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Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder (Read 45158 times)
stone_of_tone
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #50 - 02/23/15 at 20:45:17
 
No USB.

This unit had to meet two criteria for me:
1) Stellar playback of 16 bit/44.1 from CD transport. As you can read above...it does this beautifully with Steve's Output Transformers. He knows how Music should sound. This is not an up-sampling DAC for straight playback of SPDIF.

2) The unit has a built in SRC (sample rate converter). You can record at a sampling frequency that is different from the sampling frequency of the digital input source; PCM 44.1 - 192kHz. I can format a compatible SD card an cherry pick CD's from my 1150 collection, an wring some more sonics out of them. However, as stated in 1), it sounds so damn good as is-this should be an interesting comparison.

I've read some mixed bag info about ADDA for Record Albums. I might not ever do this. So, since it has met my 1) an 2) criteria-I love it.
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« Last Edit: 02/23/15 at 21:00:59 by stone_of_tone »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #51 - 02/23/15 at 23:36:31
 
Quote:
I don't believe Atkinson's comment about measurements of the DS says what you think it does.


I have to read this, because I don't recall anyone saying anything about lack of resolution.

Quote:
I'm hoping that LR gets a chance to hear this, I'm very interested in his impressions in comparison to the DirectStream.


I've been too busy with work to pester Steve - but after Stone's excitement, I'm going to have to make time now!
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Lon
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #52 - 02/23/15 at 23:55:52
 
I very much want to hear your impressions as you basically hear in the DS what I hear.

This is what Atkinson is quoted as saying on the Stereophile webpage:

In many ways, PS Audio's DirectStream DAC measures superbly well. But I was somewhat bothered by its ultimate lack of resolution with data capable of higher-than-CD resolution, which I suspect lay behind AD's finding the processor to sound "a bit rounded off" and lacking in immediacy.

It's unclear from the text whether this was his original measurements or an updated conclusion after he had been sent another unit that did measure better after the 1.21 firmware change (sounds to me from the comments it's from before 1.21). The page above with Art Dudley's comments is dated February 2015. I don't have a copy of the Stereophile issue. . . because I long ago gave up on that mag.
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« Last Edit: 02/23/15 at 23:59:26 by Lon »  

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beowulf
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #53 - 02/24/15 at 05:44:49
 
I wonder if the new PP OS which is supposed to be more forward is a result of them knowing about that review.  When I spent time with McGowan at the demo, I never noticed any resolution lacking but it was only a couple of hours and to top it off the hi res music that he did play I thought blew Redbook away in the detail end of things.

@ LR, wow I would love to hear some comparisons of the PS DS to the Decware ZDSD.
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Lon
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #54 - 02/24/15 at 12:40:41
 
Actually I think that the previous 1.21 was inspired by that review; the story is (I'm a skeptic) that in correcting the measurements with new better instruments better sound quality was found. I agree that the sound was improved, I like 1.21 a lot after some time with it. It was hard for me to be decisive about the former software as I had the machine out of commission for a month.
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« Last Edit: 02/24/15 at 13:21:46 by Lon »  

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Palomino
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #55 - 02/24/15 at 14:01:08
 
Stone, I'm interested in your comparison to the Chord (albeit without the LPSU).  My offer on the LPSU was if you didn't like it, I'd use it on my external HD.  You probably won't be tossing any money at the Chord now.

Will it play FLAC?  I read something about it not playing compressed MP3.  Maybe that applies to all compressed formats.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #56 - 02/24/15 at 14:53:51
 
John Atkinson's summation paragraph (page 117 March 2015 Stereophile). I've been a subscriber for 22 years an read pretty much all of JA's Follow-ups an the other Reviewer's.

He wrote: "The measurement reduction in low-frequency distortion with the v.1.2.1 firmware is dramatic, the improvement in resolution less so but still worthwhile".

Far as Redbook is concerned: I, a gentlemen on Audioshark and a Reviewer noticed the omissions in the pleasantry of its Redbook reproduction.  

......does not stop it from being a wonderful player....just me and some others hear what we don't like about it.
**********************************************************

Pal, no FLAC or MP3.
I will compare my ZDSD to my Chord for sure an with my CSP3. ABA it a few times.
I have her on right now. Steve, certainly spent some time fine tuning his Output Stage. The smoothness with the dynamic detail/all encompassing is so damn right. It grabs you without being forward or to laidback. Balanced, is so right!
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« Last Edit: 02/24/15 at 14:55:54 by stone_of_tone »  

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Lon
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #57 - 02/24/15 at 15:32:28
 
Okay, but the "resolution" he was talking about was of higher than Redbook formats. You may have been hearing what you didn't like (or not enough of what you liked) when listening to Redbook but it wasn't from a lack of resolution, according to Atkinson.

I listen to my DVR (compressed higher than Redbook format) through the DirectStream and a few other high resolution items on DVD-R and they sound wonderful to me. Anyway, I'm sure the Zen DSD is more to your tastes; I think my idea of "neutral" and Steve's are different, I tried for a long time to like the ZCD and just couldn't, and I preferred all the incarnations of the PS Audio DAC and the Sony 5400 ES to the ZDAC. Just a matter of taste at this point I think. I can't stomach the treble energy these put out.
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« Last Edit: 02/24/15 at 15:45:30 by Lon »  

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stone_of_tone
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #58 - 02/24/15 at 15:55:22
 
Exactly Lon, as I stated it is still a wonderful Player.

I also made clear the resolution was in the higher formats. For Redbook,  made clear as well - I can find the Review and the Audioshark post to corroborate the omissions issue we had with the PS Audio DSD. It is a matter of taste though - agreed.

But consider this: and I mentioned in an above post. The ZDSD addressed the output volume direct (to ZMA) issue the PS Audio DSD has***....and it addressed/the ZDSD does what the PS Audio DSD does in neutrality (I mentioned above too a few posts up)***. The main reason I'm so estactic about it too...is this! This Output Stage for the ZDSD, is not the ZCD or ZDAC Lon? I think that is clear....with voicing from the Otari = ZDSD.

Moving on....I had put 4 hours on the ZDSD Saturday morning, an 12 yesterday. I thought it came pretty much burned in because of the musicality I was getting. Oh no, she is blooming her brains out this morning. No Hyperbole.

*** See post/reply # 46, 1), 2) and 3).
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« Last Edit: 02/24/15 at 16:22:52 by stone_of_tone »  

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Lon
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #59 - 02/24/15 at 16:34:14
 
Again, I think it's tastes, I think you and Steve like more treble than I, and so your "balance" isn't MY balance. For instance I think the DS is pretty damned neutral, you don't seem to. And those previous digital products aren't this new one, but they shared a signature sound that I bet is represented in this unit. "Voicing from the Otari' means doodle to me.

And as far as output, I run my DS direct with no problem, for Redbook I have to turn down the gain on either the DS or the Torii, only my DVR output being a little challenged--it's loud enough for me, but not one friend who sometimes visits, at its "Normal" DSP setting; when he visits I switch to "Narrow" and it's more than loud enough, so the "output" issue isn't one. The output issue with the DS seems to be with the ZMA not the Toriis I use. I'm not interested in a ZMA as Steve won't put a treble cut circuit on one.

I'm glad you're having a great time with the Zen recorder, but it doesn't mean that it's a better source for ME as you did not like the DS and I am very happy with mine, and I don't have to load my Redbook onto an SD card, which sucks imo. LR's opinion of the unit would tell me more.
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« Last Edit: 02/24/15 at 16:46:14 by Lon »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #60 - 02/24/15 at 16:37:04
 
I think I get what he's saying.

This is all IMO -

The resolution the DS pulls out of CD is pretty damn amazing. I honestly rediscovered all my CDs at least *twice* with the DS.

Again, IMO -

24/88 24/96 sound good - but not much better, if at all to CD

24/192 doesn't sound like much of anything - certainly not the improvement the sampling would have you assume you'd hear.

36/384 - I think that's the correct highest resolution PCM, right? I have no source music in this format so I can't really comment.

DSD 64 Sounds good - Better than CD, but not hugely

DSD 128 Sounds pretty amazing and I've been seeking out and upgrading any albums I can in DSD 128. It's the closest to tape so far.


So maybe he's saying the resolution in CD is clearly improved, but the HD formats just don't seem to have the same jump in quality/resolution?

Of course, all this is even assuming the source files aren't upsampled or converted in some way. Which is hard to know the history and origin of many files. If something was recorded in 24/88 in the early days of digital recording, I'm very, very skeptical of higher resolution recordings. Hell, I'm skeptical of the original! LOL But it seems there has been a push to dump original master tapes to DSD 128 - so I'm seeing some better stuff out there all the time. Opus3 comes to mind - they have some amazing digital recordings from tape.
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« Last Edit: 02/24/15 at 16:39:52 by Lonely Raven »  
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Lon
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #61 - 02/24/15 at 16:39:31
 
Maybe that's what Atkinson is saying. My biggest interest in hi-res is SACD, and I have other players for that. Also Blu-ray audio, and because of copyright restrictions on digital output of that, I have other players for that. So all I get out of the DS is fantastic sound. . . and nothing disappointing in the formats I listen to. Since I have 100 times the material in Redbook than other higher resolution formats, the fantastic Redbook sound is my meat and potatos.
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« Last Edit: 02/24/15 at 16:40:09 by Lon »  

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stone_of_tone
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #62 - 02/24/15 at 17:51:17
 
"The SD cards suck imo" Lon (paraphrasing). Hey, that is a pretty       up childish response. That is on YOU. Steve designed a great product with me in mind and many others.

And please stop copying an pasting for the 100th time, your canned response about the Treble cut on the Torii III. You don't own a ZMA and have never heard one.  The redundancy on that has to go, in every other one of your responses. I know I speak for many.

My points still stand about the PS Audio DSD an for Redbook too. You can rationalize things all you want. Just mine an others written an documented opinions.

Moving on, I got the ZDSD at -20 Reference Level now. Loving it!  8-)

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« Last Edit: 02/24/15 at 21:24:54 by stone_of_tone »  

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Lon
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #63 - 02/24/15 at 18:15:32
 
Umm excuse me? I think it sucks to load stuff onto cards and play them. A pain that is completely unnecessary for me.  A personal opinion of mine. You're full of your own! Just explaining this is a feautre that does nothing to attract me.

And every amp I've heard from Steve benefits from a treble cut circuit, and I've needed them on my amps; I have the treble three quarters of the way down! They are ear bleeders for me otherwise. So I know I would need one on the ZMA, Steve says he can't do it, I don't buy a ZMA, that simple. I'm happy with the Torii, very very happy, love the sound I get, using the treble cut circuit.

Don't mean to be upsetting Larry, I'm just stating my viewpoints here as everyone else does. I think the treble cut circuit is one of the best things about Decware amps, and I'll keep saying so, I've actually drawn people to Decware by mentioning it to them outside of this forum. Glad you are enjoying the Zen DSD. I'll post whatever I want to and don't need you telling me what to do.

Sorry, I'm bowing out of this thread for now.
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« Last Edit: 02/24/15 at 18:31:24 by Lon »  

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maddog07
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #64 - 02/24/15 at 19:21:55
 
children, children, children... "hearing" is a perception, and an "individual perception" at that.  Nobody can tell anybody else what sounds best to them - nobody.  And there is no "one" component that sounds best in all systems, all rooms, with all speakers, for all people - it does not exist.  All this is merely personal preference.  There are NO absolutes.  Everybody's hearing sensitivity is different, especially as we age.  I guarantee you that if you put a group of people age 50+ in a room, listening to a given system, everyone of them will have vastly different opinions about the overall sonic personality of the sound - too much highs, not enough, etc., etc. etc.

I happen to share Lon's opinion about the treble shunt control on the Torii  - given the following dependencies.  Steve once told me, face to face, that the Torii was designed for high-efficiency, full-range, crossoverless types of speakers.  Nearly all the speaker drivers in this category have a rising frequency response starting in the 1-2khz region.  The Torii was designed to alleviate this and to allow the frequency balance to be adjusted to a flatter response.  I have heard the ZMA Stone, and at length, and I prefer the Torii on full-rangers over the ZMA.  If I thought the ZMA sounded better on full-rangers, I'd have one.  
In over 35+ years of chasing the holy grail of audio, I have never heard a speaker that produces more life-like, realistic sound than a crossoverless, full-range, high-efficiency speaker - at any price.  This is my Opinion and my Preference - only - not anybody else.  So given my choice of speaker(for the last few years), the Torii provides the best synergy I have heard so far - to me.  If I find something that "I think" sounds better, I'll own it - $$ is not an object.  
I have never seen a musical instrument that has a crossover.  Just like the "best wire insulation" debate, no insulation is the best insulation (i.e. air), and the best crossover is no crossover.  Putting all those passive parts in series between a power amp and the actual sound transducer cannot be a good thing from any electrical engineering perspective and can only be subtractive and serve to alter the signal.
Now if you want to talk about other types of speakers, with multiple drivers and/or crossovers, less sensitive, etc.  I have found other amps to have better synergy w/them than the Torii - to my ears and preferences.

Lon it seems you've reached a level of satisfaction and contentment with your system that very few people ever do.  I congratulate you!  I'm almost there with you.  For those who are more into the constant churn of component of the month rotating thru their system, and never finding contentment and satisfaction, I do not envy you.  I, for one, would never try to tell anybody what they like, or should like, or try to convince them that my opinion about any audio component is the only opinion, or the right opinion.  That would just be insane....  This forum should only be about "sharing" impressions, opinions and preferences.... not dissing somebody for expressing their preference or opinion.  Get over yourself Stone... you're not the omnipotent being.  You don't have to share anybody's opinion or agree with them, and neither do you have the right to bash anybody for their opinion either.

I'm sure Steve's new DSD player sounds excellent!  Has anyone every heard a Decware product sound bad?   Wink  I plan on checking it out, at length at Zen later this year.  There is one "functional" requirement for me, that I don't think it has.  That being able to control it remotely from my listening chair via my iDevice.  I don't think it has this capability, but I could be wrong.  If it does, I'll probably have to have one, cause I'm sure it sounds excellent.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #65 - 02/24/15 at 19:56:03
 
Quote:
I'm sure Steve's new DSD player sounds excellent!  Has anyone every heard a Decware product sound bad?   Wink  I plan on checking it out, at length at Zen later this year.  There is one "functional" requirement for me, that I don't think it has.  That being able to control it remotely from my listening chair via my iDevice.  I don't think it has this capability, but I could be wrong.  If it does, I'll probably have to have one, cause I'm sure it sounds excellent.


I'm pretty sure this is a modified piece of studio gear. I wouldn't count on any modern features like that. It's a high end tool rather than a feature laden consumer piece.

Stone, please - now is not the time to poke at Lon. He's been pretty cool lately, and I think it's because his home life is getting better and he's less stressed. No reason to go stressing a fellow Decware family member out!
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #66 - 02/25/15 at 02:53:54
 
Just wanted to make sure about a few things as it doesn't seem absolutely clear to me ...

1. Can the ZDSD be used as a straight Windows/Mac DAC via USB?

2. If so, is the USB asynchronous and is the max resolution 32/384 and capable of processing DSD128 natively?

3. If not, then the max that SPDIF can process is only 192kHz ... is that correct?

4. Are there drivers for it and can it be used with something such as JRiver Media Center?

From the specs it seems as if USB input is not an option (unless it is a USB Hard Drive or Memory Stick, but not PC/Mac).  I don't want to copy files over to an SD card or USB HD either ... I have 2TB of hi-res music in PCM and DSD with resolution up to 32/384 stored on a Network Attached Storage device and need a PC connection via USB to access these files.  So as good as this thing must sound I would not be able to use it in the fashion I would want to.  Otherwise I would have seriously considered this as my next DAC.

Thanks guys! Cheesy
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« Last Edit: 02/25/15 at 08:08:29 by beowulf »  
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #67 - 02/25/15 at 14:24:20
 
No USB other than stick as far as I can tell.  I have a good USB to SPDIF converter so I can use that with this unit.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #68 - 02/25/15 at 15:39:14
 
Beowulf, yes the max through SPDIF is only 192kHz. That is all I need it for. If and when I get around to its other capabilities...... eg...ADDA etc... .

Main reason I got it is to hear if Steve's implementation of everything that the new Tascam 3000 is....with his Output Transformer Stage; could beat the 3 DACS I own and the 3 others I've had in my Listening Room (3 + 3 + now 1 = 7 ...own 4). It does.  If it did not......I had no problem with boxing it up and paying freight to an from + 10%.

The 3 others I had in: NAD M51, PS Audio PWT with PWD an of course the PS Audio DSD DAC. Purchased by me an OWNED....not a stop in by a friend for one night or a visit from a Leprechaun.

I now have 31 hours on her...she is a winner. I've described a few times above about her. Steve knows what it should sound like and what he was competing against. I had high expectations and it delivered. In a couple weeks I will compare to my Chord QuteHD and run thru my CSP3 for further confirmation.

A very fair price for this unit when you consider the Ref Level gain that essentially is a Preamp from Tascam economies of scale...then out of Steve's OTStage. The PS Audio DSD is charging you $2500 for the Preamp/with inadequate output/witnessed by many, in their DAC (then $2000 for the DAC portion and $1500 for recoup of R&D passed to early adopters+including multiple firmware updates). The ZDSD has no omissions in Redbook detail either.


Listening Room:
Room Treatments from Michael Green & Home Brew
Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Decware DSD DAC / Recorder (@ -18)
Kimber Select KS1030 IC RCA
Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier (NOS/Platinum/Matsushita / National PCC88 / 7DJ8 in A12 an B12 inputs)
Kimber Select KS3035 Speaker Cable
Vintage Polk SDA1 Speakers in Stereo (91db)
XLO Pro Power Cord to ZMA
PS Audio P3 Power Plant / Pangea AC-9SE from wall to P3
(Transport & ZDSD Regenerated/116, 118 an 120v are used/Multiwave off...ZMA on HC Output)

Yes, High End Cables matter! I am matching Steve's sound quality of the SD Card he sent. I already new that. But, nice to have further confirmation. Well, now, actually because of Steve's Output Stage with my Cables at 192. His Stage is that good. Wonderful music on the Card he sent. Thanks again Steve.

Best Speakers are between 91 an 95db. 96 to 101db = not good for the ultimate musicality.
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« Last Edit: 02/25/15 at 20:08:12 by stone_of_tone »  

Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #69 - 02/25/15 at 20:57:44
 
Thanks Stone, I have no doubt of the value with Steve's modifications, the price is great and it has some cool features too ... but unfortunately out of all those features it cannot be used as a straight PC or Mac DAC via USB and that is the main thing I would want from it.

I appreciate your thoughts and enthusiasm on it though and will be waiting to hear some feedback compared to the Cord as well! I just read a really good review of a stock one (thanks LR), so with Steve's mods I would assume this thing must sound even better. 8-)
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« Last Edit: 02/25/15 at 20:58:32 by beowulf »  
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #70 - 02/26/15 at 00:23:31
 
I discussed the following with Steve yesterday before placing my order. My idea was to put an excellent albeit value minded USB to SPDIF convertor from my MAC mini to get the appropriate digital signal via SPDIF from the convertor to the ZDSD. So far what I've come up with online searches is $100 to $300 dollar units that go up to 192. That in and of itself is not DSD is my brief but incomplete understanding. Do I understand that correctly? if not lets get some in the know clarification on this. I'm not sure I understand DSD as it pertains to SPDIF. So is the only way to hear DSD files natively with the ZDSD/Tascam unit off of the SD cards? Or if your computer has a SPDIF out and you have DSD files on your hard drive will the SPDIF translate that digitally out to the ZDSD/Tascam unit as a DSD native stream? if not what can one do to make that connection so DSD can be streamed off the computer drive to the ZDSD. These relationships are cloudy to me as I do not understand the capability of the digital outputs/inputs of the Tascam, my computer, any other computer, or any of the available USB to SPDIF convertor boxes. It would be great if we could start a thread detailing these capacities and features and how they work together. Understanding this digital domain is really somehow seems critical to successfully getting to know just what exactly you are listening to. By getting the collective knowledge base out on the table maybe we can make more sense of this for digital dummies like me. Grin

Palomino what USB/SPDIF convertor do you have?
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« Last Edit: 02/26/15 at 00:27:06 by Chris K »  

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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #71 - 02/26/15 at 00:39:15
 

Chris, I kinda got lost in your paragraph - but let me respond.

Due to legal and licensing reasons - DSD can't be sent via Fiber or Coax.

You have two ways of getting DSD to your DAC - either your DAC needs to understand it native (in the ZDSD that would be provided by Memory Card or Hard Drive), or you need to use what's called DoP, or DSD over PCM - which is a clever trick where they take the unaltered DSD bits and hide them in a PCM stream. The DAC sees this is really DSD hidden in PCM (DoP) and pulls those unaltered bits out. That's something a DAC like the DirectStream does but the ZDSD doesn't.

Again, this is a studio piece that's Steve's worked into an audiophile piece. It just doesn't have the features that a consumer device would. Speaking of which, the TEAC UD-501 is their consumer device - and it's also Steve's preferred DAC before the ZDSD.

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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #72 - 02/26/15 at 00:49:33
 
So there is no USB/SPDIF convertor that can output the DSD/PCM stream to the SPDIF input of the ZDSD/Tascam? At least not yet. Smiley
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« Last Edit: 02/26/15 at 00:51:39 by Chris K »  

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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #73 - 02/26/15 at 00:52:26
 
I have the Matrix.  About $250.  Compared to Optical or USB straight into the Chord it was much better.  Bigger soundstage for sure.

http://www.matrix-digi.com/en/products/22/index.html

Not a lot of reviews out there so I based my purchase off a Chord review.  http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/561-chord-electronics-qutehd-review/

As an aside, the first Chord QuteHD did not have a very good USB implementation.

It does do DoP which is nice.  The newer Chord EX and the latest 2Qute does have a decent USB implementation from what I have read.
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« Last Edit: 02/26/15 at 01:01:04 by Palomino »  

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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #74 - 02/26/15 at 01:08:30
 
@ Chris - I'm not sure how that would work or if its even possible ... I still see SPDIF in the chain and like LR said there is a licensing issue involved.  But interesting ...

@ Palomino - the Matrix is one overbuilt, solid chunk of aluminum!

@ LR - now begs the question ... why didn't Steve just mod out the UD-501 which is much more consumer friendly in the first place?  There must have been a reason to choose the Tascam ... perhaps because it doesn't do the converting like the Tascam does?
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #75 - 02/26/15 at 01:15:01
 
One of the reasons I recall steve said the 1PPM clock is as good as it gets.
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #76 - 02/26/15 at 02:52:41
 
Quote:
@ LR - now begs the question ... why didn't Steve just mod out the UD-501 which is much more consumer friendly in the first place?  There must have been a reason to choose the Tascam ... perhaps because it doesn't do the converting like the Tascam does?


A while back Steve and I were talking about how he wants to record to reel to reel and DSD in his listening room. The idea was to hear it live, knowing what it sounded like, then compared the recordings. It's also helpful when building amps to know what the original sounded like. I mentioned to Steve that I know Korg and Tascam have some DSD recorders for $1k-$2k range.

I have a feeling he was looking into this and one thing lead to another.

I've been wondering/waiting for him to figure out how to get DSD recordings to sound like his original Master Tapes - if this does it, then it's a winner even with it's very utilitarian design.
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #77 - 02/26/15 at 03:03:56
 
There are long debates about which is the better format, 24/192 PCM or DSD.  For streaming music from the computer to the ZDSD I felt that 24/192 was more than acceptable for most things.  

The ZDSD has the actual SONY specified DSD digital inputs, SDIF-2 and SDIF-3 so certainly if your computer interface supports this format you would be fine. Problem is, a USB to SDIF-3 converter is not commonplace. That will probably change soon enough, but right now they are hard to find.  

I look at it like this. I have heard what a $1600 power supply does to a mac mini used as a music server and the change is not small. I have head what a $1500 asynchronous USB to SPDIF converter does when it has good clocks replacing the clocks in the computer and itself has a good power supply. Again the difference is not small. I have heard what a $1500 digital cable does when installed between the SPDIF COAX output and the COAX input of the DAC and the difference is not small.

This is why I liked the TEAC UD501 because it basically has all this internally with a USB that supports 384K.  And I have played many a DSD file through it using my mackbook air with solid state drives running on battery power.  Placing the same DSD file on a memory card and putting it in the ZDSD is a noticeable improvement in sound quality.

Even a USB cable that has the power split into separate runs makes a noticeable improvement despite the USB to SPDIF converter having it's own hi-end power supply. And then there is the software and theoretically it should all sound exactly the same, but yet it doesn't.

This is all fine and dandy but like stone_of_tone pointed out, a modest priced USB to SPDIF converter is all I really need for most of my listening.

When I want to know what all of the aforementioned items in the previous paragraphs might sound like if money was no object, I copy the files to an SD card and stick it in the machine.  Even if the items mentioned above cost twice as much as the ones I've heard, they can not be better than eliminating them and the computer completely.

I can copy 6 hours of DSD128 music onto a memory card and have it in the machine playing music before most computers can load their playback software, find the song and play it...  assuming their computer is already booted up.

So I do both.  The majority from the computer, but when I get in the mood for something better, something close to vinyl and tape, I play DSD128 files from memory cards.  It's not as cool as cleaning a record or threading a tape, but what's a man to do.  

Smiley

-Steve

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« Last Edit: 02/26/15 at 03:04:55 by Steve Deckert »  
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #78 - 02/26/15 at 03:12:56
 

I forgot to mention that when I live stream from the internet from high bit-rate sites I find it very easy to press the record button on the ZDSD and again capture a better recording on the memory card then if I would have highjacked it from the computer. That way even if I copy the file back to the computer from the memory card, it sounds better played back on the computer then if the computer had done the recording(hijack).

Steve
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #79 - 02/26/15 at 12:33:39
 
Hi Steve! Just a question about SPDIF converters vs direct USB:

The trend in the last couple of years has been for USB to gradually and successfully replace SPDIF conversion, especially because in many cases that conversion is bitrate limited, whereas USB devices have the capability of up to 384 at same or even better sound.

I'm just surprised to learn from your comments that you prefer the sound through the converters, a conclusion that is inconsistent with what seems to be taking place in the market these days ...

Could you please explain why you still prefer SPDIF converters nowadays instead of the evolved USB devices?  

Thanks for your always valid feedback.
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« Last Edit: 02/26/15 at 12:34:47 by Fireblade »  

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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #80 - 02/26/15 at 13:30:50
 
Another question for Steve, I have a usb device. Usb from computer to device and then AES/EBU from device to my current DAC and I use the Jriver remote app from my iPad. Could I use the ZDSD in this fashion for playback from server?
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #81 - 02/26/15 at 15:55:32
 
Fireblade wrote:
Quote:
The trend in the last couple of years has been for USB to gradually and successfully replace SPDIF conversion, especially because in many cases that conversion is bitrate limited, whereas USB devices have the capability of up to 384 at same or even better sound.


Please elaborate on this bitrate limitation. Limitation of Coax/SPDIF?
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #82 - 02/26/15 at 18:22:23
 
Yes, I'm reading an learning here too.

But heck, I like the ZDSD as a straight through DAC via SPDIF, direct to ZMA. I hooked her up to my CSP3 to ZMA....love it as well. I love my CSP3 density, voltage-gain an staging.  My Tele' input tube is blowing my mind as well in the CSP3...... .
http://www.upscaleaudio.com/telefunken-e88cc-6922/


I guess I'm a DEC-head and DAC-head:
ZDSD direct to ZMA
ZDSD to CSP3 to ZMA
Chord Chordette QuteHD to CSP3 to ZMA

Audio Alchemy DTI Pro-32/Silver Prophecy i2s ...to AA 3.0 DAC
or
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High end cable nut too - in 3 Systems  ;D Cool

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« Last Edit: 02/27/15 at 13:46:54 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #83 - 02/26/15 at 21:18:02
 
Quote:
I'm just surprised to learn from your comments that you prefer the sound through the converters, a conclusion that is inconsistent with what seems to be taking place in the market these days ...

Could you please explain why you still prefer SPDIF converters nowadays instead of the evolved USB devices?  

Thanks for your always valid feedback.


I didn't mean to imply that I prefer SPDIFF over USB.  I think asynchronous use of todays faster USB ports has much better performance potential than SPDIFF.  

I always take it on a case by case basis.  In the case of my own system, the dedicated battery powered mac USB connected to the TEAC UD501 and a ZBIT output transformer as good as it is, does not sound as good as the ZDSD being fed a stream on it's SPDIF input.

Success in the hobby comes from taking everything on a case by case basis and being willing to accept what sounds better even when in your mind, it's not suppose to.

Steve
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #84 - 02/26/15 at 21:21:14
 


Quote:
Please elaborate on this bitrate limitation. Limitation of Coax/SPDIF?


Here is an article that gets you up to speed through 2012.

http://www.audiostream.com/content/dop-open-standard
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #85 - 02/26/15 at 22:11:33
 
Edited:
Success in the hobby comes from taking everything on a case by case basis and being willing to accept what sounds better even when in your mind, it's not suppose to.

Steve


That's gospel right there!   Grin
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #86 - 02/27/15 at 12:07:31
 
I understand, Steve. It makes sense now. Thanks for clearing that out.
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #87 - 02/27/15 at 16:57:07
 
I have her burned in where -20db Ref Level is locked in and Listening at 16/176.4k, with my CSP3 in the chain. Oh, how involving/sweet it is...... .

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« Last Edit: 02/27/15 at 17:31:05 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #88 - 03/02/15 at 15:57:55
 
Over the weekend, I compared the ZDSD to my Chord Chordette QuteHD. I prefer the ZDSD. Proof their is a lot of something to Steve's Output Stage. Competent DAC Chips and bitchin' Clock in the ZDSD as well. However, it is Steve's implementation that opens up the sound stage with nuanced detail at 16/96 or 16/176.4, with excellent tone/timbre an imaging against the QuteHD.  I had a hunch Steve would nail the Analog output on this........ .   He did.

Without getting into more superlative adjective's/audiophile speak...I love it as a DAC. The fun to be had recording, is an added benefit. This is a great stand alone DAC I want, whether or not I do a stich of Recording fun. So, get one an put 50 hours on it and compare it to your DAC. Steve having voiced it to play with his Amps direct and I'm enjoying with my CSP3 too...she is a keeper!

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« Last Edit: 03/02/15 at 16:21:03 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #89 - 03/02/15 at 16:06:56
 
Thanks for the updates Stone. Much appreciated. Time for me to start saving $$.
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #90 - 03/02/15 at 17:03:52
 
You bet Acetone.

The P.R.a.T., with Analog ease, depth, an tone/note(s) delineation coming forth is just impressive. I am a jaded curmudgeon too. I can afford the 9k DAC down to the 2k. I've had them in here. The ZDSD is all you need.
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #91 - 03/02/15 at 17:59:12
 
Thanks Stone.

I am interested in hearing one of these.  I do think the LPS on the Chord opens up the sound stage and helps in some other areas too.  Not sure it would sound better though.
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #92 - 03/02/15 at 19:19:14
 
The LPS might bring it closer Palomino. But, I tell you, I'm listening deeper into the mix with the ZDSD. The decay of notes have entrails like the visual equivalent of Halley's Comet in 1997, that entertained us across the sky-viewed through/telescope, looking wide an deep at it.
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« Last Edit: 03/02/15 at 19:32:02 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #93 - 03/04/15 at 16:04:00
 
You would not think you had a smidge left of digitis' in the Chord or PS Audio DSD for Redbook either. Unless, you compare it too the ZDSD where digitis' is now officially gone. Steve's output transformer analog stage obviously at play here with the stellar clock in this unit with up-sampling. I like 16/176.4kHz.

Added bonus I've found with the ZDSD-wonderful feature of Pro-Audio modified for Audiophile Home Consumer via Steve's OTStage:
I enjoy the maximum OUTPUT Reference Level of -20. However, use the INPUT Volume @ -5 or -1.0, to drop her out of the "Red" on the channel max meters. Say, for a recording that is a little to forward. Beautiful feature! Puts that Disc and/or track-song, in the DSD zone in PCM 176.4k. Not needed to often, but their when you do.
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« Last Edit: 03/04/15 at 19:52:50 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #94 - 03/05/15 at 00:56:44
 
Add ZDSD to your sig. Stone. Cant wait to get mine Smiley
Thanks for the updates Smiley
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« Last Edit: 03/05/15 at 00:57:27 by Chris K »  

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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #95 - 03/05/15 at 01:11:14
 
OK, I just ordered it based on stones reports and a conversation with Steve. If it performs like I'm hearing it will replace the Lynx Hilo DAC I have. i originally bought the the Lynx to rip my vinyl collection but I found the computer and software too complicated for me so just been using it as a DAC and its a good one.

Once I get the ZDSD burned in I can also get a good side by side comparison to the PS audio Dirct Stream DAC I have in a dedicated room. I really like the PS DSD so if the ZDSD can best it, well, what an incredible bargain.
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #96 - 03/05/15 at 01:13:44
 
@ ILance - wow a side by side comparison ... I'll be waiting for that! Cool
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #97 - 03/05/15 at 01:14:51
 
Congrats! Looking forward to your impressions, especially as you know the DirectStream so well.
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #98 - 03/05/15 at 02:19:47
 

Wow, looking forward to that review!
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Re: Decware Direct Stream Digital DAC / Recorder
Reply #99 - 03/05/15 at 14:10:20
 
Chris, that's right you ordered one too. I brain farted and forgot to comment to you. My signature, I keep as the original from 2001...as a homage to my #76 Select. This Amp is significant then and now! The System Sig. listed still exists today as my 2nd System. I also have a third System like most, consisting of Rotel, Emotiva, HSU Mid Bass Sub with my Polk SRS SDA 1.2's.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=polk+sda+srs+1.2&qpvt=Polk+SDA+SRS+1.2&qpvt=...
(not me in the photo-I'm a skinny marathon runner-just a cool chap that loves his 1.2's like me-as far as Solid State is concerned for me)

If the house was burning, after my gal Sue was safe....I would grab the 1.2's and my Decware ...the rest can burn and get turned to Insurance.
The 1.2's though, need Solid State. They have a cult following over on the Polk Forum for good reason....they are that good!

I post my current System in Posts...because it fluctuates a little.

Listening Room:
Room Treatments from Michael Green & Home Brew
Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Decware DSD DAC / Recorder (@ -20 Ref Level @ 16/96 or 16/176.4)
Kimber Select KS1030 IC RCA
Decware CSP3 w/Jupiter Caps (NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/CCa/7308 for input tube)
Kimber Select KS1030 IC RCA
Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier (NOS/Platinum/Matsushita / National PCC88 / 7DJ8 in A12 an B12 inputs)
Kimber Select KS3035 Speaker Cable
Vintage Polk SDA1 Speakers in Stereo (91db)
XLO Pro Power Cords to CSP3 an ZMA
PS Audio P3 Power Plant / Pangea AC-9SE from wall to P3
(Transport, ZDSD an CSP3, Regenerated/118 an 120v are used/Multiwave off...ZMA on HC Output)
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« Last Edit: 03/05/15 at 14:38:22 by stone_of_tone »  

Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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