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The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac

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Posted on December 19, 2016 at 05:12:19
cmait
Audiophile

Posts: 8
Location: Ga
Joined: February 21, 2009
The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac. What a great DAC. I have had many DAC's over the last several years. My ears find this to be the best DAC in my system. I am playing my redbook CD's and Tidal.Loving what I am hearing.I don't know if it's just system matching at it's best (Rogue audio amp/pre-amp.). Bang for buck,this has to rate right up top of the DAC's on the market.

 

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RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 19, 2016 at 10:48:57
el34eh@yahoo.com
Audiophile

Posts: 625
Location: Michigan
Joined: September 6, 2003




After reading, and then re-reading the praise on this particular dac by our own Abe Collins, I too am very very very happy in owning one as well. As I hear it......., it's extremely musical in that olde school analog sort of way, if you get my drift?.

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 19, 2016 at 13:00:10
AbeCollins
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Posts: 27861
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
February 2, 2002
IMHO, PS Audio is often overlooked because they're an established brand that has some reasonably priced products and they have been around for decades. They're not the exciting new kid on the block. ;-)

I replaced my Luxman DA-06 (~$5000) and the Ayre QB-9 DSD (~$3500) with the PS Audio NuWave DSD DAC (~$1299 MSRP, less with trade). I couldn't be happier with the sound!

I prefer (and have purchased for a second time) the PS Audio GCPH phono preamp (~$1000) which replaced the Aesthetix Rhea, EAR 834P, Musical Surroundings Phonomena II, and a few others. I played with several phono preamps over the years. When I decided to downsize the vinyl setup, I went back the PS Audio GCPH as my bang for the buck choice. It's what I consider to be an excellent sounding 'high-value' phono preamp that is very versatile for MM/MC cartridges.

Enjoy your NuWave DSD!


 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 20, 2016 at 03:40:33
John Elison
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Posts: 20510
Location: Central Kentucky
Joined: December 20, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
January 29, 2004
When you say you downsized your vinyl setup, what exactly do you mean in terms of changing phono stages. Is the PS Audio GCPH smaller in size than others such as the E.A.R. or does it just sound better than all the others. The reason I ask is because I would have thought that the E.A.R. 834P or the Aesthetix Rhea might sound better. I've never heard any of these, though. I'm just going by what I read. If I were to downsize my vinyl setup, what would be the advantage of discarding my Pass Labs XOno in favor of something like the PS Audio GCPH.

Thanks,
John Elison

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 20, 2016 at 03:51:40
John Elison
Audiophile

Posts: 20510
Location: Central Kentucky
Joined: December 20, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
January 29, 2004
I'm really looking forward to the introduction of the new Oppo Sonica DAC supposedly coming in January. It is supposed to cost just $799 and yet be able to convert all formats of digital up through DSD_11.2M. Additionally, it is supposed to be able to play digital music directly from an external USB drive. That's really what excites me because I would like to eliminate the separate component used for streaming. Of course, I'm also hoping it sounds good because that will be the deal breaker.

Currently, I'm very please with the sound quality of my TASCAM DA-3000, which is both a player and a recorder. My major complaint is that it accepts a maximum USB drive capacity of only 64-GB. However, its sound quality with DSD is as good as anything I've heard so far although I've not heard any of the PS Audio DACs.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 20, 2016 at 05:47:30
AbeCollins
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Posts: 27861
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
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  Since:
February 2, 2002

Hi John,

By downsizing my vinyl setup I was speaking mostly in terms of dollars but size was a factor too.

No, the PS Audio GCPH does not sound better than ALL the others but to my ears it sounds better than MANY of the others and it's reasonably priced and flexible. Some of the ones that I think sound a little better include the Rogue Ares (probably my favorite), and the Graham Slee Era Gold V by a very slight margin (on MM cartridges of course as this Slee does MM only).

I prefer the sound of the PS Audio GCPH over the E.A.R. 834P and the Aesthetix Rhea. I also like it better than the battery powered Musical Surroundings Phonomena II.

The Aesthetix Rhea is very versatile with multiple inputs, independent gain and loading for each input, digital display, and a remote to control it all. I thought it sounded a bit on the dark side. I couldn't get past that even with some tube rolling.

The E.A.R 834P was entertaining, exciting, and intoxicating. It makes you say "wow"! And then you get tired of that sweet sugar high and realize you need a more balanced diet of phono amplification. The EAR was very rich and robust sounding especially in the mids, and sweet. But it wasn't very detailed or extended up top. I also didn't think it's internal SUT was very good on MC cartridges. It was much more transparent sounding running the EAR in MM mode with a good external SUT (Bob's Devices).

The Musical Surroundings was good on MM cartridges but sounded compressed (or lacking dynamics) when used with MC cartridges.

I've owned some other phono preamps but when I think back to the ones that sounded great and offered great value and flexibility, I had to go back to the PS Audio GCPH.



 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 20, 2016 at 07:46:58
AbeCollins
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Posts: 27861
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
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I'm curious about the Oppo Sonica DAC, too. I thought I saw an ad for it in one of the magazines and read somewhere that it's supposed to be out sometime in the 1st quarter of CY2017.

I had the Oppo HA-1 Headphone Amp/DAC/preamp which also had outputs to drive an external amp. I thought it sounded a little cool as in lacking a full bodied more robust sound especially in the lower mids. Maybe the Sonica will be different.

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 20, 2016 at 14:53:12
slippers...
Audiophile

Posts: 310
Location: UNITED STATES
Joined: June 20, 2011
My Bro! I aint forgot. I will have one soon! And thats not the NuWAVE in that pic!

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 20, 2016 at 14:56:46
slippers...
Audiophile

Posts: 310
Location: UNITED STATES
Joined: June 20, 2011
Hmmmm....I think my Phonomena II+ is a excellent Phono Amp! A buddy of mine has the NuWave Phono Preamplifier...sounds great as well!

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 20, 2016 at 15:03:35
slippers...
Audiophile

Posts: 310
Location: UNITED STATES
Joined: June 20, 2011
The Phonomena II is not battery powered....The Nova is. My Phonomena II+ doesnt suffer from the problems you mentioned.

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 20, 2016 at 15:54:13
el34eh@yahoo.com
Audiophile

Posts: 625
Location: Michigan
Joined: September 6, 2003




That's what's up little Brotha.

On the photo issue, of late I've been saving interesting components into my photo gallery, and merely wish to place them on certain response as a means of adding a little bit of diversity to the mix.

Nothing more........., just being different as to get others to think about the possibilities of what's out there.

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 20, 2016 at 16:04:18
slippers...
Audiophile

Posts: 310
Location: UNITED STATES
Joined: June 20, 2011
I feel ya, mi bro! Lots of great, nice looking stuff out there. My loot at that big is the problem. And as you know....I agree with Able Collins about the sweet spot...$1000-$2000.

Is this were you've been hanging out as of late?

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 20, 2016 at 21:33:24
AbeCollins
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Posts: 27861
Location: USA
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Contributor
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February 2, 2002

Do you run it with a MC or MM cartridge? I thought mine was fine with MM but not quite there for MC.

That was the Phonomena II, not the II+



 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 21, 2016 at 03:29:53
John Elison
Audiophile

Posts: 20510
Location: Central Kentucky
Joined: December 20, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
January 29, 2004
Yes, I'm hoping the Sonica DAC will be different from your HA-1. I haven't heard the HA-1 but from your description I think my BDP-105D is more full bodied, warm and musical. My favorite sounding DAC was the April Music DP1 that I had on lone for a couple of years. Unfortunately, it did not convert DSD, which is a requirement for me. The TASCAM DA-3000 DSD recorder has the best sounding DSD DAC I've ever heard and it satisfies me completely sound wise. The main drawback is its small display and the fact it will accept a maximum capacity USB drive of only 64-GB. The Sonica DAC apparently can accept a large capacity USB drive and can use a tablet for displaying music files. If it only sounds good it will be my choice for a DAC/player and preamp all rolled into one. Of course, for a price tag of only $799 it probably won't sound good, but I can hope! ;-)

Thanks,
John Elison

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 21, 2016 at 05:17:12
el34eh@yahoo.com
Audiophile

Posts: 625
Location: Michigan
Joined: September 6, 2003

DIG IT!.

And you know all to well, Abe called this price range just right.

Brotha B, I've grown to tried of writing and arguing with others as it relates to audio, cabling, tubes as many simply will never know what I've learned in some of these areas that far exceed their limited research, so I'm content listening more and more to my system, which I feel I've voiced correctly, and much prefer to buy and listen to music these days.

Those whom are older then me, should already know their way, I was always more concerned about the 20,30,40 year old guys getting it right, lest like many they'll continue to exchange components like some change their underwear, and that in itself, isn't cool.

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 21, 2016 at 06:30:03
slippers...
Audiophile

Posts: 310
Location: UNITED STATES
Joined: June 20, 2011
I ran it with a 2M Black for a good while. Nice! A buddy of mine suggested I try a Denon DL-301 Mk2, so I did. Love it!

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 21, 2016 at 06:37:13
slippers...
Audiophile

Posts: 310
Location: UNITED STATES
Joined: June 20, 2011
I feel ya, as always. I read more these days than argue with cats over audio. Some stuff matches with other stuff, and some stuff just don't. Gots to have that synergy! We just hear things differently. IN the end, am I being romanced through my system? That's whats up!

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 21, 2016 at 07:34:31
el34eh@yahoo.com
Audiophile

Posts: 625
Location: Michigan
Joined: September 6, 2003




As always........, we two have always stood as like minded more so then most. As I too base how and given component has or lacks the ability of emotionally connecting me to the very essence of the notes or artist themselves. If I'm not moved to tears during sad ballads or lyrics, then the message hasn't gotten through to me, so said components serve my senses not!.

And while some can't appreciate the global means of finding certain systems that are more honest in how they reproduce the finer points of music, as some are biased towards imports, yet have to realize they've always been here for a reason..........., yet to avoid any unnecessary confines, I myself love the creative producers coming out of Germany and Poland these days, where some rather pretend American made gear is the only wares worthy of ownership, which in my world is total BS!.

But I'd far rather leave it at that........, as I'd much rather limit my truths with those whom know my heart, and whom reach out to me via emails as a means of sharing ideals, as some will always be lost in themselves, and I'd rather let them stay lost by choice, as somethings aren't meant to be shared.

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 21, 2016 at 08:17:07
AbeCollins
Audiophile

Posts: 27861
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
Contributor
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February 2, 2002
My mistake. I get their model names mixed up. Here's the Nova that I owned, in my previous listening room several years ago.






 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 21, 2016 at 08:17:57
AbeCollins
Audiophile

Posts: 27861
Location: USA
Joined: June 22, 2001
Contributor
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My mistake, it was the battery powered Nova that I owned.



 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 21, 2016 at 08:50:19
slippers...
Audiophile

Posts: 310
Location: UNITED STATES
Joined: June 20, 2011
Nice!

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 21, 2016 at 08:56:17
slippers...
Audiophile

Posts: 310
Location: UNITED STATES
Joined: June 20, 2011
Yes sir! And German gear...I love the truthfulness of it.

 

Just now listening to new ESS 9028 DAC chips!, posted on December 21, 2016 at 14:10:40
Ric Schultz
Manufacturer

Posts: 742
Joined: August 7, 2000
I have heard the older Gustard X20U with the older ESS9018 DAC chips and now have in house the new Gustard X20U Pro that has two of the new ESS9028 DAC chips in it. The difference is huge. The old and new Gustards are exactly the same except the DAC chips, so what I am hearing is the DAC chip. It is simply way, way more informative in every way. The old DAC chips sounds muddy by comparison. Also this new chip has more available digital filter options and Gustard now has 7 different filters you can choose from. If a manufacturer who uses the ESS DAC chips just selects one filter and you have no choice then you are limiting your listening pleasure. The "apodizing" filter is sounding real good right now. The old Gustard just had two filter settings and none were the apodizing. However, the DAC differences I am hearing are, as always, dependent on how the whole player is....as everything effects the sound. The stock Gustards are good but nothing great.....once modded, you can really appreciate and hear all the new information the new DACs bring. So, I will say, very clearly, that a new paradigm of ESS DACs has arrived and you will see the new chips in machines from under $100 to way out there. Ayre is using one of the new ESS9038s in their $9000 machine. Gustard gives you two ESS9028s in mono mode for $900. This is just the beginning! So, the PS Audio with the old DAC chip and no digital filter settings is, well....behind the times. They will have a new version soon, I am sure.

Happy Solstice!

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on December 26, 2016 at 01:52:08
lowrider75
Audiophile

Posts: 51
Location: philly
Joined: January 26, 2012
I am very pleased with my PS Audio NuWave DSD DAC as well. I auditioned a few DACs in the under $2000 range and the Nuwave DSD beat out the Schiit Gungnir Multibit (too analytical in my system).
Music sounds organic, dynamic and wide open.

It uses the ESS Sabre chip, but I think what makes this unit such a great performer is that PS Audio is using a type of FPGA device similar to their DirectStream DAC. I also believe that the design of the analogue stage is responsible for how well a DAC integrates in a system.

 

Thanks much for the info!! (nt), posted on December 31, 2016 at 13:08:52
DAVID
Audiophile

Posts: 710
Joined: September 26, 1999
NT

 

One more thing..., posted on December 31, 2016 at 13:58:57
DAVID
Audiophile

Posts: 710
Joined: September 26, 1999
...have you tried the volume control they offer? Seems most prefer anything over against a digital (it is digital isn't it) volume control. I'd be curious how their implementatation sounds. Thanks.

 

RE: One more thing..., posted on January 3, 2017 at 19:01:38
Ric Schultz
Manufacturer

Posts: 742
Joined: August 7, 2000
The CD I mostly play is low level recorded so am using the volume control at -9. Sounds outrageous. I will be listening soon to discs with higher volume and I will naturally be turning down the volume more. I still expect seriously great sound. Using a separate preamp is certainly one of those debatable things. Personally, I have not used a separate preamp in 30 some years. I either have a nude Vishay resistor shunt attenuator inside the amp (mostly) or use the 32 bit digital attenuator in the Gustard. Both sound great.

I have done more to the Gustard Pro and not only have I got it to level one mod but have found some even better sounding diodes and also a transformer mod that makes it even better. I simply am gobsmacked by this thing. Stock it was OK....but just with the new level one mod it is incredible....CDs sound like 24/96....so much information it is scary good.....my neighbors probably were thinking I was having orgasms as I kept screaming and Wowing in delight.....never heard anything like this before....except live.

 

RE: One more thing..., posted on January 3, 2017 at 22:35:24
fantja
Audiophile

Posts: 10045
Location: Alabama
Joined: September 11, 2010
Ric-

what other gear is in your system?

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on January 24, 2017 at 20:42:47
slippers...
Audiophile

Posts: 310
Location: UNITED STATES
Joined: June 20, 2011
Seems PS Audio no longer list the Nuwave DSD DAC at their site.

 

RE: The PS Audio NuWave DSD Dac, posted on January 25, 2017 at 04:24:46
cmait
Audiophile

Posts: 8
Location: Ga
Joined: February 21, 2009
I don't know what happened. Still a great DAC.

 

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