Questions on Direct Stream Jr. and Direct Stream Memory Player

Hello everyone -

I have been reading the postings about the DS Sr. and Jr. with interest along with the DMP as well. I currently own a McIntosh MCT450 SACD transport and D150 DAC. I usually listen to physical media (SACD and RBCD) with little hi res streaming. I am quite taken with the sound of DSD and find the approach of both the DS DACs very intriguing. Sorry for so many. Hopefully someone is willing to chime in.


  1. Any thoughts on DS Sr. vs. Jr in general. One of the things I feel the D150 brings to the table is the analog output stage which seems overlooked sometimes in discussions of DACs. How do you feel about analog outputs on either of the DACs?

  2. If I add the memory player to the purchase I really like the idea of extracting the DSD off the SACD and sending this to the DS DAC as DSD and keeping it as DSD till it is output as analog. While the MCT450 uses a special 5-pin DIN cable to connect to the D150, and my DAC shows SACD in the display window, I am not sure if the signal ends up as PCM before it become analog. But could be doing a similar handshake to get the DSD off the disc.

  3. While I have about 120 SACDs the rest are RBCD. I feel Paul is onto something with the though that there is data on these discs that has never really been effectively handled. How do you all feel about the quality of conversion from PCM to DSD and the sound this produces in your systems. Do you feel the difference has been worth it?

  4. The price of the DS Jr. and DMP is similar to my McIntosh rig. Do you think it is worth stretching to the DS Sr and if so what would be your reason?

  5. Do you like the display on the DMP?

  6. I am not so sure I plan to get into streaming or MQA but it might be nice to have on tap just in case. Any thoughts on how the DS Jr. is handling this for those who have tired it out?

  7. Unexpected pitfalls? In reading the forums I see folks have had issues with either firmware updates or even dead hardware out of the box. This give one pause for concern but I understand things happen as well. My Mac gear is built like a tank.

Thank you for the help and answers in advance. Blue Skies.

I’ll try to keep to the objective side since I’m clearly biased :slight_smile:

1.) The DS is explicitly designed to allow an analog output that’s “merely” a passive low pass filter. Low pass filters lower noise - most analog outputs involve an amplifier which, well, amplifies noise. A passive filter uses fewer components than an active output and those components can be of better quality at the same price point.

2.) I don’t see a question - but in case it’s not obvious the DMP is indeed doing a handshake to see if the device on the other end is a PS Audio DSD capable DACs and if so it sends the DSD to that device in a bitperfect manner (no conversion to PCM.) One thing that can confuse the issue is that DoP (DSD over PCM) isn’t a conversion to PCM it’s smuggling bitperfect DSD in a signal that looks like PCM so that any intervening equipment that was designed for PCM but not DSD can still pass the DSD signal - think of DoP as an envelope around DSD or like .flac files - all of the info is there losslessly but it looks different in the middle.

3.) Converting PCM to DSD isn’t a goal of DS DACs (tho they do it) - taking advantage of single bit DSD to allow better linearity, to allow a passive output stage, etc. is the goal. The fact that the DS converts to DSD when playing PCM shouldn’t be of more concern than the fact that most PCM DACs convert to a high rate, low sample width format internally to get better linearity.

7.) Unexpected pitfalls? - It depends on what you expect :slight_smile: I never expected to be able to navigate on disks that were designed for video menus on a box that doesn’t provide video. On the other hand the initial descriptions of the DMP explicitly claimed that it would handle DVD’s, DVD-A’s, Blu-ray disc’s, etc. so it’s understandable that most people would expect it to be able to do that. Don’t expect that some release of software will magically make it easy (or even possible) to navigate on discs that assume a video output.

Thanks Ted - Very appreciated. One last question.

What should I consider when choosing the Jr. vs. the Sr?

Oh, by the way I used the Waveframe for a while back in the early 90’s.

Joining Waveframe was probably the most consequential decision I ever made about work. I met lots of great people there.

I sidestepped the Jr vs Sr question, but since you asked again :slight_smile:

At an objective level the Sr is about 6dB quieter than the Jr, which may or may not matter in a given system.

The Jr has the same sonic character as the Sr: the involvement that I really care about. If one were to walk into a room where a Jr or a Sr is playing I don’t think that the first thing that would come to mind is “That’s a Jr” or “That’s a Sr.” After a little experience you could answer which is playing if you listened for a moment.

The Sr is more refined than the Jr: a little more effortless. The Sr is a little more airy or open on the top.

I find the remote to be a little more responsive with the Sr, tho that’s only clear when using both often.

I like the volume knob on the Jr a lot more than using a touchscreen on the Sr.

If you want a bridge, it’s built in the Jr and would be an add-on for the Sr.

They both have about the same output impedance tho the Jr is done with a differential video opamp and the Sr uses a transformer.

They will always have essentially the same software running - most of the source files are shared with no conditional compiles or parameter differences.