Oh my, oh my - Aries Cerat Helene DAC

I can't stay silent - today we received Helene DAC, "baby" DAC from Aries Cerat. What a baby, what a beauty. From the very fist second the sound was sublime, digital rarely gets better than this - in form of Kassandra DAC only probably. I am not saying this lightly, just compare Helene to all the big guns, you would be surprised. Rich, transparent sound, real body of instruments, timbre to die for, as analog as possible, but most importantly, natural music flow, touching your heart and soul. Be warned, after listening you might need to sell some very expensive equipment. But there is solution - you buy Kassandra LE, thus may be less painful.
 
Stavros
I am having harshness issues related to my source Esoteric K03Xs CDP. I am wondering what you think of the strategy to link it to a Hélène DAC. Will it replace the perceived harshness with your DAC in place of its internal DAC? Or am I heading away from the problem instead of treating it directly by replacing this player?
The review I read of the Hélène speaks of its transparency and full dynamic range. Am I going to get more of the same as I have now if I connect my player to this DAC for conversion duty? Or a marvelous solution?
Thanks so much for sharing your views.
Sincerely
John
 
If I may offer my view. I know the Esoteric K-01 very well, but not your exact model. and had the K-01 in my system some time ago. The classic Esoteric sound is solid and detailed. Bass weight and soundstage is better than many DS DACs. The detail however comes at a price, and to my ears sounds synthetic and sterile. If it is sat in a revealing system it won't work so well.

The Kassandra and the Helena DACs are just as detailed, but crucially are super smooth and artefact free. They nail the timbre and sound so natural, you will end up playing music much louder than before I find. It is partly the R2R architecture, the tube gain stage and the clean power supply. Also the lack of any digital filter or upsampling. So yes, the addition of a Helena will transform your system for sure, I would say 100% go for it.
 
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Hello John

I firmly believe that you will really like what Helene will do to your system.Die hard analog fans are now "digitally" converted with Helene as it happens with all our d/acs.

Best
Stavros
 
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Hello John

I firmly believe that you will really like what Helene will do to your system.Die hard analog fans are now "digitally" converted with Helene as it happens with all our d/acs.

Best
Stavros
Thank you Stavros.
How would you differentiate the Hélène from the Kassandra II DAC?
My friend Sami Ksouri often talks positively about the results of his purchase from you and how pleased he is with that DAC.
What are the key differences please?
John
 
Hello John

The Helene is very close to Gen 1 Kassandra II units,the Gen 1 was the Kassandra generation which got all the reviews and awards from 2014 till today.The Helene is very close to this sound. The Gen2 (Sami has Gen 2) has even wider stage and even bigger scale (if the rest of the system can follow up,usually the Helene brings all systems we tried it so far to it's dynamic limits and scale limits).

If you compare them side to side,the Kassandra Gen2 has the edge to all aspects,but if you do not hear them in same system,i don't think you can tell which is which.

Best
Stavros
 
It was not marketed but rather an upgrade. Units from 4/19 had the upgrade,which we offer for free ,if unit is returned to factory.

Upgrade is also available for all Series,Sig and Le.
 
Is someone here who had the chance to compare the Helene Dac versus the APL DSD Dac-Range maybe the SR MK2? I own the APL AR Dac which is stunning for it´s price in detail, Dynamic and soundstage. But it lacks a bit in timbre mostly with human voices to my feeling. Upgrading the Dac to the SR2 will cost me 70% of a Helene Dac. So I am Not sure what to Go for. Kind Regars
 
I guess my overarching reaction to the Helene versus all other DACs I've heard (perhaps save the latest from MSB which I have only heard under show conditons) is that I no longer crave having an analog source. The image density and the musicality of the piece reminds me of all the positive characteristics of very good vinyl, with none of the drawbacks. I've heard or owned almost every other DAC out there. I have not heard Vincents Totaldac or APLs latest offerings, but have heard or owned most of the rest. My next DAC will in all likelihood be from Aries Cerat, if not the Helene, then perhaps the Kassandra II Sig LE.
 
I guess my overarching reaction to the Helene versus all other DACs I've heard (perhaps save the latest from MSB which I have only heard under show conditons) is that I no longer crave having an analog source. The image density and the musicality of the piece reminds me of all the positive characteristics of very good vinyl, with none of the drawbacks. I've heard or owned almost every other DAC out there. I have not heard Vincents Totaldac or APLs latest offerings, but have heard or owned most of the rest. My next DAC will in all likelihood be from Aries Cerat, if not the Helene, then perhaps the Kassandra II Sig LE.

Have you compared it to rockna wavedream signature ?
 
Yes, I have. The Rockna Wavedream Signature was in my system and compared to my reference Metrum Adagio as well as the overachieving Yggdrasil Analog. I then heard the Helene compared to the Rockna WS as well as my Metrum Adagio in a second excellent system. If I may use the analogy of a four way horse race, the Helene won going away, the Rockna WS placed; the Adagio showed and the Yggy finished a close forth. The Rockna WS bettered the Adagio in the bass, but was very close in all other respects. The Helene was a different animal than the other three DACs; having more in common with my Lampizator, but without the quirks.
I have heard that the Rockna WS really shines when matched to their server, but the Helene was in a class by itself.
As I've said, I have heard many 20-50k DACs, but Helene so far, is the girl for me.
 
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Yes, I have. The Rockna Wavedream Signature was in my system and compared to my reference Metrum Adagio as well as the overachieving Yggdrasil Analog. I then heard the Helene compared to the Rockna WS as well as my Metrum Adagio. If I may use the analogy of a four way horse race, the Helene won going away, the Rockna WS placed; the Adagio showed and the Yggy finished a close forth. The Rockna WS bettered the Adagio in the bass, but was very close in all other respects. The Helene was a different animal than the other three DACs; having more in common with my Lampizator, but without the quirks.
I have heard that the Rockna WS really shines when matched to their server, but the Helene was in a class by itself.
As I've said, I have heard many 20-50k DACs, but Helene so far, is the girl for me.
And then there’s the Kassandra II SE...
 
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I demoed Heléne in my system yesterday. It's better than a blu2dave. However I had some trouble with its USB driver and JPLAY kernel streaming.
 
Any other dacs you compare it to ?
Not in this segment really. I tried T+A, Mola-Mola but my good old Dave was which came closest to the Heléne. But even with the Mscaler it's been beaten. Dynamics, presence, liveliness are where Heléne provides more (for me in my system of course). Based on this experience I'd like to buy a Kassandra Ref2. The only issue that holds me back is that the JPLAY kernel streaming (best sounding option also with Heléne) doesn't seem to be stable at all with the I2SoverUSB driver of the Aries Cerat DAC. Maybe it's just some JPLAY configuration issue - I hope I can sort it out asap.
 
I think Ares Cerat gear is in a different category sonically compared to most of the competition, although I have heard the Dave/Blue I have not heard the combination with the MScaler, I think the Ares Cerat Helene has a closer 'flavor' to the best from Lampizator and Aqua Hifi...
All the other DACs I've heard sound significantly different than the Helene; the Rockna, the Metrum, the Yggdrasil, the Terminator for example.
 
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