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Article: Review | DenaFrips Pontus DAC


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A review well worth waiting for George, thanks. So to summarize what you're saying is this is a DAC which assists the listener to make sense of the recording. I completely get that - I like the 'I can parse what the bass player's doing....' (paraphrased), of the Yamaha - 'you can hear it but you can't make out the individual notes'.

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3 hours ago, matthias said:

@alvin1118

Hi Alvin,

 

according to Denafrips specs the Pontus and Venus have an Amanero USB interface

and

Ares and both Terminators have the proprietary USB solution via STM32F446.

 

Can you please shed some light on these differences.

 

Thank you

 

Matt

Yes, please!  What is the status of these various different USB interfaces, and are they completely compatible with the various sources one might want to use, like linux based Renderers for instance with high rate PCM and DSD material.  Additionally, I would like some details of whether or not these different USB interfaces are galvanically isolated and then properly re-clocked before the conversion stage.

 

One other question for @alvin1118 : is the output level with DSD the same as it is with PCM with all the Denafrips DACs (@4.4 V for the XLR outputs)?

ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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I hear the concern about resistors drifting, but is that really an issue for .01% resistors that may drift at the same rate, if at all. don't know, just asking

Tidal/Qobuz >> Roon >> Mac Mini >> USB >> Antelope Eclipse 384  DAC and headphone amps >> Avantgarde Duo Omega with DIY 16 foot bass horns

 

ZYX Optimum - Moerch DP8 arm - Merrill Williams >> Esoteric E-02 >>> either Antelope as above or  Placette Passive >> DIY 300B amp

 

 

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1 hour ago, alvin1118 said:

 

DENAFRIPS DACs come with the latest proprietary USB (STM32F446 MCU) solution.

All inputs are FIFO buffered and reclock, jitter rejection is great (excellent). 

 

DSD output level is lower than PCM by -6dB.

 

Hi, Alvin1118

 

Just confirming that "all" Denafrips DACs have this USB input and reclocking? And specifically the Ares II as well?

 

I mainly use SPDIF anyway but am curious because I picked up a used Ares II from someone upgrading to Venus. Thanks.

Sum>Frankenstein: Schiit Yggdrasil A2+SR Tesla/PS Audio P3 Regenerator+AVOptions Tibia, W4S Remedy/Uptone LPS-1.2, Linn LP12/Hercules II/Ittok/Denon DL-103R, Naim 250 DR, PSB, Elac, Uptone Audio ISO & EtherREGEN, Witch Hat/Audience/Silnote/ZenWave/Mapleshade/Transparent Audio cables, and a nice room.

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25 minutes ago, feelingears said:

 

Hi, Alvin1118

 

Just confirming that "all" Denafrips DACs have this USB input and reclocking? And specifically the Ares II as well?

 

I mainly use SPDIF anyway but am curious because I picked up a used Ares II from someone upgrading to Venus. Thanks.

 

Hi sir,

 

That's right. All DENAFRIPS DACs have the STM32 MCU USB solution implemented, as well as FIFO buffer and reclocking of all digital inputs. 

 

Happy listening!

 

Alvin

Stereo: JAY'S AUDIO CDT2-MK2/Soundaware D300REF - DENAFRIPS TERMINATOR - Kinki Studio EX-P7/B7 - ATC SCM50PSL

 

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Kinki Studio THR-1 - HD800s

Mjölnir-Audio KGSSHV - STAX SR-007 MK2

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Love the sound of how this DAC sounds.  

 

Ditched my two box, 8 Siemens 6922 pre amp more than a decade ago when I hooked up a Wadia 861i to my amp, since then been using Mytek DACs with variable outputs.  

 

Any chance of a Denafrips model with built in attenuator to catch up with folks who have gone 100% digital and have no need for switching an extra circuitry of a preamp?

 

Tone with Soul

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2 minutes ago, 57gold said:

Love the sound of how this DAC sounds.  

 

Ditched my two box, 8 Siemens 6922 pre amp more than a decade ago when I hooked up a Wadia 861i to my amp, since then been using Mytek DACs with variable outputs.  

 

Any chance of a Denafrips model with built in attenuator to catch up with folks who have gone 100% digital and have no need for switching an extra circuitry of a preamp?

 

The attenuator feature has this satisfied Yggy owner (original version, all three upgrades) looking at Bricasti's DACs.

SSH

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Mentioned in another post that I find it odd that Schitt guys, who kind of invented the DAC with a built in Pre, the Theta DSPre, which apparently was less popular that the Pre less version because back in the 1990s many folks messed with vinyl and like me had fancy-assed pre amps.  Enjoyed my Gen Va with ATT glass connecting to one of their transports, prior to the Wadia, which made me a direct to amp convert.

 

Tone with Soul

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1 hour ago, ssh said:

The attenuator feature has this satisfied Yggy owner (original version, all three upgrades) looking at Bricasti's DACs.

The Denafrips DACs appear to have no output stage to drive the output, hence their slightly high output impedance (see specifications).  Considering that, and the somewhat low output level with DSD at half that of the PCM outputs, I do not see these DACs as good choices for driving amplifiers directly.  For driving amplifiers directly I like to see an output impedance around 100 ohms or less.

It appears Denafrips would need to add an active output stage and an analog attenuator to really do a good job at making them highly capable of driving amplifiers directly, this would add considerably to the price.

Additionally, this lack of an active output stage may have something to do with the lack of "drive" which some people seem to find in the sound of these DACs.  One might consider Holo Audio as an alternative, they use similar conversion technology, but with the addition of a fairly serious active output stage.

 

I am loving my Bricasti M3, using only its discrete converter stage (at DSD 256) and driving my amplifiers directly.  It has a quite good analog volume control as well, making it highly suitable for this approach.

ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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Yes, I read that review as well, and I am sitting here listening to my Venus 2 and thinking....  wow, we must have radically different ears/brain/system, or something else.   All good though, there is no one DAC that will satisfy everyone.  But, that is not at all how the Denafrips DAC's I have owned sound like.  If they did, I would have quickly sold my first Denafrips DAC and never considered them again.  I love speed, fast transients, etc.

 

 

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

 

Desktop: IsoRegen+LPS1.2 | Denafrips Iris | Denafrips Venus 2/Chord Qutest | Blue Circle Audio SBT preamp|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12

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4 minutes ago, Blake said:

Yes, I read that review as well, and I am sitting here listening to my Venus 2 and thinking....  wow, we must have radically different ears/brain/system, or something else.   All good though, there is no one DAC that will satisfy everyone.  But, that is not at all how the Denafrips DAC's I have owned sound like.  If they did, I would have quickly sold my first Denafrips DAC and never considered them again.  I love speed, fast transients, etc.

 

Blake,

did you compare Venus2 and Terminator Plus both in your "Home" system?

If yes, what are the differences?

Thanks

 

Matt

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3 hours ago, JoeWhip said:

Sorry my friend, I don’t hear that at all. No need to be condescending.

 

While I more or less agree with the content, it is indeed a condescending response.

 

The bold 'from memory' statement about a comparison with the Vivaldi and MSB DAC also makes that I cannot take this review and it's conclusions very serious. Too bad and not at all necessary to convey enthusiasm.

 

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3 hours ago, JoeWhip said:

Sorry my friend, I don’t hear that at all. No need to be condescending.

LOL....people can be so fragile these days.

Denafrips Terminator Plus | Iris | Focal Sopra N*2 | PrimaLuna Evo 400 | McIntosh MC601s | Auralic Aries G1 | PS Audio P20 PowerPlant | SVS SB13-Ultra subs

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42 minutes ago, matthias said:

 

Blake,

did you compare Venus2 and Terminator Plus both in your "Home" system?

If yes, what are the differences?

Thanks

 

Matt

 

Hey Matt,

 

Venus 2 arrived two weeks ago and it is residing in my new "work from home" home office, which includes a super nice audio rack ($35 from Amazon).  I haven't had a chance to compare yet.

 

A-1.thumb.jpg.c8383ea2c9798b2f87dcd9efcd8b938b.jpg

 

Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu+Farad | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | 2 Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12 

 

Desktop: IsoRegen+LPS1.2 | Denafrips Iris | Denafrips Venus 2/Chord Qutest | Blue Circle Audio SBT preamp|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE | PS Audio DS Power Plant 12

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Which album were you referring to in this review. Thank you.

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Kora TB 200 Integrated Amplifier w Audio Art Power Cable

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