Denafrips Ares 12th edition transformed my favorite planar headphones into a different level of performance.
The change was quite dramatic and unexpected.
Even after viewing a few excellent reviews on Youtube, I was skeptical about the impact that Denafrips DAC might have on my listening experience because I already had a high-quality dedicated DAC (solid-state) and a good amp. I was counting on getting a slight audible improvement at best. That's precisely what I got at the beginning.
However, after about a week, it became apparent that the improvement didn't stop there - with time, the headphones sounded better and better. The dramatic improvement happened after I gave the Ares about 80 hours of burn-in time.
Hifiman Arya V2 was my favorite headphones for about two years, and I was pleased with the sound, especially in the last two months after I got Burson Soloist, a class A discrete amp., which improved the sound a notch or two.
After two weeks with Ares 12th, the neutral, analytical by nature Arya sounded more alive, musical, and engaging, and at the same time, showed even more details, better layering, and separation. The soundstage feels wider and notes fuller. All in all, the sound becomes addictive. That is what I call a different level of performance.
I heard there is a synergy between R2R DACs and Class A discrete amps, particularly in running planar headphones, and this is precisely what I experienced.
I've sent my beloved AryaV2 to Hifiman to trade up for their more advanced headphones.
Why did I choose Denafrips Ares 12th edition?
1. A few trusted reviewers praised Ares as a great R2R DAC with the best value.
2. That is all that I could afford at the moment (with a stretch)
3. I like that it could be upgraded in the future with the Denafrips Iris DDS.
4. The small footprint - my hi-fi audio corner is relatively small and crowded - there is no space for anything more significant than this.
Sorry, I couldn't do more glamorous photography of Ares 12th. As you can see, the place is crowded, and the stack is interlaced with dozens of cables.
Thank you again for the great experience! I am impressed with the customer service and support I received from Vinshine Audio. And, by the way, I like your videos on youtube - they are informative and show your level of knowledge and involvement with the product you sell.
All the best,
Mark B. @ California USA
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