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We Love to Listen

22nd July 2015 -

PS Audio DirectStream DSD DAC. HiFi News Review.

- Author:

PS Audio’s new flagship DAC represents a new paradigm in audio according to its designers, as it converts incoming PCM data to DSD. Might this be hi-fi ’s Holy Grail?

As someone who has always considered Sony’s claims regarding the ‘superiority’ of DSD over hi-res PCM somewhat disingenuous, I have to say I was blown away by the sound of the DirectStream when listening to recordings actually recorded in DSD. Indeed, when listening to files downloaded from Channel Classics I witnessed the best sound quality I’ve ever heard from these DSD recordings. With other DoP-ready DACs I’ve heard in my system, I’ve been  underwhelmed by them, finding their sound rather too soft and lacking transient ‘snap’, with subjectively blunted dynamics. I actually thought the sound better – more vibrant and lifelike – when the recordings had been converted to 96kHz or (even better) 192kHz/24-bit PCM fi les. But this was not the case with the DirectStream.

As I continued to explore my music collection, enjoying the DAC’s uncommon civility even with ‘tortracks’, I found myself concluding it might well be manna from hi-fi heaven for many analogue lovers who find digital audio ‘sterile’.