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How can I describe the sound?

A big leap forward

I was looking for a larger scene on my old Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ so I've started researching different preamplifiers from some well known audio companies. After testing four different preamplifiers, there was no real synergy, the volume range was very limited so I gave up and reconsidered my options.

The most logical upgrade path was to start with the DAC and then to find a matched preamplifier. A friend of mine, who praises and owns a Denafrips Ares II, suggested me to go for a R2R DAC as being very natural sounding so I ended up ordering a Terminator 2 and an Athena matched preamplifier .... Oh, and a Hermes, please! We shall defeat the jitter!

So much new and heavy equipment needed a new audio stand too ... and new Isoacoustics isolators ... and new power cables. Keep them coming, baby!

I'm using the Terminator 2 in OS mode with Slow filter. It's connected to the Hermes via i2s with a generic HDMI cable (the Audioquest Vodka 48 is on its way) and two Cordial word clock cables (the Sommer Cable Vector BNC upgrades are on the way), the Hermes is being fed music dew by an Auralic Aries G2.1 via USB with PCM oversampling to 705.6kHz / 768kHz.

It's been a week since I've started burning in the new components and I think that they sound better and better each day. How can I describe the sound? It's holographic, dynamic, immersive, detailed and has a huge wide and deep scene. What really shocks me each time is the channel separation which, on a very black background, resembles the headphones' channel separation. The bass is also impressive: deep, controlled, fleshy. The mids are sweet and present but the highs are detailed and can go both delicate and razor sharp, they are not coloring the songs. I know that my room is far from perfect and I'm not hearing the full performance of the Denafrips stack, but this will be solved next with some sound treatment panels.

The customer support is A+, just as the Denafrips products. Thank you very much, Alvin!

Equipment used:

  • Ethernet switch: MOTU AVB 5-port Gigabit (powered by Sbooster LPS)

  • Streamer: Auralic Aries G2.1 (with Hoer-Wege PSU and Synergistic Research Orange fuse)

  • DDC: Denafrips Hermes (USB in / i2s out and using clock sync)

  • DAC: Denafrips Terminator II

  • Preamp: Denafrips Athena

  • Amp: 2x Gold Note PA-10 (with Synergistic Research Orange fuses and bridged @600W)

  • Power conditioner: Isotek Aquarius (sources)

  • Speakers: Monitor Audio Gold 300 5G (with TAOC TITE-25GS speaker isolators)

  • Subwoofer: SVS PB16-ULTRA (with SVS SoundPath Subwoofer Isolation System)

  • Stand: Norstone Esse AV

  • Isolators: Isoacoustics ISO-PUCK and ISO-PUCK mini, bamboo and rubber wood platforms

Credit: Valentin A. @ Romania





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