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DirectStream Memory Player beta reviewer postings
Topic Rating: +177 Topic Rating: +177 (183 votes) 
November 3, 2016
5:16 pm
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A fairly strong functionality impression I have at this EARLY DAYS point is: (note that this is COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT of SQ, which so far I am totally happy with)

If the screen “buttons” do not react and function AT LEAST as well and as FAST as hardware buttons would (which so far, they don’t), AND YOU DON’T PLAN to provide an app to control ALL functions from wherever I want (ethernet can’t talk to control?), and the Remote may not have buttons for everything —  I would be left with the feeling that this is not functionality commensurate with a $6k list device in 2016.  I mean, at least have hardware buttons on the front, since I have to get up to put a disc in. 

The impression is that it Is a mix of cutting edge and old school. 1_gif Again – early days.

And – in the first 24 hours (though I’ve had relatively few of them to listen) – I have already had a few WOW sonic experiences music-078_gif

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November 3, 2016
5:31 pm
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“I probably just missed this, but what is a DSD disc that you can rip?”

The “DSD Disc” format was created by Sony (I believe) several+ years ago, which allows folks who record .dsf files (which used to be mostly) professionally, with DSD recording devices, to burn them to DVD-ROM data discs which would then play on certain Sony SACD players and some PS3’s.

So I have been ripping my LP’s to DSD for a while, as I had a Korg field recorder (now have the Tascam rack mount unit).  For some reason, these discs were not playing on the DMP.  Re-burning the data folders to a new DVD made them work.

THIS IS DISTINCT from ripping commercial SACDs to their component .dsf files, which can be played back on most any computer to a DSD-capable DAC.  WHICH IS ILLEGAL103_gif

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November 3, 2016
6:00 pm
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Clifton said
I found a problem with the DMP when I play DVD Audio discs.  You cannot change tracks on it.  You have to play from beginning to end.  I press next track or any number on the remote or screen and the track goes back to one.  These are commercial discs also and not homemade.  I tried half a dozen or so and everyone is the same, no changing tracks.  I try these same disc on my Oppo Blu-ray player and there is no problem changing or skipping tracks so it’s not the discs.  I hope there is firmware to fix this.  Otherwise the sound of the DMP completely blows away the Oppo 95 player with DVD Audio or any other disc I try.  Hard to believe.  I thought digits are digits.

That’s my experience with DVD discs and Blu-ray Audio discs as well. I generally DO play the entire disc but as you say almost any other player allows you to select tracks. Hopefully this can be accomplished later.

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November 3, 2016
6:23 pm
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badbeef said

THIS IS DISTINCT from ripping commercial SACDs to their component .dsf files, which can be played back on most any computer to a DSD-capable DAC.  WHICH IS ILLEGAL103_gif

Actually, I don’t think that is a settled legal conclusion; I would be cautious about making such assertions. There are a number of circumstances in which it is permissible to make archival copies of copyright-protected media, so long as one does not redistribute those files and retains ownership of the original medium. 

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November 3, 2016
6:27 pm
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Paul McGowan said

Bits ain’t just bits.. well, actually they are, but how they come out and their timing is critical.

Indeed. Bits are bits. But the paths they travel and the perils to which they are exposed can be quite different.

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November 3, 2016
6:43 pm
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Actually I’m being cautious BY making the assertion.  I’m pretty sure if I bought the disc, I can make myself a rip.  But you are quite correct about the redistribution part.

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November 3, 2016
6:57 pm
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BUT:

“It’s no Hangin’ Mattah,

It’s no Capital Crime…”

The Stones Remasters are seriously entertaining and shockingly well-recorded, which many of us never would have suspected from the records we have/had when we were Sprouts. cant-believe-my-eyes-smiley-emoticon_gif

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November 3, 2016
7:04 pm
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earplugs said
Having listened to the DMP for a couple of hours, while still an early assessment, I am really appreciating the superb sense of timing
that I am hearing. As I look over my listening notes….better defined bass, more fleshed out notes, better focus, purity of tone….
I am realizing that what I am hearing has to do with a much improved level of timing over the PWT. This new level of timing delivers
a very natural sounding purity to both instruments and vocals. Fresh out of the box assessment……very impressive!

Very good point. I hadn’t quite put it together, but I bet you’re right: the timing is what is differentiating this from the PWT. 

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November 3, 2016
7:19 pm
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…and lest those of you not fully in the rock camp think me a complete cretin, – currently listening to the Paavo Jarvi/Cincinnati Nielsen 5 (Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring is on the same SACD, but not so much my thing, sorry)

…and it’s gorgeous, ravishing.

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November 3, 2016
7:54 pm
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And live Horowitz.  Somebody earlier said this thing gets pianos right.  I agree.  And the space they are in.  It’s a big deal. 

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November 3, 2016
8:11 pm
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badbeef said
Actually I’m being cautious BY making the assertion.  I’m pretty sure if I bought the disc, I can make myself a rip.

The legality is not settled. It will likely remain murky for a good while.

But as a practical matter, there is little to worry about.  The RIAA has stated it will not pursue copyright infringement by those who transcode digital discs and digital files to another format for their own use.  While the RIAA does not speak for all music producers, it it represents the majority (85%) in the States.

Other countries treat CDs and ripping differently.  The different approaches are fascinating.

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November 3, 2016
8:38 pm
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Elk said

badbeef said
Actually I’m being cautious BY making the assertion.  I’m pretty sure if I bought the disc, I can make myself a rip.

The legality is not settled. It will likely remain murky for a good while.

But as a practical matter, there is little to worry about.  The RIAA has stated it will not pursue copyright infringement by those who transcode digital discs and digital files to another format for their own use.  While the RIAA does not speak for all music producers, it it represents the majority (85%) in the States.

Other countries treat CDs and ripping differently.  The different approaches are fascinating.

And why I think it best not to suggest that people are engaged in illegal conduct when the circumstances are neither settled nor likely to lead to any sort of civil or criminal liability. While perhaps intended to be precautionary, it can sound very accusatory, especially in all caps. 

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November 3, 2016
8:42 pm
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badbeef said
And live Horowitz.  Somebody earlier said this thing gets pianos right.  I agree.  And the space they are in.  It’s a big deal. 

Which recording? Helps to have a specific disc title and/or number. Will do my best to do same. 

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November 3, 2016
11:25 pm
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New Beta tester checking in.  DMP arrived yesterday.  Packaging was the norm for PS gear (double boxed and the clever “hanging” of the gear by use of tight plastic film).  No owners manual, so I contacted PS and was told it hasn’t been written yet.  The HDMI cable that came with the DMP is a nice-looking PS cable, but only a 1/2 meter, so I won’t be able to use it as my preamp is between the player and the DAC and has to be without a major revision of the rack. 

DMP has been playing a Nordost burn-in disc and I hope to be able to do some listening tomorrow.  Got an email from PS that my unit has to have the “unit ID programmed into the microprocessor,” so I’ll have to do that as well.  The plan is to listen/compare through the following: Cardas and Nordost coaxial digital cables; and PS (1 meter), Audioquest, and Pangea HDMI cables that I have.  Lack of space in the rack means I won’t be directly comparing the DMP to my old transport.

I’ll be listening to some long-time (25 or so years) reference redbooks as well as some newer redbook references and a dozen or so SACDs and DVD-Audios that I’ve never used as references for gear-testing before.  Everything I’ll use I’ve listened to dozens, if not hundreds, of times. 

I mainly listen to studio recordings of rock/pop, soul, and country.  When everything is clicking I’m doing a lot of toe-tapping, which really means I’m listening to music and not gear.  To paraphrase Duke, it don’t mean a thang if it ain’t got that swang.

Hope to post initial impressions tomorrow.

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November 4, 2016
2:01 pm
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Starting comparison between PWT and DMP, so far it’s night and day

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November 4, 2016
2:11 pm
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Sourav Mazumder said
Just to be sure that I’m not missing any configuration –

Is everyone seeing Artwork with the time elapsed and time left are missing (only a white bar) ? Different than what is there in the adv ?

Not getting into sound quality now. I’ll wait till it burns for at least 3-4 days. Out of the box quality is very impressive though.

Regards,

Sourav

Sourav

Already posted – very different artwork to what was in the ad

November 4, 2016
2:17 pm
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badbeef said
“P.S. And I mean this with all good humor, but you guys who go to the trouble to “rip” vinyl and then re-digitize it really fascinate me. Badbeef, any chance you have compared your rip to either the DVD-A or the BRPA?”

I need more elaboration to answer the question, as I’m not sure what you are specifically asking.  Which DVD-A or Blu-Ray are you referring to?  I am usually ripping records that have not been issued digitally except on CD.

We are not Re-digitizing – we are Digitizing our source analog vinyl, which tends to have certain magical qualities that the digital formats often lack.  As I noted earlier (or maybe it was on PPosts) it is Really Hard to get that magic to go over to a digital rip.

You mentioned Beck’s Sea Change. I have the DVD-A and BRPA. Just wondering.

P.S. I am not dissing on vinyl. I voluntarily left all that long ago [and I think I have plenty of magic now, otherwise I wouldn’t have left] but still understand the enjoyment. Just fascinated at the process, because to my mind you have now introduced significant interventional steps that could degrade the quality and risk undoing all that magic [but I stress I am not familiar with all the equipment one might use to rip/digitize vinyl playback].

“Re-digitize” was a reference to burning it to a digital disc following the rip to a file [moving from one set of digits in one storage medium to another set of digits, hopefully the same, in another medium]. I understand what you’re doing; it just fascinates me.

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November 4, 2016
2:25 pm
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Palerider –

And FWIW, the thing that is boggling my mind at this point, as I listen to discs of various sorts I’ve made over Many Years of ripping from vinyl to various digital formats via Various Devices (Nota this last one, Bene) — this Transport is revealing the positives and negatives of the Recording Device used, in a way I have never heard from a “consumer” device. Hell, from most pro devices.

The quality of the Input Section on the recording device used is clearly evident. At least, that’s what I think I’m hearing.  16/44.1 rips to the Alesis Masterlink, made MANY moons ago (apologies for the CAPS) sound just amazing on the DMP vs. the subsequent (and much later) DSD rips I did via the Korg field recorder, which I knew had crap inputs, but I was so enamored with properly done DSD that I forgot about “crap in, crap out” – Independent of the Quality of the Recording Medium.  Doesn’t matter how good your recording FORMAT quality is if you are putting bad signal into it, or the recording device’s input section messes it up on the way in.  This is why mic preamplifiers are such a big deal in the studio.

And I am not suggesting anyone should run out onto eBay and buy a Masterlink.  I sold mine long ago.  Never dreamed I would be sitting here now hearing what I THINK I’m hearing.  This is just halfway through Day 2 for me.

Also, you can’t take the condition of the analog front end going Into the Given Recorder AT THE TIME out of the equation – if I rip the same record 5 years later, the record, cartridge, etc, may have degraded, (assuming they’re still the same) and that needs to be factored in to any valid comparison. If you can’t really know what you are comparing, then don’t bother trying to talk about how it compares.

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November 4, 2016
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“You mentioned Beck’s Sea Change. I have the DVD-A and BRPA. Just wondering.”

Yep – the vinyl digitized in various ways has not sounded as good to me as the high-res digital versions, for the most part.  The thing that vexes me is, when I’m listening to the vinyl, it’s very involving, organic, whathaveyou, in a way the uber-clean high-res isn’t.  So I keep trying to capture the vinyl, and the magic gets lost.

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November 4, 2016
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Sourav –

“Is everyone seeing Artwork with the time elapsed and time left are missing (only a white bar) ? Different than what is there in the adv?”

I still have not seen Artwork One. (And yes, “Internet ok”)

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November 4, 2016
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66 hours in… I have to say the pwt and dmp sound darn close to me.  If there’s a difference, so far, the dmp might be just a touch brighter, possibly punchier.  This is playing CDs.  Both sound good.  I keep waiting, maybe hoping, that the dmp opens up more.  Time will tell.

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November 4, 2016
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When I first heard that PS Audio was planning to come out with a disc transport capable of reading the SACD layer, and specifically intended to connect with its DirectStream DAC, I was immediately highly interested.  I have been cheerleading the SACD format since the purchase of my first SACD player, the Sony XACD-777ES in 2001.  Since then, I have also owned four other “universal” players which could accommodate SACD discs:  the short-lived, unreliable, but excellent sounding Parasound Halo D-3; three Oppo players, of increasingly better sound quality, from the pathetic DV-980H, to the very respectable and constantly improved BDP-83 (original, SE version, and NuForce mods), and currently the BDP-105D.  One thing that struck me as odd was that there was usually minimal differences in sound quality on the SACD layer with my four best SACD players (Sony, Parasound, two most recent Oppos); while the differences when playing CDs were often great (Parasound, BDP-105D, BDP-83 NuForce, and Sony, in order of best to worst).  Over this time, I have collected hundreds of SACD discs, almost matching the number of CDs I own.  So in 2009, when I learned that PS Audio’s first generation PerfectWave Transport would not be SACD capable, I was very disappointed.  One of my very first posts to this forum was pleading to Paul McGowan to please include SACD in his new transport.  His response explained about the Sony licensing restrictions of transmitting the DSD content without copy protection.  So I patiently waited another seven or so years for the engineering team at PS Audio to work out a scheme which would accommodate both the SACD devotees and Sony’s lawyers.  And, when notified a few weeks ago that I would be included in the beta-test program, I was thrilled!  I have had the DMP for almost two days now, and even in this short time, I can confidently proclaim that my patient seven-year wait has been resoundingly rewarded.

I have learned over the years that “break-in” of audio components is real, but I couldn’t muster any more patience to not listen to the DMP as soon as I got it out of the box.  Immediately, I noticed more air, ambience, tautness of bass, sense of realism, and dimensional accuracy than with any other source before.  Those sources include all disc formats as well as LPs.  A while back, when SACDs appeared to be a dying format, I invested again in quality LP playback components.  And while it did provide a measure of ambience and sense of realism that many CDs lacked, I was never convinced that it was overall superior, or maybe even equal overall to SACD.  My purchase of the DirectStream DAC a year or so ago convinced me that digital provided me with most of what I found to be important in music reproduction; and my new purchases of LPs ended, supplanted by digital downloads of hi-rez PCM and preferably DSD for my music server.  The only problem with my digital setup was that my music server could only store PCM or digital downloads of DSD.  I was able to copy the CD layer of my favorite hybrid SACDs to the music server, but not the DSD layer.  So my large store of SACDs couldn’t play through the superior electronics and resultant sound quality of the DirectStream DAC.  Now, all this has changed, and I am a much happier man.  I can’t wait to pull out every one of my stored SACDs, and finally appreciate the music contained within those bits.  To cut to the chase:  the DMP with the DirectStream DAC provides profound improvements in sound quality compared to of any of my previous SACD or universal players, on both the SACD and CD layers.  CD also takes on new life, perhaps a tad bit more defined and dynamic than my music server, which also is a multi-read calculated bit-accurate device.

As I write this introductory first review of the DMP, I noticed that Paul has sent out an email notifying of available firmware updates, taking into account first beta feedback, and going from version 1.4.1 to 1.4.7.  Since the list of addressed issues fixes some of my early ergonomic complaints of the DMP, I will wait until I can fully experience the firmware fixes before commenting further.  But as far as the sound quality of the DMP through the DirectStream DAC is concerned, I will assuredly state that this pair combination is the absolute best high end audio source I have ever heard.  I will follow up with more specifics after a long weekend of listening with the new firmware.

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November 4, 2016
5:24 pm
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Paul McGowan said
We figure most people want to hear the SACD layer, so this feature’s not much use other than curiosity sake IMHO.

And when the Redbook layer differs from the Scarletbook layer, admittedly fairly uncommon

November 4, 2016
5:35 pm
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I m in the second wave of DMP testers. My machine arrived Wednesday Nov. 2, and so as of this post, it has been playing fairly steadily for about 40 hours total. Like others, I have had a couple of freezes. But one thing that has come through loud and clear, as Lon has already mentioned I think, is that the DMP will benefit from a fair bit of break-in. Two listening impressions led me to this conclusion:

1. As others have noted, the DMP appears to have excellent timing performance. I am persuaded that, to borrow a phrase, timing is just about everything in hi-end hi-fi. Many of those commenting on the timing seem to be comparing the DMP to the PWT, and observing that its timing performance is audibly superior to a machine that was already highly regarded. That’s good to know, and no doubt the media will also do comparisons between the DMP, the PWT, and other transports. I would say that from a comparative point of view, the timing of the DMP seems to be on a par with my NAS rig. Sweet. Snare and piano in particular ring true. [FWIW, I took a break from listening to the DS and kicked back with the MSB Select. The DS doesn’t seem quite up to the MSB Select, and I do not know if it is timing. I have the Femto 33 clock in the Select, and it is served differently from the DS, and it runs through a different though similar amp. 

2. More importantly for the moment, the DMP continues to portray a fairly narrow soundstage. It seems to be getting better, but the machine has clearly not opened up yet. I have observed this on both amplified and acoustic music. The soundstage is spatially locked and stable, but it’s just “not all there yet.” Files played through Bridge II sound noticeably wider, deeper, and higher.

So I plan to keep listening in a more relaxed mode to a variety of music on the DMP until this relentless election season is over, and resume critical comparisons once I am confident the machine has at least 100+ hours on it.

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November 4, 2016
6:16 pm
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This could very much be the I2S cable you’re using. Huge differences between cables. I threw out the one Arnie recommended in favor of the stock one we included in your package and everything widened and opened up nicely. It may be too short for many, but clearly this cable is a big deal.

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November 4, 2016
6:45 pm
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I’m glad you mention the Arnie cable as I put about 100 hours on it and thought it had nice open high frequency but was really deficient in midrange and lower frequencies. Certainly did not compare to the AC-12 HDMI. I’ll try the one that came in the box next in my PWT to PWD system.

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November 4, 2016
7:18 pm
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Paul McGowan said
This could very much be the I2S cable you’re using. Huge differences between cables. I threw out the one Arnie recommended in favor of the stock one we included in your package and everything widened and opened up nicely. It may be too short for many, but clearly this cable is a big deal.

Thanks Paul. I am actually using the PSA-supplied cable. I have not compared it to the KabelDirekt which I also bought. (I also bought several lengths of those and placed them in my home theater; their video performance on 4K seems good.)

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November 4, 2016
7:21 pm
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badbeef said
Palerider –

And FWIW, the thing that is boggling my mind at this point, as I listen to discs of various sorts I’ve made over Many Years of ripping from vinyl to various digital formats via Various Devices (Nota this last one, Bene) — this Transport is revealing the positives and negatives of the Recording Device used, in a way I have never heard from a “consumer” device. Hell, from most pro devices.

The quality of the Input Section on the recording device used is clearly evident. At least, that’s what I think I’m hearing.  16/44.1 rips to the Alesis Masterlink, made MANY moons ago (apologies for the CAPS) sound just amazing on the DMP vs. the subsequent (and much later) DSD rips I did via the Korg field recorder, which I knew had crap inputs, but I was so enamored with properly done DSD that I forgot about “crap in, crap out” – Independent of the Quality of the Recording Medium.  Doesn’t matter how good your recording FORMAT quality is if you are putting bad signal into it, or the recording device’s input section messes it up on the way in.  This is why mic preamplifiers are such a big deal in the studio.

And I am not suggesting anyone should run out onto eBay and buy a Masterlink.  I sold mine long ago.  Never dreamed I would be sitting here now hearing what I THINK I’m hearing.  This is just halfway through Day 2 for me.

Also, you can’t take the condition of the analog front end going Into the Given Recorder AT THE TIME out of the equation – if I rip the same record 5 years later, the record, cartridge, etc, may have degraded, (assuming they’re still the same) and that needs to be factored in to any valid comparison. If you can’t really know what you are comparing, then don’t bother trying to talk about how it compares.

Good info, thanks, and it all makes sense. I was thinking specifically about the mechanical state of the analog front end as one significant variable, and the quality of the ADC electronics likewise. Thanks for taking the time to expound. 

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November 4, 2016
10:37 pm
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Regarding the firmware upgrade instructions; I have problems understanding the following instructions-: “Insert the SD card in DMP’s rear SD card slot – remembering the label is face up, the gold pins pointing down. Turn on and off the rear panel power switch. The PS logo light should blink. Do not remove power. Once the unit is operational again —-

I apologize, in advance, for my stupidity, but is Paul stating that the DMP should have the switch in the “off” position when the SC card is inserted in the DMP”s rear SD card slot, and that one should then “turn on” that power switch and then immediately “turn off” the power switch without any delay. If the switch is immediately “turned off” (after temporarily switching it “on” for a fractional moment in time) then surely there will be no power input, so how can the PS logo light start blinking. Also, how can the unit become operational again if the rear panel power switch is still in the “off position”?

I suspect that I may not understand some elementary “fact” and I would appreciate some helpful clarification.

Thanks,

Jeff.

November 4, 2016
10:55 pm
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First of all I would like to say I am using the Aurender N10 with the DirectStream dac and it is about as good as digital can get.  Before that I was using the Mac Mini with JRiver and tweaked out with better power cords, Jitterbug, Uptone Regen, etc..  The Aurender is so much better, it’s laughable.  Today I did some extensive listening with my brother and friend.  We all heard and agree on the same thing.  We compare the Aurender to the new DMP with the same music synchronized and switch source with the DSD dac.  DSD files with SACD and CD with 16 bit files. Simply put the DMP is more open, clearer, more solid, and more presence.  Just more real and involving.  We also listen a little with DVD Audio between the Oppo 95 and the DMP.  It’s not worth mentioning because the Oppo sounded like trash in comparison.  Very flat and veil.  I also try the memory stick using the same file as the Aurender and the sound was closer, but the edge still goes to the DMP for being a little clearer and less fuzzy.  I still cannot change tracks on DVD Audio with the DMP though.  Also the DMP froze up one time when I try to change to track 15 from track 4 on a CD.  It just went to track 5 and became unresponsive to the remote and touch screen and on off button in front.  I had to turn off the power from the back switch and then turn it back on to reset.  After that it worked again.  Computers often freezes when it gets confusing signals.  Anyway, we all came to the same conclusion that the DMP’s performance is about as good as it gets. Can hardly wait until it breaks in and I get a better hdmi cable than the Pangea I am using.