PS Audio DirectStream DAC - The Review That Almost Was

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Comments

  • BlueFox
    BlueFox Posts: 15,170
    Looks like I will not need the SD card after all. The DS DAC is broken already. It has been on since yesterday. Tonight I am listening to it and it is low in volume. My first thought is somehow the attenuation switched from High to Low. However, when I tried to turn the display on, it would not turn on. So I turned the DS off, and unplugged it for a few minutes, but when I retried it all I got was a multi-color display of vertical lines. While pretty, that isn't what I wanted.


    So, back it goes on Monday. While I was interested in finding out if Pikes Peak would be better than my current Auralic Vega DAC, I don't think I will try again. I do like the ability to load new firmware. Perhaps they can offer different versions of fw in the future. For example, a muted version for those who like the sound less edgy, or a detailed version for those who like all the musical detail exposed.

    Anyway, with the 1.2.1 firmware on the u burnt-in DS, I feel the Vega is better. The DS sound is softer, and with less detail. Plus the Vega seems to output a louder signal on the XLR outputs. I like free gain, so to speak, as it gives me more headroom on turning up the pre. I would have liked to try Pikes Peak, but now I have $6k to spend on something else.
    Lumin X1 file player; 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 source, 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.
  • Moose68Bash
    Moose68Bash Posts: 3,839
    BlueFox,

    I'm sorry to hear about your quality problem with the DirectStream DAC.

    The first PS Audio Perfectwave DAC (MKII) that I purchased had to be sent back to PS Audio within a week or two of receipt because the inputs ceased to work.

    Sounds like PS Audio has a manufacturing process quality control problem. In this day and age -- kind of post-TQM & TQA -- this kind of thing shouldn't happen. And when it does, the manufacturer should have a replacement unit on its way to you within hours after you notify them of the problem.

    By the way, you indicate that you spent $6,000 -- the MSRP -- on your DSD. The online "street" price from authorized PS Audio dealers is closer to $4,000-$4,300.

    Did you shop around?
    Family Room, Innuos Statement streamer (Roon Core) with Morrow Audio USB cable to McIntosh MC 2700 pre with DC2 Digital Audio Module; AQ Sky XLRs to CAT 600.2 dualmono amp, Morrow Elite Speaker Cables to NOLA Baby Grand Reference Gold 3 speakers. Power source for all components: Silver Circle Audio Pure Power One with dedicated 20 amp circuit to main panel.

    Exercise Room, Innuos Streamer via Cat 6 cable connection to PS Audio PerfectWave MkII DAC w/Bridge II, AQ King Cobra RCAs to Perreaux PMF3150 amp (fully restored and upgraded by Jeffrey Jackson, Precision Audio Labs), Supra Rondo 4x2.5 Speaker Cables to SDA 1Cs (Vr3 Mods Xovers and other mods.), Dreadnaught with Supra Rondo 4x2.5 interconnect cables by Vr3 Mods. Power for each component from dedicated 20 amp circuit to main panel, except Innuos Statement powered from Silver Circle Audio Pure Power One.

  • BlueFox
    BlueFox Posts: 15,170
    I bought from The Cable Company since I also bought a Shunyata 1.5 meter USB cable, and the combined total was $5005. The other online price I saw was list. I will keep your price in mind if I decide to try it again in the future.
    Lumin X1 file player; 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 source, 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: »
    Plus the Vega seems to output a louder signal on the XLR outputs. I like free gain, so to speak, as it gives me more headroom on turning up the pre.

    I asked about the DS DAC's lower output a couple of months ago on the PSA forum:
    Why is the DS DAC's output level so low?

    Was it designed this way so that it wouldn't be too loud for people who are using the DS directly feeding a power amp?
    Ted Smith wrote:
    The PWD actually is higher than standard DAC and there were some complaints about it being too hot for some preamps (I can't quantify the relative complains about the PWD being hot vs. the DS being too low.) The balanced output of the DS is only about 3dB or 4dB lower than the PWD – most people should have at least that kind of headroom in their systems.

    The pragmatic reason it's lower is so that it could use the spare 12V supply in a PWD chassis for the DS analog card and hence allow field upgrades of PWDs to the DS. (As it turns out we changed the power transformer on the power supply and we didn't need to design a new power supply card, but… Hindsight is a harsh mistress.)

    psaudio.com/forum/directstream-all-about-it/directstream-dac-output-level/
    "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