DENAFRIPS DAC ---- Owner Impressions, Feedback, General Discussion, Questions and more....


Thread for OWNER IMPRESSIONS, FEEDBACK, QUESTIONS, ETC. regarding DENAFRIPS DACs.

DENAFRIPS lists the following R2R DACs:

Ares, Pontus, Venus, and Terminator (in increasing price order).

"DENAFRIPS incorporated in year 2012, focus in developing high end audio equipment at a very affordable price. Throughout the years of intense Research & Development, and continuous improvement of the product lines, DENAFRIPS had finally settled with the current product range equipped with R-2R ladder DAC technology. The reason behind this is the designer strongly believe that R-2R DAC is the best way to reproduce music.

The name, DENAFRIPS, stand for:

D-ynamic
E-xquisite
N-atural
A-ttractive
F-idelity
R-efined
I-ntoxicating
P-ure
S-ophisticated

This mean a lot and it is the house-sound of all DENAFRIPS products." [Copied From Denafrips About Us section]
Ag insider logo xs@2xdavid_ten

Showing 50 responses by david_ten

I own and have the Terminator in my system.

I have no affiliation with or financial interest in DENAFRIPS or Vinshine Audio (the distributor) or any other DENAFRIPS related entity.
Starting this thread because of the limited and spread out information on the various DENAFRIPS DACs. Hopefully consolidating to one thread will be helpful for those who currently own, have demo'd or are considering purchasing one of the DENAFRIPS DACs.
Hi @milpai   I will. It has been in system and running signal for a week now.

It has not replaced anything at this time. My primary DAC has been the Schiit Yggdrasil. I'll be comparing these two, likely towards the end of November. If I am able to, then the Exogal Comet Plus after that.
Two weeks of run-in time logged on the Terminator. Sound quality and performance continues to improve.

A general shout out to @faziod  @ilcg1 @4hannons @whitestix @stfoth @guych and @nycjlee to post your impressions of your Denafrips DACs
@stfoth  Nice write up and a good summary. Thank you.

"Curious about the Terminator."  I am also. : )
The Denafrips Terminator is broken in and is performing very well.

I’ve been waiting for a speaker delivery, which was planned and scheduled for before the Denafrips DAC was delivered. The speaker was delivered yesterday. My original plan was to have the new speaker fully broken in and to have a significant amount of personal listening time with it, before introducing the Terminator into my system.

I will hold off on posting my impressions etc. about the Terminator until the speaker is broken in and I’m familiar with it.
I went with the Tekton Design Double Impact Special Edition (SE) speakers.

I home auditioned the Volti Audio Rivals. I really liked these horn-hybrids, but decided to wait until I can save up for one of Greg Robert's full horn speakers.

I also considered Spatial Audio and Pure Audio Project, for this go-around.
@edincleve I'll be posting my initial and 'early-burn-in' impressions of the SEs later tonight. I'll PM you after I do so.

The DI SEs are excellent speakers. As always, what you value in speaker performance will play into how you feel about the choices you are considering. PM me so I can help more specifically.

Congratulations on the Ares purchase. I look forward to your impressions.

Since I'm delaying the DAC comparison until the SEs break-in, which is still ongoing, I have rotated the Schiit Yggdrasil in. This should allow for a healthy run-in time and let me listen to it for some time. It has been out of system for over a month now.

The Terminator is very good. I say that with confidence since I have a full month of experience with it. It is different than the Yggy. More specifics when I do the proper head to head comparison.
@danasam  Terrific write-up and story. Thanks for sharing your take on the Ares and then the Pontus. I'm looking forward to learning about your full impressions with the Pontus, once it is broken in...and perhaps a comparison of what it brings to the table over the Ares.

Great first post. Keep posting!
A general update. The Tekton Design SEs have three weeks on them.

I’ve had the Yggy (Gen 3 USB) and the Yggy (Gen 5 USB) in system, for two of the three weeks and the Terminator went back in-system two days ago.

I prefer having some more time on the SEs (they are more or less broken in now) before doing a full head to head comparison between the two DACs. Sorry this has taken longer than anticipated.

For those of you who are closing in on a DAC choice...or just curious...

Given my system and room, my ears and experience, and my preferences....

I can say, with confidence, that the Terminator sounds different than and that I prefer it to the Yggdrasil. I would and do choose the Terminator, hands down.

The Yggy 5 is a step up from the 3 and adds sound quality and performance value to what is already a terrific DAC. I still like and enjoy the Yggdrasil (a lot) and it is an exceptional value at USD $2299.

System: PC based, networked, Tidal/Roon > Sonore Signature Rendu SE > Schiit Yggdrasil (Gen 5 USB) // Denafrips Terminator > Pass XP-20 > Pass XA-30.8 > Tekton Design Double Impact // Double Impact SE

Input (primarily): USB.
@danasam  Thanks for your review and thoughts and findings regarding the Pontus DAC. It was a fun read as well. I can relate to your V-8 and motorcycle saddle analogies!  

With the PONTUS you relax in your listening room in a way that I had not experienced before.

I find myself listening into the wee hours of the morning without even realizing it.
....what this hobby is about, right?
Hi Gdhal.

I really need to do a head to head to be specific and fair to both components.

I love cooking, so I’ll use a food analogy (food is on my mind in the moment). Hope it provides some insight.

One of my homemade broths vs. a bisque. Both are delicious in their own right but one is richer and more decadent and caresses the soul in a more life affirming way. : )
@danasam  Gripping storytelling of Termination Day and putting Pontus up for Adoption. 

Great to hear your take and findings with the Denafrips Terminator. Having the Terminator with many more hours than yours, rest assured, you will be in for an even more rewarding experience as it fully settles in. 

Your descriptors fit with my experience with this wonderful DAC...it's great to hear the same from you. Congratulations on finding an endgame DAC for yourself!
My Evaluation of the DENAFRIPS Terminator and the Schiit Yggdrasil is complete and can be read here:

http://terminatorandyggdrasil.blogspot.com/

Standalone thread and a copy of the main body of my 'review' can be found in this Audiogon Thread:

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/denafrips-terminator-and-schiit-yggdrasil-evaluation-and-comp...
@drrnc2  @bube  Thanks! That’s great news!

Room 1524 courtesy of Ginko Audio (also Danacable).
Hi Bill.

Price is in Singapore Dollars: $5860

Based on recent currency rates the Denafrips is roughly US $4,500.

https://www.vinshineaudio.com/denafrips

Vinshine doesn't set prices on Mondays! Though I'm sure Alvin would love having those skills at hand. : )

The market, Central Banks, etc. do. : )
@grannyring 

Service has been outstanding for me. Alvin of Vinshine Audio has been a pleasure to deal with.

I cannot answer as to where the warranty work would be done. I imagine given the shipping costs both ways, it would be more cost effective to have it done locally. Perhaps Denafrips or Vinshine can comment on this.
@jayctoy   Really happy that you are strongly considering the Yggdrasil. It is an excellent DAC. Also great that you will have the chance to listen to the Denafrips DACs at Axpona. If you are ever this way (New Orleans), reach out...it would be great to have you over.

My understanding (and mine alone) is that the chart is for a reference to help folks get a snapshot of pricing in Euros, US Dollars, etc. Banks / Credit Cards will apply the appropriate rates when the transaction is processed. 
@jayctoy   How could I refuse Chicago's famous pizza.... : )

There is a slight chance I may be able to make it to Axpona but I will not be able to confirm until closer to the dates of the show. I will send you a PM should it come together. If it does, I'd love to take you up on your offer. Thank You.
@jon2020   I'll take you at face value with respect to your post... : )

Never knew such a thing can happen. Maybe I am too naive.

I actually find 6Moons' move to a 'pay for ads to play' (my words) system refreshing since they are upfront about it. You can read more here:

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/why/why.html

The question is whether you prefer knowing this upfront or prefer not knowing despite it being a reality.
@bube Looking forward to hearing about your findings from the early demo of the full DENAFRIPS DAC line prior to Axpona.

Vinh, by the way, I have your Danacables Lazuli Reference leash for my Focal Utopias. A fabulous pairing for the Focal Headphones! I see you have the step up Ultra in your lineup now. Can’t imagine it getting better, but I’m sure it does. : )
@bube   This sounds like a fantastic and one of a kind opportunity. 

Doesn't look like I will be able to make it despite a strong desire to be there. Really looking forward to the out-takes from your event.
A demo is meant to outline differences if they exist in the way the DACs sound. The difference maybe so subtle that they essentially sound the same. Where there are differences significant enough, one should be able to describe them. That is more important than whether one likes one DAC over the other as that is a totally subjective judgment.

+ Perfect! 

Vinh, I wish I could have attended. All the best. And most importantly, enjoy the company and the music!
@bube   Congratulations on a successful demo and test for the upcoming Axpona show. 

If any of the participants are active on Audiogon, it would be great hearing their takes on the demonstration event Vinh organized.
@bube Vinh, I’m sure you and others are busy setting up today.

Looking forward to hearing all about it when you get to take a breather after the show.

Wishing you all the best and a terrific show for your Gingko and Danacable product lines as well your Denafrips demos.

I also want to thank both Rich @drrnc2 and Joe @trelja for sharing your experiences and findings from Vinh’s event in NJ. Good stuff. Thank You!
@jayctoy   I'll be up in your neck of the woods, sooner than later...so keep the pizza warm and the beer cold! And your gear cooking!

Looking forward to your impressions of the Denafrips DACs, etc. and anything else Axpona related you want to share.

Enjoy the Show.
@jayctoy   Great to hear. Glad you enjoyed the demos!

@bube   Really cool that your first day went off so well. 
After things calm down from the show, maybe we can all share our impressions on the DENAFRIPS - sonics, price, and otherwise
@trelja  +1  Looking forward to hearing more.
@jayctoy   That's awesome! Great that the Ares is working out for you. Congratulations.
Congratulations, Vinh! 

From "Day Two with Herb" by Herb Reichert / Stereophile.

"I always enjoy visiting Vinh Vu, president of Gingko Audio and Danacable. He plays music I like, always gets good sound, and helps me understand the sometimes-unusual lineup of products he demonstrates. This year was no exception.

The $9000 Made in America Gingko Audio ClaraVU 7 Mk.3 modular speaker system consists of a top-mounted monitor speaker with a 6.5" paper cone bass-midrange plus a 1" slightly horn-loaded silk dome tweeter, combined with a horn-loaded ribbon super-tweeter that Vinh Vu said crosses over at 20kHz. "But Vinh, my ears cross over at 10kHz!"

The bottom (bass) cabinets feature compound-loaded 6.5" cones, and stack neatly and handsomely below the monitor cabinets. Impedance is nominally 10 ohms with a specified minimum of 8 ohms. Sensitivity is 85db/1W/1m.

The $6500/pair Triode Corp of Japan TRX-P3M amplifiers employ parallel single-ended 300B tubes, which Vinh says put out 20Wpc, and I believe these handsome-looking monoblocks were the core reason every recording sounded so pure and unaffected. The longer I listened, the more I felt these amps were generating some form of distilled magic. Therefore, curiosity roused, I asked for a review sample.

The preamp was the Wells Audio Commander ($4000); the DAC was the Denafrips Terminator—a $4500 ladder DAC that I have heard a few times and also rouses my curiosity. The refined-sounding Gingko room system also included a $1700 Gen. III Salk Stream Player and, of course, Danacable's Sapphire and Diamond cabling.

Vu's system had one more very intriguing (to me) product: Under the speakers were Gingko Audio ARCHs—compact layered-wood vibrational-control devices shaped like automotive leaf springs. They come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses and look like they might actually work better than pointy spikes, pliant silicone, or hard roller-ball bearings. There was a lot to study and think about in Vinh Vu's room."

@bluewolf   You are welcome! 

Your TAD 2404 speakers are gorgeous! You'll have to post updated photos with your Enigma Supertweeters and the Denafrips Terminator in system.

Thanks for the link to your review. I will post on your thread later today.
@t_ramey Thanks for the link.

Alex Halberstadt (of Audiostream) was reviewing the Terminator. Given the new ownership and new editor, I wonder if his review will be published? It would be great to read a comparison with your Lampizator Atlantic.
@viablex1   I'm copying your post from a thread you initiated:

I ordered an ares and received shipment about a week to ten days ago. Initially it would not turn on. Then I saw lights and eventually sound. Not sure what was going on but it was a prelude to what happened next. I liked the sound very musical but when using the first coax input I kept getting this weird volume problem. when a track would start it would cut almost completely off then go back to the original volume. So I needed to send it back which I am doing but it is expensive because there is no USA support at all. I almost bought the Pontus but glad I didn't since it would have cost even more to ship it back.

I am not saying never buy one or bashing denafrips just know if something goes wrong shipping back is exorbitant


Per Denafrips Warranty policy (referenced below) there should be no cost for you to ship back for warranty work within the first 30 days.

"36 Months Warranty, Peace of Mind
Comprehensive Warranty Coverage: 

All DENAFRIPS products are covered under this policy. Warranty covers non-man-made defects. Customer shall bear the import duties and taxes whenever applicable.

30 Days: DENAFRIPS to bear both way shipping fee.
31-365 Days: Customer to bear one way shipping fee. DENAFRIPS to repair and cover return shipping fee.
366-1095 Days: Customer to bear both way shipping fee. DENAFRIPS to repair at free labor and parts at no cost.
1096 Days Onwards: Customer to bear both way shipping cost. DENAFRIPS to provide repair and/or maintenance services at cost."
@coach59   Great to hear you are loving your Pontus. Thanks for your write up and sharing your impressions!
@alvin1118  Alvin, Terrific response and support!

Just for clarification: owners will still need to contact you (Vinshine Audio) to generate the 'RMA' or equivalent, along with the resulting shipping labels, etc., correct?

I ask because many of us know Mike Powell and I imagine some may think to reach out to him directly.

Thank you.
Alvin, it's a great review (and perspective).

The case to go I2S into the Terminator keeps getting more compelling! : )
My system is coming together as a final whole. I'll update with another writeup (more system specific than Terminator specific) in a few weeks. 

One standout takeaway from my recent gear evaluations is that the Denafrips Terminator has held it's own across amplification, cabling, and power change-ups. It has scaled exceptionally well.
Final major cable (my IC) is close to full break in. System sounds terrific.

I have a new Roon only (Core) server with ethernet direct to my Roon player coming in shortly. This will allow me to bypass the network switch and season with LAN cables. I have upgraded DC cables for my LPS to the router, switch, etc. coming at the end of July. 

I'll post an (evolving) review of my system, with the Denafrips Terminator as a core / fundamental component in it, in a couple of weeks, with appropriate updates on the impact of the front-front end of the system as they arrive and settle in.

For those of you considering the Denafrips Terminator, my findings through my ongoing system upgrades are supportive of how truly capable this DAC is. 
System performance update. I've had the new streamer (Roon Core) in system for a day now. It has eliminated my Network Switch, and I am using one Supra CAT8 LAN cable (instead of two). This streamer has a LAN Bridge which allows me to go LAN In and then LAN Out to my player (Roon Endpoint). 

System (SYSTEM - for emphasis) impact on sound performance was immediately apparent and positive (across the metrics / areas we typically discuss) in ways I appreciate and value. I've highlighted some below.

A shift in Bass performance (previously quite good): tighter with impressive palpable tautness AND / WHILE also being fuller / rounder (remarkable since usually we get lean and tight OR full and round but not both).

Greater emotional tension and energy in how music is conveyed. The extra Body, Weight and Fullness extend through the upper midrange.  The system is now even more resolved and transparent --- bursting with additional musical information and energy deep into the 'window.'  Resonance, decay, air, etc. have increased. Greater Aliveness. Greater dynamic impact. Palpable and Natural.

I find computer peripherals break in fairly quickly (all cabling and the power supply were already fully burned in) and though I expect some improvement I'm comfortable posting about the upside of this piece in my system, now. If there are any major or unusual changes, I will report back.

How does the Denafrips Terminator fit into this? It's where all that digital effort upstream gets converted. Without it, those gains and improvements don't get expressed downstream. Needless to say I'm very impressed with it's performance.

I believe it's "the system" and the synergies within, rather than the 'single' component or 'item.' I realize it's easier to discuss differences within the context of 'A Change' we make...however, I'm trying to move away from that. 

The streamer is the Small Green Computer i7 Kaby Lake Roon DSP unit. The player is the Sonore Signature Rendu SE. I am using SoTM LAN cables and filter for the final leg between the streamer and player.

Amplifier is the T+A PA 3100 HV integrated amp. Speakers are Tekton Design Double Impact SEs.  100 percent Tidal/Roon.
Another Blue Moon Award from 6moons bestowed on the House of Alvin!

Congratulations to Alvin and Vinshine Audio for this recognition for the Kinki Studio EX-M1 Integrated Amplifier.

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/kinki/1.html
@reggy  Do you know that the Terminator doesn't (repeat doesn't) come with a power cord?

Makes one wonder?  : )  : )  : )
I have replaced the following configuration ahead of my Small Green Computer i7 Kaby Lake Roon DSP unit, with ethernet bridge (Server)...

FROM: Router > Supra CAT8 LAN cable > Server

TO:

Router > Supra CAT8 LAN cable > SoTM iso-CAT6 LAN filter > SoTM ’Black’ LAN cable > Server

With the Denafrips Terminator in the system, there are notable improvements across the board. These include richer tonality, greater weight and body, heightened resonance and decay and richer harmonic energy with increases in detail, image solidity, musical insight, venue information/ambient cues, etc. Stage has moved forward and is fuller and larger. 3D spatial positioning remains excellent.

In summary, I’d say it’s less about the ’mores’ across the board (which is true) BUT RATHER about the overall presentation being musically and emotionally ’ENHANCED,’ and therefore more pleasurable and enjoyable.

The filter shouldn’t take long to settle in. The Black cable will likely need some break in time.

I have tried two Supra CAT8s in the chain (supra > filter > supra). The access to my router’s LAN output is restricted, which means I will not be able to test the SoTM Black cable from the router out.

I will also be testing other LAN cable combinations in the future.

For reference, I also use SoTM LAN products from the Server to the Player/Renderer. Specifically: dCBL-CAT7 > iso-CAT6 filter > Black

I’ll report back in a week.
Approaching ten days from insertion of the LAN filter and LAN cable. Both have settled and the highlights mentioned in the above post hold. More correctness of body, weight, ’organic-ness’ as well as added emotional connectivity and musical insight, nuance, subtlety, etc.. System sound has tightened up, is more resolved and is more natural (less ’ripe’) than when the cable and filter first went in.

I believe the break-in has run it’s course, If I pick up on any changes, I will add to the above. I should also have a special design DC cable for the LPS to server connection in-system within a week or so. I will be testing it against the LPS’ stock DC cable.

Bottom line, the Small Green Computer server, DC cabling changes, and the addition of the LAN filter + cable have resulted in another leap forward, with respect to system performance.

Given the thread topic, these upstream changes are converted into an analog signal by the Terminator, which continues to be up to the challenge and continues to impress and amaze.
@char2  Not sure if this is even an option but I'd reach out to Alvin of Vinshine Audio to see if there are any demos available.

There used to be a list of models and locations around the world...perhaps Alvin can check if there is one close to you with an owner willing to have you over for a listen.

If you do purchase, they are relatively easy to resell.