TSS Two Chassis Super DAC


It’s a race between who arrives first. The new Grandioso D1X or TSS.

I have a preference for unifying with the one brand for the electronics. At the moment I have DMP and Esoteric. I’d like that to change. DMP + TSS would be nice. Gradioso D1X + P1 might be nicer, but at 5+ times the price (I say “nicer” because of weaknesses in the DMP, I don’t expect there to be weaknesses in TSS). The indeterminate is whether nicer is worth paying the premium. Wait and see as neither TSS or D1X are available yet.


The Esoteric is a combination of wonderful music making ability and stunning aesthetics … I was blown-away with their sound. But, I would have to hear them side by side before committing to either ! And, as you said, 5 times the price…! And, you won’t get Ted with the Esoteric DACs !!

I have no dissatisfaction what-so-ever with the music making abilities of P S Audio equipment. I really rate the sound of P S Audio equipment. I do like Paul. I have no axe to grind with Paul. It is just that frustration boils over me when I get all the shit, when all I want to do is to play music, and forget that the boxes are in the room!

It is just this ongoing flakiness of the DMP that rattles my cage - which makes me a malcontent. Saying that, the DMP hasn’t missed a beat since loading 3.10 - sounding marvellous – early day(s) with fingers and toes crossed… I had/still have problems with my PWT ( arrived brand-new and broken – been looked at/investigated a few times by a few people, given a clean bill of health each time, only to arrive back the same ), I have only bought two P S Audio Transports and both have been lemons - hence incurs rancour from me which makes me unsure and nervous to spend big on more new kit.

But, I would find it difficult to pass on the TSS … Ted is * special * and from that aspect I wouldn’t hesitate for a nanosecond. It is just all the problems I’ve had/have with P S Audio equipment that will make me hold-fire until the TSS has been reported on the forum… If I hadn’t had any trouble, or just a few minor things, I wouldn’t hesitate and I would buy the TSS on spec alone simply down to Ted and his fairy dust.

Have to take the dog for a walk now so that both of us can get some fresh air.


My sentiments also, exactly. Except, if they were to send me one to try I would try it without needing to hold-fire.

What would kill the TSS for me is the DMP, because I want to exist in a singular ecosystem and you just can’t put up a flakey DMP against an Esoteric (which is $35K MSRP - and an eye watering $43K in the UK market).

p.s. The Esoteric P1 disc spinner weighs 51kg…not shipping weight, that’s installed weight. Stunning build quality. And it worked flawlessly from the day the first one shipped from the Esoteric factory. DMP has been out for 2 years and it still doesn’t work properly.


I find intriguing the Grandioso D1 Monoblock DAC. I enjoy the concept and the care Esoteric put into its design and construction is extraordinary, with a commensurate price.


Something to think about, Paul, Ted, et al… as you design this new super unit…:

Do you really want to be in the IT software business? Not the FPGA DAC stuff, I mean the touch screen, bridge, album art and all of that, frankly, useless stuff. (For the bridge, I am sure you can source some outboard box no?). Look at the grief you cause yourselves, and bad press for all of these bugs. No, I am not bashing you, but just pointing out something you know all to well: this is tough to do right and requires a whole different set of business process disciplines … and I am not including the engineering skills here.

And BTW, these business process disciplines add nothing to the sound.

Bruce in Philly


Totally agree


D1X is coming, and they have dispensed with AKM DAC chips. They’ve designed their own DAC chip. Available January 2019.


They’ve tried outsourcing software before (eLyric) and got burned by the experience. They want the capability to do all of it in-house and avoid history repeating itself.


My career is advising business on IT strategy, achieving IT value, and improving IT processes… a common issue is to blame the contractor/outsourcer/supplier… Having something inhouse vs outhouse (joke!) is absolutely no difference. It is always your own responsibility to ensure quality and that entails tight, thoughtful, and disciplined processes. You can’t contract that out. BTW, testing and acceptance is always chopped short when timelines are crushed… pay now or pay later…

When I am hired by the business side, usually the CFO or COO, I always get what I named “The Call”. The CFO or COO wants to chat about handing off these “low value”, “non-core processes”, to a “professional” organization. Ha! Yes, you can and it can be a great strategy, but they always think they can cut off a chunk, and just subtract that out… wrong… always so wrong.

Again, I am not bashing you guys… but this is a tough enough business just making great sounding products in a crazy changing market… you may want to reduce business complexity. Just my thoughts.

Bruce in Philly


I’ll take exception to that: when everything is in my control I never have to wait for other people’s schedules. Getting bugs fixed in a timely manner is almost always different inhouse and outhouse. The turn around time for all phases of design, implementation, … bug fixes is much longer when multiple parties involved are in different timezones, etc. or when one or more party only works 9 - 5 :slight_smile:

No matter how you slice it an outhouse company won’t have the same priorities on work items as inhouse and if you are contracting to provide a service to multiple companies, it’s very inefficient to keep task swapping at the whim of those companies.


I agree completely Ted, what I am saying, is that testing and accepting complex, interrelated system components is the same… you gotta be thorough. Maybe it is better inhouse when small teams or individuals can control it end-to-end. But my point, is the process of thorough testing and accepting has to be done no matter.

Bruce in Philly


Thanks and I appreciate you watching our backs. I have always believed streaming, connectivity, and the like are the core of a modern DAC and what one needs to be. When you suggest we can simply source some outboard box, I know you mean well, but that’s not really interesting to us. Indeed, we’ve struggled to get some of these things right and that’s certainly what happens when you’re on the cutting edge. But, it’s a place I believe we need to be.


I see it the same as you and Ted. Internal would be better (Same technical and process know how assumed). I think the learning curve is, reliable and well tested SW product development as business expansion takes more money and effort than one would hope for (and the earlier the better to not loose reputation). For sure its different to rather conventional engineering with little SW works.


The irony is that Ted’s work is making that less true than it used to be. He’s getting us towards “bits are bits” by truly isolating the D-to-A conversion from any electrical noise or external clock dependencies. I would honestly prefer a TSS “digital” box that was as simple as possible because there are so many options for streaming and playback control in the market already, and like Bruce I’m not confident in a small company like PS Audio being able to successfully build and maintain what is in effect a competitor for Roon and iTunes and Audirvana and JRiver and Foobar and HQPlayer and Sonos and so on.

I’m running a DS Sr without a bridge, and for music I’m mostly feeding it from Roon via an old SqueezeBox Touch. There are only 2 things that I feel I’m missing out on: full MQA decode, and the ability to adjust the FPGA volume from an app. Those are the only 2 fancy features I’d ask PS Audio to built in to the TSS. MQA decode is just something you put in between the input selection and the optical transfer to the analog box. And the best place to expose external volume control is not via a network interface but via USB – mapping the standard hardware DAC volume command set through to the FPGA.

There are a bunch of great digital streamers in the market already, like the Auralic Aries G1 and others. Or any Roon Bridge with a USB output. I find it hard to imagine PS Audio bringing a compelling new entrant, especially if it it can only be fully appreciated using PS Audio DACs. (If you’re aiming higher and want to be the next Roon, well that’s a different conversation and I would cheer you on.)

So my ideal TSS digital box would make USB its most sophisticated input and this could potentially be the path for firmware updates also. Add an I2S input or two, an XLR, and please… TWO SPDIF/Toslink COMBO inputs. No need for a network connection. Save the cost and headaches involved in trying to reinvent the streaming wheel when the main reason for doing so (sound quality) has been taken care of by Ted with a revolutionary DAC architecture.

Just my two… well maybe ten… cents. :slight_smile:


Like B.I.P, my comments aren’t directed to the FPGA coding, which I consider part of the basic function of the DAC. But with all due respect to Paul and PS Audio - and I’ve said it before - the software biz represents a separate and different core competency than designing great sounding audio electronics. IMHO, a decision to integrate software-related features is not an “add-on” feature but tantamount to entering a new line of business. It’s a tough row to hoe, and I wish them success.

But, whether they like it or not, the customers are unwillingly dragged along for a ride on the learning curve. I have seen no complaints about SQ on these forums - only gripes that are software and IT services related (i.e. GlobalNet and Power Play).

Just sayin’


While I’m with dvorak in terms of the library SW, I’m with Paul in terms of the connection of DAC and streaming/connectivity. I’m one of those who want as few boxes as possible with the most flexibility and best sound achievable in this configuration. The DS + Bridge II was/is just that.


FWIW the guts of the DS, DS Jr and TSS run pretty much independently of the UI. In the TSS I debug without a display processor at all. With the automatic input select option in some setups there won’t be any need for a UI. On the other hand for those that want network connections, etc. the UI is valuable. Not that it’s ideal but it’s almost the compromise that makes sense between simple DAC and feature full DAC.


Any possibility of exposing the TSS FPGA volume setting via the USB Audio Device protocol? That would be really great.


I don’t mind multiple boxes if the ultimate result is a better product. For me, modular design makes it more attractive. eg CH Precision or MSB and a few others. Build a core unit in a single box that works well in and of itself, and option it up with other internal and external boxes to bring both new features and performance improvements. Eg MSB you can buy a basic single box DAC. You have the option to attach it to one or two external power supplies to bring improvement. You also have options to upgrade the internal clock, add different I/O modules, and the like. And if you option it all the way your investment goes north of $100K.

Customers can get a leg-in at a lower price point knowing their product won’t soon become redundant, and add other boxes to the equation later as their means dictate.

From what I understand Ted isn’t giving us such options with TSS. Which is OK, because he’s explained why an external clock and external power supplies etc aren’t required with his design. And his design will benefit from having 2 separate boxes, being the digital box and the analog box. Other manufacturers do different things for their own reasons and that’s fine also. Like dCS and Esoteric doing multiple box stacks with separate boxes each with their own purpose whether base unit, clock unit, power supply unit, etc.

All of them are different flavors of goodness. People choose one or the other for various nefarious reasons. But at this end of the high-end game, dysfunction will mean death. And we’re not anticipating anything of the sort because Ted’s name is on the box.


(Almost) That was accidentally a feature of the first few DS software releases. There was “example” mixing code in the initial USB drivers that some MAC software inadvertently accessed which could change the volume mysteriously. It was mentioned in an early review.

In principle, yes, we could modify the USB code to sent the volume controls on to the FPGA. I haven’t looked at it but I’m not sure that there’s a universally agreed upon USB audio volume control protocol that, say, JRiver, foobar2000, etc could naturally access.