While one’s impressions regarding sound quality can be subjective, but one thing you cannot deny is that Denafrips build quality inside out is on par with the best out there. They sell a lot of DACs and I have yet to hear too many complaints when it comes to quality or longevity. This is the first time I have heard anyone accusing them of using cheap chinese caps and micro skipping. Most reviewers who have opened up the box are impressed with the quality of parts inside.
The Terminator 2 that I own is built like a tank (weighs 42 lbs., not that it necessarily implies higher quality) and sounds pretty darn good. I had the Merason on loan for 2-3 weeks and really liked it too. It leans more towards the romantic, warm side ... similar to the Luxman DA-06 that I owned as well. But I’m sorry the build quality is just not that great. The Terminator 2, while not as warm or romantic, IMO performs at a higher level. The retrieval of micro-details, soundstage width and depth is amazing.
I have also owned Denafrips Aries II and Pontus II. I agree that Pontus is the sweet spot in their line up. But comparing the Pontus next to Terminator 2 made it clear that the T2 offers more of everything. I don’t think the difference is night and day, but enough (at least in my case) to justify the higher price.