Direct Stream DAC - couple of Qs after half a day of listening

Just got my Direct Stream DAC a day back. As a first impression - a different presentation indeed. Need to critically listen after it burns in for few days.

Couple of Qs -

  1. I found the overall volume gain is little less than PWD and my other dac (Naim nDAC and Pioneer Elite N30 streamer). When I keep the Direct Stream DAC volume at 100, at the same volume of my preamp the intensity of the sound is less (though probably more soothing/musical) than my other dac.

I’m using Balanced output from Direct Stream dac and unbalanced output from Naim nDac. I had PWD MKII 2 months back (with same settings) and compared the same with my Naim nDac. I didn’t find this much of difference in gain.

Is it expected ? Or something wrong with my unit ? I’m using bridge as source, QNAP NAS, MinimServer, Bubble UPnP as controller on Android.

  1. The filter button in the remote makes the gain further less. You need to increase the volume almost twice to get the similar gain. Again it is expected ?



Hi Sourav. Yes, you’ll need 3 or 4 clicks more on the DS to get the same volume as the PWD, and the Filter button is a new feature - it clicks in a 20dB attenuator if you want to quickly lower the volume without muting the sound altogether. Or it might be useful switched in all the time, depending on the rest of your equipment setup. Ted Smith (lead designer of the DS) may have some suggestions for that.

Yep, as Tony says the level difference between the PWD and the DS is on purpose.

The 20dB attenuator is analog and was intended for systems that were sensitive enough that you never felt the urge to go above 60 on the DS volume control. By enabling the attenuator you can have more digital range. As Tony mentioned some have also found it useful for answering the phone, etc.

Thanks Ted and Tony for the clarifications. Now I know at least that there is no problem with my unit.

Just curious what was the reason for reducing the level of Direct Stream from OWD MK II. To be frank not sure whether I would be eventually like or not but it is surely growing on me as it helps going to higher volume with more details without loosing the musicality.



I wanted to use the same power supply that the PWD used - I also wanted to do a lot of power supply conditioning on board. The level that I ended up with was about as hot as I could get it without distortion with the power supply rails I had. I new that a few of PS Audio’s customers had complained about the higher than average output levels or the PWD, so I managed to convinced Paul that being a little lower wouldn’t be the end of the world. We have had some customers thank us, and I’m sure some customers will be a little disappointed with this decision.

That’s interesting Ted to know that many customers found that PWD has a higher than average volume output. My Naim Dac’s output is also higher in that case. Since my listening room is small so I always thought that was the reason of feeling higher intensity of volume.

Interestingly now output volume from my Rega turntable is similar to that of Direct Stream’s output - so Direct Stream is getting further closer to Vinyl cool!!!



The Naim is a little hotter than standard, but not as hot as the PWD.