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Upsamplers, DACs, jitter, shakes and analogue withdrawals, this is it.

A different view ...

I am glad you and others have found the DirectStream DAC to your liking. So much does depend upon system synergy.

In my system, in my dedicated listening room, I have had a different experinece. I used the DirectStream DAC connected to the PSA DirectStream Memory Player by I2S ICs (0.6 m & 1.0 m), feeding SS amplification to full range speakers all via balanced ICs (see my main system). "Pure" audio was toggled "on" and the latest software updates were loaded (2017). After extensive "running-in," a persistent difficiency remained in the sources' reproduction of LF music when directly compared to an Ayre C-5xe MP.

First, I recognize and appreciate the high quality of in-home music reproduction the DirectStream combo provides. Very high quality tone, texture, decay, micro- and macro-dynamics throughout much of the audio frequency range. Hoewever, ... :

At music content near and below 155 Hz, an obvious departure from the duo's presentation at other frequency points occurs as a perceived roll-off of presence, texture, tone, and level. Initial pluck or strum of upright bass notes are softened almost to create the perception of a 6 to 12 dB, plus, difference from the remaining musical mix. And as the notes go lower, the perceived roll off accelerates. Also absent is the first wave impact of low frequency notes from upright or electric bass, massed string double bass, electronic synth, tuba, etc. In addition, the decay normally associated with LF string or piano is likewise lower in perceived level and discernable texture.

I compared the combo to my analogue set up and discovered that for music with frequencies between 100 Hz and above, the presentation is very similar except for some lack of decay (think triangle, chimes, xylophone) that may be attributable to Compact Disc recording limitations (compared same title on LPs and CDs or SACDs). The difference in reproduction of musical content with frequencies below around 120 Hz was less pronounced than when comparing level matched digital reproductions, but still clearly evident as a deficiency in the overall presentation.

I know that PS Audio claims the combo's performance is "flat" across the audio spectrum (presumably down to 18 or 20 Hz), but in my system that does not translate to balanced, coherent musical reproduction of the lowest frequencies in symphonic, jazz, and other acoustic and amplified music. Of equal importance to me is the corresponding lack of ambient venue cues presented in the PS Audio combo's reproduction of "well recorded" acoustic music (e.g., Cowboy Junkies "The Trinity Session," Ry Cooder produced "Talking Timbuktu," Mikey Hart's "Dafos," "CSO Brass Live," or studio: Patricia Barber's "Modern Cool").

I do recognize that the PS Audio combo has a very clean, transparent presentation at those musical frequencies that dominate most listening sessions. It is very nice in that respect. It just doesn't do it throughout the audible spectrum in my system.

Ah, system synergy ... .


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