Denafrips Ares or Drop Airist

I am thinking about hopping on the R2R bandwagon and was about to get an Airist when I started seeing glowing recommendations for the Denafrips. I know its almost double the price but hoping someone might have heard if there is that great of a difference between them. I am well aware everything is subjective however I know getting the 789 is worth the extra price over a Magni3 for an amp. Are these DACs so close it’s a wash? Worst case I get the Airist, save $300 and live to see another day. But any insight is appreciated!


I would just suggest going for the arist as it’s a better value, and really the ares is a slight step up imo. Both are great, but the value proposition of the arist is much better

if you’re willing to spend twice the price, perhaps M0N can comment on whether the Audio-Gd R2R-2 is worth consideration?

I personally think the ares II is the better buy for the price, but the audio-gd is pretty good imo. I think the design of the ares II is better imo, and it sounds more enjoyable then the audio gd r2-rs. But I have not heard them side by side

My research pointed to the Ares over the Audio-GD but having never listened to anything R2R I am open to additional options. The Airist sounds like incredible bang for the buck, which I like. But with how people are raving over the Ares which is supposedly similarly terrific bang for the buck (albeit more bucks), I thought I’d go to a trusted place and look for some insight. Thankfully I don’t need to make a decision immediately and can hopefully make an informed decision and not instantly regret it.

Yeah, I would say if you wanted to save some money, the arist is a no bs r2r, and if you wanted to take a higher step with more options the ares is really good too. I really like my r2-r, and the cheaper ones are getting a fair bit better then they used to be.

Although I will say make sure you have good headphones or speakers or iems first, as the bigger upgrade will come from the actual analog audio reproduction devices

For the price of the Ares I would recommend looking at Soekris units. I’ve got the 1321 which is fantastic and I will probably be upgrading to the 1421 or 1541 in the future. For the Ares 2 price you could get a 1421 which uses the same architecture as the 1541, just not dual ladder balanced, and if the 1541 is any indication of sound it will be a beast

Totally forgot about the soekris dacs lol. Yeah also something to look into for sure

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you could also skulk around buy n sell sites and / or put up WTB ad’s for the Airist or the Ares II, etc and see if you can score a used deal. :slight_smile:

I agree, because typically dac’s of this level are treated fairly well, so usually there isn’t any extra risk in buying used outside of the typical things to look out for

New measurements of the Ares II up on ASR. Measures surprisingly “well” for an R2R DAC.

Essentially that review (if you can even call it that) is just saying

“Well if you fools have to have the R2R “magic”, this one at least looks good on paper, not going to bother listening to it though, because why would I do that if I already know it’s not going to sound as good as a d10”

But anyways that is interesting to know :+1:


For sure. But still worth mentioning. :grin:

Just poking fun lol, no issues, it’s interesting to see some measurements for r2r since they aren’t done often


Their members are like the other side of the coin to the audiophile elitist types… Just looked at their comments… ugh… Please lets never become that way… Be open-minded and stop pre-judging and act like you know things you have no experience with…


I feel that they sometimes forget that you can’t graph or measure everything, especially the feeling something gives you.

To me graphs are to indicate and guide and ultimately will never trump hands on with a bit of gear.

I had an argument with a guy who said he was an analog designer for Topping and said he could design better amps than THX… and he was insistent that the RNHP is “shit” because of higher “noise”.

I told him "It doesn’t matter what the numbers or measurements say… I’m sure they are helpful in designing an analog circuit… but at the end of the day… they don’t say what is “pleasant” or “enjoyable”. music itself can’t be broken down by math… as to what sounds more pleasant. Harmon at least tries to take actual human preferences into account when they develop the ‘Harmon curve’… "

Music and audio in it’s production and consumption is subjective. It’s an art. It’s a human construct… and you cannot break it down with numbers when deciding what is “better”… it’s always going to come down to the individual to decide what they like. I definitely don’t believe you have to spend a ton of money to get there… and you should definitely take ‘placebo’ into account when making decisions based on what you hear… but it’s always subjective.


I agree. I stopped going there, as they ALL know EVERYTHING about audiophile equipment. I couldn’t breathe.


Well you have to realize they just design to meet certain measurement targets for the price, not really going for best sound here with topping (same with thx)

I have worked with designers before and let me tell you it’s easy to pick the good from the bad depending on how they act

I realize that… I’m not sure he did… lol
To him… lower noise meant “objectively better” sound… as he put it. And my “subjective opinion” didn’t matter.

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