Jump to content
IGNORED

New D/D Converters from Denafrips


Recommended Posts

  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/19/2020 at 2:35 PM, RikkiPoo said:

 

I was half expecting a $525 Iris DDC to degrade the USB from an Innuos Statement but I rolled the dice.  While the Statement is not state of the art in terms of the Taiko SMG Extreme it is still close to par with the rest of the best and it's highly touted USB definitely benefits from the Iris feeding a T+ with I2S HDMI.

 

Think dun need Taiko SMG Extreme or newer Antipodes K series ....

 

My Antipode CX and EX sounded worse via Gaia and Hermes ... direct USB to TP sound obviously better.

 

Allo USB bridge signature and Nuprime Omnia S1 both sounded better via Gaia/Hermes after another sgd3-4k of the ddc, zonotone shupreme pc and argentus hdmi/i2s.

 

Cheers.

 

Richard

Revel Salon 2 speakers, Sander Magtech amp, Audible Illusion L3B (Blackgate) preamp, Denafrips Terminator Plus dac, Denafrips Hermes ddc, Antipodes CX/EX/P1/P2 server/player, Denafrips Avatar cdp, Bel Canto fm1 tuner, ifi Blue Zen BT receiver, Uptone EtherRegen + AfterDark Emperor Double Crown 10M clock, Zerozone 5/7.5/12v LPS, Uptone LPS 1.2, 2x diy 2kVA Isotransformers, dedicated 20/30A lines for separate digital/analog, Nordost Quattro Fil interconnects, Acoustic Revive TripleC Ethernet/i2S cables, Cardas Clear speaker cable and jumpers, Zonotone Shupreme/5050 powercords, Garrard 301 on slate plinth/sme 3012R/Ortofon Classic GM mk2/diy 301 motor PSU/graham IC90/kimber tak ag etc./Headamp Gilmore Lite Mk2+Golden Reference PSU/Grado FreeSystem fg-1 headphones

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, richard_crl032 said:

 

Think dun need Taiko SMG Extreme or newer Antipodes K series ....

 

My Antipode CX and EX sounded worse via Gaia and Hermes ... direct USB to TP sound obviously better.

 

Allo USB bridge signature and Nuprime Omnia S1 both sounded better via Gaia/Hermes after another sgd3-4k of the ddc, zonotone shupreme pc and argentus hdmi/i2s.

 

Cheers.

 

Richard

Could you write that again in English?

 

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/16/2021 at 7:47 AM, OldBigEars said:

Could you write that again in English?

 

Hi BigEars,

 

Which statement do you need help with ?

 

Cheers.

 

Richard

Revel Salon 2 speakers, Sander Magtech amp, Audible Illusion L3B (Blackgate) preamp, Denafrips Terminator Plus dac, Denafrips Hermes ddc, Antipodes CX/EX/P1/P2 server/player, Denafrips Avatar cdp, Bel Canto fm1 tuner, ifi Blue Zen BT receiver, Uptone EtherRegen + AfterDark Emperor Double Crown 10M clock, Zerozone 5/7.5/12v LPS, Uptone LPS 1.2, 2x diy 2kVA Isotransformers, dedicated 20/30A lines for separate digital/analog, Nordost Quattro Fil interconnects, Acoustic Revive TripleC Ethernet/i2S cables, Cardas Clear speaker cable and jumpers, Zonotone Shupreme/5050 powercords, Garrard 301 on slate plinth/sme 3012R/Ortofon Classic GM mk2/diy 301 motor PSU/graham IC90/kimber tak ag etc./Headamp Gilmore Lite Mk2+Golden Reference PSU/Grado FreeSystem fg-1 headphones

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I promised, here is short review of Gaia + Venus II combo after Venus II has fully burned in.

 

Introduction:

First, let me explain why I decided to try Venus II. I was quite happy with my previous DAC in my setup (Simaudio Moon 380D dsd), but when I added Denafrips Gaia as DDC between Moon and Aurender streamer last year, something happened. I was aware of fact, that DDC can improve sound quality (as my former DDC Matrix audio X-SPDIF2), but this time it was GREAT update sonically, not subtle as with Matrix. For details see my review of GAIA on Denafrips web (Nov 9, 2020 post). After good experience with GAIA I was very curious what Denafrips DAC could do with sound of my setup. I decided to try Venus II model, which seemed to be not fair rival to twice as priced Moon 380D, but one can never tell…


345339F4-44E3-4DCC-B8B7-57C8942E4539.thumb.jpeg.410bb81ef3543f29b8b20053b3533c8b.jpeg

 

Built quality:
Built quality of Venus II is great (and I expected this as GAIA owner). Aluminum housing is nicely finished with no sharp edges and minimum visible screws, quite hefty for the size. Front panel buttons have accurate, firm tactile feel. Brightness of LEDs on the front panel is just right. Number of inputs is great, I do like two AES/EBU inputs, as this is my preferred input so far and I have bunch of decent quality AES/EBU cables to test... The only feature I am missing is remote control.


Sound quality:
As always, my critical listening and comparison began after I was sure that unit is properly burned-in, which, in this case took about three weeks of non-stop playback. All my evaluation of sound quality applies to NOS mode, balanced output to amp and AES/EBU input from GAIA (I do have brand new I2S HDMI cable, but it is not burned in yet, so it would be not fair comparison to other inputs).
Sound is very detailed, micro and macro dynamic are great, soundstage is believable wide and 3D rendering of good recordings is best I have ever heard in my listening room. Timbre of acoustic instruments is accurate, human voices are very natural with real focus. Bass is controlled and goes very deep. Mids. are sweet (although not as sweet as on Moon DAC) and high frequencies are detailed and crisp but not harsh. Overall sound character in my setup is quite neutral, not too bright or too soft. Just right. Or take it this way. Bright recording sounds bright, dull recording sounds dull, but good recording sounds unbelievable real!
 
Comparison to Moon 380D dsd:
Moon 380D dsd is great DAC with almost no apparent flaw, but overall sound is quite soft compared to Venus II. In fact, after several weeks of listening to Venus, too soft. Venus II has better macro dynamic, bass has better punch and goes slightly deeper. High frequencies are in par, but again Moon has slightly softer presentation. Soundstage on Venus is little bit deeper and more realistic. The only thing, which Moon does better in my setup are mids. Moon can render mid frequencies with unique sweetness, which is hard to describe. But that’s it. I have to say that Venus II is (at least in my setup) better DAC!
 
Conclusion:
Venus II DAC represents exceptional value for the money. Great sound and built quality can compete with much more expensive converters.

Isotek Aquarius + Shunyata Hydra Triton > C.E.C. TL51XR as transport Aurender N100H > Denafrips Gaia DDC > Denafrips Venus II DAC > Simaudio Moon 600i > Diapason Adamantes III 25th speakers > Siltech cabling

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have recently added the eR+oR to the system which the mac mini no longer connects directly to the DAC. Due to this, I am unable to play some music from web based app (NetEase Music). To solve this problem, I am planning to acquire a DDC to connect the mac mini directly to the DDC (USB) and the DDC will connect to the DAC via i2S (RJ45), which this is the only available hi-res input left for the existing DAC. In view of the future upgrade of acquiring the Denafrips Terminator Plus in the near future, I am considering the Denafrips Hermes or Gaia DDC. 

 

Other than Gaia uses a better OXCO chip, does anyone know what are other differences (technical specifications & sonic qualities) between the Hermes and Gaia? 

 

Any input is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

 

 

symon

APPLE Mac Mini | UPTONE etherREGEN | SONORE opticalRENDU | LKS MH-DA002 | iFi iPurifier | iFi iTube | CLASSÉ CAP-80 | RAIDHO X-1

DENON DP-300F + NAGAOKA MP-110 • NAIM Muso QB • YAMAHA YSP-2700 • TOPPING D10s

oyaide R1 • acoustic synergy hercules power cable • monster powerline 400 signature power cable • skw sk-hf2017 speaker cables • skw bg-012 usb • skw bg-04a rca • furukawa pure silver xlr + ic • belden optical fibre •.finisar ftlf1324p2btl sfp • ifi power station power conditioner • lhy audio 7v lps • ifi ipower 9v • isoacoustics gaia iii

upcoming upgrades: plixir bac1500 · soundaware amc d1 · holo audio may L3

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/20/2021 at 10:46 AM, xllms said:

I have recently added the eR+oR to the system which the mac mini no longer connects directly to the DAC. Due to this, I am unable to play some music from web based app (NetEase Music). To solve this problem, I am planning to acquire a DDC to connect the mac mini directly to the DDC (USB) and the DDC will connect to the DAC via i2S (RJ45), which this is the only available hi-res input left for the existing DAC. In view of the future upgrade of acquiring the Denafrips Terminator Plus in the near future, I am considering the Denafrips Hermes or Gaia DDC. 

 

Other than Gaia uses a better OXCO chip, does anyone know what are other differences (technical specifications & sonic qualities) between the Hermes and Gaia? 

 

Any input is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

 

 

symon

 

Hi, I think you can use HQPlayer or any music player which has loop-back function to play anything from your mac. I'm using HQPlayer with VB-Audio virtual audio cable to play video and youtube. Check these out.

 

https://rogueamoeba.com/loopback/

https://vb-audio.com/Cable/index.htm

 

If you plan to buy DDC then I think you should use it after oR to further enhance the SQ not connect it directly to the mac.

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Acholate said:

 

Hi, I think you can use HQPlayer or any music player which has loop-back function to play anything from your mac. I'm using HQPlayer with VB-Audio virtual audio cable to play video and youtube. Check these out.

 

https://rogueamoeba.com/loopback/

https://vb-audio.com/Cable/index.htm

 

If you plan to buy DDC then I think you should use it after oR to further enhance the SQ not connect it directly to the mac.

Hi Acholate,

 

thank you for the suggestion. I will try either of these software this weekend to see if they can allow me to play NetEase Music and stream via oR. Greatly appreciate your input.

 

symon

APPLE Mac Mini | UPTONE etherREGEN | SONORE opticalRENDU | LKS MH-DA002 | iFi iPurifier | iFi iTube | CLASSÉ CAP-80 | RAIDHO X-1

DENON DP-300F + NAGAOKA MP-110 • NAIM Muso QB • YAMAHA YSP-2700 • TOPPING D10s

oyaide R1 • acoustic synergy hercules power cable • monster powerline 400 signature power cable • skw sk-hf2017 speaker cables • skw bg-012 usb • skw bg-04a rca • furukawa pure silver xlr + ic • belden optical fibre •.finisar ftlf1324p2btl sfp • ifi power station power conditioner • lhy audio 7v lps • ifi ipower 9v • isoacoustics gaia iii

upcoming upgrades: plixir bac1500 · soundaware amc d1 · holo audio may L3

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Here is one thought about digital cable comparison, for example cables from Gaia to DAC.

 

I've just read on PS Audio forum this advice from PS Audio digital guru Ted Smith:

"when one is comparing one digital cable to another, one should disconnect any other digital cables that won’t be in your system for each test. Most of the noise/interference from a digital cable comes from ground loops, etc. so having multiple cables from one source to the DAC can mask potential benefits of one cable over another."

It this true with Gaia & Denafrips DACs?

What do you recommend, @alvin1118?

Isotek Aquarius + Shunyata Hydra Triton > C.E.C. TL51XR as transport Aurender N100H > Denafrips Gaia DDC > Denafrips Venus II DAC > Simaudio Moon 600i > Diapason Adamantes III 25th speakers > Siltech cabling

Link to post
Share on other sites

Reviews don't seem to be out there for many of the Denafrips products. That's a damper on my willingness to purchase one unheard. In these

days of Covid isolation reviews are more important than ever. Would be nice to see reviews from Stereophile  @Kal Rubinson on the Denafrips DDC's to

understand if they have lifted the bar for USB, worth bypassing an existing DDC with.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, davide256 said:

Would be nice to see reviews from Stereophile  @Kal Rubinson on the Denafrips DDC's to

understand if they have lifted the bar for USB, worth bypassing an existing DDC with.

Personally, I am not motivated to review such a product but I do suggest that you write to the editor, Jim Austin, to indicate your interest.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/25/2020 at 6:40 PM, Blake said:

My personal, entirely subjective impressions using the Gaia with the Chord Qutest:

 

The Gaia transforms the Qutest.  I had to keep checking myself since the Gaia arrived to make sure I was hearing the magnitude of change I believed I was hearing.  Yep, it is real.  I could see the Qutest+Gaia combo as an "end game" combo for the vast majority of audiophiles.  

 

If I had been listening to the Qutest just by itself for a long time, and then I was blind-folded and someone connected the Gaia to the Qutest, but told me they had inserted a Dave*, I would believe them and immediately start figuring out how long it would take me to save up for the Dave because hearing the improvements, it would be difficult to go without.  Again, though, that is just me.

 

*I have not heard the Dave in my system and thus I am not saying a Qutest+Gaia would equal a Dave.  I am just trying to express the magnitude of the change.  After my years of buying and trying different DAC's in my system, I view the Gaia improvements to comfortably exceed one, and possibly equal even two DAC model jumps within a manufacturer's DAC line. 

 

Another data point:  I loved my Berkelely Alpha USB D/D converter and it improved every DAC to which it was connected (most recently a Yggy Analog 2).  The sonic improvements brought by Gaia exceed the sonic improvements from the Berkeley by a rather large margin.

 

I'd love to put a Gaia up against a PhoenixUSB or Chord M Scaler just to see how it compares (yes, I appreciate these are differing devices and it would be a somewhat flawed comparison due to the different connection types).  If you simply view all of these devices as "sonic improvement" devices at differing price points, which at the end of the day is what they are (thinking of the Gaia as merely a tool to convert to a different digital type is really missing the big point of the Gaia), the Gaia might prove to be a cheaper alternative for a given amount of sonic improvement.

 

What are the primary sonic improvements?  Dramatic (on an audiophile rating scale- i.e. not to my wife's rating scale) improvements to holography/sound staging and transparency (hearing even more musical information, details, the impression of the recording venue, etc).  The sound stage is huge and there is so much air between the performers.  I really value those aspects.  If those sonic attributes are not what floats your boat, then move along, nothing to see here.

 

Finally, as a Terminator Plus owner, the ability to take advantage of the TPlus' clock output to the upstream Gaia, is more icing on the Gaia cake.

 

 


Really high praise to know you prefer it to the Berkeley. Have you ever used an Audiophilleo1? Would love to hear your thoughts on it versus the others. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, davide256 said:

Reviews don't seem to be out there for many of the Denafrips products. That's a damper on my willingness to purchase one unheard. In these

days of Covid isolation reviews are more important than ever. Would be nice to see reviews from Stereophile  @Kal Rubinson on the Denafrips DDC's to

understand if they have lifted the bar for USB, worth bypassing an existing DDC with.

 

Hi Dave.

It's hard to expect a flood of reviews on the DDCs, especially if it's a DDC from China. Unfortunately, there are still many prejudices regarding audio products from China, although unbiased reviews of these products are appearing more and more in the Western media. Hans Beekhuyzen Youtube Channel, DarkoAudio or 6moons audio reviews, just to name a few. In addition, DDC is still not considered a full-fledged component, so those reviewers are focused more on DAC reviews. I am long time Stereophile subscriber, but I understand that we can't expect them to review everything we're interested in right now.

Back to Denafrips DDC. I have GAIA. Yes, I took a little risk when I bought GAIA, because I didn't have a chance to heard it in my home setup. But I already had another DDC - Matrix audio X-Spdif 2 (great little device for the money by the way) and I had learned that DDC in addition to USB-to Spdif & I2S signal conversion, as the main purpose, can also improve sound quality. X-Spdif 2 improved the sound quality in my setup only slightly, but Denafrips GAIA improved the sound quality very significantly. As if I have upgraded the digital signal source to very high end one. I don’t know any member of this forum (and other forums) who owns Gaia DDC and is not happy with it. I was so excited about the sound and build quality of Gaia, that I ordered a Venus II DAC and again I was absolutely satisfied with its sound quality (in my setup Venus II blew away twice as expensive DAC from Simaudio Moon).

I looked at your digital audio chain and, in my opinion, Denafrips DDC (most likely Hermes or Gaia) would help you to raise the sound quality bar of your setup considerably. I would bet on that.

Isotek Aquarius + Shunyata Hydra Triton > C.E.C. TL51XR as transport Aurender N100H > Denafrips Gaia DDC > Denafrips Venus II DAC > Simaudio Moon 600i > Diapason Adamantes III 25th speakers > Siltech cabling

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Koso said:

 

Hi Dave.

It's hard to expect a flood of reviews on the DDCs, especially if it's a DDC from China. Unfortunately, there are still many prejudices regarding audio products from China, although unbiased reviews of these products are appearing more and more in the Western media. Hans Beekhuyzen Youtube Channel, DarkoAudio or 6moons audio reviews, just to name a few. In addition, DDC is still not considered a full-fledged component, so those reviewers are focused more on DAC reviews. I am long time Stereophile subscriber, but I understand that we can't expect them to review everything we're interested in right now.

 

Back to Denafrips DDC. I have GAIA. Yes, I took a little risk when I bought GAIA, because I didn't have a chance to heard it in my home setup. But I already had another DDC - Matrix audio X-Spdif 2 (great little device for the money by the way) and I had learned that DDC in addition to USB-to Spdif & I2S signal conversion, as the main purpose, can also improve sound quality. X-Spdif 2 improved the sound quality in my setup only slightly, but Denafrips GAIA improved the sound quality very significantly. As if I have upgraded the digital signal source to very high end one. I don’t know any member of this forum (and other forums) who owns Gaia DDC and is not happy with it. I was so excited about the sound and build quality of Gaia, that I ordered a Venus II DAC and again I was absolutely satisfied with its sound quality (in my setup Venus II blew away twice as expensive DAC from Simaudio Moon).

 

I looked at your digital audio chain and, in my opinion, Denafrips DDC (most likely Hermes or Gaia) would help you to raise the sound quality bar of your setup considerably. I would bet on that.

 

I decided that I'll give an Iris a try with a Metrum Octave, if that works out then I'd feel comfortable buying a Pontus. What's really annoying me now with

 a Metrum  Octave/Schiit Eitr is massed strings don't sound right and with a Chord Mojo I get random off harmonics with woodwind choir.

 

 

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/1/2021 at 11:15 PM, alvin1118 said:

Gaia.thumb.png.61a3dc34602c7f68affa4d63d613608e.png

 

I am a visual storyteller 💬

Looking at your signature, I see that you have a new toy. Looking forward to hear more from you after you have explored it more thoroughly in a separate post. :)

APPLE Mac Mini | UPTONE etherREGEN | SONORE opticalRENDU | LKS MH-DA002 | iFi iPurifier | iFi iTube | CLASSÉ CAP-80 | RAIDHO X-1

DENON DP-300F + NAGAOKA MP-110 • NAIM Muso QB • YAMAHA YSP-2700 • TOPPING D10s

oyaide R1 • acoustic synergy hercules power cable • monster powerline 400 signature power cable • skw sk-hf2017 speaker cables • skw bg-012 usb • skw bg-04a rca • furukawa pure silver xlr + ic • belden optical fibre •.finisar ftlf1324p2btl sfp • ifi power station power conditioner • lhy audio 7v lps • ifi ipower 9v • isoacoustics gaia iii

upcoming upgrades: plixir bac1500 · soundaware amc d1 · holo audio may L3

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
7 minutes ago, davide256 said:

hmm, what's  immediately impressive is added grunt factor in the bass. Need to digest improvements for a while but even with an older DAC like the Metrum Octave I

the Iris is doing good things vs a Schiit Eitr DDC.

Give it week or two and sound quality will be further improved!

Isotek Aquarius + Shunyata Hydra Triton > C.E.C. TL51XR as transport Aurender N100H > Denafrips Gaia DDC > Denafrips Venus II DAC > Simaudio Moon 600i > Diapason Adamantes III 25th speakers > Siltech cabling

Link to post
Share on other sites

I gave the Iris a shot using coax/optical inputs on a Chord Mojo. There it didn't help much, the Mojo maintained its polished characteristic but didn't

"bloom" with more palpable  tone color as the Metrum Octave has. Just tells me that the Mojo is optimized already to its limits with its own USB

input. Definitely preferring the sound combination of Iris + Octave I over the Mojo which is a reversal from when the Eitr was my available DDC.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

At this point I’m pretty happy with the Iris. It has had an effect similar to buying up in a turntable: bass octaves go deeper, impact is greater. Percussion transients are cleaner, tight and dynamic. Piano notes attack is harmonically spot on and sharp. Sadly my massed string issue still remains but I’m convinced now that that problem likely is a limitation of the server USB out hardware, will be experimenting in the future with better USB out hardware

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the FWIW column, I found that with a Chord Mojo, up-sampling USB out  to 705/768k helped smooth out edginess with treble. While the DAC I'm currently

using only supports 192k I'm getting the same benefit using USB to the Iris at 706/768K rates, the Iris converts them down to 192/176 for coax/toslink out to DAC.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...