DSD MK2 Aftermarket Modifications

Hey all,

We have seen an uptick in Directstream DAC MK2’s with different modifications come in for service. I wanted to share some data we have uncovered during our tests.

First off, Units with transformer mods are failing nearly every bench test we have. Meaning that they are causing the DSDMK2 to become erratic and test outside of our parameters. At PS Audio we highly recommend not doing these aftermarket modifications. This is due to multiple customer units being damaged or being unrepairable after the modification.

Here’s some test results from a MK2 that had issues after a transformer swap.

As you can see, this unit was performing very poorly. Once a DSDMK2 has had a transformer modification we cannot fix the board that the transformer is connected to. It has to be replaced completely. While we strive to take care of every issue that comes across our repair benches, we cannot guarantee repair of a modified unit and modifying a unit does void the warranty. This includes all modifications, not limited to just the transformer swaps.

That being said, We will help troubleshoot whenever we can with modified units! We’re always happy to talk gear! This is just a friendly recommendation straight from the factory.

16 Likes

Thanks for letting us know. This is significant and important for people to know.

1 Like

Curious if it was damage caused by poor workmanship or if the add in transformers were causing these issues?

4 Likes

I can’t speak to the craftsmanship of the mods, because we are not the one’s who have approved or designed the mod.

I did look at all these units personally and it has become enough of an issue to bring up.

1 Like

Unapproved design changes should void the warranty.

The user should also be up front about any home brew mods when they send it in for a “warranty claim”.

We have to deal with the same sort of thing and the immediate answer is always no.

4 Likes

Sometimes it pays to hold off on modifying. I have 23 months to hold transformers I purchase or perhaps due the TSS DS trade before that date. One forum member mentioned his unit heating up during transformer burn in. I suspect returned units were exhibiting issues beyond that symptom.

absolutely agree. I did MKI changes as I got used and out of warranty anyway. I did do the APS ones in the MKII. I had seasoned pro put them in. I think it was a dramatic improvement. As did others. Now if something else goes I am up you know whos creek.

4 Likes

Thank-you for sharing. I can’t say that I am completely surprised. If I desired improved performance I’d not modify the circuit board, but look to competing products that satisfy my sonic goals. Just my opinion.

How odd that someone with a modified unit would expect a warranty repair.

2 Likes

Well, Most everyone has understood this. I just wanted to get ahead of any issue!

5 Likes

I’ve had my mki and mkii modified. Both modifications brought nice improvements. No problems, that I know of, with either. I ALWAYS understood it to be a “you spend your money and you take your chances” situation. If necessary, I’ll pay whatever to get my mkii fixed. I’ve wasted more money on less benefit…cables anyone?

4 Likes

With or with out tuning rings

Oh, now I see why it’s so hard to sell DSD mkII at half of the retail even with the vaunted APS transformers… it’s bad before mods, and even worse after mods… [it was a bad joke]

DSD Sr (mkI) was and still is the best DAC ! …after all mods, of course :wink:

It would be useful to see the boards after these modifications. Based on half the tests failing, there should probably some physical damage or poor soldering that would attribute to that. I would think if everything was installed correctly, there should be no issue. I installed my aftermarket transformers and everything works just like it did stock.

Just hypothesizing here: the Mk II transformer is wired differently than the Mk I transformer(s). There are transformers out there that would work fine in a Mk I that would fail in a Mk II and others which would require some sort of change in jumpers, etc. In those cases there’d be no visible sign of a bad installation.

8 Likes

That makes sense. I understand it’s not really in PS Audio’s best interest to let us know which transformers someone used that messed up their DAC but it would be good for those who are looking to make these mods to know if it was someone trying to use a MK1 aftermarket in a MK2 or if the APS transformer made for MK2 was the issue.

Whilst I understand this (and I don’t have a tortoise in the race personally), as recently as last year we were assured on this forum that modifications to units that came in for warranty repair, would still have the warranty honoured where the mod was entirely unconnected to the problem.

I was pleasantly surprised at this, but perhaps this should be clarified further now, even if it is still in place as a Goodwill thing?

3 Likes

A difference is that if a mod causes the acceptance tests to fail it does interfere with working on that unit.

9 Likes

Hmmm yes I suppose so.
Amongst the perils of automated testing I suppose, but I know it’s a good thing really :slight_smile:

That is why I’m keeping my MK2 stock. The MK2 sounds good enough right now the way it is, especially with the Massive update. I’m preserving it for trade in of hopefully a soon to be release of the TSS. Hint…Ted.

6 Likes