DAC comparison desired

Anyone able to compare the DS Sr. to the Dynafrips Terminator Plus, or other comparable DAC in the $6k-$7k range, preferable with i2s input?

My DAC is not nearly that expensive, but does a great job and is accurate, and durable. I2s over HDMI capable.

You really have to listen to them in your system to make any valid judgement in my experience. The differences at this level are quite subtle and system energy is ‘nearly’ everything.

That said, I’m quite pleased with the performance of the Holo May compared to the DS.

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The problem is if you are considering less mainstream brands, returning them may be nigh impossible if their sound isn’t to your liking. So, I’m looking anywhere I can think of for guidance. If 9 out of 10 prefer Dynafrips over PSA, there is a good chance I would agree.

I empathize completely. It’s a tough spot with no good solution.

Buying on the used market and reselling is an option with less % loss, usually.

Not sure how I can help here as this is subjective however I have compared (not with Sunlight) to a Metrum Pavane and a Lampi Amber 3. The Metrum was awesome at detail so if more resolve is a feature you find appealing, there ya go. Maybe a feature set of a “ladder” type technology? The Lampi was a great DAC but similar in sound to PSA. When I was low level and say piano music, I ran my current DAC for max detail. For high volume rock type music the Lampi was great as it smoothed out any sharp edges… I think many agree the Directstream is musical in that way as well. My 2c anyway and good luck. I would like to experiment a bit more and may try a Bartok…

Having both a DSD and Metrum I’d say the Metrum is a real treat, and yes does well at low level detail without sounding etched in anyway. It is fine for Redbook Playback, which is the majority of my digital collection. It’s nice to have options, DSD or Metrum.

I have the DSD Sr. in my system and it is a great dac. Haven’t heard the Denafrips but thought that Darko maybe had compared the 2. The DSD Sr can be bought used for around $3500 or so.

I checked. Darko did do a review of the Denafrips Terminator where he compared it to the DSD Sr.

Yeah, but that was the Terminator, not the Terminator Plus, and he doesn’t mention what FW version the PSA has. BTW, Darko, to me anyway, is one of the most boring reviewers there is.

Where do you send the Denafrips if you have problems with it?
How often has the Terminator been upgraded via a free download?
DSD resides in my system for those reasons. And it sounds damn good.


I am pretty sure the upcoming PSA DS MKII will be better than the Denafrips… The MKII will have a significant lower noise floor and much more inner resolution…

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I’ve only heard good reviews about Denfrips (Chinese product sold out of Singapore). A friend of mine really likes the Terminator ($4400). You have to spend an extra 2k for the Terminator Plus. I noticed it has an I2S input as well. Steve Gutenberg reviewed it some time back and describes its qualities pretty well.

Is it a choice between Denafrips and PS Audio? Tough choice my friend. If it were me, given where the DSD Sr. is in its current lifecycle, I’d look to the used market for a DSD Sr. or wait until later in the year for the MKII version. I would concur with most of the folks out there that the latest/final firmware upgrade is amazing. Don’t think I’ll be shopping for a new DAC anytime soon, but that can change n a moments notice (especially if I keep hanging around on this forum) - LOL

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Repairs are sent to Anacortes, WA (As I am US based). I don’t know how often there has been a FW update, but it seems to be considerably more complicated to update than the DS Sr. And, they are free. I appreciate your questions, as they force me to research the answers, and will help guide me to the best unit for me.

I mentioned else yesterday a review of a ladder DAC with the Chord Dave. Both more expensive than the PSA DSD Snr. At that price point they are both excellent, just different. A matter of taste. Not one better than the other.

Whether a DAC is driven by proprietary software that needs regular updating is as much as a design choice as anything else. Just because it doesn’t need updating doesn’t make it a bad DAC. Mine has had only two software updates since September 2016, but one of them made it Roon Ready.

Polar opposite of the common view of the updates.


I would only buy a product for what it can do today, not what it might do tomorrow.

Every software driven product I’ve used has been upgradeable, sometimes by push upgrades that you don’t even notice.

I’m quite concerned with what my dac can do tomorrow. That’s why I would prefer to get the DS MKII, if it doesn’t take forever to get released (yesterday I saw a thread on it that first appeared three years ago, May 2018!). Although what a dac does today is EXTREMELY important, three years from today, it might have fallen noticeably behind the leaders if not updatable. And, whatever I get, I want it to always provide the best sound available. But that’s me.

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I agree - if you buy the DS Mk2 in 2022, you are buying it for what it can do then. It might get upgraded, but PS Audio might go bust or Ted Smith might join a Hari Krishna commune (unlikely given his dress sense) and there would be no one to upgrade it. Nothing in the future is certain or predicable. We all had Nokia phones a few years ago.

I’m just about to buy a new audio product released today after years of development, there are plans for further features, already in development, but I am only buying it based on what it can do now.

Turntables, speakers and amplifiers are not upgradeable (generally). Most software is upgradeable, my main interest is that software upgrades can delay redundancy. Added features are a bonus. My server is about to get free streamer software. Would anyone not buy the DSD Snr today because there are not going to be any updates, even though it may be a superb DAC?

Ahh, Hari Krishners. Takes me back to my years at the University of North Carolina. Wait, I remember seeing one that looked like a very young Ted Smith! Hmmmm. as far as not buying the DS Sr., many have said glowing things about it, yet advised me to wait for the MKII. I’m just going to spend a few weeks researching everything I can, getting every opinion and bit of advice I can, watching for new product announcements, etc., and hopefully get whatever will be the best for me. Maybe I’ll end up with the DS Sr. MKII, which I know I can return if not satisfied, or the Mytek Manhattan Bridge Roon powered, scheduled for July release. And, maybe I’ll be a beta tester for the MKII. Que Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be!

At UVA, they would not have lasted long. -Too many enticements to the “Worldly Ways” :grin: