PS Audio DirectStream DAC - The Review That Almost Was

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  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,559
    edited February 2015
    I've also sent at least two emails to tech support at PS Audio to which I have received no acknowledgement, let alone replies.

    Not very customer oriented in general, except that from reading various threads on the forum I sense that there are some "privileged characters."

    Whenever I contacted tech support through the website, it took a few days to receive a response. However, whenever I contacted a specific person by email, I received a same day response, even when I sent emails in the evenings. I learned early on that if I had a problem that required immediate attention, I should not use the web interface to contact PSA's tech support.

    I agree that the issue with no SD card for the DS DAC and no recommendation for the required 2 GB card in the manual are blunders, but this is not typical of PSA's customer support.

    "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    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically...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: 11,792
    I couldn't get the customer support page to accept my question whether an SSD card should be included or not, so I sent it to sales. An hour later I got a reply saying it is not included.
    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: 11,792
    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.
    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,

    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, 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: 11,792
    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.
    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: »
    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
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