Modding the DirectStream DAC MKI

Indeed I experienced the same thing with cabling or speakers being more…or less phase correct, I just didn’t experience any such weakness when comparing an original DS I or II with a modded Mk I using a cap. Maybe it’s because the other differences overruled it.

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Yes. it will

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Hey @jkrichards you’ve mentioned a couple of times that in your opinion the external 12V supply mod brings no improvement once the Vocm and transformer changes have been done. In my system here I think I get a subtle but impactful benefit from switching in the outbound PSU even though I have your nickel trafos along with Vocm work done.

Just wondering, might it be that your choice of 220uF capacitors for the Vocm stabilisation versus the 47uF that I went with based on earlier advice is why your Vocm mod makes the PSU changes redundant for you?

Hi @tedsmith, hope you’re still around and doing ok. You’ve been quiet!

I have a question regarding the topic of optimal digital volume setting on the MkI. As I understand it, you had to implement a mechanism to compensate for the Perfectwave DAC PSU that the MkI inherited being not quite capable of meeting the current needs of the DSD when playing some peak-level content without attenuation. And this means that the audio fidelity of those peak-level tracks is compromised unless we set our digital volume down by about 4dB.

The question is, for those of us who’ve done an external analog board PSU mod, does this in principle obviate the need for your peak current mitigation? Hypothetically, would our DACs be able to run a version of Sunlight which didn’t include that code and gain an extra 4dB of SNR without compromising the quality of our Muse albums? :slight_smile:

Excellent question, I would also like to know the answer.

No… I compared using both 47uf and 220uf. No difference.

Hi Everyone,

New member here from South Africa. This is an awesome forum. I’ve learned allot.

I’m finally getting around to swapping out the stock transformers for the Edcor ones. I’m having some trouble getting at the solder on the top side of the board because the transformer has very little clearance. I’m really worried about damaging one of the other surface mount components.

Am I missing something? Or do you have to sacrifice the pins on the original transformers?

I’d appreciate some advice please.


Just my personal advice: If the solder drained to the top side of the PCB, you will have a very hard time to extract it with solder wick or a solder sucker. I would better kill the original 150/150 transformers and cut the pins, before damaging the PCB or some solder pads. If you have the XS4400 installed you will never want to go back to the 150/150.

Thanks for the advice @gb-70. Makes perfect sense.

Really looking forward to the upgrade in sound quality. From what I’ve gathered it’s a significant jump.

I’ve had a Cen Grand DSDAC1.0 Deluxe on demo for a couple of days. It uses a similar approach to conversion as the directstream. It is wonderful. Fluidic, musical and impactful all at the same time. Right now it’s got the edge on my Mk1. Keen to see if the transformer upgrade changes that.

Hopefully I’ll get the chance to listen to Mk2 directstream soon. Hopefully a friend or two will pony up.

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Hey @paul56 ! I’ve got the DSD Mk2 (traded in my Mk1). Good to know there’s a place in Melbourne that can do this work! I’m in Warrnambool. Maybe nickel transformers some time later….

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I had the XS4400 mod done and I can now agree it was a brilliant bang for buck upgrade. Everything is improved. Tighter, better defined bass, somewhat wider soundstage and a distinct increase in clarity and instrument separation. Had that great experience when you hear new stuff in songs you know. The unmodified unit was perhaps a bit too smooth. Not a bad thing but made it sound quite laid back. The modded unit is far more incisive and punchy. I like this allot and i can live with this for a good while. Its definitely as good as the Cen Grand now and i don’t feel I need a Holo May anymore either. I can’t imagine what the better transformers and PSU upgrade brings.


Actually the Vocm mod makes the largest improvement. The nickel transformers take it another notch up over the XS4400.
The external power supply is hard to tell any improvement once these other mods are done.


Very interesting.

A post was split to a new topic: DSD External Power Controller Board

Anyone having issues or want a good solution for removing the old transformers.
This is also good for removing opamps.


Jeff, thanks. Nice stuff, but it looks like it leaves a mess of that bismuth/tin stuff behind on the PCB. That’ll still have to be pulled off, but I guess it can be done at a lower temperature.

That’s easy to resolve. Just use solder wick, flux and some fresh silver content solder.
spread flux then place solder tip on top of solder wick and move around until wick has absorbed the low temp solder. Flux again and add silver content solder. repeat. Ready for new transformers. This way one won’t ruin the board ot the old transformers.

The best tool is the one below however is expensive if one only rarely does this type of work.
This is what I use:


Yep, that’s what I use, too. :smile: But I haven’t used it yet for any large mass removals. What temp do you set it to for the MkII tranny removals?

set it to 2.5 425c. Use the large tip. (about the size of a standard round toothpick) melt, let stand for 3 seconds and then pull the trigger.
gently move each pin away from the edges of the hole with your finger nail or plastic sponger tool. If one does not move, re-solder that pin and repeat the de-solder process.
Sometimes gently twisting the transformer will break the pin loose if it’s slightly stuck.