New R2R DAC

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mbabst

Newbie
Wammer
Jan 11, 2019
105
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33
Hi

I've recently sold my Linn Akurate DSM streamer to raise funds for a Luxman 590axII. What a lovely amp it is with my Harbeth C7XD. I'm now in the market for a new DAC to get back into streaming again. I'm looking for a natural sounding musical DAC, DSD or MQA isn't a must. The ones I'm considering so far are:

1. Denafrips Pontus II
2. Audio Mirror Toubadour IV SE
3. Merason Frérot

Did anyone directly compare these DACs? Any other DAC I should consider?

Thanks for your help!
 

mbabst

Newbie
Wammer
Jan 11, 2019
105
31
33
Everyone raves about number 1 and 2. They are considered to be very musical and NOS. Number 3 is a local solution from Switzerland. Also very musical and between R2R and DS. It's the cheapest out of the bunch but I'm tempted to go with it.
 

DomT

It’s all about the music
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
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AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
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Hi

I've recently sold my Linn Akurate DSM streamer to raise funds for a Luxman 590axII. What a lovely amp it is with my Harbeth C7XD. I'm now in the market for a new DAC to get back into streaming again. I'm looking for a natural sounding musical DAC, DSD or MQA isn't a must. The ones I'm considering so far are:

1. Denafrips Pontus II
2. Audio Mirror Toubadour IV SE
3. Merason Frérot

Did anyone directly compare these DACs? Any other DAC I should consider?

Thanks for your help!
It would be good to know if you used your Linn with your Luxman and what you thought of it. And if not what did you think of it?

I listened to two of my DACs in TheFlash’s home and I preferred one over the other at his and the other at mine. Very system dependent.

I own a Luxman DAC that I like a lot and maybe there will be some synergy with their amps.
 
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Ceko

Wammer
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Jul 21, 2020
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Zuid Holland, NL
HiFi Trade?
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And if you don’t want to spend a whole month salary’s worth, check out the Metrum Acoustics NOS mini dac if you can find it second hand:
 

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Warszawa

Wammer
Wammer
Mar 12, 2013
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Joe
HiFi Trade?
  1. Yes
  2. No
Everyone raves about number 1 and 2. They are considered to be very musical and NOS.
FWIW, Denafrips DACs aren't NOS. It's a NOS effect filter of sorts and most prefer the OS filter.
 
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Southeastern

The '59 Sound
Wammer
Nov 26, 2019
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South East
HiFi Trade?
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Aqua Acoustics La Voce S3, might need to push the budget out for a preowned one, but they are about. The La Voce S2 is also brilliant, although not strictly R2R as it is old school Philips 1541 chip based.

images
 

Psilonaught

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Aug 16, 2007
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James
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I'd put my Acuhorn R2R T dac with Soekris R2R board and switchable DHT tubes against any R2R dac. Thanks to the very complex and unusual power supply, the sound is just extraordinary.
 
Last edited:
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karlsushi

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Feb 1, 2022
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I think like most things in the world of hifi, a particular topology doesn't always give a particular sound.

I own 2 NOS DACs (an MHDT Pagoda and a Denafrips Pontus II), purchasing them in a similar vein to you i.e looking for something more smooth and less clinical. The Pagoda in particular fits the bill well for the money. The Pontus however, although a very good DAC, doesn't really present itself in that way to my ears.

Having recently borrowed a Chord DAVE however, I have discovered a taste of what digital is really capable of. I had expected it to be ultra detailed in the extreme, but it has taught me that true transparency is exactly the kind of sound that people assign to NOS DACs. It is smooth and natural beyond words.

Just looking at what kit it I can sell to get my hands on one.
 
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Nativebon

MUZIC FIRST
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Aug 9, 2018
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Ian
HiFi Trade?
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Audio sagra reference DAC. Really looking into this one... Problem is seems no distributors in the UK.
 

tuga

. . .
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I would only buy a NOS DAC to feed it upsampled content.

I would definitely consider Holo Spring and Holo May (discrete R2R), also Phasure NOS1 (PCM1704), perhaps Aqua and Rockna (discrete R2R).
I would definitely avoid any R2R using the TDA1543 chip, perhaps the TDA1541 too.
 
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Juancho

Wammer
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Jan 22, 2014
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David
I would only buy a NOS DAC to feed it upsampled content.

I would definitely consider Holo Spring and Holo May (discrete R2R), also Phasure NOS1 (PCM1704), perhaps Aqua and Rockna (discrete R2R).
I would definitely avoid any R2R using the TDA1543 chip, perhaps the TDA1541 too.
Have you actually heard any of these?
 

karlsushi

Wammer
Wammer
Feb 1, 2022
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Melton Mowbray, East Midlands
HiFi Trade?
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Just put my Denafrips Pontus II up in the classifieds and noticed there's one there already in black (mine's silver) so take your pick!

Technically not R2R according to some commentators, although Denafrips still describe it as such.
 

ian917

Status Unknown
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Aug 4, 2018
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Ian
HiFi Trade?
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Just put my Denafrips Pontus II up in the classifieds and noticed there's one there already in black (mine's silver) so take your pick!

Technically not R2R according to some commentators, although Denafrips still describe it as such.
It is an R2R DAC but it isn’t NOS (non-oversampling).
 
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ian917

Status Unknown
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Aug 4, 2018
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Ian
HiFi Trade?
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You may be right. Definitely has a switch for selecting between NOS/OS modes though :unsure:
My car has a speedometer that goes up to 180mph but it doesn’t mean it can do it. Denafrips DACs do not do true NOS. I’m not saying that the button does not exist or that it doesn’t do something but it isn’t what it claims to be.
 
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