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


@audiofilo123 +1 For checking the NOS setting. I had my Pontus set to NOS prior to the update and it reverted back to OS after the update. I didn’t catch this right away and concluded that the update resulted in more detail but less bass and warmth. When I switched it back to NOS mode I was much happier and feel that the update in NOS mode is a definite improvement. I’m hoping for even better results after break-in.

@mksun I admit that don’t understand why a Firmware change needs burn-in but I am not an Engineer so I choose to believe what the brands says, So I will wait, let’s say another full week until I reporting any more, just to be fare.

Although  I am still waiting for Denafrips response to my email, (asking for the previous firmware) to learn more about it.

Previously I have always listen with the OS slow filter. A few days ago I didn’t change it to NOS but I.wasn’t impressed. I will give it another go today.

The previous Pontus II performance was so special that it became a natural reference for digital reproduction, and Now I expect nothing less :)

I posed some questions to the FPGA development team at Vinshine regarding the update and here are the responses I received: 

"Congratulations to have successfully updated the DAC with the latest DENAFRIPS 12th Anniv. Firmware! The firmware is equivalent to the Pontus that is now currently shipping. "

"The FPGA firmware update essentially 'rewired' the logic gates in the FPGA chip. (Ref: link here). Please allow some time for the FPGA to burn in for optimum sound reproduction. Up to 300 hours will be good."

@mksun thanks for the information.

In my use scheme, it is around 40 days (8 hours a day)... so far 8 days have passed.

Now the sound is less glazzy and a bit less congested. But still not natural at all. And the qualities I miss the the most are: depth, center image , decay and separation. The sound, although less tin, is flat and uni not involving at all. I really hope  to get back those qualities.

Hi @audiofilo123 

Can I ask how your experience with the Firmware (v1.3?) is progressing?

I have a brand new Pontus 12th, which is only 5 days old.  So far, I'm moderately unhappy with its glassy digital tone, sibilant female voices and light bass.