REVIEW

Credit to Eric @ Singapore

Player: Melco N1ZH Audiophile NAS

DAC: Totaldac d1-six DAC

Amplifier: Conrad Johnson GAT + ART Monoblock 
Speaker: Vivid Audio Giya G4

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I will go right out and say this - the Pontus offers outstanding sound quality for the money. I would be hard pressed to suggest another unit with competitive performance at the price bracket. 

The Pontus would best be described as sounding very cohesive. It has a very composed sonic presentation with a good even balance. Resolution is very good, with commendable retrieval of micro-detail.

Tonally, I would put it as sitting somewhere to the subtly warm side of neutral. In comparison, the Vinshine DAC or the Holo Audio Spring DAC (Level 3) have a warmer balance.

Bass notes are reproduced in a tight, clean and rhythmic fashion. There is no bloat, fullness, or overhang here, and some may find the low frequencies to be somewhat dry and lightweight. This tended to give the Pontus a reduced sense of scale and dynamic restraint.

Initially, I found the midrange to be overly laidback. Out went the excellent Blackcat Tron coaxial cable, and in went the Viard Audio Silver HD Digital AES cable. The Viard has a very neutral tone and a drier balance than the Tron. While the midrange remained on the laidback side, it was nicely detailed and expressive. 

High frequencies are great with the Pontus, with good extension, refinement and nice reproduction of acoustic space in recordings.  

Soundstaging and imaging are also a strong point, with very precise placement of instruments both laterally, and depth wise. Sonic images were always kept tightly in focus, without any wavering even when things got busy.

Suggestions though that the Pontus is the one DAC to rule them all are misplaced (why do all audiophiles get all excited by these possible David vs Goliath stories ?). You can get much higher performance than the Pontus, but by spending at least three or four times more money. My Totaldac D1-Six has superior dynamics, more powerful bass, and a dimensionality to the sound that makes the Pontus seem flat in comparison. However, I could buy a Pontus for each of my three bedrooms, my two toilets, kitchen, dining room and still have a fair amount left over.

Conclusion

 

Great performance at the asking price. Probably not the best choice for bass heads, but otherwise, the Pontus has very little flaws. Makes you wonder how good Denafrips top model is ? It's never been better for audiophiles on a tight budget - Highly Recommended.

Credit to Auditor @ Headfi

Pros 

  • the absolute absence of digital glare, but maintaining a great resolution.

  • the deep, organic and detailed bass

  • the large and credible soundstage

  • the really intoxicating dynamic, who keeps enjoying you for hours revitalizing any song

Cons

  • Not a status symbol to show

Credit to Alexey @ dastereo.ru

Ideally, for myself, I see such a picture: Holo Spring Level 3 has a slight advantage on SSR and heavyweight, Pontus plays on equal terms with Holo - on calm styles, jazz and chamber classics.

I will note one more thing that was raised earlier. I did not notice any problems with the sound of Pontus with the start "on the cold" - the trumpet did not need any additional warming up to enter the "working mode". Perhaps this is caused by an AES / EBU connection.

Summarizing, I can say that I liked Pontus personally. It produces a very decent sound level for relatively little money.

August 21, 2020

Double award in a single review, first time in the 6moons review history?

ARES II DAC - Realsization Award

"Realsization takes standards educated by exposure to the best of audio and investigates how much money can be saved while maintaining the essence of ultra performa...

June 11, 2020

https://youtu.be/cEENja1LfKI

https://youtu.be/40cLtU5_VsY

Here is my first impression of the new Pontus:

  • - I congratulate Denafrips on a new class of music playback!

  • - A significantly better musical flow from the first note (maybe someone assembled the device for...

June 7, 2020

I’ve been playing this game since around 1975. 

The Klipschorns which have been the one constant are from around that era and have updated crossovers from around 2005 or so. The little Miniwatt amp is an outstanding piece of equipment and I urge anyone with high efficie...

June 4, 2020

What I am about to describe is with a burn-in of approximately 60 hours after the DSP upgrade. Some of what I am describing, I could hear from the beginning. Other things have become more noticeable with burn-in. As prior to this upgrade, I prefer the OS on with the sl...

May 2, 2020

May 1, 2020

A few years ago I decided to get back into listening to 2 channel audio and picked up a Dual 1229 Turntable with a Sure  V15 Type iii Cartridge and a high end Phono preamp. I basically stopped listening to CDs as they were too digital sounding to me. There w...

December 1, 2019

Enjoying the great sound of the Pontus

I do not consider myself an audiophile but I do like a music lover which I have enjoyed from an early age.  I grew up listening to music on the great Telefunken console where my mother played her vinyl records, this in the distant...

June 9, 2019

The perfect DAC for enjoying music.

Pros -

  • Truly enjoyable music with less bright treble

  • Bass extension is deeper

  • Excellent details and Transparency

  • Wide soundstage

  • Value for price


Cons -

  • R-2R architecture DAC requires some "heat up" bef...

December 10, 2018

"I think that I have about 100+ hours of burn-in on the Pontus now and last night the DAC turned the corner.  A revelatory listening session.  Gotta love it.  Anyway, I felt ready to pen my thoughts on it for you at this point.  Find them below, along with a couple of...

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