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PS Audio about to ... (Read 114954 times)
Palomino
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #100 - 04/07/14 at 14:15:15
 
I like that he continues to experiment. †I find the dynamics of the high end audio marketplace to be fascinating.

Also, I will look seriously at buying any amp (tube or SS) that delivers:

-      Surreal, 3D, holographic, imaging
-      Room width, depth, and height defying soundstage
-      Musical, yet neutral presentation of recorded material
-      Accurate and pleasing instrumental timbre
-      Low or no listening fatigue
-      Listening volume in the 80-100db range (in a 13 X 17 room)
-      Under $1,500

These are table stakes for me going forward. †My budget may increase someday, but for now this is it.

This is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but seriously, are there amps out there like this? †At whatprice point?
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« Last Edit: 04/07/14 at 14:50:44 by Palomino »  

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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #101 - 04/07/14 at 15:01:11
 
Pal,

 I would agree with you about experimenting. It's an education to watch and learn. Every once in awhile, it gives me an idea for my own system.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #102 - 04/07/14 at 15:22:15
 

I haven't been closely following his amp build, exactly for the reason's Lon mentioned above (who with a good Decware amp would really); this is also why I was trying to get him to spend a few minutes with me and the Mystery Amp at Axpona, but he's pretty booked up that weekend of course.

I'm betting something like the ZMA would at least rattle his cage about a full on tube amp.

I had to bite my tongue in that thread as well "oh the noes! It's got sockets, and requires occasional maintenance, and does stuff to the sound!"

Too many math guys talking about building amps, and not enough artists actually building them.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #103 - 04/08/14 at 15:35:29
 
It is a shame about those that mock Tube Amps. I always remember Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenbergs words: "You are a gifted Listener an don't let them tell you otherwise". However, like Steve said...no sense wasting time or energy in flame wars against Decware.

LR, I was catching up on the Direct Stream DAC Thread and got to the last page (13)...currently and found this (below). Oh yeah, digital & analog cables matter. I would not own them...if their was not a difference. I run to put my Kimber Select back in...every time I A-B-A them with my others. Especially with my Gallo 3.1's. †Speaker's like my Parker's & Reference Klipsch RF-7 II's....in which both, go back out in the Garage...very good Cables are wasted on them.... .

Digitally, the Illuminati D-60 & Revelations Audio Labs i2s....I still can't find anything to beat them.
http://revelationaudiolabs.com/cables-digital/index.htm

"lonelyraven said: Paul, is that JCAT USB cable really all that good? (assuming that was you that posted the photo). Color me skeptical, especially at $350 EURO for a USB cable.

Yes, it's really that good. I've been playing with USB cables on DirectStream and, as Ted has mentioned, there are only slight differences - nothing to write home about or get excited about IMHO. But then comes along this JCat designed by Paul Pang out of Taiwan. I almost fell over when I heard it. And, you know what? I didn't want it to work. I didn't want it to work because it makes no sense. Because DirectStream doesn't care about jitter coming in.

So what the hell could make this cable so different? I really don't/didn't want to believe how good this is. Seriously. It makes me nuts. Ted suggests its ground loop related and Ted's usually right about things. The designer claims not. But there it is. The aliveness and openness the music takes on is stunning. I immediately ordered mine and am in touch with the designer already. I want to not only find out what's going on but want to hear his other work. Crazy. - See more at: http://www.psaudio.com/vanilla/discussion/6605/directstream-dac-first-impression... †"
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« Last Edit: 04/09/14 at 21:27:54 by stone_of_tone »  

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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #104 - 04/13/14 at 23:50:23
 
Well, I escaped taxes far better than I anticipated. I shouldn't, but I placed an order for the DirectStream kit, installed at the factory. Not sure yet when my shipping and installation will be scheduled, and I can be patient (the sound I am getting right now is simply amazing!) But I think this will be a worthy upgrade for me, better to improve my digital front end than take a risk on the Mystery Amp (especially without a treble cut circuit) when the Torii is such a magical beast in my system. And this upgrade is half the price of the Mystery Amp.
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« Last Edit: 04/13/14 at 23:52:13 by Lon »  

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Palomino
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #105 - 04/14/14 at 00:25:54
 
Congrats Lon.  Good buzz on this DAC.  Can't wait to hear you impressions.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #106 - 04/14/14 at 01:33:33
 
You will hear my impressions, but it is not likely to be too soon, I think 100 assembled units are tested and shipped, then the kits will start to be distributed and installed, and I'm #41.

Interestingly, I thought it would be hard to figure out which PWD Mk II to send in to be "transformed" into a DirectStream DAC. I thought probably the oldest one right, several years older than the second, new one, why not keep the newest one as a PWD Mk II. Well. . . I put that new one in place in my main system and it really does NOT sound like the old one. Clearly the older one is far more seasoned and "mellow" and far more to my taste.* The other sounded fine in my second system which is a bit less resolving than the main one. So I'll be sending the newer one back for conversion to the DirectStream and keeping the original one (which started out as a PWD (Mk I)) for my second system.

* The same happens comparing my original Torii Mk III with my newest Torii Mk III. The older clearly sounds better, seasoned and mellowed and refined.
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« Last Edit: 04/14/14 at 01:38:48 by Lon »  

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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #107 - 04/14/14 at 02:08:45
 
Awesome Lon! †I feel like the DirectStream is made for you and all your Redbook CDs. †Hopefully it lives up to the hype and you have the same Holy _ _ _ _ reaction that everyone who has heard it so far has had. †We both know that PSA tend to live up to their claims (after you cut through all the hyperbole).

I plan to wait for more reactions to roll in, but I have a feeling it's inevitable. †Can't wait to hear your reaction. † †

Are you running the same firmware on both of your older PW DACs? †That could explain the differences in sound you are hearing.
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« Last Edit: 04/14/14 at 02:09:20 by Dave1210 »  
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #108 - 04/14/14 at 02:41:52
 
Doh. Yeah, that's probably a contributing factor, and hadn't thought of it. To be honest, I have not updated the firmware on the first nor the second, it's possible they are running the same firmware, also possible they are not.

Though some of the difference does seem to be "seasoning" related.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #109 - 04/14/14 at 03:39:26
 

I'm betting firmware makes as much of a difference and seasoning.

Congrats on the upgrade kit! Color me jealous! (again).

I really want a DS myself.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #110 - 04/14/14 at 03:49:09
 
To be honest, I think the two were built about the same time and I think they could share the same firmware.

Seasoning is very real in my experience.
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #111 - 04/14/14 at 13:39:40
 
Lonely Raven wrote on 04/14/14 at 03:39:26:
I'm betting firmware makes as much of a difference and seasoning.

Congrats on the upgrade kit! Color me jealous! (again).

I really want a DS myself.


I checked. Both the same firmware. Only thing I haven't checked is to see if they both/either have the fuses that were supposed to be part of the upgrade to MK II. I know it was part of the kit, not sure that it was part of the production model. And I had them upgrade the board because one of my inputs (coaxial) had shorted out on the Mk I board, and didn't open the unit to see if they changed fuses, didn't sound as if they did.

Also got to thinking: one has a few years plus more screen time use than the other. I'll be sending the new one back for conversion. Looks as if it will be sometime in June.
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« Last Edit: 04/15/14 at 19:42:48 by Lon »  

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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #112 - 04/15/14 at 18:24:29
 
Paul's latest musings are on building a simple music server using a Mac mini.  I use a mini as a server with Audirvana.  I started with Audirvana because it was free, but liked the sound and upgraded to the plus version.  

Yesterday he mentioned his choice for software is BitPerfect.  At $9.95 I decided to give it a go.  I found the sound to be significantly different than Audirvana.  Less aggressive, more smooth.  

Better?  I don't know which one I like better yet.  But I am now rolling Mac software which is kinda weird.  Audirvana for rock, Bitperfect for jazz/anything softer.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #113 - 04/15/14 at 20:26:31
 
I've been reading up, hoping to find a way to measure the changes we're hearing, and all I find is more info about how measurements prove we are fooling ourselves.

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/06/measurements-part-i-bit-perfect.html

I'm not sure what to think about this. Are we fooling ourselves, or are there measurements we should be doing to *prove* we are hearing a difference?

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Palomino
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #114 - 04/15/14 at 20:57:53
 
I have seen those tests before and think they are fascinating but I don't think they register how the sound is received by a human, in a room, for a specific recording, on a specific system.  They typically measure the properties of the electrical signal.  

You don't hear an electrical signal, you hear a sound, which is produced by a chain of interacting components (room included).

The only way that I have been able to *prove* that there are differences is to record the same song playing through my system using the same recording device and then line them up in a computer editor so that they are exactly sync'd, then randomly remove a portion of the A or B track for the entire length of the song.  Then I output the entire hybrid song and then listen to it and see if I can determine when the recording goes from the A track to the B track.  In most instances I can.

I don't think you can measure soundstage or imaging with this technique, but you can definitely hear differences in things like bass response, treble, definition and decay.  

Maybe I am just being fooled again by the recording in the same way that I am being fooled when I listen to a track, make a change and then listen to it again.  But I can't always remember where in the hybrid recording I switched tracks, yet I know when the switch occurs - just by listening.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #115 - 04/15/14 at 21:58:25
 

I think you and I need to do some double blind tests.

I agree that there is something going on, even with the power cords we listened to (though I still don't believe it was a big improvement) - so I keep my hopes up that it's just something that we haven't figure out how to measure yet.

But the fact is, all things being equal, if the software outputs the exact same data, with the same hardware, with the same jitter, with the same everything...then it *should* sound the same. So why are we hearing something? That guys measurements are very compelling.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #116 - 04/15/14 at 22:30:21
 
A lot going on with that ear-brain connection we can't measure with machines. †I think the only way to get at it would be some kind of deep brain stimulation monitoring.

"Notice the red areas lighting up as LR listens to the ZMA. †These are the auditory pleasure zones." Grin

You and I could do some single blinds that would probably prove or disprove the point for me.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #117 - 04/16/14 at 14:06:12
 
I changed BitPerfect to the settings Paul recommended in his lastest blog posting and the sound came much closer to what I get with Audirvana+.  Now, I'm not sure that I could always pick out which program is playing.  I still think I give Audirvana the edge but I need some more time with it.

Interestingly enough, iTunes by itself, BitPerfect and Audirvana+ all seem to output at different levels.  Audirvana definitely has the highest output so matching volume levels for comparing the programs is difficult.

I don't know anything about high end transports, but I would believe Paul's comments about the Mini rivaling his transports.  To me, it sounds pretty good.  Especially once I plugged it into the PPP and added a better power cord.

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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #118 - 04/16/14 at 15:13:22
 
Glad I have two PS Audio PerfectWave transports, and don't have to do computer audio. It's all more than I want to figure out or spend time I don't have downloading or ripping, and on top of that there's then all kinds of firmware rolling in the picture! Smiley
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #119 - 04/16/14 at 15:15:11
 
You know, I am starting to think that this crazy hobby never ends Wink
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #134 - 04/26/14 at 22:31:55
 
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #135 - 04/27/14 at 01:24:21
 
This is the DS tease post from axpona.  More later when raven or I have more time.

I felt the DS was the best DSD DAC I heard at axpona.  We probably heard only 3.  Lots of uncontrolled variables though.  I will say that the system we heard the DS on was the poorest of the systems we heard dsd on.

Both raven and I also saw the lift dsd brings to the table hearing back to back tracks PCM/dsd.  It was pretty noticeable.  And this was PCM upsampled to dsd vs dsd.  I'd imagine regular PCM to dsd would be a bigger gap.

More later on our axpona experience in the axpona thread.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #136 - 04/27/14 at 10:52:13
 
Thanks for the little bit of info.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #137 - 04/27/14 at 13:05:33
 
Sorry for the short blurb. †I have more time now with my morning coffee. †Raven will weigh in later. †He's off camping.

I have a little more time now so I will post the PS Audio Experience here and do another post on Axpona in the Axpona thread.

We arrived a little early, registered and went up to room 434. †No Paul and they guy who was there was somewhat rude to us because we about 15 minutes early. †Other rooms were open and already demoing.

So we went to a few other rooms and then came back. †Unfortunately, no Paul again, and what we heard was not a good sign. †The system sounded terrible. †How guys in the business with good loudspeakers can stick a big sub in the corner and crank it up so that it completely overwhelms the room (and their pretty nice speakers) is beyond me. †It was the anti-commercial for their DSP. †Anyway, we left and thought we'd give it another shot once we saw Paul was there.

We later ran into him in the hall and chatted a bit. †He's a sincerely nice guy. †Easy to talk to, interested in what you say and you can tell he listens. †Anyway, he forgot the power cord to his mini and had to scramble to find/make something. †Thus, he was not in the room yet.

We returned later, and again no Paul, but the room was more tolerable and the speakers were at least producing a center image now.

So, I approach the nicer of the two guys and ask him if he can "back to back" a PCM track and a DSD track of the same recording. †He does so and there is significant lift. †I'm thinking that this DAC does not do much for regular PCM to bring it closer to DSD. †It's all hype, but then Raven immediately asks if there is different mastering on the two tracks and the guy says "ahhhh, yeah."

So Paul comes in finally and the room takes on a completely different vibe. †Where before, it could best be described as adversarial, now its more collegial and we think we'll at least get closer to what we want to find out. †

I ask Paul to back to back recordings and he immediately knows where we are headed. †He's got 3-4 tracks all picked out. †Mainly the ones he talks about in his blog. †In each one, native DSD shows a noticeable lift, but not a huge one over PCM converted to DSD. †Mainly a sense of more air, more of a sense for the recording room, but also the instruments sound a little more real, particularly percussion. †It was not a night and day difference, but an improvement.

What would have been preferable would be for him to have a PWD there to compare regular PCM to PCM converted in the DS DAC to DSD.

Raven is still not sure we actually heard songs with the same master on Paul's cuts. †All I can say is that is was a lot closer than what the other guy tried to pass off as a comparison.

So I guess here is my conclusion. †Assuming the same master, there was a noticeable difference, for the better, between PCM converted to DSD and DSD, but it was not huge. †One could conclude from this that you will get a lift on your regular PCM library to make it close to DSD. †But unfortunately, we did not get to test the lift from straight PCM to PCM converted to DSD.
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« Last Edit: 04/27/14 at 13:09:47 by Palomino »  

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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #138 - 04/27/14 at 21:07:36
 

Well said, I think you again covered that very well.

Yeah, the DirectStream is a great sounding DAC, but in that environment I couldn't put my stamp of approval on it and throw $6k at it. The guy demoing (I'll leave names and brands out) was either confused, or flat out misleading, and that don't fly well with me...it really put me off. In fact, I started tearing down what I was hearing and what was told to me with some logic...maybe bordering on bitching, and Palomino's like..um, Eric, behind you. I look and there's Paul, I think he caught the tail end of a sharp barb from me. I had to stop for a second and replay what I had just said in my head, because I did mention Paul in this sharp barb (which the pointy end wasn't pointed at him, just a "Paul said").

So then Paul sits down with us and he's really listening to my concerns about the demo we heard, and immediately points out that I was right, a remastered DSD file isn't a good Apples to Apples to an original PCM. Honestly, Paul was great; he handled all my questions with great but gentle directness, he was very humble and honest, and was honestly just a great guy to hang out with. He really gave us some quality one on one time that showed he cared about what we thought, and he even apologized for not being able to give me a proper PCM to DSD converted PCM test for a proper Apples to Apples comparison of the "lift" we'd get with the DirectStream.

Again, I'm not yet sold on the DS, but Paul for sure won me over, and because of that I'll give his gear another chance in the future. I hope to have some quality one on one time with a DS sometime soon, and I *will* put it through the ringer. But till then, I'll just be happy with my Oppo at about 5X less with at least 90% the sound quality (if not more).

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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #139 - 04/27/14 at 21:15:44
 
Thanks for the impressions.

You really think your Oppo has 90 percent the sound quality of the DS? That's pretty optimistic thinking as far as I am concerned; Oppos haven't impressed me as that close to my current PS Audio DAC.

About six more weeks to go or so before my DirectStream number comes up. I can be patient, I'm really happy with my sound right now (especially my vinyl sound which is flooring me recently).
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #140 - 04/28/14 at 01:56:59
 
More power to both of you for giving the Emerald Physics room multiple chances in order to try and make conclusions on the DirectStream.  My buddy and I gave up on the room on Friday and didnít look back the rest of the weekend (yes, we did end up going all 3 days).
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Reply #141 - 04/28/14 at 07:22:54
 
@ Dave1210 ~ Emerald Physics?  Was that Walt?  I have been interested in hearing those open baffles any impressions of those?  Some really like them, but that seems like an odd pairing of systems.  Here you are trying to a/b tracks and show off a new DAC and yet everything is heavily EQ'ed through the DSP/Digital Crossover of the speakers anyway.
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Reply #142 - 04/28/14 at 13:06:23
 
Yes, the Direct Stream was the front end for Emerald Physics CS3 speakers.  I am not sure who was running the room.  There were a couple guys in there when we were there (including Paul for a little bit).  Palomino's summary of the room was spot on.   The DSP did ok to account for the REL sub they had cranking in the corner but only if you were in the sweet spot.  Otherwise, the bass was so overwhelmingly bad it literally had people shaking their heads.  I don't know why I expected Paul to have his own room to show off the DirectStream, but he didn't.  I don't think it worked out very well for him.

Here you are trying to a/b tracks and show off a new DAC and yet everything is heavily EQ'ed through the DSP/Digital Crossover of the speakers anyway.

I don't think I would have been able to make any strong conclusions (just like LR/Pal said) on the DS in this setup.  Overall, I didn't like the sound in the room, and my system is much more revealing vs. the EP one.
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Reply #143 - 04/28/14 at 14:16:48
 
The CS3 have some potential, I think, but you just couldn't tell.

The room was all about the emerald physics guys trying to sell their complete system.  You can't blame a guy for trying to make a buck but their system was set up poorly and one of the guys was a bit too aggressive and didn't seem to want anything to do with the DS DAC.

It was so bad when we first went in the room that I asked the guy if he could kill the sub.  He did, but it was crossed at 75hz so the bottom fell out.  I asked if he could adjust and he said he couldn't without fiddling with the DSP, so we just left.

To hear what was going on with the CS3s, I went to the front of the room and leaned down to hear them.  That gave me an idea.  They were better the second visit and when we got into the A/B stuff with Paul.  I want to say they were 91 or 95db so they could mate well with Decware.  I think they go down to 45hz so a sub could be required.

Sorry I can't give you more of an impression.  There is enough there to say its worth a follow-up auditon in a better environment.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #144 - 04/28/14 at 15:34:32
 
I donít have a lot of experience with DSP and wasnít quite sure what to expect.  The EP room was the worst example of DSP we encountered at the show. Both the Legacy Aeris (DSP built into the speaker) and the McIntosh/Martin Logan room were using DSP and both sounded excellent, even if you werenít in the sweet spot.  So, I think DSP done right could reduce or eliminate the need for room treatments (which my wife would appreciate, although maybe not for the price of say the McIntosh unit, $4.5K) w/o totally messing up the sound in the rest of the room.  If I was running the EP room, I would have told people what to expect when not in the sweet spot, and might have gone so far as to only have 1 listening chair in the room.  Unfortunately that wouldnít stop people from standing around and getting the same impressions we did.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #145 - 04/28/14 at 17:39:49
 
Don't blaspheme like that, Dave; there is no room correction that will completely eliminate room treatments! Phase/distance and EQ can only do so much - but the better ones you mentioned (especially McIntosh) did sound great considering the damage the room was doing to the sound.

Since Emerald Physics has already been thrown under the bus; I have to say, for guys who have been on the road many times before (even bragged about many years traveling with Paul in the past), I felt they were not terribly professional, the room sounded terrible, and the pushy used car sales feeling drove many people out. We gave them a couple chances to right things, and they seemed like they were getting fedup with my direct questions, and Pal's requests.

I will say, I thought the speakers had potential, but their demo left a lot to be desired. Again, this is why I couldn't really comment on the DirectStream - I don't feel I really got a listen to its potential. Though the few tracks Paul played for us did sound quite nice, who could tell with that mess that was going on.
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« Last Edit: 04/28/14 at 22:24:12 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #146 - 04/28/14 at 20:51:58
 
It sounds like the room you guys were in pretty much sucked except for a small sweet spot.  The room that I heard the DS DAC demo in was with the Vandersteen, Rogue Audio and Electocompanient, so a mix of tubes and transistors.  And even though I don't really care for Rogue's Apollo Monoblocks ... the room itself was treated very nicely and no EQ/DSP was used during the demo.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #147 - 05/06/14 at 01:39:34
 
An interesting owner review of the first hours of listening. . . start at post #52

http://audioshark.org/computer-digital-audio-11/ps-audio-directstream-dac-4438-p...
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Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #148 - 05/06/14 at 02:12:33
 

I like his very down to earth descriptions - much how I try to do it. And he's saying exactly what I was hoping to hear from the first reviews.

I'm looking forward to more reviews (and maybe even hearing one for myself).
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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #149 - 05/06/14 at 02:19:25
 
@ Lon, thanks for posting.  It seems that my impression of cymbals resides along the same lines as the poster.  It seems fairly simple (but maybe more complex in the digital realm as opposed to analog at least from what I've heard) that whatever cymbal is tapped you should be able to pick it out, but in my system it is a weakness with the Rega DAC I use and no matter what cymbal is presented in the recording it all sounds the same and unfortuntately rolled off.

There are some other strengths from the Rega DAC that I can appreciate, but the highs and cymbals are not one of them.  The DirectStream however really made these cymbal taps stand out to me above and beyond what my DAC could do.  Although I'll probably never be able to afford this (unless I hit the lotto or something) I'm really looking forward to your impressions once you get some hours on it.
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