I own up, it was me that mentioned to Nigel that I've just purchased an Ares ii.
Am I pleased Oh yes! The internet buzz was not for nothing. It replaced my Jolida dac. On first switching on it was. Just a little better, better bass extension, better treble and slightly more image depth but narrower image width. So an improvement but not earth shattering.
I was warned it needed a 100 hour burn in and it would continue to improve for a further 200 hours. This from Alvin at Vinshine Audio whom i purchased it from, a very nice chap who replied to all my questions very promptly.
Now after a weeks burn in the dac has transformed, bass no BASS. It has introduced itself to my 15" bass drivers and they are having so much fun together it's ridiculous. I run open baffle speakers and purchased a second pair of bass units to do a rebuild, I don't know if they're needed now. Imaging has opened up in width as well as depth, it's the depth that surprises me, never had it in digital replay. Last but not least that intangible that makes a product stand out but is hard putting into words. Track after track is being presented in a way that I've not heard before. The jaw dropping moment was when I played Simon and Garfunkel 'Scarborough Fair' been loving this for over thirty years, well I wasn't prepared for the incredible separation of their voices, the harmonics between them both brought a tear to my eye.
If your thinking of buying one they come delivered to uk for £700 ( mine was £682, slight variations due to Singapore dollar exchange rate. I believe waiting time is now 8 weeks.
Im so impressed that my eyes are now wandering to the other Chinese product that's taking the internet by storm (I want one just for the name) a Kinki Studios M1 integrated amp that's 2k and killing anything below 5k.
Life isn't fair, Kinki is the designers wife's name, I would never tire of asking her what would make her happy 😄