Burning in Directstream Dac

I just got a Directstream Dac and have a question about burning it in. Right now I have the DS connected to my computer through USB playing pink noise 24/7. However I do not have any cables plugged into my RCA or XLR outputs. Does the Directstream need to be connected to an amp to burn in or is the way I’m doing it working properly? I’m not sure if you need to complete some kind of circuit or if burn in occurs just by a sound signal entering the dac through usb with no output. Also, what should the Directstream sound like? What should I be listening for?

Yes, you need to complete the circuit by engaging the attenuator button called DAC Level on the remote. This drops the output by 20 dB via a load resistor.

With respect to the sound of the DAC, music should sound quite good within an hour, but it will change as described in other forum threads. My new DS Sr DAC has about 400 hrs of steady music play and the sound quality has varied, yet l’ve still enjoyed experiencing the changes. Did your DAC come with Snowmass? Mine came with Torreys so after 20 hours I upgraded to Red Cloud for break-in, then I will get a new DAC sound for Christmas when I install Snowmass in a couple of weeks.

To your question about what to listen for, it depends so much on how your other DAC sounded. My other DAC is quite good so it provided a good soundstage and excellent detail, and the new DS with Torreys FW sounded very similar. After I installed Red Cloud (after 20 hrs), the DS provided much more separation between instruments and vocals, plus better detail. The improvements in imaging is remarkable.

The DAC outputs need to be connected for burn in to occur; it needs to work against a load. The preamp or amp into which the DAC is plugged need not be on however.

The attenuator need not be engaged, but may hasten the process a tad.

I have a different point of view.

Put the 20dB attenuator on and you have a 15 ohm load on the transformer.

A BHK power amp may have a 100,000 ohm input impedance.
In parallel that would be 14.9977 ohms.
Therefore whether the BHK is hooked up or not makes little difference on how hard the DS works during burn in.

Both are true to some extent. What do you think needs burned in the most? I suspect that the transformers are significant and having the attenuator engaged definitely will help the transformers and everything before it.

Still there are traces and a connector past the transformer and (some) cables need a little time after physical manipulation. Also there’s the chance that having a capacitive load (e.g. cables) on the output of the DS makes a difference in burnin, (but, if so, I doubt that it’s much difference, but heck I originally thought I was making something that required less burnin than most components and instead I built one that takes more.)

And yes, what ever is beyond the cables doesn’t need to be turned on.

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Ted, I think you should consider building a heating type element in the TSS. :grin: With the TSS being more advanced and hence more revealing the burn-in could be perceived to take several months to fully settle down. I am a candidate for the TSS but the burn-in is daunting… :wink:


In the analog box I have some software controlled 1W resistors for use as heaters sprinkled around in critical places.
I don’t think we’ll have a burn-in UI option tho. :slight_smile: