The sound really comes pretty close to the analog vinyl sound
I consider it a privilege to share my experiences with the ARES2 and PONTUS2 DAC's in my two audio systems. Yes, two systems, I like a variety in sound as well as a variety in music genres that goes from pop to prog-rock to electronic, acoustic, blues, classic, avant-garde, contemporary classic, world music and a bit of jazz. I am also a very passionate overtone singer in the European style as promoted by Michael Vetter. Despite my great love for music, I was pretty much oblivious to how much difference a good hifi system can make to the experience of listening to music. Until last year! After giving up on vinyl (which seemed to lose to the cd) in the nineties, I lost interest in deliberately sitting down and listening to music on cd's. Something just did not sound right to me with digital music then.
But last year my recurring interest in overtone singing (and home recording) and the enthusiasm of YouTube reviewers inspired me to go on an audio quest. But what system should I get? I decided to just go and buy several widely differing amplifiers to get an idea of the sound I like the most. A modern tube amplifier came and went, a modern high-end amplifier came and went. Not because they sounded bad, but I found out about vintage seventies Sansui amplifiers and there I found ultimate bliss. Now that I was under steam I went further and scourged the Internet (again mostly YouTube) to get the most out of it.
This is how I found out that a dedicated DAC can do a lot of good in the system and is definitely a lot cheaper than having expensive components with each their own built-in DAC. Which sounded very good to me, since my funds are limited. So, I needed a good price-to-quality ratio and a DAC with a lot of input possibilities. Preferably analog sounding! The ARES2 fitted that description best and so I ordered one. I have the ARES2 connected to the powerful Sansui AU9500 and on the inputs I currently have a Rotel CD player and a Sony MiniDisc player that I use as transports and also a DVD player and a cable receiver. So this system doubles up as a home cinema theater. The ARES2 was a huge improvement over the built-in DAC's of all these components. The sound really comes pretty close to the analog vinyl sound and as much as I like to play vinyl again, there is no doubt that this combination with the ARES2 delivers more detailed reproduction and has plenty of the airiness that I like so much.
Meanwhile I had acquired a fully recapped Sansui AU719 amplifier which showed the potential to beat the slightly older AU9500 in detailed sound reproduction of classical and acoustic music. But I was not at all willing to give up on the AU9500 which is brilliant when it comes to the music of the sixties and seventies. I wanted both, so I decided to have two systems in the living room, opposite of each other. One mainly for home cinema, cable radio, tv. The other for intent listening. Of course the AU719 also needed a DAC and since I had such good experience with the ARES2, I got the Pontus2. I would have loved to get the Terminator but I doubt that it would make sense, since I believe that I would also need to upgrade all the other components to really make a big jump again and that would simply become too costly for me. I still want to be able to afford a good glass of wine when I listen to Bach, eh? Anyway, the PONTUS2 is already very, very good. It does what the ARES2 does, but even better. The PONTUS2 has a lower number of inputs the ARES2, which is fine by me since I only have a Marantz CD5005 connected as a transport. When I get around to it, I want to have the computer closer to the audio system, so I can also stream music through the USB input of the PONTUS2.
I'm sorry that I cannot take nice photos of my two systems. I care way more about sound quality than I do about esthetics.
With kind regards to you and your team,
Harry L, The Netherlands.
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