DirectStream DAC mk1 was in my opinion lacking in depth. It did have a huge soundstage and the feeling of depth in the soundstage, but it was hard to notice row after row of audience cheering and clapping on a live performance. Well that’s my impressions from limited listening to Mk1.
My question is regarding mk2.
Holo May, Meitner Ma3 and Tambaqui are known for good depth.
Good depth usually comes down to adding more
silver in cabling, having power cables with 11 AWG or thicker, bringing the speakers from the walls, room acoustics with good timing and most important…. getting ALL kinds of noice down. Depth needs ultra high resolution.
I have with interest read the mk2 noice discussions.
I appreciate musicality and music that prevents analytical listening. However getting both musicality and depth is hard to do.
The PS Audio DirectStream DACs are musical and fits some systems. There for it is interesting to know what owners of mk2 think of the depth of the mk2 compared to other similar prices DACs.
Can one expect to have an endless row after row audience or a flat soundstage?
I still have the lowly MK1 with fully modded APS transformer/VOCM upgrade/3M EMI absorber. Like you mentioned, I think the soundstage depth has to do with the lower noise floor. Speaker placement also make a big difference (towed-in usually create a little more depth). For comparison, my setup has a huge depth in soundstage with really noticeable layerings. When I added BHK preamp, the depth increased. But, the biggest difference for me came when I replaced all the SMPS with a quality linear power supply on my upstream going into the DAC. I run a combination of Teddy Pardo and HDPLEX 300W multi-rail, and at the moment, I am liking HDPLEX more than TP. Taking care of your network switch and power supply (linear again) will do wonders to your sound stage depth, which I think is really the lower noise floor. Most people think of noise as static sound or hiss, but it’s really the inaudible interference that takes up the bandwidth of the sound quality. Every time it drops, I noticed the sound stage increased, and imaging got clearer, bass got tighter, transients became faster, etc. So I would pay attention to the source leading all the way up to your power and network. Puritan PSM156 was another game changer although P12/15 did admirably in my setup prior to acquiring the puritan.
There are many naysayers who see power supplies and networking improvements as snake oil, but for me, that is where the magic happens.
I have not done direct comparisons between my DS MK2 and other DACs, but I agree with verendus and dchang that the DS DACs respond well to improvements in power supplies and reductions in noise.
I was just listening to a Sara Bareilles live cover (on Qobuz) of Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, and I heard striking crowd noises that were reproduced with both impressive width and depth on my system. I don’t know exactly how the crowd was recorded, but there was definitely depth to the soundstage that extended well beyond and behind the speakers on the Qobuz track. Of course, I’ve invested in network filters (from Network Acoustics) and network switches and reclockers (from Innuos and English Electric) to reduce system noise and improve imaging and naturalness, so I can’t assume that other systems will respond identically.
The MK2’s layered depth is no doubt better than the MK1’s. I believe it’s because of the increased resolution and dimensionally the MK2 portrays. But the quality of the other parts of the system also plays a role, like especially speaker placement, pull it out from the walls. Also room treatment helps. And don’t forget the way a recording is recorded also helps with this illusion.