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I've seen YouTube videos about this DAC being an "end game" product, in spite of several models above it (Pontus, Venus, etc.).... Is this indeed a a breakthrough product for the price or just more "Flavor of the Month" hype? ........
I've had the original Ares for years. It's a great unit for my needs as it leans to the musical side of equation. Bought it years ago when Mike Powell (OCD HiFi Guy) was the distributor. Of course those days are long gone. Last I looked, Denafrips has a pretty draconian no return policy, so enter with a bit of caution. If anything has changed in that regard, I stand corrected.
The Ares is a R2R DAC.
Most of the time R2R measures poorly but this one is an exeption to this rule.
The Well Tempered Computer
...Except maybe relative to other R2R DACs.
Note the forest of higher-order harmonics in the 1kHz spectrum Amir presents. These distortions are very low level, but they are almost completely absent in other DACs tested by Amir and others. ASR ends up rating the Denafrips ARES II in the 'Very Good' rather than 'Excellent' range.
IMHO, no DAC should color the sound in any way, but be totally neutral.
Is this review for the same DAC? --- They look like they have different model numbers. It's confusing with the Number of DACs they have. They put out a 'New Revolutionary DAC' every month.
I think it's a "Flavor of the Month" thing. I had the mega hyped Denafrips Ares II R2R DAC and thought it was kind of dull. By that I mean it was a little light on dynamics. It was very smooth but at the expense of detail. [The other one that was super hyped was the Chord Qutest DAC. That one was almost the opposite of the Denafrips. It was very clean and detailed, reasonably dynamic but lacked midrange warmth and low end grunt - IMHO]
The problem with Denafrips the brand (as I see it) is they keep coming out with a stream of "newer better versions" to keep the hype alive. After buying my Denafrips Ares II I was swamped with emails from them hyping their latest greatest newer versions of various DACs in their product line. Just my 2-cents worth of course. And my ownership experience with the Denafrips Ares II R2R DAC.
P.S. You have to be really careful with those YouTube reviews. There are so many YouTube audio experts living in their parent's basement with sensational headlines hyping products on their YouTube channels to grab more eyeballs (viewers). I try to carefully scour YouTube for the more sane reviews and ones that try to do honest comparisons. Do this with a few good reviewers and you soon develop a consensus idea for how the DAC you're researching sounds relative to others. Not much different than the professional old guard audio rags but the B.S. is much deeper on YouTube (maybe not as snooty but deeper for sure).
I think it's a "Flavor of the Month" thing. I had the mega hyped Denafrips Ares II R2R DAC and thought it was kind of dull. By that I mean it was a little light on dynamics. It was very smooth but at the expense of detail.
Sounds like how I describe the Gustard R26 DAC......
Given the plethora of "bright" sounding systems I've experienced, these "smooth" DACs could be behaving like a "tone control".... If you will.....
The problem with Denafrips the brand (as I see it) is they keep coming out with a stream of "newer better versions" to keep the hype alive.
This what has made my shy away from this brand, personally.......
I had a Gustard R26 on loan here for a brief while and to my ears it was much better than the Denafrips Ares II. Both are R2R DACs but the Gustard was better - still not quite to my taste but much better.
I wish you'd try out the FiiO M17. I know you seem to dislike FiiO based on some of your responses to my posts, but I'd really like to know what you think of FiiO after owning the M17 for month. I think it's one of the best sounding digital components I've ever heard.
Does it have any support for streaming services like Amazon HD, Tidal, etc? Fiio's ES9038PRO DAC's powered by battery *should* complement each others' sonic tendencies.
Sure, FiiO can stream from any of the streaming websites via WiFi. I don't stream currently, but I used to stream both Tidal and Qobuz. It's like a smartphone -- you just download your streaming app of choice directly onto the FiiO DAP.
...but it can stream services indirectly via Roon. In other words, it will be recognized as a Roon device and since Roon integrates with Qobuz and Tidal it will stream those services via Roon. Of course you would need a Roon subscription in addition to Tidal and Qobuz to make it work.
There are better and less expensive hardware solutions for streaming various music services IMHO.... like an iPhone or Android phone. OR piCorePlayer (pCP) software on an inexpensive DIY Raspberry Pi. Ask Cut-Throat
...that requires handheld operation with cables hanging off of it or propping up on a special fan cooling stand in my rack. There are several 'traditional' form factor DACs that are much better suited to my needs and for placement in my rack.
$1800 FiiO Player
Well, I don't think I want another one. I kept forgetting to turn on the fan and my M17 finally overheated causing the battery to swell up and pop the back off. I thought about buying another one until I discovered the new FiiO R9 DAP/Streamer/Preamp/Headphone Amplifier. It seems to do everything and more at a 300 dollar lower price than the M17. Anyway, I ordered one and I'll let you know how I like it.
Just for grins, what's your opinion of the FiiO R9 ?
I just wish you could hear the FiiO M17.
Oh, well. Such is life!
If you're so sure he will love it, and you have been pushing it every chance you get.
Go ahead, we all would like to hear Abe's views.
...does not meet my needs.
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