DirectStream DAC MK2

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DirectStream DAC MK2

For the past 8 years, the PerfectWave DirectStream DAC has been recognized throughout the world as a reference standard. We are proud to introduce its successor, the PerfectWave DirectStream DAC MK2.

DirectStream DAC MK2

For the past 8 years, the PerfectWave DirectStream DAC has been recognized throughout the world as a reference standard. We are proud to introduce its successor, the PerfectWave DirectStream DAC MK2.

Since its groundbreaking introduction 8 years ago, the PerfectWave DirectStream has stood alone as one of the most remarkable DACs ever built. We are excited to share with the world the next generation of this technological wonder, the PerfectWave DirectStream DAC MK2. Unlike the vast majority of high-end DACs based on off-the-shelf IC technology, DirectStream MK2 utilizes user-upgradeable software based on handwritten FPGA code. At its core, the MK2 utilizes discrete, galvanically isolated, perfection-based conversion that uncovers all the missing information hiding in your digital audio media. CDs, streaming audio, high-resolution PCM or DSD based media are expertly upsampled in the DirectStream MK2 to twenty times DSD rate and output as pure analog directly into your amplifier or preamplifier. There has never been a better sounding DAC at anywhere close to the price of DirectStream MK2. The ground breaking DirectStream DAC was the first choice of thousands of critical listeners worldwide, and now with the introduction of the MK2, that legacy will continue.

Eligible for up to $3,500 of credit with Trade-In.

Beta to begin in November
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Design

DirectStream MK2 converts every one of its galvanically isolated input signals, both PCM and DSD, to a high sample rate 50 bit version which is further converted to pure DSD for its final conversion to pure analog. Use of twin FPGAs rather than an off-the-shelf DAC chip provides immense processing power, resulting in a complete lack of digital glare, and allows the owner to download our free operating system updates as they are released. With every free upgrade to the operating system, new levels of resolution and audio magic will enrich and make new this remarkable D to A converter.

Application

DirectStream MK2 is the heart of a highly resolving true reference quality digital audio-based system. It handles all PCM sources up to 705.6 kHz, and DSD up to 256. Its zero-loss digital volume control now features 100% galvanically isolated input, outputs, and power supplies as well as an all-new attenuator architecture for better system level matching with six levels of attenuation that are automatically selected based on the requested volume level allowing DirectStream MK2 to be used as a preamplifier, directly feeding a power amp.

Technology

Galvanic Isolation
DSD to analog
Output and Volume
The Class A+ Stereophile rated DirectStream DAC just got a whole better in the MK2 version by solving one of the biggest problems in digital audio: noise and jitter from incoming sources. Thanks to a radical new technology the DirectStream MK2 DAC eliminates incoming noise and upsetting jitter by galvanically isolating every input, output, ground, and power source of this remarkable new DAC. Once delivered through these clean and noise free inputs the MK2 converts any digital input format from CDs, servers, computers, and streamers, into a pure DSD format and outputs perfect analog directly to your power amplifier or preamplifier. Whatever the format, sample rate, or the medium, the DirectStream MK2 provides a pure output that fulfills the promise of high-resolution analog performance from digital sources. DirectStream MK2 is the work of PS Audio's digital audio guru, Ted Smith. Unlike conventional DACs that rely upon off-the-shelf DAC chips, the DirectStream MK2 is hand-written onto a pair of FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Array). This allows far more precise and accurate processing of the digital signal, resulting in significantly better sound quality and upgradeability in the field. Periodically, Ted Smith's continual research into digital audio reproduction nets another breakthrough in performance. DirectStream MK2 DAC owners are given it free in the form of a downloadable upgrade. In this way, DirectStream MK2 owners can be assured that their unit will continue to improve over time. Hear what’s been missing in your music for all these years. If you know the sound of music and instruments and want to hear what’s been missing on your discs, then this DAC is right for you.
Converting the ones and zeros of digital audio into music we cannot distinguish between live or recorded is an art. Most of today’s sophisticated DACs are IC based instruments using off-the-shelf-chips that rely upon Multi-bit Sigma-Delta functions to process the incoming digital audio. While these are relatively simple to design and produce, they rarely give the best sonic results. DirectStream MK2 takes a different approach by first converting all galvanically isolated digital audio signals into a purer form of digital audio known as DSD. DSD is a far more analog-like encoding and decoding process than the classic CD based PCM. In fact, most modern A/D converters used to make recordings are DSD based already. The DirectStream MK2 takes both PCM and DSD, upsamples the data and converts to single-bit DSD and then outputs pure music regardless of input format for the data. The results of this design can be heard in increased musical information presented to the listener at every opportunity. When you listen to the DirectStream MK2 you never are accosted by added bright, hard glare in the music as happens with many active designs. Instead, clean, pure musical magic flows from the DirectStream MK2 directly to your preamplifier or power amplifier.
Most modern DACs use some form of active tube or solid state output stage to amplify, filter and drive the DAC's output. The DirectStream MK2 takes a different approach: passive. In one of the simplest, elegant and musically correct executions of an output stage, high-speed class A video amplifiers are used as the final switch feeding a high-performance passive audio output transformer. The upgraded output transformer in the MK2 is specially designed to act as both the final galvanic isolation between the DAC and the outside world as well as the primary low pass filter required to present a perfect, low distortion, low noise output signal that is fed directly into the DirectStream MK2's zero-loss volume control. Designer Smith perfected a 100% bit-perfect volume and balance control that’s built into DirectStream MK2, enabling users to control the output level when feeding directly into a power amplifier or preamplifier. The ability to eliminate the preamplifier in the system without any resolution loss is a major benefit to DirectStream MK2's outstanding musical performance. Imagine going to a recording studio and listening to a master tape of any recording made. This is the experience the DirectStream MK2 provides its owners who enjoy a renewed sense of enjoyment and discovery when listening to everything in their library: CD’s, downloads, DSD.

Reviews

Incredible

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!!

- Waymanchen

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.

- R Schulte

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.

- V Kennedy

Smokes my older DAC

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

- Decker

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.

- D Chang

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!

- V Kennedy

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.

- MS Aladino

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!

- Waymanchen

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.

- Greg

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.

- Tunester

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.

- Mo Burns

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.

- Disdude

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.

- Chuck29

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.

- Nirvanajtm

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.

- Ken Eis

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

- JeJohnso

Dyamn!!

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!!”

- Calord

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.

- Badbeef

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.

- Mike Pueblo

Specifications

Physical

Unit Weight 21 lbs [9.53 kg]
Unit Dimensions 14” x 17” x 4” [ 36cm x 43cm x 10cm]
Shipping Weight 30 lbs [13.6 kg]
Shipping Dimensions 20.5”x 24” x 10” [52cm x 61cm x 25cm]

Power requirements

Input Power Model specific 100VAC, 120VAC, or 230VAC 50 or 60Hz
Power Consumption 25W

Digital audio inputs

I2S (2), Coax, XLR Balanced (2), Optical, USB

Sample Rates

Optical (TOSLink): PCM 16 and 24 bits at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz and 96kHz

S/PDIF and AES3: PCM 16 and 24 bits at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz and 192kHz; DoP64

Dual AES3: PCM 16 and 24 bits at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz and 352.8kHz; DoP64 and DoP128

I2S: PCM 16 and 24 bits at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, and 705.6; DoP64, DoP128, DoP256, DSD64, DSD128, and DSD256

USB: PCM 16 and 24 bits at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, and 705.6; DoP64, DoP128, DoP256, DSD64, DSD128, and DSD256

Analog Audio Output

Connector RCA single ended or balanced, XLR balanced
Output level high, maximum 4 VRMS Balanced
2 VRMS Single Ended
Output Impedance <100Ω/<200Ω
Frequency Response 20-20KHz +/- 0.25dB
THD+N @ 1KHz (full scale) <0.1%
Output Stage Passive audio transformer, fed by high current, high speed analog amps producing double rate DSD

Data Handling

Format PCM or DSD
Sample rate (PCM) 44.1kHz, 48.0kHz, 88.2kHz, 96.0kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz; 705.6kHz
Word length (PCM) 16b, 18b, 20b, 24b
Data rate (DSD) Standard (2.8MHz) or Double (5.6MHz) DoP as well as raw DSD on I2S and USB inputs
Input jitter reduction effectively 100%, residual immeasurable. No input PLLs, FLLs.
Input Processing 225.792MHz
Signal Processing 56.448MHz
Synchronous Upsampling, all inputs 56.448MHz for 48k, 96k or 192k; 11.2896MHz for all others
Digital Processing S/N ration Upsampling > 210dB, volume control and Sigma Delta Modulator: > 330dB
Digital Volume Control Zero loss of precision
Analog Conversion method low pass filter DSD256 (quad rate DSD: single bit DSD at 11.2896MHz)

I2S Digital Input

Connector HDMI
Format PCM or DSD. DoP on all inputs as well as raw DSD on I2S inputs

USB Digital Input

Connector USB “B” Type
Format PCM, DoP v1.1 (DSD over PCM), or Native DSD
Transfer mode Asynchronous

Questions?

© 2022 PS Audio, Inc.

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