DirectStream pricing, trade-ups and options

I thought it might be helpful to put up a separate thread that explains the pricing structure and trade-up/upgrade policies and thinking behind them. Hope this helps.

In the USA
The DirectStream retail price is $5,995.

The two main avenues of upgrading from a PWD to a DirectStream are through a trade-up or a DIY kit. The pricing logic is simple:

  • Following the DIY upgrade path. If you wish to do the upgrade yourself, that'll run you $2,995 and sound identical to a new DirectStream. Everything inside your PWD will be replaced. The only remaining items from the PWD will be the chassis and front panel display board. So essentailly you're saving the $1000 you invested in the PWD chassis and display board when you bought it new. Everything else is gone.

  • Following the trade-up path. If you want the higher resale value of owning a genuine article DirectStream with its nomenclature on the front panel, trade in your existing PWD, and this will cost an extra $1,000, covering the costs of a new chassis and display board. Total cost to you is the same as a new PWD, $3,995, plus the return of your PWD.

  • Summary. Keep your PWD chassis and display board, replace the innards with DirectStream and you're in for $2,995. Give us your PWD and get a brand new DirectStream for $1,000 more and you're in for the price of a new PWD, $3,995.

If you already own a PWD, whether a MKI or MKII the options details we make available are:

  • $2K trade in credit. Send us your PWD and buy the DirectStream for $3,995. This deal can be had through many of our dealers and directly from us as well. If you decide to do this through your dealer, contact them and make arrangements soon. If you decide to purchase directly, you can sign up starting tomorrow (March 1) on our webstore. We will charge your credit card $3,995 and you promise to send in your PWD within 30 days of receiving your new DirectStream. We pay all the shipping costs. There are only 50 units available for shipment in April, and perhaps a quarter of those are already spoken for, so I wouldn't wait too long.

  • $2,995 upgrade path DIY. We will have upgrade kits available starting in May. The number of upgrade kits will be limited in May so we'll start signups on March 1 as well, preordering. The kits are a DIY style, like we did with the MKII for the PWD. Not much harder to do. You simply remove everything in the PWD and replace it with everything we send you. It's a wholesale slaughter and rebirth. Only the front panel display board remains. $2,995 upgrade path we do it. You can also buy an upgrade kit and send the PWD to us and we'll do it for you. This has to be scheduled and there will be some sort of fee, although we'll keep it minimal. This is a good option for those of you challenged by a screwdriver.

  • If you do not own a PWD but want to trade in your DAC. We will also make some sort of trade-in allowance for other DACS as well, but this won't/can't be as generous as trading in a PWD. Details not yet finalized, but expect approximately $1,000.

Outside the USA

We try to keep our pricing as close to US retail as possible and many of our distributors come pretty close. Once you factor in freight, VAT, exchange rates, etc. we're in fairly good shape. Most of our dealers and distributors outside the US will not be offering the trade-up program. The reason is simple. In the US we can refurbish and then resell the traded in products to our customers. Not so easy for our distributors and dealers who aren't set up to do this as easily.

So the majority of countries will offer the upgrade path and, within ther constraints of what I mentioned in terms of pricing, upgrade kits will be available through your dealers and distributors around the world. Unlike when we did the MKII upgrade, we will not ship upgrade kits from the United States. Part of the problem is that we're replacing the power supply boards and transformers and those kits have to be specific for the country they are going into. Also, some users may require assistance and this would have to be handled on a local level.

The schedule for delivery is as follows:

  • The first 100 DirectStreams produced will ship between April 15th and the end of April. The number of available DirectStreams worldwide is fixed at 100 pieces and have to be shared around the world. If you want one of ther first you should get your order in now. Most dealers and distributors around the world are taking preorders, as are we beginning March 1.

  • The first 50 kits ship in May, followed by increasing numbers into June. Kit presales are goijng on right now.

We will do our best to ramp up production as quickly as we can to meet demand. This is not an easy product to build and each of the first 100 units will be listen tested in Music Room One to make sure they are spot on. After that, we will do AQL listen testing to each production batch to ensure what we hear is what you hear.

Have fun, let us know if we can answer any questions for you.

Paul, do you expect the pricing and availability of the DIY kits to remain constant and available for at least six months after introduction? While I would love to be a first adopter I’m not sure the finances will cover this right now.

If I am taking the trade-in option, do I remove by bridge before sending in unit or something else? Thx

If I am taking the trade-in option, do I remove by bridge before sending in unit or something else? Thx

It would be a good thing to remove the Bridge so you can use it on the new unit.

Don't know if you have to send the remote back or not.

--SSW Absolutely. Take your time.

Yes, remove the Bridge and keep it. There’s no back panel changes.

Paul, for the DIY option do the old boards get returned to PSA?

@tony22 Nope, they’re yours.

@admin How difficult is the kit upgrade from a PWD II – I assume no soldering is required? How many boards, etc. need to be removed and then reinstalled and how long would expect that to take? Thanks.

Two extra steps beyond the PWD Mk II where you removed the digital board: remove the analog board and power supply, then replace with all new power supply, digital board, and analog board. Hopefully shouldn’t take more than 10 or 20 minutes more than the PWD Mk II. Note: the coax cables used on the MkII aren’t used on the DirectStream, so that should make it simpler.


Does the existing Transformer get used or is that replaced too?

The transformer gets replaced.

Paul I understand there is a new (better) IR sensor in the Direct Stream, will that be part of the DIY kit?

What is the difference in perform for the remote with the new sensor?

Ah, a better sensor? The DIY crowd is now curious.

The bridge card can be used on Direct Stream?

Yep, same hole, same connections to the DirectStream digital card.

Fantastic news. Will get in touch with my distributor asap to get a kit for May :slight_smile:


I cannot find where place an order for a new DirectStream on your webstore. It is now March 1 and still not on your website.

Will it be posted later today (March 1)? I wish to trade my PWD MKII in for a new DirectStream.



Yes, I sent a mail to the sales the other day, but haven’t got a response yet.

Paul, how do I bring this up? :-? The PWD has been (IMO) a DAC that has EXCEEDED the concept of bang for the buck. Yes at the time it came out it was not cheap (in relative terms - I’m not talking dCS here!), but as something that could be purchased from a normal retail source it held open the possibility that if the buyer did not care for it, it could be returned. History has shown that to be the unlikely outcome, of course.

The DirectStream will hopefully be another such device. At the outset in this case we have been given the opportunity to transition via a DIY kit, at a significant savings but still at the same price as the original PWD. I’ll make it clear that I thank you and PS Audio greatly for keeping current owners in mind with this option. Not many top shelf companies would care to do that. But I’m concerned about that small chance… It would seem prudent that for those of us taking the DIY option that PSA would not necessarily be offering any sort of return policy - after all we’ll be handling the actual hardware ourselves. As a company I think you wouldn’t want to take the risk of accepting in return anything like that. I may be wrong it this, but if I’m not it appears the DIY adopters would not have full benefits as that of a retail purchase.

While that does seem reasonable and logical it leaves us in a position to have to decide on a major upgrade based on a rather limited data set. I know - that choice is up to us and no one is forcing us to make that choice. I understand the concept of what Ted has done; we’ve been doing major, complex real-time critical program execution through FPGAs for years at my company. But it’s a complement to you and PSA that so many of us are considering this option sight unheard as it were. All that said it feels like I’m flying a little blind this time.

Yes, I sent a mail to the sales the other day, but haven’t got a response yet.

Alekz, when I spoke with Mayoura Friday she indicated (no surprise) she had been buried with the response.