Denafrips Terminator DAC Review

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, May 8, 2019.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The T+A DAC8 is a custom built from the ground up 1-bit converter. I'm not surprised that it would handle native DSD the better than the Yggdrasil which is a 20-bit hybrid resistor ladder / resistor string DAC.

    The Terminator's claim to fame is being a discrete resistor ladder DAC. Why would DSD sound better on the Terminator than PCM?

    I am simply not following.
     
  2. Argopo

    Argopo Acquaintance

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    1. With respect to the Yggdrasil and T+A, in terms of PCM implementation only: YA2 > T+A PCM. I never tried to feed DSD to the YA2. Wouldn't make any sense to do so. The point I was making about the DSD side, was that it provides me with filter options that I do not have with the YA2. Which I consider a good thing.

    2. With respect to the Terminator: using software based upsampled DSD would allow you to change filter types. Again, same benefit as the DSD side of my T+A DAC. Maybe this would have a positive effect on the sound produced by the denafrips DAC (despite PCM/DSD going through the same circuit.) Or maybe it would not. Maybe the fact that it is a shared board (unlike the T+A DAC which has separate circuitry for PCM vs DSD), nullifies the audible variances possible with different software based filter choices.

    I just think it is worth a try, if I were looking to buy this unit.
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Filter types can also be changed in PCM via Foobar plug-ins or players such as Audirvana. Seems this would be a better way than DSD. And in any case, the DSD implementation is totally different hardware than the PCM on the Terminator. It's a low-pass deal, shrouded by mysterious marketing bullshit on x32 FIR filters.

    The DSD vs. USB approach also doesn't take into account that the built-in USB on the Terminator sucks. Thus requiring an extra $250-$550 USB to i2s converter to bypass it.

    From all accounts, and based on my experience with other DACs, it would seem like an external USB to i2s should be a requisite to bring out the best from the Terminator.

    Basically all this stuff gives me a headache. I don't need to buy extra parts for my Charger Scat Pack or BRZ to make them do what I wanted them to do in the first place. Well, I take that back for the BRZ. It needed a tune to alleviate that torque dip.

    But point is, I'm getting too old for dicking around with less than certain results. Rather spend the time to put another record on.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  4. AndreasK99

    AndreasK99 Rando

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    that's funny for both the obvious reason and for the fact that drug laws are insanely strict in Singapore (I live here). Think executions/caning.
     
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  5. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    I'm pretty sure there are people out there who would volunteer for the caning. Like the tv show in "Daria," it's a sick, sad world out there.
     
  6. Luigi Pichardo

    Luigi Pichardo Rando

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    I've had the Denafrips Ares DAC for a year. I've listened to it with ease and lack of criticism of sound for the past 6 months with no judgment to the sound quality when I listen to the music passively, in terms of those respects it is quite a good DAC and I enjoy it for listening to modern music mainly.

    The treble is very articulated and well extended for modern pop music and rock, synths come across with detail.

    The bass is a bit above the side of neutral, but with some EQ it can be toned down for a more balance sound.

    It's sound is very flexible in macro-dynamics and comes across as "trying to impress", however I suspect the microdynamics and natural fine details associated with other DAC's are perhaps not quite apparent with the Ares.

    I have good ears, and can see a lot of non-audiophiles would be just happy with the sound and presentation undoubtedly.

    If you are in the "audiophile mood" than I can see why there is criticism and unsatisfaction with their products. The sound is good, and modern, but not acoustically natural.

    I would not pay anything more than $1000 though let alone for the Pontus, Venus or even the Terminator for any Denafrips DAC.

    I use Genelec 8040B monitors.
     
  7. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

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    I have not hearing anything lacking in the Terminator.
    I view it is like just a different sounding dac, like a chord Dave or Schiit Yggdrasil.
    I believe the resolve and ambience sounds superior than those two, but not sure if this is an exaggeration of the dac.
    So I can see retaining yggy2 as a reference, but the Terminator, to me simply sounds better, and so its hard to understand why it sucks to others here.
    Maybe a production variance?
    I did not focus on FR balance, if anything was disjointed, because everything sounded realistic.
    It was using Flac files on USB. Nothing fancy.
    Regardless, the dilema with lower models and the discrepancy of our impressions is enough to warrant the skepticism of Listening first when considering this dac, especially since it is more expensive as well.
     
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  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Curious, what was the component chain when you compared the DAVE, Yggdrasil 2, and Terminator?
     
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  9. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

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    Now that you ask, looking back it way make sense, because the source used was same for all, a Mac Book (so no Windows driver usb issues), but Dave was earlier on different amp..so not actually compared.

    The Yggy2 & Terminator was compared feeding a "Pass Labs INT-150" (integrated speaker amp) which was feeding a Susvara, no speakers.
    It was not A/B switched, just disconnect and swap cables over, so you could easily fault my impressions, but I am satisfied .
    Either way I would not spend that much at this point in my life.
    :)
     
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  10. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Sounds like a killer setup!
     
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  11. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

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    It is a great setup (a friend's).
    He kept both yggy2 & Terminator for a while before deciding to stay with Terminator, which I believe was a personal preference choice.

    My setup was yggy1 but now Holo Spring into my tube amps.
    I spent much less time on Terminator (Hours) than on other dacs so I believe my observation could have been skewed by "new factor" by about 40%.
    I just know I preferred the trebles, so that in itself was a preference observation.
     

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