Better R2R DAC Recommendation?

I’m new to digital after being vinyl only forever and am enjoying my Denafrips Ares 2 streamed from a Project Streambox S2 Ultra using Audirvana. Of course since I’m enjoying it, I need something even better... it’s a hobby after all.

I’d like to spend no more than $2k on the used market. Anyone have a favorite R2R?


The Pontus II is a large step up from the Ares II in sound quality. I also use a Streambox S2 Ultra. Other suggestions are to add an Audioquest Jitterbug noise filter on the USB output from your Streambox.. The best sounding USB cable I've found is a Phasure Lush. I have the original without the custom configurations. It was both smoother in sound as well as more detailed than the Shunyata Venom USB cable and several other cheaper USB cables.

Another +1 for Holo Audio DAC’s. I have a Pro-Ject S2 Ultra and Spring 3 (did not elect the pre-amp option since I wanted their Pre, Serene, both are KTE editions). The Spring 3 uses the same components as the May in NOS mode but is missing the chip  and all the features they bring.


It is a marvelous R2R DAC that reminds me of listening to tape, that was my immediate impression anyway. It is that analog sound everyone talks about and never fatiguing. The Serene Pre-Amp was added four months later and has given me all I was looking for in my digital journey.

@calvinandhobbes I had to dump the Stream Box because it was generating a crinkle noise in my Lamm tube preamp, even through other inputs. Weird. Looking for another streamer in case anyone has any suggestions. Am definitely looking for a Pontus or Holo right now.

I will probably stay with my vintage MSB Platinum which has upgrades. One used should be a good choice.

I use both a Holo May (2-channel) and an MSB Analog DAC (headphones), and I like them both very much...