New Dac for a budget conscious UK guy

For a few months I have been looking at various upgrades, speaker cable etc, but I keep coming back to a replacement for my SGCD. I am looking at a few but again, keep coming back to PS Audio. There are a few UK dealers doing great deals on the Direct Stream MKI dac. Given its quite a old design now, what are your thoughts on it, compared to what I have. I CANNOT go for a MKII, as its way to much money, so has to be a MKI or nothing

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Grab a used MK I.

It’s a no-brainer, great performer; and it’s not too far removed from the SOTA.

Last I looked, PSA also had a few on offer from their trade-in program.

I don’t have any experience with your current DAC, but the DS Sr. has provided me with the best digitally-sourced musical experience in my system hobby-to-date.



I know that PS has a great T/I, but as living in the UK, it would have to be a UK sourced dealer?Hi Fi person. Same as E Bay, will not use it. But A good MKI is seriously what I am thinking. A friend over here has got one recently, and swears by it, and he has a very good setup


Sorry for not being clearer…I meant PSA has collected some DS Sr… DACs through their trade-in program and was offering them for sale.

Guessing they will ship to the UK…


The reality is that the Mk1 DAC was too expensive for the competition in the UK and it was heavily discounted even before the Mk2 came out, they were selling at £3,800 new, which was quite a bit cheaper than in the USA.

Elite Audio are good for deals because they distribute a lot of brands. I almost bought an Aqua La Scala Opto Mk2 from them a few months ago, but it sold quickly and I missed it. They’ve just listed another one, reduced from £7.5k to £4K. Seriously good and a current model.

The obvious local choices are ifi Pro iDSD and Chord Hugo. Doug Brady have some deals on at the moment.

I bought a Holo May off eBay. The guy was local and I got a home demo, but we did it on the day of the listing and he already had three others wanting it. There is a Spring 3 on eBay in Shrewsbury, it seems overpriced, but they are incredibly popular.

I’ve owned several PS Audio items, very difficult to sell in the UK, so the price has to be good. The prices seem to start too high, same with the AirLens, it was £2,500, after a month everyone was listing it at £1,999.

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Although the MK1 has been replaced, it’s still a great dac and all it’s rave reviews are still valid.

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If I bought every product with rave reviews I’d need a large warehouse. The reality is that the product and the reviews are 8 years old. It comes from 5,000 miles away. Chord are made in the UK. I had a broken usb socket on a Chord DAC, it cost me about $14 to get repaired by Chord, $1 for the part and $13 for postage! The whole process took a week.

There are different considerations in the UK, you can usually get a loan trial unit even on a discounted product, there is a 2-year statutory warranty on new sales, 14 day right of return by law, and lots of local sales.

The DAC market seems to have stalled in recent years, few new products, mainly R2R DACs from the likes of Denafrips and Holo, plus good value products from the likes of ProJect, Rose etc. Denafrips and Holo have stood out because the measure extremely well (far better than PS Audio, I hate to say) and subjectively are really good.


@peterthebutcher: The most recent firmware upgrade and reported performance improvement are not 8 years old:

And, if I recall correctly, the most recent favorable reviews of the DS Sr.'s performance with the most recent firmware are not 8 years old.

It’s an excellent DAC and an absolute steal at current used prices. If I was looking to upgrade an older DAC and had a limited budget, I would certainly consider acquiring one.



There are a couple on eBay with a Bridge II for £3,150 and £2,750. That’s $3,600 to $4,000 buyer beware with no warranty. Two dealers still have old stock at £4,800 and £5,000, that’s $6,000 to $6,500 for a DAC out of production. For the same price you can get a Holo May Level 2 like I’m listening to now, brand new with full 2 year warranty.

The irony is that the remaining dealer stock is being sold at a higher price than when it was the current model, before the Mk2 DAC came out.

Pricing over here is very different to what it seems to be in the USA (I haven’t looked). So I can understand Peter’s pain trying to stick with PS Audio.

I have no loyalty to any brand, I recently purchased a new DAC and in the UK market the DSD Mk2 (or the Mk1 at the time) did not make sense to me.

From my last PSA DAC, personally I was always hoping for a good streamer/DAC from PS Audio, but it just hasn’t happened.

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Hi @peterthebutcher ,

The Directstream MK1 is still a brilliant DAC and is now going for silly money because the MKII is out.

I’m going to list mine for sale soon but only because I upgraded to the Mola Mola Tambaqui in July. The Tambaqui was out of my price range originally but is now available at better prices.

Be happy to do you a deal to save the hassle of listing the Directstream. It’s perfect condition, original boxing etc. Remote control is perfect condition, lovingly looked after as was my pride and joy, but I sold the Bridge II as it wasn’t performing as well as optimised USB was.

Send me a direct message if you’re interested. I’m in London by the way if that’s relevant and you wanted to pop around to check it out.

But regardless of whether you are interested in my offer the Directstream is terrific value at it’s current pricing.

Alternatively check out Elite Audio, Fanthorpes, MCRU etc for Preloved deals if you prefer buying from a dealer as there are plenty for sale at the moment.



Fanthopes are very near me (relatively speaking), I bought my M700’s from them, and found Marc to be a very good person to deal with

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Yeah Fanthorpes are excellent. I bought my Zenith SE and my M1200s from them and they were great to deal with.

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The MK1 Sr. is a great DAC!
The MK1 Jr. Is awesome as well!

I listen to my Jr. every day and I always enjoy it!



I have a MkII also in the UK.
It’s so good I kept the Mark I in another system really sounds great direct to active speakers.

I was going to sell/part ex but too nice to loose for another room

truely epic.

The mkII has more of everything but I’m never dissapointed listening to th MK1

Find one and enjoy!