DAC recommendation Ares II / BF2

Hi guys! I am planning to buy a DAC in the near future. My options are Ares II or BF2.

Current setup:

  • Headphones: t1.2nd and he5xx
  • Amp: thx789, RNHP, A3

I was set to buy the BF2 4 months ago. Now the BF2 shipping delayed (1 or 1 1/2 month). I decided to look for other alternatives which point to the Ares II. Reading some reviews around. Seem to conclude the BF2 is the preferred DAC.

One review points out the Ares II has a better soundstage ( depth, height, width) and better imaging. I tend to prefer a wide sound stage and pinpoint imaging. The BF2 has better bass control and impact, better resolution.

I am thinking of calling my t1.2nd endgame. I might buy the focal clear (OG or MG) later.
For the amp, I plan to keep one SS (or buy something like Jot2 or g111) and buy the MLP.

is the Ares II > MLP good?
is the Ares II > A3 good?
is the Ares II > Jot2 good?
is the Ares II > G111 good?
is the Ares II > thx789 good?
is the Ares II > RNHP good? (I know the RNHP goes better with the BF2)

I know the BF2 and the RNHP are legendary. But for some reason, I don’t enjoy my RNHP as I thought ( maybe is the Modius pairing).

Edit: Fixing some grammar :upside_down_face:

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Out of curiosity…why are you limited to these two particular DAC?

I find Ares II has a deeper stage but its imaging and placement is not as good as the BF2. Resolution is on par with each other. The Ares II should have a bit more bass impact whilst BF2 has better control and speed.

RNHP and G111 both pair pretty well with Ares II imo and you cant go wrong with either. If you also plan to get tubes I think BF2 pairs better with them. Also with BF2 you can use both outputs but with Ares you can only use one of them at the time

And i find RNHP sounds great on certain headphones and DAC as it seems to be a bit more picky. With T1.2 (I don’t have tho) I imagine it might be a bit sharp and too engaging.

Not the biggest fan of A3, THX or Jot 2 and don’t have MLP so won’t comment on that. But I’d suggest get the BF2, keep the RNHP for a future Clear, and get a tube amp like Bottlehead Crack for the T1.

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Money! It seems both are the next step from 200$ and below 800$

There’s a third option which is Soekris (if ur going R2R). Occasionally there’s used 1421 or 1321, the future 1221 should be below 800USD as well


The RNHP is good imaging and depth is good! Maybe is the intensity and a little sharpness. The thx is fine for me though.

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Any ETA on the 1221?

That’s what I find as well. If your goal is a slightly more laid back sound I think you’ll like Ares II + G111 but it won’t sound as good for the Clear. And you will probably miss the depth and imaging on the RNHP as well. Hence I recommend BF2, RNHP and BHC for both T1 and Clear. No reason not to go tubes for a legendary can like the T1.2

THX for me is the opposite of intensive or sharp, it’s simply dull with no body or impact with a hint of brightness.

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No idea, I emailed them but never received a response. You probably won’t like it either as it’s more of the analytical neutral sound. Usually recommended to go with a warmer Violectric amp

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I will keep that in mind. Thank you!