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Denafrips R2R DAC (plays 512 DSD) reviewed as giant killer

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On 5/28/2018 at 4:48 AM, butifull01 said:

I had Terminator's A-B comparison test.

 

1. Trinity DAC

 

2. TotalDAC d1-Six

 

3. Formula xHD

 

4. Golden Atlantic

 

5. Analog DAC

 

6. Dave

 

7. Manhattan II

 

8. La Scala MK II Optologic

 

 

I also Yggdrasil and Spring Lv. 3 KTE comparison test, but I think these test is meaningless.

 

 

Here is my result :

 

1. Trinity DAC - 100%

 

2. TotalDAC d1-Six - 80%

 

3. Formula xHD - 83%

 

4. Golden Atlantic - 72%

 

5. Analog DAC - 67%

 

6. Dave - 61%

 

7. Manhattan II - 56%

 

8. La Scala MK II Optologic - 74%

 

 

[[Terminator]] - 79%

 

 

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Can you compare the Terminator specifically with the Total Dac?

 

JC

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On 5/29/2018 at 11:37 PM, TubeLover said:

Do you have it connected directly to the Aurender via USB?

 

JC

Yes, I have the N100H, so USB only. I use an Audio Quest Cinnamon from the Denafrips to the Aurender.


System 1: Aurender N100C Music Server>Denafrips Terminator and Metrum Octave Mk II DAC>Herron Audio Preamplifier>Herron Mono Blocks>Tetra 606 Speakers. Audio Sensibility Statement power cords, interconnects and speaker cable. TEO Game Changers interconnects. Focal Elear headphones, Lehmann Headphone Amplifier.

System 2: Aurender N100CH Music Server>Singxer SU-1 Audio Bridge>NAD M2 (built in DAC)>KEF LS50 Speakers, Kimber Cable 8PR, NeoTech SPDIF Cable, Audio Quest Cinnamon USB.

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On 12/12/2017 at 10:33 AM, Ben-M said:

I just emailed Denafrips about the DSD playback limits, they confirmed in Q2 2018 they'll release a new DSP board that supports DSD512 over USB and I2s inputs. So, the Terminator DAC is officially getting DSD512. And that puts it square on my list for my DAC replacement. 

 

I'd love to have a shootout with this and the T+A DAC 8 DSD. 

I've got my eye on this DAC too. Every impression of it I've read has been highly favorable and I love an "expensive bargain". ? 

 

We're nearing the end of Q2 2018, so I'm trying to hold out for the DSD512 DSP board so I can have that included. I use DSD upsampling for everything. Does anyone know how I would get DSD512 into the DAC through its I2s inputs? 


Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, WS2019 + AO => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP OS => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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10 minutes ago, k6davis said:

I've got my eye on this DAC too. Every impression of it I've read has been highly favorable and I love an "expensive bargain". ? 

 

We're nearing the end of Q2 2018, so I'm trying to hold out for the DSD512 DSP board so I can have that included. I use DSD upsampling for everything. Does anyone know how I would get DSD512 into the DAC through its I2s inputs? 

This is great to know!  DSD512 was the only reason why I was not considering this.  Once its released I am going to pull the trigger and compare it to my Holo Spring.

 

As for I2S, I use the Singxer SU-1 as input into my Spring.  I believe Pink Faun also has an I2S pcie card.  

 

Does anyone know what "standard" the Denafrips uses of I2s?  Hopefully the SU-1 supports it.


12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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20 minutes ago, tboooe said:

Does anyone know what "standard" the Denafrips uses of I2s?  Hopefully the SU-1 supports it.

 

The I2S pinout of the Terminator is user configurable (with the "Mode" button), so it can be used with different "standards"...

 

See the User Manual, page 5.

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1 hour ago, k6davis said:

I've got my eye on this DAC too. Every impression of it I've read has been highly favorable and I love an "expensive bargain". ? 

 

We're nearing the end of Q2 2018, so I'm trying to hold out for the DSD512 DSP board so I can have that included. I use DSD upsampling for everything. Does anyone know how I would get DSD512 into the DAC through its I2s inputs? 

 

I just ordered one.  And according to Alvin @ Vinshine Audio, DSD512 support was delayed to end of the year.  And it will be firmware upgrade, no new hardware.

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1 hour ago, niner93 said:

 

I just ordered one.  And according to Alvin @ Vinshine Audio, DSD512 support was delayed to end of the year.  And it will be firmware upgrade, no new hardware.

I just ordered one too. I was waiting for DSD512 because I thought it was imminent. It'll be impressive if they can deliver it with a firmware update, but in the meantime, I want to hear what this unit can do.


Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, WS2019 + AO => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP OS => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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3 hours ago, tboooe said:

As for I2S, I use the Singxer SU-1 as input into my Spring.  I believe Pink Faun also has an I2S pcie card.  

 

Does anyone know what "standard" the Denafrips uses of I2s?  Hopefully the SU-1 supports it.

Thanks for your reply tboone. The Singxer looked great to me... then I went to the Singxer thread and there are 57 pages of discussion about different mods that make it *really* sing. 

 

Not to derail the thread, but using I2S with (something like) the Singxer could help bring out the best in the Terminator. Is there a way to use the Singxer that you recommend?


Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, WS2019 + AO => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP OS => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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16 hours ago, k6davis said:

I've got my eye on this DAC too. Every impression of it I've read has been highly favorable and I love an "expensive bargain". ? 

 

We're nearing the end of Q2 2018, so I'm trying to hold out for the DSD512 DSP board so I can have that included. I use DSD upsampling for everything. Does anyone know how I would get DSD512 into the DAC through its I2s inputs? 

 

16 hours ago, tboooe said:

This is great to know!  DSD512 was the only reason why I was not considering this.  Once its released I am going to pull the trigger and compare it to my Holo Spring.

 

As for I2S, I use the Singxer SU-1 as input into my Spring.  I believe Pink Faun also has an I2S pcie card.  

 

Does anyone know what "standard" the Denafrips uses of I2s?  Hopefully the SU-1 supports it.

 

15 hours ago, niner93 said:

 

I just ordered one.  And according to Alvin @ Vinshine Audio, DSD512 support was delayed to end of the year.  And it will be firmware upgrade, no new hardware.

 

I've been in touch with Alvin sort of consistently, checking in about a local demo and the DSD development. Unfortunately, he told me that DSD512 support have been moved to the back burner without an expected date and he's stopped answering my emails...


I hate to sound like a negative Nancy, but I wouldn't hold out much hope for Denadrips coming through with DSD512 support before the end of the year. Or ever. 

 

Here's the email:

Quote

 

FROM: Vinshine Audio

TO: Me
Date: May 16th, 2018 

 

Hi Ben,

Good to hear from you again!

Sadly the DSD512 is put on lower priority now. Denafrips and i agree that DSD512 materials aren't widely available, it's a good thing to have it supported but it's not absolutely necessarily (i hope you think so too!).
 
Terminator works flawlessly with Windows and Linux for DSD256 :)

 

2
 
 
So, not looking like much hope there, unless undetermined "low priority" has turned into "scheduled for later this year via a firmware update" within 2 weeks...

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13 hours ago, k6davis said:

I just ordered one too. I was waiting for DSD512 because I thought it was imminent. It'll be impressive if they can deliver it with a firmware update, but in the meantime, I want to hear what this unit can do.

 

I'm really interested in whether this is possible also. If it were possible, certainly it should have always been a more feasible and lower cost option than going to develop new hardware and software/code for a new DSP daughter-board, then test all of that, and deal with an install.... If it was, why bother going the other route? Could happen, but it's not complicated math to see which one is the greater investment all-round.

 

Due to the answer you've heard, the constant but not stopped communication I was having with Alvin, and not having been informed of the change, it all strikes me as a bit flaky. Especially that it's now possible via a firmware update, and the rough time estimate is 6 months out, exactly like the last rough time estimate for the new DSP board that was also 6 months out...

 

Again, not to be a negative Nancy, and hey, DSD512 isn't the be-all-end-all, it's only a single format. All of it just makes me go "hmmm" and lose some excitement for this DAC.

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When they say there is little dsd512 source material, they obviously missed the point of hqplayer upsampling. Has anyone tried to educate them?


nuckleheadaudio.com

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2 minutes ago, lmitche said:

When they say there is little dsd512 source material, they obviously missed the point of hqplayer upsampling. Has anyone tried to educate them?

I haven't been able to judge by myself yet, how much difference there is of upsampling to 256 vs 512? 

 

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Just now, luisma said:

I haven't been able to judge by myself yet, how much difference there is of upsampling to 256 vs 512? 

 

And why some people swear by pcm and are not interested in dsd at all? 

 

Not trying to argue just learning here, I'm a noob to many of these topics 

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Has anyone made comparisons between the Terminator in "NOS" mode (whether PCM or DSD) and other DACs which benefit from DSD512 upsampling (such as the T+A DAC 8 DSD) ?

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6 minutes ago, luisma said:

I haven't been able to judge by myself yet, how much difference there is of upsampling to 256 vs 512? 

 

I suppose it depends on the dac. I wouldn't buy a dac without dsd512. A discrete implementation is better as well.


nuckleheadaudio.com

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2 hours ago, lmitche said:

I suppose it depends on the dac. I wouldn't buy a dac without dsd512. A discrete implementation is better as well.

+1. As I stated in a few reviews the DSD sweet spot is clearly 512

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5 hours ago, luisma said:

And why some people swear by pcm and are not interested in dsd at all? 

 

Not trying to argue just learning here, I'm a noob to many of these topics 

 

There are many people who feel that leaving the (usually PCM) data stream unaltered or "bit perfect" is the best way to go. The reality is that nearly every DAC out there (excluding NOS - "non oversampling" DACs) alter the "bit perfect" PCM stream fed to them into a SDM/DSD-like stream internally prior to conversion to analog. So the question is less if DSD conversion should be done, but how and where it should be done. Upsampling to DSD in the server offers far more power, flexibility and upgradability than what you can find in most DACs. 

 

6 hours ago, luisma said:

I haven't been able to judge by myself yet, how much difference there is of upsampling to 256 vs 512? 

 

 

5 hours ago, lmitche said:

I suppose it depends on the dac. I wouldn't buy a dac without dsd512. A discrete implementation is better as well.

 

3 hours ago, ted_b said:

+1. As I stated in a few reviews the DSD sweet spot is clearly 512

 

There are certainly some DACs that sound far better at 512 than at lower rates - the T+A DAC 8 DSD is an example. And it could very well be that the Terminator would sound better at 512 than at 256. Hopefully one day, we can find out. But any DAC needs to be looked at as whole.

 

There is such a thing as "DAC A" that's limited to 256 that sounds better than "DAC B" at 512.

 

There are so many more factors involved in the design of a DAC. That is especially true of a unit that is not designed around a standard DAC chip, such as the Terminator, and also what I currently own, a Lampizator L4 DSD Only DAC/Pre. Hearing people's excitement about something like DSD512 can lead to FOMO (fear of missing out), but I've learned from experience that while the bitrate matters, it's only part of the story.


Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, WS2019 + AO => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP OS => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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32 minutes ago, k6davis said:

 

There are many people who feel that leaving the (usually PCM) data stream unaltered or "bit perfect" is the best way to go. The reality is that nearly every DAC out there (excluding NOS - "non oversampling" DACs) alter the "bit perfect" PCM stream fed to them into a SDM/DSD-like stream internally prior to conversion to analog. So the question is less if DSD conversion should be done, but how and where it should be done. Upsampling to DSD in the server offers far more power, flexibility and upgradability than what you can find in most DACs. 

 

 

 

 

There are certainly some DACs that sound far better at 512 than at lower rates - the T+A DAC 8 DSD is an example. And it could very well be that the Terminator would sound better at 512 than at 256. Hopefully one day, we can find out. But any DAC needs to be looked at as whole.

 

There is such a thing as "DAC A" that's limited to 256 that sounds better than "DAC B" at 512.

 

There are so many more factors involved in the design of a DAC. That is especially true of a unit that is not designed around a standard DAC chip, such as the Terminator, and also what I currently own, a Lampizator L4 DSD Only DAC/Pre. Hearing people's excitement about something like DSD512 can lead to FOMO (fear of missing out), but I've learned from experience that while the bitrate matters, it's only part of the story.

I believe your comment and explanation makes perfect sense, there is much more than just the rendering capabilities and  Denafrips even though delaying the release of the firmware I rather have them to get it right than providing a half a.. solution. I can perfectly enjoy music at PCM or DSD256 with no problems, I have a Pro-ject S2 which is 10 times cheaper and does MQA and DSD512 which I'm going to compare directly with the Termy with the same tracks and config. By the way that is a surprisingly good DAC for the value although I'm sure it won't compare in detail. I have it powered by an Uptone LPS1.2 which really changes the sound of the DAC.

Thank you

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On a different note, customs contacted me upon receiving the Terminator, they were very concerned what a "DAC Terminator" was, I hope they weren't thinking on a killing machine from the future 

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2 hours ago, luisma said:

On a different note, customs contacted me upon receiving the Terminator, they were very concerned what a "DAC Terminator" was, I hope they weren't thinking on a killing machine from the future 

That's hilarious.  What country?  I agree that DAC Terminator is certainly not a good description for customs purposes.

 

Looking forward to your comparison of Denafrips Terminator to Pro-ject Pre Box S2 Digital.


NUC7PJYH/AL --> Berkeley Alpha USB --> Jeff Rowland Aeris --> Jeff Rowland 625 S2 --> Focal Utopia 3 Diablos with 2 x Focal Electra SW 1000 BE subs

 

i7-6700K/Windows 10 Version 1903/HDPLEX 200W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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6 minutes ago, luisma said:

You can guess the country easily ;)

 

 

Well I can't, which is why I asked.  I guess Terminator is known world-wide because of Arnold Scharzenegger's popularity.


NUC7PJYH/AL --> Berkeley Alpha USB --> Jeff Rowland Aeris --> Jeff Rowland 625 S2 --> Focal Utopia 3 Diablos with 2 x Focal Electra SW 1000 BE subs

 

i7-6700K/Windows 10 Version 1903/HDPLEX 200W/HDPLEX 400W DC-ATX --> EVGA Nu Audio Card --> Focal CMS50's 

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1 minute ago, rickca said:

Well I can't, which is why I asked.  I guess Terminator is known world-wide because of Arnold Scharzenegger's popularity.

Or you might say that Arnold Scharzenegger is known world-wide because of The Terminator's popularity. ?


Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, WS2019 + AO => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP OS => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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