I recently purchased a used Directstream DAC. My last DAC was a Schiit Yiggy. I expected an audible difference, after all its more than twice the price. in reading some Youtube reviews while I awaited delivery, I stumbled upon a couple of negative reviews of the Directstream. Needless to say I was second guessing my purchase, but hopeful the reviews were inaccurate and possibly biased.
My Directstream arrived, I got it all set up and let it idle in the on position for a couple of hours, before any critical listening. My setup- Synology 720DS-Uptone Audio EtherRegen-Auralic Aries 2.1(network player/streamer)–PS Audio Directstream—Digital connection from the Auralic to the Direcstream is–Audience FrontRow Digital cable aes/ebu XLR----Pass Labs XP 22 pre—pass labs 250.8 amp—Martin Logan Montis Electrostatics.
My impression of the Directstream- I’m actually stunned. I never imagined it would sound this good. One of the negative reviews I read they did say that the Direcstream was very musical but too laid back. I agree the Directstream is very musical and engaging, but its far from laid back. The instrument/voice separation is amazing. Its extremely dynamic, guitar plucks just float in the air. The noise floor is almost non existent. The sound stage is huge and deep. Also I was struck by how incredible the bass tracks are, so deep and tight.
Count me in as a happy PS Audio customer. This is my second PS Audio component. i also own the P-10 Regenerator that I also love.
Thanks for reading.
Nice system, and btw I’d suggest confirming the firmware is current with Sunlight installed.
Visit the Modding the DS DAC and work some of those in and you will be even further satisfied. Unless you were fortunate to get an already modified unit.
My experience as well…reveals so much more of what is captured on recordings.
Welcome to the club.
If you bought a DSD Sr. brand new, just wait ~50hrs after break-in. Big improvement in sound quality, then again 100 hours later though less of a jump.
It pairs very well with Pass Amps. Ditch the preamp you might like it better.
Pretty much my thoughts after going from PerfectWave to DirectStream. Congrats!
After more critical listening…I’m struck by how out front and how textured vocals are…its amazing.
Also the detail lows/mids/highs…are incredibly detailed.
I’m so happy with this purchase.
If you have half-way decent/revealing speakers, you should continue to discover new details in your favorite recordings that you did not know were there.
I have actually come to appreciate some recordings’ and artists’ musicality and musicianship even more because I can more fully appreciate the details and effort that went into arrangements that simply were not recognized prior to having a more capable DAC, such as the PSA DS Sr.
I think it is a remarkable achievement for the MSRP and an absolute steal on the used market. While they will likely be out of reach of my budget for quite some time, it will be interesting to see what Ted is able to improve upon with the pending DS Sr. MKII and TSS (Ted Smith Signature) DACs.
If you have access to Sarah McLachlan’s “Fallen” from the album, Afterglow, listen carefully to the first 10 to 15 seconds. The DS Sr. allows for near 180 degrees envelopment of a sound stage that attempts to wrap around you in the listening position. The width and depth of the sound stage that the DS Sr. throws on this recording in my system is pretty remarkable.
The Directstream just keeps getting better. I’ve had this for 10 days or so…I’m just stunned at the detail this puts out. Its also so musical…Its fun to listen to all my recordings. The biggest jump for me has been the bottom end. So much lower tight detail. Its almost as if its brought out another dimension of my Pass Labs 250.8’s personality. I never expected this result…Now I need the perfect power cord to match up with this beast. Very happy PS Audio Camper…
DirectStream: “Oh @Elk, you devil!”
That one was good for a early morning chuckle!!
The Pass Labs X-series .5 and .8 amps mate wonderfully with the DSD. I’ve used the DSD with the Pass Labs Aleph and the X-series. If you are using a preamp, experiment by removing it from the signal chain and direct plug the DSD to the amp. There is plenty of gain and many prefer the sound.
Also ditch the notion of a power cord or what some call the “1 meter miracle”. Too many people have old $.97 outlets in their house which are tired. The oversized prongs of a hifi cable help fix that.
Before buying a power cable:
- Install a hospital grade outlet. They cost under $20 or the PS Audio branded unit for $49 which is excellent.
- Depending on physical use, power cords decay. A quality high gauge IEC cable is $25 or less. No need to spend more than $100. Call Pass Labs and order a replacement power cord for your amp and use it for the DSD.
- Last buy a PS Audio Power Regenerator. The darn thing seriously works and cleans power for all the gear in the signal chain.
Always a cringe moment when I read about someone buying a $1400 power cable before investing in the above.
I have dedicated ac lines feeding my whole audio system. They are directly from my panel/no wirenuts anywhere. Into Porter Port hospital grade "cryo’d) outlets. I have a P10 that feeds all of my source components and my pre amp. The amp is plugged directly into the wall fed by another dedicated ac line.
So I do subscribe to your suggestions, but I also subscribe to matching up compatible power cords to my gear also.
I’m not in a hurry to ditch my pre amp. I have a Pass XP 22 that I like a lot. It matches well with the 250.8.
Two words: Get Edcor. With Edcor my DS beat out the Holo KTE in my system. My brother’s DS without Edcor wasn’t as good as the Holo. Edcor mod made quite a difference in my system, it made the DS sound like a different DAC!
Edcor 4400’s DSD Mod - instructions? Source?
Also Audio Magic Ultimate Premier fuse is very helpful. Or maybe SR Purple fuse is nice.
Also do external power supply for analog board in the DS and add RF and EMI absorption to all components Ted Recommends. The DAC then punches way higher in performance with a very low noise floor. Too bad its firmware upgrades are maxxed out i am hoping to skip MII and the TSS wil be available in 12 to 18 months. The mods really make the DS performance at a levels one wonders if upgrades a further are beneficial.