I’ve been comparing regular PCM using the ESS Saber Pro 9038 chip inside of my Mcintosh integrated amplifier to PCM converted to DSD by the Directstream dac. The biggest difference I notice is that PCM through the Direcstream is much quieter. Why does the Directstream make music sound quieter? Is that how DSD sounds?
When I play PCM through the Saber 9038, and other dacs I own, it sounds like the music is coming out of a bullhorn now that I’ve gotten used to the sound of the Directstream. Regular PCM sounds unnaturally loud, harsh, and glaring. I’ve never noticed this in all my years of listening to PCM.
PCM through the Directstream has a natural, soft, smooth, mellow sound. At first I thought it sounded like vinyl but then I compared my AC/DC Black record to my digital copy and the vinyl sounded very rough, grainy and bright compared to the sound of the Directstream. So in fact, the Directstream sounds more like high resolution vinyl, I suppose. A combination of the technical excellence of digital mixed with the tone of records.
I’ve also noticed that PCM through the Directstream sounds more detailed, has better imaging and is more holographically 3 dimensional. The regular PCM sounds more flat and bloated like a blob of sound. Odd thing is, before I got the Directstream I always thought that my PCM sounded holographic and imaged well. Yet it sounds different after getting used to the Directstream.
What are other people’s thoughts on regular non converted PCM vs Directstream DSD conversion? What differences do you hear? Do other people share my observation that non converted PCM now sounds different and much worse than what you were used to before you owned the Directstream? Give me your thoughts and if anyone knows, let me know why the Directstream makes my music so much quieter. I have to admit, though, that I like it quiet. The softer sound is more euphonic. It makes nasty recordings like heavy metal sound very pleasant and musical. To me regular PCM now sounds like a high school garage band wailing on their instruments as loud and fierce as they can yet lacking talent. Whereas the Directstream sounds like a band that played for decades, hitting every note with ease serving the sound like an English butler on a shiny silver platter to me in a smoking jacket sitting beside the fire.