A new multichannel SACD-playing conglomeration

Back, again, to this; see Increasing the quality of my multichannel-SACD system
for an earlier post.

A couple weeks ago I heard a new-to-me TWO-channel system that sounded simply spectacular and the BEST-EVER in my experience… Its heart was a pair of large Sound Lab electrostatic speakers similar to their current Majestic 745… https://www.soundlabspeakers.com/majestic/
Its frontend included an MSB-brand SACD player, DAC, and powersupply driving a pair of 800-some-Watt Musical Fidelity monoamps… The system displayed fabulous resolution (including spaciousness), cohesiveness, and tonality including some bottom-octave bass… A distinct bonus was that sounds of massed strings had virtually NO steelyness/harshness/edgyness, something I’ve been seeking for several years.

So…do I start over (again) with my quest for such a thing (IN MULTICHANNEL!) that I can afford? I’ve been stewing about this for months, the principal problem being that there’s NO WAY to synchronize the output levels of more than one PSA DAC of any kind… This is in spite of all the statements included in the DirectStream Memory Player’s Owner’s Manual… I’ve been considering the Okto 8-channel DAC or using two PSA DACs with the Surround DAC instantly accessible (for level tweaks) from my listening seat… Today a practicable solution came to mind–a separate, all-analog multichannel preamp fed by a Memory Player driving two PSA DACs via I2S… I have a Memory Player coming and have made an offer on a Bel Canto PRe-6 preamp, and will soon order a PSA DirectStream DAC Mk.II for front channels and a GainCell DAC for Surrounds… Using this system will require switching a couple pairs of cables between my Marantz pre/pro and the BC preamp, but that’s easy and quick in my system.

So is this system worth $13K? I don’t know, but I soon will. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Jeffrey, I use one remote control to change the level of three Directstreams. They need to be all together and I need to be able to see the volume number from the seating position (occasionally due to sloppy pointing on my part a dac will not receive the signal, but that’s rare).

TY, Dan… My ‘pair’ of PSA DACs will be one DS Mk.II and one GainCell… At my request, one of the PSA sales-and-tech-support guys took a GC into their listening room and discovered that the two units were way off in tracking… Maybe two identical DACs would track better, but I’d rather not spent MANY-thou$and$ for a DS Mk.II for the Surround channels, and I want the front channels to be the best I can afford.

Another ‘issue’–because of my hearing problems (I wear hearingaids), I gainride the level control often while listening to the wide-dynamic-range Classical music I love, and I think my frequency of changes would eventually frustrate me hugely…

…and maybe I’m making too big a deal of this. :thinking:

Interesting username. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m glad you found your solution to “steelyness/harshness/edgyness.”

Still working on the problem here.

Tom in Mesa

TY; I hope I can replicate that with the PSA equipment.

Apropos of nothing, perhaps; but, I find “steeliness/harshness/edgyness” to be a product of too little resolution/a lack of clarity in the higher frequencies.

What others sometimes categorize as too revealing usually results in a cleaner/more accurate reproduction of instruments in the higher frequencies - and a lack of “edgyness”.


Good luck.

Massed violin sections playing very loud in the high register upper positions really bugs me in SOME classical recordings. But it’s pervasive enough.

Multichannel SACD playback seems to be a very rare activity as I have discovered after getting my setup up and running. I’m using the venerable DMP for the source and a Directstream DAC MK II for the front channels and two Directream juniors for the surround/center/LFE.

I have the JBL L100 Classic 75 speakers in front and two powered monitors from my recording studio providing the rear in a classic quadraphonic configuration. The outputs from the three DACs are fed via balanced cables to a Mackie 1642 VLZ4 mixer (also from the studio). I send the front signals to channels 1 & 2 on the mixer and the rear to 3 & 4. The center and LFE go to 5 & 6 and are mixed equally between output subgroup channels 1 & 2 making use of the “phantom” center.

Channels 1 & 2 of the subgroup are routed back to my StellarGold preamp letting the JBLs handle the bass. Subgroup channels 3 & 4 go to the powered monitors.

The mixer makes it a snap to adjust the levels and balance to achieve a perfect surround environment. I can use the four subgroup faders to set the overall listening volume and front/rear balance.

Recently, I added a Sony Blu Ray player with a cheap 5.1 audio adapter on the coax output to the two stereo inputs on the mixer which allows me to play my Blu Ray Audio “Quadio” collection, albeit at reduced audio quality. I’ll address the quality issue when I find a reasonable 5.1 audio DAC or somehow get the DMP to play Blu Ray Audio surround.

I was a fan of Quadraphonic back in the 70’s, but it never sounded like it does now!