PreAmp Stacking

I currently own the DS Jr. Although I love the DSJr I am finding its output to not be enough for my current amplifier. If I put the Attenuator Out the DSJr can drive my amplifier well, but with a lot of buzz as a trade off. With the Attenuator In, the unit is absolutely silent but even at the highest possible level (105 on the Jr) it can only drive it to a ‘comfortable’ level, not a rocking the house level.

So the answer is a pre-amp and the BHK looks very attractive. Problem though is I have limited space and would like to stack the Pre-Amp on top of the DSJr. Checking the Pre-Amp owners manual online it has the following passage “The BHK Preamplifier is part of the PS Audio PerfectWave family and designed to stack on top of each other if they are not placed on separate shelves.

The question is "what is the PerfectWave family and is the DSJr part of that family?

Also how much space around the unit (units) do I need for sufficient ventilation. If these two are stacked they would have a good 5-6 inches on each side and about 3-4 inches above, with an open front to the cabinet and air holes in the back.

Thanks in advance

Simple answer is yes. I think the preamp and DS Jnr are in the same cabinet, the BHK series and Directstreams, including transport, are all in the same family. The Stellar series, and maybe the phono preamp are not considered part of Perfectwave family. The P5 and P10 are also Perfectwave, I believe.

Stacking will be ok, but you are talking about $10k of high end, high quality gear, can’t you stack something less essential? The preamp has tubes, and I think someone posted that the DS Jnr runs hot. Audio Advisor sells a pretty decent 4 shelf rack for $100. Maybe it is time to add a second rack for your other gear. Or get an amp stand for the power amp, freeing up a shelf. Again Audio Advisor $49, including shipping.

I am just not a believer of stacking in your main system. I have some items stacked in my bedroom, but, I have isolation pads between them, and if my finances improve, I plan on getting a shelving unit. And although I have them stacked, I don’t like it. It is just a tuner, Benchmark Dac2, and a Raspberry with USB hard drive, that will eventually be put into it’s own cabinet.

Unfortunately space is a real premium and even more importantly is the spouse approval to make it fit in the current furniture. I’ve already solved the problem of hiding the big amplifier by putting it in the basement directly under the entertainment center and drilling a hole through the floor to pass cables between - totally out of sight and out of mind of the spouse.

Maybe down the road I might be able to convince for a different cabinet that provides a little more space, but being the other half found, fell in love with and bought the cabinet, well I need to fit inside of it. Ya I know it’s crazy but harmony at home is priority # 1.

IF you are using the single-ended output of the DS JR. here are two other components I can suggest that will aid you and are in a small enough casing that they may not need to be stacked, or when stacked may not completely encase the component and block air flow.

One is the Decware ZBIT. I use this component in both my systems and love it. This takes the more powerful balanced XLR output of the source and using a top-notch Jensen 1:1 transformer and adjustable volume pot or attenuator allows you to tailor the full voltage and on down into the amp. It is transparent, and in my system adds an appealing dash of body and dynamics to the sound. This should allow you to get more gain into the amp and maintain a noise-free sound

The other is the Decware ZSTAGE. This is in essence a small simple preamp that is in a smaller casing and adds gobs of gain using the single-ended output of your source. This also allows simple tube-rolling to tailor the sound. It’s quiet, transparent and effective.

The size of these components is very helpful, 2.5" H x 6" W x 10.5" D and they weigh 4 and 7 pounds each respectively. They also operate absolutely with no restrictions when placed on their sides, which is helpful, and the ZSTAGE is the only one that generates heat, and the amount is slight (just one input tube, not run high in its operating range).

Some of the noise problems people have experienced with DSJ are about at an end. The latest release of firmware, called Redcloud, will fix the noise issues some have experienced with DSJ. Not only that but of course, Ted’s spun his magic web over this latest release (for both DSJ and DS) and it sounds utterly amazing.

Can’t wait to have you experience Redcloud. Expect to see a release in about two weeks.

Wonderful news.

So how was the DSJ firmware named?

You’re timing isn’t the best Paul. I have but one week to make a decision on the BMK Black Friday sale. You say RedCloud is two weeks away. I will need a Flux Capacitor to jump ahead 2 weeks to see if RedCloud solves my problems, then come back in time to decide on your big sale.

Where is Doc Brown when you need him? 20_gif

Wooo Hooo!!! Another update. Didn’t expect one so soon after Torreys (oops Huron). Can’t wait!!! Ted, please tease some details???

Redcloud is a Colorado fourteener.

Paul do you have any recommendations regarding the ‘air-space’ around a stacked DSJr and BHK Pre? Don’t know if you saw in my original post, I’d have about 5-6 inches on each side, about 3-4" above the stacked pair, a closed back but with numerous home drilled air holes (which I can whip out my drill and increase) and a totally open front.

Your thoughts greatly appreciated. In the meantime I’m hunting down Doc Brown for the back to the future problem.


Paul McGowan said

Redcloud is a Colorado fourteener.

I was assuming DSJ’s firmware would follow a different naming scheme than that for the DS.

Elk, based on Paul’s comment above Redcloud is for both DS and DS Jr.

Exactly. Sorry not to be clear.

I’m sorry, I see it now. My pea brain parsed it differently the first time.

rayk said

You’re timing isn’t the best Paul. I have but one week to make a decision on the BMK Black Friday sale. You say RedCloud is two weeks away. I will need a Flux Capacitor to jump ahead 2 weeks to see if RedCloud solves my problems, then come back in time to decide on your big sale.

Where is Doc Brown when you need him? 20_gif

From their email announcing the sale: PS Audio is having a day-before Black Friday sale beginning at noon on Thursday, November 23d and extending the entire week through Thursday, November 30th.

Plus, they have a 30 day no hassle return policy that includes free return shipping. So, if Redcloud is released on schedule, you should have some overlap. dancing-009_gif

PS Audio do you have any opinion on the required air flow around a stacked DSJr and BHK Pre?