in ,

One more thought on the Denafrips Ares II

  • We’ve been catching quite a few streaming-related gotchas of late. Bluetooth can’t do hi-res (no matter what the promo blurb says), Google’s Chromecast doesn’t stream gaplessly, Android OS resamples all streams to 48kHz and all Sonos hardware caps ‘hi-res’ support at 48kHz to pull up alongside Apple TV OS and AirPlay.

    The Denafrips Ares II, although a D/A converter and not a streaming device per se, doesn’t get away gotcha-free. The FPGA-based DSP that handles the unit’s FIFO buffering and (N)OS modes cannot perform its calculations instantaneously. Maths takes time, albeit milliseconds. And like many pairs of active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones, the Ares II’s DSP-induced time delay is enough to knock lip-sync out of whack when the DAC is tasked with handling the audio portion of a video stream.

    I hooked up a Xiaomi Mi Box S via TOSLINK to watch John Oliver on YouTube only to find the lip-sync error too distracting to watch for more than a couple of minutes. Switching the Denafrips DAC from OS mode to NOS mode didn’t improve the situation; and if it did, the gains were imperceptible. I have no way of measuring the number of milliseconds introduced by the Ares II’s DSP but this Drop forum commenter somehow pegs it at somewhere between 40 and 90ms. What I can tell you is that the delay is more pronounced than the DSP delay introduced by Sony’s WH-1000XM3 ANC headphones.

    Alas, this time delay renders the Ares II untenable for TV or movie watching. Gotcha!

    Further information: Denafrips

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

    Denafrips Ares II video review

    IKEA’s SYMFONISK picture frame puts Sonos on the wall