Feeling Stupid 🙄

painter24

Well-known member
May 31, 2021
42
37
70
Hi,

I touched on this observation in a previous post, please see below; it centres around the Bluesound Node (2021) DAC and my Denafrips Ares II.


To cut a long story short, while messing about, looking at options for connecting a Subwoofer, I decided to A/B the Node's DAC and the Ares II again, and was left a little dumbfounded, and to be honest, feeling a little foolish.

The reason being, I was hard pressed to tell the difference. Over the Christmas holidays I did some deliberate listening and A/B'ing just to make sure I wasn't just having a bad day originally; but nope, I was still hard pressed to tell the difference.

Just for context my system comprises;

Naim Nait 5si
Quad S2 speakers
BS Node (2021)
Denafrips Ares II
Tellurium Blue II Speaker cables

I have a few theories why this should be so, but would appreciate some insights from more knowledgeable, experienced forum members than I.

1. My hearing is shot after years of live sound engineering

2. My system isn't revealing/good enough to expose the benefits of an external DAC, and one as well thought of as the Denafrips.

3. The Node's DAC isn't as mediocre as some reviews and forum posts state.

4. The Denafrips isn't as good as some reviews and forum posts state (I think this unlikely, although I have to consider all possibilities)

5. I like a smooth top end, which is why I have the Tellurium Blue II Speaker cables. This could be a factor I suppose, but I don't think it would homogenise the sound so dramatically.

It could be a combination of some of the above, but I feel there's a lesson for me to learn here. I'm not entirely sure what it is yet 🤔.

I feel a tad foolish at the moment, and I'm absolutely fine with it, if there is a valuable lesson to be learnt, and one I can take forward in my HiFi journey. I'm just unsure what it is right now.

As a result of this, I am selling the Denafrips, as I can't justify having it in my system, at the cost vs SQ improvement returns. I feel the money would have been better spent upgrading the power supply of the Node, and/or offsetting the cost of the sub I've just bought (which is great so far by the way).

I welcome all thoughts and observations; please feel free to point out my stupidity in rushing out and buying the Denafrips. I'm not precious or so egotistic to take offence; I genuinely want to learn from this, whatever the lesson may be👍

Thanks for reading.

Regards

L
 
Last edited:

dkontos

Well-known member
Apr 24, 2021
39
6
45
Hi... I am very interesting on this subject too. I used to have a Yamaha WXAD-10 streamer with DAC built-in and I have changed it for the Ifi Zen Stream + Ifi Zen Dac V2, and I had a quite better SQ from the new set-up. So, I am wondering if it would be any significant improvement at SQ if I upgrade the Ifi Zen Dac V2 with the Denafrips Ares II in the future (because it has all these incredible reviews...!!!
I want also to ask you (as you have the Rel sub, what is your listening room diamentions ? That is because I have a similar set-up like yours ( Rotel A11 2x50W amp + Focal 906 speakers) and I am thinking of adding only one Rel T5x, as i do not care for real deep and loud bass, but only to somehow "compete" the sound of my system at low-to-medium volumes....
Thanks.
 
  • Like
Reactions: painter24

painter24

Well-known member
May 31, 2021
42
37
70
Hi... I am very interesting on this subject too. I used to have a Yamaha WXAD-10 streamer with DAC built-in and I have changed it for the Ifi Zen Stream + Ifi Zen Dac V2, and I had a quite better SQ from the new set-up. So, I am wondering if it would be any significant improvement at SQ if I upgrade the Ifi Zen Dac V2 with the Denafrips Ares II in the future (because it has all these incredible reviews...!!!
I want also to ask you (as you have the Rel sub, what is your listening room diamentions ? That is because I have a similar set-up like yours ( Rotel A11 2x50W amp + Focal 906 speakers) and I am thinking of adding only one Rel T5x, as i do not care for real deep and loud bass, but only to somehow "compete" the sound of my system at low-to-medium volumes....
Thanks.
Hi dkontos,

I'm hesitant to comment on the Ares II one way or the other at the moment, given my recent experience 🤔

As for the REL, I ended up with the T5x. My room is smallish, about 14 by 13 feet.
After playing REL loud for a couple of days, on and off, as per REL's instructions, I've now decreased the volume to my tastes.

I'm no expert, but I'm finding it does what I wanted from it, which was to supplement and reinforce my Quad S2s LF output, which it does excellently.

I have the gain at around 5 to 7 clicks at the moment, and cover at around 10 clicks. I don't think it will stay at these settings, as I'm still becoming acclimatised to it. It's position inside my right hand speaker, slightly back.
 
  • Like
Reactions: doifeellucky

dkontos

Well-known member
Apr 24, 2021
39
6
45
Hi dkontos,

I'm hesitant to comment on the Ares II one way or the other at the moment, given my recent experience 🤔

As for the REL, I ended up with the T5x. My room is smallish, about 14 by 13 feet.
After playing REL loud for a couple of days, on and off, as per REL's instructions, I've now decreased the volume to my tastes.

I'm no expert, but I'm finding it does what I wanted from it, which was to supplement and reinforce my Quad S2s LF output, which it does excellently.

I have the gain at around 5 to 7 clicks at the moment, and cover at around 10 clicks. I don't think it will stay at these settings, as I'm still becoming acclimatised to it. It's position inside my right hand speaker, slightl
Hi dkontos,

I'm hesitant to comment on the Ares II one way or the other at the moment, given my recent experience 🤔

As for the REL, I ended up with the T5x. My room is smallish, about 14 by 13 feet.
After playing REL loud for a couple of days, on and off, as per REL's instructions, I've now decreased the volume to my tastes.

I'm no expert, but I'm finding it does what I wanted from it, which was to supplement and reinforce my Quad S2s LF output, which it does excellently.

I have the gain at around 5 to 7 clicks at the moment, and cover at around 10 clicks. I don't think it will stay at these settings, as I'm still becoming acclimatised to it. It's position inside my right hand speaker, slightly back.
Thanks. From what you say, I think that we are looking for the same thing from the sub, and our set-ups are really close...!!! But my room is about 50% larger, so I am wondering if I should go for the bigger T7x...( Rel suggests this R7x , or even better 2 x T5x for my room and Focal speakers). On the other hand, I do not listen very loud, I only listen at low to medium volumes at mostly acoustic music. So, I think that I could start from the "small" T5x at first (because I have found a used one at half the price, and I do not have the budget for the T7x right now), and see in the future if this is capable enough of giving a good result or , if not, to add a second R5x in the future...!!!
 

painter24

Well-known member
May 31, 2021
42
37
70
Funnily enough, REL's site recommended a T7x for me too, but this didn't seem right as they based that purely on my speakers with no reference to room size. And like you, I listen at moderate volumes.
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
1,047
583
1,570
Funnily enough, REL's site recommended a T7x for me too, but this didn't seem right as they based that purely on my speakers with no reference to room size. And like you, I listen at moderate volumes.
Plus they advise to put the sub in the corner...which is the worst place in my opinion!
 
  • Like
Reactions: painter24

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
1,047
583
1,570
Hi,

I touched on this observation in a previous post, please see below; it centres around the Bluesound Node (2021) DAC and my Denafrips Ares II.


To cut a long story short, while messing about, looking at options for connecting a Subwoofer, I decided to A/B the Node's DAC and the Ares II again, and was left a little dumbfounded, and to be honest, feeling a little foolish.

The reason being, I was hard pressed to tell the difference. Over the Christmas holidays I did some deliberate listening and A/B'ing just to make sure I wasn't just having a bad day originally; but nope, I was still hard pressed to tell the difference.

Just for context my system comprises;

Naim Nait 5si
Quad S2 speakers
BS Node (2021)
Denafrips Ares II
Tellurium Blue II Speaker cables

I have a few theories why this should be so, but would appreciate some insights from more knowledgeable, experienced forum members than I.

1. My hearing is shot after years of live sound engineering

2. My system isn't revealing/good enough to expose the benefits of an external DAC, and one as well thought of as the Denafrips.

3. The Node's DAC isn't as mediocre as some reviews and forum posts state.

4. The Denafrips isn't as good as some reviews and forum posts state (I think this unlikely, although I have to consider all possibilities)

5. I like a smooth top end, which is why I have the Tellurium Blue II Speaker cables. This could be a factor I suppose, but I don't think it would homogenise the sound so dramatically.

It could be a combination of some of the above, but I feel there's a lesson for me to learn here. I'm not entirely sure what it is yet 🤔.

I feel a tad foolish at the moment, and I'm absolutely fine with it, if there is a valuable lesson to be learnt, and one I can take forward in my HiFi journey. I'm just unsure what it is right now.

As a result of this, I am selling the Denafrips, as I can't justify having it in my system, at the cost vs SQ improvement returns. I feel the money would have been better spent upgrading the power supply of the Node, and/or offsetting the cost of the sub I've just bought (which is great so far by the way).

I welcome all thoughts and observations; please feel free to point out my stupidity in rushing out and buying the Denafrips. I'm not precious or so egotistic to take offence; I genuinely want to learn from this, whatever the lesson may be👍

Thanks for reading.

Regards

L
Nothing foolish at all! Many have said that the DAC in the 2021 Node is better than the Node 2i. Reviewers have gone mad frankly about the Ares II... just because it is R2R ?!
I believe you cannot beat actual empirical experience when making these judgements. 👍
 
  • Like
Reactions: painter24

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts