Denafrips Ares ii

I am considering a Denafrips Ares ii dac and have a few questions that I am hoping owners of this dac can answer.

1 What is the cost of import taxes and/or fees?

2 Is it as dimensional as a tube dac?

3 Two reviews thought the highs were edgy. What has been your experience with the treble on this dac?

My system:
Unison Research Triode 25
Audio Physics Classic 10
Bluesound Node 2i
Cambridge Audio CXC
Paradigm Seismic 10
Black Ice Audio DSD




initially I was only using digital rca (blue jeans cable) and I was quite happy with it .

the ZS has some filtering or purifying circuitry on the spdif output

after I got the Iris ddc I changed my setup

now I go into the Iris out of the Zen Stream via USB (Curious cable) and then out of the Iris into 2 dacs connected to 2 different amps. In one case I go out optical to my Ares ii with a nice glass cable … I also simultaneously output coax into my Border Patrol dac which feds my set amp

i feel the output of the zen stream (usb or spdif) made less of a difference in my system than the input of the Ares ii did.
I felt that the coax input into the Ares had a bit more weight than the glass input.

but now that’s a moot point since I’m using the Iris to feed both dacs as described above

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@j_andrews  Interesting!

And would you say that

1. iFi ZS > USB > Iris DDC > SPIDF > Ares DAC
sounds noticeably better than
2. iFi ZS > SPIDF > Ares DAC?

Since the iFi ZS has both USB and SPIDF outputs, my thinking was to use option 2, since using the SPIDF would completely avoid the jitter issues inherent to USB (as far as I understand).

I’d be super curious to learn if you get better results from your iFi ZS and Ares by removing the USB and Iris DDC and simply using a good SPIDF cable. I suspect you will!

I believe there is a perceptible difference in sq when using a reclocker like the Iris but that difference is small and subtle ... and the rest of the gear down the line would need to be able to display the differences as well

I think most people would be happy with ZS into the Ares via spdif

It’s a good sounding coax output on its own.

There are two other side benefits of using the Iris beyond any perceived quality differences :

1) I can run two systems off my Zen stream

Was harder to do that before … it required going into the ifi app and turning on or off the correct output 

2) the buffering of the fpga in the Iris has eliminated all wifi signal glitches 

they weren’t happening often but every now and then there would be an audible click or a dropout before.  That hasn't happened since adding the Iris (it could also be the result of the high quality usb cable though, so unclear about the root cause of that benefit)

Contrary to the many people here, I don't like the SQ of Ares II.


I had one loan home and it sounded nasal and compressed vs my McIntosh C47.


Best input is via USB.  I encountered some buggy signal dropout using coax, need to toggle the inputs to kind of "reset" the bug.  SQ is ok-ish for coax.


Personal preference is OS mode, NOS mode sounded a bit rough to my ears.


Recently I bought a little toy to play and I find it beats the hell out of Ares II, SMSL D1, Gustard X26 and Topping D90.  I can highly recommend it, and it is much cheaper.  If you can access into this is a good buy.


I tried to insert image but this forum doesn't allow, implementation is strange, can only insert URL where the pic is.


Anyway, this Yiniu WD6 runs on 4 x PCM1794, comes with XLR output and RCA,  and you can roll opamp with it.  Max out at 24/192, basic DAC with no MQA/Roon/ etc.  I'm having lots of fun trying out different opamps ATM.  LM49990 (single converted to dual opamp config) and OPA1656 are very good. 😄