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PS Audio about to ... (Read 12779 times)
Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #120 - 04/16/14 at 15:45:16
 

I've actually started selling off my physical media and started buying some DSD from Blue Coast and Linn. I've already sold a few MFSL CDs that I purchased in the late '90s for $12.50 each, and have raked in over $400. I'm hoping if I sell enough off, I might have a down payment on the DirectStream...just don't tell Brianne.  :)

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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #121 - 04/16/14 at 15:59:09
 
That's cool. That is certainly not something I want to do. There is not enough that I want to listen to available on DSD files, and I have so much stuff to listen to and like the physical aspect. I'm an old dog who wants to lie by the fire and not learn new tricks. But mostly it's the musical content that drives me. . . I have what I want, a lot of what is being put into files etc. I either have already in several forms or am not interested in, I admit that a lot of the music posted here as listened to is not what I am listening to or want to. Smiley
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« Last Edit: 04/16/14 at 15:59:52 by Lon »  

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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #122 - 04/17/14 at 09:53:06
 
I met Paul McGowan and attended the PS Audio DSD DAC discussion/demonstration at the San Diego Audio Guild meeting at Stereo Unlimited last night.  Paul is very down to earth and also pretty funny.  His talk was interesting and there were some math/engineering guys posing some tough questions in which he did some fairly good explaining ... although I feel like some were there just to give him a hard time and seemed that they were not too keen with Paul's new found interest in USB cables making a difference (or his power cable/regeneration philosophy either), but he kept his wits about.

Stereo Unlimited is a cool store, with a cool sales staff, that sells audio gear at all price points.  It also has a great little vinly section in the back of the store and is one of the only places I know that you can buy a record and (if they aren't too busy) they will play it for you on one of their $100,000 rigs which is always fun!

We had a beer while Paul talked about the new DAC and did Q&A for about an hour, then moved next door to a well treated and dedicated audio room for a listen.  I'm glad it took place there as I am familiar with the room and all the high end pieces in there as I visit them often.

So we heard the PS Audio DSD DAC with a Mac Mini server (he has been talking about lately) on behemoth Rogue Audio 250 watt Apollo Mono Block amps, behemoth Vandersteen Model 5a Carbon speakers and an Electrocompaniet EC 4.8 preamp (I think that was the model but not absolutely sure)

and here's a little piece of irony ...

the Stereo Unlimited guys are huge Shunyata freaks so all power and cabling was top of the line Shunyata Hydra Triton/Typhon, fire hose sized ΞTRON Anaconda Power, Signal and I think speaker cables (but again not 100% sure of the speaker cables). Grin
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Palomino
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #123 - 04/17/14 at 11:53:10
 
Too bad they made him dance a little.  If it's genuine inquiry fine, but challenges are a little rude in that setting.

So....any Comments about the DAC?
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Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #124 - 04/17/14 at 12:51:45
 
Yeah, WTF Beowulf! You talk about the shop, but not about the DirectStream!  >:(

I'm kinda glad the math/engineering guys put some pressure on Paul. I'm really hoping he and Ted can maybe figure out a scientific way to document some of their cable claims. I mean, I don't want this to distract him from making a great product, but I'd like for it to sit in the back of their minds so that maybe an idea of how to measure will germinate.

I kinda gave him similar questioning on his forums, but haven't really had a chance to follow up and see what he said.
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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #125 - 04/17/14 at 22:05:16
 
Quote:
Palomino said,
So....any Comments about the DAC?


Quote:
LR said,
Yeah, WTF Beowulf! You talk about the shop, but not about the DirectStream!  >:(


LOL Grin

Sorry guys it was getting late and I ran out of steam when I wrote that.  

First of all we were packed in there like sardines, but me and my girl are fairly short people and were capable of squeezing pretty much into the sweet spot ... I think some of it may be due to the fact that a bunch of geeks never thought a cute girl such as mine would attend something like this so they pretty much got out of her way Grin

Of course they were playiing audiophile music ... female vocals such as Allison Krauss & Union Station, Patricia Barber (her version of The Doors' Light My Fire), etc. which although I liked some of it, it wasn't my usual fare of Porcupine Tree (damn you Lon Wink) and we spent about 30 minutes or so listening and asking a few more questions along the way.

Ok, I'm coming from the viewpoint of using a Rega DAC which makes stuff sound warm and cuddly, it's a decent DAC, but there are better out there.  Well I'm not really good at describing audiphile terms, etc., but there are a few things that stood out to me.

The first thing I noticed was that it sounded very dynamic and lively, but in a polite way ~ not in your face annoying.  I felt there were details that this thing was flushing out that my DAC just couldn't even begin to cope with.  There was just a little hint of fatiquing on the upper ends of some of the stuff he played which may be contributed to the actual recording (or not .. I can't say for sure).

Cymbals sounded very realistic which was one of my favorite aspects of this thing, as mentioned the Rega DAC seems to make everything warm at the expense of rolling off the upper ends and the DSD DAC is almost the opposite in that regard.  I remember hearing Nat King Cole and in the beginning of the song the cymbal sounded spooky real and even though I'm not a musician I felt like I knew which cymbal was being tapped.

When listening to Patricia Barber's version of Light My Fire, the guy next to us mentioned that he was very familiar with this song and there were shades of tones being expressed that he had never heard before (whatever that means I'm not sure Roll Eyes Cheesy).  

So over all it sounded pretty good like a $6000 DAC should be expected to.

There was something that stood out to both me and my girl during this demonstration and that is ... even though this DAC is supposed to convert everything to DSD ~ Hi-Res Native DSD files still sounded much better in comparsion to standard Redbook.

Paul had copies of files in both Redbook and DSD and we were able to A/B compare them.  Even Paul had to admit that the Redbook (while still sounding good) sounded flatter in comparison to the DSD files of the same songs.  To me this brings a little controversy into the mix as the DSD DAC is supposed to make Redbook sound like DSD, but to me and my girl's ears they still did not compare to DSD native files.  I realize that it could be the recordings themselves, but in our experience we heard the differences and they were better by a fair margin ... so all you guys out there contemplating DSD ... this particular DAC was playing DSD native files better than any other DAC I've heard ... not that I've heard a lot, but if you're on the fence about DSD ... listening to DSD files on this DAC will change your mind.

There are a lot of ways to skin a cat and I believe that with JRiver's capabilities of on the fly conversion of PCM to DSD and a DAC capable of playing Native DSD X2 files can get you into the realm of what the PS Audio DSD DAC can do for a whole lot less.  However this is a no brainer and clearly better than what my Rega can do.
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« Last Edit: 04/17/14 at 22:16:12 by beowulf »  
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Palomino
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #126 - 04/17/14 at 22:09:27
 
Thanks for the great writeup.  We'll hopefully get some time with it in a few weeks at Axpona and can compare notes.
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #127 - 04/17/14 at 22:57:48
 
Thanks for the report H!

I for one would never expect Redbook converted to DSD to sound the same as native DSD files. I think what sets this DAC apart is the upconversion to many times DSD and the way that it does digital to analog conversion in a different manner than most DACs. Regardless, I'm not planning to buy any digital files, DSD, hi-res or otherwise, and I have so so many Redbook discs, this seemed like a right move for me--I have one on order.
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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #128 - 04/18/14 at 01:25:28
 
@ Lon ...

I think the bit depth of a hi-res file just has much more room to be processed (totally unscientifical assumption Cheesy), but I remember Paul saying something to the effect of truncating data within 16/44 compared to 24/96 and up there was just way more room to work with and if Sony had just waited a couple more years that it would be a different world (musically speaking of course).

It's been my observation that the bit depth means more than the resolution.  I cannot tell the difference between 96/176/192, but where things get past a fair margin are between 16 and 24 .bits ... there's no doubt to me that there is a difference for the better between those bit depths as I just find myself hearing a fuller and more detailed sound and into the micro details much better.  A lot of guys pointed this out last night as well.

However, what I'm not saying is that you need to get into DSD if you buy this DAC ... even if not wanting to get into those types of files, the DSD DAC has a great effect for the better (IMO) on lower res Redbook from what we heard.  And a few Redbook guys really liked what they were hearing.  So either way I know you aren't going to be disappointed and I'm jealous of your purchase Cheesy ... I also can't wait to hear your impressions after living with it a few weeks!

For those on the DSD fence though I was merely making an observation that if anyone was thinking about DSD you should defintely hear it through this DAC as it sounds excellent.

@ Palomino ...

It will be interesting to hear your observations from a room that is setup by Paul and the PS Audio crew at Axpona.

IMO I don't think the gear in this room favored the DSD DAC to it's best.  First of all, I find Shunyata stuff to be a little forward or on the cold side of nuetral in comparison to PS Audio's Power stuff (which depending on one's system could be a good or bad thing).  Secondly although I like Rogue Audio's stuff, I have never warmed up to those mono blocks and find them more analytical than musical in comparison to Decware or even their own Cronus Magnum which I find to be a nice balance of power/price and musicality ~ but still not in the same class of Decware.  Thirdly, the Vandersteen's need a preamp due to the woofer setup and Paul even mentioned that he generally likes to go straight to amp with this DAC.  Fourthly, since living with the Omega Single Driver speakers I find myself noticing that the different frequency ranges are not as coherent in multi-driver setups such as those ... I will often find myself picking out the tweeter location in comparison to the midrange and it sort of bothers me to a certain extent so even though those amps and speakers can throw a freaking huge soundstage, I feel they miss some of the finer nuances that are associated with my Decware/Omega combo.

@ LR

Yes, the talk about the USB controversy was interesting.  While Paul was going over the features I asked him about his preference point of input.  He told us that up until a few weeks ago it was (1) Networked through the PS Audio Bridge/Digital Lens, then (2) by I2S, then (3) AES, and finally (4) USB.  Now emphatically USB has moved to the front of the line.  He said he was using a USB cable from a Chinese designer JCat (sp?) anyways he said it was better than any other input on the DAC and that also the Light Harmonic cable was pretty decent as well.  Both Paul and Ted are currently trying to figure out WTF is going on and why its happening.  Oh, I almost forgot ... there was a guy there who asked about the mental processing of sound and if he had any reasoning as to why he thought the power cables and conditioning made a difference ... that was a tough one and he didn't really have an answer to it ... he said something to the effect that we don't know why it sounds better, it just does to us ... I would love to know why for some it seems to make huge differences and others (myself included) it's not that big of a deal.
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« Last Edit: 04/18/14 at 02:04:11 by beowulf »  
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #129 - 04/18/14 at 01:47:46
 
I agree with your assessment of bit depth and resolution. I have high resolution and SACD discs, and I can enjoy their sound, but I don't listen for "the very best sound" (in my experience that would be the best vinyl or analog tape anyway), just want really musical sound for all the Redbook I have. I think I'll be happy. Rest assured I won't be able to keep quiet about my impressions. Going to be more than a month and a half though before I can begin to form them.
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seikosha
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #130 - 04/18/14 at 16:52:05
 
@beowulf

I found your comments about noticing anamolies in multi driver speakers intriguing.

Since I've switched to single driver Omegas, it's (sound from multi driver setups) something that really jumps out at me now and I find it really distracting.  The amazing thing is, I NEVER had issues with multi driver sound until I'd lived with the Omegas for awhile.

I've got two systems set up, one is multi driver and I find that if I listen exclusively to the multi driver system for a few days, it stops bothering me and I don't notice it anymore.  The ear adjusts, but then after I go back to the Omegas, the re-adjustment period starts again.
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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #131 - 04/19/14 at 00:55:18
 
Quote:
seikosha said,

@beowulf

I found your comments about noticing anamolies in multi driver speakers intriguing.

Since I've switched to single driver Omegas, it's (sound from multi driver setups) something that really jumps out at me now and I find it really distracting.  The amazing thing is, I NEVER had issues with multi driver sound until I'd lived with the Omegas for awhile.

I've got two systems set up, one is multi driver and I find that if I listen exclusively to the multi driver system for a few days, it stops bothering me and I don't notice it anymore.  The ear adjusts, but then after I go back to the Omegas, the re-adjustment period starts again.


Yes, this is very interesting to know that I'm not the only person ... Your post gives me relief that it stops bothering you after a few days once your ears get used to multi-drivers again ... as I thought I might have been ruined for any other designs! Grin

I'm also wondering if this incoherence is what I found a little fatiguing during the demonstration.
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« Last Edit: 04/19/14 at 00:58:31 by beowulf »  
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SteveC
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #132 - 04/19/14 at 00:59:50
 
I'm still undecided and skeptical about a lot of hirez stuff.  though I heard clear improvement at decfest when we played higher sample rate music through the teac dac and the ZMA.

So DSD is on my "wait and see" list.  I've read some people think is a passing fad.  A lot of others say it's the cats meow.

Just as I give a huge benefit of doubt to decware products after having my skepticism proven wrong with so many of their products...
I'm also give a huge benefit of doubt to Schiit products because of the bifrost Dac I have, that Stoddard and Moffat run that company, Maddog07's testimony of Moffat's Theta Dac (some of the earliest), and other people's choosing Schiit gungnir dac after sampling and reviewing tons of other dacs....  Just as I find no one who doesnt' like decware gear (people who have actually heard it)... I haven't found people who don't like schiit.  I follow a lot of Stoddard posts and these guys seemingly speak straight up truth.

So, as I await the eventual release of your future yggdrasil dac, I was just reading the faq about their $150 DSD dac.  it says some interesting things about manufacturers having to compromise to decode DSD vs PCM.  food for the brain.

http://schiit.com/products/loki  (click the FAQ tab)
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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #133 - 04/19/14 at 01:16:38
 
@ SteveC

Yes I agree with you about the 2 sides of the fence.  I've read a review of sorts from one of the guys at Benchmark Media say the same thing in regards to DSD and that they only added the DSD feature to their DACs purely as a competitive/marketing approach, but not because they thought it was better.

Sony has the hugest quantity DSD music available and they just released the HAP-Z1ES that also upsamples everything to DSD (similar in idea to the PS Audio DSD DAC, but probably not the same design/process) and although I don't like the way the way the HAP-Z1ES is setup where all music must be downloaded to it before it will playback, etc., but with Sony on board and their huge catalog I think there is a good chance that DSD will be around for a while.  

It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next year or two, but as for me there is no way I would be shopping for a new DAC that wasn't capable of at least playing DSD back natively ... I don't really care about the conversion as JRiver can do that on they fly, but I want to be able to playback those types of files as I have already amassed a decent amount of them.  My current Rega DAC doesn't play DSD files, so I convert them to PCM through JRiver and they still sound pretty darn good though my DAC is showing it's age.
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« Last Edit: 04/19/14 at 01:17:07 by beowulf »  
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #134 - 04/26/14 at 22:31:55
 
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