Directstream Sr. vs. Jr

For those that have heard BOTH the Directstream Sr. AND Jr…

What is the difference in soundstage and anything else you want to share?

If the Sr. is better…By how much? Alot? 5%, 20% 80%.

Mr. Smith I believe said, the only difference is a lower noise floor, but one here on the forum (I can’t remember who) said it was a night and day change, both using Snowmass.

I am curious about your experiences. I have been using the Jr. for a year and is at the shop on warrantee. Thinking of Upgrading but,…

Thank you


You’ll hear quite a few people and reviewers say the DSJ is about 80% that of the DSD. It’s certainly a very hard thing to quantify, but I don’t mind this number. When we were listening to and deciding which iteration of Redcloud (old firmware) we liked best, I remember thinking the DSJ was holding it’s own really well. Specially with Ted’s new magic at the time. We took numerous days to decide and there for a while, my ears were getting very used to the DSJ. Then we hooked the DSD back into the system… Everything fell back into place. Staging was a lot more defined and separated. When the DSJ was in the system, it sounded like the music was trapped in the room. When we put the DSD back in, a certain airiness came back into the system and it was so nice to have back.

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Is it just the output transformers that do this or something else do you think?

Thank you


What I find is when the dsJ goes through a highend pre there is a 10% to 15% betterment including the things you mentioned. Someone could easily say 20%. So maybe it is the transformers in the senior OR the pre.
My 2 cents.
Thank you


hi @tonydennison,

I think it’s pixie dust sprinkled liberally into the case of the Direct Stream Sr. just before closing it up. :rofl: Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.

In all seriousness though you might want to check out this thread:

Thanks buddy

@ mycrowave

I read it. Thanks again. So I think it is the transformers and the pre takes care of it on the DS JR side. This is a good thing since I want to keep my pre.


hi @tonydennison,

I wasn’t sure if you read that thread.

You might also want to check this out, if you haven’t already done so.

From Paul himself, the biggest difference is the output transformers and the code differences due to the need to compensate for the lowpass filtering aspects of the output transformers on The DSSr.

I also remember reading or watching something that also said that there is more distance between the electronics reducing EMF interference between the internals in the DSSr.


So I guess Im on the right path


I am a contrarian here… a guy who wants high end but willing to shave off the last bit to not go nuts or broke.

I had the JR and now the senior. Honestly, if your system is bright, you will like the JR better. I thought the JR was fabulous and was really happy. I upgraded due to firmware problems with the JR and I had had it. So PS Audio had an upgrade path so I took it. I am happy with the SR, but honestly, the JR sounded more “comfortable” I can’t say the senior is better or worse… it was different and honestly, I kinda miss the warmer sound of the JR. At least that is the way it was in my system: PrimaLuna integrated (all tube) and Focal speakers with beryilium tweeters. The amp is beautiful, the speakers can be a bit forward but they rock.

I used only the USB connectivity and always had bit-for-bit transfer.

IMO, if the Senior is a stretch and your system is foward, you may be happier with the Junior. However, I would ask them if they got the firmware issues straightened out… I could not live with this unit that way.

Bruce in Philly

Thank you so much for your insights.

At the moment the JR going through a tube pre Quicksilver is amazing. The problem I have is a 120 hz buzz when the JR is hooked up to the pre. The JR causes the same 120hz buzz going in to a SS ARC.

The Jr is at PSA now but they can’t replicate the issue…yet…

so if I upgrade it would only be to get rid of the pre because of finances, (which I dont want to do) in the hopes that the SR would sound better going direct then the JR.

Unfortunately I can’t keep both the pre and upgrade.

BUT, your insights makes me hope more that they find the issue and can fix the JR. I imagine there is a solder issue in the back of the JR.

I am going insane without music.

Thanks again, the last thing I want is brightness (always one of my fears) and the JR via the QS sounds A. M. A. Z. I. N. G. except for the RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR


A problem I am experiencing is a 120 hz buzz when DSJR is hooked to preamp.

If you could ignore the loud buzz, the soundstage and everything else is much better than the dsjr going direct in to power amps.

as to the hum…the unit is at ps audio now, searching for an answer.

This is what I have done so far in my experiments (any suggestions?):

Issues: 120 HZ buzzzz when DSJ attached to two different pre-amps, AND, a Digital Gurgle sound when attenuator is out and DSD player input to USB port when vol. above 77.

1- When the DSJ was outputted to a just received used ARC LS3 with the DSJ attenuator in or out, I heard a very loud 120HZ BUZZING noise. I immediately returned the ARC LS# figuring it was broken in shipping.

I purchased a new Quicksilver Line Stage preamp and hooked up the DSJ. When the preamp volume is above 40% there is the same 120HZ buzzing noise. After some simple research I understand this to be a Ground Loop. The Buzz increases as the preamp’s volume increases. The most I can possibly stand is 49% Pre-amp volume. Not optimal.

With other sources the preamp is dead quiet, yet with the DSJ hooked up to either an SS pre, or a Tube pre I get the same 120 HZ Buzz. I have tried lifting the ground on the DSJ with a cheater adapter, and even power cords with the third prong removed. I have tried many variations: DSJ ungrounded and the pre-amp grounded, Pre ungrounded, and the DSJ grounded, one mono block ungrounded and the DSJ and the Pre-amp and one mono block grounded, both mono blocks ungrounded and the DSJ and pre-amp grounded… You name it I tried it. I even tried both a dedicated 4 way outlet box and several different outlets in different configurations, nothing helps.

I hooked up a SACD player to the pre-amp, dead quiet, PS4 to the Pre-amp dead quiet, nothing hooked up to the pre-amp dead quiet, etc, but as soon as the DSJ is hooked up to a pre-amp…BUZZZZZZRRRRRRRRRRZZZZZZZZ. Sounds like an ungrounded Turntable. Not White Noise.

2- When attenuator is out and I have a DSD player inputted to the USB port and the volume is above 77 I get a digital gurglely sound out of the speakers during the silent lead ups to a track (to hear it specifically you need to put ear close to the speaker on the silence sections, but causes general distortion fatigue during normal listening).

I have dealt with this by keeping the DSJ at below 70, not optimal. In order to bypass this problem I ordered an Audio Research LS3Pre-amp used from "The Music Room, and later a Quicksilver Linestage Pre-amp new. (see above), but instead discovered another worse problem.

It is a ground differential between dac and pre.I had the same problem and fix it with Radial J-Iso

Thank you.

So its the transformer in the SR that prevents it in the SR. Sounds like a JR design flaw.

Im thinking I dont want more connections and may consider the SR if PSA cant find a solution.

Thanks for your reply


Are you plugged into two different wall sockets? I have this problem in my own home… won’t go into the story but it was with my electric piano and speaker/amps… I get a loop when I plugged into two different wall sockets.

I should have known… this happened to me before in different homes. Now I put dedicated 20amp circuits to my audio, home theater, and music setup and plug all local equipment into that one local circuit. 20amps is a big amount of juice and should be able to power about anything and all you may have.

Bruce in Philly


I have a dedicated 20…i think it was you that suggested it to me on the forum actually

This is not the case. The transformers in the senior have grounded outputs. So these do not provide any ground isolation. I’m not sure why they decided to connect them this way on the SR, but they did.

You just need to plug a ground lifter in on one of your components to eliminate the ground loop issue.

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I tried 5,000 variations of ground lifting. It did not work, but it is a good idea.

Thank you

Yes thanks…it was suggested



I sent the Jr back and was given an incredible, UN-refuseable upgrade offer to a SR and I took it. I contacted Paul Rutan from Audio Connection and had him send the Quicksilver pre back. I was a bit apprehensive hooking up the SR to the QS…worrying I would get the same 120 hz buzz.

I hooked it up and turned the pre volume to 100%. “CRAP !!! ITS BROKEN. MAKES NO SOUND AT ALL!!! not even one iota of hiss, white noise…nothing…dead”
I thought what kind of luck do i have?

I figured I would at least try to put some music through it to see if ANYTHING comes out. … Music came out :slight_smile:

yes everything was fine, it was just dead quiet. complete black silence. I have never heard a pre this quiet, and of course no problem with the SR.

My other issue with the gurgle noise…turns out it was and is my DAP, not psaudio anything. I get the same gurgle with the SR as I did with the JR, so off to find a DAP replacement. or could it be the USB Cable??? its difficult for me to get different USB cables since I have an OTG from the DAP and almost no usb cables from OTG to B.

The DS SR has been running 24/7 for a week and is starting to sound nice. Hopefully in a few weeks it will surpass the JR.

The SR did sound better out of the box than the JR did, but still stale. It is coming along.

I wish I knew what the problem was with the JR I had, but I guess Ill never know.

Someone on the forum mentioned that they had the same 120HZ buzz with a SR, so it can happen to either one.

anyway that’s my update.

Thanks to all that responded,


I purchased the QS from Audio Connection run by John Rutan. I just want to recommend him. Great business practices !

and I thank TJ from PS Audio, he worked with me and I appreciate it. There were some other issues at PS Audio Customer Service that I was unhappy with, but I guess it worked out for me in the end.

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