Modding DirectStream DAC MKII

Maybe we can brainstorm on our DirectStream MKII modding ideas?

The original list was not supported by Ted with the exception of the Lundahl LL1948 transformers.

Let’s think about modding rhe MKII once we have more insights and knowledge provided by the pros…


We need another thread for tweaking too. But I have done most of mine already ( for this week anyway).

I did try the shorting HDMI plug on my unused input on the MK2 today but really didn’t hear much difference, maybe the images were slightly more distinctive, but very subtle. The big difference was the SR Galileo power cord. That really brought the MK2 to life. There were more richness, bigger soundstage, and much better dynamic contrast. The MK2 really loves this power cord.

Thanks! I just drafted an opening post! But now I do not need it!

Question: Is it OK to discuss accessories like cables here too? Or should I hive that off?

With AirLens beta coming after MKII production release, my back up plan is to use USB from a Raspberry Pi4 with my MKII until I do something else.

I am looking at the follow three cables:

  • Viborg HiFi USB Cable DAC A-B OCC
  • In-Akustik Exzellenz II USB
  • Oehlbach USB Evolution B

Can anyone advise which should be most reliable for up to DSD256 Stereo?

What would be physically different about which “proper” audiophile cable instead?

I believe a USB cable is of utmost importance to the DirectStream DAC… When I upgraded my Audioquest Cinnamon USB to a Crystal Cable Diamond USB cable the SQ improvements were staggering…

The shielding of the USB cable should be excellent for one, to keep the noise out.

Shorting plug on USB seems to wok best and ii2s shorting works in Synergy with it. About same level of improvement between D S nd DS MKii.

My MkIi is really really great after Antero mountain software. I will listen more the decide where additional tweaks might be needed. It takes a few days then one gets more critical.

I am going to try and sort out which i2S input is noiser next. Then loser gets the shorting plug. On DS number 2 was noisy. The MkIi they switched positions of rear panel feedthroughs. Wher i2s 1 is inboard like i2S2 was on DS.

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The Inakustik Referenz USB is what I have. It is phenomenal. There referenz line zi found clearly images better than excellence.

Yes the 5volt shielding from signal lines and lots of anti vibration padding is needed for USB.

So do you think I2S 2 is better than I2S 1 on the MK2? I should maybe use the I2S 2 for my PST and short the 1 instead?

USB cables really makes a huge difference with the MK2. I went overboard with mine. The ChordMusic USB cable makes every other one I tried sounds dull and lifeless, but for budget, the Inakustik Referenz is not bad and the one to get.

You can’t short out the input that will be used the most by MKII consumers :wink:.

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I have not tried I2S2 yet on mkii but plna to tonight. I like to baseline a few songs then switch and replay. I am sure best one eill be one away from noise maker. But Ted did more thoughtful pwb layouts on Mkii.

Noise is noise. I don’t see myself ever using it after hearing it silenced.

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So far I have not heard any difference between I2S1 or 2 and USB. Perhaps the AirLens will change my opinion. I think the Rendu Sig SE sets the bar pretty high. YMMV.

Yeah my rig has no optical ethernet all copper and silver and tricked out cables and 3M absorber on all chips in the digital stream instead.

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Yeah, it’s hard to compare. I’ve got a full loom of Transparent Ultra and Reference Gen5’s and my build power cords. We all have our snowflakes.

All that matters is that we are happy with what we are hearing.

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I played Dawn of rhe Iconoclast. Dead Can Dance

There was no competition or even comparison between the two . I2s2 all constricted and veiled highs. i2s1 room shaking bass, open and clear highs.

Might be burn in and not using i2s2. I used HDMI shorting plug opposite in trials. That tells me i2s2 is just plane noisy and shorting i2s1 did not help.

But half people think I am crazy


What does the other half think? :thinking:

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Not just crazy but crazier than ______!

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Give I2S 2 a few days of break in. I used both since day one. I have not swatched the cables yet. But my streaming has improved to really close to PST. It is using I2S 2 with Firebird48 instead of Dragon48 on I2S 1.