PS Audio DirectStream DAC is awarded Product of the Year by Absolute Sound and Stereophile.
The PS Audio DirectStream DAC provides impeccable, detailed conversion that reveals all the missing data that’s usually hidden in your media files. High-resolution DSD or PCM files, other downloads, or CDs are skilfully upsampled to 10x DSD rate and output as analog directly into your amp or preamp. Standard PCM based tend to conceal the faint details hidden in digital audio music.
PS Audio’s solution is to utilize a pure DSD single-bit path for both DSD and PCM audio files. This unique process allows you to hear the tiny details of your audio library the way audio was intended to be heard. Liken the experience to visiting a recording studio and playing a master tape of your favorite artist’s recording. DirectStream was created for those audiophiles who enjoy the ‘discovery’ aspect that comes with listening to raw music files.
Just released! PS Audio announced its launch of the updated operating system, Huron. The new OS is equipped with MQA, Tidal and an optional Bridge II.
In the Beginning… There Was Sound
Before everything was converted to digital, music was reproduced on either tape decks and analog turntables. Although those mediums remained pure in their listening experience, the audio community desired greater range and a longer frequency response. The creation of the CD proved to be a flop in the world of audio. It offered greater convenience of listening; however, it’s format covered up the finner details previously enjoyed in the older audio formats. The answer to unfettered sound is DSD.
The issue with PCM is it’s decoding process. Fortunately, the hidden audio nuances are still present they are simply waiting to be uncovered by the PS Audio DirectStream DAC. To draw out those details, a new process was created. Pure DSD is the answer to those issues.
It is simple, put DSD into PS Audio DirectStream DAC and out comes DSD. Put PCM (CD recording method) into DirectStream DAC and out comes DSD. DirectStream DSD DAC can convert all digital inputs in a simple pathway. Some believe DSD is merely a fad; however, DSD may completely replace PCM audio decoders.
PCM has a lower sample rate while DSD has a high sample rate. In fact, DSD sample rates are 64 times higher rates used to make CDs. Additionally, a DSD stream can be placed through a simple filter to create analog ready to feed your audio setup. While PCM is capable of producing great sounding music, it requires a complex and technical conversion process to produce a format you can play on your setup. PS Audio’s solution is a simple path to create an ideal sounding experience. The secret is in its simplicity.
The Conversion Process: PCM to DSD
While converting PCM to DSD can be an easy process given the proper computer program. Doing so properly and in a way that uncovers the authentic details of raw audio is an enormous challenge. The DirectStream DAC utilizes 66-bit fixed-point FIR filters, eliminates headroom issues common with PCM, flattens noise response in the 20-100kHz range, and uses coefficients optimized for premium sound rather than processing speed. Unlike other processors on the market, the PS Audio DirectStream unifies all inputs (DSD or PCM) at 20 x DSD, then uses a real single-bit double-rate DSD core engine. True DSD core engine design offers significant advantages in their simplicity, linearity, and in analog-like overload characteristics that allow it to pull out the tiny details.
Pure 100% single bit DSD based D to A Converter
Many DACs on the market come with lackluster chips which simplify the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, those chips do not always provide the best audio quality. DirectStream DSD DAC takes DSD or PCM, upsamples the data and converts it to single-bit DSD and then outputs crystal audio regardless of data input format.
Purely Passive Output Stage
DirectStream DAC takes a unique approach to amplify and drive it’s output. It employs a passive approach. The DirectStream DAC engages high-speed class A video amps for it’s double DSD output that feeds the high-performance passive output transformer. The transformer acts as both the galvanic isolation between the DAC and its surroundings necessary to deliver a low noise signal. Listening to PS Audio DirectStream DAC is never a harsh or glaring experience that is found in many products on the market.
Perfect Balance & Volume
Designers perfected volume and balance control that is built into DirectStream. Listeners can control the output level when feeding directly into a power or preamp. Bit-perfect volume control means there is no loss of resolution at volume setting. This feature unique amongst most DACS available today.
Direct Signal Path and Only One Master Clock
Most high-end DACs employ more than one master clock. For example, there are separate clocks for USB, Audio, and others, which is problematic when it’s time to synchronize the clocks. DirectStream DAC eliminates that problem by basing its entire design on a single premium quality master click. Created by Crystek, DirectStream’s clock is a low phase noise, low jitter clock. This innovative approach eliminates the synchronization problem, reduces jitter and greatly improves audio clarity.
All Sources are Created Equal
Sources have always greatly impacted sound quality with DACS. Computers, CD players, transports, computers, and cables all have an impact on performance DAC performance. PS Audio has reduced this problem with DirectStream DAC. Sources from nearly every quality rance will almost sound identical. Sources and cables still affect output sound; however, the difference is greatly reduced to subtle background noise.
PS Audio DirectStream DAC can match up to either a home network or computer. If the listener desires a network connection, there’s is the optional Network Bridge available. It slides into the rear panel of DirectStream and adds an extra input. Listeners may also connect directly to your computer through a USB. USB communication offers every sound quality advantage of a dedicated CD transport or Network Bridge.
DirectStream DAC is equipped with a fully synchronous 24-bit 192kHz path for USB based audio. Employing high-quality USB cable between DirectStream and your computer provides an instant media server that may be controlled with handheld devices such as an iPhone, iPod, iPad or Android (3d party controller program required). DirectStream DAC owners can manage music with iTunes, Bit Perfect, Ammara, or Pure Music.
Another useful feature on DirectStream is the polarity (phase) control. This option is available via touch screen or remote and lets users select normal or inverted phase for every input and for each performance. Music and sources do not have an absolute polarity standard. To fix the phase problem, users can assign each input on DirectStream to switch to the proper polarity when the input is activated. This is the same as reversing loudspeaker connections from ‘minus’ to ‘plus.’ While all live acoustic music is in absolute phase some recording might have accidentally be inverted and should sound more realistic when corrected with the phase switch.
Play Directly into Preamp or Power Amp
Listeners can play directly into either your preamplifier or power amplifier. You can also match amp sensitivity to loudspeaker sensitivity in DirectSctream DAC’s setup menu. If decide to utilize a preamplifier, you may set DirectStream at maximum level (or any level you wish) to match the preamp’s gain. If you want to eliminate the extra electronics from a preamplifier, PS Audio DirectStream DAC is capable of driving the power amplifier directly. DirectStream has a unique zero-loss volume control that maintains full resolution bit-perfect performance at any volume setting.
- Pure 100% DSD based D to A Converter
- Fully upgradable through software releases
- Resolution perfect volume and balance controls built in
- Upsamples PCM and DSD to 10x DSD rate
- DXD support
- Purely passive transformer coupled output
- Improves imaging and soundstage
- Simple, direct signal path with one master clock
- Hand written filters, processors and upsamplers
- Immune to incoming jitter problems from different sources
- Increased digital headroom
- No off-the-shelf IC DAC chips used
- Uncovers musical details masked by typical PCM based processors
- 7 digital inputs
- Fully balanced from input to output
- Color touch screen
DirectStream shown with optional Network Bridge installed. The network Bridge provides local network access to NAS, and most network UPnP applications.