Denafrips Terminator Listening Impressions
My initial impressions of the DENAFRIPS Terminator (DT) are in the context of my headphone system (Roon Server, Auralic Aries, DT, Audeze King, Audeze LCD2) and living room setup (Roonserver, Aurender N100, Auralic Vega, Oppo UDP 205, Audio Research LS2B, Krell KSA 250, Apogee speakers, REL sub).
I could make an attempt at creative writing or repeating what other reviewers (those who do this for a living exempt [pay to play]) have eloquently described before - however, life is short. If you are in this hobby to pursue the enjoyment of music and are in the position to make a discretionary spend for a DAC irrespective of cost, I am enthusiastically recommending to give a very serious consideration to the Denafrips Terminator. From the day it was delivered, the opposite of audiophilia nervosa settled in. Short days, long nights, sitting in my favorite chair, re-discovering gems, enjoying with a big and bigger smile. Yes, PRAT, in spades. Space (the final frontier) ample and with excellent localization. While listeners describe ESS-based DACs (for reference with respect to the DT) as potentially hyper-detailed / fatiguing, I have not experienced the fatigue component in my setups. To my ears, what differentiates the DT is its ability to transport the listener to the music making, as if being there, participating - mentally, emotionally, viscerally, vicariously. In the spirit or Beethoven’s Op. 125, fourth movement, bar 216 onwards. Freude!
I am a classically trained piano and pipe organ player and have enjoyed making music for more than half a century. While not my profession, music has been my passion throughout my life.
My primary gear for enjoying music has subtly evolved over thirty years, with focus on both loudspeaker and headphone based systems.
Speakers - Apogee Caliper, Apogee Duetta, REL Stadium II
Amps - Krell KSA 250, Wyred4Sound STI 1000
Preamp - Audio Research LS2B
Sources - Oppo BDP 95, Oppo BDP105, Oppo UPD 205, Pioneer Elite (various), NAD 5300, Wyred4Sound MS2, Auralic Aries Mini, Auralic Aries, Aurender N100 w/ 1TB SSD, Small Green Computer i7 Transporter w/ 1TB SSD (Roonserver), Macbook Pro, Sonictransporter SE
DACs - Wadia X32, Wyred4Sound Dac2, Auralic Vega, Topping D50, Project Box S2, and extensive listening to a comprehensive roster in the <$20K range (including other R2R)
Headphones - Stax SR gamma, Stax Sigma, Stax Lambda, Stax (various), Grado HP2, Audeze LCD 2, Beyerdynamic DT990, Sennheiser (various), Oppo PM3
Headphone Amps - Eddie Current S7, Oppo HA1, Oppo HA2SE, Violectric V200, Stax (various), Audeze King
Music - (sampling from the artist listing in my library, to give a flavor) Aaron Copland, Aaron Neville, Abe Laborier, Albert Fuller, Andreas Vollenweider, Animal Logic, Beastie Boys, Ludwig van Beethoven, Bela Fleck, Billy Holiday, Bjork, Blondie, Blechschaden, Bob Marley, Bonnie Raitt, Camille Saint-Saens, Carlos Santana, Cesar Franck, David Bowie, deadmau5, Dick Hyman, Enya, Florida, Franz List, Horowitz, Jaco Pistorius, Joe Satriani, Johann Sebastian Bach, Kraftwerk, Marcus Miller, Max Reger, Metallica, Miles Davis, Police, Richard Strauss, Richard Wagner, Stanley Clark, Victor Wooten, Wolfgang A. Mozart, … diverse, as this non-representative listing may suggest; from SSD, Tidal or Qobuz
Credit: Gerald Terfloth @ Pennsylvania, USA