New high end PS DAC in the works

Sounds like an opportunity for a Ted Smith custom fiber cable.

I expect they will be colorful.


How about a DAC with a tube output stage? So far I’m enjoying the sound of my DAC Jr, and maybe I shouldn’t jump to any conclusions yet, becase the DAC isn’t completely broken-in yet, but unless I add a good tube preamp to my system, there are certain aspects of the sound of my Ayon tubed CD player that I like better. Having one box instead of two would be my preference.

Isn’t the Ayon a CD player + pre? I had the Ayon Sigma DAC and it’s the best DAC I’ve heard at its price point. I wouldn’t hesitate using an Ayon CD player without an external DAC.

One thing that most people don’t think about when they are trying to figure out the cost of a manufactured product is all of the fixed overhead costs.
In a civilized developed country like ours those costs are high. Wages, benefits, insurances, income tax, property tax, real estate tax, state sales tax, licenses, equipment rent, equipment purchased, tooling, R&D, building cost, maint. and repairs, utilities, travel expenses, etc.
In a relatively small specialty shop like PS Audio fixed overhead and expenses could easily be more than half of every product sold. And when you are all done at the end of the year you still have to make enough of a profit to keep the lights on and new product development going.
The cost of labor in China for instance is near zero. When the cost is near zero you can add a whole lot of labor for not much money. You really cannot compare costs between undeveloped and developed countries unless you factor in environmental and infrastructure differences which are huge.
We also like to have reliable electric power, clean air, clean water, nice roads, safe streets, garbage pickup, internet service, cable or satellite TV and a whole lot of other niceties that make living here expensive but worth while and so many people still trying to immigrate to this country.
I don’t mind paying a premium for things still made here and this seems to be a good place to get them. I like the mentality at PS Audio.


A post was split to a new topic: DS Jr for Sale

The cost of labor in China is not near zero. It may be significantly lower than it is elsewhere, but zero it is not.

I cannot wait for this! PSA is awesome. MR smith makes better DAC and offers to backport features to the DS. What company does that? Amazing. Like phones can only expect 3 updates until you buy new one. No one values their customers like PSA! DS is already a very awesome DAC. If you are planning on TSS you better have very good other gear IMO. I sincerely hope he outdoes Select DAC 2! Given the price difference that should be pretty amazing if it occurs.

Its not zero, but it is near zero. Transportation costs are relatively high and it costs a lot for Americans to live there but the labor cost to manufacture is in fact “near zero” although it has come up in the last 15-20 years or so after America was used to buying those items on the cheap and almost no American manufacturers were left. Think clothing, shoes, electronics, blister packed everything, Amazon almost everything.
The cost to the planet is particularly high there but the absolute labor cost is extremely low. I think the only places labor costs are lower are Vietnam and Africa. Probably some other third world countries that don’t have any manufacturing base yet.

Looks like in the outlying areas the wage is $150 - $300 per month and in Beijing it is $1200 per month. Most manufacturing jobs there are 12 hr / day 6 or 7 days a week so roughly 300 hr / month = $0.50 per hour in the country to $4.00 per hour in the big city (which the article says is 4 times the area wage)
My manufacturing employees start at $20.00 / hr and the top level is currently $36.00 / hr plus overtime for more than 8 hours a day. So my employees make between 5 and 72 times the hourly wages of the Chinese factory worker depending on which end of the scale you compare. So they can spend between 5 and 72 times more labor hours on the same piece to make the money equal.
I don’t see how that can be considered competition in any way, shape or form and it is still “near zero” by comparison.

The same article states that workers receive a 37% housing allowance. The average worker in Beijing thus receives $20,000 a year. Not near zero.

The cost to the planet is high as you say.

The traditional “dirty” (blue collar) manufacturing jobs are the ones that pay $0.50 to $1.00 per hour and represent 80% or more of the labor force there. The jobs in Beijing are more “high tech” (think silicon valley) and less traditional “dirty” manufacturing. I always try to buy made in USA whenever possible just to support our lifestyle here and not support one like that.

Buying made in the USA is a side step simplification, almost a ruse. US companies are “located” all over the world. Their strategies are to make money on sales, not where made. Perhaps the only thing about US companies that is made in the US is the greenback. (Of this doesn’t apply to most small companies, such as your local thrift store.)
As long as they spec "over there’ they spare some pollution here, but not world wide.

I readily agree my points are full of holes, but no more so, than “made in the US”. And I make one exception to PS Audio due to my personal self interests.

Keep on shopping,

There’s a lot covered and subsidized in China that’s not included in your analysis. And the benefits of having a planned economy allow the kinds of shifts being carried out, even with a corrupt and anti-democtratic Stalinist leadership and bureaucracy, and its allowing speculative capitalist elements that undermine the collectivist enterprise.

I understand that you’re trying to make a success of a modest sized business, but given that wages have basically stagnated or decreased in the U.S. since the early 1970s, and major U.S. companies intentionally went south and then abroad starting around that time in order to pay lower wages, I wouldn’t get too carried away in attacking China.

My $0.02 (RE: a nuance of this discussion):

Seems there is some conflating of economics with politics herein…Does anyone seriously dispute that on a purely economic (i.e., cost of doing business) basis, that a manufacture of “widgets” in China has a material advantage over a manufacturer in the U.S.?

Curious as to what others have to say (“politics” aside, please)…


Nobody disputes it. That’s why there is so much capital investment in China, why so much manufacturing has moved there, and why China has a burgeoning middle class.

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This whole thing of cheap labor or innovations that disrupt a market are common, have always happened and will happen again. One of the worst, horrible people who really crushed American labor was… Henry Ford. He built a thing called a “farm tractor” and “automobile”. These inventions transformed an entire national economy from agrarian to manufacturing… while putting millions of people out of work. Just horrible. Read Grapes of Wrath. But this is OK, as long as it is within the USA?

Support American way of life? What does that mean when you worked in a textiles factory in Massachusetts and all the factories closed and went to … America’s South? That is somehow OK as long as it is withing the USA?

It happened, it is happening, it will happen again. It is just the way things work… or don’t work.

There is one trend that is predictable: The “economy” relies less on labor and more on education more and more and more… and more tomorrow. 1800s and prior, the economy required physical strength, then skill (mfg jobs in the USA peaked in 1947 and has been in steady decline since then… surprised?), then education, and now diversity of knowledge.

Farm worker, factory worker, office worker, knowledge worker.

Bruce in Philly

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Very true , I bought the totaldac twelve 32k and every time there was a upgrade it was 3-5 k , long story short got sick of that game and sold it . The open market brought me 15k and I was lucky to get that . I now use a direct stream and I’m happy . Unless you plan on keeping a high end DAC for good don’t bother buying it , way to much of a loss

Almost forgot the manufacture offered to purchase the 32k DAC back for 6000 and I was also told if I listed it for sale they would not upgrade it . I had to agree to keep it 2 yrs … that was the end for me