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
@73max  Great to hear. Looking forward to your impressions and results, once you have your Terminator up and running in your system.
Alvin got right back to me!  

He asked some questions about the AC power and lines in my home and suggested some troubleshooting of the mains. Definitely the right place to start.   

After ascertaining the  problem was not with the AC mains he offered to ship a new unit!

I’m thinking the unit was possibly damaged in shipping. Frustrating...yes. But these things happen sometimes.  It’s great to know when they do happen the manufacturer will be there for you. 

Hats off to Denafrips 
@73max I understand and relate to your disappointment and frustration. You have my sympathy and empathy...I’ve gone through the same with a number of different components across manufacturers.

It sucks getting something one is so excited about and then being let down by a non-working unit.

Alvin of Vinshine Audio has been terrific in his support of me when I have run into issues and based on feedback from others he’ll be right on it.

Hopefully he will resolve it to your satisfaction!!!

The Terminator with the new board is worth it!
Thanks for suggestion, but I believe the Transformer and power supply is buried in a separate box under the main board...big disassembly job. Wouldn’t want to void warranty either.  At least we’ll get an idea how warranty work is handled. May be informative for future buyers. 
Sorry to hear this. Very frustrating. It may be worth taking the top off and looking around the tranny as it sounds like something happened during shipment. It may be a very simple fix you can do. I have had this happen and the fix was a simple re-securing of a part etc...


I’ve been there. Not with my Terminator but with other great gear...more than once. It happens. Has even happened with cars! 
New Terminator... 

I was looking forward to posting a review of my newly arrived Terminator.   Unfortunately, upon plugging it in there was a terrible transformer hum. I went no further, made no other connections. Back in the box. Emailed Alvin. Waiting to hear back 

 After waiting weeks and sitting all day waiting for delivery, such a disappointment.  Now I have to box it up, and go through the return rigmarole. Not to mention the added wait for it to get shipped back and forth. 

I’m hoping for a new replacement or possibly a refund. Somehow it doesn’t seem right to have a brand new $5K unit you haven’t even listened to in for repairs....makes it seem like a refurb. 

Surprised the unit was sent in this condition. The hum cannot be missed. Supposedly they burn these in for 100 hours prior…(before  anyone asks, it’s not the mains. I have two other dacs  and tens of thousands of dollars of other equipment. Nothing else hums. Newer house, great utilities.Two separate lines in the room.  The dac  was completely isolated. Nothing else was plugged into it whatsoever)

Sorry to vent, still fresh. Frustrated and disappointed. Will keep you updated.
Has anyone compared the Denafrips DACs to R2R DACs from the past? Of course Redbook CDs only.
@jriggy Thank you!

There is an embedded link to my System within the Blog.

Here is the direct link: https://audio-system-details.blogspot.com/

@david_ten what’s the rest of your system again? I feel like I read it somewhere a while ago. 

Good write up BTW

Thanks
 Jason 
My 'review' of the New Terminator DAC DSP Board is now live.

https://dsp-board-denafrips.blogspot.com/

Feel free to ask questions, etc.

And let me know if it is helpful and how I might improve on it.
Thank you all for your thoughtful suggestions, I guess I was hoping someone had actually tried some PCs with the Ares. 

Almost on a whim, I ended up buying a Supra LoRad 2.5 CS-US PC.

It cleared some high end hash that I had not noticed was there. The result is blacker blacks in the background, making the low level detail easier to hear.

I am blown away at how good the Ares is. I would not have guessed such low level resolution could come out of my LRS speakers. Also there is a huge amount of space between instruments, of which each has it's own space and almost sounds illuminated from within.

Before I get too carried away I am signing off.

Thanks again everyone

Phil
My personal advice stick with AQ power cords and AQ in general, Minimal coloration, dead neutral and clean power. I have 2 firebird source and firebird high current. Those are very expensive i know, but even much lower grade cables will give excellent results. The best thing would be to get a bunch of demo cables if you have a nice dealer around and try yourself ))
@philjolet If you can, spend a little more for a PC built and designed for digital. VH Audio Flavor 1. Maybe you can find a used one.

https://www.vhaudio.com/powercables.html#Flavor1

Glad to hear you are enjoying your Ares.
The waudio ones on Amazon are fantastic for 60 dollars or so
Music direct has Audioquest nrg pc $85 on sale
Can someone recommend a power cord for the Ares DAC that is below $100? The cheaper the better really.

Just looking for a step up from the one provided as I have read it makes a big difference with this unit.

BTW enjoying the Ares that I got new 3 days ago.

Thanks!

Phil

I received my new Terminator DSP board today. I've plugged it in and have been listening to it for a short while. Specifically, I'm listening/ watching a movie that I'm very familiar with and use as one of my test tracks. Right out of the box my impressions coincide with what others have stated: greater clarity and focus; in a sense digging deeper into the recording offering greater three dimensionality and relief or separation which in turn is revealing more detail  -- background vocals and sounds are more distinct/audible. Finally with greater separation & focus the dynamic contrast is heightened. 

I'm running a Denon 3910 via a high quality SPDIF/RCA cable (coax) and using the NOS setting. Also, since others have reported issues with the optical input, I have hooked that up as well to test it and it is working fine for me -- no issues -- sounds great as well.    

A deep dive into the audio closet, a rediscovered OPPO 105, and a few hours later another test of the Optical Input into the NEW DSP board. Same issues / problems as when fed an Optical Digital signal from the OPPO.

Alvin asked me to check the Coax Input. Since I only have Optical and HDMI ARC on the Samsung, I tested the Coax out from the OPPO and it works fine.

As mentioned earlier, the Optical Input of the Original Board works perfectly.
Note: a simple FRESH re-seating may be responsible. Similar to what happens with cables, tubes, etc.

For those of you with the original USB / DSP board, I highly recommend doing this. If you do, please share your results. Thanks.
For those WITH / OR getting the new DSP board, a few points:

1. If you are A/B’ing with the original board, give the original board at least an hour to come into song. Based on what I’m hearing, I recommend a minimum of 3 hours with 5 hours being ideal.

In other words, if you are planning a quick A/B you will not hear the original board at it’s best. I have 7+ hours of play time on the original board, as of now...if I notice any additional improvements, I’ll post accordingly.

Please note: my original board was "out" for 3 days. I can’t speak to times, if your original board is out longer.

2. I have not swapped in the new board, NOR is mine fully run in...therefore, I can not advise on the hours required for it to come on ’song’ once it is fully broken in, dependant on time "out" of system of course.

3. When you swap in the original board, make sure it is fully ’seated.’ When I removed my original board (to swap in the new board), I noticed there was very light "play" in the ’seating.’

Listening to the original board, completely / fully seated, has been a revelation. : )

[Note: as of this point in time I am only using USB in, NOS setting for my comparisons]
A brewing thunderstorm allowed for a temporary system shut down. I took the opportunity to re-test the Optical Input sound prior to powering off. Same issues as last night.

Since my system was down, I went ahead and swapped the original Amanero USB / DSP board back in and now have the system up and playing.

Not a single glitch with the Optical Input based Sound (performance and quality) using the original board.

I’ll ping Alvin later since it is 2 am his time.
One other customer has reported the same to Alvin. I also use a Samsung (a 2018 flagship model) and it is set to PCM, as it was with the former board. I immediately checked audio output settings once I heard the problem. I also checked different sources via Optical, same issue. At this point, it appears to be isolated to some boards. I will re-test prior to swapping out the board. My concern is driver damage at the speakers. Putting the old board back in will inform as well.

Denafrips is looking into it.
I have a Samsung tv on a wheeled stand and I bring it in the middle sometime to watch TV using my main stereo system, of course using optical. Its working 100% with new DSP. I don't know your problem exactly, but from experience, DT will only decode stereo. If output from your TV was not set to PCM you might hear loud crackling noises if i remember correctly. If its another issue, might be related specifically to the board you have in hand. My experience has been flawless

Hi @saleh84  Thanks for the additional information and clarification. I understand the excitement...believe me... The new DSP board is excitement inducing...  : )  

Importantly, Mr. Ebaen concurs with your findings! 

I ran into a problem last night when I ran Optical Out (for the first time) from my TV to the Terminator. I've discussed it with Alvin and he is having Denafrips investigate and address.

I'll be swapping in the former board (this evening) which will allow for my first A/B. This will be at 50 hours of runtime on the board via the USB input. 

[Note: I've been evaluating the new board via the USB input only, with the exception of the one time via Optical]
Hi @david_ten ,
it was my quick 10 hours mark over view at head fi. I did realize that sound might change during break in, but the findings were exciting that I had to share them :)
also,  DT caps and ladder dac resistors were already broken in. i assume the effect of the DSP components will be minimal compared to the whole unit break in, which as I recall was a bit long - I stopped hearing changes in sound back then at about 1000 hours mark!

well for the new DSP, its past 300 hours mark for sure, more like 350 hours. 
I can't add much beside that I'm loving my terminator even more and glad that I made this choice over other options at that time, the DSP board dissipated any doubts I had about DT technical abilities, which it was in the back of my head at times.

what I did actually notice compared to what I remember at that 10 hours mark, there was a slight hint of harshness that I usually associate with most new components. its completely gone now. all good things that we got more of with the new DSP, like 3D, separation, tonality and transparency remain same if not improved ever so slightly. honestly I was very happy with results out of box that i was not on a mission to focus on day to day changes, so this is probably my only comments that I'm sure off. things became smoother with initial "slight" harshness/sharpness completely gone.

worth mentioning that I have added during this time an AQ thunderbird bass cable, for a true bi-wire. it is said that this should enhance the purity of highs and mids, with less distortion over all. so I can't tell for sure (like 100% sure) if the cable had nothing to do with the additional smoothness I witnessed. 

please note, I use AES, in NOS mode only.   
Srajan Ebaen’s 6Moons review and 'Realization Awarded' Denafrips Terminator New DSP Board:

https://6moons.com/audioreview_articles/denafrips4/
Early impressions, now that I have over 30 hours of playtime on the DAC and over 40 hours of energized time on it:

First, I concur with what others have shared based on their own early impressions (mainly on Head Fi): The presentation is Clearer / Cleaner and with greater Clarity than the fully-run-in previous board.

Second, there has been variance in the sound as well as progression (in a good way) as the unit breaks in. Therefore, I’ll hold off on my other findings until I have over 100 hours of playtime on the DAC / new USB/DSP board.

Third, the sound signature of the new board departs enough from the previous board, for me to label it as ’significant,’ at least in terms of making a decision on one vs. the other.

Fourth, the write-up that was linked earlier in this thread [at the 10 hour point] is too early for an evaluation, in my opinion. Hopefully the author will follow-up with another quick review once he has many more hours on the board. The changes and progression I’m hearing is why my feedback above is very limited, at this point in time.

[PLEASE NOTE: I am only using the USB input and I am only using NOS mode, at this time]
One thing to point out:   My streaming system is Linux based, which meant an immediate (driver-less) handshake [same for Mac]. Those with Windows systems will need to load the Thesycon USB driver.

Here is a link to Technical Highlights and Specifications [from Denafrips]:

https://www.denafrips.com/single-post/2019/05/31/DSD1024-PCM1536---Are-you-ready
Just installed the New DSP board for the Terminator DAC. It took under 5 minutes to do so. Less than ten minutes from powering off to powering back on with the new DSB board.

The USB connection and handshake with Roon took immediately.

This is as simple as an install gets. I’m now playing music with the new board in, all in under ten minutes!!!

I’ll report back as I get some hours on the new board. First listen is very promising...and is different than the old board.

Here is the link from Denafrips / Alvin of Vinshine Audio to walk you through the board install.

https://www.denafrips.com/single-post/2019/06/18/How-To-Upgrade-DSP-Board?utm_campaign=7629eada-25c7-4c4f-a389-d6fa4664e3ec&utm_source=so
@bstatmeister  I only have the Terminator and the Yggdrasil. You'll have to report back! : )
I like it. Now..which one do you enjoy more the yggy or the ares?
Let go the 'winning'... Embrace the enjoying... 
Dang, Yggy got beat down...Now....Who would win between Yggy and Ares?
@in_shore  Yes.  

@bstatmeister   Here is my comparison of the Terminator to the Yggdrasil...

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/denafrips-terminator-and-schiit-yggdrasil-evaluation-and-comparison
Anyone compared Denafrips to Schiits best offerings? Yggy and Gumby vs Terminator
or the Bimby vs the Ares (since prices are similar)
Is this the first revision since the mighty Terminator was first released ?
Should be good ,.

I saw both Steve's video and read the High Fidelity review and was surprised on how taken both were with the Ares. High Fidelity gave it a Red Fingerprint award which indicates high value for the price. 

All the best,
Nonoise
Hello guys,
It has been a very busy month, I’m overwhelmed! Thank you for your strong support!
We strive to serve you even better, we’re now available to chat over Whatsapp/Wechat.

Wechat: vinshineaudio
Whatsapp: +6588534576

Do drop us a message for any inquiries/questions.

Enjoy the music!

Best,Alvin (Vinshine Audio)

Another Ares review. Just published on High Fidelity (Poland):

http://highfidelity.pl/@main-926&lang=en
I love the review and video, Steve G. is a class-act; calm and collected. Unlike some reviewers on YouTube, who can’t seem to keep their emotions in check 🤪

Ares is an incredible value for anyone considering a solid performer under $1K.
Here is Steve G. on the Denafrips Ares via his YouTube channel.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x32kMm6E4Pg


Anyone compared an Audio-GD R2R11 with the Denafrips Ares? Interested in comparisons with these 2 companies in general, as well.
That's really interesting, I wonder besides the higher sample rates, if there are noticeable sonic improvements for red book streaming.
Jay Luong of Audio Bacon has posted updates (including I2S) to his Terminator review, therefore, I am reposting the link.

A really strong comparative review vs. some other terrific DACs.

https://audiobacon.net/2019/02/28/denafrips-terminator-review/
I have to admit I'm now in the 'amazed' camp in terms of how impressed I am with it's continued upward (performance) mobility and how well it continues to scale.

All traits of R2R Multibit dac conversion with PCM.
We were really led astray when they stopped making them because of cost. And in place introduced far cheaper to make 1 bit, bitstream, Mash, ect ect ect  all Delta Sigma dacs and able to convert sacd and dsd.

I think sacd came out not long after the demise of R2R dacs that couldn't convert it.
Was this more a marketing exercise to get rid of expensive to produce R2R and introducing cheaper Delta Sigma???

Cheers George