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PS Audio about to ... (Read 32443 times)
Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #150 - 05/06/14 at 02:30:34
 

Speaking of cymbals; the XLR upgrade on my ZMA with the Oppo brought my cymbals to life. I'm not saying as much as the DS DAC, but the XLR helped bring it from a single note sizzle sound to more of a brassy roar/crash/sizzle. It's still not as detailed as real cymbals, but better.
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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #151 - 05/06/14 at 02:48:18
 
@ LR - interesting observation, I'm sure the whole chain has some effect to an extent.
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #152 - 05/17/14 at 01:26:38
 
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Dave1210
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #153 - 05/17/14 at 02:40:00
 
Very favorable review.  The PSA PW Dac mkii is already a great DAC (I have yet to hear something better in my system), so I haven't had the urge to upgrade.  Maybe I should stop reading all the positive impressions/reviews of the DirecStream, because it is making me think a little more than I wanted to about an upgrade...

It shouldn't be too long until you have one in your system Lon.  Looking forward to your impressions.

Cheers,
David
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #154 - 05/17/14 at 02:54:50
 
Hey David,

Yeah, the Mk 2 sounds amazing in my system too, has made everything else shrivel in comparison, only the ZP3 is not ashamed.

I figure about a month more to wait before I send one of my Mk 2s in for the rebuild.
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Dave1210
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #155 - 05/17/14 at 03:43:36
 
Lon,

I have been buying lots of cds lately, and quite frankly, I don't plan to stop.  Purchasing vinyl has come to a halt aside from a few purchases here and there, since I took down my turntable(s).  I haven't been all that impressed with HD downloads (IMHO the HD gems are all remasters).  Net…a device that makes cds sound even better than they already do on the PW ADC is appealing to me.  Redbook is the format I expect to be spinning for the next 5 years (min).  

That said, I think I need to upgrade speakers (MG944's) prior to source.  I will get to hear the HR-1's in person in < 1 month and I heard a lot of great speakers at Axpona (most out of my price range).  In my experience audible memory isn't as short as folks may say, so I expect the HR-1 comparison vs. my own system and the systems I heard at Axpona last month will be straightforward (if not, Steve has 944's, so I can at least compare vs. my current system).

All that said, I likely need to chill out, because my system sounds so good right now.  I can sit for hours and just listen.  I really should get off of the merry go round.   Unfortunately, I have the urge to experiment and learn more, even if it doesn't improve my current experience.  Maybe it's just human nature to experiment.      
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #156 - 05/17/14 at 12:06:44
 
Dave, I know that urge well. We should be content, but we want to experiment. I both push that aside when I can and wallow in it when I can't. I suspect most of us here have it and that's a big common thread.

I'm still buying a lot of cds and to a lesser extent lps. Before I got the ZP3 I would have been able to pack my turntable up again, but the ZP3 and Rega combo honestly offers something completely different and at times superior to my digiatl front end. I love listening to it, and love having that alternative sonic experience. The good news there is I have no itch to upgrade, the sound is just right indeed for me, very satisfying.

You may be on to something in that the speakers may be your next step. The HR-1s are definitely going to impress you.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #157 - 05/17/14 at 19:36:50
 
I like this part, it reminds me very much of what the ZMA and other Decware amps do when the "speed" is *right*.

Quote:
Finally, I asked Smith the following question: ‘Ted, because I was a drummer long ago, I use percussion (cymbals, drums, etc.) to listen carefully (for testing purposes) because I know personally how they really sound live. My father played piano throughout my childhood so that instrument too I tend to use. What instruments (if any) do you find helpful in assessing sound quality, and did you use any in “fine-tuning” the DS?’

Smith: ‘Howdy Karl: I agree that of the sounds we can hear (and process) the best are the ones we have large amounts of experience with. I’ve played clarinet, trombone in bands, played piano, sung in choirs, and hence the instruments in a band, piano and voice are very useful for me personally. But in truth, after a while I just see whether a potential hardware or software change makes me want to tap my feet. When I have friends over I pay less attention to what they say than to their expressions while listening. In the last few months before production Paul and some of his associates listened to the DAC carefully and made suggestions to me as to what they thought it might be missing or how it could be improved. I translated that into potential technical changes and if those changes lead to a more technically correct DAC and kept my feet tapping I was happy to implement them: e.g. removing capacitors that were just there for EMI protection that weren’t actually needed for that or laying things out in the FPGA a little more carefully to avoid crosstalk with the output signals, etc.’
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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #158 - 05/18/14 at 10:22:44
 
Nice review and it confirmed my admiration for the way the DirectStream does cymbals.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #159 - 05/20/14 at 00:02:39
 
I am doing this from my iPhone. I have been in the middle of a move the last 3 weeks. I just got my rig set up in my new Listening Room.

I just read a piece about Chords new battery Hugo DAC....very promising.
Things keep heating up!

I look forward to catching up on all the posts/threads very soon.
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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #160 - 05/20/14 at 00:25:07
 
@ Stone ... yes it is quickly becoming one of the sweethearts of the never ending DAC community, especially using the FPGA's that are becoming more prevalent on more of the higher end DACs such as the DirectStream.

I would like to add one more DAC that I have personally heard several times and really like and that is the McIntosh D100.  Though it uses the Sabre ESS0918 chip, it does not have the upper treble problems usually associated with it (at least that I have heard with it so far).  I know this chip can decode DSD and when I listen to the D100 I almost feel as if it is doing the same thing as the DirectStream in that is it so smooth that it is upsampling everything to DSD (although Mac is not admitting anything to this), but this is just an assumption that I'm making because of the refinement/smoothness/fullness that I'm hearing and I don't think that I'm the first person to come to this conclusion either.

So I highly recommend a listen to the D100 if you get the chance.  Considering the level of build quality and the sound that the D100 is putting out ... I'm still shaking my head that McIntosh released this component at $2500 msrp ~ which I know is not pocket change, but I believe this DAC to be on the level of the DirectStream (or not too many notches below the DS) and possibly even better than the AURALic Vega (which is one of my all time favs), but comes in way under in price comparison.  Of course YMMV, but I do believe that this may be the best bang for the buck McIntosh product that they've ever released and possibly one of the best DACs currently out there.
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« Last Edit: 05/20/14 at 00:26:29 by beowulf »  
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Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #161 - 05/30/14 at 13:48:32
 
This sounds much like the debate we have over preamp or not to preamp. It sounds like Paul has similar feelings and debate of weight vs detail.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The preamp debate
Now that DirectStream’s are entering people’s systems the setup questions begin: chief among them is direct to the amp or through a preamp?  This is not an easy question because it is so system and user dependent.

When I travel to show our products I never carry a preamp.  Lugging a DirectStream with me is challenging enough, but the added trouble of hauling my preamp just isn’t worth it. And it isn’t worth it because there’s really little sonic advantage to doing so.

In Music Room One I have a preamp: a tube preamp to be exact.  And I vacillate between the euphonics of keeping the preamp in the system and the accuracy and revealing qualities of going directly into the amplifier.  Both have their advantages.

On the one hand a preamp, at least in this main system, seems to bring body and a sort of realism to instruments and voices, yet also seems to subtly mask some of what’s in the music.  Going direct doesn’t make me feel like there’s any less body, it sounds natural all right, but there’s also a certain directness that is bewitching in its hold on the music.

I understand most of us want a simple answer: yes or no to going with or without a preamp. But I can’t help with this. Which preamp are we discussing? I have not heard them all.  What speakers?  What are your tastes?

No, I fear there’s no simple answer.  But I can tell you this, either way you go you’ll enjoy the music immensely.

And that’s what matters.
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #162 - 05/30/14 at 13:58:52
 
This week I've been running the PerfectWave DAC Mk 2 directly into the Torii Mk III which I haven't done for several years. This allows me to use my one best interconnect into the Torii Mk III from the PWD Mk 2 directly rather than the next step down interconnect from VooDoo Cable from the PWD Mk 2 to the CSP2+ and the best interconnect from the CSP2+ into the Torii Mk III.

It's a trade off. I hear nearly exactly what Paul hears. The added plus in favor of the CSP2+ is the ability to tube roll (though after years of that I use the same input and driver tubes in the CSP2+ as I do input tubes in the Torii Mk III) and to tailor the sound with the input and output gains.

Sounds great either way. I'm far more familiar with the body and weight from the CSP2+ and may go back to that next week. We'll see. I still need the CSP2+ in the system because I need the SACD player and the ZP3 and the PWD Mk 2 to all go into the two inputs on the Torii Mk III. And it always contributes a satisfying sound.
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« Last Edit: 05/30/14 at 13:59:43 by Lon »  

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Dave1210
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #163 - 05/30/14 at 14:49:57
 
I think I mentioned I did a comparison of some digital front ends I own (Oppo/NAD/PW DAC) in another thread, and the areas I think the PW DAC excel are as follows:

-Detail (extremely detailed without any grain, etching or harshness in the treble.  The speed of the DAC also seems on par with Decware amps, if that makes any sense)

-Space (this is an area where I think this DAC really excels, but I find it difficult to describe in words.  It’s as if you are transported to the space in which the recording was made.  I think the sense of space really helps create a large soundstage and gives you a greater sense of depth.  I think the space contributes to the liquidity/musicality of the DAC because the natural decay you would hear from instruments is present.  I don’t know if any of that makes sense.  Overall it’s a very musical DAC and gets your foot tapping)

-Timbre/Tone (instruments sound as they should…natural tone, timber and liquidity)

That said, compared to my Oppo BDP-93, the PW DAC lacked weight and body.  This was the one area where I felt the Oppo was better and why in a previous post I wouldn’t describe my Oppo as thin.  In fact, I would say the PW DAC is thin in comparison to the Oppo.  

This got me thinking that maybe a pre-amp would help provide the best experience with the PW Dac (I think you have been saying this forever, but I guess I needed to hear it for myself).  It seems like a reasonable trade off…giving up a little detail (which there is a ton of) for some weight and body (which seems to be a little lacking).  

I am first going to try the XLR inputs on my ZMA (I finally ordered an Anti-cable XLR interconnect so I can do a single variable comparison vs. my Anti-cable RCA), but there may be a CSP3 in my future.  
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« Last Edit: 05/31/14 at 02:49:03 by Dave1210 »  
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #164 - 05/30/14 at 15:50:03
 
Interesting. I wouldn't say that the PWD Mk II in my system is thin. I haven't heard an Oppo 93, but I've heard a 95SE, a 103 and a 105, and they sound to me in my system thnner than the PWD Mk II. If anything I think that the PWD Mk II may have a bit of low or mid bass thickness, as if it doesn't quite have the control of the lower frequencies the way that it does of the mid and high frequencies. With the CSP2+ controls I can ameliorate this a bit and also get a bit more weight and body to the midrange, which suits my speakers well.(Not also that my CSP2+ has the beeswax caps, and I agree with will that without that upgrade the CSP2+ has a bit of a signature of its own that I would say favors weight and body a hair, whereas with the cap ugrade it's more neutral and transparent by a hair).

One factor too is that my PWD Mk IIs have very early firmware and I like it. Perhaps that's a factor?

I'm eager to hear how the DirectStream DAC sounds both with and without the CSP2+.

I'm sure you would like the CSP3, but it's also a good idea to try the XLR transformer output to, that may just give you that little bit you're lacking!
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« Last Edit: 05/30/14 at 15:51:21 by Lon »  

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