I am an avid music listener, from folk music to heavy rock to orchestral, typically digitally stored in and sourced from my iMac computer. I do own a Drop THX AAA 789 amplifier and either use my Creative T4 speakers or Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO headphones for listening music. These already get me to a great music listening experience, but I knew that one thing was missing: a DAC.
After few days of research, I became aware of Denafrips Ares II, a R2R Ladder DAC, many spoke highly of at online sites. Although it was a little more costly than I was planning to spend on a DAC (~700 USD vs ~400 USD), some reviews stating that Ares II was as good as a 10,000 USD DAC, got me really interested. I also saw how so many audiophiles now suggest the R2R DAC technology for a more musical experience, so I just went ahead and purchased it. I was told that it could take a month to receive it as it needed to come from the other side of the world, from Singapore to US…I received it in 12 days which I appreciated.
From the second I tried Ares II, I was blown away by how much the musical experience was improved by this device. The clarity of the sound, the detail of every instrument and vocals, the ultra-silent background, the balance and warmth of the whole range from bass to treble, the staging and imaging, lack of sharp spikes, all were what I have always looked for but have never attained, at least fully and all at once.
One thing that really stood out for me and am still cherishing above all with this DAC is the separation; that every instrumental and vocal performance are very distinctly presented; even the smallest of vocals is not dominated over by any other sound, or any instrument by another; nothing is stepped on. You hear everything, not in an analytical way, but as a real performance, putting you on the stage rather than the seat; right there with the musicians. At some point, I even thought that I heard the heartbeat of a musician (then I realized it was mine beating with excitement!).
The rumors and reviews were correct after all. Kudos to Alvin and his team at Vinshine…
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