What product uncovers treasure long buried in CDs, plays DSD files, has an I2S input, and helps music from any digital source come alive? The NuWave DSD, our latest DAC. Affordable, beautiful and great sounding, this newest addition is built in Boulder, designed by a brilliant engineer and begins shipping today.The NuWave DSD has been a personal project of our chief engineer, Bob Stadtherr. He’s labored long to build the best sounding under $2,000 DAC he can and I am wowed by what he has wrought. Played on the newly dialed in IRSV, music puts a smile on your face and a tap in your toe. This new instrument is the best sounding affordable DAC we’ve yet to produce.The innards of NuWave are based on the excellent Sabre series of Hyperstream 32 bit DAC chips, but that’s not unusual. If it were not for DirectStream, I would wager the majority of contenders for best performance at any price are also based on ESS technology.So what did Bob do to bring his magic to an affordable DSD platform? He added a type of FPGA to the front end. FPGAs, like those found on DirectStream, are the major workhorses of sophisticated technological equipment. Big FPGAs have millions of gates that programmers, like our Ted Smith, use to build the devices themselves – but that’s not what we did in the NuWave DSD. NuWave uses a smaller type of FPGA with a different acronym, CPLD, which stands for Complex Programmable Logic Device (these engineers love their TLAs). CPLDs are basically smaller FPGAs and can be taught to do whatever programmers desire. Though too small to handle all the functions of a DAC, as we do in DirectStream, they are large enough to pull a few rabbits from hats.
And, speaking of Bob Stadtherr, he’s been a busy boy. If you’ve followed the saga of the Infinity IRSV loudspeakers that dominate Music Room One, in Paul’s Posts, you’ll know that I engaged Bob to replace the 30-plus-year-old crossovers with new components. The project’s taken time and several thousands of dollars in parts but finally completed. The photo is of the crossover enclosure.Note also the custom, hand-built MG Audio speaker cables made just for the crossover. Amazing.The original crossover capacitors had aged to the point of changing value and reducing sound quality. The new ones have renewed life to these amazing speakers. I also had the privilege of inviting their designer, Arnie Nudell, to Boulder for a few days where he rolled up sleeves and tweaked this pair until he finally turned to me and said, “this is the best sounding IRS I have ever heard.”Arnie does not give compliments lightly and this was a real milestone for us all.
Take me out to the ballgame
What’s summer in the United States without a baseball game? PS’ers were treated to some of the best seats in the house at Coors Field in Denver to watch a Rockies game. And we must bring luck because the Rockies won!Terri, and general manager Jim Laib, got the entire crew and their families seats in the shade just behind home plate and we had a blast. Check out the people that build your equipment, taking a day off and enjoying a summer of baseball, barbecue and fun.Go PS!
We’ve been telling tales on Paul’s Posts, this time one that struck a chord with hundreds of you. I retold the story of our beginnings, starting with me as a disc jockey and Stan (The S in PS) as a waterbed installer. I don’t think I’ve gotten such great reaction to a post I have written in many years of doing it. Thanks. The post is titled Beginnings and you can click its name to read it.Check out the picture I included from the archives. On the right is one of the few pictures of Stan Warren, cofounder of PS Audio. And next to him, the late Harry Pearson (HP), founder of the Absolute Sound Magazine (TAS). This was taken by me in the 1970s as they both stared at Harry’s new Corvette.
When I mention Bel Canto the first thing that comes to my mind is the audio company.The words translate literally as “beautiful singing” and refer to opera. But if you ask an opera buff, he or she will raise an eyebrow and administer the Twenty Question Quiz to see whether you are worthy. (It’s a little like entering certain high-end audio establishments. . . .)If you ask a classical singer the same question, you may get the eyebrow again, followed by a slightly different set of questions and qualifiers. What gives?Our resident musicologist, Lawrence Schenbeck, has a great article for you to enjoy entitled Bel Canto.
Till next month
Thanks for reading the newsletter! I hope you have a great summer and I’ll write again next month.