TSS Two Chassis Super DAC


I believe enclosures are getting better as well as wire and x-over parts. I agree there’s not as much year-over-year improvement as there is will DACs. That’s one of the reasons why in an earlier post I said I could live with a 10 year old speaker, amp or preamp but would never by digital technology any more than 5 years old.

And no, DSD doesn’t fall into that category because while the design is 5 years old the software has been updated multiple times since then.


B&W has been using laser interferometry for years. This is how they came up with the Kevlar midrange driver and the perfect piston tweeter diaphrams. That is nothing new.


Your posts talk as if Bowers & Wilkins is the only speaker manufacturer in the world. I said “most” manufacturers did not have this capability 10+ years ago. There are speakers out there that spank the crap out of B&Ws and this is coming from someone who has owned many B&W speakers over the years. I’ve had 804 D2s, 805 D2s, PM1’s and a few of their subwoofers. Plus I’ve heard many of their others at owners homes and at shows, including a pair of your 800 Matrix.


Again you are putting words in my mouth. please don’t! I simply stated to you post displaying Vandersteen’s process as this is nothing NEW. It has been in use for years. I know there are many other manufacturers out there. It is very important to hear things in an environment similar to where they will be used. The room is very much a part of the sound of a system. The 800’s because of their unusual high and low placement of the woofers controls room modes well and allows one to hear ambiance beyond what many other speakers produce with either one woofer or closely spaced woofers. I have heard Martin Logan’s, Magnepans, Wilson Audio, Vandersteens, Focal, and the list goes on. None of them can displace my 800’s. Everyone’s system is and extention of themself and reflects what they want to achieve andd we all have the right to defend what we believe.


I have no qualm with you liking your speakers. Everyone’s taste in music is personal so to each their own. My qualm was and still is with your initial response arguing that your speakers “can outperform so much of the over priced over rated stuff on today’s market”. That is just objectively a false statement. Value surely is subjective and I cant argue with you thinking something is overpriced, but the truth is driver performance has objectively improved enough with today’s speakers that it’s easily heard. I’m talking less distortion, flatter response, wider frequency response, ect. This is an objective truth. If you don’t like bright sounding speakers (I don’t either) there are speakers out there other than B&W Diamonds that objectively perform better than the 800 Matrix which also have similar sound characteristics you’re looking for. Most of these speakers use ribbon/AMT tweeters.


I have owned and listened to quite a few pair of loudspeakers over the years…but for my money,and for what my taste/desires demand from a musically involved listening experience…with little…to no compromise…the Acoustic Zen Crescendo mk II’s are without doubt,a marvel in modern day loudspeaker design.Not much to complain about if music in your home is the end goal! If you ever can give a proper listen to them…please do so,you wont regret it. Oh…and don’t forget your checkbook…you’ll need it before walking out the door!!! :grin:


That is the way I see it. I have used Shahinian speakers for 25 years and I build everything around the speakers. I am not saying they are the best speakers ever in the history of loudspeakers - just that I like them more than all the various others I’ve tried over the decades. Other listeners possibly could/would think the Diapason speakers omnidirectional sound field is all wrong… But, I like them more than any other piece of equipment, and at the end of the day that’s what matters to me…

I made a mistake when I bought Constellation’s top of the range amplifiers, because, after I lived with them for a while they didn’t work well with the Shahinian Diapasons so I moved the amplifiers on. It is all to do with personal preference…


I own the amplifier Dick used when designing the Diapasons and the Obelisks. A Bedini 803. I have rebuilt mine with Mundorf caps in the power supply and film caps in the audio path. It is a kick butt amp 250 wpc into 8 ohms 500 wpc into 4 ohms. The only drawback is it only has RCA inputs. i bought that amp on the recommendation of Dick Shahinian. You are using the BHK now right? I am sure it is better than the Bedini.


Regarding the POF interface between the digital and analog bits of TSS…
i) Will this be ordinary DSD256 or your higher bitrate/bitdepth internal data stream?
ii) Will PSAudio open this interface to allow ordinary folks to create ‘PC’ based up-sampling boxes? (like using an Intel NUC and HQPlayer embedded + Roon to talk to the TSS analog box through a POF transmitter).
…Just curious …and mostly wondering how one could jump into some of the goodness of TSS without the large expenditure of cash.


I never owned the Bedini amp but I owned the Dynavector version. Dynavector either in Australia or it might have been New Zealand took over building an amplifier, model HX1.2, which was basically designed around the model you have. I was told the Bedini was a very good sounding amplifier but temperamental hence the Jonathan Davies - Dynavector HX1.2 HEXFET amplifier.

Yes - I now use 2 x pairs of BHK 300s…


i) there are two sets of (complementary) balanced DSD bits every DSD256 clock time.
ii) There little chance that any (simple/inexpensive) box could interface to the analog box. It would need to be able to receive and separate some data bits from a clock coming from the analog box. It would need to send back bits precisely timed to match that incoming clock but at about 135.4752MHz: you’d need a reasonably precise PLL (the jitter requirement isn’t too bad, but things need to be accurate within about a ns) and that rules out a lot of commonly available hardware. There’s the protocol over the control bits to set the watchdog timer, control the relays, etc. and finally some parity like bits (used for balancing ones and zeros over the interface.) The analog box can’t be hurt with bad control stuff, but if anything doesn’t make sense it mutes.


You must be allot stronger than I am as I could not even move the 300’s I barely was able to move my P-10. My Bedini and the two my son has have been very reliable and stable.


That’s great re: Bedini amplifiers. I couldn’t say for certain because I was only relating to what I was told by the UK Shahinian distributor… but surprise - surprise, he is also the Dynavector distributor :grinning:

Yes - the BHK300 amplifiers are bloody heavy and especially so moving four of them in the room - but lifting the Diapason speakers into the listening room was a job and half and not for the faint hearted……….!


Hi Ted.

Thanks for all this info. I apologize if I’m asking redundant questions - I’ve reviewed the thread but perhaps not every word.

I’m very interested in this product. Though I love the DS, I have for a while been thinking about my next move up the DAC ladder (if you’ll forgive the pun).

My issues with the DS are very straightforward:

  • the noise floor is high. Comparisons to competing DACs (most extensively the Mytek Manhattan II) reveal a high noise floor in the DS. This is worse without a preamp (see next issue) but is true even with the BHK Pre in between.
  • direct connection to the active monitors in my system (Focal SM9s with beryllium tweeters and an unforgiving disposition) either exaggerates hiss (with the DS set to High) or slightly dampens dynamics (DS set to Low). As such for me the BHK is required even though I only have one source.
  • sensitivity to digital sources and cables is good but can always be improved of course.
  • lower priority are the screen, which is low-res and low-contrast and unresponsive to touch; the outdated UI; the intermittent cover art feature. Sound quality is far more important than these items but presumably they’ll be fixed or irrelevant in a new product.

I have a BHK Pre, which ameliorates the noise floor somewhat and adds its own ineffable magic (PCC88s are great). However I have (and want) a very simple, digital-only system, so preamp functionality is not needed.

As I look for options, I’ve focused on the new dCS Bartok, which seems ideally suited (with the headphone amp) to replace my DS / BHK stack, as well as the EMM Labs DAC2X (which would require keeping the BHK, and a separate streamer I guess). I have heard and loved the CH Precision dac but it’s more than I would spend. The Mytek Manhattan II (NOT the Brooklyn, as I originally misstated, which I haven’t heard but I’m sure doesn’t keep up with the DS) is a great all-rounder (and very very quiet) but lacks the vibrant inner dynamics and harmonic depth of the (Redcloud at the time) DS.

My questions:

  • you mentioned reducing the noise floor by 3 or 6 dB. …Can we have more? :slight_smile: I feel like this is the one meaningful weakness of the current architecture (or implementation?).
  • will you prioritize ethernet and it’s isolation as an input? This is the interface of the future, I would argue, without the inherent compromises of USB and toslink; and I would love to avoid $1000 CAT6 cables, Fibre media adapters, and all that stuff.
  • how would you characterize your thinking about preamps? Are you voicing the TSS to drive amps directly, or have you accepted the recent PSA consensus that any DAC will sound better with a (very good, ie BHK or better) preamp? As a digital-only listener it would be lovely to drive amps or active analog speakers directly without any compromise in harmonic integrity. For this asking price range I’m hoping I would have to get into completely ludicrous $$ preamps to make an improvement. Specifically, I would want this thing to sound better and quieter without a BHK preamp.
  • just out of curiosity, what is your development / reference system? I think you mentioned once having big Focals at home… Are you voicing this thing on the IRS Vs, Arnie Nudell’s orange prototype, or some newer AN1 prototype?

Thanks again… Looking forward with bated breath.

  • Chris Younkman


I run my Directstream DAC directly into my amplifier driving my moderately efficient speakers 93 db per watt. I have no issue with noise at any level and when I put my ear to the tweeter the noise is no louder than a tube preamp that I have. If Ted uses an output transformer to remove the noise I would guess the TSS would not be much quieter that the Direcstream currently is. There must be some system synergy that causes some to be bothered by the noise and others not to be.


Ted did say earlier in this thread that the noise will be reduced.

“The TSS will have a lower analog noise floor (3 to 6dB) and with a more powerful FPGA I should be able to get the DSD upsampling sigma delta modulator’s noise floor down a little more.“


I believe the noise you hear is the four times DSD that the output transformer filters out to reveal the actual analog output way. This is the actual point of conversion from Digital to Analog in Ted’s DACS. The only way that can improve is if the output transformer he has commissioned has more loss at the highest frequencies. This may be the case.


Yes - there’s no noise issue with the DS. The issue is most likely related to the powered near field monitors with beryllium tweeters. Would think the Mytek is better suited for this “studio - type” application.


Unfortunately, there is an issue with noise in the DS. It is the nature of the beast given its design.

Dropping the noise floor of the DS by 6dB would be an impressive engineering accomplishment, but this only cuts the noise in half. If one hears hissing now with the DS you will still hear noise with the new DAC.

By the way, the SM9s have superb sound.


Greetings from just North of Toronto. Ted doesn’t work for PS Audio, he’s a contractor.

His system link is: https://cgi.audioasylum.com/systems/3367.html

I’m perplexed by several things here. The Mytek Brooklyn is not the Mytek comparable it’s the Manhattan. The Brooklyn is a great Swiss Army type DAC but it is built to a price point. The Mytek Brooklyn lasted a few months in my system. I bought it for the ability to play MQA. Once the MQA novelty passed, I passed on MQA as flawed. You address the excessive “noise” in the DSD, yet most people who have heard my system, swear that it’s the quietest and most revealing Digital system that they have heard. Noise equals lack of details and dynamics. Two of my friends have Dave’s and they only commented about the presentation of the music but not the details. By presentation, they meant different but good. Without doing and A/B, they felt that the details were likely on par. As for a preamp. A good preamp will only make a DAC with shortcomings sound worse, not the opposite. A good preamp isn’t designed as a noise filter. It is designed as an amplifier. Old saying “Garbage in and Garbage out”. Right now one of the said friends with the Dave, has installed the Levinson No. 52 Preamp. Does it sound good? Yup because he has a good DAC.