Where has the DirectStream Jnr gone?

Hello Everyone,

I’ve been a very happy DS Jnr owner for about 5 years now (I think) but recent reading into R2R ladder DAC’s & the use of DDC’s to better clock DAC’s I’m now starting to get the upgrade bug!

So…I was about to do some research on the DS Jnr & to my surprise it’s not on the PS Audio website…nor is there much info on the Bridge II…it’s even removed from the DirectStream Snr’s webpage??

I was thinking about maybe introducing a DDC like the Gustard U18 to my set up, i.e. Innous Zen Mini USB > Gustard U18 > I2S > DS Jnr but the fact that most info on the Bridge II has been removed from the site & the DS Jnr, worries me & makes me think maybe I change the DAC?

Gustard U18

Am i being silly, especially if using the Gustard as I would then not use the Bridge to stream or have DAC performance moved on & hence the reason the Jnr seems to have been discontinued?

Cheers all
Matt

Matt, due to their design, an external clock is not necessary on Ted’s DACs. The Jr. is still a great DAC. If you want to convert to i2s, the Matrix SPDIF is a popular choice, though it typically results in cable and power supply upgraditis (all audible) such that it is not a cheap venture.

I’ve been a very happy Jr. user for several years. When I got the upgrade bug a couple of years ago, I was able to successfully scratch it with an EtherRegen from UpTone Audio. Coupled with a good power supply, the sound quality of the Bridge was much improved and left me very pleased.

Looking forward to the upcoming Octave streamer, which I think will again take the Jr. to the next level.

I love this DAC. It has really long legs.

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Thanks Guys,

I don’t wish to change for change sakes…I’ve done this too much in the past & I’m still enjoying the sound quality for my Jnr…just interested whether I can further improve the sound via a DCC of some kind in bwteen my streamer & ROON Core & my DAC.

Be it the Matrix SPDIF or the Gustard U18 or I’ve also been suggested to look at the Mano from Magna I don’t really mind as long as I’m confident it will improve my SQ.

Mano from Magna

Or the Audio-GD D120HE

I’m starting to find some posts on StereoNet in Australia & on Audiophile Style forums but only a few using either the Snr or Jnr DS DAC.

I’m very happy with my Junior, but if the upgrade bug bites me, the Benchmark DAC3 would be on the top of my list. I just happen to be enjoying so much Sunlight.

HI Badbeef,

Can you please further explain why an external clock isn’t necessary with the DirectStream Snr or Jnr and is the same for all inputs or just the internal bridge?

I tried to read the specs on the DS Jnr bit couldn’t find it as it’s no longer for sale…admittedly, I didn’t look for long.

I’m trying to work out what type of DDC should/will help to improve SQ…most on this forum appear to be using the matrix x-spdif 2 but comparing this unit to the new Gustard U18, the Gustard appears to have newer components & the ability to connect an external 10 Mhz clock…hence the question about the use of clock with the DS Jnr.

Cheers
Matt

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The DS already has a clock that has no more jitter (and probably less phase noise (which is the real culprit)) that any of the devices you mention. The DS doesn’t look at the clock edges of any of the inputs so jitter on those inputs doesn’t show up in the output. Instead, the DS samples the inputs with a very high frequency clock (225.792MHz) and uses pattern recognition to see data values changing. Incoming clocks are just more data values changing as far as the pattern recognizer is concerned. That means the DS locks on almost anything and input jitter is a non-issue.

There are indeed differences with differing processing DDCs in front of the DS, but those differences come from differences in noise in your system caused by the DCCs, cables, power interactions, etc. Paying for a better clock isn’t as cost effective as paying for better galvanic isolation, better grounding, etc.

FWIW A 10Mhz clock can only make things worse as far as the jitter difference into the DS (they require another conversion with a PLL or equivalent to get to a clock usable for audio.) It is the case that most quality 10MHz clocks are built well so they can generate less noise in the system than simpler clocks, but the difference with the DS isn’t from a better/more accurate/lower jitter clock, it’s from the lower conducted and RFI noise of a quality product.

Basically, you can’t just go on specs or features, some of the DCCs that people have used in the past made the sound quality worse with the DS (probably not any that you are considering.)

You can’t go wrong with the Matrix but trying other things out is fine and can be fun. But shopping for isolation will get more milage than shopping just for an excellent clock.

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Hello TedSmith,

Many thanks for taking the time to educate me…to be fair, I was kinda thinking the same as I do remember when I bought the DS Jnr reading about how the DS handles the input signals so it make sense that for the DS, having an external clock nay actually make things worse. I’m assuming this is true for all inputs?

So maybe I’ll focus more on isolation, reducing noise, grounding etc…this brings back into consideration the matrix x-spdif 2 although looking at the spec’s, the Gustard U18 is doing the same things?

Once again, many thanks for taking the time to explain this to me.

Cheers
Matt

Yes, all inputs have the same jitter rejection, the FPGA only knows about two kinds of inputs S/PDIF like one wire inputs and I2S inputs. USB and the bridge go to the FPGA via I2S.

I can’t speak to how well the Gustard U18 sounds. The Matrix is a solid product and the Gustard looks like it could be too. They seem to have similar function. I don’t think the Matrix does DSD512, but the DS doesn’t either.

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The thing the struck me about the Gustard is that you have a 10MHz clock input you don’t need. It has a synthesizer chip that will take a 10MHz clock input signal and translate to the various audio frequencies, but the 10MHz external clock box you would need for that ain’t cheap. And you don’t need it with the Jr. in any case. No idea what that capability adds to the cost of the Gustard, or if it is otherwise a good sounding device.

I can speak to the Gustard U18 with having one now for 2 months and a couple of hundred hours on it. It is being fed from mostly Roon with everything upsampled/converted to DSD512 then into a Gustard X26pro DAC with a few hundred hours on it. The X26pro BTW is a simply phenomenal DAC for the price point is it at. A friend of mine with a Nuwave DSD heard my X26pro and then ordered one right in front of me. The U18 takes it to another level. Plain and simple. I like that I can take advantage of the X26pro’s I²S input using an Audioquest Carbon HDMI cable out of the U18. I had the Gustard U16 DDC but the U18 results in a much improved sound and listening experience over the X26pro + U16 combination. What the external clock input provides is supposedly better timing and less jitter. I am on another forum and one of the users says using a good master clock improved his U18 and DAC pairing even further. To be honest, I am so utterly satisfied with X26pro + U18 combo as is with their K2 clocks, I find it would be very hard to cost justify a master clock. There are other DDC’s out there but I’ll be damned if any can beat the U18 at the price it is selling for. Anyone considering a DDC should give the U18 serious consideration. Believe me, if I didn’t think it was worth it I would have sent it right back. But right out of the box I was saying ‘wow’ what a difference over the U16. And it only has gotten sweeter sounding with more hours on it. My first DAC I bought a year ago was a PS A DL III with a Cullen stage 4 upgrade which was pretty damn good to me but the X26pro with the U18 is so far beyond that upgraded DL III it’s hard to put into words. All I can say is that anyone jumping on a U18 will be happy they did. I sure am. You’ll have no regrets just more smiles and more wow’s! It’s a keeper!

Thanks for sharing your experience @highfive99

Reading comments from @tedsmith & @badbeef, I don’t think I’ll need to use an external clock as it doesn’t sound like it will improve the signal, in fact it could degrade it but having that functionality in the U18 if I do decide to move the DS Jnr on down the track could be handy, especially as it’s about the same money as the Matrix