The Denafrips Terminator DAC is now fully established in my system. Two DACs ago, I was using an MSB Technology Platinum DAC III. I had it for 8 enjoyable years but, near the end, I became less satisfied with the sound. I replaced that with a Holo Audio Spring DAC Level 3 Kitsune Tuned Edition.In general, this DAC gave me much of the clarity that I would expect to have, given 8 years of technological and materials advancements. The Holo DAC ultimately did have some limitations in how music was expressed, a small amount of hardness to the sound, and a limited range of flexibility.
The search continued and led me to the Denafrips Terminator.
Denafrips states "The Terminator will be our True Reference Master Class DAC for the next 10 years." I do believe that will be true for me. Low frequencies are substantial, yet not booming. High frequencies are clear, yet not strident. Overall, there is clarity and an equitable presentation of the whole frequency range. I was at first using this DAC with a 6 year old MSB Technology Data CD IV transport, connected to the DAC via AES/EBU cable. I recently acquired a PS Audio Direct Stream Memory Player; it is connected to the DAC via I2S over an HDMI cable. This combination is more listenable than I could have imagined!
The previously used AES/EBU cable is now used to connect a Nativsound VITA server to the DAC. Balanced analog output from the DAC goes to a Luminous Audio Axiom II Passive Preamp, Walker Mod, with Remote. The amplifier, not visible in the photos, is a Benchmark AHB2. Loudspeakers are NEFES, from Reference 3A. I was previously convinced that the amplifier and loudspeakers that are in this system were items that were very much to my taste and were likely to be kept for a long time. The Terminator DAC showed to me that the amp and speakers had previously not been able to work to their full potential. The transport and the volume controller helped to consolidate the system.
In short, if I have not been too obvious, this is a system for music listening, and the Terminator DAC is the engine that drives it.
Credit: Steven P. @ Pennsylvania