I am satisfied with the GAIA and Venus II

I purchased the Venus II first and used it with USB from an 8-core computer running Phasure XXHIGHEND RAMOS music player. Compared to my DIY ES9018 DAC using boards from Twisted Pear Audio and a transformer output stage (Lundahl 1684) the Venus was without a doubt better. More resolving, more depth, pace, spatial distance, etc. Simply more musical.

After reading about reclockers I purchased an Uptone ISO REGEN USB reclocker. Both DACs benefited from it. So I took the leap to the GAIA which made both DACs sound better! I used the GAIA HDMI I2S for the Venus II but was using COAX for the DIY DAC. The I2S made the Venus sound more real with better defined bass lines among the many improvements.

Getting the GAIA with a second I2S spurred me to modify the DIY DAC to use the RJ45 I2S output of the GAIA. With this change I find the DIY DAC to be very close to the Venus II but the Venus still edges it out providing a more convincing musical performance. The GAIA brought out the most that my DIY DAC had to offer. So that was fun to do and great to know.

The other part of my system with regard to the DACs are a DIY Audio Mesmerize Pass B1 Buffer built as balanced with fully separate power supplies (2 Mezmerize boards) and DIY PASS Aleph 5 Class A mono power amplifiers into 1974 Klipschorns with a replacement tweeter for better highs, new crossover caps, separated high and low crossover sections and the mid horn dampened with stick on metal material for car panels. Before that the mid horns blurred the image.

The turntables go into a DIY Pass XONO phono preamp, boards from Ralph Stens at RStAudio. This is my reference and the digital is now much closer to it.

I am satisfied with the GAIA and Venus II. Going to the Terminator Plus was too much of a jump for me without hearing it first. If I could hear it I may be persuaded to get one as long as I could sell the Venus. But I don't know anyone in the area who has one. I would love to experience the TP Plus in my system!


Steven W. Oregon, USA PRODUCT INFO: https://www.denafrips.com/dac https://www.denafrips.com/ddc https://www.denafrips.com/amp WHERE TO BUY? https://www.vinshineaudio.com/shop