I bought a Denafrips Ares 2 dac some 5 weeks ago and thought I would post my findings to maybe assist the inquisitive amongst us.
I do all of my listening through speakers and the dac is left on always.
For critical listening I would recomend that running for at least 300 hrs before the sound improves and maybe 500 hrs before making a true evaluation. It may sound overly punchy and bass heavy until run in.
It was used with a detailed source and neutral cable feeding the Ares 2 before connecting again with same neutral cable into a warm/meaty amplifier. The speakers are small bookshelf capable of high resolution.
My worry after early initial impressions were that my set up (matching) might be a little bit rich. After running in the sound became more detailed,spacious with a better tonality to the bass. To my ears far more balanced. I was pleased because then I knew it was a keeper and my old dac would be sold.
The settings on the dac are a noticeable nice touch. I settled with the nos/warm as my default. It suited my set up best.
If describing the dac sound...I would say it has a warm rhythmical signature and is very easy to live with. System matching with detailed / highly resolving components should work just okay. Careful not to over egg the pudding with too rich a mix.
Great little dac for the money.
It's certainly not overawed when used with more expensive company, and sounds far more cohesive (lifelike/musical) than more expensive equipment I have owned.
Credit: Mark S.
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