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.
 
It does not play MQA either? Hmm :( I heard you can play it through streamer which supports MQA? Is true? Thanks for your response

No the DAC itself (being specific to the DAC) doesn't play MQA natively. Like the DSD conversion to PCM, the workaround for MQA is to unfold the MQA file in the streamer, not the DAC, to play MQA files.
 
No the DAC itself (being specific to the DAC) doesn't play MQA natively. Like the DSD conversion to PCM, the workaround for MQA is to unfold the MQA file in the streamer, not the DAC, to play MQA files.
Ok, so if I play it for instance with Moon Mind2 which is capable of streming MQa and Hirez it will play through Helene without loosing the quality? Do I understand it well? Is it better sounding through USB input? Thanks
 
Ok, so if I play it for instance with Moon Mind2 which is capable of streming MQa and Hirez it will play through Helene without loosing the quality? Do I understand it well? Is it better sounding through USB input? Thanks

USB is the best sounding input provided that your source is optimized for USB output. I have heard a couple of transports sound better through COAX, but that is only because they were much better than the streamer (no bearing on the input type). What sounds best will come more from the source but assuming they are both excellent USB almost always wins. IME There is no sound quality degradation unfolding the file at the streamer level, but there will be some overhead so make sure it is a good streamer.

As far as your question about playback of MQA, the streamer needs to be able to unfold it for it to work. Certain MQA players only offer passthrough which I have not personally been able to get to work yet. As I am not a dealer for Moon I can't say for sure, but upon doing a quick check I could only find notes about it being a passthrough to a MQA DAC so it will likely not work with that model
 
Hello Matt and Happy New Year to you and family.

Hi Stavros,

thank you and all the best for 2021 to you as well.

I must confess that I am not very familiar with tube gear and a little bit reluctant to buy it.

Do you think that a tube DAC is inherently superior to a solid state one or can you imagine to design a non tube DAC as well?

Thanks again

Matt
 
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Hi Stavros,

thank you and all the best for 2021 to you as well.

I must confess that I am not very familiar with tube gear and a little bit reluctant to buy it.

Do you think that a tube DAC is inherently superior to a solid state one or can you imagine to design a non tube DAC as well?

Thanks again

Matt
Short List both, Hear them and let your ears decide. My expectation is the Ares Cerat Gear will be the clear winner at or significantly above their price points regardless of whether the alternatives are tube or solid state.
 
Hi Stavros,

thank you and all the best for 2021 to you as well.

I must confess that I am not very familiar with tube gear and a little bit reluctant to buy it.

Do you think that a tube DAC is inherently superior to a solid state one or can you imagine to design a non tube DAC as well?

Thanks again

Matt

Hello Matt

There is nothing inherently to any technology. We built the output stage of the Helene as we find this to be better and more realistic sounding. Tube or not, i am no dogmatic, if we would make a SS sound as good as this specific output stage we would.But...

Best
Stavros
 
Sorry for this so late answer . I have a friend who recently purchased a Kassandra II dac and he also owns the top APL dac however not the mkII.
I had the opportunity to listen extensively to both of them while the APL is an excellent dac , for me there is no doubt I much preferred the Kassandra as it offers a so much organic and musical sound with infinite shade of colors .
I go often to concert and it is so much life like with the Kassandra .
The Kassandra is for me the most musical satisfying dac I ever listened to . Since the Kassandra is out of budget for me I am also considering the Helena .

Jean-Michel from France
Hello Jmichel , your friend is not Jean louis ? Smile
 
Had a fun time this week bringing some gear over to a friends. We ran the classic Concero 65s and Incito with the Helene Dac. Previous in the setup was an Absolare Monos and Preamp which work very well with the Helene.

In comparison to the Kassandra for those in the know the Incito has a house sound very much like the Helene does. For those wanting a Kassandra but can only afford the Helene you are not leaving anything off the table that would make you feel as though you didn't buy a true reference dac.

Enjoy!

 
Absolutely agree Joshua. We have the Helené on permanent demo in Spain, plus the amazing Ianus Essentia. I'll post more details next week!
 

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