DirectStream DAC - Headphone Edition


#1

Hi Paul / Ted @adminpaul / @tedsmith

Is there any chance of getting a headphone edition of the DirectStream?

If so, I’d like you to take my money this year please :slight_smile:

The DirectStream DAC + separate headphone amp is just too big for an office desk.

Cheers!


#2

@adminpaul @tedsmith

The silence is deafening cry

Or no news may mean good news ? laugh

wink


#3

My recollection is there is no plan to incorporate a headphone amp into the DS.


#4

Understood. But a slightly smaller desktop DS for headphones?

Also, plans can change, so would love to hear the latest from Paul / Ted !

Imagine plugging in a pair of headphones that are driven directly by Ted’s FPGA @tedsmith

Cheers Gents.


#5

Another option, is I could have a DSD Snr out of sight, like under my desk, if I could use my Headphones with it.

Is there 2 x XLR3 (DSD Snr end) to 1 x XLR4 (Headphone balanced cable end) adapter that could be used with the DSD Snr?


#6

Oh they do exist: http://www.analogueseduction.net/audeze-headphones/audeze-4-pin-to-3-pin-xlr-adapter.html

interesting

Has anyone tried? Or will I be the first? :slight_smile:


#7

A couple of problems with that cable, the sex of the 3 pin XLR’s isn’t correct and I think you’ll find that the two 3 pin XLR’s can’t spread far enough apart to plug into the left and right outs of the DS Jr (tho, if they were the correct sex they would reach on the DS Sr.)


#8

Whoops, cheers @tedsmith

I found a company that can make a custom one anyway: http://www.c3audio.com/store/p74/Universal_Interconnect_Adapter_-_UPOCC.html

Have you tried it yourself?

Is it the “purest” and most practical way for you to listen to your DSD, like during the design phase when you’re testing out and tweaking how your FPGA sounds?

Without an amp in the chain and without speakers (like for late night tweaking of your code)?


#9

We haven’t any actual plans on adding a headphone jack and amplifier inside DS.


#10
Mi2016 said Is it the "purest" and most practical way for you to listen to your DSD, like during the design phase when you're testing out and tweaking how your FPGA sounds?

Without an amp in the chain and without speakers (like for late night tweaking of your code)?

It depends on your headphones and your experience listening to headphones compared to live music. My headphones need too much voltage to be driven directly by the DS. Tho I hear a three dimensional sound stage (mostly in my head) when I use headphones there are important pieces of the presentation that I don't perceive when listening in headphones. It's also way too easy to cause hearing damage with headphones, especially if you have a bug. But even with bug free code it's too easy to have too high of sound pressure for too long... And FWIW my preamp, amps and speakers are much less colored than any head phones I know of. Still at times I listen thru headphones for a little - before the Audeze LCD3's I never knew that music could sound so good thru headphones. I've heard other phones that sound great since - I just wasn't paying attention to headphones for decades...

Also, FWIW, I don’t tweak how the FPGA sounds. I listen for bugs, I verify that things still sound correct, but I only try to make things more correct, i.e. I try to have fewer deviations from an “ideal” implementation. E.g. if I were to find a slight FR bump I’d figure out what caused it since any such bump would have to be a hardware or software bug. Then I’d fix the problem no matter if it sounded “better” or not. It has been my experience thruout this project that more correct technically always sounds more correct.


#11

Thanks for the insights on the design process Ted ! @tedsmith

So even the DS’s XLR outputs on the high gain setting (5.3Vrms) can’t drive your LCD3’s ?

They’re listed as 110-ohms , it would probably struggle with my HD800-S headphones (300-ohms)


#12
Mi2016 said

So even the DS’s XLR outputs on the high gain setting (5.3Vrms) can’t drive your LCD3’s ?

[The DS] would probably struggle with my HD800-S headphones (300-ohms)

I'm not a headphone guru and I definitely don't use headphones like a typical user so I don't recommend or disrecommend using any particular headphones with the DS, but the DS isn't designed to drive headphones.

My statement was made based on random reviews that I’ve read. Still I haven’t tried it myself - plugging expensive things into experimental software just isn’t a good idea. And worse would be to ignore potential damage to the ears with experimental software. I’m happy with the Oppo HA-1 as a headphone amp. One more layer of buffering is a good idea with experimental software.

Struggle isn’t the word I’d use, the DS is happy driving a dead short indefinitely (that’s what mute is.) But whether a given set of headphones will sound good driven directly by the DS? I have no idea.


#13
Ted Smith said . . . plugging expensive things into experimental software just isn't a good idea.
Even my risk-embracing self finds wisdom in this.

#14
Mi2016 said

The DirectStream DAC + separate headphone amp is just too big for an office desk.


Hmm, get a bigger desk ? toilet-5_gif

I’ve had 2 previous audio products (not PSAudio) that were combo Amp/DAC. Decided that separate units were the way to go, which is why I purchased the DS Snr after considerable research.

The problem with the combo approach is that technology moves so fast. So if you like the amp section but want a different DAC, then you are stuck.


#15
Ted Smith said I'm happy with the Oppo HA-1 as a headphone amp.
Cheers Ted. If you've had a good experience with the HA-1 as an amp in combination with the DS and found it didn't alter the DS's sound (for better or worse), I should definitely give this a try (a demo) with my headphones.

#16

I’ve become a headphones person in the last 3 years. Downsizing means no space for speakers.

I’ve had DAC/amp combos, and would recommend separating.

The DS has been the best DAC unit I’ve experienced for my headphones rig (Stax).


#17

I agree; the DS is a wonderful headphone source.


#18

Since my OP in May 2017, I’ve upgraded my 2-box solution to a Chord Hugo2 and now Chord Dave, directly driving my headphones and I’m very happy with this 1-box solution.

I’m still enjoying my PS Audio LANRover and I’m very interested in Octave and future DAC’s (that may directly drive headphones) so I still enjoy reading this forum.

Being in a small apartment at the moment I had to sell my large speaker system but I anticipate being able to get back into speakers (and all the associated gear that comes with it) in the next 2 years. Top of my list will be PSA’s future active speakers, so I’m keeping a very close eye (and ear) on those developments.


#19

I was about to open a threat to ask for a standalone balanced headphone amp from PS Audio. The headphone community is huge and although there are great products, I would immediately go for a PSA product designed by Bascom. The amp in the BHK pre is nice but can’t drive an HE-6 or Susvara. I know Bascom designed a product for Audeze but a hybrid PSA headphone amp with 15W into 50 Ohms would be the killer product really missing in the PSA lineup and the market in general.


#20

The headphone enthusiast community is sizable and rabid. A powerful stand-alone headphone amp with 4-pin balanced and 1/4" outputs would be a wonderful product.

I have not been on Head-Fi or otherwise paid attention to the headphone side of the hobby in quite some time. How are PS Audio products, such as the DS, regarded?