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DirectStream Memory Player beta reviewer postings
Topic Rating: +177 Topic Rating: +177 (183 votes) 
November 12, 2016
8:17 pm
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Paul McGowan said
It’s crazy how good that little short HDMI cable sounds. I am always fascinated by such things, but this one really surprised me.

Can’t agree with you more. Just started listening to it today changing 6 ft carbon from audio quest. This small one is fabulous. Is it because of the shorter length ?

Regards,

Sourav 

November 13, 2016
3:33 am
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Sourav Mazumder said

Paul McGowan said
It’s crazy how good that little short HDMI cable sounds. I am always fascinated by such things, but this one really surprised me.

Can’t agree with you more. Just started listening to it today changing 6 ft carbon from audio quest. This small one is fabulous. Is it because of the shorter length ?

Regards,

Sourav 

I am assuming it is 0.5m long, so it seems to me that the length is playing some part. Really need someone to find a 1m cable that performs at least as good, if not better, for all those who cannot get the units close enough.

November 13, 2016
4:42 am
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I have both the .5 m and 1 m lengths of the PS Audio AC-12 HDMI cables and really don’t think the length makes a difference. . . . I hear very noticeable differences between different makes and models of HDMI cables though. Would love a 1 m length of the cable supplied with the PMD.

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November 13, 2016
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Paul, have you sorted out what the “stock” HDMI cable is to be?  Earlier on you were saying you would be shipping us a better cable.  ETA on that?

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November 13, 2016
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rvann@nxs.net said
The DMP is great. detail is better than the old player, just seems to be so right. NOW sacd is fantastic. Puts my old Wadia to shame. more to come.

Thanks! Short and sweet!

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November 13, 2016
6:51 am
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lonson said

Paul McGowan said
It’s crazy how good that little short HDMI cable sounds. I am always fascinated by such things, but this one really surprised me.

Paul, will you be offering longer lengths? Thanks.

Yup. Working on that now.

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November 13, 2016
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kline42 said
Hi everyone. I’m new to this forum and since I have a PWT, I thought I would compare it with the new DMP.

When I received the DMP, I did something I normally don’t do, I hooked it up and played it cold right out of the box. I set the DMP on top of the PWT and used the same wires on both units. I have a 1/2 meter HDMI cable already that I used on both units for I2S into my DAC. I actually reversed the two transports, PWT on top of the DMP to see if it made any difference, It did not. My A/B comparison was as close to equal as I am able to do.

I currently only play red book CD’s but will get into SACD’s later. I don’t have a turntable, so no comparison there. 

The first thing I noticed was how wide the sound stage was, way beyond the outside of the speakers. The next thing I noticed was the snappy attack on individual notes played in the music. The lower bass notes were not as defined as I remembered on the PWT so I decided to play a break in CD for a few hours to see what would change. Remember, the DMP is cold out of the box.

One of the problems I’ve had with CD’s over the years has been a slightly irritating edge in the mid range of any speaker I have owned. If the song I played didn’t have much of this certain frequency, it was was much more pleasing to listen to. Once I keyed onto this distortion?, I couldn’t get away from it. I am pleased to say, The DMP does not have this irritating edge!!!……THANK YOU PAUL!!!

After letting the DMP warm up and break in for about a day and a half, I did some listening. The first thing noticed was the bass was defined again…..YES!  Each instrument is clear and well defined and in a space of its own. The instruments and voices jump out of a clear and ambient stage with a sense of the venue or room they were recorded in. I listened to a Tony Braxton CD where she is singing out in front of a row of stringed instruments that seemed placed along the entire width of my listening room, her voice was clear and sweet in the middle. It is interesting that it seems I can play songs at a lower volume and get full dynamics including bass. In contrast, the PWT seams smeared and congested. I don’t want to seem down on the PWT as I’ve enjoyed it very much over the past few years but the DMP is a huge improvement.

I know we have been talking about the importance of source compared to speakers but I’ll say after doing this comparison in sources, I’d be hard pressed to talk about speakers. There are extremely expensive transports and DAC’s that I have no experience with but I doubt they are much better than the DMP.

I hope this review Helps, Roger               

Great review, and thanks!

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November 13, 2016
7:10 am
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Sourav Mazumder said

Paul McGowan said
It’s crazy how good that little short HDMI cable sounds. I am always fascinated by such things, but this one really surprised me.

Can’t agree with you more. Just started listening to it today changing 6 ft carbon from audio quest. This small one is fabulous. Is it because of the shorter length ?

Regards,

Sourav 

That’s the $64,000 question – and we have a longer version being made now. Will let you know. None were more surprised than I at how good this cable sounds. We designed it and had it made as a decent starter cable that people could upgrade when they wanted. So far, no aftermarket cable has come even close. Go figure!

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November 13, 2016
7:16 am
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I am sensing a market opportunity, even if it is offered only in the short length.

November 13, 2016
7:26 am
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badbeef said
Paul, have you sorted out what the “stock” HDMI cable is to be?  Earlier on you were saying you would be shipping us a better cable.  ETA on that?

The beta units all should have shipped with the short “stock” HDMI cable we’re all so excited about. Did you not get one?

Co-founder and CEO of PS Audio. Hobbies (other than audio) include cooking, artisan bread baking, writing The Carbon Wars, hiking and inventing stuff. Infinity IRSV, MG Audio Designs and Audioquest cables, five P10 Power Plants, DirectStream DAC, NuWave Phono Converter, Clear Audio Master turntable, Lyra Cartridge, BHK Monos and BHK preamp, LANRover USB Transporter. I live in Boulder Colorado with my wife Terri, both of us are vegetarians for many decades. If you want to see support my first shot at writing a novel go here.

November 13, 2016
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Elk said
I am sensing a market opportunity, even if it is offered only in the short length.

Yup, you’re right. Sometimes things just fall into one’s lap.

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November 13, 2016
8:15 am
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Paul McGowan said

badbeef said
Paul, have you sorted out what the “stock” HDMI cable is to be?  Earlier on you were saying you would be shipping us a better cable.  ETA on that?

The beta units all should have shipped with the short “stock” HDMI cable we’re all so excited about. Did you not get one?

Yes, I got one.  It’s what I started out with, before trying three others.  It just seemed like you had initially suggested it was temporary and there was to be a “better” replacement you’d send us, unless I misunderstood.  But if this one worked out, great.  I’ll put it back in and see how it sounds.

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November 13, 2016
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Paul McGowan said

Elk said
I am sensing a market opportunity, even if it is offered only in the short length.

Yup, you’re right. Sometimes things just fall into one’s lap.

I would like a DirectStream Memory Player to fall into my lap. I shall send you my address. ;-))

November 13, 2016
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2 weeks of burning. Had sometime to do critical listening yesterday with the supplied HDMI cable. So ready for some comments –

 

1. Firstly out of the box itself the sound quality is pretty impressive, apart from little lack of sound stage. As it burns it open up with all surprises every day. I think it still needs little more of it.

2. Undoubtedly the Read Book CDs could give me a certain level of warmth which I did not had heard before from CD player. Especially in the area of mid range with Vocal oriented songs. And the Piano. Boy, I was really out of my all expectations playing close to my heart Piano based number Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word by Elton John. The beauty was in the way the vocal and Piano merged so effortlessly through the presentation of DMP. It won my heart then and there. It is a recording from late 70s. But still DMP could create the magic.

3. Played some Indian classical and Pop songs. Mostly the ones which are vocal oriented. Female vocals surely have an edge compared to male when played by DMP. I believe where it excels is in the effortless transition form mid range to higher frequencies. Songs based on Bamboo flute with Female vocals (like duets) really gave me goose bumps. String instruments like Sitar and Sarod got new lease of life too as if. I tried out few albums which were never released in LP (like Sarod and Vocal duet by Pandit Ali Akbar Khan and Asha Bhosle https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/legacy/id21864472). But playing those CDs with DMP+DS did not generate the crave in my mind for doing the same – I didn’t feel at all that I’m missing any aspect of warmth of LP. Yet to try extensively more classics from repertoire of Indian music (like Tagore’s Songs, Ghulam Ali’s Ghazals, Salil Chowdhury, R D Burman, Bhimsen Joshi, Bismillah Khan, and many more). Most of the them are not with great recording of recent years – so that would be acid test to me. Probably more comments on that next week.

4. Now comes the hardest part. Comparing this DMP+DS combo with my 7 years old Naim CDX 2.2 + Naim nDac. I never had PWT so I cannot compare with that. Probably it is not fair to compare these two Combos as they have sound from very different house with very different philosophy and statement. But still as a Beta tester I run with the responsibility to opine on that aspect too – am I not ?

In overall at much lesser price point DMP+DS excels equally well as CDX2.2+nDac, if not better, in few aspects depending on the listeners preference and type of music being played. I am saying lesser price point because in 12.8K with DMP+DS+Bridge one gets SACD+CD+Streaming. Where as to get that in Naim one has to spend 16.4K (CDX2.2+nDac+ND5XS). And still one does not get SACD at that price point and ND5XS is just entry level streamer (I did not get a chance to listen to it but it got What HiFi Award in 2015). Where I found DMP+DS combo better is in its analogue/LP like representation of vocal oriented songs. And Naim’s combo excels in fast songs with its attack.

5. Now SACD – I never got a chance to play/here SACD before. So my first experience is surely jaw dropping when I compared with the CD versions of the same songs. Not many I could compared though yet. And there comes the attack part of it for fast songs which I sort of missed in CD version playing through DMP+DS.

6. Comparing with Bridge (JRiver with MacMini) – I did not find anything that noticeable with Red Book CDs as of yet. Little different presentations. I can live with either of them as musicality wise both I found equally good.

 

Regards,

Sourav

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November 13, 2016
12:41 pm
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I wasn’t sure where best to place this, but it indirectly relates to length of HDMI cable between DMP and DS DAC. 

I cannot find dimensions of DMP listed, DS DAC no problem. I am trying to work out whether I can fit both on a single shelf in my rack, close enough to use shorter HDMI cable which has been reported as working well. I currently have everything on Stillpoints, so have to factor those in as well.

If both units are stacked on top of one another, what is the total height?

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November 13, 2016
2:19 pm
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John777, total height is 7-3/4″ with the rubber feet on the top unit.  I recall that you can remove the feet and they nest together which would drop it about 1/4″, maybe a little more.  I have mine stacked for the moment but am going to put them into a rack in the next few days.  Several folks here recommended not stacking, but if it is a space issue, go for it.

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November 13, 2016
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When I first matched my PWD and PWT it was stacked as PS Audio recommended.  I experimented with separating them and the improvement in resolution and musicality was impossible not to hear.  The newer Directstream DAC with Yale has even better resolution so the degradation in sound quality by stacking should be even more noticeable especially if you are employing some type of vibration dampening technology.

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November 13, 2016
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Any transport contains a motor and a spinning disc.  Even if (as I expect) PSA designed some sort of damping around the mechanism in the DMP, stacking a vibrating component on top of a DAC seems like a recipe for reduced SQ.  I admit that the DMP is very quiet and I don’t notice any vibration, but still . . . I would avoid if possible.

The HDMI cable supplied with my DMP is short (1/2 meter, I guess) but just long enough to let me place the two components on adjacent shelves.

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November 14, 2016
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I’m just going to quickly say here that I have been building up to a final side by side listen to the PWT and the DMP but after not much time to listen over the weekend I’m just spinning some great discs on the DMP and enjoying every second of the sound. Just treating it as I do my transports and playing the cds and SACDs that I normally would. The DMP is allowing me to hear my system with a bit more clarity for some formats as well which is another level of listening and analyzing. Nearly two weeks in the house and I’m very pleased with the unit.

More in a few days.

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November 14, 2016
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I just joined this forum after reading about this new “wonder” player and not being able to acquire an Esoteric transport without paying silly money. The million dollar question seems to be when will the final version be available?

A space has been made on my rack already!

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November 14, 2016
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My experience is I find putting equipment in metal racks tend to sound clearer than putting in wooden ones.  Putting harder material under equipment tend to sound harder than if you put softer material which sounds softer.  Especially under turntables since the needle picks up and amplify sound.  

I find every cable has its own sound.  I just find cable that balance my own system.  Price don’t seem to matter in my case.  A cheaper cable actually sounded better than a much more expensive and I sold the expensive one.  The expensive one was too sharp and bright for my taste.  The cheaper one sounded fuller and more organic which I like.  Those were power cords, but I find other cables also have similar differences.

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November 14, 2016
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I have spent some hours today comparing red book cds and SACDS played through the DMP and the old transport.  Clearly there is less “smearing” through DMP. The difference is more noticeable on SACDS, clearly in favor of the DMP.  Just astonishing how much closer SACD via the DMP brings one to what one would hear in a live performance.  This new transport is the winner that I was hoping for which is why I have already put in an order for a second DMP for my system in the country home. 

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November 14, 2016
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I am listening to a Beethoven piano sonata and the listening experience reminded me to post my review using the DMP, compared to the old transport, which was and is a fine transport.  The DMP presents the piano recording closer than I have ever heard in my home to the sound of live piano playing.  The piano is an instrument almost impossible to capture fully in a recording.  The DMP brings this listening experience ever closer the live experience.

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November 14, 2016
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Regarding repeat functions accessible from the remote, am I the only one who would be interested in an “A-B” repeat in which the user presses “A” to bookmark the beginning of a selection and “B” its end, so that the intervening segment is repeated?  I find this feature invaluable for close study of classical music in which a passage (perhaps only 3 seconds in length, or 3 minutes) demands multiple repeat auditions to grasp the subtle details (like “how is the pedaling executed in this segment of a piano sonata”).

 

I wonder if that is a feature that can be added if not already present, noting that given that this is a memory player, pressing “A” may bookmark a location on the disc that hasn’t yet been heard.

 

The repeat functions were briefly discussed in an earlier posting, but I am unsuccessful in relocating it.

November 14, 2016
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Nobo said
Regarding repeat functions accessible from the remote, am I the only one who would be interested in an “A-B” repeat in which the user presses “A” to bookmark the beginning of a selection and “B” its end, so that the intervening segment is repeated?

Nobo, I would be on-board for the same thing! What a great idea!

November 14, 2016
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A new firmware release, 1.57 has been added to the Downloads section

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November 14, 2016
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Herbert said
The piano is an instrument almost impossible to capture fully in a recording. 

I opine it is impossible, at least with the current state of the art.  We get closer with some instruments, while still falling short.

Nobo said
Regarding repeat functions accessible from the remote, am I the only one who would be interested in an “A-B” repeat in which the user presses “A” to bookmark the beginning of a selection and “B” its end . . .

Great idea. this would be wonderful.

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November 14, 2016
4:44 pm
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Can anything be done to test the DMP’s optical disk drive for its ability to read slightly damaged disks, and ideally for the reliability and durability of its laser and drawer mechanism?  

In my limited experience, these factors can determine the lifespan of CD players, including those of audiophile quality. I’ve seen several players bite the dust when problems with the optical disk and drawer mechanisms develop, sometimes starting with diminishing reliability when slightly dirty, aged or damaged CD’s are played.  Unfortunately, the optical disk mechanism can be irreplaceable and irreparable by the time it fails, perhaps 10 years into the life of a $6000 piece of equipment.

One of the advantages of a “memory” player is its potential indifference to the optical drive, since the player relies on its own separate components and software to acquire accurate musical data through multiple readings of the disk if necessary.  I thought that might have been the case with the Perfect Wave Transport, as with the MSB Technology offerings.

In contrast, it appears that the DMP is engineered with greater dependence upon a specific modified Oppo optical drive that might become irreplaceable in the not too distant future, given the rapid pace at which such items are replaced with newer models.

Hence my interest in knowing whether the beta-testers, or perhaps PSA itself have done anything to explore the durability of the optical drive, laser and drawer; or if PSA has thought about how they can assure the longterm survival of their hugely attractive high-end transport offering. I’m not suggesting that the ß-testers experiment with defenestration, but I’d really like this to be “the last transport I will every buy”.

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oddeophile
November 14, 2016
5:49 pm
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Nobo…I would think that PS Audio would have the foresight to lay in a replacement supply of drives for any future problems with the DMP. That would make for smart business sense.  

November 14, 2016
6:01 pm
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Nobo – I’ll copy this over from the bug thread, which I posted yesterday.  Pretty sure this is an Oppo drive, not positive:

Reading through some of the bug reports I was reminded that I had intended to post this earlier. Not sure if this has any relevance to any of the bugs folks are dealing with.
I’ve noticed that the DMP does a great job of faultlessly playing fairly scratched discs (up to a point). It does, however appear to be sensitive to “schmutz” – that is, sometimes almost invisible/clear stuff on top of the surface (such as food grease, finger smudges, etc.) I haven’t had to buff the scratches out of any discs yet, but have had to wipe surface stuff off of a number of them, after which they played fine.
I mean, many of these are, what… 25-30 years old?
So, if you’re eating pizza and putting in discs, pretend you’re handling vinyl…itwasntme_gif
I guess what I’m saying is, be sure to inspect the “business side” of your discs, and adjust expectations accordingly.

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oddeophile, ccstevenson1@comcast.net

P3, DirectStream Memory Player via I2S (AQ Carbon) or Bill Ernst-modded Mac Mini running Roon via galvanically isolated USB chain (or ethernet to Bridge II) to DS Junior, Transparent Ultra XLRs, DEQX HDP-4, Transparent Ultra XLRs, Hypex nCore 400-based amp, Harbeth SHL5+ or Quad 988's with JLAudio f112 subs.  Analog:  VPI Scout, JMW 9 arm, Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC, VTL TL 2.5 Phono analog to DEQX, or PS Audio Phono Converter, I2S to DS Jr.  Surround: ARCAM AVR 600, Oppo 105, ACI Sapphire XLs, JL Audio subs.