Digital Lense and 100% input jitter reduction - so does source matter?

I write this post to ask if PS Audio DAC’s really are agnostic to source and if the sound they produce is identical if fed from a TV’s noisy SPDIF, a Mac, or significantly better a MicroRendu or something really high end such as a Antipodes or Innuos Zen?

As a previous Devialet Expert owner I found that it was possible to hear the difference in source, even some USB cables sounded different, with Ethernet sounding the best to me. Perhaps this is because the Devialet Expert was not as optimized at rejecting jitter and noise over USB.

Would additional / different functionality be the only reasons for buying a separate streamer or music server for a Stellar Gain or Directstream DAC?


The PS DAC is agnostic about differences between multiple inputs from a single source. That is, if you connect a particular individual source to the DAC, doesn’t really matter which connection method you choose. Which is fundamentally different to your TV’s noisy SPDIF or Mac or whatever aren’t all going to sound the same: they are different sources. So source does matter. What doesn’t matter so much is how you connect that source.

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Thanks Brodric - that makes sense. My question really relates to how different sources sound given the inclusion of Digital Lense and zero jitter - what are peoples experiences? If you send the same digital audio file from a Mac Mini vs something high end like an Innuos via the same USB input into the PS Audio DAC, would a clear difference be ascertained? I assume that the rest of your system / room is sufficiently resolving to allow this.

If so - why?

The digital lens is not the universal playing field leveler for all sources. My disc transport sounds significantly better than other - usually much cheaper - disc transports. You get what you pay for. The digital lens does not turn a $100 disc spinner into a brand name disc spinner.


Thanks - what this potentially tells me is that it’s probably better to spend money on an excellent source rather than putting money into equipment such as a USB or SPDIF ‘decrapifier’ (and I assume the Digital lenses approach falls in this category?). A ‘decrapifier’ probably only goes part of the way there and cannot produce a universal level playing field for all sources…

It’s a bit like the old mantra ‘you cannot add if was not there before’, but seems odd that this should apply if digital lens “throws away the original, rebuilds new and jitter free digital audio before the DAC gets it”. I think it’s this statement from PS Audio that has thrown me. I could understand it more if, for example, an audio stream over USB went direct to DAC without digital lens as that data stream would be susceptible to all types of interference and errors. Hmm…

At one point in time, if I recall, PS Audio had plans on building a standalone digital lens box. It didn’t eventuate. The digital lens got built into other products and you don’t get the choice whether to pump signal through the digital lens or not. So it’s not possible for an end user to come to their own conclusions.

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I have removed all of the “superfan” references and other digs from this thread. All they accomplish is to antagonize others. Let’s stop the name-calling, etc.

It was a wonderful week of good productive discussion up until this point.

Maybe another opinion…

Since the DS Dac has an inbuilt test to verify that high res files are received bit perfectly, and since it does not reference prior clocks (i.e. it reclocks all received data, so it’s own jitter is what’s left), if you indeed verify that the data is bit perfect, all that’s left to determine SQ differences is “noise”. This would include noise generated upstream of the Dac and transmitted over the connection to the Dac, and noise generated internally in the Dac converting data to the form used on the I2S bus.

Unfortunately, the Dac doesn’t include a bit perfect test for 16/44.1 files, so we can’t say transport differences are only due to noise, but I suspect if we did we would find most transports transmit data bit perfectly.

Thus, I have the opposite opinion. The DS Dac tends to minimize the differences between sources , but allows you to evaluate the differences between connection types.

One caveat: If you have several connections to the DS Dac, noise will be shared among all the connections. Since SQ differences between connection type are due to differences in noise transmission, if you have several connections, they will all tend to sound the same.

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There was this…which I did own back in the day…and worked quite well too.
Genesis Technologies Digital Lens

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To put it simply - no. The source always matters even with the Directstream DAC. A better source will give you better sound. A more expensive streamer like an Innuos or Lumin will give you better sound quality than something like a mac mini.

This would include noise generated upstream of the Dac and transmitted over the connection to the Dac, and noise generated internally in the Dac converting data to the form used on the I2S bus.

Very good point. I think this is the main source of differences in sound quality and it makes a surprisingly large difference - your average PC is very noisy. It is also one of the major reasons that you get diminishing returns in terms of performance for cost. As you go up in quality it gets prohibitively expensive to produce cleaner power supplies and reduce noise. One must also consider that regular CPUs and PC electronics are not made with audio quality in mind, so don’t really pay attention to noise which might compromise high quality audio.

It’s all voodoo digital black magic better explained by our Mozart of digital wizardry. What I know for sure is you can hear different sound with the same source connected on the same interface, but with different cables. And the same source on different interfaces. When I changed from Mogami digital XLR to Shunyata digital XLR, huge improvement. The Shunyata XLR sounded better than the same source connected via I2S using the PS Audio supplied HDMI cable. Also worth mentioning, if I recall, our Mozart of digital wizardry has previously said the source should only have a single connection to the DAC. Don’t maintain simultaneous multiple connections and flip between inputs for your A/B’ing.

I just got an Auralic Aries G2. You are able to change filters, smooth, dynamic, precise, etc. From this one source, a tweek of the filter, and bam, different sound.
By the way, the G2 is better than any source I’ve ever had.