Thanks for that info, Ted. I’ll cut and paste what I wrote in another forum - maybe you can help me suss it out then. Most things sound better, but on the high end I’m getting a bit of an edgyness or etching that reminds me of the sound my Oppo has vs the DS.
Here is what I posted at Decware.com
Well crap - this Linear PSU…um, well…the whole damn system sounds different. Like so very different I have to really sit down and reevaluate the system to figure it all out. It’s not subtle at all.
Right off the bat it has an apparent loudness difference.
I’m hearing every instrument and voice louder - almost like everything been compressed or “normalized”.
Bass sounds huge, and honestly overpowering.
It’s also feeling a bit edgy, not at all in a good way.
I’m going to bust out the tape measure and make sure the dogs didn’t bump the speakers (to account for such a huge difference in bass), and switch back to the stock mini-PC power supply. This is weird how much this sounds different - so as I said, I need to reevaluate and make sure there aren’t other factors in here.
So a brief update - After initially being bowled over by such a grand change, I did go back and measure out my speakers and realign them with a laser (yes, I’m totally serious). One speaker did get bumped considerably, but I don’t think it’s enough to justify the change in bass. Getting the speakers back in line actually helped tighten up the bass a bit, but it was still huge.
So next step was to listen for a track or two…which turned into about a dozen tracks. The sound was so interesting and different I just kept rolling tracks, completely forgetting to A/B the power supplies. When I finally remembered what I was doing, I picked Deft Punk’s Doin’ It Right which is bass heavy, dynamic, has some neat reverb FX, and is already a little edgy on the high end. Basically all the things that I noticed an immediate change with the big industrial linear PSU.
So I switched back to the stock 19v 3.34A “brick” PSU (this mini-PC is basically the guts of a laptop in a metal box, with no screen, so this PSU is a laptop brick) - and suddenly the sound went a bit flat. The bass didn’t punch as hard or feel like it was as tight. The reverb ambiance was much shorter. It was still as clear and detailed as the DS is expected to be, but it lost a little focus. The stock PSU also reduced the edgy etching of the high end…in fact, at one point with the Linear PSU, one track I put on sounded exactly like that etched high end that my Oppo has, but with the added DS detail.
As I’ve said before, I’m a big skeptic and everything needs to prove itself in my system. Most cable/power/IC changes to me are very slight changes, and not always improvements. I’m pretty skeptical that a linear PSU would make such a difference since the computer is just passing “bit-perfect” bits down the pipe. As long as those bits get to their destination unmolested, it’s the DAC that makes the difference. That’s how it looks on paper and how the “math guys” say the world runs. But I’ll be damned if this isn’t a big difference to me - like big enough that I could say 4-5% difference which is huge for just swapping out a PSU.
I’m going to have to talk to some guys smarter than me to help me wrap my head around this. I understand the concept I guess, the PSU doesn’t inject noise, or if it does it does it in a different way (which would explain the high end edginess I’m hearing). If there is less noise then I guess that would make blacker backgrounds which would make the voices and instruments seem louder (just thinking out loud now), allow me to hear the reverb even better than what the DirectStream does on it’s own (which is an amazing accomplishment). But I feel like there is something else going on there that I’m not grasping.
Ok, enough rambling - we have a listening session going on tonight - we’ll see what the other listeners think. I’ll probably also ping Ted at the PSA forums and see if he can help me wrap my head around this.
Any further thoughts on this and how it relates to the Linear PSU? I’m definitely going to explore further and give it some time to settle. By the end of the night it was all sounding pretty good, but that high end etching that I normally associate with hash bothers me. I doubt it was always there (and hidden by the stock PSU) considering how smooth the DS is, so it’s something added with the Linear