Trade-in shelf life

Hi Paul

Have not had my PWD II all that long and find it hard to drop another 4g on another DAC; At least not right away. How long will this trade-in be offered?

I’m a brick N’ mortar kind of guy, but ( and this is a shock ) I can’t find a dealer in Chicago land that stocks PS stuff; Music Direct doesn’t count as they are a warehouse. I did buy the PWD Ii from Audio Consultants ( they don’t stock ), so that was sight unseen and ears unheard. Something I don’t normally do. It worked out well, but the fact that their profit margin may have been compromised bothers me a bit. So dealing with them to do this trade is probably not an option.

That narrows it down to ordering from Bolder and sending the PWD back, something new to me. Does PS specify shipping procedures? Is insurance required? Etc. I’m sure these are simple questions, but this is a guy who has never sent a box of anything to anywhere let alone something of the value of the PWD.

Also, twist my arm by telling me this DAC will get those massed violins to sweeten up.

PS ( not PS Audio, the other PS )

When you listened to the first 100 did you first run them in a bit?

It’s a great question and one we get asked a lot. With respect to the trade in length, I am not sure how long we’ll keep that going. You’re probably safe through the summer months. Can’t keep it going for too long as we do need to move the trade ins to make this work for us.

As far as shipping, that’s pretty easy, take it to FedEx, I think we might even give a call tag (although I am not sure) and it is insured fully when it’s shipped. When it’s returned to you it is insured as well. It’s really quite risk free.

Massed strings? Oh my gosh, DirectStream just opens them up in an uncanny way, individual players come alive and the sound is as sweet and unrestrained as I have ever heard it. On a direct comparison of one of my favorites, the Mahler 3d, going between the PWD and DS takes me about 30 seconds before i can’t go back again. But that’s me.

The first 100 got no burn in or warm up time at all. There were basic characteristics I was looking for and made sure were there, like openness and harmonic textures.

It is easy to ship the PWD, just go to FedEx after contacting PS Audio that you want to do the trade-in as they will help. I just make sure it is insured.

As for massed strings, the answer is yes. I am a classical music nerd: I listen, perform and record orchestras and chamber ensembles. The DS midrange is spectacular, reproducing timbre and texture with alacrity. It reproduces the complex interplay of massed strings in all its deliciousness, both good and bad. Thus, one gets the warmth or steeliness depending on the ensemble and the piece being performed. One also can easily hear the one player slightly out of temp or intonation.

+1 with what Elk said. And as to burn in, many of us have experienced the DS need many hundreds of hours (more than 300 or so) before you get the fullest sense of what it can do. But be ready to hang in there - you should be very pleased with the result.

Paul McGowan said

On a direct comparison of one of my favorites, the Mahler 3d, going between the PWD and DS takes me about 30 seconds before i can’t go back again.

Which Mahler 3rd performance were you listening to?


Elk said click
Elk, do you have a preference between the 96-24 PCM and DSD versions?

I do not have them to compare.

Paul may.

st50maint said
Paul McGowan said

On a direct comparison of one of my favorites, the Mahler 3d, going between the PWD and DS takes me about 30 seconds before i can’t go back again.

Which Mahler 3rd performance were you listening to?

San Francisco Symphony on the Blue Coast releases.


I’ve had my PWDII for about two years and have never had any problems. I’m considering getting the DirectStream upgrade kit and having it done at your factory.

Would my PWDII be fully checked and tested after the upgrade kit is installed?

What do feel are the advantages, if any, to trading up to a new DirectStream DAC instead of getting the upgrade kit done?

Thanks for providing such great products over the years!

A new Direct Stream would be labeled as such on the front and would have a slightly better IR (remote) sensor on the front. That’s about it AFAK.

Thanks for that Steve!

I read some other topics and also found the following in one of Paul’s posts regarding price where he notes the added advantages of higher resale value along with a new chassis and display board:

If you want the higher resale value of owning a genuine article DirectStream with its nomenclature on the front panel, trade in your existing PWD, and this will cost an extra $1,000, covering the costs of a new chassis and display board. Total cost to you is the same as a new PWD, $3,995, plus the return of your PWD.

I went with the upgrade route it seems WAY more cost effective. A used PWD MKII is worth about $1800.00 add in the DS kit and you’re at $4800.00 a new DS is $6000.00 (less whatever discount you might be able to get) after 3 years the DS will be worth maybe $3000.00 Plus figure out what you paid for the PWD and subtract the loss of selling it used…if you go the upgrade route there is no loss on what you paid for the PWD… and you might be able to sell your MKII guts to help offset the DS kit cost… ( I got about $325.00 for mine)

I’d guess an upgraded PWD will sell for about $500.00 less than a used DS , keeping in mind that there is virtually no difference between them…

I think these answers are good ones. From a sonic standpoint there would be no difference. From a resale and IR sensor standpoint a bit of advantage. Also, less hassle of avoiding the install, but many people like doing the work.

Thank you so very much steve2, erikm and Paul for your replies!

I have a few more questions:

  1. How much longer will the factory installed kit and the trade in poilcy be available?

  2. What is the warranty on the factory installed kit (I figure the chasis and display
    will not be covered)?

I don’t have any firm answers to the first question. Basically we’ll try and keep this going probably through the summer, but beyond that no guarantees.

The warranty is a full 3-years like a new product.


Thank you and everyone at PS Audio for making the DirectStream trade up and install kit options available to existing PWDII owners!

I will decide which way go sometime soon.

Kit! Kit! Kit!

I took a good long hard look at my PWDII and could not find a scratch on it. So Elk, I decided to order a DS upgrade kit today through my dealer because he offered to install the kit for me at no charge.

My only concern was that the display panel on a new DS might be of better quality and would be covered under a new 3 year warranty.

Dealer thinks it will be a 6 - 8 week wait because they are selling so well and I am only now getting on the waiting list. I’m thinking the wait will be a good thing. The birthing pains should be over with by then and I’ll have a handle on which firmware patch sounds the best.

Is there a forum that discusses Hi-Rez music sites on the internet?


The install is easy so if there is any delay for the installation do not hesitate to tackle it yourself.

The display of the PWD and DS is the same. No upgrade or difference. If you do happen to have a failure, I’m sure PSA will take care of you.

There are many sites which discuss high resolution files, a quick search should locate what you are interested in. However, the DS is most impressive with standard Redbook and closes the difference between Redbook and high resolution.