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Article: Review | Taking The Denafrips Terminator To 11


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10 hours ago, cjf said:

Mother of God. The asking price of those Wilson footers take my breath away. Now we wait to see which brand has the balls to be the first to ask for double that of the Wilson price. The audiophile brand price war on who can make the most expensive stuff never ends 馃榾

The DAC looks pretty cool though

They are less than the cost of a Mint Julep at the Kentucky Derby :~)

https://www.cnn.com/2016/05/05/sport/mint-julep-cocktail-kentucky-derby/index.html

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11 hours ago, cjf said:

Mother of God. The asking price of those Wilson footers take my breath away.

I usually dismiss comments having to do with the price of things, but as a practical matter聽 with a limited budget, when the price of feet approaches 50% of the cost of the component聽sitting on them it is impossible not to consider a cost-benefit analysis. That's one of the reasons we read these reviews. To get a sense of whether or not we might want to try something like this . So after reading 3 full paragraphs about how the stock feet were probably inadequate , the science behind the Wilson feet, and how these expensive feet might be better concluding with


Quote

With three Pedestals in place, the Terminator was setup for success and I was off to the musical races.

I was surprised that there wasn't a single comment about how they affected the performance of the DAC. I rarely criticize a review since I realize a review can't be all things to all people, but after such a build up I don't think it unreasonable to expect at least one comment about how聽 they perform. Some idea of what benefits one might expect if they took the plunge to put $2,200 feet under a $4,500 DAC.

see my system at Audiogon聽聽https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/768

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14 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

A guy can only do so much :~)

But given that you did so much already~

Why no DSD1024?

You even mentioned it in the intro ;-) HQPlayer might not be able to output the full deal modulators at DSD512 or DSD1024 on any PC yet, but there are a lot of options to scale down the processing requirements while still outputting a DSD512 or 1024 feed. With Jussi at your

You did say you took it to DSD256 with the EC modulators, then over to PCM at 1500k. Does that mean you went on up with DSD rates, but didn't like it? That'd be odd for you to skip saying if so.聽

Thanks for the review. As another guy said, you've got an engaging writing style with a different focus than average. What did you find out about Denafrips' team's back story? Man, too many questions.聽

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5 minutes ago, ted_b said:

For much cheaper but tasty mint julips there are Isoacoustic Orea footers.聽 Although I can't vouch for them I have friends whose ears I respect that can.

Great review Chris, as always.聽 I assume your CAPS 20 is the server (with 20.1 as the NAA running Jussi's NAA image)?聽 Look forward to your comments on offline 32fs production (i.e PGGB) and their sound via the Terminator.聽

BTW, went to school in southern Ohio, and hit the Derby every year (inc. Secretariat's great victory).聽 I should have save my mint julips from those years...would be worth a lot now.聽聽 馃槑

Hi Ted, I used both the Sonore signatureRendu SE optical and the CAPS 20.1 (with Jussi's NAA image) as endpoints. I like to test both a commercial product people can purchase and a more DIY type product like the CAPS 20.1. The CAPS 20 was the server of course.聽

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Very nice review Chris, I especially like you decided to introduce the HQPlayer "variable" in it, this is something most reviewers leave out, which I understand to be more pragmatic about results but "reality" is many of us use HQPlayer and we wonder about its benefits and interaction with certain DACs, thank you for including it and for the detailed settings and comments. My experience with the terminator mimic yours in terms of preference for upsampling.

Great review

Luis

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1 minute ago, Ben-M said:

But given that you did so much already~

Why no DSD1024?

You even mentioned it in the intro ;-) HQPlayer might not be able to output the full deal modulators at DSD512 or DSD1024 on any PC yet, but there are a lot of options to scale down the processing requirements while still outputting a DSD512 or 1024 feed. With Jussi at your

You did say you took it to DSD256 with the EC modulators, then over to PCM at 1500k. Does that mean you went on up with DSD rates, but didn't like it? That'd be odd for you to skip saying if so.聽

Thanks for the review. As another guy said, you've got an engaging writing style with a different focus than average. What did you find out about Denafrips' team's back story? Man, too many questions.聽

Hi Ben, enough with the questions. ONLY JOKING :~)聽I encourage everyone to always ask whatever they wish. I'm a hard person to offend.聽

A couple things to note.

1. I do my best to write as accessibly as possible. This often means keeping the testing and overly technical discussions in check. I see front page articles as items for everyone and forum conversations as the place for all the nitty gritty details. This is just my style.聽

2. After researching DSD options using my own ears and expertise from people like Jussi, I opted for DSD256 only because I believe the EC modulators are more important than a higher rate right now. Eventually we'll have the best of both worlds with EC and higher rates. I really liked DSD256 and EC modulators with the Terminator. I just liked PCM better. This of course is relevant only to my ears on my system. I'm sure others will find the opposite. But, this is the cool thing about external software upsampling. The flexibility to do what one likes is undeniable.聽

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6 minutes ago, luisma said:

Very nice review Chris, I especially like you decided to introduce the HQPlayer "variable" in it, this is something most reviewers leave out, which I understand to be more pragmatic about results but "reality" is many of us use HQPlayer and we wonder about its benefits and interaction with certain DACs, thank you for including it and for the detailed settings and comments. My experience with the terminator mimic yours in terms of preference for upsampling.

Great review

Luis

Thanks Luis. HQP is just a natural pairing for Denafrips DACs. I聽can't imagine driving a new Porsche 911 with stock Toyota Camry tires. Using HQP with the Terminator (and the other Denafrips DACs) is like putting on a new set of the best tires money can buy. Plus, one day you can use racing tires meant for the drag strip and the next day racing tires meant for an oval. HQP is just so configureable.聽

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15 minutes ago, ted_b said:

For much cheaper but tasty mint julips there are Isoacoustic Orea footers.聽 Although I can't vouch for them I have friends whose ears I respect that can.

Isoacoustics also has an even cheaper model called the Iso-puck. It's less blingy than the Oreas and made for the pro audio market, but as far as I can tell, they're coming from the same approach.

I've got a set in my cart now that I'm hoping to pull the trigger on once I've got my rack put back together.聽

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26 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Hi Ben, enough with the questions. ONLY JOKING :~)聽I encourage everyone to always ask whatever they wish. I'm a hard person to offend.聽

A couple things to note.

1. I do my best to write as accessibly as possible. This often means keeping the testing and overly technical discussions in check. I see front page articles as items for everyone and forum conversations as the place for all the nitty gritty details. This is just my style.聽

2. After researching DSD options using my own ears and expertise from people like Jussi, I opted for DSD256 only because I believe the EC modulators are more important than a higher rate right now. Eventually we'll have the best of both worlds with EC and higher rates. I really liked DSD256 and EC modulators with the Terminator. I just liked PCM better. This of course is relevant only to my ears on my system. I'm sure others will find the opposite. But, this is the cool thing about external software upsampling. The flexibility to do what one likes is undeniable.聽

1. I am not going to disagree with you on this point, but I will laugh a little because there were many technical points across your whole article. And also because, this is AS, it is quite well known for getting deeeeeeep into things. Don't reign it back too much, it's part of the sparkle~

2. Thanks, gotcha. At least with the T+A DAC 8 DSD, DSD512 sounds different and better than DSD256, but still sad about those high-end modulators. I don't know what the workaround will be, CPUs have been pretty much capped @5.2GHz on 2 cores for a couple years now 鈽癸笍

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31 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

This literally just showed up on my doorstep 5 minutes ago :~)

IMG_1293.jpeg

And in case anyone else had completely no idea about the Terminator II, here are the details from 2 months ago from Alvin over on Head-fi:

Overview:

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/denafrips-terminator-the-king-of-r2r-dac.851085/page-50#post-16171049

The Terminator II DAC, is a trickle down of the Terminator-Plus DAC.

Improvements of the Terminator II over the Terminator:

- Total segregation of Digital Signal Processing and R-2R Network Arrays (Analog) boards

- Oven-Controlled Crystal Oscillators replace the TCXO clocks

- High-speed Digital Isolation. The silicon-dioxide (SiO2 ) isolation barrier with isolated power supply effective isolate the ground and block the noise from one end to the other

- Redesigned Power Supply Unit (encapsulated underneath the DAC boards)

- Supercapacitors for Digital & Analogue circuitry for high energy storage to ensure supply of constant cleaned DC power to the circuitry

- Clock Out eco-system to sync with DENAFRIPS DDC, and future DENAFRIPS components

Compared to the Terminator Plus:

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/denafrips-terminator-the-king-of-r2r-dac.851085/page-50#post-16172942

The Terminator Plus featuring premier, precision Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillators.

The OCXOs are hand-crafted, calibrated, and hand-picked for absolute lowest jitter. The two independent OCXOs cater for native 44.1kHz and 48kHz based audio frequency family.

Take a closer look of the DENAFRIPS Terminator Plus R-2R DAC!

https://www.denafrips.com/single-post/terminator-plus-unboxing

-------------------

My guesses:

- It's the same price as the original/outgoing Terminator.

- It's replacing the updated Terminator that was being sold with the new DSP board, aka, the DAC in Chris's review.聽

- Maybes~

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Terminator 2 recently replaced the original Terminator, pricing is on聽the Vinshine website.聽

https://www.vinshineaudio.com/shop

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

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

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Nice review!

Thanks.聽

It's the Terminator model I have at home too (let's call it Terminator 1.2). There were not many reviews about this evolution, everybody talking about the plus at that time. And now the 2.0.

This Terminator 1.2 sounds great. And yes, this dac is sensitive to footers.聽

I did a lot of experiments with diy footers. My favorite is a pumice stone brass plate mix.

spacer.png

My only complaint may be this contant evolution of new models coming out making it not very clear for a customer.聽

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12 hours ago, firedog said:

The Terminator and Plus are quite expensive. I'm wondering if people could start with the Ares II, which has similar technical capabilities,聽聽for a relatively modest sum and see how they like the Denafrips approach.聽

Based on the reviews I have read there is a huge step up between the Ares II and the Pontus and then smaller step ups to the Venus, Terminator and Terminator Plus.聽 So the recommended first step in that approach is probably the Pontus II (see also George Graves review here):聽

Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO P4000 Win10>Qobuz+Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>DSD512> Fiber Switch>Ultrarendu聽(NAA)>SMSL M500 DAC> Bryston SP3 pre>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

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5 minutes ago, sdolezalek said:

Based on the reviews I have read there is a huge step up between the Ares II and the Pontus and then smaller step ups to the Venus, Terminator and Terminator Plus.聽 So the recommended first step in that approach is probably the Pontus II (see also George Graves review here):聽

I'd say it all depends on the amount of money you are willing to experiment with, and your risk profile. Personally, the Pontus is more money than I'd "play" with. At that price level, I'd only buy something if it was something I was planning to keep.聽

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi聽 AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom:聽SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks聽Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen:聽RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare.聽

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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11 hours ago, cazone said:

This Terminator 1.2 sounds great. And yes, this dac is sensitive to footers.聽

I did a lot of experiments with diy footers. My favorite is a pumice stone brass plate mix.

spacer.png

My only complaint may be this contant evolution of new models coming out making it not very clear for a customer.聽

1. Interesting choice on footers. The designer behind Bocchino Audio also like an air pocket stone like you showed, but his is vesicular basalt. You're probably onto something there 馃檪

2.

Denafrips product release timeline:

Denafrips Terminator 1.0

- Released 2017 Q2/3

Denafrips Terminator 1 DSP upgrade (T1.1)

- Released 2019 Q3

Denafrips Terminator Plus

- Released 2020 Q3

Denafrips Terminator 2.0

- Released 2021 Q1

When it's laid out like that, it looks really reasonable. And the T1.0 -> T1.1 was a user replaceable part, for a very modest price.聽

I like what Denafrips and Alvin are doing with that a lot. Even over on the Head-fi thread, there are several owners who went to but T1.1s earlier this year, but we're notified of the T2.0 and got to order it pending they didn't share the info. The T2.0 was release back in early February.聽

I'm not crapping on your feelings, I just thing maybe people don't realize how long the Terminator line has been on the market now.聽

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14 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Thanks Luis. HQP is just a natural pairing for Denafrips DACs. I聽can't imagine driving a new Porsche 911 with stock Toyota Camry tires. Using HQP with the Terminator (and the other Denafrips DACs) is like putting on a new set of the best tires money can buy. Plus, one day you can use racing tires meant for the drag strip and the next day racing tires meant for an oval. HQP is just so configureable.聽

So using a Denefrips without external upsampling is like using a Porsche 911 with Toyota Camry tyres - good to know.聽

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Great review Chris, both informative and enjoyable. Well done.

I thought Terminator II would be their latest flagship DAC, but it seems Terminator II is quite a bit cheaper than Terminator Plus.
I guess, we can assume there'll be Terminator Plus II coming soon too. :)

Audirvana+3.0 / Qobuz Studio聽/ Mac Mini (256GB SSD - 16GB RAM)

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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