Denafrips ARES II DAC
The Ares DAC is a 24Bit/1536KHz, DSD1024, discrete resistor ladder Digital To Analog Converter, also known as R-2R DAC.
The architecture uses the most primitive R-2R DAC technology, it is probably the most suitable architecture to reproduce music. Despite the test results of various measurements and parameters of the conventional R-2R DAC are usually not as good as the mainstream integrated DAC chip, but the sound of R-2R DAC, is often filled with emotion, comfort, high fidelity, transparency, and additive musicality that most of the common mainstream integrated DAC chip cannot match.
SYMBOL OF HIGH-END DAC
To achieve a decent sounding R-2R DAC, the use of ultra-precise resistors is necessary. The cost of high precision resistors is expensive, each resistor must be stringently measured and matched by machine with human intervention to cross-check. These results in a very high cost in the manufacturing process, hence, R-2R DAC is also a symbol of high-end DAC.
SMALL IN SIZE
BIG IN SOUND
The Ares employs true balance R-2R DAC design. Each channel is decoded by 4 sets of R-2R network. This design has a very small linear error, high decoding speed, low digital noise, not only to ensure that the audio signal is low distortion, but also to ensure a very low background music noise; allow the listener to enjoy the true music with a dark background.
DSD decoding support up to DSD1024 and PCM decoding supports up to PCM1536. Choice of NOS or OS, Slow or Sharp filters, the Ares II upgrade just make the already awesome DAC a few notches better!
Specifications of the Denafrips ARES II DAC
|R-2R DAC||Proprietary R2R + DSD Architecture|
|True balanced 24BIT R2R + 6BIT DSD (32 steps FIR Filters)|
|Low Thermal Effect, High Precision Hand-Matched 0.01% Resistors|
|FEMTO Crystal 45.1548MHz, 49.152Mhz|
|Highlight||Low Noise Power Supply|
|Digital Signal Processing via FPGA|
|Adaptive FIFO Buffer and Reclocking|
|DSD1024, PCM1536 Supports On USB Input|
|Proprietary USB Audio Solution via STM32F446 Advanced AMR Based MCU|
|Licensed Thesycon USB Driver For Windows Platform|
|Driverless On Mac & Linux|
|DSD||DSD64-DoP On All Input|
|DSD1024* On USB nput|
|PCM||24bits / 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192KHz On All Input|
|1536kHz* On USB Input|
|NOTE*||USB Firmware V3.4.1 – PCM1536 / DSD1024 supports disabled for compatibility with macOS|
|Digital Input||Coax x 2|
|TOSLink x 2|
|USB2.0 Type B|
|Analog Output||RCA at 2.0Vrms, 625 Ω|
|XLR at 4.0Vrms, 1250 Ω|
|Sampling Mode||Non-Oversampling NOS / Oversamping OS|
|Filter Selection||Slow / Sharp|
|AC Power Requirement||100-240VAC, 50/60Hz (Worldwide Voltage, Manual Selector)|
|Frequency Response||20-70KHz -3dB|
|Dimension||215 x 230 x 45 mm|
FEATURED REVIEWS of the Denafrips ARES II DAC
For most, this DAC is an end-all.
The best candidate for this DAC is any music lover serious about audio but doesn’t want to go too deep into the rabbit hole financially.
Michael Perez, Founder | Audio Arkitekts
HI-FI Trends: Highly Recommended!
I highly recommend it for those who have systems on the hyper-detailed side, I think it will be a good balance. I also recommend it for those who want a good representation of what R2R DACs have to offer without spending a boatload of cash. Highly Recommended!
Twittering Machines Favorite DACs
If you want excitement from your digital music, the ARES II does that. If you want natural beauty, the ARES II does that too. If you want to stop chasing bits and fretting over sampling rates, file formats, and DAC topologies, the ARES II offers a cure. Finally, if you want to sit down with your music and let the world slip away for an albums- or days- or weeks-worth of time, the Denafrips ARES II is your little red pill.
Audiophilia Star Component Award
The Denafrips Ares II is a pretty incredible value at $750 (S$1028), it is a no-frills device with tank-like build quality and a natural analog sound signature that will please many digital-skeptics. A lot has been made about this DAC’s ability to punch above its weight, and I do think it sounds better than many competing units in and above its price bracket.
MICHAEL JOHNSON @ Audiophilia
The Hans Beekhuyzen Channel
Over the last decade ladder converters have drastically gained in popularity, especially in the higher price ranges. This Denafrips Ares II only costs about € 780 but still has a linear power supply, balanced outputs and even does PCM 1,536 kHz and DSD1024.
The Hans Beekhuyzen Channel
A British Audiophile – Outstanding Award
The Denafrips Ares II is a well reviewed and highly acclaimed DAC. In this video, I take a look and see what the fuss is about. I discuss the virtues and drawbacks of R2R DACs vs Delta-Sigma designs. I also share some technical insights about the Ares II which have not been in the public domain before.
Tarun @ A British Audiophile
Five Stars & Alpha-Audio Approved Award
The little Denafrips Ares II looks very cute but surprised us by its mature presentation and versatility. You can choose the setting that best suits your setup and there are enough connections to connect multiple sources. It is built like a tank and is full of quality components. is a unique device that charms and intrigues. The Denafrips Ares II is truly a divine d/a converter!”
6moons ARES II DAC – Realsization Award
Let’s try to refine the picture for Ares II. The comparison to a high-quality 2A3 SET is still spot on. Ares II has that luscious sweet midrange you’d expect, with a sunny treble to illuminate the soundstage without putting anything in a harsh light. It doesn’t quite have the ephemeral lightness of a 45 SET but far more robust bass and it avoids the bloat and slowness of lesser 300B amps.
Frederic Beudot @ 6moons
NBT Studio: The Best DAC 2019
This is my Denafrips Ares 2 DAC review. It has won the Next Best Thing Studio Award with its outstanding performance that outclasses many of the DACs.
Jay @ The Next Best Thing Studio