The Denafrips Iris DDC works flawlessly since 2,5 years in my system, the Ares 12th-1 DAC since 2 months. The job of Iris was to receive signals from a custom music server and so to improve the performance of my W4S-DAC-2. This improvement was clearly noticeable and after the last firmware upgrade significant. Now the Iris has the same job in front of the excellently engineered and built Ares 12TH-1.
The Ares 12Th-1 replaces the W4S-DAC2 in my system. Though my ears it is simply the better DAC and a true high-end component, it performs still a little bit better with the Iris in front of it. It integrates itself flawlessly into my system and seems to provide a top signal quality. This results in a high-resolved, 3-dimensional, fast, dynamic, fatigueless, analogue like sound. Though I didn`t have the opportunity to hear as many DACs as a professional reviewer and I also don`t have the possibility to make extensive direct 1:1 comparisons, I`m sure that the Ares 12th-1 is an exceptional DAC. Independently of a music style I can´t remember a DAC performing that good and sophisticated across the whole bandwidth in the Ares 12th-1 price region and significantly above.
I`m a fanatic audiophile and an audio tuner, so my very carefully build up system as such is tuned systemically and any component is more or less tuned individually to meet my ideal of hearing to a live concert sitting/standing in the acoustically best place of a concert hall. Because I don’t like acoustic room treatment, my only tuning device of my 33 square metrers large listening room is a schumann wave generator. To minimize room interferences, the speakers are positioned to create an acoustic triangle with my listening position. The Iris DDC and Ares 12th-1 DAC help me fundamentally to transform a couple of low/mid prized, seemingly entry level audio components into a high-end audio system.
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