Direct Stream Jr. very buggy - anyone else have similar experiences?

Since I’ve taken possession of my new DS Jr. DAC, I’ve experienced quite a few really strange quirks and/or bugs. I’ll enumerate them here as I can recall them from most common to least common (or in the case of the heat issue, the most annoying to the least annoying, since it always runs hot):

  1. The power/standby button on the front of the unit seems to have no consistent behavior with respect to what it does. Sometimes I push it for a fraction of a second and it turns the unit on or off (puts it in and out of standby). Other times nothing happens, so I have to push it and hold it down for 2 seconds. I cannot tell if this is purely a mechanical issue whereby contact is not being made in some situations or whether the unit is in some other “mode” where a simple quick press of the button has no effect.

  2. Out of the box, or after resetting to factory settings, when the unit is put in the Volume display mode, the Dimmer button on the remote is non-functional. That is not to say it has NO effect, but it merely causes the display to flicker for about 1/60th of a second but it stays on and lit. In order to stop this from happening (i.e restore normal functionality to the Dimmer button on the remote) I discovered that I can change the display mode to Bitrate or Bridge and then back to Volume - OR - I can change the dimmer setting (from low to mid to high or whatever) and then the Dimmer function on the remote works fine for the rest of that session.

  3. Using the bridge to stream Tidal and from my local NAS (connected to same router/switch as the Roon core and PC using Tidal via ethernet (which is also the Roon core)) I will experience outages in sound. For example if the unit has been on for a while and Roon core has been running on my PC/laptop, I’ll simply hit “Play” on a song and both Roon (or Tidal directly) will begin playback - AND - the display on the DS JR indicates that the song IS playing, including the bitrate, type of file and volume BUT there is no sound. The only solution is to reset the DS JR using the rocker button on the back of the unit.

  4. There is an audible hiss in the midrange and tweeters of my speakers when using the DS Jr. as a pre-amp. I can’t help but think this affects the noise floor. It does not correlate to the volume setting.

  5. The DS JR runs pretty damn hot. Even in standby (back switch “ON” front switch “OFF”) it generates and radiates FAR more heat than my Class D Hypex Monoblock amplifiers running at high volumes for extended periods. This DAC is what I’d call MORE than just warm to the touch - feels like a 100WPC standard Class A/B amp would feel after about an hour of listening at moderate to high volume. What gives?

Some of these issues have me reconsidering my purchase. I have not done EXTENSIVE searching in the forum archives for possible solutions, but this IS a $4000.00 piece of equipment and several generations in advancement from the previous PS Audio DACs I’ve owned, which all worked flawlessly. I also hate to say it, but I think that the sound of my Direct Stream Junior is not quite up to par with the sound of my Digital Link III that I sold not too long ago. Maybe this thing needs more burn in, I don’t know, but all in all my experience with the DS JR is not living up to expectations. The stock/OEM DLIII had a more holographic, spacious quality to the sound on whatever setting I was using, as compared to the DS JR.

Anyone else have any of these issues as well?

P.S. Firmware is Redcloud I believe - It’s only about a month old so it came with whatever the most recent firmware build was as of June of this year.

Return it.

I have had none of those symptoms, but I also never turn it off. Since the early days of sand-based gear, the thought was that the surge of power in the on and off cycle was worse for the device than leaving it on. Yeah it’s warmish - that’s normal. If it’s crazy hot, that may not be.

Well, that’s clearly an option I’m considering, but I guess I’m trying to decide whether to EXCHANGE it for a different unit (same model), or just return it for a refund and try my luck elsewhere.

That question may be answered next week when I take delivery of a new MyTEK Brooklyn DAC+ which I will burn in and compare to the PS Audio (and a few other DACs I have laying around).

Agreed. Call PS Audio on Monday and send it back.

OK. I guess I’ll do that. Perhaps one of their techs/salespeople has experience with some or all of these issues and I just got a “lemon” that can be exchanged. Will update this thread when I do so.

Jeremy would be a good contact at PSA. However there are a few experts there. One way or another, they can definitely help ya out.

Cool. I also sent an email to my salesperson (PS Audio partner) and my contact at PS Audio with a link to this thread. Will update assuming anyone is interested once respective action(s) is(are) taken.

Though I obviously can’t speak to your tastes in audio, I borrowed a Manhattan prior to buying the Junior, as I was liking the fact that it still had firewire (still have recording gear, drives and apps that do that) so I thought it might be good for both work and personal use.

I found it very shiny/bright, to reduce the evaluation to the most basic aspect. The Junior simply killed it, effortlessly. And I realised that just because I had the odd FW device, it was irrelevant.

Interesting. Thanks for that feedback. One other aspect of the MyTEK products that piqued my attention is the smaller form factors, meaning I don’t need a whole shelf or tabletop to incorporate the Brooklyn into my system. But I do very much enjoy the sound of the DS JR - and again, it may not be anywhere near as “burned in” as my old DLIII, so it may get better with time. It’s just that those quirks and bugs I listed above can get quite annoying when taken in the aggregate - or alone :frowning:

All of that said, it should be noted that none of my actual enumerated complaints concern the sound quality or listening experience. I like the unit, and am just worried I got a lemon.

I would say:
1,2,3,5 = known, and all reported here previously by some users (with my DSJ I have experienced 1,2,3 only)
4 = that’s new, I don’t recall anybody reporting that before.

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Excellent, that’s great info. In your recollection, what has PS Audio’s response/approach been in those cases? Are these just issues that other users are willing to live with or are they actual flaws/defects that PS Audio has addressed by exchanging equivalent models?

Also, any fixes that you’re aware of? I’ll do some searching in the forums now that I know others actually have experienced some of this stuff. Makes me feel a bit better.

And I’m guessing they are unusual. Don’t recall anyone having that extensive a list of problems. That is clearly a “give me another one” deal. If it still sucks, then you have answered the questions. But I kinda doubt it. ; )

I’m not sure why - maybe it is that PS is a small company in the grand scale of things, but some individuals have situations like this. PS Audio are awesome with taking stuff back and sending you a new one.

Brodric, on #4, I found a thread, so I guess that one has been discussed too…

  1. Audible hiss isn’t new. Try the -20dB attenuator.

I enjoy Sr. into a BHK preamp, no hiss from DAC just a touch from the tubes but I have to be within 2-3’ of the speaker.

My sense is that is probably associated-gear related. Most of us have had no hiss. This is not to say that there is a problem with the other gear. It’s a “synergy” or level-matching thing.

The preamp buffers probably eliminate the hiss. I am using the DS JR straight into a power amp, and a very simple DIY Hypex configuration at that. I’m willing to accept the hiss if I know that it’s not a design defect.

1 = a question of technique. Via practice I found a way that works more consistently for me (I use thumb and a slow firm press)
2 = just a minor inconvenience you need to live with. There are some other minor RC issues you’ll discover over time as well
3 = same thing happens when using a Mac device connected via USB. No fix, other than leave it on all the time.
4 = that’s new (to me), although as you’ve since found others have reported same.
5 = DSJ runs hotter than DS Sr, this is normal. But some have reported their concerns. Mine doesn’t get hot.

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Yep, but try the attenuator and see if you get a better match.

I had a Jr. on eval and liked it so much I got the Sr. Never drove amps direct though, Jr. is noisier than Sr.

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Since Redcloud, I am running my Junior directly into my home made Hypex amp. No issues or hiss.

YMMV, perhaps dependent upon speakers, etc.

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  1. LOL, yeah that’s what I’ve been experiencing. I was just curious as to whether this was some kind of mechanical flaw or some other standby mode bug.

  2. I can accept that knowing it’s just a little bug and that it doesn’t affect listening/sound quality or usability in a major way.

  3. Hmmmm…

  4. Found a thread on the hiss. I think that when using the DS JR as a straight up pre-amp, that’s going to happen. A preamp in between the DS JR and a power amp probably eliminates it.

  5. Yeah, but heat is the enemy, and I’m just concerned about longevity given the fact that several of the OTHER issues under discussion ‘require’ the user to leave the unit “ON” all the time.

P.S. - Anyone happen to know what the ASTERISK is about in the DS JR display? It seems to come and go randomly.