User Reviews - DirectStream DAC Mk II

This update does live up to its name

This update does live up to its name. Right from the initial installation it was an huge improvement. Any performance increases after break in will be frosting on the cake.


Just when I cannot imagine the MK2 can sound any better...

It is nice to see there are many others to solidify what I am hearing is really there. Just when I cannot imagine the MK2 can sound any better in my system, this Massive comes along. There are plenty of “Wow” moments already with the MK2, now there are even more with this update! It brings out even finer detail and liveness to the picture. The dynamic contrast from this Dac is out of this world. The MK2 is so very sensitive to tweaking. Nice update.


This DAC is an excavator. It digs details out of....

This DAC is an excavator. It digs details out of records I am very familiar with especially red book CD's. A good example of this is the Byrd's 8 Mile High. I don't know how many times I heard this track but I never noticed that when the guitar starts playing in the left channel it rattles the drum kit. I enjoyed the MK I and the two iterations before it but I always felt my vinyl rig sounded better. The digital was convenient and opened up more more potential music via streaming but I preferred the sound of vinyl for reference playback. Now I am not too sure if this is the case.

First listen on MKII for about 20min. Musically it's unbelievable.

First listen on MKII for about 20min. Musically it's unbelievable. Something unexpected was big diff in bass. Sounds like a bit more, but what is there is so sweet and clean. Same with Hi pitched guitar strings, they are so pin point.

Striking out of the box and better on every level

The difference between MK1 and Mk2 was striking out of the box and better on every level. The Mk2 is hands down the best bang for the buck.

it is superior to DS1 in every way

The MK2 in my system is fully broken in, and it is superior to DS in every way. The sound is fuller with no hole anywhere. I got a fuller image and sound stage between the speakers than from DS. I adjusted my speakers, so they toe in less. It is not because I have experienced any problem, but because I did not lose any fullness and gained a wider soundstage.

Blown away

600 hrs into the MKII and blown away every time I turn in on. Many friends have come by for a listen during beta testing and will be ordering now that it is live.

You would have to pry this MKII from my cold dark hands to let this thing go

Ok, you would have to pry this MKII from my cold dark hands to let this thing go. I'm not going to use any analogue comparisons because it's better than that In my humble opinion. I've be an audiophile ( if you call it that) for almost 60 years and this is the best sonics I've ever heard. Waiting for the incoming now. I could talk about soundstage and micro dynamics, noise floor, blah, blah, blah. But this unit is worth every penny. I don't think you need mega cables to make it sound great. It just lets the music in, I'm a happy camper.

I sent the MKI back to PS Audio immediately

Mine went back last week. Even with the MKII fresh out of the box, I wanted to sent the MKI back to PS Audio immediately, the improvement in the sound and performance was so profoundly better with the MKII.


Let's start with I2S. Audioquest Carbon HDMI between PST and Mk II. Fabulous imaging, super wide and deep sound stage, instruments sound so right! Listening material includes multiple Octave SACDs, Blood, Sweat and Tears Columbia SACD, and Reference Records HRX 176/24 Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances. Stunning.

Amazing soundstage that is almost unbelievable!

The most recent 24 hours have resulted in a settling-in of the DAC with the soundstage, accuracy, and better bass resolution continuing to congeal into this amazing soundstage that is almost unbelievable. A heartfelt thank you to @tedsmith and the rest of the PSA team, who have brought this amazing piece of equipment to life. I am very grateful for all of your efforts and the quality that has resulted.

Holy Crap!!

The other night I queued up a track that I often use to gauge hall ambience and dynamics, adjusted the volume ahead of the track starting and - Holy Crap !! - I was gobsmacked by the instruments exploding out of inky blackness. The MKII continues to amaze.

Better than any digital has ever sounded in my system, ever!

My MKII is breaking in beautifully! Tonight it's sounding better than any digital has ever sounded in my system, ever! I got rid of the Matrix since going direct USB into the MKII handily outperformed the Matrix to I2S in my system. With the Mo Fi Santana Abraxas SACD vs the ripped file and it wasn't even close. The ripped file sounded like the Master tape and the SACD sounded like second generation tape!

The DAC MK II. Is an amazing improvement

The DAC MK II is an amazing improvement.The sound of SACD DSD over IS2 through the DAC MKII is the best sound I have ever heard - listening to music since 1960's. The sound is crystal clear, alive, expansive dynamic range, with all instruments and voices in a 3D space with no sense of floor or ceiling or back. Each instrument has a better sense of its own space. From lows to highs - all are better.

I can't believe how much more came out of regular CDs

Last night fed the MK2 a mix of SACDs and CDs from the PST I2s. No technical issues. Blues were on tap. I can't believe how much more came out of regular CDs: Forrest McDonald “Finger Lickin Blues” and Roy Buchanan “Guitar on Fire”. SVR “Couldn't Stand the Weather” SACD was next level too.


This DAC is surprising me everyday with how much better it is performing over the MKI. Tonight I put on the DSD256 of “Satchmo Plays King Oliver” and I swear, it blows away every demoed I ever heard in any Hi-Fi shows that they use to show off their ultra expensive systems. Sounds so much more organic, and real with not a trace of exaggerated sibilance, and such air and richness of tone. Incredible!!

Much improved sonics

Day 2 w/ DAC II, all via I2S from PST - initially better than DAC I, now becoming MUCH improved - sonics like others have mentioned. Another great product Paul, Ted and team! And i am a fan of the small screen.

On the fence?

Listening to Norah Jones 'Till We Meet Again (Live) is so sweet. The Rendu Signature SE and KTE SU-2 is a fantastic combination with the MKII. If you were on the fence about the MKII, don't be.

Smokes my older DAC

Just got about 18 hours in with the new MK2 DAC… It really does smoke the DA2 in the C53.

The MKII is bringing out nuances in the music that the MKI is just incapable of

The sound is simply incredible at this point, better than it ever was. Each recording I put on is like a new recording. I didn't think some of these remarkable old recordings can sound any better when played through the modified MKI. The MKII put that thought to shame. The MKII is bringing out nuances in the music that the MKI is just incapable of. The freedom from noise and distortion from this MKII is truly remarkable. The sound from the USB is a revelation, so much better than the MKI. I can't say enough good things about this new MKII.

They sounded so good!

I just purchased a bundle of DSD256 downloads because they sounded so good in my new DS MK2, and I only had 48 hours of honeymoon with it. Playing through DS is not even close. The MK2 handles DSD256 and hi-resolution streaming so much better.

It's all there!

It's all there, everything you want. The range of his voice, the snap of his guitar, the sense of them bopping along with one another, that bit of resonance you hear live is palpable. It's loud in here now, I keep turning it up and am digging it! The Blues is Alive and Well!

No idea how much better

I went back to the DirectStream Jr and there's so much missing in sound quality. I knew DS MK2 would be an upgrade but had no idea how much.

Can't believe what I am hearing

The better the recording, the better the MKII performs. I've just played this HDTT DSD256 of Art Blakey “Moanin” and I can't believe what I am hearing! The density, the palpable instruments, and the dynamic contrast, goes far beyond the MKI is capable of, and gives my 45 rpm a run for the money in SQ superiority!

I find the MK2 very dynamic and expressive

I find the MK2 very dynamic and expressive with speed not being an issue. Listening to Saturday Live in San Francisco- Paco DeLuca, Al Di Meola and John Mc Laughlin, certainly demonstrated these properties. Far more than my MK1 which is all right there in your face. I'm very impressed by the resolution of each guitar. I'm at about 80 hours and it sounds better each time I turn it on.

The MK2 smokes it

My original DSD is packed away for trade-in so I've been listening to my old Theta Digital Compli universal player and that is my baseline. The MK2 smokes it. The Van Morrison “St. Dominic's Preview” CD was simply shocking in its presence and imaging. When you find yourself involuntarily glancing at the soundstage to “see” the player you know there's some serious realness going on.

Everything is better!

Well…I got my Mk II today, and had basically the same initial impression as everyone else…love the sound vs. my stock Mk I. Everything is better, even right out to the box cold.

The sound is amazing!

I set up my MK2 last night. Using coax connection from my Node2i. The sound is amazing just out of the box.

HUGE improvement

More listening last night, exclusively Qobuz via USB from my Auralic Aries G1 WiFi. It is all that and a bag of chips. Everything is a HUGE improvement. No matter what the track or bit rate, everything sounds phenomenally better. Sound stage is so much wider and deeper, more separation between instruments, decay that just keeps decaying. All this while using a cheap (for this crowd) Harmonic Technology copper USB cable.

It sounded glorious!

Received my MKII today and have had it running the past 2.5 hours. It sounded glorious cold out of the box. It took less than one song to know it easily outperforms my DSJ. The blackness of the background and the level of detail it pulls is really quite something.

Almost jumped out of my socks

Paul you made a believer out of me. I played the Octive/Don Grusin SACD and almost jumped out of my socks. On the Mark1 it sounded great but with the Mark2 the sound stage exploded. It higher, way deeper, and more localized and focused. With The Mark1 I'm looking into the studio. With the Mark2 I'm IN the studio. Ted you should be proud of your new creation. It's amazing.

Bigger soundstage

Just received my Beta test unit. Stunning in black. Initial impressions: **started up flawlessly **bigger soundstage than previous model - especially the height. **music centers better than with previous model **much more detail


calord here in Boulder……picked up my DS II Thursday and I'd like to second The Beef's sentiments. I've been so busy enjoying my music that I've had no time to report on the new box!! I'll post more detail about what I'm hearing and my associated system components……But, Dyamn!! I'm just enjoying my favorite music all over again!! Wow! My future report will end with my summary phrase: “The music is so much In My Room!!”

I am listening to music again

The major win for me a few days in is that - so far at least - I don't care about that with the DS2. I put something on and simply forget about “evaluating” anything. Or Audiophile playlists. I'm listening to Music again rather than Equipment. That is a quality I look for in gear. It is a blessed relief, frankly. Sorta doesn't matter what I'm listening to.

You're in for a treat!

You're in for a treat! First listen was SACD (via hdmi). Color me impressed. Quickly noticed more depth in soundstage, more punch in the bass, and the high end seemed cleaner, more distinct. Vocals were palpable. Then a quick listen to streamed sources via BluSound and Coax hookup…again, better clarity and punch than I remember in the past.