Denafrips FPGA Firmware Update

In case there are any Denafrips DAC owners out there that are not aware of the FPGA Firmware Update, here's the link:

I did the update on my Ares II earlier today and am currently enjoying the results.  It is definitely an improvement without question.


How long before they emailed you back with the correct file after you sent in the photo ?

I just sent in the details on my area ii


Interesting that they note there was a phase difference between the L and R, wonder how much it was?

@j_andrews - I sent the photo yesterday afternoon and received a reply today mid morning. Pretty quick. 

@erik_squires - It would be interesting to know for sure. I can tell you that it’s a pretty significant improvement. I was initially impressed, but the more I’ve listened today the more impressed I’ve become. 

Interested to know if anyone with a gen-1 Terminator has success with this upgrade. Getting into my Termi requires ripping apart my rig and I’m in no rush to deal with that.


Received the reply when I got up this morning and just completed the update via Mac OSX.

Was a fine process. *Note Mac users, the visual guide Vinshine sends uses screenshots from Monterey OS 12.0.1. If you’re using newer OS like I am (Ventura 13.2), the dialog boxes will appear a little different but you should be able to figure out all the appropriate steps.

I’m now listening to the upgraded Ares II via the Coax Spdif input (coming out of my Iris DDC). Can’t say if it’s sounding better necessary bc I just sat down to listen, but it certainly sounds good!

@jl1ny Currently it's only Ares / Enyo users who can do the update.  They are releasing the updates according to the model in batches so they don't get overwhelmed with support .   I believe the Terminators will be the last to get the email updates.



5 hours later … working from home today and listened to quite a few records (streaming only) and it’s definitely an improvement in sound quality.
There’s definitely something going on with the stereo image. It seems bigger and more extended side to side. Also, the sound is slightly more vivid. The differences aren’t night and day, but the music just sounds bigger to me.

Also, I was one of those ppl who did have the occasional skipping issue.

For me it was less of a Pop than a soft skip sound. It would usually happen about 2 or 3 times in a long listening session and often not at all.

It was obviously not a good thing but I was never all that irritated because it happened so quickly and then it was over.

Anyway, hasn’t happened at all today and I hope it’s gone.

I’m still considering a Pontus or Venus upgrade in the near future but going to live with this updated Area II for the time being



How did do you do the update?  My Pontus ll update will be coming soon.


We will be rolling out the FPGA firmware update in stages, starting with the Ares II / Enyo DAC (It's happening now! We received no less than 500 FPGA Firmware Requests so far!).

We plan to roll out the firmware update of the rest of the DACs at a later date, tentatively:
* Pontus II (1st Apr 2023)
* Venus II (15th Apr 2023)
* Terminator (1st May 2023)
* Terminator II / Plus (15th May 2023)

I know it's very exciting that you will be getting a new firmware update for the DAC. I am as excited as you, sir! But please bear with us at the moment. We will come back to you very soon - when the firmware update is available for you!

Thank you for your kind patience and consideration.


Many thanks,

Alvin Chee 

I look forward to this (Termi Plus here), will be interested to hear the difference. Also appreciate the continued support for existing products!

Great news for my Pontus II.

I hope it fixes the skipping issue and that it sounds even better. Well done Denafrips :)

Hi All! I'm a new guy.

Alvin/Vinshine appear to have a small team of associates, and it just might be too over-whelming to release the firmware for all their DACs all at the same time; what with questions about the procedure to installl.

Conjecturing; It just might be all the same files.

Conjecturing; It just might be all the same files.


I have to stress that the FPGA Firmware Update Tool (FUT) is not the same. Each DAC/FPGA chip model has its own FUT. 



@alvin1118 Does the firmware apply to all models of the Terminator? Even the very first model before the DSP board upgrade?

To Alvin: Having received my Pontus II on March 6th; is it possible that the update was applied prior to shipment?

Firmware update worked well and so far so good with sound and use. No problems at all w/ Mac Os Big Sur.

It's satisfying that Denafrips/Vinshine looking after existing customers like this. I do think Alvin and his team are very customer focussed and responsive. It's worth just as much as the quality of the product that the after service is so strong.

Just be careful with those little screws on the unit, as their thread is easily stripped.



Does/do these firmware upgrades work also on the newest Ares (anniversary) dac or do those come with the updated firmware already?

From reading the procedure for installing the firmware, again; I would say it applies to all the Ares II DACs.

I purchased the Enoy (Ares II) in November and have enjoyed it since then. But there was the occasional reverb effect. It was a great improvement over my DENON AV built in DAC via HDMI. I wasn't expecting anything earth shattering, but... It was night and day! The very first thing I noticed was the much larger and 3D soundstage. The balance of the audio was majorly improved and much more detailed without harshness at all. Finally the minor reverb effects I noticed in some songs was gone,

Listening to Beth Hart's vocals were just as raspy and strong, but with absolutely no artifacts which allowed me to listen without fatigue. Pink Floyd Shine on You Crazy Diamond was as clear and detailed as my vinyl CBS half speed pressing (the second corrected version). I have a very good vinyl setup, but I just can't stop listening now. My wife has to remind me she wants to watch something. Haha.

I hope everyone has the same experience. Alvin and his team deserve massive praise for the way they take care of the customer! And that the update really did make a major improvement.

One note for the Windows/USB users. After rebooting to allow unsigned drivers, you must install the Configuration driver which is separate from the FUT tool. If you don't the USB HiRes F-20 Configuration device will show up, but you will have the yellow exclamation triangle that is isn't functioning and the FUT tool will fail. Once that is working the update is instantaneous. I rebooted my Windows system and cycled the power completely on the DAC. I believe you will be very happy with this upgrade/ 

@audibleguy - all Denafrips anniversary models have the new firmware. From what Alvin said, only II models can get the update. Double check, but that’s my understanding.


I find it interesting that some here are reporting an improvement in sound stage dimensions after the upgrade. While I really like my Pontus II, the one area I would like to see improvement on is the sound stage. I am looking forward to this upgrade in a big way!

Just bought a T+ less than 2 months ago. Really enjoying the upgrade from my prior DAC (which was no slouch). From all I'm reading, I'll be looking forward to the firmware update in May. Thanks @dcespeedy for the added info. I'm a USB Windows user. Your input will make the update go smooth.

I recently had the pleasure of updating my TPlus II DAC with the new firmware from Vinshine Audio, and I have to say, I am absolutely blown away by the results.


First of all, the update process itself was a breeze. It only took me about 10-15 minutes to complete, and I didn't encounter any issues or complications along the way. The instructions provided by Vinshine Audio were clear and easy to follow, and I appreciated that they made the process as user-friendly as possible.


But the real magic happened once the update was complete. As soon as I started listening to music through my newly updated TPlus II, I could tell that something was different - and in the best possible way. The soundstage was wider and more spacious, and I could hear details in the music that I hadn't noticed before. The bass was deeper and more impactful, and the overall sound was smoother and more refined.


I found myself listening to music for hours on end, just reveling in the newfound clarity and richness of the sound. It's like I'm hearing my favorite songs for the first time all over again.


I should also mention that I was lucky enough to be part of a limited beta tester group for the TPlus II firmware update. While the general public release is scheduled for May, I was able to get my hands on it early and see the benefits for myself.


In short, if you're a TPlus II owner, I would highly recommend keeping an eye out for the upcoming firmware update. It's a game-changer, and it's sure to take your listening experience to new heights. Thank you, Alvin, for providing such an incredible product and for allowing me to be part of the beta testing process.


Overall, I couldn't be happier with the results of the TPlus II firmware update. @alvin1118 ​​​​​​ and his team at Vinshine Audio have truly outdone themselves with this one, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to take their listening experience to the next level. The update process is easy, the results are astounding, and the customer service from Vinshine Audio is top-notch. Thank you, Alvin, for creating such an amazing product and making the update process so seamless. I am a very satisfied customer indeed!

Thanks! Good to know. I also have TPlus, just submitted the photo of the chip. Too bad I have to wait till May to do the update... :)

The results of the FPGA update were positive, and if directions are followed fairly easy to do.  After sending in the required photo of the chip and filling out the form I received my download link from Vinshine Audio within 24 hours; their support and communication has been amazing.  The following are a few noteworthy points that I experienced:

- The flashing process took longer than the "up to 5 minutes" estimate that was mentioned in the instructions.  It actually took 7 minutes and the last couple of minutes gave me a couple of gray hairs!

- I experienced a small amount of micro-skipping when streaming via toslink from a Wiim Pro.  This problem has since disappeared but will keep an ear to this to see if the problem returns.  Vinshine did mention that the FPGA may need to burn in so maybe this was part of the burn in process.  I did not experience any micro-skipping with my Jolida CD player via digital coaxial. 

- The upgrade without question improved my listening experience; larger soundstage, better instrument separation, improved bass definition, and micro details became clearer.  I read on other forums that some people experienced brightness.  It is my opinion that the upper end became smoother in my system.  The sound improvement gave me a taste of audio nirvana and now makes me wonder what I may be missing from the upper echelon dacs from Denafrips.

Just wanted to add my experience to this thread. I purchased the Ares II in Septemeber of 2022. I had a very good experience running my streamer through it, but when I tried to run my cd player I noticed a fair amount of chirping/skipping. Just a few days ago I performed the firmware update and so far all skipping is gone and the DAC has never sounded better. The folk at Vinshine were enormously helpful throughout the entire process. 


I have the Enyo and did the firmware update and WOW what a difference for the better!

After the update was done I played some music and was extremely disappointed. The next morning I woke up and turned on the amp and music started playing right away. I had forgotten to turn off the streamer the night before, and the Enyo I usually just leave it on. 

Anyways, I turned up the volume and was flabbergasted. I listened for a short time and all I could think of was wow things were sounding extremely good. I guess there is a short burn in period. 

Well, its been a few days now and I am pleased. Prior to the update I preferred listening with the OS mode engaged and with fast roll off. Today however I like the DAC in NOS mode. The soundstage is immersive, robust, has better clarity and depth. Imaging is cleaner, and defined. Still retaining its warm mid sound that I like about this DAC. I’m hearing more of the bass with better articulation and more punch in the mid bass. 

I still like OS mode with fast roll off and look forward to trying it with slow roll off.

This update is fantastic. I find my head bopping to the music constantly now. I don’t know how they did this but kudos to all those involved in this project.

Unfortunately, the latest update worked flawlessly for 6-days. The pops are back and additionally, my music cuts in and out. Disappointing to read that owners of the Pontus 2 also have the same issues as my Ares 2.

Great sounding product but when you end up listening for pops etc. instead of the music, it defeats the purpose. Music is supposed to be enjoyable and instead it's turned into a stressor because of these flaws. Very disappointed with all of this.

Regarding the pops, if anyone is using software to feed your dac, try reducig the output by 2 dB. Tbis sounds a lot kike dac clipping issues with other DACSif your pops vanish the problem is clear.

@erik_squires - I'll be curious to see if your tip resolves the issue.  I have not had a lot of time to listen since the firmware upgrade, but have not yet had the things described @geox54 happen.  I'm using a Bluesound Node 2i with the volume fixed.

I guess I should have given more specifics. I'm using a Cambridge Audio CXC via Audioquest Carbon Toslink cable to the Ares 2. When I first purchased this DAC, I was using a BJC coaxial and the issues were much more frequent than when using the Toslink. I then switched to Toslink and the pops were less frequent so I just never went back to the coaxial.

Don't get me wrong, for the first few days after the firmware update, the Ares 2 worked flawlessly and sounded fantastic. Then all of a sudden, the gremlins returned and so did my frustration. 

I am hoping that this was just a one-off anomaly. Have not listened to it much at all since, solely because I haven't had the time. Also, I must state that Vince has been absolutely great with customer service, as I had contacted him previously for another firmware update to correct previous issues, which were the same that sparked this latest firmware update. I love this DAC and hope that in the end, the issues can be resolved for good.

@mceljo did you have these issues while streaming via Bluesound Node 2i prior to the update?

@goex54 - Interesting. Is it possible you have a digital ground loop? Do you have a Cable TV coaxial cable coming into your system as well?

Coaxial digital cable can of course create a ground loop IF the DAC isn’t galvanically isolated, which sadly is not 100% of the time.

Another source for digital ground loops is from the streamer, especially PC’s. If you are using a laptop unplug it from the power supply. If this is your problem a USB isolator is in order for you. Again, IMHO, all DAC’s should have galvanically isolated USB and coax but they do not always have this.

Meaning, there should be no metal to metal pure pathway in.  An isolator, usually a transformer, is used to prevent DC current and ground loops from forming. 

In the digital domain weird effects like clicking, as well as not quite so audible effects like severe jitter, and even very audible hum are possible symptoms. 


@erik_squires  The only thing that I have hooked up to the Ares 2 is my CD transport via toslink. I don’t have a streamer and I don’t have my PC or cable TV running through it. At some point perhaps a streamer and or my PC via J River USB as I own a bit of hi res audio. 

The only thing that I have hooked up to the Ares 2 is my CD transport via toslink. I don’t have a streamer and I don’t have my PC or cable TV running through it.

Well that was my only other thought. A ground loop or the DAC is getting overloaded, which can happen with upsampling algorithms. The curve of the upsample exceeds the bit range on peaks and causes the DAC to produce digital sounding distortion. In other words, ticks and the like as opposed to how a receiver may sound when it’s overloading.

Couple of related symptoms:

  • Happens at exactly the same place on the same tracks
  • If you turn down the digital volume before the DAC the problem goes 100% away.

I have a Mac Book Pro  running Mojave 10.14.6, and wanted to know if anyone has done the firmware update with that OS? I do not want to have issues when it's time to update my Venus II. I don't want to update the OS any further or some of my software will not run.


@goex54 - I had a few pops and clicks prior to the firmware upgrade.  Not enough to bother me, but enough to know what it was from my online reading.  Post firmware upgrade, I can't say that I've had any but have not spent a lot of time listening.

I never had the popping or clicking issue on my Denafrips Area II, but finally took it apart yesterday, photographed the chip, sent in the form, and got the update last evening.

Took the time this morning and carefully followed the instructions provided by Alvin. Turned out to be straight forward as I worked my way through, step by step, even though I am on the newest Mac OS…..easy to figure out.

It is a very nice performance upgrade for the Ares II, I must say. Well worth the upgrade regardless of any past issues, or not.

Thanks to Alvin and Vinshine for this update, pretty unexpected and adds new life to the Ares. 👍

The setup guide says to download a Theyscon driver if you want to use usb into the Ares II.  Since I won’t ever e using my PC as source, do I need to install the driver on my PC?  Thanks.

Yes, if you are updating the Ares II with the PC, it will need that driver to do the update to the firmware.

@rowlocktrysail - Thanks for providing your impressions of the update. I'm looking forward to trying this update on my Terminator Plus. It already sounds great, so will be interesting to hear how it can be improved. 

btw - I'm not sure what you mean by TPlus II. I'm aware of the Terminator II and the Terminator Plus (as well as the 12th anniversary versions of them), but don't know what a TPlus II is. 

@jaytor you are absolutely correct meant it as TPlus 12th edition. 


All the best with the upgrade.

FPGA Firmware Update is available for Pontus II now. Any feedback from the Pontus II owners? Thanks in advance!

Installed the Pontus II 12th Anniversary FUT. I downloaded to my Mac Pro (Mojave), the directions were clear and went quite smoothly. Less than 1 minute once I dropped the file into the Terminal window. I didn't expect to be blown over by the results of the firmware, and, I wasn't. However, there is some pixie dust happening here; A good thing. I played one of my favorite Latin Jazz - 'Montuno' -from Lalo Schifrin. its 7:34 of pure energy—and there was a bit more bass & brass, a bit more air around instruments, and a bit more sound stage height than what I'm use to. Its a small bump. I'll know better in a week.

I should add to the above; I was streaming from my iPad, usb to Pontus, to P3 pre, to EX-M7, to Revel M106 pair. I have yet to try the other ports and I believe Alvin noted those ports would receive the benefit of the firmware, too.