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I’m not listening the IRIS but the music

My set up is the following :

  • Préamplifier : EAR Yoshino 868

  • Amplifier : GRAAF GM100

  • Speakers Venus Acoustics Cassiopée 2

  • CD Drive : 3D lab BR Master

  • Streamer : Mac Mini SSD 16Go + ROON Server (Integer mode) + TIDAL

  • DAC : 3D lab 500 SRC

  • Cables : Studio connection Abbey road Reference+ (speakers’ cable) / Mogami 2549 (interconnects) / Studio connection Reference+ AES/EBU or Audioquest Carbon Toslink

The IRIS arrived very well packed and shipment was very quick with Fedex. Like I live in France I had to add 39€ of duty taxes to the price which was 450€ (including VAT). So, a total cost of 489€ which is the beginning price of very good USB to spdif converters. My last converter was a Breeze Audio XMOS U208 bought second hand 60€ and than you can find at 80€ on AliExpress but it is dead at Christmas . Unpacking the IRIS, the first impression is a very good build quality, the product is heavy with a full metal enclosure which seems very thick. It is a serious product!

William Sheller / live « En solitaire » / « Symphoman » track

For this first song I already notice that the sound is quieter, laid back, it’s a good thing to be fully involved in the music. For the first time I hear the noise of piano touch when it returns to its origin place, very stunning and realist, it shows the top transparency of IRIS. The bass performance is also very impressive and it go really lower than before with the XMOS Breeze Audio. Moreover, I notice and appreciate the neutrality of IRIS, nothing is emphasized so the listening is very neutral : the piano and the voice seems more real. In comparison the XMOS Breeze Audio was more medium focused, the sound was really better than the mini toslink output of the Mac mini, with a real musicality but colored. With the IRIS we are with a high-end product whose goal is high fidelity!

Alan Parson Project / Best of / « Sirius » and « Eyes in the sky » tracks

What impressed me directly with those songs is the stunning rhythmic enjoyment, the “foot taping” is there and really better than before. I take a lot of pleasure to be involved in the music, I’m not listening the IRIS but the music and it’s the best thing you can desire from your audio system. I notice again the full powerful bass extension and the better transparency but also a more pint point imaging. Another stunning thing, timbres are also very real due to a top neutrality of the IRIS, all sounds are more real.

Alexandre Kantorow / Liszt Piano Concertos / Track 1

For this first classic track I noticed a better depth of the soundstage even if on these criteria I’m always hoping better from my audio system but my DAC is old (since 2000) and I assume you can get even better results with a better DAC perhaps like Pontus, Venus 2, Terminators(+). Again, the high neutrality of the IRIS is there, nothing is emphasized so all instruments are more real and naturals. This neutrality is not on the clinic side, it’s even the opposite, sounds are just without modified tones.

I also noticed some harshness on the highs but it quickly disappeared. I assume it was coming from a burning need of this totally new IRIS.

Misa Criolla / Misa Flamenca / Track 1

On this track I’m shocked with the stunning holographic soundstage, all singers are in their own place in the space, with clearly distinctive tone of voices, each sound sources are human people and not mixed in space and in tone. There are all clearly identifiable and distinctive. It’s so enjoyable and a pleasure to listen the music and a track which is usually very hard for audio systems becoming harsh and rough (it was the case with the XMOS Breeze Audio, not with IRIS).

Fargo / Original soundtrack / “Wrench and numbers” track

I really love the drums on this track. With the XMOS breeze audio it was already impressive but now it’s more realistic because instead of being on all the width of the soundstage, the drums set is focalized in the same place of the soundstage, like the real instrument. A good test for our hobby but also very cool to listen!

Superstamp / « School » and « Bloody well right »

On « School » I’m very happy because the Harmonica is so far behind the wall in the soundstage and so true, the depth of the soundstage is stunning and always this musicality involving me fully in the performance of this group than I heard so often when I was a child with my baby boomer parents. On « Bloody well right » the synthesizer introduction is so fully discernable in all the construction of the sound than I have the feeling to lose nothing in the complexity of this synthetic sound, very addictive…

Summarize :

The DENAFRIPS IRIS is without a doubt a big improvement for my audio system. I wanted to listen a first DENAFRIPS product because I was intrigued by all the good reviews on the web for the DACs. The XMOS Breeze Audio death was the opportunity to test a first product. I’m fully conscient about my source limitations, the Mac mini with ROON and TIDAL sound very good for the price, far better than I could imagine before when I was using AUDIRVANA (I find it a lot rougher) but I’m sure it is easy to find better. I tested my Raspberry Pi with Ropeee and the IRIS but the sound was flatter and less enjoying than with the Mac. So, IRIS performance is clearly streamer dependent. My DAC is old and it is another limitation of my system. The problem in our hobby is often the money, I know what I need but I can’t change all things at the same time.

Now I know that DENAFRIPS is clearly in the high-end league so a good brand to go to get the best at an affordable price. What I need now from DENAFRIPS ? Please, build us a high-end streamer UPNP/DLNA, ROON Player, Airplay, Chromecast (for the family easy use) and affordable?

Credit: Nicolas @ France




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