PS Audio March 2014 Newsletter

I suppose by now you’ve probably heard the big news I promised last month?

After nearly a five year run with the PerfectWave DAC, it’s time to retire the old girl and bring in her replacement. It’s called DirectStream.

DirectStream is not an upgrade to the PWD, but an entirely new and revolutionary product that has already set the high-end world abuzz.

In this edition of the Newsletter we’ll cover what DirectStream is, how it differs from other DACs, how you can get on the waiting list if you wish and you can upgrade a PWD.

Hear what’s missing

Innovation in audio is not stagnant. And yet if you believe everything you read in the press and popular writings, the original CD format is passé, the need to replace your library of CD music already herein the form of high-resolution digital audio downloads and DSD. I am here to tell you it ain’t necessarily so. Don’t trash your CDs just yet!

There’s no argument that high-resolution PCM and DSD are great formats; ones we should embrace as the future of music. But most of us have extensive libraries of original Red Book 44.1/16 CD’s with our favorite music, curated and collected over the years, and what’s surprising is just how good these CDs can be.

In fact, I’ll bet you have no idea just how much can actually be revealed, buried deep within a CD’s core source. DirectStream can help you find all that’s missing in your music and get you closer to the original recording than you’ve ever imagined possible.

Play a CD on DirectStream and, perhaps for the first time, a wealth of subtle details and musical cues will reveal themselves for the first time. It’s like having a new library of music to listen to.

If you’d like to watch an easy to follow story of where these details have been hiding and how we extract them, take a moment to join the nearly 7,000 viewers who have watched our world premier video launching DirectStream here.

How DirectStream works

DirectStream is a pure DSD DAC.

No, it’s not your typical PCM based processor that can also do DSD as well as PCM. DirectStream takes any input, regardless of sample rate, file format or bit depth and converts it to DSD, upsampled 10 ten times the standard DSD rate of 2.82MHz.

Once DirectStream has upsampled either native DSD, DoP or PCM to this very high rate, it is processed and then taken back down to double-rate DSD and output through a simple passive stage directly to pure gorgeous sounding analog. And during this process, DirectStream cares little about incoming jitter, incoming sources or quality of the bits. If you can manage to get the bits of audio into DirectStream, that’s all you need to do. DirectStream handles the rest beautifully, perfectly and musically.

Instruments, voices, resonances, room acoustics, subtle nuances that help music sound convincingly live are all preserved perfectly through DirectStream. And it doesn’t matter if its from a CD or the latest download of high-resolution PCM or DSD.

Played through DirectStream music comes forth with details, space, soundstaging and auditory cues you may have never realized were there all along. Waiting to be heard.

DSD done right

Classic PCM based DACS, including many of today’s DACS that can also process DSD, tend to cover up some of the subtle musical details buried deep within digital audio music; a problem inherent in their architecture.

DirectStream solves this problem by employing a pure DSD single-bit approach whichmeans your entire library of music can finally reveal what’s buried deep within its core.

Imagine going to a recording studio and listening to a master tape of any recording made. This is the experience DirectStream provides its owners who enjoy a renewed sense of enjoyment and discovery when listening to everything in their library: CD’s, downloads, DSD.

It’s entirely possible whatever DAC you are currently listening to is covering up those details that DirectStream brings out.

If you’d like to read a more detailed description, please go here.

If you’re interested in watching a more technical explanation of DirectStream and have a half an hour available, gohereto watch the technical talk given by DirectStream’s lead designer, Ted Smith. You may find yourself scratching your head a bit, but you’ll take away a great deal of understanding, along with the 4,000 others that have learned something about digital audio.

Ted’s a brilliant designer and a great speaker, fun to watch.


How do you get a DirectStream into your home? There are a number of ways to do that.

  • Get on the waiting list for delivery
  • Upgrade your PWD

Get on the waiting list

The first DirectStreams will be delivered in April, 2014. Unfortunately, all the first one hundred have been pre-ordered by dealers and distributors.

We will produce another batch of DirectStream in May and we still have openings for pre-orders for those. You can pre-order through your dealer or distributor right now.

PWD upgrade path

Already own a PWD and would like to upgrade? No worries, we have you covered. As we promised when we first delivered the PerfectWave DAC, if it was at all possible we’d figure out a way for you to upgrade and stay current.

When we went from the MKI to the MKII, we replaced the digital input board. To go from a PWD MKI or MKII to a DirectStream is a bit more involved, yet not much more difficult.

The DirectStream upgrade kit replaces just about everything inside the PWD: new digital input board, analog board and power supply board. Perhaps it’s easier to simply say all that remains of the PerfectWave DAC is the front panel display board and the chassis. We replace everything else.

Once you’ve upgraded the PWD to DirectStream you’ve got a fully functional DirectStream DAC that performs just like a brand new DirectStream.

In fact, the only differences are your PWD will not have DirectStream printed on the front panel and you will not get the new IR sensor that comes with DirectStream. We’ve improved the IR remote control sensitivity of the PWD by machining a new front panel sensor lens.

Upgrade kits replacing the entire PWD internals to DirectStream can be pre-ordered right now if you wish to get in line. May availability has a few open slots but most will be able to make a reservation in June.

Call your country’s dealer or or distributor right away. Upgrade kits will be available through each country’s dealer network. They are going quickly.

Get a great deal on a PWD!

Many of our dealers and distributors have a few brand new PerfectWave DACs available at a reduced price. Keep in mind, the PWD is still one of the best sounding DACs on the market today and, until DirectStream was announced, a great way to make music. None of that has changed.

If you’re interested in a killer deal on the PWDcall your dealer/distributor to find out what they’ve got remaining in stock.

This is an amazing development in high-end audio and one I hope you get a chance to participate in, it is truly a remarkable advancement and one we’re excited for you to audition.See you next month!Paul McGowan

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