Diminishing returns are not what I’m hearing.
I hooked it up to the DirectStream II that had been patiently waiting for its arrival for months.
My original setup was the original DirectStream with ethernet.
I never used the II because it didn’t support ethernet and I didn’t like the way the II sounded with USB.
This is a short review of AirLens plus II, both added at the same time.
Better as in: More lyrical, faster, less harsh, more present, clearer and most of all, more magical. More of what I listen for…
I see no downsides, no tradeoffs.
It’s a no-brainer as far as I can tell. Well done @Paul and team.
Three clues for newbies:
- You’ll need access to the dip switches on the bottom for upgrades, so don’t put it somewhere hard to reach, at least not at first.
- The HDMI cable doesn’t sit very tightly, so if it stops working while you’re turning it over and such, double check to see if it didn’t fall out.
- Dip switch #6 on the bottom allows you to use the Roon volume control, which I prefer.
I’m going to go listen now.
Thanks for the comments.
Question: Do you have a preamp? Wondering how this works if I have MKII and BHK (or soon to be ARC if I can find LS28 SE for sale used) in the mix. I thought it would now work then.
I do have a pre-amp… D Sachs tubes, really special.
It doesn’t change anything. I set the pre at 80% or so, the II at 100%, and control the volume with Roon.
Got the AL Tuesday and only had a chance to really spend some time with it last night. OMG! I wasn’t expecting that it would be THIS GOOD!!! My previous streamer is no slouch, Stack Link II with its dedicated power supply into a Matrix and i2s to my DSS Mk1 (modified). I could have lived with that combo for quite some time, or so I thought! The AirLens opens up the soundstage even further and adds a low-level clarity that just wasn’t there before. I think I have found my source for many years to come!
Got mine about an hour ago. Just plugged in verified it was working with Roon and now its burning in with repeating song. Probably wont get time tonight to listen
But I would like to let it sit and burn for at least 24 hours.
As someone here said there have been noticeably few reviews or comments on AL sound quality.
I know this sounds harsh but I have to say in my opinion the AirLens sounds horrible. I’m seriously considering returning it. I have had it playing for 3 days and it has not improved. My Bridge II, and later my laptop using USB to the DAC MKII was more musical, detailed, life like, tonally accurate, and had better soundstage. I can listen to the AL for about 20 min before I want to turn it off. I know as an audiophile for 40 years equipment needs break-in, but I’m not feeling optimistic. Can anyone shed any light on whether they have noticed any significant improvements in sound over time.
That’s too bad, and very curious.
My experience has been pretty good so far. Right out of the box it was Incrementally better than the Holo Red (with serious comparison to the Bridge II pending).
I hope you get it sorted.
About 160 hours now on the AirLens and it’s getting better and better.
Having said that, right now it sounds pretty much identical to my tweaked Mk2 USB input for what that’s worth.
I have a new and even better power cable on the way, so we shall see what that brings to the party…
I hope this weekend to have time to do a serious comparison between the AirLens and my previous streamer. But, in general, I can say that my problem is that I don’t want to turn the system off and get some sleep! I let miy AirLens burn in for about 100 hours before doing any listening, so I can’t speak directly to improvements over time. But the system really is wonderful at the moment. Good luck with figuring out why the AirLens isn’t working for you!
just of of the curiosity what USB tweak you have on mk2?
DrPain, How are you hooking up the AL. What input do you use ( Ethernet or WiFi ) and what output ( I2S or coax )? What cables do you use? And are you using the AL as a streamer or just as a converter?
20 posts were merged into an existing topic: PS Audio AirLens
As Scotte1 said that is too bad. I for one was never a fan of the BridgeII. I got it as part of my purchase of a used MK1 years ago. Yanked it out pretty fast for a new streamer (Sonore)
I have had many streamers in those 2 years and I do not remember many being transformative except for that jump from BridgeII to Sonore which is why I find your results puzzling. But every system is different. I did keep the optical isolation method Sonore uses and put in a Melco S100 switch which is maybe why I do not notice much difference any more between the streamers. Also they have all been in the 1000-2000 range, I think the next jump is 3-4k more which I am holding off from doing.
I let my AirLens burn in for about 10 hours and listened to 1/2 an album last night before being interrupted and I was liking what I heard. I did not do a direct compare to the Eversolo which is still in same system yet, wanting another day or two of burn in going. Voices seemed to have an elevated height to them, very crisp sound. But again not very long with it.
RAL Cable & Pangea 9 MKII power cables if anyone cares to know.
my AL sounded very good to start, great after 3 days continual play…fortunately I already had some very good cables leftover from some recent downsizing, so no need to experiment…though sure have liked SR purple fuses on my other PS digital gear…
Ethernet, I2S, using PSA Perfect Wave 12S-12 SDMI, Shunyata power cable, streaming, Qubuz, using Mcconnect APP, No Roon.
I intend to play around with cables this weekend. If it still sounds terrible I may call PSA on Monday and send it back.
Thanks for the input. Typically right out of the box I can hear positives in new gear. Then my hearing and brain adjust and I know the gear needs time to break in. In this case the AL sounded terrible right out of the box and has not improved. The Bridge II almost sounded as good as the PST on some tracks, but the PST was always better. I could put on decent demos for friends with both. The AL sounds like a radio is playing, little bass, less clarity, definition, and less specific instrument placement on the soundstage then I am used to and would expect. I would not want anyone to hear my system with the AL.
DrPain, This is just wrong. I cannot do a test today, but tomorrow I will play a DSD fle ( that I made ). It will be NAS - Eternet cable - AL - HDMI I2S cable - DS DAC Mk2. Then I have the same file on a USB drive and I will feed it to my PST - HDMI I2S cable - DS DAC Mk2. The HDMI cables are almost identical, I think one is a bit shorter, but both are less than 1 meter long.
I will report back here. This should say how the interface part of the AL sounds and compares to the PST. Unfortunately, I am not setup to do any streaming with the AL or even with my U2 mini.
I if you cannot get better sound that what you are saying, then you need to talk to PS Audio.
awlon and Tony22, Please see my Post 21.
I wonder if you received a dud AL from PSA.