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  • Writer's pictureDENAFRIPS

Ares 12th - The improvements are even greater than I expected

These are my current systems; one analog, one digital. Amplification consists of the Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III and a Conrad Johnson Motifs 2001 power amp using the Schiit Freya+ as preamp. My speakers are Canto Vento 896.2 with two Rel 7Ti subwoofers. Both amplifiers connect to the speakers via a speaker/amp switch. The analog components connected to the Cronus III are a Technics 1500 reel to reel tape deck and an Avid HiFi Diva MK1 turntable with a Sumiko Blue Point 3 Low Output MC cartridge. The phono stage is an Avid Hifi Pulsus.

The Denafrips Iris connects via I2S to the Ares 12th. In turn, this connects to both the Cronus III (via SET) and the Freya+ preamp (via XLR). There is an Arcam CDS50 SACD player connected to the Freya+ via XLR cables as well. My digital music is on my Lenovo Laptop using JRiver Media Center with a Buffalo 16x Desktop BDXL Blu-Ray as a CD transport.

Having posted that I received the Ares 12th a month ago, a few comments asked for my impressions of this new DAC. A little Denafrips history is necessary here. Back in the summer of 2020, I was looking for a new DAC. Based on the promise from multiple reviewers with regard to the more analog sound of R2R DACS and more specifically the Denafrips Ares II, I ordered one from Vinshine. I was not disappointed. But, being a typical audiophile, I had to ask "what if"?

If computers can introduce noise and jitter into the signal, could the sound be further enhanced with a DDC. After a losing debate with myself about the expense, the Iris found its way to my home this past May. There was an improvement with a quieter background, a slightly wider soundstage, tighter bass, and greater detail in the upper frequencies. Then, Alvin announced the availability of the new Ares 12th which included an I2S input. I ordered it that day.

After using it for the past 30 days, I can say the following about the Ares 12th/Iris combination in comparison to the Ares II (now Enyo) in the same combination. The improvements are even greater than I expected (or hoped for). The soundstage in both width and depth is even further expanded with more exact spacing between the instruments and vocals. The bass is tighter and more focused. Vocals are rich and lush with a more in the room presence. The details are more distinct and better integrated within the overall sound signature. This is true for both my digital amp and my tube amp. But, with the tubes in the Rogue Audio Cronus III, the experience goes from being wonderful to simply bliss.

Credit: Dan E. @ New York, USA





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