🔶 Airist R2R (Drop DAC)

This is the official thread for the Airist R2R (Drop DAC). This thread is for discussion and reviews.

  • R2R Design
  • Unbalanced Only
  • V-Good

:red_circle: HifiGuides Drop link


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Looking forward to the Z review on this one! Better than the SMSL SU-8???


A “cheap” R2R. Interesting!

Holy shit, does this thing sound f’ing amazing! I feel like throwing all my other DAC’s in the trash… lol.

Edit: I’ve literally never experienced anything like this before… jaw dropping, goosebumps the more I listen the more I get lost in this wild neverlandish ocean of musical goodness… literally going back and listening to everything again and again… the detail is overwhelming…sounds so lushly rich like that dripping brush drenching ooey gooey brown sugar glaze over your holiday ham, mouth wateringly glorius, that piece of dessert that is so extremely rich but you cant seem to put your spoon down you just gobble that shit up… and want another even if you feel sick to your stomach!

Whatever this little baby is doing… is just amazing… my only warning is once this little guy burns in/opens up… you can’t “unhear” what you heard… and its all over… lol!

Best $375 I ever spent on audio equipment… going to buy more then one for sure…in love I am! :slight_smile:


But what dacs did you use before?

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Schiit Gungnir(the 4399AKM)… Su-8… SMSL VMV D1, Topping D30, Khadas tone board, SMSL m100, Sanskirt 10th Ann edition, iFi Micro iDSD Black Label

This was my first ever… multibit/r2r experience, perhaps that has something to do with it… time to save up for a Yggy from Schiit cuz now… i’m a believer… 0_o

Edit: Something unearthly is taking place in that little box… I don’t know what its doing… but I love it… even the John 5 “Crank it” the guitar sounded so f’ing authentic and pure… it boggles my mind, whoever designed this must of really loved natural purity for the tunes and depth of detail… because that’s all I hear… I’m literally going to get in trouble @ work because I cant bring myself to go to sleep, because of how awesome this is…

I know this is non-sense … or most likely is… but this is also my first time using those “worlds best cables” the 175hr burn in… I bought the 32 dollar pair… i’ll discount that for now…going to dive to the depths of good ol Dead can dance for the next few hours and slip into a heavenly coma of awe…

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Info on how R2R works:

R-2R refers to how the DAC handles D/A conversion: a series of 24 resistors (per channel) with each resistor outputting twice the voltage of the previous resistor. Each resistor is turned on or off by the ones and zeroes present in a chunk of PCM data arriving via the DAC’s USB, TOSLINK or coaxial input e.g. 1001 0101 0111 1011. These groups of 16 (or 24) bits are called words. Each word specifies a voltage – a plot point on a waveform. For CD-quality audio, words arrive at the DAC at 44,100 times per second to net 44,100 point plots per second. For 96kHz audio, they arrive at 96,000 times per second for 96,000 plots per second.

(1-year old link)


I can see now why Currawong and a few other youtuber’s say that ladder DAC’s sound the best… I now fully understand and totally get it… and the DAC does have some distortion… a slight hiss, but you know what… it sounds absolutely amazing, I’m sure it will measure like crap… and I don’t give a damn.



Just so we’re straight… This is not a balanced DAC like the SU-8. So this would not be a better solution for the likes of the 789?

It isn’t the Cables. That I will bet on.


I personally would still go Balanced to the 789 just for the extra voltage if nothing else. Since the volume pot of the 789 is Unbalanced it sort of mucks it up.

Thanks Zeos! Been on the fence with wanting to try this DAC. Still very much looking forward to what you have to say about this one. :slight_smile:

I compare it to the best stuff I have. The SMSL D1 and the JDS Labs EL Dac


Of course, Form factor wise, this would be a perfect match for the 789. Too bad it doesn’t have balanced outputs.

I mean as long as the final amplification is balanced then you should get all the benefits of balanced so it shouldn’t be that bad. Plus I would think Zeos tested it with the 789 etc.

The 789 isn’t fully balanced though, the signal is phase inverted before being output. I don’t think having a fully balanced versus the 789 approach matters too much, other than piece of mind.

In this case it would only be input voltage that would affect the signal - XLR having a higher voltage than RCA.

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I just saw Z’s review on this. I had hoped it would provide some insight into why exactly this DAC supposedly sounds so great. He said it sounded “great”, “extra clean” and that was it. So not very helpful. This DAC isn’t expected to have top tier measurements right? If someone could explain specifically how it sounds different from something like a Topping D50, that would be very helpful.

It’s level of detail is astonishing… let’s just put it this way… from now on for listening to music… I am only buying/using multibit/ladder dac’s, if that doesn’t send a clear enough message I don’t know what would…

It sounds better then anything I have… and I covered all my bases… I bet the schitt yggy sounds magical and i’ll probably buy one of those…

Edit: I guess the easiest way to put it… if I was to put a sponge in someones hand that was totally soaked but they were to weak in hand to wring it out… meaning the detail and the person… being that a representation of AKM’s, Sabres… the R2R is the 40,000 lb hydraulic press able to squeeze out every droplet of moisture entirely.

“But the Yggy doesn’t measure well so it is trash!!!” lol Good stuff, I may listen to one one day, but but I’ve invested basically what I want to in stationary equipment. Plans can change just not anytime soon. :slight_smile:

It’s a tempting buy, but I will hold off until more reviews are available. Based on other reviews (and Mass Drop’s description), it seems this DAC has colored/warm sound. I wonder if that’s somehow contributing to a perception higher clarity. Anyway it’s really odd Zeos made no mention of that at all in his review.