Do Red book CD's sound significantly better with DS compared to PW (MK II)??


#1

I am sure many of you upgraded from PW to DS. I have no high resolution audio just lots of CD’s ripped to loss-less format.

What is your honest opinion about sonic advantages between both units for regular CD’s??

Price difference is huge between them but I won’t ask if DS sounds 3 times better, because I know high end audio works differently.

Peter


#2

I would say “Yes” especially after a few months of “seasoning.” Right out of the box the difference is in my opinion not that pronounced, but as the DirectStream gets more and more play the sound improves and surpasses that of the PWD Mk 2.

The PWD Mk 2 sounds a bit compressed in comparison, not always a BAD thing that bit of compression. But there’s more sense of “environment” with the DirectStream, and more tonal detail without stridency or boominess.


#3

The DS is a major step up in my opinion. One thing it does is make the difference between CDs and high resolution files less apparent, all things being equal (which they rarely are–high res files often seem less dynamically compressed to me, for one thing). It’s hard to compare the two units sonically. To me the PWD is a great traditional style DAC whereas the DS does a better job of putting you in the middle of the music (even when that space is artificial). They are both great units so you really can’t go wrong, but if you can swing it, I would go for the DS. If price is a big issue you might look for a used unit. I believe the warranty is transferrable (assuming the unit was originally purchased from an authorized dealer and registered with PSA), although I would suggest checking that with PSA.


#4

And let me add a related question since I have a PWD MKII and have been thinking about the upgrade to a DS. I have a modest CD collection and over the years have purchased and downloaded quite a few higher res albums from HDTracks (mostly 96/24.)

How much better does the DS sound over the PWD MKII with higher than redbook resolution PCM files?

MikeB


#5

I agree completely with the comments of lonson and stevem2. MikeB, what they said holds for High res PCM as well. The PWD is a great DAC - no doubt about it. But the DS brings you more so into the musical environment. It steps over the line into the realm of “it doesn’t matter anymore that it’s a DAC making these sounds”.


#6

What Tony said. The DS narrows the difference between red book and high res played on the DS but the DS is clearly superior to the PWD regardless of the resolution of the files being played.


#7

I know it sounds cliche - but the DS made my whole CD collection sound like they were recent remasters. I was surprised by the amount of information that’s always been on these CDs that just wasn’t being dug up by other DACs.

If price is a concern, maybe find a DS used.


#8

Yes, but you didn’t have a PWD before. :) Your jump was bigger! LOL


#9

I haven’t looked at the details, but I came across just a moment ago a listing on Audiogon for a used DS.

(I have nothing to do with this listing.)


#10

I ordered a DS with bridge today. I wish the bridge was made user friendly so that it will replace my Sonos unit with ability to access and control my library. I keep hearing lots of problems setting it up with audio delays etc.,

I am hoping to be impressed after putting 400hrs on DS. I never believed in break-in period till this moment.

If DS requires such a long seasoning, I don’t understand why it is not done at the factory (like Bryston).

Thank you for all your comments

P


#11

Don’t forget about the peanut butter( PWT/MP) to go along with the jelly (DS)… smiley-music005_gif party_gif


#12

Congratulations, Peter. You should be very pleased with the purchase. Don’t worry about the burn in. The beauty of source gear is you can just feed it a signal and let it run 24/7, although I’m not sure I’d recommend that if your main feed is a mechanical transport (even the PWT!). The thought of something like that running 24/7 for 400+ hours makes me a little uncomfortable. Go with a streaming feed and it’ll be fully cooked in short order.


#13

The DS does redbook so well that I really could not care less about hi rez recordings. Even vinyl has been put on the back burner for me, and I was always a huge vinyl guy. The DS is really that good.


#14

Your going to love the DS. As mentioned, red book sounds amazing! Hires sounds fantastic as well, but the difference is less pronounced. Also the ability to stream DSD via DoP adds a whole other upgrade over the PWD.

T


#15
tony22 said Congratulations, Peter. You should be very pleased with the purchase. Don't worry about the burn in. The beauty of source gear is you can just feed it a signal and let it run 24/7, although I'm not sure I'd recommend that if your main feed is a mechanical transport (even the PWT!). The thought of something like that running 24/7 for 400+ hours makes me a little uncomfortable. Go with a streaming feed and it'll be fully cooked in short order.
I was a little bit hesitant myself in concern of running the PWT for hundreds of hours breaking in my DS.But to make sure,I asked those in the know at PS Audio and the reply was not to worry about it,after all,both units need a break in period. I now have 350 hours on the combo without so much as a burp from either unit. The combo is burning in rather nicely,miles ahead sonically since day one. If it gets any better sounding than it does now...I would consider it a most welcome bonus...41_gif

#16
peterrudy said

I am hoping to be impressed after putting 400hrs on DS. I never believed in break-in period till this moment.

If DS requires such a long seasoning, I don’t understand why it is not done at the factory (like Bryston).

I see several problems here.

o- Additional costs associated with the infrastructure and logistics (“burning” place, you have to connect a bunch of devices to the power, to the source and terminate the output), personnel, electricity bill, waiting queue, etc. Of course, it can be done but at some extra unit price, the customer will have to pay. My guess is at least 10%.

o- If a unit is not solved within xx days, the customer will have to do the breaking-in again. Think of static charges accumulated over the time. Most likely the burn-in procedure will be shorter, but still it needs to be done again.


#17

Let alone the debate as to whether break-in is real.


#18

Elk, you devil, you.devil_gif

@peterrudy: Not to throw a wrench in the works, but PSA is currently working on a new version of the Bridge. You might keep yours packaged and see if you can return it so you can pick up the latest version in a little while. My apologies to PSA for interfering with commerce but it seems to make sense at this point in time.


#19

After getting an OPPO-105D 6 months ago, I was told by their tech dept. that there was no way to output the digital stream from SACD, that it was copy protected. I have a large collection of CD’s and SACD’s which is all I play. When the DS DAC was announced, PS Audio said nothing about decoding SACD-only CD, which eliminated this DAC from my consideration.

Now I find out that the OPPO outputs SACD DSD through the two HDMI ports [which are not copy-protected by Sony] and that the DS DAC has an HDMI input . It took the Follow-UP article on the DS DAC in the current Stereophile to clue me in on this. So what the hell gives ?? Why is SACD decoding kept as some big secret by the manufacturers ?? Or is SACD decoding not worth PS audio’s mention in all their promos of the DS DAC ?


#20

The DS does not have an HDMI input. It has I2S inputs that use HDMI cables but it would not recognize or decode an HDMI signal. To the best of my knowledge, SACD audio over HDMI is encrypted and manufacturers who build receivers that accept it are paying royalties to Sony. There was no easy way to incorporate SACD playback into the DS or they would have (Ted Smith has a lot of SACDs). The DS can play DSD files (SACD is essentially single-rate DSD) that are purchased as downloads or ripped from SACDs (a process that is not easy).