R2R das done right are more natural less hifi then these new Sabre dacs or single bit , like Analog devises R2R Multibit ladder dacs these were laser tuned precision used in pro industry . look at Mojo Audio his R2R built dacs are modular ,state of the art are fully maxed out with premium parts ,yes they have femto clocks but that’s just half the story ,power supplies are crucial. Bellison super regulators the best in the world ,descreet opamps and many other things you will not see in the competition unless you have Big $$ and a 45 day audition .i know of no one else willing to offer this And fully modular.. great sonics and priced fairly IMO.
@26mo18pts No need to pay any attention to the racists and xenophobes, especially bitter ex-distributors who changes his tune 180 degrees about a brand after getting the line pulled from him. I guess racism is an acceptable emotional coping mechanism in today's world, certainly cheaper than therapy.
The Denafrips line of DACs are thoroughly tested and reviewed by pretty much every popular outlet on the internet, and the results are all excellent. The house sound is big bold sound with a lot of body and layered details for the money. The Terminator in particular is absolutely fantastic.
I spoke with Alvin by email today and also a Denafrips owner in Canada to understand a bit more about the Terminator along with the statements about the serial #. Of course, the video I posted above was racist, bitter, and sad but the serial # was something I wanted clarified.
All my questions are answered now and I am going to get my second DAC, the Terminator Plus with the Iris (DDC). The sound I am after is described above, "The house sound is big bold sound with a lot of body and layered details for the money".
This DAC will be a nice contrast to my current DAC, a Benchmark DAC3B. Which I will be keeping.
While I build and prefer R2R discrete DACs, the notion that they sound better than other implementations is subjective. Each offers sounding that the other does not offer in sound quality. Words like state of the art, big bold, are not helpful unless you can show the differences between other DACs in comparison. I have a very cheap Chinese DAC that sounds like that until you make a direct comparison to other company products. IMO the Terminator DAC is nice sounding for the money but it is not state of the art by any means but again is a very nice sound for the money. A friend has the Mojo audio DAC which he has modified and after the modifications he is very impressed with the sound. He has owned and modified several DACs that have been recommended in these forums in a similar price range and so far has settled on that DAC for now.
@yyzsantabarbara I used to have a Benchmark DAC2 HGC, and perhaps it was because I didn't use a high quality power cable, but I remember it sounding clean but not entirely engaging. Since then I've had Border Patrol dac which was too warm and colored, then the Lab12 tube dac which was incredibly organic and analog but lacked dynamics and detail, finally arrived at Denafrips Terminator which seems to combine the strong points of all my previous DACs.
As this hobby goes, I am still curious about the Terminator Plus, Mojo Audio's Mystique, and I think my dream DAC would be the Rockna Wavedream Signature Balanced.
@divetiti Thanks that is helpful. I like the DAC3B a lot especially with the complimentary Benchmark HPA4 preamp. It is better than the DAC3 HGC (without an external preamp), which I sold. I used that one direct to amp. I am using the OEM power cables from Benchmark and I also bought the Benchmark XLR’s.
A few days ago I was listening to my new Bryston BHA-1 headphone amp with my modified Sony SCD-1 SACD player. The Sony is a 20 year old machine that still sounds great to me. The sound of the Sony was warm and engaging and different from the DAC3B. So I decided I want something along that sonic line in a stand alone DAC. The Terminator is being described like my experience with the Sony so that is where my interest took off.
I still like the DAC3B sound a lot. I listen to the DAC3B about 8 hours a day in my office and the Bryston + SCD-1 combo for about 1 or 2 CD’s while I crash in bed. Both are great.
I went from Benchmark DAC2 to Terminator. I still have the Benchmark so I'll put it back in to see if any useful observations emerge.
In my system, it took about a month to acclimate to the Terminator. At some point in that process it seemed to exhibit that old "loudness" button sound for low volume. That is, bass and percussion seemed fully "there" before vocals, which gave a sense of instruments moving forward or in front of the singer. But I realized that if I brought the voice up to "there" then everything sounded glorious without excessive bass or percussion. It's almost like an instrument that you need to fully engage, and then it's revelatory and involving. But this is "in my system" and there's so many variables, especially speaker response.
As for the DDC's, the Iris seems awfully close to the components in the existing USB input of the Terminator, and the Gaia has lots of stuff I don't need, so I'm hoping the upcoming Hermes hits the sweet spot of maximizing to USB to I2s path.
I am trying to understand the point of the DDC units from Denafrips. It seems to me that the benefit, with respect to the Terminator line, seems to be to allow the use the I2S input. the I2S input is stated to be the best input on those units. Is this the correct?
If you had a different brand DAC that did not have I2S would these DDC units from Denafrips have any benefit? Assuming the DAC has a very good USB input.
Some extra info from Alvin:
The GAIA is the flagship DDC with OCXO crystal oscillator. It's engineered with multistages of superb linear power supply. If you've decided to go for the Terminator-Plus, the GAIA may be of luxury as if you use the clock-out from the Terminator-Plus to connect it to the DDC Clock-In, the internal clock is bypassed. Hence, rendered the OCXO in the GAIA redundant. A customer tried the IRIS with the Terminator-Plus, he is loving the combo:
If you're connecting via USB to your DAC, then I would not expect you'd see much benefit. They might reduce noise a little, but your DAC is going to have complete control of the clock since USB passes data asynchronously (at least any virtually all relatively modern DACs).
I think the benefit of the DCC (particuarly the Gaia) would be to take advantage of it's very accurate clock, so you'd need to use a connection that passed the clock along with the data (SPDIF, AES3, I2S).
I sold the latest Schiit yggs for the Denafrips Pontus the Venus is also a great deal $2800 the Pontus sound more natural and flowing imo the bass is a bit better on the bottom end with the Yggs that is it . And there are 4 rows of 1% or less matched resistors for these ladder dacs .i am not totally sure I assume Phillips r2rdacs .pontus big dual Torroidal transformers regulators ,linesr power supply at least 30 rubicon capacitors, and wima coupling caps. for $1700 delivered , 3 year warranty , within the first 30 days they pay freight the bothways, the first year you pay freight one way after that you pay freight ,they pay labor.
Most likely you will see improvement and as an owner of a terminator the extra $2000 for a T+ will put you on a different SQ level, I don't own the T+ but of course I have researched it already. The terminator it seems to be very different from your audio gd. It all depends on how much are you looking to spend and how much you value ultimate SQ.If you haven't read it yet this article I think is useful https://www.stereophile.com/content/gramophone-dreams-40-denafrips-terminator-ares-iiBy experience trying a few dacs I can say the terminator is wonderful and I do want a +, can't afford the + now with the pandemic as I have been financially hit but eventually when I recover (God provided) I am planning to get a + PS Apologies to all if you believe in higher power or not, don't get offended, I respect if you don't believe in anything, I just have to state it based on my beliefs.
I have heard the terminator vs the terminator + theterminstor is a excellent sounding very natural sounding dac especially after this new processor board was implemented thst too allowshigh dsd files. he plus has bigger power supplies ,and even better parts quality and weighs in at 44 lbs. it is very very natural sounding it takes the terminator to another lever .in fact for $6500 I know of no digital or turntable at $15k thst can beat it in overall musicality, and I go to Hifi get togethers and my brother having $20k turntable setups and digital , yes his DCSvRoseini is a little bit more fleshed out and refined maybe 5-6% better for a number but it is $25k ,and I looked inside Many world class named parts .it has femto clocks over controlled precise , huge isolated seperate section linear power supply Swiss Silmic filter caps just to name a few and .005 or better tolerances for each of the 4 big Resistor ladders and there are 100s of them . Vs the $14k msb R2R dac this IMO was Clearly better ,as well as much cleaner and detailed the the $18 k Lampizator golden gate tube dac ,now quite as lush but still a natural warmth that just glows huge soundstage great micro,macro dynamics ,and excellent focused imaging. i do need to mention always leave in ,,not in stand by for it take a solid 4-500 hours to fully runin ,and if turn pd off 4-5 days to sound optimum ,as with many top quality dacs . You may find you like a super lush presentation like the Lampizator ifyou amp speakers are cooler but the Terminstor + is very natural with a very good balance of warm but not syrupy lush warm with all the deep Bass sweet open top end and even makes older CDs sound much more listenable . I currently have the Latest Denafrips Pontus and it replaces the latest Schiit Yggsdrasil ,itis thst good and at $1800 delivered excellent and a nice balanced natural sound . Yes I am saving for the Terminstor plus but in the meantime very good Vinshine Audio is the distributor in Singapore. the shipping DHL included is on average 5 days or less ,and all units tested retested for over 100 hours before shipping to drastically prevent failure rate .very rare for any company .
One more thing ,no fuses to get in the way of the signal path they use a thermal thermistor if it has a fault ,it thermally just disconnects until it cools down vs a fuse all fuses degrade the signal in all a Denafrips dacs, Only their excellent base model Ares2 uses 2amp T fuse, my friend has one for $800 it beats dacs at $2k each model just gets more resolved depending on your budget ,if the Pontus I bought for $1700 does everythung well, for $2800 the Venus is better still .and these dacs deserve a pretty good powercord not to colored ,I read a reviewer using a belken power cord which is insane with digital and $13k amps, just dumb and use a good usb cable with their new processor board,DSD it is a noticable upgrade new board for Pontus,Venus, terminator came out in 03-2020. Is about $250 if you have a older model 5 minute install.
Yes I heard them side by side just 2 months ago the terminator even had the Gaia clock the plus has even better clock overs better parts quality and huge power supplies almost 20 lbs heavier 44 weighs 44 lbs. the plus is more fleshed out and refined sounding and noticably better then the latest Ps Audio flagship With latest firmware - no contest and heard the top halo springs , and msb which was 2 x the money ,and has several filters to adjust over sampling if a sound maybe too laid back. A remote would be nice to change sampling but no big deal.
I had Termi and Plus side by side. Ran both with a Gaia. Clocks connected on plus. I found the plus was slightly more full sounding, maybe, just maybe, ever so slightly “colored” for my taste compared to the Termi. I also found an almost indiscernible loss of delicacy in quiet passages. This was very subtle, and would not be noticed unless playing side-by-side on very select music...my foolish harp. I wanted to like the plus better, I just didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, the plus is outstanding. Just a matter of personal taste and system synergy. Price was not a deciding factor. The Terminator plus went to a new home and I kept the Termi. (For reference, I’m running high-end Levinson separates/monos and BW 802D3s. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but certainly a revealing system). Maybe I’ll wait for the next incarnation. Then again these are getting very very pricey. Probably deservedly so, but the PLUS and GAIA combined are slowly approaching the stratospheric prices of the likes of Mola Mola. I absolutely love my Termi with the GAIA. I think I’ll sit tight and see what the future brings. Competition may eventually bring down the prices of Mola Mola and such closing the price gap. Strikes me that such technology may be cheaper to implement than R2R soon. Who knows. I have not heard the Mola Mola...yet.