Modding the DirectStream DAC

Stoked for you brett66, and agree. I followed vee’s take on these mods, and the changes really raise the bar for all future mods in my system. It really is that good. Not for the inexperienced, as has been suggested a bunch of times, and so glad my buddy has a cool hand on the soldering iron. I watched closely, and alone would have struggled a bit. The solder around the pads was slightly unusual/picky and the soldering iron needed to be much hotter than one would intuit.

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I too relied on one with much more experience and far better equipment than I have access or desire/need to purchase to perform the swap.

I have a connector for the PS replacement and may try some existing SMPS and cheap linear supplies that will easily handle the amp or less needed. I want to the let the transformers ‘finish’ first though. Perhaps a month of continuous play will do it.

Yes by 200 to 300 it no longer sounded strange.

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About the same as stock DS perhaps less.

I tried the transformer mod myself, but after 3 different desoldering tools were tried, failed and returned to Amazon, I surrendered. Fortunately a local who frequents this site offered to do the work for me. I drove 80 miles to get it done, but it was well worth the trouble, and I found a good friend in the process. This is a great and rewarding pursuit.


I didn’t try it myself but also found a good audio friend in the process. He’s 100 miles away! I brought him some tasty treats, liquid and audio tweak related in exchange for the work.

I agree, it’s well worth the effort to seek out someone who can perform this mod. Will the DS mkII be better, perhaps, but we can enjoy the improvements now and at exceedingly little spend.


It’s a job for a pro. It take a tremendous amount of heat to desolder. Then you worry about burning up the board and lift out all the tabs. I literally had to chop up the transformer destroying it and desolder each pin one at a time. I finally got it done and the sound is wonderful, maybe up a couple of notches after some break in.


Seems that simply clipping the leads from the old transformers would be much safer and much easier to suck out the remainder and solder vs trying to relieve all holes of solder to remove the orig transformer. No large heatsink to draw the heat away.

Then soldering in the new is simple.

In retrospect, I could have done this.

Hahaha…I drove up to Ft. Collins with my DSD to do the mods. It’s probably 70 miles away, so we (3) are in the same sail away to mod-land boat.

I tried that, but I could not get a clipper to fit between the transformer and board. There simply is not that much room.

I was a bit reluctant to make this offer, but having performed the transformer change on my own DAC and a couple of friends, one of them has convinced me that I should offer the service to others who would like to have it done. So if someone would like to have the transformer mod done, private message me and we can discuss specifics and my terms. Happy listening all.


Good man.

Please note, that while I am willing to perform this transformer mod, I have no desire to risk getting into any dispute or any claims of wrong doing on my part. Let it be clearly understood, Anyone that decides to pursue this, know that you are doing so entirely of your own free will and take full and sole responsibility for doing so. You will be 100% responsible for all shipping costs, insurance and packaging. You must provide the transformers and preferably just the analog board. Items must be properly packaged to avoid shipping damage. This is not my profession, it is my hobby that I’ve enjoyed for over forty years.

wctaudio could you please say where you are based, thanks

Nothing in life is without risk. You’re right to post the release of liability. It may not hurt to ask any takers to sign an actual release just for your safety.