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PS Audio about to ... (Read 18804 times)
Palomino
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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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Lon
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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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Palomino
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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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Lonely Raven
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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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Lon
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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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Dave1210
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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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beowulf
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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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Dave1210
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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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Palomino
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
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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Dave1210
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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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Lonely Raven
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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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beowulf
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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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Lon
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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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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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