PerfectWave problems

This was sent to support since there doesn't seem to be a way to send anything to Paul directly.
A friend of mine has had a PerfectWave DAC for a number of years. It has worked fine connected to his CD player and about nine months ago we attempted to get it to play back through his Windows 7 desktop PC for AIFF files. However, the light on the unit showing the connection to the USB always showed red. So he and I talked to your customer support people (sorry, I'm not going to give you any names) and it was decided the unit needed to go back to the factory. I couldn't be of more than modest support since I've been a Mac guy since 1981. So my friend pays for the unit to be returned and when it comes back the same problem exists. No green light to show a basic connection. So what to do?
I send him my back-up DAC (a Fathom, which is a real basic, cheap NOS unit) and he hooks it up to his PC. Walla, the damn thing plays back files through his system perfectly - of course the PW is not being incorporated at all. So he talks to your people again and they say send it back and we'll see what's the problem. But my friend says he's not paying the shipping charges again to do that and has to wait weeks for someone else in support to send the info for PS Audio to assume the shipping payments. The PW leaves and returns to find nothing but a red light for the USB connection. The loaned Fathom still works like a charm. Finally, my friend get's another PC (laptop) from someone and it too shows red. Then all of a sudden it shows green for a second or two and then goes back to red. Something is really strange here. My uneducated opinion (although I have been in the professional broadcast business for 30 years) is that there's an intermittent fault on a board that doesn't show up under test and that there are certain boards that need to be replaced. I know intermittents are a real pain in the a... but the factory should come up with some solution after two tries.
At this point my friend is so exasperated at PS Audio that he's done with you. And so am I. The only thing I have in my system from your company are some cables I bought from him and a PowerPlant. Never again will I think about your products, nor will I recommend them to anyone. I know you make excellent units (you couldn't be in the business this long by not doing so) but there are plenty of other companies out there that do as good a job as you - and they support them properly.
I'm copying my friend to let him see what I've done as he has told me this would be ok but it's not officially from him. Plus I'm sending this off to some other people that are "audiophiles". I'm not expecting some nice "oh gosh, we're so sorry you're having a bad experience" reply from your firm but I believe it's the professional thing to do to let you know my friend (and I) will never consider your products again.

Did the PerfectWave continue to work fine connected to the CD player? That is, was it only trying to play AIFF from a Windows computer via USB which is a problem?

You mention you are a Mac user. You may not know that Windows computers need a USB driver specific to the connected device (here, the PerfectWave driver) to be installed for it to work. Did you install the necessary PerfectWave USB driver on the laptop?

Many “audiophile” USB cables can cause all sorts of odd connectivity problems as many do not comply with USB specs. Did you try a good quality generic USB cable?

By the way, it is easy to contact Paul directly. Oddly enough, it is laugh Please contact him directly and provide names, specifics, and anything else you can provide that will help him track down this issue. While your experience has been frustrating so far, give him a chance to work things out. His concern for his customers and fellow audiophiles is genuine.

Please note that while I have a title on this forum, I do not in any way speak for PS Audio. I am just trying to help as you are clearly exasperated. My suspicion is the problem is very basic.

Yikes. Thanks Elk and yes, I am easy to contact and usually responsive. At least I try.

There’s nothing more frustrating than what Ric and his friend have experienced. To have the unit go back and forth like that says to me we missed something - not in the unit, because obviously it worked fine here - but missed some important bit of info like the driver install, etc.

Computers can be tricky. It’s very likely the cheap Fathom DAC could not handle high resolution audio and therefore worked fine with drivers native to Windows. In other words, DACs that cannot go over 96kHz just plug into Windows without need of a driver. The PerfectWave needs a driver and as Elk points out, it’s likely that step was missed or not configured right.

That would be our bad.

I’ll try and contact Ric directly.

Sounds like a classic example of a driver problem at the PC end to me.

Also sounds like Ric is very uncool…No class whatsoever. Oh gosh, did I write that. Ooops…I’m just sayingsorry_gif

PS Audio is as reputable a company as one will ever do business with…And I will continue to tell this to “other people who are audiophiles.”

In fairness to PSA it’s a tough support situation to be in. Yeah, it could be a flaky board that decides to only act up in the user’s home (not said sarcastically, I have seen stranger sh*t happen :)) but they have probably changed it out already, and that leaves an issue which is not under PSA’s ability to control. Probably the best move, after verifying that the use did install the driver and has tried a different cable, is to offer to remotely control the PC and take a look. I am sure that nobody at either end really wants to do that for understandable reasons but…

Something truly odd may be at work; I, too, have seen some strange things. But my bet is on a simple, previously overlooked fix.

I’ve read the posts about the PerfectWave problem I sent and here’s some answers on my part.

I was amiss in not saying that the Windows driver was installed before I arrived at my friend’s house. When the USB interconnect wouldn’t work a call was made to PS support. On the phone call with support the driver was uninstalled and reinstalled. That didn’t fix the problem. Shortly after a new three foot Belden USB cable was tried. That didn’t resolve the issue either. BTW the original USB cable worked fine on my personal system for file sharing in the past so it had been properly tested. After this the unit was sent back for the first time and we know the story from there.

As to “Timeques’st” response that I’m “uncool” in my critique of PS Audio my answer to that is fairly simple. Nothing else worked at getting PS Support to fix the problem. If then you have to call out the company to get someone to respond, so be it. As all can see Paul has taken note of the issue and he’s being supplied with the name, phone number and email of my friend with the PerfectWave. I sincerely hope everything gets fixed and my rant ended up having some positive value. If Timequest didn’t like my approach I really don’t care. Without it PS Audio would have lost a good client because he was completely fed up with the result.

I feel very confident this problem is going to be resolved to everyone’s benefit…

Ric, just a technical point - the fact that the USB cable worked with file transfer doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for streaming audio to the PWD - streaming is a whole 'nother kettle of fish and much less ‘forgiving’ of problems than merely transferring a file. I am not saying that I think this is the source of your trouble - the generic belkin cables usually work fine, though there are many models of them and the specific one you used may also have a problem. But I wouldn’t rule it out either - if you have or can borrow another one to try, it’s worth a shot IMHO. Hope you get it fixed, whatever it is!

Hate to drag this out, but … When the PWD was sent back to PS Audio were any parts replaced? If not did they just state “problem could not be duplicated”? I’ve had very good luck with PS Audio repairing my P500 and my DS and Paul has been generous to a fault with many of the folks here, but sometimes even with all the best effort shit happens.

Again, does the PerfectWave continue to work fine connected to the CD player?

Have you tried feeding the USB input of the PerfectWave Redbook data sent from another computer, such as a Mac?

I continue to strongly suspect a computer setup problem. It may be relatively subtle, such as an interrupt conflict.

As to the approach of publicly “calling out” PS Audio: It was entirely unnecessary; you would have received the same response if you simply had called the company and asked for Paul or the head of technical support. We all agree it should not be necessary to return a product twice for repair, but giving up and instead posting a negative rant is not the best approach.

Just wanted to answer a few of your questions.

Good point about “file transfers”. I should have stated the first USB had been used to transfer AIFF audio files. You’re right, an Word file is much different than an audio file but in this case the cable had been used in the correct context.

PS support said on the first repair the USB connection on the PerfectWave was replaced and run through tests to confirm it was working properly. Unfortunately when it came back it still won’t connect with the PC as it should through the USB. That’s when the second USB cable was tried but didn’t work as well. My understanding is the second time they could find no problem and returned the unit.

The PerfectWave has continued to work just fine with the CD player. It was fed by another (laptop) PC but that PC didn’t have the driver installed so that ended up being a complete wash. No Mac has been hooked up to it because I live in Houston and my friend lives in Memphis. I’ll lend him an old Fathom but I’m not lending him the Mac that’s my dedicated audio unit. He’s a good friend but not that good! Yeah, the sarcacism was intended.

As to Elk’s contention that I should have gone through proper channels to solve this issue, please remember that same wording was sent verbatim to support and received no reply for a week. Within three hours Paul had responded and we’re on the road to what we all hope is a resolution to the problem. Sorry about the method but if the complaint didn’t get to Paul for a week through his own system that’s not exactly my fault.

I’m still not convinced there couldn’t be an issue with a board that’s intermittent but at the same time, even though the driver has been installed twice that could be what’s causing all the havoc. I may actually send my friend my Mac to DAC USB cable and ensure that’s not the problem…

Another thing to mention. If there is a problem with USB under WIndows (e.g. some device is invisible), it’s a good idea to remove ALL USB devices from the device manager, including the internal USB hub, etc. These drivers will be automatically reinstalled after the first access.

Do I understand correctly, that only one PC with the driver installed was used? And no other PC was tried? I do remember some issues with conflicting USB devices/drivers (including race conditions) on Windows boxes. No reinstalling helped, only a complete reinstallation. This is Windows for you. BTW, what Windows version did you friend have? Was it patched? (Yeah, I know, it’s a typical support question, but I have to ask).

I must admit that PSAudio does have problems with software development, but in my opinion, it looks like a Windows issue.

Ric said The PerfectWave has continued to work just fine with the CD player. It was fed by another (laptop) PC but that PC didn't have the driver installed so that ended up being a complete wash. No Mac has been hooked up to it because I live in Houston and my friend lives in Memphis.
The distance is a challenge, certainly. Connecting the unit to another computer or another USB source would help a great deal in narrowing down the issue.
. . . please remember that same wording was sent verbatim to support and received no reply for a week.
Given the wording, I would not have wanted to respond either.

Please consider a pleasant phone call the next time you have an issue you would like to resolve with any company, instead of circulating a negative rant lambasting the company with which you are unhappy. It is vastly more productive.

Fortunately, Paul and his clan are both professional and service oriented and will take care of your friend, regardless of your approach.

Please report back and let us know the solution once the problem is resolved.

And another point - this forum is a great place to get help, and, I would say, generally must be considered before (or at the same time) contacting the PSA support.

“Good point about “file transfers”. I should have stated the first USB had been used to transfer AIFF audio files. You’re right, an Word file is much different than an audio file but in this case the cable had been used in the correct context.”

Absolutely not a valid test.

Ric, please encourage your friend to register for the forum and to post. In addition to working with PS Audio to solve his problem, we may be able to assist as well. There are some people here who are extremely good with computers and computer-based audio.

That’s downright good citizenship from you Mr. Elk. Kudos to your patience and good will. Personally, I just can’t seem to get passed my own cynicism…On this eve however, I will indeed drink to Mr. Ric’s good health and to the good health and fortunes of all of my forum brethren. Happy New Year beer_gif

Wonderful news! The problem has been solved. Paul had Dave call Bill and indeed it was a driver problem. They reinstalled it (that was the third time the driver was installed) but this time Dave walked Bill through changes that needed to be applied to different windows. In the second re-install of the driver no one in support walked us through anything like that. Plus Dave told Bill how to clean up his desktop to make sure everything was working as efficently as possible. Bingo, the green interconnect light came on and Dave showed Bill how to get the audio files from his external drive to go though the PC and then come out of the PowerWave into his Pre and the amp. The same USB cable that we used originally is the one that works on his system now.

Thanx to all of you for your suggestions and especially to Paul for getting things going in a positive direction. That was a great belated Christmas gift.

I guess as 'ol Billy S wrote, “All’s well that ends well”…

Gosh, imagine that. A pleasant phone call resolved the problem. Who would have thought?

I expect you will immediately send a report "off to some other people that are ‘audiophiles’ ", yes?