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DirectStream Memory Player beta reviewer postings
Topic Rating: +177 Topic Rating: +177 (183 votes) 
December 8, 2016
6:59 am
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Sent in my trade-in. Yep, threw in the towel.

A couple of weeks ago, I was ready to send the DMP back. But this is a “complicated” relationship.

The other day, the line from the Ang Lee film Brokeback Mountain came to me….”I cain’t quit you!” facepalm-smiley-emoticon_gif

Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m in love with a machine. It has personal issues, yes, but it’s growing and changing every week or so.

It doesn’t always acknowledge my touch and sometimes seems disinterested when I just want to communicate with it.  

 

But it can SING.

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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.

December 8, 2016
7:02 am
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Thanks Mark. Yeah, hard to give up on something so wonderful to listen to. Today’s update should solve the rest of the issues you’re having. 

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.

December 8, 2016
7:50 am
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badbeef said
Sent in my trade-in. Yep, threw in the towel….

M. badbeef,

 

Best post E.V.E.R!

December 8, 2016
8:53 am
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It’s been pretty quiet around here while we await the new firmware.  So this might be a good time to post the thoughts I’ve been collecting for the last couple of weeks.

Background: for seven years or so I have used a Marantz SA8003 SACD player, most recently with its digital out connected via coax to the DS DAC. For those not familiar with the 8003 (retail $1000 when introduced): it is not a reference-quality player, but was still designed as an audiophile product with careful attention to SQ. It has a smooth, non-fatiguing sound that I appreciate, although some find the slight treble roll-off to be less involving than the sound of some other players.

For the last three years, most of my listening has been from digital files stored on a Synology NAS, played back with MinimServer to the Bridge (now upgraded to Bridge II). Both the NAS and the network switch are fed from a LPS; ethernet cables are Audioquest Vodka. No optical isolation (yet).

Some folks here have commented that playing digital files and handling physical discs are different experiences. I noticed this also. It so happens that I just installed more shelves in my listening room and was able to unpack all my CDs and SACDs for the first time in a while. It has been fun to go back and explore my collection; indeed, it is different from playing files from my NAS as I have been doing almost exclusively for the past couple of years. I tend to let more discs (= albums) play straight through, among other things.

I played some tracks using the Marantz as a transport. The sound was surprisingly close to the same tracks played on the DMP, although the latter unquestionably had the edge. It appears that the Marantz reads the bits from the disc and sends them off in a clean, orderly fashion so that the DS DAC can effectively do its magic.

Now for the Bridge. In the past, I have consistently found that CD rips sounded better than the CD played directly, although the difference has never been huge. I did a careful comparison of several tracks ripped from my CDs to uncompressed FLAC with the same tracks played from the original CDs on the DMP. The DMP was better, but not by a great deal. I’ll use a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 means an audible but slight difference and 5 indicates a great difference. A couple of the tracks were a 1, while the others were a 2 or maybe a 2.5. Specifically, I noticed a better sense of what our British cousins call PRAT, probably related to the timing factors that others have mentioned; tighter and more distinct bass; more audible inner parts; and – perhaps the most important thing in terms of drawing me into the music – subtle inflections of singers’ voices that were not audible previously.

Note the importance of level matching in this comparison. At first I thought the DMP was significantly better until I realized that the level from the Bridge was slightly lower; two clicks on the preamp fixed this.

I have MinimServer do the transcoding from FLAC to WAV before sending the files to the Bridge. This arrangement has always given the best SQ for me, apparently because the Bridge is doing less work since it does not have to convert the FLAC files to WAV. (If one plays compressed FLAC, the Bridge will also have to uncompress the files.) The lighter load on the Bridge might explain why there is less differnce between the DMP and the Bridge in my system than others (including Paul himself) have observed.

Now for SACDs. I can only echo what others have said about the wonderful SQ when the SACD is played via HDMI (using the supplied cable) to the DS DAC. Definitely an improvement over the Marantz, although the latter is certainly not shabby.

Bottom line: I will keep the DMP, since it’s hard to go back once you’ve heard the improvement. I will say that my respect for the Marantz has grown. I’ve always enjoyed it, but for a much less expensive product to come reasonably close to the DMP in SQ is an achievement.

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December 8, 2016
5:31 pm
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Here’s another way to express what I’m hearing…I’m putting on lots of discs that I used to listen to when I had Lord knows What for a stereo.

Back then, I thought the recordings were amazing.

In between, not so much.

Now, they’re amazing again.  respect-047_gif

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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.

December 10, 2016
12:50 pm
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I guess beta-testing is over. I sent my PWT back nearly two weeks ago, I think the DMP is a decided improvement and I’m very happy with this product—Kudos to all the designers and builders. 

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Decware:HR-1 spkr,ZP3 phono,ZBIT, ZTPRE pre,Torii Mk III amp,Taboo Mk IV amp;PS Audio:DMP+DSD DAC,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs+HDMI cbl;Mapleshade Dbl Helix Plus;Magnum Dynalab: MD-90T SE;Cambridge Audio CXU;Rega:RP3,TTPSU,white belt,all Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cable:Cremona+Amati ics,Iso-Pods; Mapleshade:Samson v.2+v.3 racks;Audeze LCD-2;Oppo PM-1

December 10, 2016
2:42 pm
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Now the great unwashed have their chance to go at it…

December 10, 2016
7:51 pm
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LOL! I was unwashed, but I showered after a ton of shoveling snow!

Decware:HR-1 spkr,ZP3 phono,ZBIT, ZTPRE pre,Torii Mk III amp,Taboo Mk IV amp;PS Audio:DMP+DSD DAC,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs+HDMI cbl;Mapleshade Dbl Helix Plus;Magnum Dynalab: MD-90T SE;Cambridge Audio CXU;Rega:RP3,TTPSU,white belt,all Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cable:Cremona+Amati ics,Iso-Pods; Mapleshade:Samson v.2+v.3 racks;Audeze LCD-2;Oppo PM-1

December 11, 2016
9:53 pm
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I was going to enter this on the “Bugs Beta Forum” but it’s apparently defunct.  A good sign I guess.

I installed 1.94 on Friday and had a listen on Saturday (yesterday).  For me redbook and SACD bugs had already been taken care.  I played a few DVD-Audio and DTS discs and most of the bug issues I’d had are resolved.  Once I actually started listening to the music on 5.1 discs most of them had a “different” sound and it occurred to me that the DMP is (probably) only reading two of the six channels on the discs.  No big deal missing the rear channels, but a lot of vocal material is typically in the center channel and on some songs on “The Police: Every Breath You Take, The Classics” I was looking under furniture to see where the low bass went.  Of course it’s on the disc as the .1 in 5.1, which the DMP in two-channel mode wasn’t going to read and get to my DirectStream DAC.  On another DTS disc, Marvin Gaye’s “Forever Yours” the bottom end was almost out-of-control elevated in level.  Weird stuff.  Bottom line on DVD-Audio and DTS is that listening is a mixed bag, so if there are still any track accessibility problems I’ll probably not discover them as I’ll probably only be playing them on the multichannel system. 

Listening to my one-and-only Blu-ray Audio Only disc, Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” was a revelation.  The track accessibility problems I’d had are gone, and the sound was stunning.  The transparency was what I’ve been getting used to with the DMP/DirectStream combo, but it was the absolutely enormous soundstage I was hearing that had me saying “wow” to myself.  Actually there were a few expletives as well that I’ll not repeat here.  I’ll soon be getting more Audio Only Blu-rays and will hopefully have the same experience.

I also played around a bit with swapping two I2S cables, the 1/2 meter one that came with the DMP and a one meter PS Audio Perfect Wave I2S 10.  Pretty close in sound to me, though it seems the supplied cable had a slightly “cleaner” high end, so for now that’s what I’ll be sticking with.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that I’m keeping the DMP.  I’ll now add that I am absolutely loving the DMP/DirectStream combo and, as other testers have posted, I’m looking forward to rediscovering my CDs and will be adding more SACDs and Blu-rays.

As it looks like the beta testing is winding down I want to thank PS Audio for letting me participate.  I’ve never done this before and my only regret is that I wasn’t able to dedicate as much time as I would have liked to in a perfect (i.e. job-free) world.

  

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Speakers: Martin Logan Odyssey; Amplifiers: Conrad Johnson ACT 2, Rogue Audio Apollos (to stat panels), Parasound Halo A21 (to woofers); Digital: PS Audio DirectStream Memory Player and PerfectWave Direct Stream; Analog: VPI Scout II, Einstein Turntable's Choice, Accuphase AC-2 (Soundsmith retip), Shelter 501ii; Bass Electronics: Rives Audio PARC, Velodyne SMS 1, NHT amps; Subwoofers (3): Tang Band, Monitor Audio; AC supply: PS Audio PerfectWave Power Plant 10 and Quintet, Running Springs Audio Duke; Cables: Nordost, MIT, Audience, Morrow, PS Audio; Rack: Mapleshade.

December 12, 2016
6:20 am
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lonson said
I guess beta-testing is over. I sent my PWT back nearly two weeks ago, I think the DMP is a decided improvement and I’m very happy with this product—Kudos to all the designers and builders. 

Thanks! And thanks to all of you for your help. We couldn’t have made it without you.

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.

December 12, 2016
6:26 am
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JM said
After testing both the Audioquest Diamond hdmi and the Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 hdmi, the Starlight won out – better soundstage and microdynamic rendering.   Both are good cords and expensive.

+1

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December 12, 2016
6:59 am
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Beta Tester Review

My system is comprised of B&W 802 diamonds, Classe Monoblocks/Preamp, Kimber Kable Select cabling, DS DAC, and two PSA P5s for the front end components. Transports used for comparison were PSA’s PWT and Audiocom’s Signature version of the Oppo 105D (http://www.audiocomav.co.uk/ho…..ature.html).  Components were level-matched and a burn-in period of about 125 hours was undertaken before critical listening began.  Standard caveat applies — depending on your system, room, power environment, and ears, your mileage may vary.     

Overall, the DMP is an outstanding transport that allows a listener to better connect with their collections of CDs and SACDs.  However, the DMP is not a universal transport as billed, as it cannot be trusted to play Bluray audio or DVD-A discs.

In terms of Redbook playback, the DMP is a notch above the PWT – though not by a great leap.  That said, the DMP provides perceptible improvements across the listening spectrum over the PWT, particularly in regard to an increased height and width of the soundstage, and a more finely etched rendering of tone and micro-detail of a variety of instruments, such as piano and drums. Portrayal of vocals, spacing/placement of instruments, and dynamic presentation were similar to the PWTs, but in general the DMP bested it by at least a small margin.  For Redbook, the Audiocom was neck and neck with the DMP in its rendering of vocals and soundstage presentation; however, the DMP edged out the Audiocom in presentation of micro-detail and ambient cues.   

Some Redbook evaluation highlights: 

Maria Mena’s Viktoria – on “Viktoria,” the DMP rendered in detail the presence of her close-mic’ed breathy vocals, similar to that from the PWT and Audiocom, though the soundstage is wider and more enveloping via the DMP; on “Habits,” piano notes have an added dose of realism in their tone and decay on the DMP.  Melody Gardot’s My One and Only Thrill – Tracks “Baby I’m a Fool” and “Somewhere over the Rainbow” illustrated the DMP’s ability to render a nice large soundstage and a great portrayal of her talented vocals.  Gretchen Parlato’s Live in NYC – guitar notes have more defined pluck and the drums had more snap and thwack on “Butterfly”; venue acoustics come alive more via increased presentation of ambient cues on “Holding Back the Years.” Rodrigo y Gabriela’s 9 Dead Alive – great placement of the duo in the wider soundstage; string pluck; detail (particularly on “The Soundmaker”).  Angus and Julia Stone’s Down the Way – “Yellow Brick Road,” just a great example of what the DMP does well – soundstage, micro-dynamics, and the intimacy it can create between the music and the listener.  “Devil’s Tears” just reinforced this impression. Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories – DMP threw up a nice wide soundstage and rich portrayal of detail in “Lose Yourself to Dance.”  

In comparison to the same Redbook material rendered via the Bridge II (all connections via ethernet cabling, using QNAP NAS and Roon), the DMP often held a slight edge.  The DMP occasionally provided a more refined presentation of detail or larger soundstage of recordings.  While the convenience of the Roon set up is its own reward, the better sonic experience with the same material via the DMP will likely make it the first choice for serious/intimate listening sessions.  

Where the DMP indeed shines is SACD playback.  The sound is enveloping, engaging, and organic.  Obviously, the particular recording plays a definitive factor in the degree to which the listener can reap those benefits.  While the Audiocom is an excellent transport and rivals the DMP in the Redbook category, the DMP proves itself the clear winner in SACD playback.  Undoubtedly, the DS DAC also plays a big part in this.  

SACD evalutation highlights: Alison Krauss’ Now That I Found You: A Collection, particularly on “Baby Now That I Found You” and “When You Say Nothing at All” sounded wonderfully natural and organic, emphasizing the gentleness of her voice, which had erased some of the digital edge that was present when played back on the Audiocom.  Songs throughout Ella Fitzgerald’s Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie, particularly “You’re My Thrill,” showcased Ella’s pure tone, highlighting its warmth and control with an organic touch.  The DMP showcased Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto’s “Girl From Ipanema” in a stunningly realistic fashion, with a rich and lush portrayal of the tender vocals and rendition of the deftly plucked guitar strings.  Dire Straits Brothers in Arms was also brought to life by the DMP, with guitar chords portrayed in life-like detail.  On the classical front, Valery Gergiev’s rendition of Shostokovich’s 9th Symphony (and Violin Concerto No.1) showcased the DMP’s ability to masterfully present the fluid dynamics and detail of the varied instruments from the solo wind to the snare that this recording commandingly conveys.  

The DMP downside – Bluray audio and DVD-A are essentially non-functional formats. After repeated testing, I was hard-pressed to locate one single Bluray Audio (0 out of 30 tested) or DVD-A (0 out of 10 tested) disc that was fully-functional on the DMP.  My testing included a variety of discs from a wide range of labels – 2L, Decca, LSO Live, Sony Legacy, Deutsche Grammophon, Sono Luminus, Universal, and A&M.  The DMP would not read or play some discs at all; most would not play more than the first track; none would allow you to change tracks or select a particular song; and one disc allowed you to play through, if you left it alone – you could not try to skip tracks or it would return to the first track.  In terms of DVD-A, no discs were functional.  This is a summarized version of the issues I relayed in detail on the PSA forum thread during my beta testing. 

A subsequent email to beta testers from Paul stated that PS Audio had made a company decision to not dedicate any additional manpower or resources to resolve these issues.  That was very disappointing, though I appreciated Paul being frank and offering a refund if desired.  While I understand that there are difficult technical challenges in devising firmware to navigate the web of menus and formats that sometimes differ even across labels and discs, this has already been done with some success already by at least one other company – Oppo.  Their Bluray solution, via an “audio” button on the remote (allowing toggling between 2CH and MCH formats) and a color-coded key suite on the remote (activating pre-designated formats on a disc), allows the user to play the disc without the need for a visual display.  This seems to work for most Blurays.  Although those features do not seem to help with DVD-As, simply hitting enter and play on the remote will normally let you at least play the DVD-A.  I had hoped PSA could devise something similar.  Given these issues, the DMP simply cannot be considered a functional universal disc player.  

In the end, some may not care about functionality of these formats.  However, the fact is that PS Audio set expectations high – not just by their reputation for excellent products, but for billing this as a “universal disc player” and being “the last transport you will ever need.”  With these considerations in mind, and a 6k price tag, it is quite reasonable for the new owner to have those expectations met – and to be disappointed when they have not.

Despite my criticism, I am keeping my DMP.  I won’t be able to let go of my Audiocom, but that’s not necessarily a bad first-world problem to be stuck with.  Those that continue to chase perfection in playback of their Redbook or SACD collections will no doubt have to seriously consider the DMP.  For those who are searching for a next level universal disc player, I’d simply say that you’ll have to take a hard look at what you are willing to accept/compromise.  

In closing, I’d like to say that beta testing has been a privilege.  PSA’s openness, responsiveness to tester comments, and the fact that fixes can be deployed within days simply sets them on a different level from their competitors.  Their service and tech teams, as well as Paul’s own daily posts also make PSA unique – creating a sense of community for their clients (and music lovers in general) that may be unparalleled among their industry peers.  I look forward to what they come up with next.

December 13, 2016
3:14 pm
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Well I procrastinated long enough!  Time for my thoughts on the DMP.  There certainly have been plenty of glowing reviews and I can’t find fault with any of them.  Not sure I have much to add and quite honestly I think many of the folks here are better listeners than I am, I know good sound when I hear it (most of the time) but I do have trouble when it comes to comparing two pieces side by side.  I think my biggest hurdle is audible memory, mine stinks!  If I can do a quick back and forth it makes it easier for me.  In the case of the DMP I was able to do a quick switch with my ARCAM DV137 by using the I2S input for DMP and SPDIF input for the ARCAM.  I have several duplicate CD’s (that memory thing … do I have this already?) so I was able to put one in each player, start them at the same time (close but not identical), then switch back and forth.  On a couple of CDs I thought the DMP sounded louder (and better), so I thought it must be a level mismatch.  So I used a pink noise track off a Stereophile test CD.  The levels were essentially identical!  Interesting.  From this exercise I was able to determine that the DMP is just plain clearer than the ARCAM (that “veils lifted” thang) and it also reproduces transients exceptionally well.  Rather than provide several examples of how various CDs sound, I’ll provide just one.  The Delos CD of Hovhannes’s Mount St. Helens Symphony.  Track III “Volcano” starts out with quiet playing where I picture an idyllic mountain meadow scene, birds chirping, deer grazing, baby woodchucks frolicking.  Then all hell brakes loose, literally, the volcano erupting just makes you jump from your chair.  You can just imagine the destruction.  Very impressive.

After listening to CDs for a while I moved to SACDs, hoo boy, Paul was right about not really hearing them previously.  The DMP does a fantastic job of finding the missing bits and bringing them to their full glory.  They just seem so much clearer and alive, amazing.  I’m so impressed with the SACD performance I’ve already purchased at least ten more SACDs in the last couple of weeks and will certainly be looking for more recommendations to build my library more (about 150 now). One of the recent acquisitions is the Audio Fidelity reissue of Michael Hedges “Aerial Boundaries”.  Wow!  The air around his guitar and sense of a musician in your room is just uncanny.

Several folks asked for a comparison to the Bridge, I have a Bridge II but limited number of rips of good sounding CDs.  All of the CDs I ripped are in ALAC and in iTunes, I ripped them to put on an iPod well before I had the DS/Bridge combo, and they were chosen for music rather than sound quality (it was for an iPod after all).  Quite honestly I was hesitant to rerip these or any new ones and now that I have the DMP I don’t think I will do any further ripping of my CD collection.  I do have about 3TB of high res and DSD downloads but almost all of them are of music I don’t own on CD.  For the few that I do own on CD I have no way of knowing the provenance so I can’t be sure what I would be comparing.  Anyway, my brief comparison between CD played in DMP and rip of said CD through iTunes/JRiver/Bridge II showed the DMP beating the Bridge without breaking a sweat.  Probably not an entirely fair comparison, but that’s what it is.

Now for a few comments.  

HDMI cables; I liked the short generic cable provided with the DMP.  The length was almost perfect for me, I actually could go a little shorter and may try a one foot cable from Blue Jeans.  I also have a one meter PW-12 HDMI and I tried that too.  The PW-12 seemed a little more open/clear than the generic cable, so I have been using that for most of the time.  The issue with the PW-12 cable is it is much longer than I need and the back of my rack is there for the world to see when they walk in the door to my room, so a shorter cable would be nice.  The problem is I have rarely (ever?) seen a PW-12 for sale, let alone the rare 0.5 M version.  Say Lonson, thinking of selling yours?  

AC cables; I haven’t experimented with them, mainly because of the rack the source components are on (see below), I don’t want to snag a cable and disconnect it.  I am not using the stock cable, instead I’m using some DIY cables using bulk cable and connectors from Parts Connexion.  Not as good as AC-12 cables, but I can customize the length and they are somewhat flexible.  Neither of those are attributes of the AC-12. 

Like others I had some issues, but with the latest firmware release the majority have been corrected.  The only things not corrected are either not possible (DVD-A and BluRay playback) or are not significant (inconsistent display and ticks/clicks).  With respect to DVD-A I will say the one (marked DVD-A) I had, Buena Vista Social Club, behaves oddly at start up, but after about 30 seconds plays.  I also have several Classic Records DAD discs.  Not sure if these are true DVD-A, but they are 96/24 on a DVD, and they play fine.  I don’t have any BluRay discs, and quite honestly not sure I will buy any based on the difficulties several folks had, though I would be interested in knowing if anyone has had luck with AIX BluRays.  I heard some of those at AXPONA last year and they sounded real good, but don’t want to spend big bucks for something that wouldn’t even make a good doorstop if they won’t play in the DMP.

After all the discussion of the DMP display I still have a request for it plus now I am wishing for changes on the DS display (uh oh, Paul run!).  My request for the DMP display is after loading a disc that the display show the total number of tracks and total play time.  My ARCAM did this and I found it useful.  Not all disc notes list total play time.  This isn’t a big deal, the display shows other things that the ARCAM didn’t so I am content, sort of.  I still haven’t hooked up the DMP to the internet so that may change my desires.  With respect to the DS, currently it shows the input in a rectangle in the middle of the screen (e.g., i2s for the DMP).  You can add your own name (I used “DMP”, I know, shocking choice) and it displays just above the rectangle with “i2s”, but the font is so small it is unreadable from six feet away unlike everything else on the screen. Some consistency between displays would be good.  As an aside, I never owned a PWT so not sure if the PWD/DS & PWT had consistent display formats.

A little back story related to testing the DMP; I moved my source components around at the suggestion of some folks here. Previously I had the ARCAM sitting on top of the DS and the BHK 250 next to them, all sitting on a large butcher block sitting on cork/rubber isolators on the floor between the speakers and under a plasma TV. The ARCAM was hooked via a Kimber 0.5 M AGDL to the DS SPDIF input. The DS acted as the preamp and was connected to the BHK 250 via a 0.75 M AudioQuest Niagara balanced cable. Speaker cables are Goertz MI-2 six feet long, bi-wired.  When I moved the source components (and my P-500) I put them on a SolidSteel rack off to the side with the back exposed (see above).  This sure made cable changes and SD card removal insertion a breeze, but now I have a 6 M pair of Kimber Hero interconnects (actually I only need 5 M but 6 M is what I had on hand).  Not exactly an even exchange with the silver AudioQuests.  Better quality interconnects may be in my future, but I may alternatively get a good low and wide rack for between the speakers so I can use the AudioQuests again, but that is in the future …

To sum up the DMP is one impressive player, I’m certainly keeping it and that is testament to it’s value to me (an avowed cheapskate).  I’m glad and proud to have been part of this beta test and this time it was a real test!  Thanks Paul and PS Audio for the opportunity to be a part of it!

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December 13, 2016
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pMotz said: “Say Lonson, thinking of selling yours?”

I was actually thinking of selling the PWT/PWD Mk 2 combo that I use that cable with, and bundle in that cable and two PW AC-12 power cords. IF I decide not to bundle the duo that way, I’ll contact you about the cable.

For me those AC-12 HDMI cables are the best I’ve heard. (And actually, seen, as I’ve used them between DVR and between Blu-ray and TV . . . excellent picture and sound; for these purposesI’m using AC-10s which are probably just as good).

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December 15, 2016
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I sent my DS Dac and DMP back for repair last week because it could not make the handshake after firmware update so I’ve been listening to my former system with the Aurender N10 feeding the Marantz SA11s3 as a dac and it must be settling in because I find the sound thicker, fuller, and richer which is very involving.  It does lose a little in resolution and air to the PS Audio combo though.  It depends on your matter of taste which is preferable.  Right now I am enjoying  what I am hearing with 24 bit 192k and DSD also since the Aurender converts DSD on the fly to 24 bit 176k to feed the Marantz which I really can’t tell from the 24 bit 192k.  Both are killer formats. Actually I have a lot of music with files that I don’t have with SACDs and vice versa.  Can’t wait to get the PS Audio combo back and do more listening.

December 19, 2016
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When I first found out about possibly becoming a beta tester for the new DMP, the info I received was that they would start shipping in mid October.  Unfortunately, mine did not arrive until mid November, and by that time I was away in Europe on business for several weeks.  Thus, my first opportunities to try out this newest creation from PS Audio have only occurred these past 10 days.  My apologies to Paul for not posting sooner but until now, my ears and my DMP were on separate continents.

The good news, I suppose, is that by the time I was able to start my testing of the new DMP, version 1.94 of the firmware was already available. I went ahead and updated the systems firmware to this latest version and apparently avoided a number of issues that the other Beta testers were forced to endure.  During my testing this past week, I have not experienced any of the problems or glitches that others have reported.  So far, so good.

I am the proud owner of one of the original PS Audio PWT and still have it on hand which made A/B comparisons during my auditioning a snap.  Throughout my testing, I would occasionally swap inputs between the transports just to make sure any differences I might be hearing were not due to a variance in the input of the DAC.  Here is my experience in listening to the DMP thus far:

I started out my testing by burning a playlist of several hi-res wav and flac files onto identical DVD’s to facilitate easy comparison.  Everything I did in choosing the music was done in an effort to try to uncover any sonic differences that might exist.  I mean, how much difference could there possible be?  We’re talking about a device that’s merely reading a series of 0’s and 1’s from discs and sending them downstream to the DAC.  I mainly bought this unit in the hopes of playing, and perhaps really hearing, the dozens of SACD’s I’ve collected through the DirectStream DAC.  I wasn’t sure that I would hear any difference and had a strongly prejudiced opinion that I wouldn’t.  That turned out to be my mistake.

I put in my two test DVD’s into each player and simultaneously hit the play buttons.  I began with the PWT as that is the unit that I am well familiar with.  It sounded exactly as it always had – great. After listening for several minutes, switched over to Input 2 on the DS DAC and OMG!  The stage instantly was wider and deeper.  The separation between instruments and performers was greater.  The imaging was more precise.  And the slightest bit of glare that I have always heard and attributed to digital playback was gone.  Simply stunning.  

After switching back and forth several times between units over the next several hours, I tried switching inputs, and finally cables and found that the results remained the same. (Note – Although I believe I did hear the slightest difference between cables, the differences between the transports made it impossible to tell how the cables were affecting what I was hearing.)

That first shocking experience was followed up with an even more revealing test the following day when I did the same type of A/B testing with identical copies of several standard red book CD’s. The DMP is magical when it comes to playing back this aging format.  If you haven’t heard a CD played through the DMP and DS DAC, I would argue you haven’t heard what that medium is capable of.  I was able to compare the CD 44.1/16 version of Norah Jone’s Come Away With Me album with the 192/24 version and the results surprised me.  Yes, the hi-res version was still better, but only ever so slightly, and in ways that I would have not have imagined. A very interesting experience.

Finally, I got down to trying out the SACD’s.  For years I had read about the technical superiority of DSD recording but never felt it measured up to the hype.  I have owned a number of playback systems capable of playing SACD’s including units from the Sony ES collection, Esoteric and Oppo. While they have mostly been pleasing to listen to, they have all seemed to lack the quality of imaging, sound staging and dynamic reproduction of the PCM playback equipment I had at the time.  That opinion of mine is forever changed.  IMHO, the DMP along with the DS DAC playing SACD is the single greatest source of music reproduction I have ever heard outside of a studio. Whatever positive qualities you want to attribute to “analog” sound, this combo has in spades and surpasses it.  Whatever negative qualities you want to assign to digital music, this eliminates it.  It is the closest thing to perfection I have heard yet in my system, or any system for that matter. 

I didn’t think there was a chance that the way the zeroes and ones were being streamed to my DAC would have any real audible effect in my system.  Boy, was I wrong.

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December 19, 2016
4:57 pm
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badbeef said
Sent in my trade-in. Yep, threw in the towel.
It doesn’t always acknowledge my touch and sometimes seems disinterested when I just want to communicate with it. 
But it can SING.

It definitely can SING…

December 20, 2016
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mikeskop said
When I first found out about possibly becoming a beta tester for the new DMP, the info I received was that they would start shipping in mid October.  Unfortunately, mine did not arrive until mid November, and by that time I was away in Europe on business for several weeks.  Thus, my first opportunities to try out this newest creation from PS Audio have only occurred these past 10 days.  My apologies to Paul for not posting sooner but until now, my ears and my DMP were on separate continents.

The good news, I suppose, is that by the time I was able to start my testing of the new DMP, version 1.94 of the firmware was already available. I went ahead and updated the systems firmware to this latest version and apparently avoided a number of issues that the other Beta testers were forced to endure.  During my testing this past week, I have not experienced any of the problems or glitches that others have reported.  So far, so good.

I am the proud owner of one of the original PS Audio PWT and still have it on hand which made A/B comparisons during my auditioning a snap.  Throughout my testing, I would occasionally swap inputs between the transports just to make sure any differences I might be hearing were not due to a variance in the input of the DAC.  Here is my experience in listening to the DMP thus far:

I started out my testing by burning a playlist of several hi-res wav and flac files onto identical DVD’s to facilitate easy comparison.  Everything I did in choosing the music was done in an effort to try to uncover any sonic differences that might exist.  I mean, how much difference could there possible be?  We’re talking about a device that’s merely reading a series of 0’s and 1’s from discs and sending them downstream to the DAC.  I mainly bought this unit in the hopes of playing, and perhaps really hearing, the dozens of SACD’s I’ve collected through the DirectStream DAC.  I wasn’t sure that I would hear any difference and had a strongly prejudiced opinion that I wouldn’t.  That turned out to be my mistake.

I put in my two test DVD’s into each player and simultaneously hit the play buttons.  I began with the PWT as that is the unit that I am well familiar with.  It sounded exactly as it always had – great. After listening for several minutes, switched over to Input 2 on the DS DAC and OMG!  The stage instantly was wider and deeper.  The separation between instruments and performers was greater.  The imaging was more precise.  And the slightest bit of glare that I have always heard and attributed to digital playback was gone.  Simply stunning.  

After switching back and forth several times between units over the next several hours, I tried switching inputs, and finally cables and found that the results remained the same. (Note – Although I believe I did hear the slightest difference between cables, the differences between the transports made it impossible to tell how the cables were affecting what I was hearing.)

That first shocking experience was followed up with an even more revealing test the following day when I did the same type of A/B testing with identical copies of several standard red book CD’s. The DMP is magical when it comes to playing back this aging format.  If you haven’t heard a CD played through the DMP and DS DAC, I would argue you haven’t heard what that medium is capable of.  I was able to compare the CD 44.1/16 version of Norah Jone’s Come Away With Me album with the 192/24 version and the results surprised me.  Yes, the hi-res version was still better, but only ever so slightly, and in ways that I would have not have imagined. A very interesting experience.

Finally, I got down to trying out the SACD’s.  For years I had read about the technical superiority of DSD recording but never felt it measured up to the hype.  I have owned a number of playback systems capable of playing SACD’s including units from the Sony ES collection, Esoteric and Oppo. While they have mostly been pleasing to listen to, they have all seemed to lack the quality of imaging, sound staging and dynamic reproduction of the PCM playback equipment I had at the time.  That opinion of mine is forever changed.  IMHO, the DMP along with the DS DAC playing SACD is the single greatest source of music reproduction I have ever heard outside of a studio. Whatever positive qualities you want to attribute to “analog” sound, this combo has in spades and surpasses it.  Whatever negative qualities you want to assign to digital music, this eliminates it.  It is the closest thing to perfection I have heard yet in my system, or any system for that matter. 

I didn’t think there was a chance that the way the zeroes and ones were being streamed to my DAC would have any real audible effect in my system.  Boy, was I wrong.

happy-132_gifgoofy-heart_gif Thanks, Mike! Good to be wrong!

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.

December 21, 2016
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I’m an early beta tester who has decided without hesitation to keep the DMP. Listening to SACD while I write this comment and they sound glorious. The very nature of this beta test program suggests that it’s a pre production release that a few of us lucky ones get to evaluate and help put the final touches on what will ultimately become one of the most amazing players that utterly transform the SQ of SACD and improve redbook to near state of the art performance. All at a price that is very reasonable compared to other solutions that cost multiple times more. I expected there to be bugs that would take some time to work out. Look how far the DS DAC has come since the first firmware version and realize PS Audio will continue to work tirelessly and get this right. I work for a Fortune 50 company and let me assure you we don’t do beta testing. However after the initial “production” units we usually have multiple updates and upgrades to get it right. 

Far to much time has been spent discussing the few operational issues and not near enough on the incredible SQ this player delivers. After all we are to sit back in our listening seats and ENJOY THE MUSIC not watch the screen and see if the cover art is correct or the status bar is moving smoothly. I have a high end server and it cuts off occasionally for a few seconds and once in a while even needs to be shut down and rebooted. I’ve never for a second considered sending it back. It’s all about immersing yourself in the music and relaxing. 

I personally wish to thank Paul and the PS AUDIO team for this rare opportunity to help develop a state of the art product and watch it continue to evolve into one of the best at any price. PS Audio is on quite a roll in the last 2-3 years with Direct Stream, BHK amps and preamps, DMP and many others with more to come. 

Enjoying the music

Jeff

  

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December 24, 2016
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As has been noted, I am mightily impressed by the initial transients presented by the DMP, so that drums, cymbals, bass, guitars, etc are riveting. However, I listen mostly to acoustic jazz and vocals, as well as classical orchestral music, and with those I am finding the timbre of the DMP to be somewhat dry, a little hot even, compared to Bridge II as well as to my CD player (a modded OPPO). There is a bloom, a richness of the sound that I hear through the Perfect Wave DAC from these other sources that I am not getting via the DMP. THe DMP is more etched and detailed, but there is some kind of harmonic magic in the sound of a Coltrane sax or a string orchestra or a vocal by Jennifer Warnes that I am used to getting through the Bridge II but am not via the DMP.

I have about 100 hours. Does it need more ‘break-in?’ I’ve tried changing power cables and hdmi cables, but the difference remains and is very noticeable. Some earlier posts hinted at this kind of experience, but I would like to know if anyone can relate to what I am saying. 

December 24, 2016
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Solomon said
As has been noted, I am mightily impressed by the initial transients presented by the DMP, so that drums, cymbals, bass, guitars, etc are riveting. However, I listen mostly to acoustic jazz and vocals, as well as classical orchestral music, and with those I am finding the timbre of the DMP to be somewhat dry, a little hot even, compared to Bridge II as well as to my CD player (a modded OPPO). There is a bloom, a richness of the sound that I hear through the Perfect Wave DAC from these other sources that I am not getting via the DMP. THe DMP is more etched and detailed, but there is some kind of harmonic magic in the sound of a Coltrane sax or a string orchestra or a vocal by Jennifer Warnes that I am used to getting through the Bridge II but am not via the DMP.

I have about 100 hours. Does it need more ‘break-in?’ I’ve tried changing power cables and hdmi cables, but the difference remains and is very noticeable. Some earlier posts hinted at this kind of experience, but I would like to know if anyone can relate to what I am saying. 

Give it little more burning time. I also had similar opinion even after first 4 weeks. But now (after 6 weeks) it is just amazing – the timbre is so natural.

I also listen to mostly vocal and jazz. And so far I am more than happy with my Naim CDX2 and Naim nDac. But with DMP+DS the sound is very very natural – may be little less engaging immediately as it does not hit you immediately. But it is very natural and immerse you into the song/music. Also it is very less fatiguing – you can keep on listening for hours (had a big fight with wife last week because of that !!!).

Regards,

Sourav

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December 25, 2016
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I am in agreement with Sourav: give it more time. I found that the sound does change (don’t ask me why) even after hundreds of hours. I think the dryness will dissipate and you’ll find the DMP eclipses the other transports. . . .

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December 25, 2016
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Thanks, guys, for the response. I’ll let you know when (or if) there is a change.

January 8, 2017
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Well, it took another 100 hours for the sound to truly settle. It also took me a while to realize that stacking my DMP and my DAC was not the best configuration. Now, the shrillness is gone and it is playing beautiful music, beautifully.

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January 8, 2017
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To speed up the burn-in could one play a disc on repeat without anything else on, such as DAC/preamp/amp? Also, does the SACD section require a separate burn-in from the CD section of the player?

Thanks.

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January 8, 2017
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I think the answer to the first question is yes, but I’m not an expert on this. To the second question Paul has stated that “it’s the same pathway” so either a CD or SACD will accomplish the task.

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January 8, 2017
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Electric said
To speed up the burn-in could one play a disc on repeat without anything else on, such as DAC/preamp/amp?

I would suggest using a USB stick for this burn in process.

No wear on the drive mechanism.

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st50maint said

Electric said
To speed up the burn-in could one play a disc on repeat without anything else on, such as DAC/preamp/amp?

I would suggest using a USB stick for this burn in process.

No wear on the drive mechanism.

Good idea.

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st50maint said

Electric said
To speed up the burn-in could one play a disc on repeat without anything else on, such as DAC/preamp/amp?

I would suggest using a USB stick for this burn in process.

No wear on the drive mechanism.

I’m getting there. First I figured out that the USB stick has to be formatted for a PC rather than a Mac. Now I’ve got some mp3s on the stick and I want to play them on a repeat loop. I see on the DMP screen there are 5 different repeat icons. Anyone know what they do? I don’t see an explanation in the manual. Here they are:

1. Two looping arrows

2. Two looping arrows with a ‘1’ at the top right

3. Two looping arrows with a ‘•’ at the top right

4. Two criss-crossing arrows

5. Two criss-crossing arrows with an ‘R’ at the top right

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January 9, 2017
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Electric, this was one of my pet peeves, the “manual” isn’t really complete enough to be called a manual. The open looped (2) arrows are just normal “play”, the loops with a 1, is repeat one track and the loops with the large dot represents the entire disc. The crossed lines are random play and with the “R” repeat the random play. That turns out to be truely random, it doesn’t just reorder the disc play; you might hear one track repeated several times before you hear another that hasn’t played once since starting to play. Hope this helps.

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