DS Jr vs. DS Sr

I’m an owner of a DS JR and love it. What would I gain by getting a SR? How much better is it?

The standard response is that the DSJ provides 80% of the performance of a Senior. Best to do a search the forum for specifics.

I’m really referring to SQ. I don’t care about more features as much.

I’m using a cd transport connected via rca. Also, a dedicated audio computer connected via usb.

I have the JR connected to my amp via XLR.

@Geno - One I2S input vs. two I2S inputs. I use one for DMP and one for Matrix so the DSD Sr was a good choice for me. However, when I started w/ BII streaming, did not need it. I have not owned both so I can’t answer the SQ. PSA or someone who upgraded could answer SQ. Going I2S for streaming was an SQ step up, getting rid of BII.

I believe the 80% notion was a target that Paul set for the DSJr (one of which I have and am completely satisfied), not the resulting “quality” of the products themselves. I don’t know how you’d say that one DAC was 80% as good as another.

Someone that’s compared both in a reasonably controller setting would be able to provide a better answer than that. How they chose based on their wallet would be more telling.



I owned the DS Jr. and currently using the DS Sr. The only reason I got the Sr. was that my local dealer offered me a very attractive trade up option for it. I never had the itch to replace it to be honest.

Re SQ, I could’ve lived happily without the “20%” increase in quality. You get a lot of bang for your buck with the DS Jr.

Other than the few functionality differences already mentioned, one of the biggest changes is the board layout within the DS Sr. Everything in the DSJ is on one main board. The DSD has it’s own power supply board, digital, and analog. This helps a lot to reduce interference and overall noise floor.

When it comes down to SQ, there’s no question the DSD beats it out. Quantifying SQ like 80% is kind of weird to me, but I understand people wanting to do that. The DSJ is one heck of a DAC, but when we were testing it in the Music Room 1, I couldn’t help but feel it was missing something. Immediately when we put the the Sr. back in the system, the sound stage we’re all used to came back and the separation between musicians was present again.

I recently traded up from a Jr to a Sr and could tell the difference immediately out of the box. After breaking it in for about 200 hours, the Sr was even better.

The difference that you hear and the magnitude of the difference will be dependent on the quality of the equipment, wires, and speakers that you have.

The best way I can put it is that I’m happy that I upgraded and now that I am here, I wouldn’t go back.

The biggest challenge with this “passion”, as Paul calls it, is that once you hear something that you think sounds better than what you have, you realize what you have been missing and you won’t be happy with what you have until you can achieve that level of performance from your system.


I bought a DS Jr. in February and a DS Sr. In April. I love them both and would probably be fine with either one of them. The Sr. sounds swell, but so does the Jr. Not helpful, sorry.
(I kept the Jr. and use it in another system)


I agree. The DSD is great, but so is the DSJ. I’m very used to the DSD because that’s what we use here in the music rooms. We have a local customer that runs the DMP into a DSJ and driving a pair of Dunlavy speakers. His system sounds darn good, and he always mentions how happy he is with the DSJ. Sounds like he may get the DSD later but for now, the DSJ works darn well for him.

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I recently sold my DSJ and got a Senior. It is still running in with about 150 hours on it. I know that people have quantified the difference between the 2 DAC’s with various figures, 10%, 15%, 20% differences depending on who you read. No disrespect intended to anyone but for me, I can’t put a figure on it as there is a subjective step up in enjoyment between the 2 DAC’s that is purely emotional in nature. The Senior adds relaxation, weightiness, detail and richness over the DSJ. Getting sucked into the music versus listening to my system is something that for me goes beyond a percentage difference.

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Thanks everyone for your responses. You have given me the answers I was looking for. Now I just need to save the money to upgrade :smirk:


I was able to move from the Jr to the Sr recently. Cold out of the box the Sr seemed dead even with my well burned in Jr.
However the jump at 200 & 1000 hours was significant. 20-25% better seems reasonable. Just more relaxed, smooth, better sound staging and a layer of harshness gone. Very impressive DAC. Definitely worth the upgrade to me

Only real way is to try one. If you don’t like it, send it back. If you like it better, trade the Jr for it.

I’ve done a side-by-side comparison of the DSJ and DS, though using Redcloud. The Sr. is what I kept and it is definitely better but it is a bit more nuanced than the “80%” description, though if I had to put a number on it I think that’s fairly close, depending on the setup and system.

You can read my conversation with a reader about this topic here, he eventually upgraded and was very happy with the Sr:

The thing I’d point out is that the Jr. ABSOLUTELY needs a preamp. IMO it simply doesn’t do well driving amps directly. The Sr. can sound better with a very good preamp, but it does pretty well without one. I would consider the Jr. borderline unusable directly into a typical high-gain amp due to the higher noise floor.

As a counterpoint, my wife, an oboist, preferred the Jr, which illustrates how close it can be to some listeners/systems. Her remarks:

  • For wind instruments (oboes in particular), my wife consistently preferred the Junior. She felt it more accurately captured the timbre and delicacy of the oboe.
  • Interestingly she also felt the Junior had a very slight airbrush effect on the playing of French oboist Francois Leleux, toning down his mannerisms (wide vibrato, demonstrative phrasings, bug dynamic swells) and making him sound smoother and more restrained. She personally preferred this because Leleux’s idiosyncratically-French style is considered a bit over-the-top by American oboe school standards. But she conceded that the Senior’s more raw representation of Leleux could in fact be more accurate.
  • With Flute (Saint-saens Carnival of the Animals), my wife again preferred the Junior, saying she felt the tone of the instrument was truer.


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