Modding the DirectStream DAC

Thanks, it seems this one does for 150$.

That should work and they also have a series in black that is sometime cheaper for some reason.

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I just want to say… I chose the Farad Super3 because of measurements I found on another forum. I’d encourage any selection of a 12v supply to be accompanied by measurements comparative to other “well known” supplies.

But then again, I can’t be sure any supplies perform better than the stock LPS since I have no idea how the stock LPS measures! :face_with_hand_over_mouth: But if @tedsmith says it ought to be better, I believe it.

I’d also be interested why such external ps are better than the built in. Is it because the internal is no linear, regulated ps or a worse one of that kind?

If a good ps is as important as we often hear (also from Paul), why wasn’t a better one used?

But sure, there’s always an „even better“.

I guess your 500$ Farad will be better than this 150$ (which may be found for 90$, too) Chinese one. The question is, how relevant is this compared to the general upgrade to such an external ps.

Exactly. The analog card has lots of power filtering and multiple levels of quality power regulation but a cleaner input almost always leads to a cleaner output on any audiophile device.


Yes, with zero EE knowledge I just can’t guess if (from pure theory when looking at the parts) such a Chinese 150$ ps as linked above is really better than what’s on the boards and worth the change, that’s always my problem.

The main reason I was doubting how those external power supplies can be better than the one built into the DS is, that those LPS are usually meant to improve the cheap wall power supplies of e.g. DAC‘s which I thought are way below what’s built into the DS.

So it seems every tiny improvement must be audible.

The Ifi IPowers are ok for powering a router or even powering an Uptone LPS-1 or LPS-1.2 but I wouldn’t consider it for my DS.

The Farad and Paul Hynes SR4T are very, very nice. I own both likewise the LPS-1.2 assuming 1.1amps is enough power. Hopefully Ted can advise on that.

But personally speaking if I was gonna mod my beloved DS senior (I’m intrigued but very much on the fence and would outsource the work to an experienced professional as I’m not competent) then I’d want to give it a truly great PSU and that’s not the Ifi.


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The ifi ipower x noise levels are extremely low in the specs using noise cancellation tech. I doubt you’ll find many LPSU approaching that level. I run them on a power block off a separate zone on my P10 and use an ifi AC purifier to prevent noise leaking back to the P10.

I use them on Jcat Femto network and usb cards and they are audibly better than my Teradak or Twisted Pear LPSUs. I recommend you try one, it’s a cheap experiment.

I bought 3 over the years. 5, 9 and 12V I believe.

One I bundled with my IsoRegen when I sold it.

The 12V is powering my router but it’s more of a just in case it helps scenario rather than I’ve ever heard an audible difference. That said I’m not convinced any PSU would really make a difference.

The Ifi’s are ok. I’m glad you’re happy and agree they’re a bargain. But they don’t come close to the performance of truly great PSUs like Paul Hynes, Farad or Sean Jacobs. But then those will set you back ten or more times the price of the Ifi.

I stand by my comment that if I decided to replace the PSU on my Directstream DAC I’d invest in a truly great PSU and the Ifi is not on that list.


Hello Ted, one question, do you believe 11V is enough for the analoge board? The reason why I am asking, is the following: I asked Farad if it would be possible to get only the PCB of the Super3 and use the 12V from the DSD to charge it and the Super3 to power the analog section, it could be implemented as a plug and play upgrade inside the DAC. Here is there response:

I understand what you mean, but the Farad is more than just the regulator. Thinking the regulator determines the quality of a power supply is the most commonly made error. So you need the complete setup, and it need at least 3V of drop, meaning you max can get 9V out of the 12V input. And also I think it will be very hard to implement the supply without the housing.

I am developing the HyperReg, an add on for the Super3, to get even higher quality. It is ultra-low noise, ultra-low ESR, ultra-high bandwidth, very high quality regulator, up to even 10-100 times better specs than the Super3. So no supply, just the regulator. It might be possible to use it here, but it also (like with all linear regulators) needs 1V drop, so with 12V input you get 11V max output. This HyperReg will not only be suitable for the Farad Super3, but can also be used to improve any other supply. I hope to have it finished early next year, it is already testing now.


If you are careful you can bypass D802 to get 0.3V extra headroom and you can short one or more of R831, R832, … to bypass some HF filtering until the voltage on C820 is above approx 10V. But remember the HF filtering is more important to the DS analog card than input power regulation or input power impedance. There are still two levels of high quality regulation on the analog card between the input power and the analog rails and between the input power and the other critical resources.

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I got a couple of extra transformers in case I happen to mess up, but presumming that I do not, I’ll pass on the (shipping) savings to somebody here. My package should be here soon, too. Just got a shipped email.

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Mine are on the way too. Looks like they took care of us in a batch.

Ordered November 5th, shipped today.

Mine shipped out today.

Mine also shipped.

Add me to the list of shipped.

Both new transformers arrived hefty pieces Now to see what my Equipment tech can commit to turn around time for the analog board mod.

I received my transformers yesterday, sadly I may not get time to install them until after the holidays :slightly_frowning_face: