DMP into GCD vs. DMP into DSJ: a comparison

I’ve recently had the opportunity to have both the GCD and the DSJ in my system running from my DMP and wanted to share some listening impressions with the community. These impressions follow significant burn in of all 3 machines though the DSJ had the least with about 28 hours.

First, the two DACs share a lot in common soundwise and these characteristics have been described extensively in other threads so I won’t delve into all that except to say that tremendous clarity, soundstage width/depth and imaging are present in both.

Where I found the DSJ superior to the GCD was that it had noticeably more of all those desirable qualities listed above.

But two things strike me most forcefully about where the DSJ scores over its PSA stable-mate and the two are closely related. Those are timbrel accuracy and overall naturalness of sound. The DSJ’s ability to convey extremely truthfully what an (unamplified) oboe, or trombone or piano or cello or human voice, etc., sound like, I found to be very exciting and way above what the GCD can do. This timbrel accuracy taken as a whole in any given well engineered recording conveys an incredible naturalness to the presentation which of course is exactly what all of us audiophiles are for ever in search of.

And I know Ted Smith also has emphasized “naturalness” in his prime objective with the development of the DirectStream products.

It was very nice to hear with my own ears just how amazingly he has achieved that goal.

Here’s my system:

PS Audio DirectStream Memory Player>>PS Audio DirectStream Junior DAC >>Simaudio Moon Nēo 340i >>Dynaudio Confidence C1 II’s + SVS SB12-NSD


Aesthetically very interesting.

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And I somehow forgot to mention the other area the DSJ clearly scores over the GCD which, of course, is it’s handling of SACD’s. The few of these I have in my collection now sound stunningly good. All the superlatives mentioned in my OP get magnified when the source material is well recorded DSD.

Here’s a question I’d like to pose: Did you run each as a stand only preamp, (DSJr digital only) and did you have any experience in running the DSJr as an input to the GCD. I wondered if the DSJr, sounded better on its own, or through the analog inputs of the GCD.

I’ve been salivating in thought about the BHK preamp as well…

I used the preamp functionality of each for volume control directly into my amp and did not run either as input into the other.

Thanks. I’m curious how that would play out. GCD as the preamp, and DSJr as the DAC.


I have been using the GCDD as the preamp and the DSJ as the DAC and I love the difference in the sound. By taking the analogue out of the DSJr one is able to select one of the tone shaping modes of the GCDD that best fits the room and personal taste. I have just had a week without the preamp running the DSJr directly to the M700’s and I’m looking forward to having the preamp back. Lusting after the BHK pre but that is another year or so away.


Thanks for the report. That BHK looks very nice, and if I understand correctly, I can use 6DJ8 family tubes with. I have a good supply of those on hand…

I would think running the DSJr into the GCD would be better than using the DSJr alone as a digital preamp. Glad to hear your thoughts on that.

What’s with all the hands @andolink?


That’s how I feel about SACDs generally. I have a humble Oppo '203 feeding a very good Marantz '8805 pre/pro, and when the sun and the moon and the planets and the electricity are all a’tuned, the music reaches a degree of transparency that is simply heavenly. This has been ocurring more often this spring and summer since the BHK300s and then the Quad '2905s arrived.

I plan to buy a DMP/DSD combo (and an inexpensive DAC for the surrounds) this fall after I sell more equipment this summer. My multichannel listening already uses just four channels; the Quads focus the entire soundstage so well, they sound better than my very-fine-sounding Revel C208 CC speaker so I don’t use the center channel. Also, I use stereo SWs driven by the left and right channels instead of the .1-channel (mono) signal. So with just one DSD required, the combo is almost affordable! … :smiley:

That’s my wife’s idea of innovative interior decorating. The painting and the audio gear are my contributions, everything else is my wife’s doing.