The DS Has Landed


#1

I finally got the DS upgrade kit installed in my PWD. After a slight hiccup when the dealer couldn’t get the screen to work after the upgrade, necessitating a trip back to Magenta, I connected the DS back into the system and sat down to listen. I have followed all the discussion on burn-in with interest and can only say that if the sound is going to improve significantly, I will be one very happy camper.

I started with some mp4 tracks from iTunes just to get the system warmed up and the DS lays bare the nature of compressed music files. Even so, White Wedding from Billy Idol rocked along nicely, sounding better than I have heard before.

After about an hour, I put on some favourites. Waltz for Debby - Bill Evans 96/24 was magnificent. Fabulous playing in a live club setting. Here I could discern all three players in their own space in a much more coherent way compared with the PWD. Motian’s brush work on the drums was far more apparent and following La Faro’s bass lines that much easier. The piano sound from Evans just lovely and feeling natural. The trio seemed to be in the room.

Another go-to track for me is Girl Talk - Eliane Elias (I Thought About You 96/24). Her piano playing is superb and this track really swings. Next I went to How Long has This Been Going On - Claire Martin on Linn Records 96/24. This is a truly stunning recording and the huge soundstage with a palpable "touch it"feeling was bliss.

Although almost a cliché, I went to Take Five - 176/24. Here the recording ambience is picked up with the characteristic hiss in the lead in and lead out. Although I must have listened to this 100 times, I must not have really been listening. The drum part just over half way through was communicated to me in a far more detailed fashion than I have heard and the byplay with the piano and bass propelling the song with great rhythmic drive was utterly compelling. For interest sake, I played the same track from a Redbook rip and could not honestly discern much difference other than if anything the CD version seemed slightly more “exciting”, the HD version having greater ease and smoothness.

What is really noticeable is how the DS shows up exactly the nature of the recordings. There seems to be a matter of fact reflection of the material in the recording, for better or worse. This is something I like as I want the equipment to interfere as little as possible so I can listen to the music, not the equipment.

As many others here have posted, the DS gets the head nodding and the foot tapping, drawing you into the music. The fact that we can get into a higher level through an upgrade is just another astonishing bonus in our disposable society.

As you might have gathered, I am absolutely delighted with the DS after only a few hours of listening and looking forward to some serious time on the weekend.

Cheers,

Chris

happy-132_gifdancing-009_gif


#2

As another (Australian!) DS owner who is almost 2 weeks into break-in I can vouch for the improvement over time.

Out of the box the new DS is a functional, coherent sonically pleasing instrument (as you’ve also found). Gradually over the initial 3 days of break-in I found this coherence diminishes markedly, which I attribute to the bass end maturing at a much faster rate than everything else. This is very easy to pick in my installation as I can readily A/B the DS against a sonically stable source player that bypasses the DS. I can hear DS plunging to greater depths and it overtook what my Krell can achieve at that end on about day 3 (which is no mean feat!). But in comparison at this stage the mid/treble end is left in the wake of the bass, which is why I say the initial sense of coherence goes out the window.

After day 3 the mids start to catch up, but it takes time. I’m at 220 hours and the coherence has started to come together again and I can sit and enjoy my music without needing to think too much about it (actually, I had a guest over 2 days ago and she was tapping her feet along to the music within minutes!!). Clearly at this point the DS is sonically a better piece for 2ch 44.1/16 than my highly regarded Krell. However it is impossible for me to pick the DS against my source player analog out direct to the pre-amp, to me they sound identical. There seems to be wide opinion here that 400+ hours is required for DS to reach sonic maturity, so hopefully over the next 180-ish hours my DS will continue to improve and (hopefully) over-take my previous system performance before DS joined the family.


#3

Good one brodricj


#4

I should have mentioned, by way of example I was listening to ColdPlay Live 2012 Concert on BR via the DS - which I’ve listened to many times before pre-DS - and I was gobsmacked to clearly hear [individual voices of] people in the crowd talking to each other between songs, I mean WTF??? previously the crowd was just part of the overall noise, now it’s not!

So when the PS Audio marketing says “if you want to hear what’s been missing on your discs, then this DAC is right for you”, is no marketing spin at all. It’s simply the truth of the matter.


#5
brodricj said As another (Australian!) DS owner who is almost 2 weeks into break-in I can vouch for the improvement over time.
Thanks for the info. I have queued up hundreds of songs and left the DAC playing, something I will do for the next couple of weeks. The DAC also gets used when we watch TV as I have it connected via optical. As it is also connected via SPDIF to the BD player, the DAC will get plenty of use and hopefully fully mature fairly quickly.

As far as burn-in goes, I don’t get too fussed by it as I am normally just happy listening to some favourite music as a stress relief from daily life. I think the most extreme break-in I have experienced was with my speakers which “quacked” a bit when new but once settled down have given hours of pleasure.

I will be interested to see if I discern the same effects as you have over the journey (which as many have observed is more important than the destination)
cool

Regards,

Chris


#6
....I think the most extreme break-in I have experienced was with my speakers which "quacked" a bit when new but once settled down have given hours of pleasure.
+1. When I first bought my Wilson speakers I thought they were rubbish. After one week I was going to sell them. Now after 8 months use they sound pretty good. That's what I call an extreme break-in. Mind you I'm still selling them, but in no hurry to move them on now!

BTW my DS is on 24 hours/day, the player just runs on repeat.


#7
cerobo said
brodricj said As another (Australian!) DS owner who is almost 2 weeks into break-in I can vouch for the improvement over time.

Thanks for the info. I have queued up hundreds of songs and left the DAC playing, something I will do for the next couple of weeks. The DAC also gets used when we watch TV as I have it connected via optical. As it is also connected via SPDIF to the BD player, the DAC will get plenty of use and hopefully fully mature fairly quickly.

As far as burn-in goes, I don’t get too fussed by it as I am normally just happy listening to some favourite music as a stress relief from daily life. I think the most extreme break-in I have experienced was with my speakers which “quacked” a bit when new but once settled down have given hours of pleasure.

I will be interested to see if I discern the same effects as you have over the journey (which as many have observed is more important than the destination)
cool

Regards,

Chris


It really took a few months 27/7 till I stopped seeing improvement. TG for PC audio- I just let it roll for weeks at a time!