top of page
  • support585263

Music has a key place in my life and I enjoy the sound of the Terminator II

The Long Road Home

My first CD Player was the Philips Magnavox CDB650 which used the Philips TDA1541. I bought it when it was first released and really enjoyed the sound. Unfortunately my CDB650 failed after a few years and I moved on, over the years I have owned many DACs and DAPs, but never another ladder DAC. My favorites of the current dacs use either the AKM4497 or ES9038PRO, however, I really wanted to try an updated and cutting edge version of my old favorite ladder DAC.

In technical terms I have a number of must have's for a DAC and my search led me to the Denafrips Terminator II. My list: Robust linear power supply, very high quality clocks, configurable I2S as there are multiple implementations, excellent jitter management for inputs, fully balanced, able to accept high bit rates as well as native DSD on USB and I2S, Linux support as well as Windows, excellent build quality and components, excellent sound quality, understated and attractive styling, no bright display, choices of reconstruction filters in particular linear slow, and finally positive reviews.

The Denafrips T2 satisfied all of my requirements, I was also very pleased to see it has clock outputs and matching DDCs. My only wish is that there were choices around oversampling rates.

Listen to the Sound of One Hand Clapping

A Zen Koan is meant to challenge, to teach, to meditate upon, in short it is something to provoke thought and ultimately be understood by the spirit and intuition. So too must any piece of audio equipment, it must pass the test of can it bring happiness. What would one pay for a time machine, for joy in quite time, these are very personal and individual questions for each of us.

For me music has a key place in my life and I enjoy the sound of the Terminator II. I will tweak it to nudge it here and there in ways that suit my preferences, and I will hope for a few more software / hardware tweaks from Denafrips in the future.

T2 Observations

  • Give it time to break in, it has ~100 hours from the factory but another couple of hundred of constant music does it a lot of good.

  • NOS vs OS is a preference based on song, music will suit one or the other, I find it less set and forget than any other DAC I have owned.

    • NOS is more transparent, resolving and has more contrast than OS

    • NOS soundstage is shallower and wider then OS

    • NOS is very realistic, natural, and silky sounding

    • OS Slow soundstage is further away and much deeper than NOS, images tend to be bit a bit more distinct

    • OS Slow tends to have better PRAT / drive

    • OS Slow tends to sound more technical and not as easy to connect with emotionally, however, it is a good default choice.

    • I didn't like OS fast at all, it sounds grey and veiled.

  • Both NOS and OS

    • Silky

    • Quiet

    • Deep taught bass, good weight but not bloated

  • Inputs

    • I have only tried the USB Input so far, either direct from my Sonore Signature Rendu SE or via my Innuos Phoenix Re-clocker. On other DACs I own the Phoenix is a must, soundstage and PRAT completely collapse without it, however, with the T2 I actually prefer direct but it is like NOS vs OS a tricky trade off and will also depend a lot on the quality of the USB output of the source.

    • Direct is airier, sweeter, more natural, more silky, less hard, more transparent and clear, however, the con is that you lose some focus, depth, impact, tautness, and layering.

    • Phoenix biggest con is that the sound is harder and a bit grey. This is very surprising, given how it performs with other DACs, my theory is that the Terminator 2 is much more resolving and quiet or that its clocks and USB buffering are significantly better than other DACs I have owned.

    • I will likely try a Denafrips DDC in the future so I can try I2S


  • This is my Headphone System

  • Streamer (Squeezelite) - Sonore Signature Rendu SE / iPeng

  • USB Reclocker - Innuous Phoenix

  • Headphone Amp - Aune S7 Pro

  • Server (LMS) - Intel NUC 8i7BEH, AudioLinux, Intel Optane 800P, Custom Linear PSU, Sonore Optical Module Deluxe, Single Mode Fiber

  • Power Conditioners - Audience AR6 (Linear Supplies), Audioquest Niagara 1200 (iFi Switching Supplies)

  • Cabling - USB Audioquest Coffee USB, Grimm TPR XLR, Silent Source Signature Power

Shad U. @ California, United States





bottom of page