New DSD Sr DAC In The House - September 2019

I’ve purchased a Directstream and have been playing music into it 24/7 since last Saturday. I haven’t been in able to hook it into my main audio system so have not been connecting the outputs to anything yet. Does that mean that the 96 hours that I’ve been doing this are not counted as burn-in?

Also, it’s a bit disconcerting that I have a 30 day trial to decide if I want to keep the Directstream but some folks in this thread think that it’ll take more time than that for it to sound it’s best.

I’m hoping I can make a determination by New Years Day.

People say all kinds of things about burn-in. I knew my DSD was a winner in 15 minutes.


I agree with amsco15. I have always known how good a new component is after a few hours of warm up playing music through it. Sometimes right out of the box. It may change a little over time and get a little better but it usually will not sound worst. I knew right away with the DS sr. right out of the box cold. It completely outclassed the Marantz in every way that I was using before. It only got better over time. I wouldn’t worry about break in on the DS. It sounds outstanding from the get go.

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I agree with @amsco15. Keep things in perspective. It sounds great out of the box.
I thought I could hear a nice improvement after just one day. And after hundreds of hours, it’s been consistently wonderful.

The short answer is, wait until NYD and don’t worry about it in between. Does it sound good out of the box? Why are you not putting it into the main system, and how are you able to judge it at all without connecting the outputs to something? I would start there. Do some run in by listening to it.

The long answer is much harder and more fraught. If you are not like Amsco and Waymanchen (and I’m assuming you’re not, otherwise you would not have posted) you need to continue running it in and see if either it and/or your view of it burns in.

It depends on a number of things. I think if you’re coming from something that is very different - either it is not in this class of device (in either direction), or it had a very different type of sound, etc., the adjustment can be fairly extreme. And perhaps the synergy with the rest of the system was tailored around that prior DAC’s sound.

This is another question - are you willing to change the system (or at least the wires) to adapt to this device, or do you feel it should “just sound better”? (a perfectly reasonable feeling to have) I’ve struggled with that a lot - most recently with Windom. I went back to Snowmass. Which reminds me of one of the benefits of the DS’s - whatever it is loaded with, you should try the other of those two FWs. At least.

The other side of the coin from a couple of paragraphs back is if you’re coming from a DAC where this is not a significant enough difference from that one to justify the expense. So some of your impressions and associated gear could be helpful in understanding what is leading to your being unsure about it.

I recently got a Senior (a “DSD”, technically - there is no “Senior”), coming from a Junior, and I found that not entirely clear cut. I could tell it was more refined-sounding, more resolving and so on, but I was also dealing with a LOT of other changes to the system, making it hard to know what was what. Then that same week Windom dropped, and that REALLY confused things.

I really LIKE the Jr. I kept it and put it in a 2nd system. Still like it. It is a great DAC, and a different DAC, not simply the “Jr.” of the DSD, IMO.

Anyhow - my impression was that the sound improved significantly in about a week of running it in most of the time. I frankly have no way of knowing if it has “continued to burn in” since then, as so many other things have changed and there has been so much time in between.

I’m a bit leery of anyone who does not own two or more of them talking about how it sounded at Hour 100 vs. Hour 1000. To truly know that difference, they would’ve had to buy two, confirm that they sounded the same out of the box, then left the 2nd unit off until x hours had passed and then compared them again.

When my DSD Sr. arrived I moved my Junior to another system and sat down to listen to the Senior immediately. I paid no attention at all to the concept of break in and enjoyed it from the first listen and continue to do so. I believe in break in, but I don’t think about it too much. I save me deep worries for important stuff like card games.

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…and linear power supplies, no?


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Ya know, funny you should mention that. As a Matrix user from time to time, just for giggles, I unplug the Uptone LPS1.2 just to see what it is doing. It isn’t always a noticeable change. But yeh, I have two of them and the Keces P8 which is so much more impressive. It’s almost like having a functional penis.


Congratulations on the new acquisition. I’d connect the new DSD to your system and check out the initial sound and confirm all is as it should be. Problems are not the norm but best to confirm early on. Regarding burn in others have suggested operating the DAC into a load with the attenuator in the circuit and the output set to its maximum value which is 106 with the attenuator in, 100 with the attenuator out. Operating the unit while not hooked up will help break in the power suppliy and DAC to some degree. Having the unit provide full output into your preamplifier will break in the output stage as well. The break in process was not subtle in my experience. What you experience will depend on your system characteristics, cabling and any power conditioning in place. In my situation initially the unit sounded forward in the mids, the highs a little crunchy, and the soundstage a little closed in. It sounded slightly mechanical and unrefined for the first ten hours or so… This was running Snow Mass 3.06. With time the unit sounded more musical, the soundstage opened up.l. From listening session to listening session I could hear changes within the first 100 hours, not always for the better. As I approached 300 hours the unit seemed to come into its own. From what I heard in my system after two weeks of continuous play into a preamp or integrated amplifier I had a pretty good idea of the unit’s sound. At two months changes in character from one listening session to the next were difficult to discern, At that point I was comfortable with trying different input cables with the Snow Mass FW.

I’d let the unit play continuously and enjoy the music keeping all parameters constant until you are comfortable with the sound. Then consider FW changes, cable changes, or power conditioning as you see fit.

This is like the third time you made me choke on my coffee–or wine–or bourbon. Cut it out.

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Thanks for the in-depth reply. My DAC is now integrated into my system with music feeding it 24/7. One good thing I noticed right away is that DSD source material sounds much better already than my previous DAC (Naim). The sound was always kind of dull. Directstream is clearly more vibrant.

Interesting, I think of my power supply as a detachable penis.

So the Keces does not get a lot of airplay. You like it better than the uptone 1.2?

I do indeed. The Uptone only has one output, the keces has two plus a USB…

I’d be hooking it to the matrix. Any sound comparison to the uptone ? :slight_smile:

Ah man, that’s a tough question. When I bought my first of two Matrix’s, I bought the Uptone. I am very pleased with the Uptone. When I bought my Euphony server that I intended to use with my first Matrix I read that the sweetest setup was to use the Keces P8 to drive both the Matrix and the Euphony server. So I did that. I ended up using the Uptone on the misbehaving UltraRendu.
Does one power supply sound better than the other? The easy answer is no, they both deliver very clean power. I believe the Keces is a more robust device. If I were going to purchase an additional power supply it would be a Keces. But I would accept an Uptone as well, it’s a great device. I would no get rid of an Uptone in order to replace it with a Keces…