"Yes, it sounds like real music!"
Review of Denafrips Terminator Plus, 12th Anniversary Edition
I was one an early purchaser of the Terminator Plus, 12 Anniversary Edition in the Fall of 2022. I had the original Terminator Plus only for about two months prior to purchasing the 12 Anniversary Edition. Although I did not have the two DACs at the same time to A / B, after listening to the 12th anniversary edition for several months now, I continue to be amazed at the clarity and improved sound quality of the 12 Anniversary Edition. Specially, a noticeable improvement in the highs (crystal clear) and the midrange had more grip than the earlier version.
I had previously been listening through a pair of 300B single ended mono-blocks and / or monoblock 45 tube amps. The clarity in the upper midrange and highs were phenomenal. Cymbals are crystal clear (as I have never heard)! The sensitivity and detail are probably due to the incredibly low noise floor on the DAC. With the gain turned all the up, the speakers are dead silent (even when hooked up to my 99 dB sensitive Altec horn speakers. I could hear the texture of the snare drum like never before. It was like hearing it for the first time. The harmonics of string instruments, I heard overtones and felt vibrations that gave me the "goose bumps" experience. Also, vocals were detailed and I could hear the subtle breathing of the singer on songs that I had listened to for years, but it this was a new experience. The human voice is the most familiar "instrument" to us all, and this DAC is almost "human" in the way it sings. As expected, the sound stage of both instruments and vocals were heard in "3D" and were well localized.
As hard as it may be to believe, my impressions of the 12th Anniversary Terminator Plus recently reach a new height when I matched it to a fully restored Yamaha B2 vintage amplifier. This amp has that sweet "tube" sound of SS V-FETs but is somehow stronger in the low / mid bass with much faster / articulate highs than any tube amp that I had experienced. I do not make these comments lightly as I have had many tube amplifiers during my audiophile "journey" over the last 40 years.
I realized that I had been unaware of how well the Denafrips Terminator Plus 12th anniversary edition DAC had been performing. When matched to the V-FET amplifier, the bass was deep, fast and more controlled than I had experienced with my tube amps. In fact, I may no longer need a subwoofer as it drives my Altec Magnificents (16 ohm) and Altec 604's to new levels of excellence (tight bass with punch) that I never knew were capable of producing. In short, the DAC had revealed its true “glory”. It was as if a “veil” had been removed from my system and I was finally hearing all of the music.
My wife (who is not an audiophile) was in the room when I was playing the DAC and I noticed that her head turned to listen to the music. I later asked her if she liked the sound and she replied with a firm "Yes, it sounds like real music!" I must say I agree with my wife (happy wife = happy life). But honestly the analog tone of the music brought be back to my teenage years when I played only records. As I listened to the songs of my youth (nostaligia), I realized what had been missing from my music system. A year ago I would have claimed that the my rig was “very good.” However, now I do not know how it could get any better.
New York, NY
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