How does this work?

Can anyone who knows this great bit of equipment, answer the question. I am a fan of PS Audio, having a pair of their mono amps, and had it suggested that I need to upgrade my Stellar Gain Cell Dac to a greater sounding DirectStream Dac. How does this work, in the way of volume control? As it has no volume pot, as my current Dac does. Do I need a separate Pre? Or is there a remote volume adjuster? I know I said I was staying put with the SGCD, but have had a friend on FB say he has just got one, so am revisiting the concept.Thanks

The DirectStream DAC has a digital volume control that is operated via the remote control. It can also be accessed via the touch screen on the unit itself.

Given the method of upsampling everything to DSD internally that volume levelling is supposed to be lossless.

You do not need a separate pre amp if you need no other source to be connected to your system. But sometimes a (good) pre inbetween can be beneficial. This is system dependent and needs to be tested in the final environment. But you should be good to start without one.

The DSD is an amazing sounding DAC, but your “need to upgrade” should be backed up by an understanding of what you want to achieve with that upgrade.

BTW: A new hardware version of the DSD - MK II - will most likely be released this year, which means that the used market for the MK I DACs will most likely see lots of units for good prices then. Also be aware that no new firmware releases are planned for the current DSD.


Very sage advice.

A need to upgrade is just wanting to get the “best” from what I am currently using. Yes, cables can improve a bit, and other “tweaks” but want the full DSD experience, and all the music files (Flac) on my new ish intel NUC are standard 44.1 PCM CD’s, and a few have been ripped by a friend on his Oppo player to DSD, and they sound very good. So am now looking yet again at the DS unit as a way of converting to DSD when playing my PCM files

I went from the Stellar Gain Cell Dac to the Directstream with my M700s when I still had them. The digital volume control worked great.


Thanks, this what I wanted to know. I have heard, again from a member of this forum, that there maybe a MKII later this year, so may hang on and see if its true, and if it is, what are the plus signs

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These are definitely coming down in price. I had a hard time selling mine…23 days to be exact and I had to settle for $2350 cleared, w/out Bridge. I’ve seen a lot advertised in the $2450-$2600 that aren’t selling yet some guys are stilling asking over $3K for a non-bridge unit. Those sellers will be severely disappointed.
I predict by the time the new DirectStream hits the market one will be able to get the ‘old’ DS for under $2k, probably less than the DS Jr’s are currently selling for used.