DirectStream DAC MkI arriving today... And a couple questions

Hi guys! New guy here, so this is kind of an introduction too. I took advantage of the refurb sale on the DSD MkI units PSA is running. It will be here in a few hours, only three days to Detroit…

I already own the Stellar Gaincell DAC, it replaced a Denafrips Venus II 12th… That is one sweet little DAC, the Gaincell. Parasound lucked out when they nabbed the kid that engineered this thing.

What are your thoughts on this MKI DAC? I see there is an upgrade path with Alps, and I am very curious about that too… I did not get the network card, I use one of the little WiiM Pro+ streamers with a battery power supply. I have had more expensive streamers in here, but this silly WiiM is such a joy to use. But! I have been eyeballing the AirLens… What holds me back is the lack of an operating system. I have played around with Roon and found it annoying to say the least, and have no experience with Mconnect. The user interface of the WiiM products is simply incredible and keeps me as a customer. Thoughts?

Thanks guys!

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I held back on the Airlens for exactly the same reason- not a Roon user. If Qobuz Connect actually happens that issue could be solved.


I you are happy with the WiiM Pro with the powersupply (have read really good things about that combo) then keep it. But the WiiM Pro is only Coax. it has a limit on what it can do. No DSD, and I think 96/24 hires. other streamers will do more. Will you notice? thats up to the rest of your system and you. But if you do decide to upgrade, make sure you have I2S capable streamer to match the MKI. Best results that way. Also look at the upgrade threads all over this forum. Lots of improvements that way other than the streamer change.

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Yes. I love the sound of my DirectStream MK1 Signature Series Plus modified DAC. Better than my other two high end DACs. I was told the network bridge doesn’t sound so good so I would stick with what you have.

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Yes, very happy with the WiiM, and I have a Mac mini in the system too that handles the DSD, along with a SACD player that will work with the MKI. The WiiM Pro+, all of the WiiMs actually, are 192/24 over Coax and optical… I also have the Pi2 Mercury v2, it has i2s, but it too is limited to 192/24, like many streamers out there today…

This is the reason I was looking at the AirLens, higher resolution, but again, we are back to the software issue… I played around with Roon, which I had no luck with getting to work over my network on the Roon approved WiiM Pro+. It kept dropping off the network, there one minute, gone the next, after a few hours I through in the towel. Not the first time I have attempted to get Roon working, no clue what is going on, it simply does not work on either of my Macs or my two networks. And it is all of the latest stuff, software and computers. One of those works today or an hour ago, and suddenly cannot be found… Not my idea of “Enjoying the music”.

It is nice to simply grab my iPad, hit the WiiM app and play music. Hell, most of the time I simply listen to my Cayin 220Ti FM Tuner, it actually sounds better than any streamer I have had through here. I invested in a solid antenna, and my favorite Detroit Jazz station comes in crystal clear.

I think all in all, the WiiM is the way to go. I have played with streamers with Volumio, PlayFi and I loaded RoPieee on my Mercury. The WiiM is simply to easy to use, and now with the battery power bank, it sounds incredibly good. I have Apple Music, Amazon Music and Qobuz, all are lossless and have the HiRes. After the frustration with the other streamers and the associated software… I think I will stick with the WiiM.

And WiiM, they just implemented room correction. It is nothing fancy, just a single multiple frequency tone, but it works! I could not believe the overall sound quality improvement in my room after using it haphazardly for the first time. I have a mic that I need to hook up and do it properly. It does have a built in 10 band EQ and PEQ that the room correction uses. The technology in these inexpensive little boxes is quite impressive, and with every update the user experience continues to improve, along with the overall sound quality. The addition of the battery bank was a bit of icing on the cake. Very Happy with the WiiM! :wink:

It should be here soon, it is out for delivery right now! So, what mods did you do to your DAC, curious.


Great first posts. :slight_smile:

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The WiiM app works with my Stellar Strata for streaming. It might with the Airlens since the same company is involved. Don’t know if anyone has tried it, might be good to ask in a separate post.

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I will say Roon does add a degree of complexity to a system. But once done i can no longer live without. if you are happy with the WiiM software and the combo of your mac mini and it then I would stick with it. Sometimes KISS is good.


It is very frustrating trying to set up Roon, which looks incredibly simple to do. I have tried several times over the past few years and wind up saying screw it every time. It works great for maybe an hour, and then poof! It is no longer available, simply disappears off the network… Yep, WiiM baby!

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That sounds like something on your network is making it drop. Very hard to figure those out.

Bet you’re excited. You won’t be disappointed. I purchased my unit already upgraded from here

when it was on sale.
They also offer upgrade services. My unit came in new condition with the clear protective covering on the top.
Very happy.

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Rowan, I covet your car collection.

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I know, and I set this network up myself. I will get Roon working and then come back and everything is gone in regards to the Roon network. The connections are gone. I have pretty much given up, as the WiiM is simply too convenient to use. And I spend most of my time listening to my Cayin 220Ti FM Tuner, which is simply a joy to listen to. I spent the money on a very nice antenna and have a solid lock on my local Detroit Jazz station, WRCJ Detroit.

How does the WiiM app work with your Strata? Do you have a WiiM streamer connected to your Strata, or are you somehow running the WiiM software on your Strata? Thanks.

Well the DSD MKI arrived, got her set up after doing some major surgery to the system to add this DAC to the chain. I did discover that my ToneWinner gear is very sensitive to cables, mainly speaker cables. I have a pair of inexpensive speaker cables that Steve Huff recommended on his YouTube Channel, so I tried them. Wow! Talk about killing the sound. Golden Ears asked me what the hell did I do to the speakers? I told her, and she said put the old cables back. I had to agree, everything sounded terrible, veiled, or as she said, “Dusty”. I put the Mogami coaxial speaker wires back and the sound opened back up. Coaxial cable, not copper.

Well, the DSD MKI is going back. My Stellar Gaincell sounds much better, and the DSD MKI could not touch the ToneWinner AD-1PRE+ DAC/Preamp. I played around with it, and the SQ differences between the ToneWinner and the DSD MKI were so stark, this was not a settling or burn in issue, the DSD MKI reminded me of the Cambridge DacMagic lineup, I have one laying around here somewhere. My buddy Ed owned the DSD MKI and described this DAC to a “T”, and was correct. His did not have the latest firmware, and I was hoping this newest and last version would kick it over the top, nope. I really wanted to like this DAC, the Gaincell is taking its position back in the rack next to the ToneWinner.

Golden Ears described it best, the sound lacked instrument separation, everything was pushed back, and many instruments could not be discerned. The ToneWinner opens all of that up, all of that fine detail is there without being annoying in regards to digital sterility or brightness, it has a very, “you are in the room” natural sound to it. Where the DSD MKI, according to Golden Ears, sounded like a recording, we were no longer there in the room, we were simply listening to a recording, as there was no life to the sound along with being very rounded off or muted.

And yes, I messed around with the settings, sources and tried different cables. It simply did nothing but upset me, as I so wanted to like this DAC, especially after falling in love with the Stellar Gaincell. The Gaincell replaced my Venus II 12th and Bel Canto 3 DACs, and then I discovered the ToneWinner, which replaced them all. But, the Gaincell still has a place in the rack, the Gaincell is one DAC I do not want to part with.

I’m going to box up the DSD MKI and send her back.

FWIW, I honestly believe you have somehow “optimized” your system to be more or less incompatible with the DS Sr. DAC.

None of your experience with/description of its overall presentation are consistent with my experience nor, I dare say, the overwhelming majority of folks that have or have had the DS Sr. in their systems. I am particularly surprised that you did not prefer the DS Sr. over the Stellar GainCell DAC.

That said, only your ears and experience matters in the end. If the DS Sr. does not float your boat, moving on is obviously the correct choice for you.



Care to share the make and model of the ToneWinner kit you referenced…? It sounds interesting.


Just a hunch before you send your DSD Mk 1 back, as many have found, a cold reboot reloading the FW may provide the sonic magic. Since it is currently in house it will not cost you anything. The designer Ted has mentioned a FW reload can open things up. Why is anyone’s guess. Otherwise if unhappy with it return it without further delay.


Hey scotte1, this ToneWinner gear is interesting to say the least. It is extremely revealing and believe it or not, very natural sounding. I am blown away every time I turn my system on, as is my good friend Edward. We both have their AD-1PRE+ DAC/Preamp and their AD-2PRO+ integrated.

Here is their flagship amplifier, the AD1PA+, their technology and sound bleeds over into the two pieces I mentioned above. Worth a look, and will not break the bank.

Thanks for the response.

Glad you enjoy them.