Best r2r dac


  • Audio-gd’s R2R 11 is another $350 R-2R DAC
  • Denafrips ARES II R2R DAC Review: You Need To Hear This Digital To Analog Converter!
  • HoloAudio – Spring 3 DAC Level 1 (R2R – DSD1024)
  • Musician Audio Pegasus R2R DAC Review
  • The end of an era for Audio-gd R2R-11
  • R2R Alive – Denafrips Ares II Balanced R2R DAC
  • Audio-gd’s R2R 11 is another $350 R-2R DAC

    The P6 uses a pure R2R DAC topology, albeit in a portable format so without a lot of the extensive connectivity you associate with desktop options. Musician Audio hail from China which seems a mecca for R2R creations these days and are very new to the scene as a company but claim to have some significant engineering pedigree in their team to back up their products.

    R2R Now for those new to R2R, this is an entirely different approach to your traditional delta-sigma single DAC chipset implementation.

    Parameters for delta-sigma adjustment are usually limited until you get to the analog side where opamps, rollable or otherwise, can take up the slack and introduce whatever flavor you like to the sound.

    Inside the Pegasus The Pegasus is a standalone desktop pure DAC with fixed voltage single-ended and balanced analog outputs and an array of modern digital inputs. There is no internal pre-amp so no variable voltage or volume adjustment. All volume control is done via your dedicated external amplifier of choice.

    Discrete means a ton of tiny resistors all individually mapped out with specific engineering requested processing parameters to convert the digital signal to analog in the exact way Musician Audio wants it to be done. It is more time consuming than delta-sigma but the offshoot is generally always a more natural sound that is free of artifacts or ringing, especially in the higher frequencies.

    The drawback is that the high number of resistors required to deliver which means a physical challenge in PCB engineering. Not just any resistor, but those with precisely matching parameters so that one of them does not become the entire DACs weakest link. That covers absolutely everything commercially available on the market except MQA. Hence, the relatively uncommon but very much welcome high future-proofing at this price point.

    Design The Pegasus R2R DAC comes in two color finishes, this brushed black tinged with green you see in the pics and a lighter traditional silver option. Both look good so it just depends on your preferences for system matching.

    The chassis paneling is a robust aluminum alloy with discrete locking screws to the rear and despite the aggressive front panel design, the curving is not terribly sharp so no nasty surprises for your hands when lifting. Speaking of which, the Pegasus is deceptively heavy for its size at 3. The form factor of the Pegasus is relatively slimline at just 50mm tall and long at mm deep with an angular front panel and an unusual curved rear finish on the top plate that slightly overhangs.

    That sleek front panel finish sort of reminds me of a slightly more robust and heavier NuPrime design, particularly the DAC-9 only without the volume controls. Controls Everything you need to control the Pegasus DAC is housed on the front panel and there are some pros and cons to that. On the pro side, it is quite easy to understand with a central power switch and an input and NOS button on either side.

    The input control is self-explanatory with a row of options you can rotate through in sequential order and a small red LED diode above that lights up when the option is selected. Still with me? The cons of this control system are 2-fold.

    The first is the size of the labeling on the DAC. It is tiny, barely legible for my tired eyes but younger eyes might have more success. The low power of the LED indicators is a bonus for lights out in a cinematic setup but for regular audio racks, it could do with a bit more luminous power.

    The final con is a lack of remote control. That would have been ideal, especially if you are using this in a large room HiFi set up and you have a number of sources you switch through or want to turn the NOS on and off.

    This includes an analog output section to the far left and digital inputs in the middle. To the far right, you get a multi-voltage 3-prong Furutech power socket connected to a single shielded toroidal transformer.

    The 3-prong XLR balanced outputs are rated for 4. This might mean a slight diminution on your amps volume settings depending on your amps input rating. A couple of slight negative points and they are relatively minor. The top plate overhang feels counterintuitive to easy connecting of the balanced analog XLR sockets as they get in the way slightly. The second, and it is purely OCD, but I do wish the 3 beautiful gold-plated ring nuts on the RCA and coaxial connectors were visually aligned.

    Nothing extravagant but then again, most amplifiers rarely do come in anything over the top, unlike headphones and earphones. Not every R2R is the same and you can read more about that in our comparisons on page 2.

    For me, that is a very natural quality to its instrumental and vocal timbre and a highly engaging level of detail within its texture. With delta-sigma DACs such as the Chord Qutest , you get a digital interpretation which is normally crazy good on articulation and heavy on complexity.

    It can be exhausting, in a good way. There is less of an emphasis on the surrounding wall of spatial cues dancing around you and more of a determined focus on how each note unfolds and what it offers. You could argue that there is an almost analog-type quality to performances except the Pegasus resolves so much better than something from a bygone era.

    Perhaps that what makes the Pegasus so unique. Here, I offer a word of caution and that is let the Pegasus flow or keep it turned on for a few days when fresh out of the box. It does take time to settle into its groove. If you are impatient you might find a sound that is a little harsh on the top end with a treble performance not short of the odd harmonic dissonance here and there creeping into the upper mids of any solid-state and reference headphone pairing. It can be unsettling to all but the most ardent treble enthusiasts.

    Post-Burn-in After plenty of hours keeping it warm, the Pegasus offers a full-bodied but also a very balanced tonal charm to solid-state high-end performing amps and a meaty performance out of my more mid-centric amps such as the Auris HA-2SE. I suspect there is a very slight fade into the treble which is a little more pronounced in NOS mode than OS mode combined with a low-end slightly north of neutral.

    That delicate treble fade plays a major role in pulling your listening focus just ever so slightly into a very vivid sounding lower treble and upper mids presence. And yet, the percussion timbre is not splashy whatsoever.

    I hear every cymbal crash and bell clatter coming across clear as day with tons of textural detail but with the perfect attack and decay balance. Life-like but life-like in a slightly pleasing manner. Slightly even-harmonic biased? Possibly, but only marginally so and just enough to give most instruments some heft and warmth for a very listenable quality.

    Oh, and vocals. Goodness me almost perfect for my tastes sounding slightly forward with some gorgeous body and a confident handling of any natural occurring sibilance. That applies to both male and female vocals by the way. Staging Of course, the final say will be with your chosen headphones and an analog amplifier but I do encourage you to pair the Pegasus R2R DAC with a system that can maximize the excellent staging qualities of the Pegasus.

    This is a performance that is not so much about treble intensity designed to leave you with an impression of superb extension. If you need a terrific top-end treble sparkle I suggest the Chord Qutest which excels at this. The Pegasus headroom is excellent with plenty of air and separation but errs more to the natural side in terms of treble forwardness. Neither is the Pegasus about delivering absolute depth and sheer rumble, for that I would suggest the Little Dot DAC 7, review coming soon , but you can tweak out some killer bass with the right amp such as the Violectric Vif that is what you want.

    What the Pegasus has is stellar control and placement from top to bottom to create a very strong sense of open space, especially in terms of width where our paired amp and headphones would allow it.

    With the D Pro and the Xi Audio Formula S analog amp, the Pegasus sounded huge but also very clear and importantly, without any loss of that signature robust or solid midrange presence.

    Denafrips ARES II R2R DAC Review: You Need To Hear This Digital To Analog Converter!

    Therefore they typically cannot accept and I2S input format. The input format for those chips consists of a clock signal, data signal and data latch signal. Two of these hig-res MACs can be used for the first 2 most critical oversampling FIR filters; running them at just The rest for other functions, like de-emphasis, volume control and digital crossover filters… [ link ].

    The user can use generate the filter coefficients and upload them to the FPGA [ link ] Filter tools: rePhase [ link ] Here is a photo showing some of the details disclosed in the diyaudio thread. The LVCA [ link ] are 8-bit shift registers: 7 bits on one side of the chip and the 8th bit on the other side of the chip. In this implementation the 8th bit is not used in order to optimize the layout only using the outputs on one side of the chip as can be seen in the photo.

    The capacitor in the low pass filter C in the photo is the only capacitor in the signal path. There are 3 identical isolators resulting in 6 input lines. More info on isolators here [ link ]. Seems everyone has their favorite isolation device. Of the 4 different vendors I have surveyed, they have all been used by different audio diy implementers. These devices have two isolated channels. Each channel has a logic input and output buffer separated by a silicon dioxide SiO 2 insulation barrier.

    Built-in galvanic isolation at the input is a great idea. This gives the capability to completely isolate noise disturbance is coming from the source, including isolating ground, and since here is a FIFO reclocking stage afterwards, there is no need to worry about the small added jitter psec RMS that these devices would add to the data.

    For more sources you can also just switch the inputs. The clock connects to a fan-out device the chip next to the clock and separate clock lines drive the 3 shift registers in the middle of the board. This is used instead of the Si because of power consumption lower consumption for the Si Clock signal is transmitted through the FPGA for clock division and then to the shift registers.

    The added jitter in the FPGA is in the psec range. The FPGA supplies the clock to the shift registers. In the end, the actual jitter as seen by the resistor ladder is the cumulative jitter consisting of following components Clock intrinsic jitter 0. The Si oscillator used is very low jitter and digitally programmable with a resolution of 0. Negative voltage is required for the output opamps and other parts of the circuit [ link ] Here is a picture of the main supply section.

    The description is my best guess based on the information provided. I believe the digital section is powered by a DC-DC converter-regulator, except for the clock which has its own regulator. In addition to the traditional DAC filters, one can load filters that implement crossover functions. I am able to program everything else, except for the custom filters. Even though some claim that this feature works fine, I have not encountered any diy implementation and only one or two commercial implementations.

    Whether due to my own ignorance or to other factors such as lacking documentation , fact is that there are no publicly disclosed diy successes of having implemented custom filters in the ESS DACs. Update [ link ] : First firmware release will NOT support digital crossovers, although there will be 14 available biquads, already tested in order to support de-emphasis on SPDIF inputs. As somebody already noted, there is issue of syncronization…. But as I already said, all firmware on the board is upgradable though a std PC serial port, I will implement it soon as my big speakers are already designed for electronic crossover use….

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    On the rear panel, you have all the inputs and outputs, including a pair of XLR balanced outputs, a pair of single-ended RCA outputs, two optical digital inputs, two coax digital inputs, and a USB-A input. All in all, you should have plenty of connections for everything you want to do. Alvin from Vinshine Audio which is the only authorized dealer, BTW advised that I should keep it turned on for about 10 days straight before doing any critical listening, so I followed his direction.

    The drum hits were a little bit harder, bass plucks were a little bit rounder and fuller. Everything including the vocals was just warmer and more organic. The top end was detailed but without a lot of edge.

    I liked it a lot! There was a little more depth and space. The DacMagic was like a photorealistic painting, giving you a sharply delineated presentation, while the ARES II was more like a vivid impressionist painting, with its broader, yet skillful strokes invoking more feeling.

    Strings just had more emotion as did the vocals. Trailing edges of notes were reproduced really well. Which to me is more like a real performance. It can be exhausting, in a good way. There is less of an emphasis on the surrounding wall of spatial cues dancing around you and more of a determined focus on how each note unfolds and what it offers. You could argue that there is an almost analog-type quality to performances except the Pegasus resolves so much better than something from a bygone era.

    Perhaps that what makes the Pegasus so unique. Here, I offer a word of caution and that is let the Pegasus flow or keep it turned on for a few days when fresh out of the box. It does take time to settle into its groove. If you are impatient you might find a sound that is a little harsh on the top end with a treble performance not short of the odd harmonic dissonance here and there creeping into the upper mids of any solid-state and reference headphone pairing.

    It can be unsettling to all but the most ardent treble enthusiasts. Post-Burn-in After plenty of hours keeping it warm, the Pegasus offers a full-bodied but also a very balanced tonal charm to solid-state high-end performing amps and a meaty performance out of my more mid-centric amps such as the Auris HA-2SE.

    I suspect there is a very slight fade into the treble which is a little more pronounced in NOS mode than OS mode combined with a low-end slightly north of neutral.

    That delicate treble fade plays a major role in pulling your listening focus just ever so slightly into a very vivid sounding lower treble and upper mids presence. And yet, the percussion timbre is not splashy whatsoever. I hear every cymbal crash and bell clatter coming across clear as day with tons of textural detail but with the perfect attack and decay balance. Life-like but life-like in a slightly pleasing manner. Slightly even-harmonic biased? Possibly, but only marginally so and just enough to give most instruments some heft and warmth for a very listenable quality.

    Oh, and vocals. Goodness me almost perfect for my tastes sounding slightly forward with some gorgeous body and a confident handling of any natural occurring sibilance. That applies to both male and female vocals by the way.

    HoloAudio – Spring 3 DAC Level 1 (R2R – DSD1024)

    Staging Of course, the final say will be with your chosen headphones and an analog amplifier but I do encourage you to pair the Pegasus R2R DAC with a system that can maximize the excellent staging qualities of the Pegasus. This is a performance that is not so much about treble intensity designed to leave you with an impression of superb extension.

    If you need a terrific top-end treble sparkle I suggest the Chord Qutest which excels at this. It works like trimming, but trimming is to change the resistor value.

    Musician Audio Pegasus R2R DAC Review

    This additional R2R ladder are digital controlled and is to compensate the resistor tolerance. For example, the MSB of 16 bits should have the value ofbut due to tolerance, it represent in real world. Then that additional R2R ladder will compensate 68 into it.

    Actually there are other ways to improve performance, I just told you two stories. There are more stories behind the design.

    The end of an era for Audio-gd R2R-11

    It is really hard. Also the switches has self-impedance which is about several ohms to 30 ohms. If you find this issue. Maybe you will go crazy, it seems to be an impossible mission. But a good designer will overcome all these problems.

    All the resistor tolerance, switch impedance, line impedance, via hole impedance, finally reflect as linearity. But I suggest you to look at THD performance.

    R2R Alive – Denafrips Ares II Balanced R2R DAC

    Bad linearity must result a bad THD performance. THD is dynamic performance, more critical than linearity which is a static performance. If you look at the THD performance, you will find Spring to maybe the best among those competitors. This additional R2R ladder is digitally controlled and will accurately compensate the resistor tolerance.

    For example, the MSB of 16 bits should have the value ofbut due to tolerance, it represents in real world results. The sound is simply something you must experience to fully realize how special this DAC is.


    thoughts on “Best r2r dac

    1. I apologise, I can help nothing, but it is assured, that to you will help to find the correct decision.

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