Obsidian DAC


Congrats on the obsidian Dac, looks like it’s going to be another home run.

My question is for Ted.

Do you think the new Dac will be more “headphone friendly”?

I’ve been struggling to get enough power to drive even what’s considered to be relatively efficient headphones. I love the Dac jr but I literally had to change everything down the chain to accommodate the lower voltage output.
I had to get a custom version of the Audio-gd Master 9 amp with 9db extra gain and change to easier to drive headphones.

I understand that the target audience his for people with loudspeakers but not everybody has the proper space for that.

Thanks a million.


Howdy Michael,

I spent some time picking @tedsmith’s brain at Axpona about the TSS so I can chime in and he can let us know if I miss anything.

First off, the RCA output from the TSS will be the standard 2 vrms instead of the lower 1.5 or so that the DSD and DSJ currently provide.

Also, there will be a couple other quality of life improvements - instead of just one attenuator option, you’ll be able to switch between 10, 20, and 30 dB pads.

So the TSS should be much more friendly to headphone systems.

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That’s great to hear!

And also, the RCA output can be balanced (with a floating ground) which can add another 6dB in some circumstances.


I have to say it looks to be an amazing product. That said I’ve stuck with PS Audio throughout the years both with audio and power components, but when the prices reach this level it’s sadly going to be time for me to jump off. The good news is I’ll have my DS senior to use for years to come.


according to Darko (https://darko.audio/2019/04/axpona-2019-preview/), the Statement DAC (TSS) expected price should be between US$20,000 and US$25,000.
Unfortunately, I do not have that kind of money for a DAC upgrade.
So, my question is: once there is no more room for SQ improvement in the DSD Sr. due to current H/W limits, is there a plan to eventually propose some H/W upgrade kit for the current owners of DSD Sr. so that they can keep enjoying future firmware DAC upgrades without having to transition to the TSS?

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I have no idea when, but I think the answer is obviously yes. I will be happy to work with PS Audio on new DACs when/if they want them. There are certainly some things we could do better / cheaper on a new DAC.


Ted, I’ve been following the threads associated with TSS/Obsidian and the recent posts on the topic of modding the DSS. I may be wrong, but I get the impression that the DSS is to be replaced with no upgrade path for existing users. I’ve read that there are problems with space in the existing chassis. Surely it would be possible to engineer a replacement lid so that, for example, larger transformers can be accommodated (along with all the other improvements you have in mind) rather than make all the DSSs obsolete?. As you know, I have four DSSs, three to drive my active speakers, and one spare - I can’t see me replacing that lot with four Obsidians.

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Ach you know you want to :wink:

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But the reason for this number is multichannel right?

Hi Dan,

But it will only cost you in the region of 100k … ‘there’s no trade-in deals over here’. My situation is manageable - I only require two Obsidian DACs to replace my two DS boxes… :grin: I will also keep one DS DAC.

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Guys, I’m distracted, Cherry Healey is on BBC2. Jazznut, I’ve a three way active system so need three dacs.

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There’s been no work on a new DS so answers to any questions about it are speculation.
Yes, I believe any new DS will have a bigger case and wouldn’t fit in the current DS box. It will very likely have boards that are wider than the current box allows (for example for more digital inputs) and the power supplies will probably be on the digital and analog boards, not a separate board like now. The display will also be different. I’m guessing it won’t be mountable in the current box (but I don’t know for sure.)
On the other hand I’m sure that PS Audio will make upgrading easy by offering a good “bounty” on current DS’s when upgrading (That was the answer when I asked Paul about this in the past.)


Thank you Ted,

Sorry to ask again, so you just need three DAC”s because the level of one is not high enough to drive a 1 to 3 splitter cabling (in case you have 3 separately controlled amps instead of one input for 3 amp modules)?

It’s a fully digital active speaker system (uses a pair of P10s for power. The main 2 channel system can be used as the L/R of a 7.1.4 system). My source files are mainly ripped CDs (I don’t really process DSD files - I do have some higher res downloads). Basically a server feeds a digital crossover that provide three crossed over coax S/PDIF feeds for bass, mis and treble. These coax digital feeds feed the three directstreams which in turn drive three stereo amps (2 BHK250s plus a very powerful Crown amp for bass). The amps directly drive massive PMC speakers (no passive crossovers, i.e. the drivers are directly connected to the amps).

Here’s a pic:


Hell what a crazy setup! Who matched the PSA amps to the PMC drivers?

You replaced the matching PMC active modules with the PSA amps without modification?

The digital crossover is an Australian product, a DEQX HDP-5. It has FIR filtering (e.g. 48 or 60 db slopes), impulse response correction, and provides several parametric equalisers for me to set to adjust the sound for the room characteristics. Because I wouldn’t trust myself to safely calibrate the impulse response correction and then knit the three drivers together I relied on the Australian techy to skype me (he then has a dial-in to share my screen so that he can see the result of the short tone sweeps that he initiates). I placed the mic where he wanted it placed to measure the three driver frequencies independently (typically about 1m from the tweeter, then the mid, and for some reason near the throat of a bass driver). As I say, he calibrates the highpass, bandpass, and low pass crossover points (and levels). The mic can then be placed at the listening position in an attempt to measure room response and suggest some parametric equalisation. However, it doesn’t produce a decent set of equalisers, partly because my room is very heavily damped (and bass trapped) so I spend ages playing with the equalisation to get a result that I’m satisfied with. I am very pleased with what I hear, however the tiniest change in the system is readily apparent and can take a while to work out how to compensate for it. Every power cable and speaker cable has to be catered for (for example, the leads to the tweeters are 2.5m long but if I add another metre so that I can’t see the cables I dislike the resultant loss of bite to the high frequencies). I have been playing with multiamped speaker systems for years, then analogue crossovers, then cheap digital crossovers and then replaced everything with what I have now in a newly built large room. If you want more info/explanation maybe PM me.

Update - I bought the top speakers as a pair of BB5i - I then bypass the crossovers internally (they’re each stacked on an XB3). Pete Thomas (owner of PMC) knows exactly what I’ve done. I also replaced the standard BB5i tweeters (which are PMC spec 27mm SEAS units with the 34mm tweeters that PMC sell into studios. I wanted the same as they sell into studios but without the Bryston crossovers and amps because I wanted to choose my own amps and crossovers, hence the three DSSs).


Thanks I’ll do in case of more questions. I had to get used to the idea of setting crossover definition before the power amp stage and not after. And I thought there are more parameters of the amp that have to be matched to the drivers than crossover settings. An interesting topic!

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That is a heck of a system, dan! I would not look forward to replacing that with 3 TSS ($75K) either! It probably deserves it though!