I’m currently thinking about upgrading from my Schiit Modius to an R2R DAC. Trying to decide between Denafrips Ares II, Musician Pegasus (maybe Draco), Audio-GD R-1, Soekris 1421, or a Schiit Bifrost 2. Though I might just say fuck it and go for a tube DAC like the MHDT Labs Stockholm v2 or a used Pagoda. Going to continue using my Jotunheim 2 for now, but am also thinking about either getting a Bottlehead Crack OTL or Monolith Liquid Platinum later on next year once I recover from Christmas shopping (writing this in case this is important for pairing purposes).
Of those DACs I have only owned the Ares II and the Pegasus and I found the Pegasus to me the more impressive of the two.
impressive in what ways? and did the Ares II do anything better than the Pegasus, even if it was your end preference?
Pegasus was very good with staging, providing clean dimensions in all three directions (width, depth, height) as well as precise source placement within that stage. It gives you tons of detail and and a nice dark background. Keep in mind, this is from memory so I really can’t get more specific and I apologize for that.
The Aries II is the more musical/euphonic DAC of the two. It gives off this very musical, liquid vibe that can take things to that next level of immersiveness (if that’s even a word lol ). When I say liquid or smooth I don’t want that to convey a lack of detail or note definition, it’s more a comment on the way the replay flows. Also, the Aries II probably had the edge in dynamics, but more musical DACs can sometimes make you think that even when that’s not the case upon AB listening, IME, which is why I say probably. Also, the advantage would have been slight.
If you have a chain that you’re looking to add a touch of life and musical energy to the Ares II would be good for that. If you’re looking to keep things clean and technical, then the Pegasus would be my choice. Obviously that’s an oversimplification, but it’s basically true, IMO.
Edit: Hope this helps!
That’s actually pretty helpful for me, since it kind of nudges me more towards the Ares II (in a straight comparison between Ares and Pegasus). If I were looking for a more neutral and clinical DAC, I’d probably stick with Delta Sigma since that’ll always be more precise at this price point. It’s also why I was looking at tube DACs, too, since I’ve heard amazing things about ones like the Audio-Mirror Tubadour III and MHDT Orchid. Once I can stop spending money on the custom mechanical keyboard hobby, I hope to have one of each in my collection (same with having a solid state and tube amp, hence the Crack OTL interest (since I’ve heard that it actually sounds better than $1,500 McIntosh tube amps)).
Still hoping for more replies re: the other options, but this helps a lot.
Just for clarification, I wouldn’t deacribe the Pegasus as clinical. I think it’s just more detailed and accurate without some of the added warmth of the Ares. Basically I would call the Pegasus uncolored for the most part while I would call the Ares warm leaning towards lush.
Anyways, I’m glad I could be of some help! Happy hunting!
i personally have an OG BF2 and the new BF2/64 should be a that less warm but with better detail presentation
from what i have read when i was looking for a DAC the ares should be a bit more musical compared to the bf2 with better soundstage but shiit has that housesound thats more punchy and good for my rock/metal taste
otherwise you should also know that you can only use one output from the ares at a time so only rca or xlr because it hasnt really an output stage
with the other dacs i cant help you but others here will know more than me so help should come ^^
between the ares and bf2 imo your music taste or chain can be more important than the dac itself, for classical or jazz the ares should be more to your taste and the bf2 has an edge in rock
and if a crack is on your radar i can only recommend the bf2 cause thats my current chain
Yeah, I listed my current chain and potential future chain just in case. The comments so far seem to parrot the stuff I’ve been seeing online, but I kind of expected that since the BF2 and Ares II are super popular and the Pegasus is well known as an Ares II (and even Pontus II) rival, but the others I’ve listed seem to be quite a bit less popular. Almost makes me wish that I was only picking between these three since there’s a lot more people with them out there that can help pick a favorite, but the other ones (especially the tube DACs) have me very interested.
I’m already watching that one and another one at $1050 that comes with an upgrade and 3 extra tubes. There’s also a Pagoda listed at $1100 that I’m watching as well. There’s also a BF2 for $600 and a Gungnir for $550. This is why I’m finally decided to upgrade since it seems like quite a few good used deals are happening.
General feedback is orchid is the best $ to performance level from mhdt. If looking at pagodas then I would look at the gustard r26 1300 on us audio.
I’ll just say that if you catch a Gustard R26 going for a used or sale price that you’re willing to stretch to it won’t disappoint. I took one as a partial trade for my Klipsch floorstanders because I wanted a second R2R option aside from my Holo May KTE and I have been nothing but impressed. It’s a significant step up in layering, soundstage/spatiality, and accuracy all while having a very pleasant euphonic musicality to it’s presentation. It’s really one heck of a DAC for the money and easily holds its own against some of the more expensive R2R options I tried in the search that ended with the May.
I know it’s outside your budget, but I just saw one sell for $1150 shipped used and it made me think I should mention it.
does it feel competitive with Holo May? I know it won’t be as good but if someone took away your may and left you with the R26 would you be sufficiently happy with it as our primary Dac after owning the May?
Yes. It isn’t as good as the May, but I could be 100% satisfied with the R26 as my main DAC. It really gives you top notch performance.
I think that say alot about the value and performance for somebody owning a great dac. I have some items in the midfi price range I feel similarly about (e.g. OG Clear, quicksilver hp tube amp). I will be getting the R26 for my secondary chain as well.
This would have been the listing to get… Unfortunately missed out on it…
Wow! That would’ve been a killer price for sure. I have nothing but good things to say about the R26. It’s just a great piece of kit.
Ah, I already missed out? I was just checking and wondering what you meant about the listing since I only saw X26 listings.
Perhaps see if this is negotiable
I’m not seeing any others for sale ATM… you could also try to message the guy from the “off market” listing for 1k and just confirm if he sold it. Perhaps there is a small chance he changed his mind or it fell through. If you’re nice enough you might be able to work out a deal.