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Denafrips Venus 2 & DDC?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I picked up a used Hermes from US Audio Mart. It arrived on Monday but I've only listened to the combo for a bit - was just not feeling well yesterday.


Chain is:

Win 10 PC as Roon core --> Win 10 PC as HQ Player processor --> fiber network conversion --> Pi4 (both fiber converter and Pi are battery powered) --> Ghent dual head USB cable to Hermes USB In --> i2S out to Venus II using a 1.5 foot 4K HDMI cable ($10 on Amazon or something - nothing special).


One of the reasons I picked up Hermes was to see if a different i2S source from the two I have onhand produced the same audible "tick" or "snap" over i2S as the other two did. The other two were Pi HAT-type units - one a DDC and the other a Pi2AES. But I figured maybe there was something odd there that produced the issue. But it happens on Hermes as well. So at this point, looks like my Venus II i2S input may have an issue which is ok, I'm working with Alvin on that and have no doubt we'll figure it out.


But absent that issue - which only happens intermittently - I DO perceive a positive change in the presentation. I've noticed it with the other DDC I have as well - the Ian Canada FIFOPi + HDMIPi transmitter module. It's hard to explain but the differences I hear are twofold:


Meatier midrange - it's like the upper strings on bass guitar and the lower strings on electric guitar went to the gym just a little bit. It sounds more natural, a little better "in your face" grunt that is forward in a good way. 

Second is the image is just more believable, more rounded out and while I don't think the overall dimensions change - the definition of spacing around instruments, the recorded space/venue - those come through more clearly.


It's a nice change and one I am willing to sort out the issues on i2S to have at my disposal without any other issues.


Just tonight I decided to try another option - Dual AES/EBU from Hermes to Venus II. I only just got it set up but I do really like what I hear. To my knowledge that limits PCM to 384 and DSD128 is the ceiling on that interface, but that's ok. I've reconfigured HQ Player accordingly and can confirm the DAC is "seeing" PCM384 as it should.


Will update as I can.

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> iFi Zen Stream NAA

Holo May KTE, Benchmark LA4 preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dynaudio Confidence C2 Platinum speakers

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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