DAC with RCA in/out (DENAFRIPS ARES II < PONTUS II or something else?)

Berkeley

Junior Member
I'm wasn't much of a streaming guy but somehow ended up with most of my CD library on a SSD (the pandemic really helped me out with this project! :D ) and bought a Denafrips Ares 2. I'm impressed. :)

Of course this means that I'm wondering about the Denafrips Pontus II at $2,449.00 - the Ares 2 is currently $1,149.00. But if I am willing to spend another $1,549.00 (presuming I can get $900.00 for my used Ares 2) shouldn't I expand my search to include other DACs in the $2,500.00 range?

Note that I have vintage McIntosh tube equipment and require RCA input and outputs. Nothing else will work.

Has anyone compared the Ares vs Pontus? The Pontus to anything else?

Or perhaps I'm wasting my time and money since I have 1960's era equipment?

All thoughts welcomed!
 

Olson_jr

Active Member
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I am confused, are you saying that the Denafrips Pontus II does not have RCA/Single Ended Analog Outputs?
 

MikeyFresh

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I am confused, are you saying that the Denafrips Pontus II does not have RCA/Single Ended Analog Outputs?
I took that to mean his vintage McIntosh gear is single ended/RCA only, so any DACs under consideration must have single-ended RCA outputs.

The Pontus II has both single-ended/RCA, and Balanced/XLR outputs.

The confusing bit in both the thread title and the body of the post is the necessity for an RCA input, unclear to me what that means... could be a digital SPDIF input on RCA as opposed to BNC, or it could mean a DAC with an analog input such as some models by RME, or Benchmark for example.
 

Berkeley

Junior Member
I have older equipment, I can only connect (and only want to connect) components using analogue RCA. My older CD players only have analogue RCA jacks.

Whatever DAC I get must have both an analogue input and output. Both Ares and Pontus have this. I might spend $2,500.00 on a DAC so I thought it would be a good idea to expand my list of potential purchases - should investigate some other DACs?

Sorry for the confusion!
 

S0und Dragon

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Holo Audio Spring Dac Level 2.

I am almost loathe to recommend it as the Level 3 version is truly “the one” to get if you can stretch the budget. But the level 2 version of the Holo Audio Spring Dac is very good and debatably a notch above the Pontus.

The level 3 at about 3K(ish) is very very good and as good a place to hang ones hat, Dac wise as you may want. If you are not like me always jumping around with components, this is where I would look to be.

 

MikeyFresh

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Whatever DAC I get must have both an analogue input and output. Both Ares and Pontus have this.
That is not the case, hence my confusion.

Neither Ares II nor Pontus II have an analog input, they only have digital inputs, unless there is some newer model (or an analog input option) that I'm unaware of.
 

Olson_jr

Active Member
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Holo Audio Spring Dac Level 2.

I am almost loathe to recommend it as the Level 3 version is truly “the one” to get if you can stretch the budget. But the level 2 version of the Holo Audio Spring Dac is very good and debatably a notch above the Pontus.

The level 3 at about 3K(ish) is very very good and as good a place to hang ones hat, Dac wise as you may want. If you are not like me always jumping around with components, this is where I would look to be.


I have this HOLO and would highly recommend it or the level SOund Dragon recommended.

 
The Ares II has RCA, TOSlink and USB digital input sockets and RCA plus balanced analogue outputs. (Mine does anyhow).

Note: cleared up a bit.
 
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StevenZ

Pending Gold Star Member
I’d be looking a Soekris or Audial S5 before a Pontus 2. I’ve got an Audial S5 on the way.
 

Berkeley

Junior Member
Holo Audio Spring Dac Level 2.

I am almost loathe to recommend it as the Level 3 version is truly “the one” to get if you can stretch the budget. But the level 2 version of the Holo Audio Spring Dac is very good and debatably a notch above the Pontus.

The level 3 at about 3K(ish) is very very good and as good a place to hang ones hat, Dac wise as you may want. If you are not like me always jumping around with components, this is where I would look to be.

Thanks for the recommendation but I should not stretch the budget that much which is about 4,600.00 CAD as my income stream has stopped. But whatever I get or even if I stay with what I have, this will be the last large purchase that I will make!
 

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
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Thanks for the recommendation but I should not stretch the budget that much which is about 4,600.00 CAD as my income stream has stopped. But whatever I get or even if I stay with what I have, this will be the last large purchase that I will make!
Didn’t realize that we were talking CAD$$$. That definitely changes the calculations by a bit. Honestly, the Pontus is hard to beat. It’s a very good Dac.
 

adaug

Awaiting Updated Member Status.
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there is also this thread on the pontus

 
so what did you end up with?

:D if you haven't spent yet.. imo the US made Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE is a wonderful DAC.. not sure it's ever leaving my system, as I 'feel' like I'd have to spend some x of $ to beat it.

i found mine for just over $2k, with the SR Orange fuse init already, has coax in, as well as XLR/ RCA outs, duelund caps and fancy innards.

I had (have) the Tubadour II, found one for sub $800 and was blown away.. (Gumby then a Jolida Glas DSD). The Tubadour II was a gateway drug to the IIISE for sure.
 
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