Attached is the photo of my current system. It consists of a pair of Zu Audio Omen DW speakers, together with a tube amp (Resiong A10), solid-state receiver (Outlaw RR2150), and Orbit turntable, with a Phillips DVD963 (used as transport) to feed the Ares II. I also use Android and Mac OS devices to stream hi-res music on Tidal and Amazon HD.
Alternately, I use the Ares II DAC in a headphone configuration, coupled directly to an iFi iCAN nano headphone amp driving a set of Hifiman HE-400 modified headphones.
Overall, I found the versatility and sound quality of the Ares II very impressive. Most notable is the smoothness of the sound and lack of digital harshness. I listen mainly to classical, opera, and jazz, and the Ares II seems to fit right in.
In large orchestra pieces, for example, the strings can sometimes sound quite glassy with inferior DACs; likewise for delicate cymbal work in jazz pieces. I also found that the Ares II brings back some of the natural resonance of instruments: cellos sound more 'woody' and have a fuller tone and slightly more body. Vocals (particularly female mid-range in jazz and opera) sound fuller.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the Ares II-- it's a phenomenal piece of electronics at a reasonable price.
Thanks for making it available!
All the best,
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