DAC for second system

Putting together an office audio system; with space constraints ( not to mention cost).

Looking at R2R  NOS DACS; for an organic sounding system.

There are many threads on Border Patrol, MHDT, Lab 12 etc.  I see there is an upgraded ( as compared to earlier threads) Border Patrol SE-1.

Any listening perspectives on the upgraded model.

Any suggestions in the 2-3 K price point ( up to 5 if its really good ).



@vthokie83 Excellent summary and thanks!  That’s kinda what I woulda thought but very helpful to hear from someone who’s heard them all.  BTW, I inserted the Iris into my HeadFi rig and found much the same improvements.  I found the noise floor dropped and imaging improved greatly where individual elements just popped more in a 3D space and more occupied their own space.  IME the difference was not small and I’ll no longer listen without the Iris.  Thanks again. 

couple years back i had compared the original terminator to the pontus 2 at length, both had the ’updated dsp module’ offered in that period - i felt the terminator brought the treble energy forward quite a bit and had a slightly broader soundstage (no doubt due to a more robust output stage and power supply), and a slightly finer grain to the sound

the one fault of the pontus i heard was a sense of noticeable grain in the lower treble/upper mids, despite the midrange and midbass being so lovely, warm and dimensional (which made it special, to my ears).... at that time, i ditched the term and kept the pontus, which i felt represented great value given its sound and fairly modest cost

only later i got a modded mhdt tube buffered dac and that to my ear was even more beautiful and organic sounding than the pontus, with enough detail and speed, and without the slight grainy texture to the sound


Similar for me, I preferred the Pontus II to the Venus II straight up, even though the Venus II is $1,300 more expensive......others will disagree with me on that point. The Venus seemed to not have the Denafrips "house sound" that I personally like very much.

A Pontus II with the Iris DDC clearly outperforms the Venus IMO, and the cost for the Pontus II and Iris DDC is still $750 less than a Venus II.

For office use, I think convenience and practical aspects are major. I would look into active speakers. I agree with Pontus (I have one), but I think it is overkill for office.  Dali or Bluesound speakers with a bluesound node will let your colleagues easily connect their Spotify or Apple accounts, so that all can contribute to the sound in the office. 

Get a Ladder. I just got mine today. Very impressed and it is not even run in yet.


Anything else is old news. Don't be living in the past man. 😀