Right up the Ares II

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Fretless
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Right up the Ares II

Unread post by Fretless »

Thought about calling this 'The Denafrips Ares II (quite possibly the only DAC you will ever actually need) Appreciation Thread' but that seemed a bit pretentious, so I went for something snappier.

Timeline: DAC was ordered from Vinshine in Singapore, 8 days later shipped from Hong Kong then arrived at my door after 48 hours in transit. DHL Express courier (no extra charge). Solid packaging. Initial price €670 and an extra €50 import tax - so that is a total of €720.

To be honest, I wasn't planning to get another DAC, playing with 'what if's' and idly considering what might be an interesting unit to hear .... until I saw Steve Guttenberg go weak at the knees over a 'budget' DAC from an obscure Chinese manufacturer. The look on his face and the way he described it - well, I had no choice. Other D/A convertors had been blipping the audio radar: Schiit Bifrost 2, Topping D90, but then reading more about the Denafrips in a series of enthusiastic reviews just sealed the deal.

So, it arrived, nothing fancy in the functional packaging, just a kettle lead and a business card telling where to find info online. Not even a printed manual! There is a bit of a serious omission here as the online guide says to first check if the voltage switch on the bottom is set for your region (240V/110V) - I didn't.

Image

Smart! The Ares II is neat and sturdily built, in fact it surprises you with its weight as you take it out of the foam packing. Interior photos show a chunky round transformer in there along with a considerable array of capacitors - which I noticed when I switched the power on as my BMU gave a buzz which I would normally associate with firing up a large amplifier.

Some reviews comment on the tiny LED's, I like them - pinpricks of clear red that show up nicely in dim light. Better than the headache-inducing lighthouse beacons of The Teradak Chameleon. The Ares has 3 playing modes: NOS, OS Sharp and OS Slow. As far as I know it comes pre-set on OverSampling with the Sharp filter. Left it like that and will get around to playing with the others later.

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Initial listening: Wow! Wow-wow-wow-wow-wow-wow-WOW! There has been a succession of DAC's through my rig in the last 10 years - the refined MF M1DAC, the powerhouse Hegel HD12, the wide-sounding Metrum Musette, and the just-plain-musical TeraDak Chameleon. So, combine all of those qualities, throw in a sack of 3D-solidity and a sheen of esoteric-really-expensive-you-know exquisite detail into the mix and you have an idea.

This is simply the best DAC I have ever heard. Stunning. :o

More thoughts when I've got my breath back and played around a bit.
These users thanked the author Fretless for the post (total 4):
karatestu (Sat Mar 13, 2021 10:54 am) • Latteman (Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:28 am) • CN211276 (Sat Mar 13, 2021 12:13 pm) • antonio66 (Sun Mar 14, 2021 7:59 am)

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HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d
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Re: Right up the Ares II

Unread post by karatestu »

Get the lid off and show us the goodies, you know you want to :epopc:

Several wow's are good enough for me :guiness; The bit about exquisite detail is what swung it for me. If it's on the recording I want to hear it :drool:

I am tempted to buy one and I don't even need a dac :lol: Might entice me into streaming :think:
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Re: Right up the Ares II

Unread post by Fretless »

Image

Here is an interior photo, Stu. Also shows the R2R resistor ladders.

I mght take the lid off mine as there is a non-invasive tweak which involves 'tuning' the tension of the casing. Could be fun.

Damn, this thing is good.
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karatestu (Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:43 am)

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: P50sa - Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a (x2)
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 - BMU+ Aiyima A07 MAX (x2) + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d
Office:
Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith THX AAA 887
Headphones: German Maestro, Monolith & AQ

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Re: Right up the Ares II

Unread post by karatestu »

Fretless wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:23 am Image

Here is an interior photo, Stu. Also shows the R2R resistor ladders.

I mght take the lid off mine as there is a non-invasive tweak which involves 'tuning' the tension of the casing. Could be fun.

Damn, this thing is good.
That's a generously sized potted toroid in there. I take it the block of capacitors near the front panel are all smoothing caps? Lots of small ones in parallel is a good way to do it in some respects.

Lucky you. I'm dead jealous. Final end game dac then Fret ? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Right up the Ares II

Unread post by Fretless »

They have more models.

The evil minds at Denafrips are offering this cheaply as bait to ensnare you in their web of supreme audio quality and suck your wallets dry as you hopelessly thrash around in waves of sonic ecstasy.

(although the higher-end models are still ridiculously low-priced in respect to the competition).

:mrgreen:

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: P50sa - Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a (x2)
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 - BMU+ Aiyima A07 MAX (x2) + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d
Office:
Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith THX AAA 887
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Re: Right up the Ares II

Unread post by slinger »

Fretless wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 12:55 pm They have more models.

The evil minds at Denafrips are offering this cheaply as bait to ensnare you in their web of supreme audio quality and suck your wallets dry as you hopelessly thrash around in waves of sonic ecstasy.

(although the higher-end models are still ridiculously low-priced in respect to the competition).

They do these as well... :mrgreen:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Denafrips-Hestia-Preamp-Hyperion-Poweramp/184690004410

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Re: Right up the Ares II

Unread post by CN211276 »

Fretless wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 12:55 pm They have more models.

The evil minds at Denafrips are offering this cheaply as bait to ensnare you in their web of supreme audio quality and suck your wallets dry as you hopelessly thrash around in waves of sonic ecstasy.


:mrgreen:
This is common practice. I started with the Chord Mojo (now serving me well as a domestic HP amp) followed by the Qutest three years ago. This has been, and will remain, my end game DAC. But it has not stopped the credit card taking a bashing on the very signal fed into it. :grin:
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Re: Right up the Ares II

Unread post by NSNO2021 »

Welcome to the Ares 2 club, it's a good club to be in 🙂
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Re: Right up the Ares II

Unread post by Fretless »

Thanks Nilsatis, you pointed me in the right direction.


Just worked out how to switch the Ares from Oversampling mode to NOS. This is very much a question of individual system and personal taste - but I am preferring NOS. It sounds sweeter, with more air and space and an 'organic' realism.

Just been revisiting a series of favourite tracks and am loving every second.

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: P50sa - Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a (x2)
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 - BMU+ Aiyima A07 MAX (x2) + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d
Office:
Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith THX AAA 887
Headphones: German Maestro, Monolith & AQ

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Re: Right up the Ares II

Unread post by Fretless »

One thing worth restating is that a factor in my setup is just so taken for granted that it is too often completely overlooked ....

.... the NVA components.


Old RD / Doc got something so right in his amps, speakers & cables. The total transparency and clarity of an NVA setup just reveals any and every sonic change from source components.

Here's to NVA. :guiness;
These users thanked the author Fretless for the post (total 2):
karatestu (Sun Mar 14, 2021 8:07 am) • CN211276 (Sun Mar 14, 2021 8:58 am)

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: P50sa - Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a (x2)
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 - BMU+ Aiyima A07 MAX (x2) + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d
Office:
Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith THX AAA 887
Headphones: German Maestro, Monolith & AQ

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