Why does the DLIII DAC sound so much better than other DAC’s?

Most DAC’s (Digital to Analog converters) regardless of their price use very similar D to A chipsets from only a handful of manufacturers like TI, Cirrus Logic and ESS (Sabre).

417_3-300x225While there are certainly differences in these DAC’s it’s unlikely any one would be singled out as significantly better sounding than the others. It turns out that the big differences we hear between DACs has far more to do with their analog output stages than anything else. A DAC has two parts as you might imagine. A digital side and an analog side. For a digital side with the same resolution and bit depth (44kHz to 192kHz and 16 bit to 24 bit) the digital sides will be very similar.

The analog side is where the big differences lie. The type of circuit (solid state or tube), the implementation of that circuit (class A, high feedback, low feedback, IC or discrete) have the majority of effect on how a DAC sounds.

In the DLIII PS Audio leveraged its long history of DAC designs to great advantage (we released the world’s first DAC to the high end). By eliminating all IC’s in the analog output stage and implementing a fully discrete, class A, low feedback JFET design, the PS Audio DLIII manages to sound more open, sweeter, warmer and more like music than just about any DAC at any price. To pull every last bit of music out of the DLIII we also use a very large power supply.

The secret is in the analog stage and power supply and when evaluating DACs this is where you should be looking first.