What would you like in a new PWT?


#1

Over in the DirectStream area there was a question on the future of the PWT. I thought it would be interesting to see what others would like to see IF PS Audio were to redesign the PWT. Keep in mind there are no confirmed plans to do this, but Paul can’t sit still for long! To begin with, here are a couple of things from the recent DirectStream discussion:

Elk suggested:

"The only improvement to the PWT I would like at the moment is a quieter drive. I understand the limitations of available drives however.
Perhaps in the alternative, sufficient on-board memory to hold the entire contents of a Redbook CD, or even of a DVD. The drive could then load the entire contents into memory. While this would not improve performance, it would solve the noisy drive issue. "

St50maint suggested’:

“My biggest problem with the PWT is playing DVDs.
You can not fast forward or reverse scan within a track.
So, if you want to hear the last minute of the first movement of the Mahler 3rd, you have to wait about 32 minutes.
And it is not just Hi Res files, the same happens with 44.1/16 burned to a DVD.”

My suggestion, and it’s not a new one, would be SACD playback. Take it a step further and make it a universal player like the Oppo, BlueRay with memory feature! Video would be nice, but there are BlueRay audio discs available. Also, not sure how well, or even if, the memory feature would work with a universal player, but we’re dreaming here! I would also suggest using an Esoteric VRDS drive. I’ve heard they will sell them, but the cost is probably astronomical compared to other off the shelf drives. The biggest concern with the drive, other than sound quality, is making sure they continue to build it for several years. Nothing like an expensive door stop if the drive can’t be replaced. Not an issue with PWT (yet), so should we mess with success?

Personally, I don’t own a PWT, I have an Arcam universal player (no BlueRay though) that I run the digital out to the PWD. Haven’t really wanted to add another component to my overflowing rack. Hence my desire for a universal player.


#2

In addition to the DVD scanning problem quoted above, there are 2 lingering problems I have noticed with the PWT.

  1. Won’t play CDs flagged with pre-emphasis out the SPDIF.

  2. A paused recording will not always remember where it was. It instead will start from the beginning of the track when resume is attempted.


#3
pmotz said

My suggestion, and it’s not a new one, would be SACD playback.


Unfortunately, this is not possible as Sony prohibits sending DSD in the clear from an SACD.

#4

Elk, you are correct, however I do believe it can be done encrypted. There are a number of transports that can play SACD. Esoteric is the first one to come to mind, but DCS, EMM, and I think MSB also make SACD transports to mate with their respective DSD DAC. I’ve never seen it spelled out in black and white, but I’ve surmised they encrypt the signal so it can only be used only with their respective DAC. Quite honestly though, I think it’s time for Sony to give up on the encryption, they’re selling high resolution files for download. Doesn’t matter if they are DSD or PCM, you’re letting folks have the high quality source to do what they want with it. That was the argument for encryption, right? Heck, they might even revive SACD (well give it a respite anyway) if they let folks get the data stream for their DSD DAC. Come on Sony, give it up!


#5

Yes, it can be sent encrypted. The problem then is the licensing cost, as well as producing a DAC which accepts the encrypted DSD stream and converts it.

The licensing cost is prohibitive for PS Audio.


#6

Transports that deliver DSD on their output must have bi-directional communication, to ensure encryption. Although PS Audio uses HDMI connectors, these connections do not conform to HDMI protocol, requiring significant retooling and circuit modification. Adding bi-directional communication is neither inexpensive nor practical exclusively for SACD. That being said, with a new DSD DAC out in the market, it might be time for PS Audio to re-examine the costs of implementing DSD or SACD output on a $4000 transport. Perhaps even DoP could be implemented via USB 3.0? Not technically purist, but it would extend the usability of this device.

However, if there isn’t a significant change in its capabilities, then why keep the PWT in production? Sure, it’s a fantastic piece of kit, but it’s fairly long in the tooth now and there’s really nothing it does that couldn’t be supplanted by a Mac Mini for 1/5th the price. The excitement in the market is moving more and more towards DSD. Without at least a nod in the direction of DSD, I don’t see how it’s worth keeping this piece alive.


#7

jdog428

" Without at least a nod in the direction of DSD, I don’t see how it’s worth keeping this piece alive."

I tend to agree with you but, of course the sales curve at PSA and the used market prices will be their best barometer. It could indeed be reconfigured as a “player” bet even then it would have to compete with a lot of lesser cost and perhaps more flexible alternatives.

I see a trend back to the simple one box, sans transport, does all [ Sprout concept] that reduces shelves, cables and interface challenges.

Ext PSUs might give it a nice A’phile touch. IOW a 21st century receiver.


#8

I’d be pretty happy if all of the issues identified during beta testing five years ago were finally fixed.

Additionally, it would sure be nice if the unit had:

  • At least a rudimentary programming feature
  • The ability to display and access index points
  • The ability to display CD-TEXT
And yes, it would be great if it could do everything my Oppo does, too. I think it might be easier to add the memory player and I2S features to the Oppo than it would be to add all of the Oppo's features to the PWT.

#9
Peanut Butter said I'd be pretty happy if all of the issues identified during beta testing five years ago were finally fixed.

Additionally, it would sure be nice if the unit had:

  • At least a rudimentary programming feature
  • The ability to display and access index points
  • The ability to display CD-TEXT
And yes, it would be great if it could do everything my Oppo does, too. I think it might be easier to add the memory player and I2S features to the Oppo than it would be to add all of the Oppo's features to the PWT.
Can you list the issues identified during beta testing five years ago? I don't have access to that list.

Dennis


#10

I also have not seen the “problem” list. This would be interesting.

What “rudimentary programming” would you like?


#11
Elk said

What “rudimentary programming” would you like?


My other transport can be programmed to play individual tracks in any order and not play certain tracks at all.
Then, at any time in the future, when that disc is inserted again the tracks are played in that same order.

Not that important but it comes in handy occasionally.


#12

Combine the concept of external bridge v2 with the current concept of PWT. The internal “player/processor” would be similar. Keep the current digital outputs. The DVD transport could be just another form of delivering audio files to the device, along with USB drives and SD cards. Call it a “universal transport”.


#13
st50maint said

My other transport can be programmed to play individual tracks in any order and not play certain tracks at all.
Then, at any time in the future, when that disc is inserted again the tracks are played in that same order


Very cute. I would never use it, but can see some might.

#14
Dennis Kerrisk said
Can you list the issues identified during beta testing five years ago? I don't have access to that list.

Dennis


The network connection times out when downloading the track list and artwork even when there is nothing wrong. The track list loads, the artwork doesn’t. Reload the disc and suddenly the artwork is found. At very least, provide a “rescan” button that forces the unit to requery the database without reloading the disc. Better yet, automatically requery if there is an error after lengthening the timeout.

Long track time displays are truncated.

Track lists are often wrong and discs are misidentified. Newer albums are seldom found. Use a different, actively maintained database.

Long track names are truncated. Reorganize display to provide more room or provide different display skins to allow the user to select what he or she wants to see.

Characters such as umlauts are not properly displayed. Expand the display character set.

You cannot restore a dimmed display without using the front panel power button.

No total disc time display.

Further suggestions:

Change the color of the repeat button based on current setting. It is very difficult to tell from more than a few feet away if the setting is no repeat, song repeat, or album repeat.

Expand the track selection list and provide track times.

Allow the time elapsed / time remaining display to show total disc time elapsed / remaining, if desired.


#15
Elk said
st50maint said My other transport can be programmed to play individual tracks in any order and not play certain tracks at all. Then, at any time in the future, when that disc is inserted again the tracks are played in that same order

Very cute. I would never use it, but can see some might.


I’d use it often.

#16
Peanut Butter said
Dennis Kerrisk said Can you list the issues identified during beta testing five years ago? I don't have access to that list. Dennis
You cannot restore a dimmed display without using the front panel power button.
Pressing ON on the remote works here.

#17

These days I rarely use my PWT. Before the Bridge came on the market I was a little disappointed that I could not program the PWT to play selections in any order from a single disk and repeat them. No big deal now. With the Bridge and JRMC I can do all that stuff. The PWT sure does look good in my rack!wink


#18
Peanut Butter said

I’d use it often.


I suspect our different reactions are because I listen primarily to classical and I bet you listen primarily to pop. :)

#19
rossop said

These days I rarely use my PWT. Before the Bridge came on the market I was a little disappointed that I could not program the PWT to play selections in any order from a single disk and repeat them. No big deal now. With the Bridge and JRMC I can do all that stuff.

While I was still using the PWD Mk.II, the PWT was the better source compared to the Bridge. With the DS the difference is...if there is a difference I can't notice it. I may be going to the Bridge as my primary source now, unless of course I want gapless playback for some selections.

#20

@Paul

I want to see a PS Audio product that is a combined CD ripper (w/built-in automatic ripping SW ala dBPowerAmp) and storage option (internally or externally connected NAS/USB drive). It could also be used as a transport like the PWT.

It could connect to your music library via network based on OH standard and serve native 2xDSD and DXD (not DoP only) to the DS DAC via I2s. It may run on Linux OS or proprietary PSA.

Also it will serve the new Bridge II (internal and external version).

I guess I am looking for a specialized poor man’s server like the W4s, only stripped/limited for music server features (custom made).

Will we see something like this in the conceivable future (maybe even outsource the box or liaise with Jesus at Sonore)?