My new Directstream DAC


#1

Other than it blasting at 100% volume when I first used it, this thing sounds wonderful.

I meant to listen to just a little bit of the DSD version of Norah Jones’ wonderful debut, Come Away With Me-- just a quick listen to see if I could hear the difference. I’ve now listened to almost the entire album! Everything sounds so clear and crisp. I can pick out the instruments, as they all seem to have their own space. And for some reason, the bass is better than the SGCD.

I’m a happy camper so far. I suppose the thing still needs about a week burn in, too!

I’m running the DSD directly into a pair of M700s right now, driving a pair of Maggie 1.7i via quite honestly shitily terminated Canare 4S11 wire. I’ll try some more speaker wire out soon. Belden maybe? The DSD is being fed by an Allo USBridge (excellent value streamer!) with a WiFi adapter via Roon. I’ll get another pair of XLR cables in tomorrow, so I’ll test to see how things sound when running through the SGCD as a preamp.

I SWEAR there is still some slight imbalance in these speakers, and it is driving me up the wall.


#2

I expect my new DS to arrive this weekend. Very excited!! I am reading all the great reviews, and the new update “Snowmass”.

As the DS requires extensive burn-in (400-500 hours) to be optimum, I am wondering if I can run it 24/7 non stop for 3 weeks by simply streaming music from my laptop connected to the DS via USB without turning on my pre-amp or amp. What would you recommend?


#3

That should work. I got my SGCD (DAC/preamp) and M700s and Maggies all around the same time, so I burned them in together. I just streamed music from Google Play via Chromecast Audio, all day every day, for a couple of weeks. 3 birds with one stone. I’m a good shot.


#4

My DS DAc has been on stead for over 3 years


#5

A common cause of a perceived channel imbalance with Magnepan speakers is due to a difference in their surroundings. Since the sound is generated in a dipolar manner (front and rear sound waves out of phase with respect to each other) any difference in positioning relative to nearby walls and reflective or absorptive surfaces can affect their relative levels. May need to be addressed by a change in their positioning or experimentation by treating nearby walls with various acoustic materials.


#6

Great. Thanks Tensor9.


#7

purchase a radio shack (or similar) sound level meter, a camera tripod, a stereo/multi setup CD (Chesky Records sell a good one) that has calibrated output tracks for L & R channels and a tape measure.
Place the meter/tripod at 1m distance from the centre of the Left speaker, play the calibrated left channel pink/white noise track from the CD via the CD player/DSD/Amplifier (checking that all the volume levels are set, balance switches are centered) , measure speaker output and write down the meter reading. Move the meter/tripod to the same distance away (measure using tape) from the Right speaker and play the corresponding track for the R speaker. Is the meter reading the same?
If it is you know that the set-up is ok.
If the meter reading are not the same then you have to consider that there is either a switch / slider adjustment not in balance, or a component (player/DAC/amp/speaker) has an imbalance between L & R. Finding & Fixing that may take some time.
Assuming the 1st comparison is the same, now move the meter/tripod to where you normally sit. Set the meter height to approximately your ear level, pointing directly to the half-way (midpoint) between the speakers.
Play the Left and Right tracks again - does the meter measure the same levels? If it does, then your overall layout is ok.

If the meter readings are not the same, check the distance from the listening position to each speaker using the tape! I found my speakers were out by ~2cm - I could easily hear that as a channel imbalance 3m away.
I have Quad2905 electrostatics, a symmetrical room placement (WRT to sides and acoustic treatment) and they looked to be the same distance away to me. But checking the details fixed it…
Good Luck


#8

Listening to Blind Pilot’s latest album, “And Then Like Lions”. I can hear Katie’s backing vocals so clearly! Israel Nebeker has such a wonderful voice, and the DSD sounds great here! The horn sounds great! The vibraphone is so very “real”! Holy shit, I can hear it in places I never could before (Moon at Dawn)!


#9

Yeah, I’ve tried that a bit with my phone (sound meter app). I need to roll up my sleeves and tackle this. My room REALLY sucks!


#10

Reading all of this and I have to wait until Saturday for my DS to arrive…The waiting is killing me…:slight_smile:


#11

I agree 100%. I use CLX, and I have the left speaker 1 dB louder than the right as it stands in the OPEN end of an “L” shaped room, so less reinforcement from that side from walls. You would think that this would be inaudible, but it isn’t and it DOES drive you nuts if the power blinks and the XP-30 re-sets it.

Galen


#12

Ok, I got off of work early today, and have been playing around with DSD directly to amps vs going through the SGCD.

This type of assessment is quite difficult to do properly, but upon a few listens, adding the SGCD in the chain seems to strip out a little detail and instrument separation as well as attenuate the bass a bit.
Am I crazy?

This could be for a variety of reasons such as inconsistent listening levels between the two trials. But this is my initial assessment.


#13

I am very curious what your thoughts are on this. I have the Directstream coming soon and will be faced with the same decision, to keep the Stellar preamp or not.