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Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI (Read 6831 times)
CAJames
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Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
03/09/23 at 18:11:09
 
I just received an email from Alvin at Vinshine that Denafrips is starting to roll out "12th Anniversary" updates to the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) in their DACs. Today the update is only available for the Ares II/Enyo DAC, but others will be available soon. If you have a Denafrips DAC and didn't get the email here is a link to the update page:

https://www.vinshineaudio.com/post/denafrips-12th-fpga-firmware-update

The process looks relatively straight forward, but involves jumping through some hoops and when messing with firmware there is always a chance of bricking your device. So, if you need some time to get psyched up check out the page now.

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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
STR-1002 -> Woo WA22 -> 2x UFO25s, balanced monos
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Tony
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Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #1 - 03/21/23 at 19:07:34
 

For those of you that are Denafrips users, I wanted to feedback that I successfully updated my Ares II DAC with the latest DENAFRIPS 12th Anniv. Firmware.

CAJames mentioned that the process looked "straight forward," but I encountered several curves along the way.  I think some of that is language, and for me, an upgrade procedure like this always creates some anxiety.  

Alvin of Denefrips was very responsive to questions and offered guidance when I went in the wrong direction.  Bottom line: I got it.

I understand that upgrades to the Pontus II will be provided soon.
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SE84UFO25 | Ic0n4 Passive Preamp | ZBIT | Sonore opticalRendu | Denafrips Pontus II | Denafrips Gaia | Decware I/Cs | Decware Pwr Cbls | ZWIRE Speaker Cbls | Omega SAHOM & KEF KC62 | Furman Cond l GIK Room Trmt
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CAJames
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Posts: 1982
Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #2 - 03/21/23 at 21:08:23
 
Quote:
Posted by: Tony      Posted on: Today at 11:07:34

...CAJames mentioned that the process looked "straight forward," but I encountered several curves along the way.  I think some of that is language, and for me, an upgrade procedure like this always creates some anxiety...


Yeah, based on other online feedback it seems like the process is esp. tricky if you are doing the update from a Windoze 11 computer.

Glad you got it done Tony, a lot of people are commenting on a noticeable(?) significant(?) improvement in sound quality. What do you think?

FYI/FWIW Alvin posted an update Q&A a couple days ago:

https://www.vinshineaudio.com/post/q-a-denafrips-12th-fpga-firmware-update

I've still got a while before the update for my Terminator will be out. The rumorverse suggests there may be an update for my DDC as well, which is a bonus.
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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
STR-1002 -> Woo WA22 -> 2x UFO25s, balanced monos
Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Audeze LCD-XC
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CAJames
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Posts: 1982
Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #3 - 03/31/23 at 16:41:17
 
Update now available for the Pontus:

https://www.vinshineaudio.com/post/denafrips-12th-fpga-firmware-update-for-pontu...

If your DAC is too old to be flashed, or you'd rather not mess with flashing, it looks like you can buy a new DSP module, with the updated FPGA, but you still need to open up the DAC to install it. It costs 300 bucks.

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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
STR-1002 -> Woo WA22 -> 2x UFO25s, balanced monos
Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Audeze LCD-XC
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mk60
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Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #4 - 04/02/23 at 22:41:49
 
Dang, is it just me or is this Pontus II firmware upgrade not make a pretty noticeable change? Honestly surprised by how good it sounds, I wasn't really expecting it to make a meaningful difference.
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Main System: Lumin U2 Mini->Denafrips Pontus II->ZTPRE->[2x SE84UFO25 in Differential Balanced Mono]->Klipsch La Scala AL5 + 2x REL 212/SX
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Tal
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Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #5 - 04/06/23 at 01:45:04
 
I have a Pontus II that I haven't completed the firmware update. However, I recently successfully upgraded the firmware on my Hermes DDC without issue, and, I'm far from being technically savvy. If the DAC firmware update is similar to the DDC, it should be a simple process.
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SE84UFO2 25A mods x2, ZP3 25A mods, CSP3 25A mods, ZRock2 25A mods, Rega P3-24 Incognito tonearm rewire and Groovetracer mods, Bob's Devices SUT > ZP3, Denafrips Pontus + Hermes, Bluesound streamer, Zu Soul VI, Omega DeepOmega8 sub,
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Tony
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Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #6 - 04/22/23 at 03:44:11
 


I successfully updated the firmware in my Pontus II, and it sounds really good!  To test it out is I played a Qobuz set I know well. Tonight as I listened, I could hear parts that I hadn't heard before or at least  not as clearly. More than just a step in the right direction.

The upgrade takes patience,  but the results are well worth it.
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SE84UFO25 | Ic0n4 Passive Preamp | ZBIT | Sonore opticalRendu | Denafrips Pontus II | Denafrips Gaia | Decware I/Cs | Decware Pwr Cbls | ZWIRE Speaker Cbls | Omega SAHOM & KEF KC62 | Furman Cond l GIK Room Trmt
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CAJames
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Posts: 1982
Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #7 - 04/22/23 at 15:05:51
 
I see a lot of people online saying they don't like the new firmware, specifically for the Pontus. That it makes the sound "too analytical" and "lacking warmth and bass." Many of them rolled back to the original firmware. I've wondered if this is more a reflection of their up/down stream system than the DAC itself and it's good to know you appreciate the new firmware.

I've still got a few weeks to wait. I'm not looking forward to moving my Terminator (it is heavy!) to take a picture of the chip. But while I'm at it I'll do the same for the Gaia as there is a rumored firmware update for it in the works as well.
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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
STR-1002 -> Woo WA22 -> 2x UFO25s, balanced monos
Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Audeze LCD-XC
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Tony
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inconceivable"
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Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #8 - 04/22/23 at 16:24:42
 

Hey CA,  That online feedback regarding the firmware update is interesting. My first response to the upgrade has been the opposite. The bass was solid, present, and dynamic. Two other variables for me are that I added a Sophia 274 last week to my amp and am using the ZRock.  Perhaps that combination adds fullness and weight not experienced by others.

In any event a definite improvement in steaming SQ for my setup.
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SE84UFO25 | Ic0n4 Passive Preamp | ZBIT | Sonore opticalRendu | Denafrips Pontus II | Denafrips Gaia | Decware I/Cs | Decware Pwr Cbls | ZWIRE Speaker Cbls | Omega SAHOM & KEF KC62 | Furman Cond l GIK Room Trmt
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Lon
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Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #9 - 04/22/23 at 17:00:07
 
I've learned from experience with my PS Audio DACs that firmware can take time to "settle in." Ted Smith, the designer of the amp and the firmwares suggests that is because most times a different, previously unused portion of the FPGA is put into play and that takes time to stablilize. One firmware in particular I spent weeks to get to sound right, and moved speakers around and rolled tubes. . . and it ended up after about three weeks sounding better than ever before. My advice to some who may want to roll back to a previous firmware: hang on.
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HR-1,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SEWE300B,CSP3-25mod; Rega RP3 all GrooveTracer mods;PSAudio:PST+DSD, DAC Mk II, P15,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pwr cbls, Reference spkrcbls; Mapleshade SamsonV3; VooDoo:Cremona+Amati interconnects, IsoPods; headphones: Sennheiser HD800S,ZMF Ori,Oppo PM1
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CAJames
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Posts: 1982
Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #10 - 04/22/23 at 17:09:10
 
Quote:
Posted by: Lon      Posted on: Today at 09:00:07
I've learned from experience with my PS Audio DACs that firmware can take time to "settle in."


Funny you should mention that. Denafrips suggests 100 hours burn-in for the new firmware which set off a (predictable?) firestorm of "how could this be real?" I certainly plan on doing it, as I did for both my DAC and DDC when they were new.


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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
STR-1002 -> Woo WA22 -> 2x UFO25s, balanced monos
Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Audeze LCD-XC
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CAJames
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"I've run every
red light on memory
lane."

Posts: 1982
Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #11 - 04/22/23 at 17:18:25
 
Quote:
Posted by: Tony      Posted on: Today at 08:24:42

...In any event a definite improvement in steaming SQ for my setup.


Thanks Tony. I feel like if anything my system would benefit from a little less warmth and a more detailed/analytical sound so I'm not worried, esp. since they also make the old firmware available if you decide you don't like the new one. I will of course post my impressions on or about May 15 when the T2 firmware comes out.
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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
STR-1002 -> Woo WA22 -> 2x UFO25s, balanced monos
Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Audeze LCD-XC
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Bottlehead
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Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #12 - 04/24/23 at 07:53:22
 
Hey Lon,

Thanks for posting about the PS Audio upgrades taking time. I finally got around to updating to the latest on my Directstream dac (Mark I). Sunlight I believe, and I was underwhelmed. I thought that maybe I was expecting too much, but now I think that I just need to be more patient. Anyway, your input is much appreciated, as always.

Randy
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Tal
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Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #13 - 04/26/23 at 21:45:26
 
I completed the firmware update on my Pontus II last Sunday.  I didn't notice immediate deterioration in SQ. Still early in the process though.  So probably best to allow proper burn-in time before making a final determination. At least there is the option to roll back the firmware!
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SE84UFO2 25A mods x2, ZP3 25A mods, CSP3 25A mods, ZRock2 25A mods, Rega P3-24 Incognito tonearm rewire and Groovetracer mods, Bob's Devices SUT > ZP3, Denafrips Pontus + Hermes, Bluesound streamer, Zu Soul VI, Omega DeepOmega8 sub,
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Tony
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Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #14 - 05/03/23 at 02:01:45
 

CAJames said above:

I will of course post my impressions on or about May 15 when the T2 firmware comes out.

James, did I understand correctly that the T2 firmware came out the other day, or is it still scheduled for May 15?  Curious to know what you think of the upgrade.

I'm still basking in the glow from adding the Gaia.  The Pontus firmware upgrade got lost in the transition.

Tony



Tony
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SE84UFO25 | Ic0n4 Passive Preamp | ZBIT | Sonore opticalRendu | Denafrips Pontus II | Denafrips Gaia | Decware I/Cs | Decware Pwr Cbls | ZWIRE Speaker Cbls | Omega SAHOM & KEF KC62 | Furman Cond l GIK Room Trmt
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CAJames
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"I've run every
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Posts: 1982
Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #15 - 05/03/23 at 02:40:37
 
Hey Tony,

Firmware for the original Terminator came out the other day, T2 is scheduled for May 15. I did open up my DAC to get a picture of the chip, so I'll be ready to go when it comes out.
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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
STR-1002 -> Woo WA22 -> 2x UFO25s, balanced monos
Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Audeze LCD-XC
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CAJames
Seasoned Member
****


"I've run every
red light on memory
lane."

Posts: 1982
Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #16 - 05/10/23 at 15:22:30
 
Quote:
Posted by: CAJames      Posted on: 05/02/23 at 18:40:37
Hey Tony,

Firmware for the original Terminator came out the other day, T2 is scheduled for May 15.


FWIW I just realized I've been planning on going camping May 15 so my firmware update will have to wait a week or so. Hopefully the initial rush will have subsided by then.
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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
STR-1002 -> Woo WA22 -> 2x UFO25s, balanced monos
Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Audeze LCD-XC
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effluviography
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Posts: 142
Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #17 - 05/24/23 at 23:30:36
 
I did the firmware upgrade on the Denafrips Ares 2 and it was a nice extension of the treble, better defined bass and soundstage. All in all, a nice change.

I also did the "tuning" described on YouTube from the German fellow, can't remember his name. It also created a nice improvement in definition and soundstage. Music felt less congested.

I added Hudson Hifi - large silicon feet - much more focus and musicality.

Finally, I forgot that I had a Zbox in another, rarely used system. I put this in after the DAC, before the CSP3, and now I get to tune the digital side with a tube. I was looking for a zbit, but for now, the Zbox(which is what Steve had in the output stage of his upgraded CD players) is working wonders. I'm using a GE 5751 at the moment. Cheers.
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|| Mini-Torii & CSP-3 | Analog: ZP-3, Technics SL-1210GR & Ortofon 2m Black | Digital: Z-Box, Denafrips Ares 2, Iris DDC, Roon & Mac Mini | Omega CAM's & Deep-Hemp Sub | ZMF Atticus | 2x Emotiva CMX-6 | Decware Styx, Power & IC's | Supra Exc. USB | NOS Tubes ||
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Tony
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"Life without
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Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #18 - 05/25/23 at 01:12:22
 

effluviography said above:

I also did the "tuning" described on YouTube from the German fellow, can't remember his name. It also created a nice improvement in definition and soundstage. Music felt less congested


Hmmmm.  Could this be it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwZiX1mc9Zs

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SE84UFO25 | Ic0n4 Passive Preamp | ZBIT | Sonore opticalRendu | Denafrips Pontus II | Denafrips Gaia | Decware I/Cs | Decware Pwr Cbls | ZWIRE Speaker Cbls | Omega SAHOM & KEF KC62 | Furman Cond l GIK Room Trmt
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effluviography
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Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #19 - 05/25/23 at 04:02:42
 
Yes, Tony that is it. I basically just loosened the screws and connectors a bit and used a washer on the back screw as he suggested. I had to take the lid off anyway to photograph the chip for the firmware upgrade.

You wouldn't expect loosening the connectors so they are not in death grip mode would made a difference. But, as I've learned in this hobby, small things often make a difference.
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|| Mini-Torii & CSP-3 | Analog: ZP-3, Technics SL-1210GR & Ortofon 2m Black | Digital: Z-Box, Denafrips Ares 2, Iris DDC, Roon & Mac Mini | Omega CAM's & Deep-Hemp Sub | ZMF Atticus | 2x Emotiva CMX-6 | Decware Styx, Power & IC's | Supra Exc. USB | NOS Tubes ||
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CAJames
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"I've run every
red light on memory
lane."

Posts: 1982
Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #20 - 05/31/23 at 21:02:14
 
Just submitted the request for the updated firmware for my T2. More to follow...
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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
STR-1002 -> Woo WA22 -> 2x UFO25s, balanced monos
Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Audeze LCD-XC
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CAJames
Seasoned Member
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"I've run every
red light on memory
lane."

Posts: 1982
Re: Denafrips FPGA Firmware Updates FYI
Reply #21 - 06/03/23 at 23:24:18
 
Finally got the new firmware for my T2. It installed without a hitch, I expected to reset the clock sync to my Gaia and the I2S pinout and I wasn't disappointed. First listen is positive, more transparent and maybe a little more treble energy. I'm going to let it burn in for a while, but I don't anticipate rolling back.
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[FOOBAR2000 | Jay's CDT2 MRK3] -> Denafrips Terminator 2 + Gaia
Sumiko Pearwood -> Mapleknoll Athena -> Luxman SUT -> Maple-tree Phono 3E
STR-1002 -> Woo WA22 -> 2x UFO25s, balanced monos
Omega SAM , Hifiman Arya, Audeze LCD-XC
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