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DirectStream DAC General Discussion (was First Impressions)
Topic Rating: +588 Topic Rating: +588 (614 votes) 
June 14, 2014
3:04 pm
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Thanks Gordon. Not a problem.

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June 15, 2014
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lazbisme said
I have been enviously following this discussion from the first post. The longer it goes the more convinced I am that the DS is exactly what I need for my system. That being said, my unit is scheduled for production in the next few days and, since I have come to trust Paul’s ears over the last several years, is it possible to include the new firmware in my unit rather than me having to install it later?  4_gif

We’ll most likely be installing the new firmware in units built this month, so chances are good.1_gif

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June 15, 2014
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Paul as the firmwares roll out is there going to be access to older ones as before ?? 

Al

June 15, 2014
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Yep.

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June 15, 2014
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Paul McGowan said

lazbisme said
I have been enviously following this discussion from the first post. The longer it goes the more convinced I am that the DS is exactly what I need for my system. That being said, my unit is scheduled for production in the next few days and, since I have come to trust Paul’s ears over the last several years, is it possible to include the new firmware in my unit rather than me having to install it later?  4_gif

We’ll most likely be installing the new firmware in units built this month, so chances are good.1_gif

Paul,

As you are probably aware, my DS, is back with PS Audio for “The USB Start-up initiation bug.”    Will my DS be shipped back to me with the new firmware installed?  Is part of the new firmware specifically going to address this USB/MAC problem since it has been also discovered on units pulled off the production line according to your staff. Thanks

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June 15, 2014
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Happy fathers day to all 

and Paul thanks for the pinch and zoom. 

al

June 15, 2014
8:21 am
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nordicbob said

Paul McGowan said

lazbisme said 

Paul,

As you are probably aware, my DS, is back with PS Audio for “The USB Start-up initiation bug.”    Will my DS be shipped back to me with the new firmware installed?  Is part of the new firmware specifically going to address this USB/MAC problem since it has been also discovered on units pulled off the production line according to your staff. Thanks

The USB issue I believe is hardware related. But, in any case, this firmware upgrade does not have anything to do with USB. I’ll let Ted chime in with his thoughts but to the best of my knowledge the issues are unrelated.

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June 15, 2014
9:40 am
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nordicbob said 
Is part of the new firmware specifically going to address this USB/MAC problem since it has been also discovered on units pulled off the production line according to your staff. Thanks

Yep, as Paul said:

There is a problem fixed that’s directly related to USB and MACs, but probably not the one that you might be referring to.  The new software does PCM at 352.8kHz so if a MAC is upsampling everything to 352.8kHz you’ll be able to hear it well.  The new software also handles noisy S/PDIF, AES/EBU and TOSLink connections better which did confuse debugging on a few MACs, but that obviously isn’t USB related.

There isn’t a USB software change in this software release, but I do know that there is a very confusing set of problem reports with USB connections from the DS to the MAC/PC that PS Audio is working on.

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June 15, 2014
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Ted Smith said

nordicbob said 
Is part of the new firmware specifically going to address this USB/MAC problem since it has been also discovered on units pulled off the production line according to your staff. Thanks

Yep, as Paul said:

There is a problem fixed that’s directly related to USB and MACs, but probably not the one that you might be referring to.  The new software does PCM at 352.8kHz so if a MAC is upsampling everything to 352.8kHz you’ll be able to hear it well.  The new software also handles noisy S/PDIF, AES/EBU and TOSLink connections better which did confuse debugging on a few MACs, but that obviously isn’t USB related.

There isn’t a USB software change in this software release, but I do know that there is a very confusing set of problem reports with USB connections from the DS to the MAC/PC that PS Audio is working on.

Thanks for the clarification on the firmware update and the issues that it addresses. 

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June 16, 2014
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I received and installed the DS this past Saturday listened to mostly to CD and LP rips through the bridge.  Compared to the DAC II there was a greater depth of soundfield with better defined middle and lower frequency sounds.  I grinned like a fool for 2.5 hours.  Wow!  Nice piece of equipment.

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June 16, 2014
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Thanks! Glad you let us know!

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June 16, 2014
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alrainbow said
Happy fathers day to all 

and Paul thanks for the pinch and zoom. 

al

My pleasure. Sorry it took so long to get

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June 16, 2014
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Can someone post a link where I can find the measurement data for the DirectStream?  Thanks.

June 16, 2014
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“Can someone post a link where I can find the measurement data for the DirectStream?”

http://www.psaudio.com/directstream-dac/

Hit the specifications button on that page.

June 16, 2014
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Thanks.  I should have been more specific…I am looking for impulse response and noise plots.  I seem to recall seeing them somewhere…perhaps in one of Ted’s videos…not sure.

June 16, 2014
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When the new firm ware is available will it be via a download to a SD card?

Please let us know when its available

June 16, 2014
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DS firmware will be via download and installed by use of an SD card.

PSA may also offer SD cards with the software loaded on to them, but this just me guessing.

June 17, 2014
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any comments from the beta group regarding the new firmware SQ?

June 17, 2014
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Hi-Fi News August issue has a review of the DirectStream DAC. Only paper copy so no link but here are a few nuggets:

“.. the best sound quality I’ve ever heard from these DSD recordings…..” (listening to files downloaded from Channel Classics.)

“Hearing the same (DSD) recording after it had been converted to 176.4kHz/24-bit PCM I thought it sounded slightly ‘bleached’ and less wholesome, lacking the weight and ‘energy’ of the DFF.”

“Does its unique 1-bit processing methodology deliver unprecedented sound quality (with CDs) to reveal, as PS Audio claims, ‘musical information that may have previously been hidden or covered up by other DACs’…..? Well, methinks PS Audio is a little guilty of over-egging the marketing-speak pudding here.”

Comparing the sound of CDs with that from the the T+A DAC 8:

“… showed the PerfectWave to be a little less forward-sounding and more ’rounded’…..”

“…. with its sparser and more brightly-lit presentation, the PerfectWave sounded (on Melanie De Basio’s ‘Play It Again Album’) satisfyingly wholesome and ’rounded’ – rather analogue-like and ‘tubey’, if you will. Only the last ounce of of extension in the very low bass was disappointing, the infrasonic notes which pump as ‘No Deal’ segues into ‘With Love’ weren’t as robust or obvious as I’ve heard with some other DACs.”

In summary:

“…. make no mistake: this is a loverly sounding DAC, its tonality sumptuously rich and easy on the ear.”

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June 17, 2014
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davidl said
Hi-Fi News August issue has a review of the DirectStream DAC. Only paper copy so no link but here are a few nuggets:

“.. the best sound quality I’ve ever heard from these DSD recordings…..” (listening to files downloaded from Channel Classics.)

“Hearing the same (DSD) recording after it had been converted to 176.4kHz/24-bit PCM I thought it sounded slightly ‘bleached’ and less wholesome, lacking the weight and ‘energy’ of the DFF.”

“Does its unique 1-bit processing methodology deliver unprecedented sound quality (with CDs) to reveal, as PS Audio claims, ‘musical information that may have previously been hidden or covered up by other DACs’…..? Well, methinks PS Audio is a little guilty of over-egging the marketing-speak pudding here.”

Comparing the sound of CDs with that from the the T+A DAC 8:

“… showed the PerfectWave to be a little less forward-sounding and more ’rounded’…..”

“…. with its sparser and more brightly-lit presentation, the PerfectWave sounded (on Melanie De Basio’s ‘Play It Again Album’) satisfyingly wholesome and ’rounded’ – rather analogue-like and ‘tubey’, if you will. Only the last ounce of of extension in the very low bass was disappointing, the infrasonic notes which pump as ‘No Deal’ segues into ‘With Love’ weren’t as robust or obvious as I’ve heard with some other DACs.”

In summary:

“…. make no mistake: this is a loverly sounding DAC, its tonality sumptuously rich and easy on the ear.”

Thx.

Got it…. dancing-009_gif

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June 17, 2014
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“…. with its sparser and more brightly-lit presentation, the PerfectWave sounded “

I guess the reviewer meant ‘DirectStream’ instead of PerfectWave?  Also, as has been raised on this and many other forums several times, there appears to be a consensus that a long break-in period is required for the DS to perform at its best….does this reviewer mention how much break-in he allowed for before starting his review?

Thanks for the post.

June 17, 2014
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One thing troubling in the measurements is that they state s/n give roughly 16b of resolution. They also mention pre/post ringing common the dsd dacs.

June 17, 2014
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crabby said
One thing troubling in the measurements is that they state s/n give roughly 16b of resolution. They also mention pre/post ringing common the dsd dacs.

I’m hoping Ted will chime in here. He has discussed this at length.  Mostly it went over my head but my takeaway was (1) it’s complicated and (2) not as significant as it seems (I think you somehow end up with around 120 dB of signal to noise).

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June 17, 2014
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What ever happened to it sounds great . I read measurements but for the most part even if I do understand them what’s the point. We still have to like the sound and I love the DS.   Do the measurements change with firmware ?  

Al

June 17, 2014
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I’m hoping Ted will chime in here. He has discussed this at length.  Mostly it went over my head but my takeaway was (1) it’s complicated and (2) not as significant as it seems (I think you somehow end up with around 120 dB of signal to noise).

I’m equally interested in what appears to be a BW insufficient to really handle data at >96KHz. One assumes this is also not what it seems.

And the distortion at the low end.

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June 17, 2014
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tony22 said

I’m hoping Ted will chime in here. He has discussed this at length.  Mostly it went over my head but my takeaway was (1) it’s complicated and (2) not as significant as it seems (I think you somehow end up with around 120 dB of signal to noise).

I’m equally interested in what appears to be a BW insufficient to really handle data at >96KHz. One assumes this is also not what it seems.

And the distortion at the low end.

I forgot about that from the review.  Wondering the same though.

June 17, 2014
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crabby said
One thing troubling in the measurements is that they state s/n give roughly 16b of resolution. They also mention pre/post ringing common the dsd dacs.

I’m not going to comment on the review till it’s published – I don’t have a paper copy myself.  But I can make a few general comments.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere I’ve chosen to use as constant of a group delay as I can for the DAC in general.  For 44.1k and 48k I also want full bandwidth – the result is a long filter.  I was as surprised as anybody when that sounded pretty darned good.  I had always assumed that preringing was the root of all PCM evil.  Apparently it isn’t :)

The preringing is much shorter for 88.2 and 96k.  And it’s non-existent for higher PCM and DSD.

There’s ultrasonic noise that causes a broadband S/N measurement to look bad (in the limit 1 bit at any sample rate can only get an average of roughly 6dB over the whole bandwidth.)  A bandlimited measurement over the audio band gets better than 96dB.

Another common misconception is that DSD has a rising noise floor over the audio band.  (E.g. Stereophile SACD player measurements.)  This isn’t true, it’s an artifact of swept 1/3 octave filter measurements.  If you use an FFT you get a cleaner picture.  If the incoming DSD signal has a rising noise floor above 20kHz the DS will reproduce it, but it doesn’t add any rising noise floor at 20kHz it’s self.  (The DS’s “DSD hump” starts out at 60kHz and only rises about to -80dBFS instead of SACD’s limit of -40dBFS.)

June 17, 2014
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tony22 said

I’m hoping Ted will chime in here. He has discussed this at length.  Mostly it went over my head but my takeaway was (1) it’s complicated and (2) not as significant as it seems (I think you somehow end up with around 120 dB of signal to noise).

I’m equally interested in what appears to be a BW insufficient to really handle data at >96KHz. One assumes this is also not what it seems.

The beta software that’s recently been tested raises the -3dB point of the upsampling filter for 196kHz and lower rate PCM up to 80kHz to match that of DSD and DXD.  Even if the -3dB point is at, say, 80kHz, it’s much more gentle than the normal PCM brickwall filters and there’s significant material there past 200kHz.

June 17, 2014
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davidl said
Hi-Fi News August issue has a review of the DirectStream DAC. Only paper copy

Thanks for the heads up for this review. I looked for the print copy at our local bookstore that usually carries HiFi News, but had no luck finding the August issue yet.

Who is the reviewer?  

Thanks,

Bob

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June 17, 2014
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nordicbob said

Who is the reviewer?  

Review: John Bamford,

Lab: Paul Miller