PS Audio DirectStream DAC - The Review That Almost Was

24

Comments

  • BlueFox wrote: »

    I think you should go for it. Your system is similar to mine, so I am particularly interested in your impressions.

    As for how my DAC search is going, as I stated earlier, I am looking at the MSB Analog DAC. I am looking even harder at the dCS Debussy DAC. Like the DirectStream DAC, the Debussy is based on a FPGA. Unlike most DACs, the Debussy uses a custom discrete A/D converter stage rather than an A/D stage built around an off-the-shelf DAC chip.

    My BDP-2 arrived today. :)
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • Moose68BashMoose68Bash Posts: 3,589
    I've just upgraded my DSD OS to Pikes Peak.

    I'll comment on changes in SQ that I perceive when I've had some time to listen carefully to some very familiar music.
    Family Room, PS Audio PW Transport, DirectStream DAC w/Bridge II; AQ Sky XLRs, McIntosh MC 220 Tube Pre; AQ Sky XLRs, CAT 600.2 Dualmono Amp, Morrow SP7 Speaker Cables, SDA SRS 1.2tls (RD0198s, Dreadnought, Black Hole 5, Acousta-Stuf, Dynamat Extreme, JBWeld. Vr3 Mods: "The Abbot" Monastery-Level Xovers, Custom Internal Wiring, Binding Post Plates, & SDA ICs).

    Exercise Room, Wadia 171 iPod Dock, PS Audio PerfectWave MkII DAC w/Bridge II, AQ Sky XLRs, Perreaux PMF3150 Amp, Dreadnought, Supra Rondo 4x2.5 Speaker Cables, SDA 1Cs (Vr3 Mods Xovers).

    Synology 713+ NAS on Gigabit LAN serving PW MkII DAC & DirectStream DAC.
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 11,801
    It would be nice if they can get PCM close to, or equal to, the new $16k Berekely Referance DAC.
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • BlueFox wrote: »
    It would be nice if they can get PCM close to, or equal to, the new $16k Berekely Referance DAC.

    They could if they used reference level parts and reference level construction. But then, they would have to charge a reference level price in the ballpark of the Berkeley.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 11,801
    Let me rephrase it.

    It would be nice if they can get PCM close to, or equal to, the new $16k Berekely Referance DAC with software updates, and without using reference level parts and reference level construction along with a reference level price. :)
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • No free lunch.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 11,801
    $6000 isn't exactly free. Preliminary feedback is the USB interface is hugely improved over the i2s input.

    http://audioshark.org/ps-audio-74/ps-audio-direct-stream-4666.html
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • Moose68BashMoose68Bash Posts: 3,589
    My first impressions of the new operating system in the PS Audio DSD are that the upgrade has made a quantum leap in the performance of this DAC.

    I thought it was pretty darn good as it was, but the new operating system has immediately increased the dimensions of the sound stage. In my case I would say the breadth has increased by 2-4 feet on each side. The height has increase by a couple of feet, and the depth has increased by a factor of two (I would estimate).

    More important, each instrument is more clearly distinguished and located on the sound stage. For example: I first listened to "Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone," on which Yo-Yo Ma plays a number of pieces from the sound tracks of various movies and is accompanied by the Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra. The pieces include not only Yo-Yo Ma's solo cello, but also a number of the distinctive instruments of a full orchestra.

    My observations were that the sections of the orchestra were very clearly and distinctly rendered on the sound stage, and their distinctive sounds were more readily identifiable than in any rendition I have ever heard, including a system made up of an Esoteric K-01 CD/SACD player, Classe preamp and amp, and Wilson Audio Maxx 3 speakers. I would also add that I could appreciate the full dynamic range and nuances of the music at a volume level significantly lower than ever before, which suggests that the noise floor is also much lower.

    Subsequently, I listened to CD1 of Yo-Yo Ma's "The Cello Suites Inspired by Bach." My observations about the rendering of this CD are similar to the above, but this is Yo-Yo Ma playing solo cello. The realism, detail, precision of transients, and timbre of the music is the best that I have heard in any system I have owned or auditioned. The attack, decay, resonance of the strings and wood are truly extraordinary. It is as if he were sitting 10 feet in front of me and playing a private concert.

    Finally, I turned to some vocals. I used Chesky Records's "Women of Song." With respect to this album I would site the first track, Ana Caram's "Summer Samba." Her voice is clear and distinct and separate spatially from the piano and other accompanying instruments. In the second track the brushes on the drum are clear, distinct, and precisely located on the sound stage, as are the vocalist (Christy Baron) and the piano. Again, as in the above, the timbres of the instruments are extraordinarily realistic. Finally, on of my favorite tracks -- Rebecca Pidgeon's "Spanish Harlem" -- is rendered with a smoothness and clarity of her voice that exceeds any other rendering I've heard, and the base line, piano, violin and other accompanying instruments are separated well and precisely located.

    All in all, I would concur with others' comments (on the PS Audio Forum) that this firmware upgrade has taken the DSD to a new level.

    On observation additional observation I would make is that I believe this represents a discontinuity in the evolution of DAC technology that is similar to the evolution in computer graphics that I witnessed while working in Silicon Valley in the mid-1990s: Early on the only way superb rendering of graphics could be produced by computers was when the programs were imbedded in the silicon, as Silicon Graphics clearly demonstrated. But as software evolved and chips began to be commoditized, excellent graphics were produced by excellent software using standard chip sets. I think we
    re seeing the same thing beginning in audio technology that we saw then with graphics.



    Family Room, PS Audio PW Transport, DirectStream DAC w/Bridge II; AQ Sky XLRs, McIntosh MC 220 Tube Pre; AQ Sky XLRs, CAT 600.2 Dualmono Amp, Morrow SP7 Speaker Cables, SDA SRS 1.2tls (RD0198s, Dreadnought, Black Hole 5, Acousta-Stuf, Dynamat Extreme, JBWeld. Vr3 Mods: "The Abbot" Monastery-Level Xovers, Custom Internal Wiring, Binding Post Plates, & SDA ICs).

    Exercise Room, Wadia 171 iPod Dock, PS Audio PerfectWave MkII DAC w/Bridge II, AQ Sky XLRs, Perreaux PMF3150 Amp, Dreadnought, Supra Rondo 4x2.5 Speaker Cables, SDA 1Cs (Vr3 Mods Xovers).

    Synology 713+ NAS on Gigabit LAN serving PW MkII DAC & DirectStream DAC.
  • My first impressions of the new operating system in the PS Audio DSD are that the upgrade has made a quantum leap in the performance of this DAC.

    All in all, I would concur with others' comments (on the PS Audio Forum) that this firmware upgrade has taken the DSD to a new level.

    It's great, and even amazing, that audio technology has evolved to the point where you can get a "new" piece of gear just by doing a software install. PS Audio has always provided a lot of value.
    On observation additional observation I would make is that I believe this represents a discontinuity in the evolution of DAC technology that is similar to the evolution in computer graphics that I witnessed while working in Silicon Valley in the mid-1990s: Early on the only way superb rendering of graphics could be produced by computers was when the programs were imbedded in the silicon, as Silicon Graphics clearly demonstrated. But as software evolved and chips began to be commoditized, excellent graphics were produced by excellent software using standard chip sets. I think we're seeing the same thing beginning in audio technology that we saw then with graphics.

    Now that you mention it, I think DAC evolution should have been software driven from the beginning.



    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,286
    Now that you mention it, I think DAC evolution should have been software driven from the beginning.

    Interesting thought....one I might agree with too. Though software and hardware kinda go hand in hand no ?

    Fox,
    How to make a 16k Berekely dac for 6k ? Kinda like making a Ferrari at a Ford price isn't it ? Compromises have to be made.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • tonyb wrote: »
    Now that you mention it, I think DAC evolution should have been software driven from the beginning.

    Interesting thought....one I might agree with too. Though software and hardware kinda go hand in hand no ?

    They do go hand in hand, but a hardware/software model based on software upgrades rather than hardware upgrades typically represents more value to the consumer and is usually easier on the wallet. Of course, if firmware/software, rather than hardware, upgrades become the norm, then companies will have to start charging for some firmware updates.
    tonyb wrote: »
    Fox,
    How to make a 16k Berekely dac for 6k ? Kinda like making a Ferrari at a Ford price isn't it ? Compromises have to be made.

    It never hurts to ask. Every now and then someone comes up with a giant killer.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,286
    Hate that "giant killer" terminology. Used way too much in audio. Though I do agree in general, those pieces seem far and few between.

    I guess my point is, software can only take the hardware so far without having to upgrade the hardware. Either the case, a premium price will be asked.

    I also think advances in software is outpacing advances in hardware by a good margin. Which then begs to question....how much blood can you squeeze out of a turnip ? OR....Is software going to be the next marketing hype in audio to sell products ?

    I wasn't aware of the software upgrades to the PS Audio, and if it translates to better sound then fantastic. All for advancements in SQ regardless where they come from. Obviously Moose had a great experience so that's a plus. Carry on gents....be interesting to hear about more software modifications in the future.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • Moose68BashMoose68Bash Posts: 3,589
    tonyb wrote: »
    Interesting thought....one I might agree with too. Though software and hardware kinda go hand in hand no ?

    Fox,
    How to make a 16k Berekely dac for 6k ? Kinda like making a Ferrari at a Ford price isn't it ? Compromises have to be made.

    In thinking about your question and comment I'm reminded of my experience at NeXT Computer Inc. (1989-1992) and later at Oracle Corp (1992-1997).

    At NeXT we built and tried to sell $10k workstations based on a Motorola 68040 CPU. Its clock rate, as I recall, was an astounding (at the time) 25 megahertz or so. It cost a lot of money. Today, most small computers run on multiple gigahertz Intel processors that sell for a fraction of what the Motorola chips sold for in 1990-95.

    The comparative costs of memory and storage between the early 1990s and today are even more telling.

    My point is that trying to improve hardware, as a result of Moore's Law, approaches a point of diminishing returns, at which time software improvements become more cost effective than continuing to invest in hardware incremental improvements. Software improvements became more cost-effective as processing power, memory and storage became cheaper and cheaper.

    As we used to say in the software business with respect to any customer's request for changes, improvements, or additional features and functions -- "It's only a matter of software." Software R&D, manufacturing and distribution is by no means free, but it requires less time and less capital investment than hardware R&D, manufacturing, distribution.

    Consider this: I downloaded the PS Audio Pikes Peak OS onto a two gig SD card, plugged the card into the DSD, turned it on, an in a total time of less than 30 minutes I was listening to music on the upgraded DAC. I didn't have to order a new "box," wait for its delivery, set it up in my system, etc. PS Audio paid Ted Smith to do the R&D. He put the new firmware on the PS Audio server, it is delivered any time, anywhere, with no physical product. Amazing world we live in!

    Think about the investments Esoteric, for example, has made in improving the physical characteristics of their transport technology -- a huge investment in an incredible and incredibly costly product. Now, as we move to no physical media or to ripping physical media (CDs) one time to a digital storage device, that incredibly expensive transport is not necessary.

    That's why you can expect to get the performance of a $100k four-box DAC/transport for $10k or less in the very near future.

    The laptop computers we buy for $1k today are far, far more powerful than the NeXT or Sun or HP workstations that sold for $10k or more in the early 1990s.

    We audiophiles, I believe, are on the same glide path. :)
    Family Room, PS Audio PW Transport, DirectStream DAC w/Bridge II; AQ Sky XLRs, McIntosh MC 220 Tube Pre; AQ Sky XLRs, CAT 600.2 Dualmono Amp, Morrow SP7 Speaker Cables, SDA SRS 1.2tls (RD0198s, Dreadnought, Black Hole 5, Acousta-Stuf, Dynamat Extreme, JBWeld. Vr3 Mods: "The Abbot" Monastery-Level Xovers, Custom Internal Wiring, Binding Post Plates, & SDA ICs).

    Exercise Room, Wadia 171 iPod Dock, PS Audio PerfectWave MkII DAC w/Bridge II, AQ Sky XLRs, Perreaux PMF3150 Amp, Dreadnought, Supra Rondo 4x2.5 Speaker Cables, SDA 1Cs (Vr3 Mods Xovers).

    Synology 713+ NAS on Gigabit LAN serving PW MkII DAC & DirectStream DAC.
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 11,801
    As a side-note dCS has been using software to improve their DACs for years. Of course their gear is way expensive. On the other hand, technology does trickle down, and others come along with similar, equal, or better products at a lower price.

    http://www.dcsltd.co.uk/technology/product-improvement/
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,286
    Moose,
    Agree pal, same glide path. All for trickle down tech at prices we mere mortals can cope with. At the rate tech keeps advancing though, I expect some astonishing improvements in the next decade.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • Moose68BashMoose68Bash Posts: 3,589
    tonyb wrote: »
    Moose,
    Agree pal, same glide path. All for trickle down tech at prices we mere mortals can cope with. At the rate tech keeps advancing though, I expect some astonishing improvements in the next decade.

    If the two curves -- performance increase and cost decrease -- in audio are anything like what they have been in computers over the last two decades those of us into digital audio are in for a wild ride!
    Family Room, PS Audio PW Transport, DirectStream DAC w/Bridge II; AQ Sky XLRs, McIntosh MC 220 Tube Pre; AQ Sky XLRs, CAT 600.2 Dualmono Amp, Morrow SP7 Speaker Cables, SDA SRS 1.2tls (RD0198s, Dreadnought, Black Hole 5, Acousta-Stuf, Dynamat Extreme, JBWeld. Vr3 Mods: "The Abbot" Monastery-Level Xovers, Custom Internal Wiring, Binding Post Plates, & SDA ICs).

    Exercise Room, Wadia 171 iPod Dock, PS Audio PerfectWave MkII DAC w/Bridge II, AQ Sky XLRs, Perreaux PMF3150 Amp, Dreadnought, Supra Rondo 4x2.5 Speaker Cables, SDA 1Cs (Vr3 Mods Xovers).

    Synology 713+ NAS on Gigabit LAN serving PW MkII DAC & DirectStream DAC.
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 11,801
    I just placed an order for one, along with a Shunyata USB cable.
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • BlueFox wrote: »
    I just placed an order for one, along with a Shunyata USB cable.

    It will be interesting to learn how the DS compares to your Auralic Vega. Remember that patience is key when evaluating the DS DAC.

    I didn't know that Shunyata made a USB cable. Are you going to review several USB cables? I will add the Shunyata Vemon to my list of USB cables to review, along with this one from Mapleshade:

    http://shop.mapleshadestore.com/Clearlink-USB-20-Cable-3-Foot-Male-A-to-Male-B/productinfo/CLEARLINK3-B-ST/

    I found out about the Mapleshade Clearlink when I was doing research on RAL's USB cable. I found two people who put their RAL USB cable up for sale once they auditioned the Mapleshade. They said it performed better in their systems for less than 1/5th the price. I did order an RAL coax BNC-RCA cable. It will be 6-8 weeks before I have another USB DAC inhouse, so I might order RAL's USB cable at that time.

    The next DAC up for evaluation is the dCS Debussy.


    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • If the two curves -- performance increase and cost decrease -- in audio are anything like what they have been in computers over the last two decades those of us into digital audio are in for a wild ride!

    I don't think we'll see a scenario in audio, and particularly high end audio, that is directly analogous to the performance increase/cost decrease phenomenon in computers. The reason I say that is because there are many things outside of the audio chain that affect audio performance. For example, the type and quality of the chassis, and even the type of feet, of an audio component can have significant effect on sound quality. Computers don't care about such things.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • Moose68BashMoose68Bash Posts: 3,589
    edited February 2015
    I don't think we'll see a scenario in audio, and particularly high end audio, that is directly analogous to the performance increase/cost decrease phenomenon in computers. The reason I say that is because there are many things outside of the audio chain that affect audio performance. For example, the type and quality of the chassis, and even the type of feet, of an audio component can have significant effect on sound quality. Computers don't care about such things.

    I don't think it's a 1/0 issue. The curves for audio will have their own shapes, but I'd place my money on their being more similar to those for computers than they will be different.

    You're comment about "the type an quality of the chassis" with respect to computers brought back a peculiar memory: When we were developing the first NeXT computer (the "cube"), Steve Jobs insisted that the the "cube" itself, in which this computer with the first magneto-optical storage device was housed along with the rest of the components of the system, would be manufactured from pure magnesium with a class A flat-black finish.

    Frankly, I can't recall Steve's performance reasons for insisting on this incredibly expensive and difficult to manufacture design, but I do recall his aesthetic ones. Most of us thought at the time that it was not a reasonable design parameter, but, of course, Steve's opinion prevailed. It was a beautiful computer with performance characteristics and functionality that paved the way for today's digital audio.

    I'm not sure how in the future software engineering may be able to compensate for or eliminate effects of less expensive components in audio equipment. I only know that few people foresaw where innovations in software have taken us since processing power, memory and storage have become so inexpensive over time.

    Again, I would site the example of Silicon Graphics' success at a time before software could render graphics of extraordinary quality very quickly using commodity chip sets.

    Also, look at this link copied from F1nut's thread today about the "Nutube" innovation. This is the kind of unexpected (for me) development that signals a discontinuity in product development -- not just incremental improvement, but potentially a game changer.

    With all this said, unlike you, DarqueKnight, I'm out of my depth here, and you are not. Odds are that you are correct.
    Family Room, PS Audio PW Transport, DirectStream DAC w/Bridge II; AQ Sky XLRs, McIntosh MC 220 Tube Pre; AQ Sky XLRs, CAT 600.2 Dualmono Amp, Morrow SP7 Speaker Cables, SDA SRS 1.2tls (RD0198s, Dreadnought, Black Hole 5, Acousta-Stuf, Dynamat Extreme, JBWeld. Vr3 Mods: "The Abbot" Monastery-Level Xovers, Custom Internal Wiring, Binding Post Plates, & SDA ICs).

    Exercise Room, Wadia 171 iPod Dock, PS Audio PerfectWave MkII DAC w/Bridge II, AQ Sky XLRs, Perreaux PMF3150 Amp, Dreadnought, Supra Rondo 4x2.5 Speaker Cables, SDA 1Cs (Vr3 Mods Xovers).

    Synology 713+ NAS on Gigabit LAN serving PW MkII DAC & DirectStream DAC.
  • With all this said, unlike you, DarqueKnight, I'm out of my depth here, and you are not. Odds are that you are correct.

    Time will tell. However, it was one of the "experts" who said " "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." - Ken Olsen, founder and CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 11,801

    It will be interesting to learn how the DS compares to your Auralic Vega. Remember that patience is key when evaluating the DS DAC.

    I didn't know that Shunyata made a USB cable. Are you going to review several USB cables? I will add the Shunyata Vemon to my list of USB cables to review, along with this one from Mapleshade:

    http://shop.mapleshadestore.com/Clearlink-USB-20-Cable-3-Foot-Male-A-to-Male-B/productinfo/CLEARLINK3-B-ST/

    Mapleshade cables were my first better cables. They are still in use in my HT/surround system, but I have the new Shunyata Venom speaker cables on order to replace them.

    I am only going to compare the Shunyata AES Anaconda to the USB cable.
    I found out about the Mapleshade Clearlink when I was doing research on RAL's USB cable. I found two people who put their RAL USB cable up for sale once they auditioned the Mapleshade. They said it performed better in their systems for less than 1/5th the price. I did order an RAL coax BNC-RCA cable. It will be 6-8 weeks before I have another USB DAC inhouse, so I might order RAL's USB cable at that time.

    They like the mesh cover for cables. My Planar V speaker cables are a flat coper ribbon in a mesh that they claim gives the cable 99% air as the dielectric. I really liked them, but they are too fragile. I came home one day and a cat had ripped it in half.
    The next DAC up for evaluation is the dCS Debussy.

    dCS has really good reviews for their digital. I believe they also use FPGAs for their digital gear.



    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • BlueFox wrote: »
    They like the mesh cover for cables. My Planar V speaker cables are a flat coper ribbon in a mesh that they claim gives the cable 99% air as the dielectric. I really liked them, but they are too fragile. I came home one day and a cat had ripped it in half.

    What happened to the cat?
    BlueFox wrote: »
    dCS has really good reviews for their digital. I believe they also use FPGAs for their digital gear.

    They do.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 11,801
    What happened to the cat?

    She's fine. I decided I needed cat proof cables, so that is when I bought the Shunyata Zitron Anaconda speaker cables. There is no way that can be damaged.

    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • Moose68BashMoose68Bash Posts: 3,589
    BlueFox wrote: »
    What happened to the cat?

    She's fine. I decided I needed cat proof cables, so that is when I bought the Shunyata Zitron Anaconda speaker cables. There is no way that can be damaged.

    What?

    Do the Anacondas just swallow that cat whole when threatened? >:)
    Family Room, PS Audio PW Transport, DirectStream DAC w/Bridge II; AQ Sky XLRs, McIntosh MC 220 Tube Pre; AQ Sky XLRs, CAT 600.2 Dualmono Amp, Morrow SP7 Speaker Cables, SDA SRS 1.2tls (RD0198s, Dreadnought, Black Hole 5, Acousta-Stuf, Dynamat Extreme, JBWeld. Vr3 Mods: "The Abbot" Monastery-Level Xovers, Custom Internal Wiring, Binding Post Plates, & SDA ICs).

    Exercise Room, Wadia 171 iPod Dock, PS Audio PerfectWave MkII DAC w/Bridge II, AQ Sky XLRs, Perreaux PMF3150 Amp, Dreadnought, Supra Rondo 4x2.5 Speaker Cables, SDA 1Cs (Vr3 Mods Xovers).

    Synology 713+ NAS on Gigabit LAN serving PW MkII DAC & DirectStream DAC.
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 11,801
    LOL. Or as Sir Mix-A-Lot says.

    "My anaconda don't want none
    Unless you've got buns, hun"
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 11,801
    Absolute Sound review of the new firmware.

    "Was it worth it? Absolutely. Were the changes subtle and hard to hear? Neither the slightest bit subtle, nor hard to hear. Should you update your PS Audio DirectStream DAC to the Pikes Peak OS? Well, would you like a noticeably better DAC? For free? It’s a no-brainer. "

    http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/ps-audio-directstream-dac-update/?utm_campaign=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email-343
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • Moose68BashMoose68Bash Posts: 3,589
    Yesterday, I was listening to Barenboim conducting the West-East Divan Orchestra playing Beethoven's Third Symphony.

    My wife came into the room and without prompting remarked about how much better this symphony sounded.

    My own observations about this piece of music playing through the DSD with Pikes Peak OS are consistent with what I have noted above: In short, the rendering is far more realistic than anything I have heard before (in my past systems). There is far better separation and location on the soundstage of the sections of the orchestra; the distinctive sounds of the instruments are clearer; transients are more precise.

    All in all, I would say a pretty important upgrade in SQ, and the price was great!
    Family Room, PS Audio PW Transport, DirectStream DAC w/Bridge II; AQ Sky XLRs, McIntosh MC 220 Tube Pre; AQ Sky XLRs, CAT 600.2 Dualmono Amp, Morrow SP7 Speaker Cables, SDA SRS 1.2tls (RD0198s, Dreadnought, Black Hole 5, Acousta-Stuf, Dynamat Extreme, JBWeld. Vr3 Mods: "The Abbot" Monastery-Level Xovers, Custom Internal Wiring, Binding Post Plates, & SDA ICs).

    Exercise Room, Wadia 171 iPod Dock, PS Audio PerfectWave MkII DAC w/Bridge II, AQ Sky XLRs, Perreaux PMF3150 Amp, Dreadnought, Supra Rondo 4x2.5 Speaker Cables, SDA 1Cs (Vr3 Mods Xovers).

    Synology 713+ NAS on Gigabit LAN serving PW MkII DAC & DirectStream DAC.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,559
    edited February 2015
    BlueFox wrote: »
    Absolute Sound review of the new firmware.

    "Was it worth it? Absolutely. Were the changes subtle and hard to hear? Neither the slightest bit subtle, nor hard to hear. Should you update your PS Audio DirectStream DAC to the Pikes Peak OS? Well, would you like a noticeably better DAC? For free? It’s a no-brainer. "

    http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/ps-audio-directstream-dac-update/?utm_campaign=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email-343

    All in all, I would say a pretty important upgrade in SQ, and the price was great!

    This kinda, sorta, makes me wish I had held on to mine a while longer, but with the way street prices on this DAC were falling, I thought I needed to cash out while I still had a good chance of recovering most of my initial investment.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • BlueFox wrote: »
    dCS has really good reviews for their digital. I believe they also use FPGAs for their digital gear.

    I don't know if dCS was the first to use FPGAs, but they have been using them in their DACs far longer than PSA.

    I was also surprised to learn that dCS invented the DSD over PCM (DoP) protocol.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
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