PONTUS DAC: It is an astounding value
What I am about to describe is with a burn-in of approximately 60 hours after the DSP upgrade. Some of what I am describing, I could hear from the beginning. Other things have become more noticeable with burn-in. As prior to this upgrade, I prefer the OS on with the slow filter engaged. Overall, I would not consider this upgrade to be a dramatic change but rather one of significant refinement of the pre-DSP upgrade sound.
The thing I first notice is improvement within the soundstage. Voices and instruments take on more body, have a greater solidity. The soundstage does not appear larger than before but has more detail within that space.
The highs appear to be smoother than before. I think it is more addition by subtraction as the energy is equivalent but it appears there might be some (digital artifacts?) that no longer appear to be there. Air and spacing can be more clearly heard than before. Audience clapping can at times appear earily real. Previously, there were times I could hear a slight metallic sound on the leading edges of violins that is no longer there with the upgrade.
There is a greater solidity to the bass that extends into the midrange. It provides a foundation and slam that wasn't as present as before. In my system, it sounds more harmonically real than previously although it is more than just a different harmonic balance. There is clearly greater detail being generated as many sounds that previously were lost amid the music, now are more clearly heard as individual sounds in the mix. There are sounds that I was familiar with that now are heard as more than one individual sound. The sound of mass voices now often contains many individual voices giving a greater sense of a live choir.
From the perspective of the listening experience, this added dimensionality and greater detail allows the music to be easier on my ears and allows me to be more easily effected by the music. If you have a high resolution system and want to feel closer to the music, I highly recommend this upgrade.
In my most recent journey with hi-fi, after doing a lot of research, I found myself buying from smaller, specialty companies. Each piece in my stereo represents the best value I could find via the internet. The Pontus was the final piece for my digital system and the DSP upgrade has taken me closer to the music than before. It is an astounding value.
-- Art A
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