In Barn for Review: Denafrips Pontus II DAC

I’m hoping there’s more than a family resemblance to be found between the recently reviewed, and loved, Denafrips ARES II DAC, and the upstream Denafrips Pontus II.

As you’d expect, the Pontus II adds to ARES II recipe. The Pontus II’s chassis is larger and constructed of massive aluminum plates and it a dual mono design featuring dual independent high-speed FPGAs to control the decoding by means of 4 sets of 0.01% R-2R network. Like the ARES II, the Pontus is a true balanced design and data is sent to a  FIFO buffer where its reclocked by the on board FEMTO clocks.

photo credit: Denafrips

The Pontus II also adds a second power supply, and the pair are encapsulated in a thick metal alloy, equipped with dual o-core transformers. NOS and OS modes are available, where PCM data of 44.1kHz or 48kHz are up-sampled to the maximum rate of PCM1411.2 or PCM1536 when in OS. As with the ARES II, there are also filter options for OS mode, Sharp and Slow. The better option is the one you enjoy listening to more.

In addition to the Coax (1x RCA, 2x BNC 75 Ω,) TOSLink, 2x AES EBU, and USB inputs, the Pontus II adds an I2S input (via HDMI LVDS) for use with something very much like the Denafrips IRIS USB DDC.

I very much look forward to giving the Pontus II the full Barn workout. Stay tuned.

Denafrips Pontus II DAC
: $1,728.62



Proprietary R2R + DSD Architecture
True balanced 24BIT R2R + 6BIT DSD (32 steps FIR Filters)
Native DSD decoding with 0.01% precision resistors


Encapsulated Ultra Low Noise Power Supply
FEMTO Crystal 45.1548MHz, 49.152Mhz
Adaptive FIFO Buffer and Reclocking
DSD1024, PCM1536 Supports On USB & I²S Input
Proprietary USB Audio Solution via STM32F446 Advanced AMR Based MCU
Licensed Thesycon USB Driver For Windows Platform
Driverless On Mac & Linux
Dual AES/EBU Input
Sharp/Slow Filters Option
I²S Pinout Configuration
I²S DSD Channel Swap Configuration

DSD: DSD64-DoP On All Input, DSD1024* On USB & I²S Input Only
PCM: 24bits / 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192KHz On All Inputs, 1536kHz* On USB & I²S Input

NOTE* USB Firmware V3.4.1 – PCM1536 / DSD1024 supports disabled for compatibility with macOS

Digital Inputs: Coax 1 via RCA, Coax 2 via BNC 75 Ω, TOSLink x 1, AES EBU x 2, USB, I²S via HDMI LVDS
Analog Outputs: RCA at 2.0Vrms, 625 Ω, XLR at 4.0Vrms, 1250 Ω
Sampling Mode: Non-Oversampling NOS, Oversampling OS
AC Power Requirement: 100-240VAC, 50/60Hz (Worldwide Voltage)
Power Consumption:≤20W
Frequency Response: 20-70KHz -3dB
THD+N: 0.0025%
S/N Ratio: 120dB
Dynamic Range: >121dB
Stereo Crosstalk: -110dB
Dimensions: 320 x 330 x 80 mm
Weight: 8.5 Kg
Color:  Silver / Black

Company Website: Denafrips
Distributor’s Website: Vinshine Audio