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Review and Measurements of PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream DAC

Timbo2

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Exactly, that's how it was for me after almost 40 years of wrestling with all the physical, technical, and convenience issues with vinyl. To this day I still can't understand the fad of vinyl resurgence. BLAH.. LOL
I know we've discussed this before, but I'm convinced part of it that vinyl doesn't play suffer from the "loudness wars" the way CD and streaming does. People hear actual dynamic range on vinyl or less compression and attribute it to the media and not the mastering.
 

Shadrach

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Why can’t people understand engineering quality performance is not a synonym for audibility quality performance to not conflate the two and be more precise in what they say?

Ok, I am ducking out before rotten eggs and tomatoes head my way. :)
It is though.
There are studies that show that equipment that measures well is preferred to equipment that doesn't. You seem to be mixing up preference with quality. Don't do that. It will make you look a fool.
So my question is; why do people come on this forum and write paragraph after paragraph of seemingly intellectual discussion when they haven't investigated the evidence currently available?
 

SIY

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Shadrach

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While I appreciate what you are saying, I think people should be free to spend what they want on their audio gear. Clearly the PS Audio DS DAC looks a lot fancier than $100 DACs we test and that pride of ownership has value for people.

The reason we are discussing measurements is because despite all the talk otherwise, measurements do matter and the fact that the DS DAC can't even resolve CD audio, is a concern for people. The company is fighting back with basically trying to cloud the issue that my measurements are either wrong or not applicable. So I provide more and more evidence to show that no matter who has independently tested the unit, it has the same dreadful performance. If I don't respond, people who are not technical and don't understand the measurements, will believe the FUD about the work we do. That may be fine but I like to see change in the industry to better design products and this, won't happen if it is not clear to people what is going on here.
Yes but....
Pride of ownership. I wouldn't be proud of owning something that just looked the part. This is one of the problems with this dac.
If spent six grand on a dac I would want six grands worth of performance.
I could be wrong but I can't see the high end industry paying the slightest bit of attention to the measurements made on ASR. They don't need to. Their sales are not based on rational buying criteria, or on a products performance more often than not it seems.
It seems to me that this is rather like trying to preach atheism to religious fundamentalists. You can provide all the evidence you can muster and they will not move from I believe.
 

solderdude

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People hear actual dynamic range on vinyl or less compression
I have often wondered about the term 'dynamic range'. It could well be that technical dynamic range differs from the term 'dynamic range' as used by non technical people.

For instance most music is compressed in some way or another. The reason is that when music is played live the SPL is usually much higher than when reproduced in the home. In order to make 'soft' signals (that would be audible in a live performance) won't be heard in a reproduction.
So in an electrical sense the dynamics are being compressed so that us, the casual listener, is treated with pretty much everything that was recorded in the studio but when reproduced at lower peak levels.
The more 'small nuances' we can hear at 'normal listening room levels' the more technical compression has been applied and the more 'dynamic' it sounds to most (as they hear decay and soft sounds better) but the less dynamic it is.

I don't know if this is still true (and if true at all) but I understood that at least in the past during the mastering/cutting the dynamic range was compressed a little bit so soft recorded passages would not drown in noise.
If that is the case (not a vinyl cutting expert) then it would make sense some hear 'more dynamics' but actually are listening to music with less dynamics because they hear soft nuances better.
 
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Try doing PCM to DSD conversion in roon and see what happens.
Seems to have made the latency SLIGHTLY worse - I believe the dac upsamples to a higher DSD rate no matter what, so maybe no matter what it won't make a difference.

That would show up even in a phone recording. If you can upload one of those it's easy to test.
Ok, I have the video file, but would rather not share publicly. PM me for the download link
 

Soniclife

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Seems to have made the latency SLIGHTLY worse - I believe the dac upsamples to a higher DSD rate no matter what, so maybe no matter what it won't make a difference.
If you convert to it's native DSD rate it should leave the data alone, but it might still buffer it I suppose. Does your other DAC also support DSD?
 
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If you convert to it's native DSD rate it should leave the data alone, but it might still buffer it I suppose. Does your other DAC also support DSD?
I think you underestimate how much they are upsampling - the DS sr and JR both "Upsamples PCM and DSD to 20x DSD rate ". So they upsample a ton no matter what you feed into it, so I can't feed anything "native" in. There is also no way to defeat this.
https://www.psaudio.com/products/directstream-dac/#tab-features

I don't believe the grace dac supports DSD, but I think we are focusing on the wrong issue - I'm not concerned about latency (delay). Regardless of whether I am feeding dsd or pcm into the DS dac, the play rate/tempo/whatever should be the same.
 

solderdude

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20x DSD rate would be 1.28GHz 56.45MHz sample frequency.
 
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Crane

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Apparently they do have some sort of audio percision device. They talk about it in this tour video somewhere around the three minute mark :facepalm:

 
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but paul has also said in OTHER videos that they lean on what they hear and will throw out measured results in favor of subjective listening. He is seemingly proud of this fact too.
 

gvl

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By 1985 or so, the prime example was the MX1000/800/600. It's test bench performance exceeded the capabilities of most analysis gear of the time, was flat to 100kHz, drew perfect squarewaves at any power level, but is one of the worst sounding amps of all time, especially if you had spkrs that had good response past 15kHz. .
I have to disagree. I'm using a MX-600U, sounds superb.
 

GrimSurfer

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I know we've discussed this before, but I'm convinced part of it that vinyl doesn't play suffer from the "loudness wars" the way CD and streaming does. People hear actual dynamic range on vinyl or less compression and attribute it to the media and not the mastering.
There is a reason for this: You can't over saturate vinyl (increasing the amplitude of the grooves) without increasing the risk of skipping. It's a physical limitation of the stylus/tonearm.

The cost of producing a nickel stamper is significant too, which reduces the "idiot factor" in the mastering studio.

Don't interpret this as an argument professing the superiority of vinyl. It's a format less tolerant of idiots in the production chain. That's all.
 

Herbert

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I have often wondered about the term 'dynamic range'. It could well be that technical dynamic range differs from the term 'dynamic range' as used by non technical people.

For instance most music is compressed in some way or another. The reason is that when music is played live the SPL is usually much higher than when reproduced in the home. In order to make 'soft' signals (that would be audible in a live performance) won't be heard in a reproduction.
So in an electrical sense the dynamics are being compressed so that us, the casual listener, is treated with pretty much everything that was recorded in the studio but when reproduced at lower peak levels.
The more 'small nuances' we can hear at 'normal listening room levels' the more technical compression has been applied and the more 'dynamic' it sounds to most (as they hear decay and soft sounds better) but the less dynamic it is.

I don't know if this is still true (and if true at all) but I understood that at least in the past during the mastering/cutting the dynamic range was compressed a little bit so soft recorded passages would not drown in noise.
If that is the case (not a vinyl cutting expert) then it would make sense some hear 'more dynamics' but actually are listening to music with less dynamics because they hear soft nuances better.
A good example what dynamics really means are the early recordings of the CD-Age like DMP or Telarc that were directly recorded to
machines like the 3M Mastering System or Mitsubishi X80.
There were limiters in the path for sure, but probably not much compression used.
Reverb was taken from the room acoustics.
One of my favourites from this time is Joe Jackson´s
"Body and Soul":
 

Eirikur

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I know we've discussed this before, but I'm convinced part of it that vinyl doesn't play suffer from the "loudness wars" the way CD and streaming does. People hear actual dynamic range on vinyl or less compression and attribute it to the media and not the mastering.
Before you're totally convinced, look at Ian Shepherd explaining DR with an example using exactly the same source
I found it quite revealing - and he has more interesting video's if you have a weekend to kill.
 
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GrimSurfer

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I have often wondered about the term 'dynamic range'. It could well be that technical dynamic range differs from the term 'dynamic range' as used by non technical people.
I think we're looking at three uses of the term.

One correct usage refers to the DR potential of the media. Vinyl lies in the 55-65 dB range. Mag tape is about the same. A CD has a DR of 96 dB without dithering. Data stream can be quite a bit higher than that, though 144 dB is a common limit.

Another correct usage is the DR of the programming material (ie. the song). This varies by mixing and mastering techniques. It rarely comes close to the DR limit of the format (though I suppose that's a possibility with vinyl) because of audibility issues.

A commonly incorrect use of the term "dynamic range" is when people confuse it with the frequency range of programming material (ie. the highs and lows) or clarity of recording. I see this quite a bit, sometimes with reviews of Wilson remasters (which typically are slightly more compressed but significantly clearer and broader in FR).
 

Soniclife

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I don't believe the grace dac supports DSD, but I think we are focusing on the wrong issue - I'm not concerned about latency (delay). Regardless of whether I am feeding dsd or pcm into the DS dac, the play rate/tempo/whatever should be the same.
I thought it might help get them in sync so it would be easier to see if they drift over time because one is slower than the other, I agree the latency isn't important in any other way.
Have you played with the clock master priority and zone grouping delay in roon? The clock setting sounds like it adjusts one of them to match the other, so they should not drift, which is what you would want in a multi-room setup.
 

Rja4000

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Reverb was taken from the room acoustics.
One of my favourites from this time is Joe Jackson´s
"Body and Soul"
For sure, in that case, Joe explained that he wanted a special sound and reverb and he selected the room for that.
That gives that kind of an "explosive" sound.
I like this album since its launch... 35 years ago :-S
 
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PierreV

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I don't know if this is still true (and if true at all) but I understood that at least in the past during the mastering/cutting the dynamic range was compressed a little bit so soft recorded passages would not drown in noise.
While we, audiophiles, like to have huge DR, if only for our psychological comfort, it definitely is detrimental to the listening experience of a lot of consumers. There are, for example, some Dire Straits albums with very good DR and some remaster (mid 90ies) with a very poor one. The difference is obvious on decent home systems, but I confess I prefer the "poor" ones when I listen exercising or in a car.

The fairly recent Adele album that was panned in terms of DR is actually perfectly acceptable on most "standard" earphones, radio, etc...
 
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