The Ares 11 is an excellent DAC. I have been assessing various DACs in this price range. I tried each DAC in combination with my laptop as streamer and compared with my high end Musical Fidelity 3D CD player ( a 'player' has its own, on board DAC, as we know). In the past, the CD player has always sounded better than any DAC plus laptop combination. No longer. The Ares 11 plus laptop beats my high end CD player.
Why do I rate the Ares II highly? Because I find myself listening to it for longer periods. With other DACs I used to listen for about one hour per day. With the Ares, I keep going back to it repeatedly during the day. I could give you details such as treble does not break up and sound harsh. High piano notes always sound like they come from a real, musical instrument. The sound is solid with more detail from background instruments and so on.
But the main reason is that the music sounds so engaging.
Credit: Anthony J. @ Thailand
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