Sprout in AB test with DIY setup, hits it out of the park

Did a comparison with the Sprout and a DIY amp/preamp combo I built. Details follow, but:

tldr; going to halt all R&D and save up for more mid-range PS Audio gear. I’m sold.

What we have is a Sprout100 vs Elekit TU-8500 and Akitika GT-102. I wasn’t expecting a real difference in the two, but the Sprout really stood out. Here was my listening setup:

(dirty laundry and all. You may speak after you have a six year old, my bs filters are through the roof)

Pretty close to some new floor standers. They are Invictus DIY builds, drivers are a Scan Speak 18W8531G Revelator and Creative Sound Solutions LD25X. They are awesome speakers, some of the best I’ve ever owned. I had them a bit out from the wall, in the above pic, about 2ft out. I preferred them jammed in the corner. I thought he bass was better. For me, being honest, better = louder. I also tried them straight vs toed in, and I preferred straight. Seemed like more resolution on the high end.

The record player is a Rega P25 with new Ortofon 2M Red cartridge.

FLAC DAC conversion is an Allo BOSS DAC on a Raspberry Pi . Hat has power jumper removed, and both boards are powered separately via micro usb, and usb-c.

The tracks I listened to are:

Taj Mahal - Labor of Love Song For Brenda, LP

Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Yellow Brick Road, and Song Has No Title, LP

Tom Misch - Geography It Runs Through Me, FLAC

Esperanza Spalding - Emily’s D+Evolution Good Lava, FLAC

Metallica - Self Titled, Unforgiven, FLAC

My overall impressions are that the Sprout was awesome. While I wanted to turn the “big” system up, I wanted to turn the “little” system down. Sprout was louder and more aggressive over the whole EQ. I couldn’t find an instrument, harmonic, backup voice, or background instrument in the big system that I couldn’t find with the little guy. If PS Audio can do this with $600, imagine what they can do with $3000 Strata!

I give huge points for a few un-musical things too!

  • Remote
  • Small footprint
  • Phono input
  • Dead quiet while sitting there, on, but not playing music
  • Looks great

The Sprout sounds so good, to my ears, that I’m definitely going to be getting their new integrated they’re about to come out with. I think my time and money is best spend right in PS Audio mid-range offerings. Huge bang for the buck.

Specifically with the Sprout, it almost seems too good to be true. Quick point: for months and months I was staring at a Schiit Audio Fulla on my desk. It was $99 and an amazing value for DAC, headphone, and volume control. Schiit was on my desk, and in my face day after day. The Sprout is now on my desk, and PS Audio is in my face. I listen to it everyday, and want more of that goodness. While I don’t want a nicer Sprout, I feel like my couple grand will go far with these dudes vs other outfits.

Really enjoyed the listen, and looking forward to more gear!

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The Sprout is PS Audio’s Gateway Drug (although I’ve never owned one…almost though) ! I went straight into the Stellar SGCD/2x M700’s. Within a year, I traded in my SGCD back to PS Audio, bought a 3rd M700 used from a PS Audio Forum Member, and bought a new DirectStream DAC Sr. from PS Audio directly. Let’s just say that Scott McGowan “gave me an offer that I couldn’t refuse” :joy:

I’m buying a S300 form another PS Audio Forum member for my Surrounds next month !

thanks @rajugsw gateway drug, yeah, I can see that for sure. I like that setup you’ve got there for sure. Have you tried out the new integrated they’re coming out with? What do you think on that vs the separates that you run?

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Just wait until that Sprout fully breaks in. Mine just got more and more magical.

I’m a separates Guy for 27 years ! Going back to my old Adcom Rig (GFP-345/GFA-545II). I like lots of boxes, cables, and the complications that all that brings :grin:.


the cables are the best bit!

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I thought I was the only person left in the world with a Rega P25! Enjoy your journey, dude!