Alvin from Vinshine Audio asked me to document my impressions of the Denafrips Venus. I am in no way a professional reviewer. I am just an Audiophile that was looking for a new DAC.
I received my Venus on July 5, 2019. My last two DACs came from big name DAC companies. I had the top of the line models from PS Audio and Mytek. This time I really wanted to try the Denafrips Terminator, but it was just a bit out of my price range. My budget was hard fixed at $3000.
The Venus looked like just the ticket. Now I am really glad I went with the Venus over the other R2R DAC I was looking at in the same price range. I left the Venus playing for a week straight to break it in. I did some initial listening and took some notes but threw them away after the Venus was broken in because it changed so much over the week.
Initially it was very etched and strident. Now it’s very relaxed and natural. The soundstage is the best I have ever heard in my system. Instruments stand out nicely. It’s as if the soloist takes a step forward when it’s his turn to play. I can close my eyes and really see where he is standing on the stage. The overall presentation is so relaxed that I have frequently found myself listening to music well into the night.
Like I said I couldn’t afford The Terminator so I can’t compare the two units. I never heard one. In my modest system the Venus sounds just great. When I first got the Venus, I was using one of those credit card sized streamers with a linear power supply. After listening to the Venus for a few weeks I decided to try another streamer to see if I could take it up another notch. The Venus is so good it makes you want to better the other components in the chain. My favorite local dealer is an Auralic dealer. I called him to ask if he had an Aries G1 he could lend me. He did and after hearing it for two days I decided to purchase it and sell my other streamer. The G1 took the overall performance of the system up a big notch. So, I guess the bottom line here is that if you want a Terminator but can’t afford the $4500, the Venus is said to be 80 – 90% of the Terminator for only $3000. I love this DAC. So, if you can’t afford The Terminator then the Venus could be your next DAC.
Positives: Soundstage. Lots of detail without sounding bright or harsh. Plays everything I can throw at it up to DSD256. It won’t play 512 yet but there is a new board coming by the end of this year that will accommodate DSD512. Excited to try it out.
This from my notes:
Very detailed without being aggressive or harsh
Built like a tank
Makes every component sound it’s best
Hearing things I never heard before
Hugh sound stage. Can really hear the location of the players. Most other DACs I have owned homogenized the sound
Instruments sound real
Soundstage is amazing
Negatives: I only have one negatives and it’s not a killer. I use USB to connect my Aries G1 to the Venus. When you put the unit in standby the USB input gets deselected and has to be reselected when you turn it on from standby. Not terrible. Just an annoyance (DENAFRIPS: The USB input gets disabled when it's in standby or not selected as input source)
Ayre AX-5 Twenty - Integrated Amp
Dynaudio Special 40 - Speakers
Bryston BCD-3 CD Player
Denafrips Venus DAC
Auralic Aries G1 Streamer
PS Audio P10 Power Regenerator
Cardas Clear Balanced Interconnects
Audience Au24 SE Speaker Cables
PS Audio Power Cables
Credit: John @ New Jersey