Is it worth buying a PST without a DS DAC?

I am considering replacing my old transport with the PST. However, I do not currently own a DS DAC. I have a couple of other non-PS Audio DACs on hand that I could use with a coaxial cable for now. Nothing high-end, but serviceable for now.

My thinking is I would rather wait for DS mkII in the future than buy a the current new or used DS DAC now. I understand I would not have the ability to take advantage of DSD I2S playback for now. I have nearly 200 SACDs, so I would want to buy a one in the future.

Do you think it is worth buying a PST now without a DS DAC?

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What is your current transport?

The reason I ask is that the DMP that I bought used is the first transport that made a significant improvement in playing of CDs and SACDs in my experience.

Prior to buying the DMP, I fed my DS Sr. (briefly) with a PSA PWT (which I sold to fund another purchase) and then used an old Denon universal disc player as a transport with the DS Sr. With these transports, I nearly always preferred the sound quality of ripped or downloaded files via my iMac hard drive and JRiver Media Center fed to the Bridge I and then (now) the Bridge II Ethernet cards.

Now, with the DMP, good quality recordings on CD and SACD often equal, if not exceed, the sound quality of networked files in terms of musical enjoyment and “audiophool” characteristics.

All that is to say that given the PST’s reputation (I have not heard one in my system), you might very well benefit from an upgrade to the PST since it is supposed to best the DMP – so long as you have a more than decent DAC.



Thanks Scott for your detailed response. My transport is very old at this point. It is a McCormack Deluxe UDP-1 Conrad Johnson edition that dates back to 2005, but it was top of the line at $4K back in the day. Time has just made it obsolete by today’s reference transports. My CDs/SACDs are all ripped now and when I play them through my Auralic Altair G1 DAC/Streamer, they sound better than my old transport. It is overdue for any update.

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You are welcome.

Just keep in mind that it is hard to consistently beat a good intranet streaming system with a spinner in my experience.

I am sure it can be done, just not at the price point I have invested up to thus far on my audio journey.

Good luck to you.

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Understood. I am pretty happy with my current streamer, but Auralic does have higher levels units. However, I have read a number of PST reviews where users believe even the sound of redbook CDs are taken to a new level by their PST. That really intrigues me and would be worth the investment to me. I was hoping there are some others without a DS DAC using a PST or those who have tried it that way.

I have consider just getting a DMP, but most reviews of people who had both believe the PST is worth the upgrade. The other alternative is to just wait for the Perfectwave Octave Streamer that Paul has mentioned, but that unit is not likely to be available until early next year.

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Then what are you waiting for?


Seriously, if you have that itch (and can afford the investment) then scratch it!

By all accounts the PST is a serious piece of high-performance kit.

I like having the option of streaming or spinning, personally.



One thing to note and you can probably have it verified by @jamesh but I believe the I2S output on the DMP only works with PS Audio dac’s. The newer PST will work with other brands I2S inputs

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Hi @McRican, I use the PST with another dac, see the Holo thread. Others do as well, for example @smatsui324.
Whatever dac you end up choosing should have a compatible I2S for the PST. As stated in the manual of the PST, I2S is the preferred output. I have tried other outputs, and I2S is indeed much better.

Get the PST, it’s phenomenal.


That is correct on both accounts of the DMP and PST.


Actually, I would say the opposite. It’s hard to beat a good spinner like the PST with a streamer. In fact, I have yet to hear any streamer come close. I guess it can happen but, in my experience, it hasn’t yet.


Well…your very own Bridge II card coupled with the DS Sr. and JRiver Media Center has consistently outperformed disc spinning in my system. And, until I added a used DMP to the mix a few months ago, it was generally not even close.

Maybe we have a semantics issue? My note was referring to an Intranet vs, disc spinner situation. I was not comparing streaming from the internet to spinning discs on a good system with high quality DAC and transport.

To date, streaming files from the internet in my system consistently runs a distant third to “intranet streaming”. In order of overall sound quality capability/preference (best to “worst”) my experience has, and continues to be:

  1. Listening to ripped files and downloaded files from my iMac via JRMedia Center over Wi-Fi to a router, then through galvanic isolation and ethernet cables to the Bridge II/DS Sr. combo.

  2. Listenting to SACDs and CDs via the PSA DMP and the I2S output through the PSA DS Sr. DAC.*

  3. Streaming files from the internet via Roon, Qobuz or Tidal over the same system via Bridge card and DS Sr.

As an aside, I also find JRiver Media Center to have an edge over Roon when it comes to sound quality of my personal files being rendered from the iMac.



*Although of late, well recorded SACDs have really shone through with the DMP/DS Sr. (I2S) combo.


The PST is a great transport. It will sound wonderful with whatever dac it’s feeding. You won’t go wrong owning one now and into the future.


My DMP with the Dragon HDMI cable got really close to my Esoteric N03T streamer in performance if I use RAL HDMI with the Esoteric. I was surprised how close, but when I use the Dragon with the Esoteric, the sound is unparalleled. Maybe the PST with the Dragon can come close. I am considering the PST at some point, but I am still waiting for my broken Esoteric to be fix. I called repair shop and was told they are still waiting for the parts to be shipped from factory in Japan. It’s been many weeks.

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If you can’t really afford the PST, the DMP is plenty good. Not only can it play red book CDs to almost the same level as SACDs, it can beat most streamers in the market in SQ. My brother said his DMP playing single sided Japanese SACDs beats his Aurender N10 playing the same Music with files. Down side is you do need a DS DAC to play SACDs.


I was beta tester of PST.
IMHO, PST + DSDAC is perfect pair. Not to mention, pairing PST with non PSA DAC might not be able to support SACD playback. I was a non believer of transport, it just a spindle. I believes my system will sound good as long as I have good DAC. So, As my CD player upgrade, I started with DSDAC + cheap SONY DVD as spindle, it already sound very good in my system. Beta testing PST, immediately, the sound better, in fact much better to my ears, redbook CDs come to live. Now I firmly believe a good transport will bring the sound quality to another level. PST is one of such transport, in my opinion.


There is no doubt that a transport makes all the difference in the world. When I beta tested the DMP, I found that out, and the PST is superior to the DMP.

According to @phil, the PST will play SACDs with the May, so if the May is superior sounding than the DS, you have an even better pairing that’s very hard to beat.

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Very interesting to know there is nonPSA dac can be paired with PST to play SACD. I know there are I2S hdmi compatible DACs work with PST, that can play DSD files, but did not know they can also decode the SACD encryption from SACD play back using PST. Good to know this, :slight_smile:

Do you know if the May has i2s and is it compatible with the PST and/or DMP?

Yes, the PST’s I2s output will work with the May and play SACDs as well.
I believe the DMP will also work with the May through I2s, but will not play the SACD layer.

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Ok thanks for the info :+1:

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