I have a bit of a cheeky qustion but I would really like to know, especially before spending thousands of dollars on the equipment.
EAC claims to rip a CD exactly. PS Audio claims the PerfectWave transport reveals things in your CD’s that you’ve never heard before. If I was to rip a CD with EAC then store it on something like a USB stick (to keep all things equal, let’s assume it is a small thumb drive and the files ripped from the CD are the only thing on it) and plug it into the DirectStream DAC … wait, a “B” type USB socket? No thumb drives have that. Either I’m missing something or can we only connect external hard disks via the USB input?
Anyway, my main qustion was going to be, if EAC makes an exact rip of my CD, will my CD still sound different when played via the PerfectWave transport if either source (the CD or the files extracted from it) is played back through the DirectStream DAC?
Short answer - we have to spend thousands to get a “high quality” bitstream into the DAC if we want the investment in a DS DAC to be worth it.
The USB input you refer cannot read a music file on a thumb drive. The music file (which has metadata) has to be converted into a specific data stream. We need some sort of computer, music rendering software, etc to select the music file, convert it and so on.
It’s important to get this “exact rip” but it’s only the first step of the complexity of Digital music. I’ve been through years of disc players and DACS, CD cleaning/cutting/blankening/demagging, USB audio interfacing, ripping and meta data grooming (hate it) and I’m going back to a transport - this time the new PS Audio SACD unit. After a visit to PS Audio last year, hearing their speaker prototype with a PS Audio transport playing my CDs (it was fantastic), I’m ready to make my life simpler by just playing discs on a top rung transport, connected by a superior I2S interface, into my terrific sounding DS DAC. Expensive - yes - but now worth it in my senior years.
Back to your final question, your CD will sound fantastic via a great transport. Your ripped CD file will only sound great if you spend plenty of time and money trying to get music files, in the best way possible, into the DS DAC USB input.
Whether it’s CD’s, SACD’s, BuRay Audio only, or DVD-Audio discs. I’ve had great success with my Sony UBP-X1000ES with HDMI to I2S adapters and the PS Audio DirectStream Sr. DAC. The “Transport” can be had for less than $300 on the used market.
When I rip a CD, I use Foobar2000 and leave it in native .WAV mode.
Exact Audio Copy and EZ CD Converter are known to have high quality rips provided your computer hardware is capable of handling the media (CD and SACD) How you play these to your DAC in audiophile quality depends on a number of factors that include quality of server / streamer, cables, power supplies, etc.
Personally, I have ripped all my library into WAV over a period of 4 years using Naim Uniti Serve (2TB HDD - now retired) then imported them into SSD based Naim Uniti Core. I realized that WAV took more space than FLAC but provided the same sound quality. I bought EZ CD Converter, and had it convert all my files into FLAC.