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PS Audio about to ... (Read 71974 times)
Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #300 - 07/22/14 at 13:21:12
 
Very true about cables.
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kana813
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #301 - 07/22/14 at 19:13:02
 
Ted Smith said:

"The DS is about 3dB lower in output than many CD players or DACs. Most of us have much more than that amount of headroom so it's not usually a problem.  The thing is that the PWD is hotter than many DACs so some people have systems with no preamp that work with the PWD but perhaps not without a preamp with the DS.  (BTW other people have systems for which the PWD has too high of output level and are happy that the DS has a lower output level.)"
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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #302 - 07/22/14 at 21:49:37
 
@ Kana813 ~ thanks for that!

After reading I would assume that one would get better performance from the DS using a Preamp, but  unfortunately if someone wants to go "balanced" then we have to look outside Decware at this point.  McGowan uses the somewhat expensive Balanced preamp from Aesthetix called the Calypso.  The Wyred4Sound STP-SE seems to be fully balanced at $1999 ... that may make a nice pairing.
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kana813
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #303 - 07/22/14 at 23:10:01
 
beowulf:

Ted Smith posted these specs for the DS outputs on the PS Audio forum:

Balanced: 2.8V RMS or 8V p-p 300 Ohms
Unbalanced: 1.4V RMS or 4V p-p 150 Ohms

LR's ZMA needs 2.0V on the SE inputs, I don't see any specs for the optional balanced inputs.

I'm going to try a DS with my REF 75, which needs 1.4V on it's balanced inputs.
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Dave1210
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #304 - 07/22/14 at 23:51:34
 
A few of the Decware amps have options for XLR inputs, but I think it's fair to say that they were designed to be SE.  

I remember asking Steve about the voltage needed for the ZMA to come to full volume with the balanced inputs, and it is also 2V.  

In my system, with the ZMA, I prefer the lower voltage RCA inputs (~2.8V) running the PS Audio PWD direct, so I think I would be ok with the balanced outputs on the DirectStream into the ZMA (also 2.8V).
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Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #305 - 07/23/14 at 04:18:13
 

I'm pretty sure the guys at PS Audio and forums are tired of hearing me say I wish there was more voltage for the input of my ZMA. They think I'm nuts.

A new review on the DS.

http://www.stereotimes.com/post/ps-audio-perfectwave-directstream-dac/

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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #306 - 07/23/14 at 11:51:30
 
After living with the great gain from my PS Audio MK 2s I'm leery of the new voltage from the DS, will just have to see. The only real problem I would have (using single-ended input) would be from my DVR, I'll likely have to use the "Narrow" DSP option but that's okay. I'd rather not use the CSP2+ (surprised me to discover I didn't prefer the preamp in front of the Mk 2).

Should be sending one of my Mk 2s back for an upgrade in a few days.
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« Last Edit: 07/23/14 at 13:21:48 by Lon »  

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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #307 - 07/23/14 at 15:05:37
 
Thanks for the link Eric. Nice review.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #308 - 07/23/14 at 15:22:34
 
Well, my DS is on its way back. I enjoyed my time with it. My AA front end keeps me involved in the music where I can't justify keeping the DS for just Redbook. The good news is, it free's up some serious cash for potentially the Auralic Vega an others including the Benchmark DAC2 HGC! It's all good, an the fun journey an enjoying the music with my CSP3/ZMA combination continues!
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #309 - 07/23/14 at 15:33:45
 
Interesting. Personally if you're not keeping the DS I wouldn't bother with the other two but then we're different. Smiley
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Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #310 - 07/23/14 at 15:52:31
 
Wow, I'm surprised - Stone. I got my MG-944 back late last night, and I put some Beatles, Hugh Laurie, and Wailin' Jenny's on random last night and was again blown away by how much detail I get with the DS.

Plus, I really missed my 944s. They really sing with the ZMA.

Wait, did you ever try the new firmware?!?!

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« Last Edit: 07/23/14 at 15:57:50 by Lonely Raven »  
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #311 - 07/23/14 at 18:28:19
 
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Palomino
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #312 - 07/23/14 at 20:36:12
 
Per that review: I have the Schit Bifrost (with the uber upgrade).   Yeah, I'd say there is a little difference with the DS...like about the size of Texas.

Given that Raven has once again spoiled me, I am going to hear a demo of the Chord CuteHD (or Ex).  It's supposed to do redbook well and is about 1/3 the price.  The fact that it does DS is a bonus.

If I hear something close to what I heard in the DS playing redbook, I will likely buy it.

I'm open to any other sub $2K suggestions if you guys have any.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #313 - 07/23/14 at 20:40:02
 

There was a thread about DACs, including the Hugo a few months ago. I tried to ignore it because I was quite happy with the Oppo till I heard the DirectStream.

If you could find something that renders music somewhere between the Oppo and the DS, for under $2000 - that would be a real winner.

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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #314 - 07/23/14 at 21:40:46
 
Pal,

My opinion: buy one of the used PWD Mk IIs out there (one on audiogon right now for 1600). I think mine sounds amazing (well, one of mine) and then in time you could upgrade to the DS I bet.
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #315 - 07/23/14 at 22:43:50
 
Sent one of my PWD Mk IIs in for the upgrade today; verified I will get the new firmware. Going to be fun to hear when it comes back!
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« Last Edit: 07/23/14 at 23:00:11 by Lon »  

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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #316 - 07/24/14 at 00:41:29
 
[left] Quote:
Lon said,
My opinion: buy one of the used PWD Mk IIs out there (one on audiogon right now for 1600). I think mine sounds amazing (well, one of mine) and then in time you could upgrade to the DS I bet.


@ Pal ~ I believe what Lon said has a lot of merit.  In a couple of years the price of the upgrades to DS will go down and you can hop in for a fraction of the cost, but in the mean time you will have the PWDII which IMO is better than the Schiit stuff.  Schiit is coming out with a reference DAC rumored to be just under $2000 though.

@ Stone  ...

I'm going to throw something else in the mix.  I have not heard it myself, but there is lots of positive feedback on the AMR DP-777.

It shuns the norm ESS Sabres chips and uses Gemini Digital Engine in combination with FPGA and DSP.  It contains 2 DACs (1) 32bit for Hi-Res/Hi-Def files and (1) 16bit exclusively for Redbook playback (so they are thinking about you Redbook guys).  It is a full blown analog and digital preamp (with 2 sets of analog inputs and one set of outs, not to mention all the digital inputs).  And it uses a unique valve input and output implementation.

Details Here:
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« Last Edit: 07/24/14 at 09:39:09 by beowulf »  
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #317 - 07/24/14 at 00:43:33
 
Actually Hans, I have a feeling that the upgrade kit will not be avaiable much longer than a year from now. But. . . Pal could save up to that end, and have great sound in the meantime.
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kana813
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #318 - 07/24/14 at 03:40:32
 
Lon,

Look forward to your comments on the DS.

I should have one here next week to compare to my Aesthetix Pandora Signature.
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #319 - 07/24/14 at 03:54:30
 
Cool! That will be an interesting comparison.
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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #320 - 07/24/14 at 05:38:27
 
Quote:
kana813 said,
I should have one here next week to compare to my Aesthetix Pandora Signature.


The Aesthetix stuff is really nice gear.  I've heard their Preamp and it's top notch, but never head a lot about their DACs.  Do you pair that stuff up with the ARC Ref 75?  What speakers do you use with that?  Must sound really nice! Cool
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Dave1210
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #321 - 07/24/14 at 13:23:13
 
Great idea Lon.  Underwood had a few new PWD's in stock for <2K.

I also hypothesize that we'll see a lot of the DS technology in a lower end PS Audio DAC that fills in the pricing gap they now have in their lineup.  Will likely require some patience though, as they probably want to get as much mileage from the DS as possible.  

With all this talk, I almost clicked purchase (with trade in) yesterday.  Not sure what stopped me to be completely honest.
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Lon
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #322 - 07/24/14 at 13:51:24
 
I know, it's hard to push the button. I wish you could get this kind of sound at a lower price point, but I just know it's not possible, there are a lot of factors that make this a good value even for this amount of money. To be honest what nearly held me back a half a dozen times was that the seasoned Mk II I have sounds astonishingly good. My girlfriend was dancing around in front of the stereo Monday as I've only ever seen her do in front of a live band (and taking items of clothing off too, which she doesn't do in front of a live band). She said "Damn these speakers sound GREAT" -- I told her the whole system sounds great, though the speakers are amazing it's all the other components too. Redbook on the Mk II is awesome, I can only imagine that the DS will be a bit better. .. upgrading at half the cost is just doable for me, I don't think I could do the whole price point if I had to.
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Palomino
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #323 - 07/24/14 at 16:10:17
 
Thanks for the suggestions.  For some reason I haven't been getting the alerts when this thread is updated.

I'm going to hear the Chord QuteHD/EX tonight.  Maybe they will have a Chord Hugo (which supposedly tops it by a good margin).  The Chord DACs are FPGA based and that may be the key to the best redbook given how much praise there is on these DACs and the DS).

Still, I will check out the used PS Audio DACs.  Those are attractive prices and the upgrade path is also good.

I probably will not buy another Schitt DAC.  Just not good synergy with my system or sound I am trying to achieve.  It is more detailed than my cheap, everyday DAC, but not nearly as open.  

I am looking for openness and detail (close to the DS) but under $2K.  That combo may not be available, but I like the hunt.
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Dave1210
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #324 - 07/24/14 at 17:14:19
 
Pal...any chance you could compare the Chord Hugo directly to the DS in either your system or at LR's?  If so, that would be an awesome comparison.

LR...glad the 944's are back in your possession and you are enjoying the sweet music.  I really enjoy the ZMA/944 combo as well.  I have said this before, but there appears to be good synergy between these two.  Steve mentioned to me early on (when were discussing ZMA vs. Torii) that the combo would be hard to beat.  Together they make such great music it's easy to forget about the cost mismatch.

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Palomino
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #325 - 07/24/14 at 17:42:18
 
The place I am going is not a PS Audio shop, but if I pop for one, we'd do the comparison at Raven's for sure.  One of the reviewers that reviewed both the Chord QuteHD and the Hugo is doing a DS review soon, so perhaps that will provide some insight.

As I said in an earlier post, the DS sound haunts me because it was so natural and real.  I remember that sound and hope they have a few of the selections I heard at Raven's handy.  If I hear that sound or something close in a lower priced DAC, it would be tough for the wallet not to open.

Here is the review of the Chord QuteHdEX :http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/576-chord-chordette-qute-ex-dac-update...
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« Last Edit: 07/24/14 at 17:44:06 by Palomino »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #326 - 07/24/14 at 18:38:38
 
If you want I can pass you whatever files you need to test via Dropbox. I'm pretty sure I can hit my NAS from work and just move the files over.

I'm not sure if the shop would be setup well enough to easily load off a flash drive or whatever. I mean, I would if it were *my* shop - but what do I know. LOL

I'd be happy to have you over and crush whatever DAC you have with my DirectStream/ZMA combo. LOL
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« Last Edit: 07/24/14 at 18:41:24 by Lonely Raven »  
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Dave1210
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #327 - 07/24/14 at 20:58:52
 
I just pulled the below specs from the PS Audio site.  I thought I had the output voltage straight, but am now confused again.  Are there two output levels on the DS, low and high?  Or should the below values be interpreted as average (1.4 RCA/3.15 XLR) and max (2.81 RCA/5.3 XLR)?

Analog Audio Output

Connector      RCA/XLR Unbalanced /Balanced (X2)
Output level, low: 1.41 Vrms(+5BV)/3.15
Output level high, maximum: 2.81 Vrms (+8dBV)/5.3 Vrms (+12dBV)

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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #328 - 07/24/14 at 21:40:29
 
@ Palomino ~ just for kicks when your out DAC shopping test out the McIntosh D100.  They retail new for about $2500, but can be found used aroun $1900 (usually no woriies on used mac stuff as its built like a tank).  I've geard this DAC 3 times and walked away impressed, especially for the price ... Which (aside from their remote controls Smiley) I think it may be the least expensive piece of gear that McIntosh puts out, but still has the high-end classic Mac glass face plate and well built chassis, etc.

Review on Head-Fi: http://www.head-fi.org/t/698941/review-the-stunning-mcintosh-d100

Review on The-Ear: http://www.the-ear.net/review-hardware/mcintosh-d100-digital-preamp-digital-prea...

On the ear review in particular he mentioned that it sounded as if everything was upsampled to DSD.  I heard this a week after hearing the DS and I felt the same thing, but unfortunately I couldn't A/B them so you know how hearing memory can be.  But check it out I think its a decent piece of equipment and sounded really good with tubes.

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« Last Edit: 07/24/14 at 21:42:30 by beowulf »  
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Lonely Raven
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #329 - 07/24/14 at 21:47:33
 
Yeah, it is confusing - the DS does have a -20db attenuation setting.

That said, this is what Ted posted in the DS thread on their forums.

Balanced: 2.8V RMS  or  8V p-p     300 Ohms
Unbalanced: 1.4V RMS  or  4V p-p     150 Ohms

and here is my Oppo for comparison.

Output Level: 2.1 Vrms (RCA) or 4.2 Vrms (XLR) at 0dBFS

My ears tell me there is a voltage difference, and it's the one thing I'm grumbling about with the DS. I've already swallowed the price and don't grumble about it anymore...but this sucks and means I might need a booster/preamp of some sort to get the density of sound I had with the Oppo or Otari.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #330 - 07/24/14 at 23:38:57
 
The test will be with a mac mini, so they should be able to use my flash drive.
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beowulf
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #331 - 07/25/14 at 00:40:40
 
Quote:
LR said,
Yeah, it is confusing - the DS does have a -20db attenuation setting.

That said, this is what Ted posted in the DS thread on their forums.

Balanced: 2.8V RMS  or  8V p-p     300 Ohms
Unbalanced: 1.4V RMS  or  4V p-p     150 Ohms

and here is my Oppo for comparison.

Output Level: 2.1 Vrms (RCA) or 4.2 Vrms (XLR) at 0dBFS

My ears tell me there is a voltage difference, and it's the one thing I'm grumbling about with the DS. I've already swallowed the price and don't grumble about it anymore...but this sucks and means I might need a booster/preamp of some sort to get the density of sound I had with the Oppo or Otari.


I was having the same issue with the Taboo.  It needs a full 2.5 volts from a source for maximum output and the Rega DAC I was using was only 2.175v.  So it was either find a source with that much output or a preamp.  I went with a Preamp due to the fact that I wanted a remote and other functions.  I found the McIntosh C220 for a really good price and I was a little nervous about the everything but the kitchen sink Mac in front of the purist Taboo, but the output gain of the Mac was a perfect match and although that 0.325 doesn't look like a lot on paper it really made a difference, so much so that I wish I had done it sooner.  

There's pros and cons to adding a preamp.  In my situation the plus is that the input gain of the Mac matched perfect and the little 6 watt Taboo can get loud with my 95dB @ 8 ohm speakers ... I'm talking really loud, so much at times that I'm worried about bothering my neighbors (especially when watching movies with explosions, etc.), also the soundstage really blossomed and the room really filled up nicely.  The downside is that I think it gives up just a touch of clarity/resolution. But IMO the pros outweigh the cons by a fair margin, so I really enjoy the pairing (not to mention that the tube phono stage on the Mac is excellent and better than anything that I've had in my system up to this point).
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« Last Edit: 07/25/14 at 00:42:08 by beowulf »  
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Dave1210
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #332 - 07/25/14 at 03:00:09
 

Someone in the McIntosh advertising department went a little crazy with the lens flare feature in Photoshop.  I do think the $2K price point is an important one and I would like to hear the D100 (our local dealer carries McIntosh).

The next comment is going to be a stupid generalization (so don't listen if you don't want to), but I have never heard an ESS Sabre DAC that sounds natural and engaging...to me.  There is always something off with timbre/tone/treble that ultimately makes it fatiguing in the long run.  That said, I wouldn't dismiss the Mac DAC without listening.  It's quite possible McIntosh has a breakthrough product, and I hope they do.  

Ultimately it's human nature to group things so we can process what's important and what's not, but it makes overcoming the 'hurdle' for the technology that much more difficult.  It appears to be a survival instinct that hasn't evolved.  Enough with the 'deep' stuff...but it does apply to cd vs vinyl, Class D vs. A, Windows vs. Mac, tube vs. SS, etc...in audio.

I highly doubt all FGPA DACs are going to sound amazing.  FGPA is a means to an end, but everything along the way is important too.   Maybe most FGPA DAC's will sound awesome vs. OEM DAC chips (90/10 vs. 10/90), but that's probably a stretch.  

And we can't forget about the system...We all have Decware in common and we are testing a lot of other gear around it.   We might have different tastes, but I suspect we are more similar than different.  I bet a Torii mk3 paired with HR-1's is similar (musically) to a ZMA paired with 944's/Monoliths.  These systems are making amazing music.  I'm not sure it matters how we get there, just that we do...
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #333 - 07/25/14 at 03:49:41
 
@ Dave1210 ~ Hehe ... yes that's a funky photo, but from the review, not the McIntosh website (their pictures are very clear and concise).

I agree with you in regards to the ESS Sabre chip, especially the newer 9018 (IIRC) one which there is a lot of feedback on them being too bright in the upper mid and highs even though they can do DSD, etc.  The previous gen chips ESS Sabre 9016 don't seem to have the bright issues associated with the latest chip and that's what is used with the D100.  Although the AURALiC Vega uses the 9018 to a good effect and has got a lot of accolades ... I've heard it and liked it considerably, but never lived with it for over a couple hours.  Overall implementation seems to be the key here.

I see a lot of other vendors starting to implement FPGAs into their designs and I think its a good move overall as their is still a lot of ground to cover and you can only take someone else's chip so far.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #334 - 07/25/14 at 16:39:23
 
Here's my review of the Chord QuteHD.

Drove 45 min to the showroom.  Gargantuan sand amp system, OK room.  Muddy bass (disappointing) but decent mids, highs and image.  Only compared it to an Auralic which he said was twice the price.

I liked what I heard, but it was nothing special.  It was comparable to the Auralic.  

I was saying goodbye and asked about an in-home demo.  Salesman said yes and asked that I return it mid next week if I didn't want it.  Not wanting to be too much of  jerk, I asked how much because I had found a used one online for a good price.  I didn't want to demo any further if I wasn't going to buy it from him.  The price he gave me was less than the price on the web unit, so I said OK.

Got it home and it was a completely different ballgame.  Great attack, punch, transients and good bass grip.  Pretty musical as well.  Did a wonderful job with everything I threw at it: redbook, hi res and DSD.  Even played MP3s well.  To be honest, if I didn't know the resolution of the songs I was playing, I'm not sure I would have been able to tell.  I stayed up till 1:30 listening.  This DAC definitely raises the level of my system.

I did not get the same sense of musical composition or mix that I got from the DS, nor were the instruments as textured or real.  Some of this could be that I listened to the DS on the ZMA which is an exceptional combo, BUT it was pretty close on my rig and considering the price, I may hang on to it.  

The only tradeoff seems to be size of soundstage.  Its weird because width is good, it just doesn't seem as high.  The sweet spot seemed a bit lower too.  I do think this unit can benefit from a good linear power supply or a battery.  I've had experiences with that improving the soundstage before.  Also, I used the stock USB cord.  Oh, and it glitched out in USB using Audirvana plus.  I knew about this going in from the reviews.  It did not do this in BitPerfect.  I may also try jRiver.

I do think there is something to FPGA and redbook.  This DAC really sounds good, and not just for its price.  I'd like to hear it on the ZMA.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #335 - 07/25/14 at 17:38:30
 

If you can deal with .5m, I can spot you my spare Pangea USB cord.

It's a 12v device, right? I'd totally try it with a big dry cell battery! (or hell, a car battery even if you can located it safely)

The DS got that great depth after the Firmware update, so there is something to that depth coming from changes made in the high end.

I'd be happy to have you over for a side by side - my music server should only take a minute to load the Chord driver and be able to flip flop between the two DACs.

I look forward to hearing the Chord - I'm glad I stumbled into those reviews and sent you down that path. I guess it's another one of those Zen-happenstances. Hopefully this makes up for the audio-ruination (another Decware original word) I dealt out on your previous visit.  :)
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #336 - 07/25/14 at 18:31:54
 
Sounds very promising Pal. Does Chord release new firmware updates for their DACs like PSAudio does?  If so, then maybe the height and depth update is on its way.  That said, I wonder how many folks listen to the Chord DACs with headphones vs. speakers.  If it's a lot of the former, the user base might not pick up your observations.  It sounds as if Chord is open to user feedback and takes it seriously.  I wonder if it would be worth contacting them about what you are experiencing.  Looking forward to the DS/Chord head to head comparison.  I'm sure the ZMA will take it to the next level.      
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #337 - 07/25/14 at 18:53:59
 

Pals looking at the older Chord DAC. I asked the same question about firmware, and he said it's $500 to take it up to the newer models firmware. Which sucks, but hey, it's their business model. At the price he's getting the DAC, it sounds like even that $500 might be worth it. Plus the Linear power supply for $300. It's an investment, but it sounds like it might have some of the magic the DS has. IMHO - if he can get 80% what I have, at only $2k invested, sounds like a deal to me!


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will
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #338 - 07/25/14 at 19:39:02
 
I am not getting the notifications for this thread most of the time lately either....

I have been mulling this over and like others, what rises to the top consistently is: Wow... a 6K DAC! That's about what my MKIII, 944, Tranquility, cables, computer and all cost together! And it sounded real!

Interesting also, the other DACs, particularly with the prerequisite of being good at redbook. Chord, Vega, Benchmark 2, Macintosh...excited by the DAC conversations here, I have checked them all out in recent months. They all sound promising.

But then I listen to my NOS Tranquility DAC, and wonder why I look? Also cables, Mini and configuration, drive, USB power supply, software and so on, but this thing already sounds quite real...The sense of resolution is very, very good. It sounds like voices and instruments, and this amazing quality at a reasonable price was not happenstance.

Since the Tranquility folks are close to a new DAC optimized for Redbook and many levels of hi-res/DSD, this story might be useful.

There were no doubt other purists focused fully on seeing how good redbook could be (rather than working within the "limitations"..not a great ground for creativity), but DbAudioLabs was the first I heard of who really dug in in a fresh and creative way...seeking a truly "analog" sound from Redbook without excuses. Blind testing, they explored inside AND outside the box of popular technology. Also with very simple circuits, so I got interested.

With analog reference, multiple systems, and multiple serious listener/developers, to get the most for the least, they just couldn't use the typical tools....async, up-sampling, etc, at least not without sound degeneration, so they kept refining NOS 44/16, discovering loads of data once very carefully extracted.

The criteria of unobstructed micro information was strong. Once you get that musically, you hear everything better from skins, strings, wood...to reeds, air and complex ambient information. Then once the DAC can reveal those sweet detail refinements like real music in real rooms, subtle changes from the server show up...the computer, software, drives, memory, feet, cables...all making cumulative improvements once sorted.

It clearly is not all 1s and 0s, and in my experience, micro information seems the most fragile aspect of digital, as illustrated by how few designers can get it fully while remaining smooth and real. If a system/room does not reveal detail throughout the spectrum well, it will not reveal cables, feet, etc as well. Nor will it differentiate sound stage as well.

It sounds like the DS is pulling it off admirably, but at a steep entry fee.

It is not surprising that the DS can outdo the Oppo or Schitt, or many other DACs costing a small percentage of the DS, and it has very compelling technology. But then, the Tranquility in its current configuration, though not flawless, it easily carries me into the music making my super tweaked Oppo, Rega Apollo, ZDAC and DSPeaker 2.0  feel electronic by comparison.

The original Tranquility was more like real music to many than most DACs of the time within reach (a couple years ago), including Ayre, Wavelength, and the first Perfectwave, ..... I wasn't able to compare those, but it sounded like music to me and 1K for an open box unit, the Essential USB cable-200 (when sold with the DAC), and later, I think I paid 175 for an Aqvox USB power supply and isolator, not bad for this level of sound. And after an output upgrade...the way I have it fixed anyway, this thing is amazing!

This leads me to why I guess high res is just not for me at this point.... First because Redbook is so good in this system...but also, living in the sticks, downloading big files would fry my monthly bandwidth in no time; and Redbook has soooo much music, most of which I buy used, further differentiating the cost for hi-res files, not to mention the research and confusion in trying to get the good stuff.

But to the carrot dangling at the end of this story.

After "writing out loud", I feel happy with Redbook, but if I thought I needed to have Redbook and Hi-res/DSD, I would consider waiting a while for Eric Hider at DbAudioLabs to come out with their new DAC optimized for multiple file types. To me, he is devoted and effective like Steve is....creative with long experience, and a good mind and ears. They both find the extraordinary, musical representation that lets us feel the vast aggregation of subtleties that real music is. So I would be very surprised if the new DAC were not world class, and at a fraction the cost of the DS.

But for me, the Tranquility making Redbook amazing, it still has has many advantages. I have no doubt that if it can be this good with Redbook, it can be better with hi-res, but I guess I will avoid that a while longer...
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« Last Edit: 07/25/14 at 19:49:43 by will »  

PSA P5/modified Brickwall/Shunyata Defender/more; MacMini/Audirvana>Jitterbug/Regen> modified Gustard x20pro DAC; DIY + Pi Audio PCs; DIY ICs + USB; modified Jupiter CSP3, Torii MKIV, HR1; DIY Speaker Cables; feet - Madscientist, SynRes, Archie's, Herbie's isocup
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #339 - 07/25/14 at 20:09:42
 

That sounds like a plan, Will. With technology constantly improving, and even the way we design this technology improving, new stuff comes out all the time. You have to decide to jump on at this stop, or wait till the bus comes around again and jump on later when the technology looks right.

I did the same thing with my cell phone. I was on the same old clunky phone for like 8-9 years. Then I saw the *perfect* smartphone for me and jumped on it. That was a serious upgrade. Now, I'm trying to avoid the merry-go-round of upgrading phones every two years like my friends did, and went 4 years before I upgraded to my current phone.

You just need to wait till that shift in technology matches up with your wants and needs. Who knows, in two years, something like the DS DAC might be pretty common, and at a price point that anyone could afford it.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #340 - 07/25/14 at 21:13:07
 
Early adopters almost always pay more...that's the cost of doing business if you want the latest and greatest.  Unless of course you are purchasing a Decware product (e.g. introductory price is for early adopters).  I prefer the Decware approach, but it's atypical.
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #341 - 07/25/14 at 21:16:19
 
And I've learned to wait for Decware products to go through a few changes to the model before buying them! Sometimes Steve can't do the updates to the early models that he puts on the later ones. Sad And sometimes you have to send them back for mods to solve problems.
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will
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #342 - 07/25/14 at 23:40:55
 
Yes, it is all pretty interesting. I guess micro companies like Decware and DbAudioLabs have introductory prices partially to reward us early folks, but to get the word to others also. This reminds me, I promised to get a review of the Torii MKIV out@#$%^&*

I think in this case, though I am always trying to improve my sound, I question the need for me. I suspect there are not many in this discerning crowd who are more picky than me, and my quest makes gear a means to an end. That I will go further than some folks to mod stuff to taste changes the equation some too.

But DAC-wise, I have not felt like looking very far since I got the Tranquility tuned into my system. If I did not feel it was getting the music out in a real and very satisfying way, I would surely be on the hunt. And really, rather than being behind, I feel like the Tranquility was well ahead of its time concentrating on getting really good with the ubiquitous Rebook while others were mostly trying to work out decent Redbook within the technology of the Hi-res trend. Finally it is sound, and this things sounds real here.

But then my system is tweaked at least to lower heaven, if not high heaven.

Wink
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #343 - 07/26/14 at 00:22:54
 
For me the sound reached an almost unreal peak with the combo of the PS Audio PerfectWave Transport and the PerfectWave DAC (the original, then the Mk II). (And in concert with my cabling and power treatment "dial ins" as well as my finding great tube complements).

The combination of these two via their proprietary HDMI I2S interface was special for Redbook,* a balanced mixture of detailed and musical, that allowed me to reach indiscriminantly around my collection and everything sounded good, a rare thing for digital playback for me. I suspect the DS will be more of the same and another level of playback sound as well, that was what drove me to order an update (and having two Mk IIs already I was able to buy in at a lower price point). I agree it's too expensive but oddlly also suspect I'll get what I paid for, which was true for me with the Mk IIs--I never had buyer's remorse, always had great music from their output. just right for me and my collection and system.

*And boy did I learn that HDMI cables in this position made a BIG difference, and boy was I surprised to discover the extent. Bigger than tube-rolling!
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« Last Edit: 07/26/14 at 00:30:54 by Lon »  

Decware:HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,ZBIT,Taboo III;PS Audio DMP+DS,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade spkr cbl;CambridgeAud CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,wh belt, Groovetracer upgrades+Exact2;VooDoo Cbl:Stradivarius+Cremona,Iso-Pods; Mplshade:Samson v3;Oppo PM-1;Audeze LCD2
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will
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #344 - 07/26/14 at 01:06:45
 
Lon,

I don't don't envy your coming breakin period, but I do really hope you get the beauty once you adjust the DS to your system! And I agree, your experience and love of PSAudio gear is good reason to believe this too will be really good in your system! Very Exciting....
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« Last Edit: 07/26/14 at 01:07:26 by will »  

PSA P5/modified Brickwall/Shunyata Defender/more; MacMini/Audirvana>Jitterbug/Regen> modified Gustard x20pro DAC; DIY + Pi Audio PCs; DIY ICs + USB; modified Jupiter CSP3, Torii MKIV, HR1; DIY Speaker Cables; feet - Madscientist, SynRes, Archie's, Herbie's isocup
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #345 - 07/26/14 at 01:26:12
 
Yes, I think we're both pretty much breaking in something all the time! I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy the DS deeply. Then I have to stop and just enjoy my system. Though a bigger power plant might be good. And maybe some different speaker cables. And of course, tubes to try out. And. . . .

Oh boy. It's like a mental illness! Smiley
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Decware:HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,ZBIT,Taboo III;PS Audio DMP+DS,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade spkr cbl;CambridgeAud CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,wh belt, Groovetracer upgrades+Exact2;VooDoo Cbl:Stradivarius+Cremona,Iso-Pods; Mplshade:Samson v3;Oppo PM-1;Audeze LCD2
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will
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #346 - 07/26/14 at 02:35:25
 
Damn near! But what a fun and mind expanding journey!

Cool
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« Last Edit: 07/26/14 at 02:37:03 by will »  

PSA P5/modified Brickwall/Shunyata Defender/more; MacMini/Audirvana>Jitterbug/Regen> modified Gustard x20pro DAC; DIY + Pi Audio PCs; DIY ICs + USB; modified Jupiter CSP3, Torii MKIV, HR1; DIY Speaker Cables; feet - Madscientist, SynRes, Archie's, Herbie's isocup
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #347 - 07/26/14 at 10:57:49
 
The best front ends are expensive. I feel privaledged to be in a club
which has so many members wanting the best for their Decware amps through the digital media. I remember one of the first posts I made here regarding the ZP3 and how it spoke to me telling me that it was now ok to save for a top mc cart. Guess the `mental illness` may be something more logical...or organic.
You never hear here that their Zen amp is to slow or bass light, cant handle the micros or has roll off problems. Nope, it`s all systems go for front ends and ancillaries.
$6k for the new kid on the block to provide more detail may sound too rich but if it does the biz you are getting quite a box of ticks. Bells and whistles by the sound of it.
I`ve just forked out (US retail) $5k for a cart which does the same for my vinyl. Scale it up sizewise, componentwise or versatilitywise and $6k doesn`t seem eye watering.
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« Last Edit: 07/26/14 at 11:17:36 by Syd »  

Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, C. SP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s Michell Orbe + SME V + M.Benz LP s , Nakamichi LX5, Lowther acoustas DX2`s, WE 16g sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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Dave1210
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #348 - 07/26/14 at 19:12:30
 
Lon...what HDMI cable are you using to connect the PWT to the PWD?
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Re: PS Audio about to ...
Reply #349 - 07/26/14 at 19:58:33
 
The PS Audio all silver one. I2S I think it's called. Luckily it came with the combo deal, as it's expensive. I bought another one at half price for my Blu-ray player. I've tried about a half dozen other cables in between the PWD and PWT and that one sounds the best, by a wide margin.
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