Directstream DAC vs Junior

Can someone point me to a good comparative review between the Directstream DAC and Jr.
Thinking about possibly upgrading from the Junior.

If possible I would see if you can get a DSD Snr to try for a day or two. This would be by far the best way to compare the two. Hopefully you have an obliging dealer close by.

Just to add: would love to know the difference between a DSD upsampled SGCD and a direct stream junior :slight_smile:

Gary_M …google is your friend…

That was my first course of action, which produced very little.

there are number of customer comparisons on here, buried but a few creative searches should uncover them.

I find the DS better than the Jr. but I could easily live with Jr.

A couple things I like that are not sound related. Sr. runs far cooler without Bridge II card, which cannot be removed from Jr. The larger case also helps Sr. stay cooler.

Sr. has the better output stage. I guess this is where the 15% better sound description comes from, regardless, in the same system I chose Sr.

Either take many weeks fully realize their true souls.

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Of course I am biased so take it for what it’s worth, but the Senior is much better than Junior if musicality and transparency is the goal. I like both, but definitely Senior.

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@jumbuck is absolutely right. I’ve done a fair amount of comparisons between the two DACs, and it’s pretty hard to eloquently describe the differences. I think the best way for you to decide how big of an improvement it is, you should really try it in your system. If you want to reach out to me directly, we can discuss getting you a senior for an in-home trial.

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Thanks Paul. I was hoping to accomplish two things going to the Sr. One, since I’m not currently using a preamp, I’m looking to lower the noise floor, hopefully to the point I won’t be hearing a hiss from my lisening position. And two, looking for a little more bloom and fullness in the sound.
I know the BHK preamp would accomplish both of those objectives, but it’s a little out of my reach at the moment, as I just purchased the DMP, Jr, and BHK 250.

Keep in mind getting a decent renderer (Ultrarendu) + a good linear power supply for it (Sbooster) is gonna run $1200 or more for the SGCD and even then you have Ethernet to USB as opposed to Ethernet to I2S in the DS.

My needs are mostly CDs (using a transport via I2S) and Google Chromecast Audio via TOSLINK. Hence the ethernet interface is not an issue for me yet. However if I move to Roon/TIDAL, I will consider upgrading.

Then the DSS is probably just right for you. Give James a call and her can figure out a way to get one for you to try and see.

Nice. That’s quite a set of PS Audio gear you have there. Congratulations.

A Sr sounds peachy, but I think you should address first why in the world you can sit and hear a "hiss"even from your listening position (vs maybe with ear on the speaker which might be acceptable). There seem to be a few threads where people are willing to throw a significant chunk of change “fixing” an issue that should not be there in the first place. Also, correct me if I’m wrong but your noise may very well still be there with the Sr., you may not hear it as well, but how do you know the Sr solved the issue vs masked it?

Not only from reading here…has anyone ever asked for less bloom and richness? :wink: No.

But even if the Sr. still doesn’t provide what you’re looking for in this regard…you’re on the right path with it!

I suspect quite everyone without big and/or adjustable speakers needs rather little more bloom than not :wink: Those transparent components are great, but you have to have the environment for them.

You’ll realize far more with the BHK preamp vs. the difference between Jr. and Sr.

I would try the BHK first.

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Altho, yes, there may be something else in the system that’s causing noise, people need to know that a certain amount of hiss is intrinsic with single bit DSD DACs. (E.g. check out the well respected Playback Designs MP-5:

The hiss in the DS Sr is 6dB quieter than the DS Jr by virtue of having four times as much hardware in the audio path. (Each doubling helps 3dB with noise.)

In any system you need to have the output and input ranges of your components reasonably consistent. The most common thing (DS or no DS) is to use a preamp (which, at times, can’t be avoided with, e.g. with a phono cartridge.)

If your system is well balanced with out a preamp you MAY be able to use a digital volume control somewhere along the path before or at the DAC. The 20dB attenuator in the DAC is designed to help most systems that are more sensitive than average (e.g. horns) be able to match signal ranges with the DS.

Some people like the sound better with a preamp and others without a preamp.

If you want to try not using a preamp and the system is too hissy without the attenuator and too quiet with it you may need to some thing more: e.g. use an inline attenuator, use the 6dB gain from XLRs, … When using the attenuator you can turn the volume of the DS and DS Jr up to 106 which is just enough for some systems.

A users few have simply changed the amount of attenuation in the DS by unsoldering a resistor. We certainly don’t expect that a typical customer would do that, but it is effective for some systems if you don’t want a preamp and don’t want an external resistor or an inline attenuator.

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I agree, but I can’t afford the BHK preamp at this time, as I just maxed out my budget purchasing the DMP, dac jr, and BHK 250 amp. Returning my jr. and upgrading to the Sr. without the Bridge, is the more affordable move, which I hope moves me closer to achieving my objectives.

Always interesting to read about Ted‘s optional high-ender‘s-life-hacks :wink:


I’m a little confused now. I spoke with someone at PS Audio who told me the DSD was 15db quieter than the jr.
Not sure 6db will reduce the hiss to the point I won’t hear it at my listening position.