Had upgraded from the Schiit Yggdrasil Analog 2 USB gen 5 to the DirectStream DAC back in May 2019 after getting a great deal from a vendor. Both units had high quality USB implementation from my Sonore ultraRendu. A considerable amount of break in time was required for these units.
Loved the ramped up fixed class A output from the Yiggy. It provided a fullness to the sound which did not dissipate as quickly when extending from the speakers. The sound signature is very conventional - unlike that of the Grace Design m920 preamp/DAC which it had replaced.
The Grace Design m920 had a much blacker background, was more dynamic, and with its PCM filter running in Minimum Phase roll off, provided excellent bass definition. A truly outstanding unit. Yet compared to the Yiggy or the DS DAC, it seemed some sounds may have been suppressed. The digital signal coming through the Grace’s mini-USB input was not implemented as well compared to the Yiggy or DS DAC.
The DirectStream DAC has much better instrument separation than these other components. Far more revealing. Every little detail is highlighted. Later adding the Audioquest Thunder power cord to this DAC was worth every cent. It added to the control of the sound. Cannot figure out a sound signature for the DirectStream DAC. Seems the music is just there.
For its detail, accuracy and neutrality, to my ears and with my equipment, I thought the DS DAC was a good, worthwhile improvement over the Yiggy. I highly recommend a good preamp with the DS DAC. IMHO a Schiit Yggdrasil Analog 2 with a quality preamp easily surpasses the sound quality of a DirectStream DAC used without a preamp.
Like other posters on this thread have suggested, would recommend waiting for this DAC to be (hopefully) discounted when the new DAC comes out. That way can take advantage of the 30 day free trial.