DENAFRIPS Terminator: the King of R2R dac
May 1, 2020 at 9:26 PM Post #661 of 761

Tsyer

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Hi,

I have had the opportunity of comparing the Terminator with the Holo Audio Spring 2 Level 3.
The Terminator has had the V3 DSP board since mid March (see pic). I also compared both DACs in my setup with a Rega RP10 and Alpheta 3 MC cartridge.
My setup consisted of Antipodes EX music server running Roon feeding both DACs (USB) which were connected to a Plinius Haratonga integrated Amp running Spendor D7 speakers.
The Rega feed a Plinius Koru preamp. I would consider the overall system to neutral, not overly lean or warm.

Observations
To me, both DACs sounded best in NOS mode, most of my listening has been done using 16/44.1k with some 24/96k, 24,192k and DSD.
Both DACs have generally similar sound signatures in terms of tone and "PRAT".
There are differences:
1. The staging on the Spring 2 was deeper and with greater space in front of and behind the performers, and the rendering is further back. The Terminator renders the performers closer almost unnaturally so. The stage width was the same for both DACS.
2. The Terminator has a greater bass presence, however, there was less control and some detail was lost relative to the Spring V2. Both units are not lean in the terms of bass performance.
3. Comparing both DACS to the Rega, the vocals on the Terminator appears to have a slight warmth or a colouration that's not present in the Spring V2, it is subtle but noticeable. Also the Terminator displays a slight harshness, particularly on female vocals.
4. Finally, the Spring V2 renders micro details better than the Terminator in my system.

These differences are not huge, but distinguishable in my system. Other systems will behave differently.
I could live with both DACs, but as a consequence of all my comparisons, the Spring stays and Terminator will looking for a new home :)

IMG_4800.jpg


IMG_9480.jpg

Hi
For your Terminator how does DSPv2 differ fm DSPv3. Would appreciate your comments. Tks
 
May 1, 2020 at 9:59 PM Post #663 of 761

digitaldufferme

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Hi,

I have had the opportunity of comparing the Terminator with the Holo Audio Spring 2 Level 3.
The Terminator has had the V3 DSP board since mid March (see pic). I also compared both DACs in my setup with a Rega RP10 and Alpheta 3 MC cartridge.
My setup consisted of Antipodes EX music server running Roon feeding both DACs (USB) which were connected to a Plinius Haratonga integrated Amp running Spendor D7 speakers.
The Rega feed a Plinius Koru preamp. I would consider the overall system to neutral, not overly lean or warm.

Observations
To me, both DACs sounded best in NOS mode, most of my listening has been done using 16/44.1k with some 24/96k, 24,192k and DSD.
Both DACs have generally similar sound signatures in terms of tone and "PRAT".
There are differences:
1. The staging on the Spring 2 was deeper and with greater space in front of and behind the performers, and the rendering is further back. The Terminator renders the performers closer almost unnaturally so. The stage width was the same for both DACS.
2. The Terminator has a greater bass presence, however, there was less control and some detail was lost relative to the Spring V2. Both units are not lean in the terms of bass performance.
3. Comparing both DACS to the Rega, the vocals on the Terminator appears to have a slight warmth or a colouration that's not present in the Spring V2, it is subtle but noticeable. Also the Terminator displays a slight harshness, particularly on female vocals.
4. Finally, the Spring V2 renders micro details better than the Terminator in my system.

These differences are not huge, but distinguishable in my system. Other systems will behave differently.
I could live with both DACs, but as a consequence of all my comparisons, the Spring stays and Terminator will looking for a new home :)

IMG_4800.jpg


IMG_9480.jpg
Hi,

I have had the opportunity of comparing the Terminator with the Holo Audio Spring 2 Level 3.
The Terminator has had the V3 DSP board since mid March (see pic). I also compared both DACs in my setup with a Rega RP10 and Alpheta 3 MC cartridge.
My setup consisted of Antipodes EX music server running Roon feeding both DACs (USB) which were connected to a Plinius Haratonga integrated Amp running Spendor D7 speakers.
The Rega feed a Plinius Koru preamp. I would consider the overall system to neutral, not overly lean or warm.

Observations
To me, both DACs sounded best in NOS mode, most of my listening has been done using 16/44.1k with some 24/96k, 24,192k and DSD.
Both DACs have generally similar sound signatures in terms of tone and "PRAT".
There are differences:
1. The staging on the Spring 2 was deeper and with greater space in front of and behind the performers, and the rendering is further back. The Terminator renders the performers closer almost unnaturally so. The stage width was the same for both DACS.
2. The Terminator has a greater bass presence, however, there was less control and some detail was lost relative to the Spring V2. Both units are not lean in the terms of bass performance.
3. Comparing both DACS to the Rega, the vocals on the Terminator appears to have a slight warmth or a colouration that's not present in the Spring V2, it is subtle but noticeable. Also the Terminator displays a slight harshness, particularly on female vocals.
4. Finally, the Spring V2 renders micro details better than the Terminator in my system.

These differences are not huge, but distinguishable in my system. Other systems will behave differently.
I could live with both DACs, but as a consequence of all my comparisons, the Spring stays and Terminator will looking for a new home :)

IMG_4800.jpg


IMG_9480.jpg
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience. Being unable to audition these DACs makes choosing difficult. I've heard YouTube video of these items but they're not of much use for detail. One thing that seemed to come across with the Terminator is the almost visceral presence of recordings in the videos. This might link to your impressions of closer rendering and stronger bass presence. I use a tube integrated amp (Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum 2) into KEF LS50 passives and dual REL T9i subs. The CM2 has a rather powerful, driving sound signature, not really tubey at all which is why I like it. The subs flesh out the accuracy of the KEF soundstage. Your description has really put some resolution on the picture in my mind. I like listening to a fair amount of female vocals like Kate Bush, Linda Ronstadt, Connie Francis and Rebecca Pidgeon so your comment on female vocals is particularly valuable. Thanks again for sharing mate, much appreciated!
 
May 2, 2020 at 3:37 AM Post #664 of 761

smodtactical

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Hi,

I have had the opportunity of comparing the Terminator with the Holo Audio Spring 2 Level 3.
The Terminator has had the V3 DSP board since mid March (see pic). I also compared both DACs in my setup with a Rega RP10 and Alpheta 3 MC cartridge.
My setup consisted of Antipodes EX music server running Roon feeding both DACs (USB) which were connected to a Plinius Haratonga integrated Amp running Spendor D7 speakers.
The Rega feed a Plinius Koru preamp. I would consider the overall system to neutral, not overly lean or warm.

Observations
To me, both DACs sounded best in NOS mode, most of my listening has been done using 16/44.1k with some 24/96k, 24,192k and DSD.
Both DACs have generally similar sound signatures in terms of tone and "PRAT".
There are differences:
1. The staging on the Spring 2 was deeper and with greater space in front of and behind the performers, and the rendering is further back. The Terminator renders the performers closer almost unnaturally so. The stage width was the same for both DACS.
2. The Terminator has a greater bass presence, however, there was less control and some detail was lost relative to the Spring V2. Both units are not lean in the terms of bass performance.
3. Comparing both DACS to the Rega, the vocals on the Terminator appears to have a slight warmth or a colouration that's not present in the Spring V2, it is subtle but noticeable. Also the Terminator displays a slight harshness, particularly on female vocals.
4. Finally, the Spring V2 renders micro details better than the Terminator in my system.

These differences are not huge, but distinguishable in my system. Other systems will behave differently.
I could live with both DACs, but as a consequence of all my comparisons, the Spring stays and Terminator will looking for a new home :)

IMG_4800.jpg


IMG_9480.jpg

Wow I am really surprised holo better than terminator. Did not expect that at all. Holo is also like 30-40% cheaper? Wow.
 
May 3, 2020 at 1:29 PM Post #665 of 761

richardloh

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Hi Richard.
Yeah, so $300 is not that much when taking into account the cost of the Terminator. So hey, why not? One can always go back to stock. But I would give the original board a few days break in, to get a good feel for the sound that impressed so many if you haven’t done so yet. Then report back the differences you hear if any, as I’m sure many would be interested.

Hi daytrader,

Turned out it was my wishful thinking on available stock with Alvin when I picked up the Kinki THR-1 headphone amp .. ordered and will reported asap.

I do not switch off my 9 mths old Terminator delivered with version 2 board already, including my audible illusion L3A preamp, Sanders amp etc. .. no concern with maxed out performance.

Hope by end of May 2020 then.

Cheers.

Richard
 
May 5, 2020 at 3:05 PM Post #666 of 761

Thenewguy007

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Wow I am really surprised holo better than terminator. Did not expect that at all. Holo is also like 30-40% cheaper? Wow.

The review from audiostream was the opposite opinion, but that was the level 2 not 3.

"To reach this conclusion, I compared it to my beloved Holo Spring Level 2 ($1,800 USD).

Compared to the Terminator, the Spring sounded vague, grayish, and slightly mushy. (In my system, the Spring prefers Roon to upsample files to double DSD, while the Terminator sounded better being fed native-resolution data.) Though it hurts me to admit it, the differences weren’t subtle."
 
May 5, 2020 at 3:50 PM Post #667 of 761

sajunky

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Compared to the Terminator, the Spring sounded vague, grayish, and slightly mushy. (In my system, the Spring prefers Roon to upsample files to double DSD, while the Terminator sounded better being fed native-resolution data.) Though it hurts me to admit it, the differences weren’t subtle."
It could be a jitter, but wait... Do the reviewer convert PCM to DSD128 or convert DSD64 to DS128 in Roon? if the former, it would indicate that quality of DSD decoding is inferior.
 
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May 6, 2020 at 4:05 AM Post #668 of 761

kiwiblah

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It could be a jitter, but wait... Do the reviewer convert PCM to DSD128 or convert DSD64 to DS128 in Roon? if the former, it would indicate that quality of DSD decoding is inferior.
I used no upsampling on either DAC. I did test Roon and HQ Player with maximum x 2 upsampling and prefered the original sample rate sound. I will say the Spring needs a really clean USB input to shine, more so than the Terminator.
The review I posted is dependent on the system as a whole and my ears :)
 
May 6, 2020 at 4:55 AM Post #669 of 761

sajunky

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I used no upsampling on either DAC. I did test Roon and HQ Player with maximum x 2 upsampling and prefered the original sample rate sound. I will say the Spring needs a really clean USB input to shine, more so than the Terminator.
The review I posted is dependent on the system as a whole and my ears :)
Now is clear, thanks. No DSD nor "double DSD" was involved, just PCM original vs. the PCM upsampled in Roon to 176.4kHz. Just a wrong word "DSD/double DSD" was used.

Clean USB requirements (and how interface of the DAC is able to deal with) is one thing. You say, Springs handle it worse. However when the upsampled material sounds worse on the DAC that handle USB jitter better, it may be the internal matter, not related to the interface. Question is "how much", as normally there is no reason for the upsampled material to sound better.
 
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May 6, 2020 at 6:40 PM Post #670 of 761

smodtactical

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This puts spring level 3 as a pretty insane value. Id like to see more comparisons. Spring 3 vs terminator v2/v3
 
May 8, 2020 at 11:15 AM Post #671 of 761

m-i-c-k-e-y

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May 14, 2020 at 3:47 AM Post #673 of 761

smodtactical

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Lately seems so many people talking trash about terminator. I wonder if its just a vendetta against denafrips or that people just genuinely not liking it anymore? I still enjoy my terminator v2.. but makes me kinda doubt my choice. Feel like I should move on to rockna or something.
 
May 14, 2020 at 4:16 AM Post #674 of 761

AlexRv

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Lately seems so many people talking trash about terminator. I wonder if its just a vendetta against denafrips or that people just genuinely not liking it anymore? I still enjoy my terminator v2.. but makes me kinda doubt my choice. Feel like I should move on to rockna or something.
You should have no doubt, it’s the best DAP under 15000$.
 
May 14, 2020 at 6:19 AM Post #675 of 761

digitaldufferme

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Lately seems so many people talking trash about terminator. I wonder if its just a vendetta against denafrips or that people just genuinely not liking it anymore? I still enjoy my terminator v2.. but makes me kinda doubt my choice. Feel like I should move on to rockna or something.
For me, it's all about the music and my appreciation of engineering and build. If your DAC in your system sounds good to you, why does a group of people talking trash matter to you as it doesn't change what you hear. This is a crazy hobby and attracts nutters like many hobbies (cars/gaming pc/fishing/cameras/phones!) especially when people are stuckj at home with nothing better to do than flap their lips. Put your favourite playlist/or LP on, get a glass of your favourite beverage, dim the lights, kick back and enjoyyyyyy!
 

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