. I'm using Foobar. Is it easy to install the drivers because I had a pain in the ass time setting up foobar for dsd? I'd hate to go through that experience even though I forgot what I did to make it work.
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