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PS Audio Perfect Wave Direct Stream DAC - The Absolute Sound Review


The DirectStream DAC is one of the best products PS Audio has ever made and one of the greatest profit centers for their partners yet. PS Audio is getting RAVE reviews and great publicity.

The best quote is "DirectStream's easily the best DAC I've ever heard in my system, making digitally-recorded music sound better than I've ever heard it."

In 2012, a group of Direct Stream Digital (DSD) enthusiasts within the audio industry (led by dCS) released the DSD- over-PCM (DoP) standard, providing a way to "trick" traditional PCM audio circuits into playing native DSD files on suitably-equipped servers and DACs without first converting them to PCM. Today, few new DACs dare venture into the marketplace without DSD capability. Designing a DSD DAC has become almost routine; just order up some DAC chips capable of handling DoP inputs and use them in standard digital and
analog circuits.

There is, however, always someone who wants to toss conventional practices over the side and start from scratch. In the case of PS Audio's new DirectStream DAC, the original thinker is a computer scientist/audiophile named Ted Smith. A strong admirer of DSD recordings, Ted felt that the ideal DAC should work entirely in the DSD domain, so he set out to build a DAC which was entirely DSD-based. Of course, it had to accept PCM files; there are too many of those (e. g., CDs) to ignore, but they would be internally converted to DSD upon input. On his own, Ted took seven years to design a working example of his DSD DAC. Almost by chance, his design came to the attention of PS Audio's CEO Paul McGowan, who liked what he heard (a lot), ultimately resulting in the subject of this review.