PWD MKII Sound Quality

Hi all,

I had a PWD MK.II that I enjoyed trememdously for about 6 months or so. I purchased that unit new from a dealer on Audiogon. I decided to sell it and save up my coins to purchase a Directstream DAC. After a brutal several months of financial wipeout, I realize I can’t afford to purchase a DSD for a long time. Now back to the problem, I purchased a refurbished unit from a reputable dealer and it was shipped directly from PS Audio. I have listened to the DAC for around 6 hours or so and there is something missing. It just doesn’t sound as good as the DAC that I sold using the same equipment. The soundstage isn’t as wide and deep an my original one. Also, the midrange seems a tad bit dry using a tube amp. I upgraded the firmware to the 2.4.6 version and didn’t notice any improvement. I am puzzled, the unit was packed as a new one and was in perfect condition. When I registered the warranty, it seems the unit was originally registered in Oct, 2012. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated.

Perhaps you prefer the firmware that the original PWD you had was running. Do you recall the version? We may be able to dig it up for you.

I was running the 2.4.4 in the previous DAC and the rufurbed one that I just purchased had that version installed. I listened to it for 6 hours or so and that was when I decided the DAC didn’t sound the same.

I am not sure if this DAC was an upgrade from a MK.I or what the problem is. I understand the MKII upgrade from a MKI didn’t change the digital input board. How much of a difference could this have affected the sound quality?

The Mk II upgrade did replace the digital input board (that’s what the upgrade was). It made a quite significant improvement in the sound (in most folks’ views). Are you saying that the “new” one might be a Mk. I? If it has native and native X settings it is a Mk. II.

Have you been using the original Critical-Link (PS Audio provided) fuses with original PWD and current one?

Also is the cabling all the same as you have had before?

What about your source streaming to pwd - any changes there? Do you have tanscoding to wav enabled (in case you are using bridge)? Also if you are using bridge do you have the same bridge firmware version installed?

Also maybe the new unit is just not yet well burnt-in enough?

Two things come to mind… First a cold PWD takes a good 24 hours of being on before it sounds right… if it was dead cold and you hooked it up and then listened, well I’d give it a day… Second thing it might not be broken in … What was refurbished?? It might have been a MKI that PSA upgraded to a MKII… if that’s the case give it a few hundred hours of playing time to get broken in.

It has native and native X, so it must be an original Mk.II. Since my first post I have been experimenting with the firmware upgrades. I tried 2.4.5 and 2.4.6, I found both of those to be rather hard sounding through my Martin Logans. I went back to the 2.4.4 and now it sounds smoother. Could be from warming up for several days. The soundstage still isn’t right, maybe I will move the speakers around and play with that part of it before I get rid of the DAC. Thanks for the replies.

No just because it has Native and Native X doesn’t mean it’s an original MKII, an upgraded MKI would also have those features… If I were you I’d run it 24/7 for a good 10 days before making a judgment… I think refurbishment might have more extensive than you think and it just needs more running in.

If this is directly from PS Audio it may be in reality a brand new (or close to it) unit. If that’s the case you’ll need a good several hundred hours before it gets to what a well burned in MkII sounds like. You should be able to know for sure that it is burning in and getting better within I seem to recall a couple of hundred hours.