Holo Audio: one of the best dacs ever? J Atkinson, H Reichert, S Deckert, M Lavorgna, GoldenSound, D Abramson and the Stereophile reviewers think so. Stereophile A+ and POY 2020

This is a quality that takes a device off my list. And it is the “niceness” of the DS that I like about it. Forgiving is a quality I admire in many areas of life😝


Ok. I’m playing Spotify through the dac now and it sounds glorious. When I say harsh recordings I mean that is the effect they are going for. I don’t listen to many/any by choice.

I also like the sound produced by ATC speakers. It’s not for everyone.


This may be linked to the resolution of the Holo Audio, which is more than 22 bits according to JA’s measurements. If I am not mistaken, it was only 17 bits for the DS ?
@tedsmith : what will the resolution of the DS mk2 be, according to your measurements ?

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It becomes somewhat non-linear just past 20 which is why Jussi of Signalyst (HQPlayer) recommends using 20-bit with noise shapers pushing the noise floor towards -170dB which is lower than most devices can measure as their internal noise and thermal noise will be greater.

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According to JA, only the Weiss and MBL dacs measure in the same league.
And more importantly, the sound was highly praised by Herb and JA.
Recommended A+ component.
All very impressive.


Many of JA’s measurements were confounded by the noise floor. In particular the resolution. If you read his follow on measurements of the next release of the software he notes that the system is linear at 24 bits. I.e. the resolution is at the limits of his measurements. The accuracy isn’t 24 bits, but no current audio DAC is 24 bit accurate.

The Mk II will measure better than the DS, in particular the noise floor will be lower. There will be less distortion. The output resolution can’t be greater than the input resolution for any DAC.


I own a DS and am seriously thinking about upgrading to the ds 2, but I am concerned about its performance on the bench. Granted, at the end of the day, what matters is the sound, but if we have both, it’s better.

JA said : The measured reduction in low-frequency distortion with the v.1.2.1 firmware is dramatic, the improvement in resolution less so but still worthwhile.

And for Torreys:
Even without greater measured resolution, it did indeed sound as if there was more resolution.

Paul Miller was also less than enthusiastic.

What resolution do you expect with the mk2 ? Will it match the current best, the Weiss, MBL and Holo Audio ?

It’s worth adding for those considering the May.

Support: Holo Audio is represented by one individual in the US. One. You will NOT get anywhere close to the same support PS Audio provides on all their gear. This support costs money.

Upsampling: If you’re not into upsampling prior to the DAC using a PC (and a very high frequency CPU for DSD) I would look elsewhere. While straight NOS works and sounds fine, even really, really good, this DAC was born to be fed upsampled content where the massive flexibility of choices can be obtained outside the DAC.


And the Kalliope is what $25k?

As I thought I said clearly, they were confounding noise with accuracy, linearity, resolutions, etc. Resolution is the smallest change in the input that changes the output appropriately. The DS clearly has 20 bit resolution by JA’s measurement. And he hears differences in releases of software that he can’t measure. The differences are there but to measure them he needs to use measurements that aren’t confounded by noise. Look at other DSD based DACs to see that this isn’t a DS only phenomenon. The Mk II will measure better than the DS, but those measurements won’t reflect the real resolution.
I.e. those measurements aren’t measuring what people hear. Conversely check the aliasing of other DACs and the bandwidth, the DS is better than a lot there, those measurements clearly reflect the sound quality for many (but by no means all.) My suggestion is for people to listen for them selves in a familiar system.



I know you have been complimented for this before, but it bears repeating –

Thank you, for your technically focused, accurate, concise and cogent responses to such questions and your consistently excellent contribution to this forum.

Moreover, thank you for sticking around here.


Amen! Right on! Here here! Preach it! You go girl! (wait; scratch that last one :slight_smile: )



All I have to say is Boy this DS Sr. sounds good!!! The sound improves every time I upgrade something. I upgraded the USB cable to the Valhalla2 and heard a huge improvement. Now with the new Wywires Diamond, the sound is so unbelievably real, it spooky!! There seem to be no limits how it shows with each change in the system.


Very disappointing of John Atkinson and Paul Miller.

Wywires Diamond USB cable??

Yes sir. Apples to Diamonds.

I have some sympathy for them. They have a good record of using consistent measurements on many devices which I think is useful. (Some seem to just do measurements they think shows off or shows up the device at hand, which is not as useful.)

I once tried to talk JA out of using his standard jitter measurement technique for Asynchronous Sampling Rate Conversion based DACs (e.g. Lavry) since what that jitter measurement measured wasn’t the input jitter rejection in those cases. JA argued that tho he agreed that it wasn’t the ideal measurement for ASRC he felt that consistent measurement techniques were more important overall.

He knows his customers better than I do, but I think having appropriate measurement techniques for a few classes of DACs would still be a good idea. Especially since DSD based DACs require very different tools to extract the information below the noise floor.


Sorry I wasn’t too clear. wywires Diamond XLR’s interconnects between preamp and power amp. Yes, I heard, and my brother came over to hear also what this amazing cable can do. And this replaced a WW Platinum Eclipse 8 XLR. Huge improvement on the sound of the DS.

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By the way, no need to use that kind of language, I am just trying to get some information to see if I want to buy your next product. I am a fan of the DS, and a EE, but not a dac expert.
Thank you for your answers.

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I emphatize with Ted on this one.

He makes himself so available for questions directly; you never see other manufacturers do this – provides dozens of updates for his products, again no one else matches this level – explained ad infinitum in many other threads the same answers

And of course he gets lectured when he’s explained the explained.

Someone on the PS Audio side should really take a couple weeks to gather all the facts into a FAQ here so the many facts on this forum aren’t asked by the next person who wasn’t lucky enough to come across the needle in the haystack.