Denafrips Pontus II FPGA firmware upgrade 2023

After submitting my request for the upgrade yesterday, in the today morning I got the password and instructions to proceed. I got the time to do it this afternoon.

Now, I am listening for little more than an hour and my first impressions are of more clarity and tridimensionality. To assess things more easily I am using my Tidal playlist and so far I am very impressed with the SQ improvements - Auralic Aries Femto connected with Audioquest Carbon USB and Belden 8402 from the dac to the amp.

It is easy to say that now the soundstage depth and especially width are significantly enhanced. There seems to be another notch on realism and scale. Things are very composed and natural. 
My system was already performing beautifully in terms of engagement, totally commanding our attention to the music, and continues to be, detailed but non-fatiguing, but I feel that there is now a bit more liquid quality to the sound, a bit more relaxed in a good way... but I have to listen more of course.

So far, well done Denafrips.

Note: the firmware upgrade was less straightforward than I expected, but it was mostly Windows 10 related


After some listening hours I get the impression that, despite the enhanced soundstage and definition, there is also some kind of artificiality to the sound. 
There is more clarity in the mids and I can hear more details and voices / instruments are better scaled, but the bass is weaker and the treble seems more glassy. 

I can resume like this: more Imax and less substance (meat-on-the-bones) can be OK at first but I miss the previous Firmware natural tone and palpable quality.

I am considering going back to the previous Firmware... although I must say that the “clicks” issues with all my CD transports (especially the Cambridge CXC) are now completely FIXED.

I like my Pontus II enough as is that I am considering holding off on the update.  My luck I would “brick” the unit and have to send it in.

I was thinking of delaying doing this update but I'm so glad I didn't wait.  IMO it is a significant improvement.  So good that I'm going back and listening to all of my favorites.  

I heard all of the improvement that audiofilo123 heard but none of the negatives.  However, I will keep listening for these negatives as I continue to evaluate.

I had been considering getting a Terminator, or one of the others up the line but 'll be happy with this for a while.


I updated my pontus ii on Saturday and listened to it that evening for a couple of hours. I have to say I didn’t hear any clicks, so that was great. While listening I noticed a more fluid sound in addition to more bass. To be honest, my system sounded louder at the same volume setting than if did before the update. I did notice when playing complex pieces, it sounded a little congested. When I went to bed, I wasn’t that worried about it because Alvin said the update will require five to ten days to break in. When I I bought the pontus ii last summer, it took a good month for it to fully broke in. I had a Qutest before the pontus and during that month I was concerned I made the wrong choice. But after it fully broke in, I feel in love with it. 


I haven’t listened to my system since last Saturday, but I have kept it running. I probably won’t listen to it critically until Friday night to allow six full days of break in. I think when I go down on Friday I’ll like the sound of the new firmware. I’ll repost after the weekend. 

@audiofilo123 - have you played with the NOS and the phase? Maybe using the NOS will bring back the natural tone.