I totally enjoy the Pontus II.
It is a step-up from the Ares for sure. The main improvements in my system are much wider and precise imaging and much better dynamics and microdynamics. The bass now has "textures" in addition to "just reaching the notes". I used my IRIS to feed the Pontus with a Audioquest Carbon HDMI cable through I2S and it's amazing. For my personal taste, I still prefer the NOS mode but Pontus makes it easy now because flipping between NOS and OS is just a push-of-a-button away. BTW, I also purchased the BIC500 which further improves the background noise. I used to think the Ares II is "good enough" for my modest system, but the Pontus just takes it to another level. It is one of the best audio bargains in my experience.
My source is now a dedicated Linux network player (with TeddyPardo LPS) running MPD in ArchLinux and the SQ is way better than the Windows PC that I had before. For those who are interested. my system consists of:
- Linux network player (ArchLinux running MPD, Lumin app as remote)
- EtherStream network switch
- Denafrips IRIS DDC
- Denafrips Pontus II DAC
- Schiit Freya+ preamp (output tubes upgraded to Shuguang CV-181-T)
- Schiit Aegir power amp
- Tekton Lore Reference speakers
- SVS SB-3000 Subwoofer
- Schiit Jotunheim headphone amplifier
- Audeze LCD-2 headphones
- Interconnects are combination of Triode Wire Labs, Audioquest, Kimber, XLO and Zafino products
As I mentioned, my system is very modest but it is providing me with a very high level of musical enjoyment. You can call me a very satisfied customer.
Credit: Jerry @ USA
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