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Article: Review | DenaFrips Pontus DAC


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Hey George, 

 

Thanks for the awesome review of the DENAFRIPS Pontus DAC. 

Appreciate your time and efforts. We are grateful!

 

Enjoy the music! 

 

p/s: Curious what's the SACD iis h/w you mentioned in the last part of the review!

 

Many thanks.

 

Yours sincerely,

Alvin Chee

Vinshine Audio (Singapore)

Stereo: Soundaware D1 (roon core) · DENAFRIPS Hermes DDC · Terminator Plus DAC · Athena Pre · Apollo Power · Magico A3s

Headphone: DENAFRIPS Pontus DAC · Mjölnir-Audio KGSSHV · STAX SR-007 MK2

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George,

 

Like everyone here states, thanks for a detailed review.  I really enjoyed reading it since you wetted our whistle about it in your Yggy review.  I own a freshly modified Yggy to the B spec and am really happy with it's performance using the AES input!

 

Are you saying here that the Pontus gives the other more expensive DenaFrips DAC's a run for their money???

 

Thanks again!

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Great description of the sound, Gearge. 

I got my PONTUS 2 weeks ago and I wholeheartedly agree with George's conclusion. This is an extraordinary DAC.

I don't have any recordings which I attended myself, so I cannot make the same comparisons. The PONTUS's presentation is very revealing and above all super engaging. It is hard to put into words. I find myself drawn into the "performance" much more. Besides hearing the music I also get a sense of the space where it was performed, and my attention is often drawn to details I seem to notice for the first time. When I go back to my other DAC and I listen for those details to compare, I hear most of them there as well, but I never noticed them before. That's the magic of the PONTUS. It lets you rediscover your favourite recordings all over again.

 

A big tip of the hat, to Alvin and his team!!

 

 

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Great write-up! Curious, I had this DAC a couple years ago for sampling... did they ever fix the Denafrips lettering on the front panel? Someone was dyslexic on the first run... LOL 

 

My only concern with these ladder DACs are the countless resistors that will need to be replaced and kept to tight electrical tolerances over the life cycle... not sure how thermal performance etc. will affect any of this nor if - don't take it the wrong way - Denafrips will be around in 10 years time... otherwise, a fine DAC, though they need to work with Roon to get it certified as a Roon endpoint.

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Great review George.  It would be interesting to hear what this dac does with DSD files that have been well converted, by HQPlayer, to PCM 1536k. 

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2 hours ago, Gavin1977 said:

Hi George - good to see your review finally made the light of day!

 

Now,  in my system and to my ears the Yggdrasil is a clear step ahead of the Hugo 2, even the Chord DAVE that I presently have in.  This is the Unison, latest version.  So my impression may differ from yours.  I think many of the older reviews that place the Yggy behind the Hugo 2 etc... are based on the first iteration.

 

I am yet to test, but I think this may well be down to my source as well (JCAT USB XE among other things).

 

Can you please detail your source and associated test equipment in the review?

 

Also Denafrips is reported to be more laid back than the Schitt’s - can you comment?

 

My system setup is listed in my profile.

 

I would add that so far I have found the Stereophile ‘Recommended’ listings accurate, but no so with the latest iteration of the Yggy.

 

+1

May I suppose you listened with Macbook Pro/Audirvana via USB?

I also think that a comparison vs Yggdrasil WITHOUT Unison does not make any sense.

 

Matt

 

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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43 minutes ago, matthias said:

 

+1

May I suppose you listened with Macbook Pro/Audirvana via USB?

I also think that a comparison vs Yggdrasil WITHOUT Unison does not make any sense.

 

Matt

 

Seems that George used to have the older version, but then he tested out the Unison version here: https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/reviews/review-schiit’s-latest-yggdrasil-incarnation-r956/ - so his comparisions where based on the latest itteration.

 

However, I still don't think this review has much weight to it.  I'm not saying the the conclusions are wrong, just that the ranking of the different DAC's is a little flaky without knowing the full playback chain.  If I were describing the Yggy based on my particular playback chain, then I would have declared it as having the same qualities as George describes for the preferred denafrips dac.  The review is just too subjective at present, yet I hope we can get a good reference point from it if the source is revealed by George.

 

If the basis of the review is a Macbook Pro/Audirvana via USB (which like many I have used in the past) then I can confidently say that my custom server (based on learnings from this website) makes DAC's sound significantly better...

 

This, of course, also brings forward a discussion of which of the DAC's George reviewed actually scale the best with quality of source.  So I don't think a winner should be declared without further time spent on each DAC and perhaps the review should have been held back until this was determined.

 

I'd also still appreciate an answer on the house style of the pontus, with denafrips being stated as being more laid back than Schitt DACs.  Quite important to me as comparatively laid back DAC's just don't work in my system.

 

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Thanks for the great review.  I bought my now upgraded Yggy soon after Chris's rave 5(?) years ago.  Maybe it's time for an upgrade?

 

One dilemma as I visit the website--there are no US dealers, and there are no returns allowed on direct purchases.  Is that correct?  Hard to imagine others dropping even larger dollars on Denafrips under those conditions.  Please advise

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2 hours ago, JoeWhip said:

We all hear differently. I have not heard this DAC but have heard the Terminator against an Yggy 2 in the same system and with PCM only obviously.  The Yggy sounded better. Of course, YMMV.

I’ll rake your word for it that you find the Yiggy better. To me, the Yiggy is lacking in detail, has muddy low frequencies, strident in the highs, and have a rough, somewhat foggy sounding midrange (by comparison, of course). Maybe that kind of presentation is what constitutes real music to you. If so, more power to you!

George

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2 hours ago, PeterG said:

Thanks for the great review.  I bought my now upgraded Yggy soon after Chris's rave 5(?) years ago.  Maybe it's time for an upgrade?

 

One dilemma as I visit the website--there are no US dealers, and there are no returns allowed on direct purchases.  Is that correct?  Hard to imagine others dropping even larger dollars on Denafrips under those conditions.  Please advise

That’s a Q for Alvin Chee. I’m not qualified to address that subject.

George

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