ps audio reviews

For example, even though the bass response of the GCD is in general quite satisfactory, it does not have the same attack and slam as that of the PerfectWave DAC II. PS Audio sent me their $4999 DirectStream Power Plant 12, the conditioner (regenerator) of choice for two Audiophilia colleagues. In any case, why go to all this trouble? The DirectStream is a preamp too, so you can go directly (analog) out to an amplifier and control the volume with it (the lossless volume can be set to Fixed or Variable, so in this case, set it to Variable). It may not be perfect, but its design is unique, even amongst the other few DSD based DACs out there. These updates are named after mountain peaks in the Boulder area. Even my CD collection sounds refreshed. I do wish the timeline was another color than light blue, as it is hard to see on a blue background from my seating position. As PS Audio says, it may be a gateway to higher end for some ;) Yongki earned his Sc.D in aerospace engineering from MIT in 1999 and pursued a career as a professor in Singapore and later on in the US before deciding to change path to join the aerospace defense industry. It was neutral and transparent, or in other words, it did not get in the way of music. I absolutely loved what I heard. I highly recommend that anyone willing to spend $6000 on a preamp arrange to hear one. How Much Amplifier Power Does your Home Theater Need? Most of the time, this information is not really needed during the operation of the unit, but sometimes I do wish to be able to tell easily the sampling rate of the digital signal fed or which DAC filter is being used without getting up from my seat. Yongki considers himself as an aerospace engineer by day and an audio/home-theater enthusiast by night. Its “Normal” brightness setting was sufficient for me and I usually engaged the “Auto” feature, which turns on the display for a few seconds if it detects a change in the incoming signal and off otherwise. As a digital preamp, the DAC in the GCD locks in and recognizes the bit depth and rate of the incoming signals swiftly. Find what you like and then purchase and download the albums. Its treatment of any digital material, regardless of format, is quite astounding — even MP3s and Internet radio sounded vibrant and exciting. Only these two types of inputs can be used to process the DSD signals, while the others can only process the PCM signals. This product would definitely pique my interest if I were in the process of building a modestly budgeted hi-fi system. Try getting a free Dirac upgrade. I have had and still have PS Audio hi-fi components in my systems. Our magazine, which began with the publication of the SECRETS Primer, is available exclusively on-line and offers to our readers an extensive information resource about home theater and high-end audio. We don't share that view, but … Where else can you get customer service like this? DACDAC Review 2019DirectStream DACDSDFeaturedPS Audio, Jim Milton has been interested in high fidelity since his college years in the late 70's. The CD transport was connected through the coax cable, while the Aries G1 streamer was connected through the XLR and USB ports. Two mini mono-RCA DC trigger outputs are provided in between the left and right outputs. The Stellar GainCell Preamp/DAC (GCD) is from PS Audio’s Stellar line, which is designed with affordability in mind for the budget-minded audiophile. I set the DAC volume to a Fixed 100, so the volume was controlled by the Emotiva preamp. 5: October 2020, Setting Up a Bryston BDA-3.14 Streaming DAC and Qobuz Streaming Service – A How-to Series, Part 2, Setting Up an AURALiC ARIES G1 Streamer and Qobuz Streaming Service – A How-to Series, Part 1, DCI-P3 Color – What It Means in Today’s Ultra HD World, AVR-Audio Video Reciever-Build Quality: Part V. Does Your Projector Display Accurate Color, and Why Is That Important? PCM (384KHz max), DSD64 (DoP), DSD128 (DoP), (Analog Unbalanced) 1 stereo pair (Analog Balanced) 1 stereo pair Paul and Ted, thanks for pushing the envelope and trying to move the musical bar higher. Don't look down your nose at PS Audio's cheapest mains regenerator. The PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream DAC lets me hear more into my music and has me enjoying and exploring all different genres. A master switch on the back places the DSD into ready mode. Obviously, it is not a fair comparison, as the PerfectWave DAC II carried more than twice the price tag of the GCD. Review component retail: €3.000/ea. This is about as close to hearing that unicorn we call “analog sound”, and I don’t mean analog like the limited dynamics of vinyl. During his leisure time, he enjoys listening to his music collection and an occasional movie with his wife of 30+ years. What other DAC can do that? He has been part of choral music, both in opera and oratorio and is an avid collector of classical music from the Baroque through the Romantic periods. Up NextSchiit Audio Freya+ Preamplifier and Vidar Amplifier Review As the name implies, the PS Audio Stellar GainCell Preamp/DAC is both an analog preamplifier and a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) in one convenient and handsome package. The PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream DAC lets me hear more into my music and has me enjoying and exploring all different genres. "Remember, acquiring good A/V gear takes lots of time...but doesn't necessarily take lots of money.". Interestingly, many of today’s PCM chips use sigma-delta modulation to get a DSD-like signal before analog conversion. The PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter (NPC) is a fully balanced analog phono preamplifier, but also has a built-in Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) as an optional way of using it. The Mcontrol App works well, but it does seem a bit clumsy and not in step with the quality of the DirectStream. The final matching was 0.3 dB difference between the two. The GCD is rather heavy for a preamp. Even my CD collection sounds refreshed. The Stellar GainCell preamp/DAC, with its full-width (17″) aluminum chassis and low height profile, sports a minimalist appearance (like the other components in the Stellar line) that looks modern and elegant. My impressions were with the speakers set to full range, sans a sub. Not only that, but it can also serve as a very capable headphone amplifier. The review covers the feature and performance of this interesting product in more detail. The organ is treated as part of the orchestra and not just as a solo instrument. Although his field of expertise is in aerospace control systems as exemplified by more than 80 technical articles in various aerospace-related journals and conferences, his passion is always in hi-fi audio reproduction. I did not notice any specific emphasis on certain frequency ranges that might detract musical enjoyment experience. Our magazine, which began with the publication of the SECRETS Primer, is available exclusively on-line and offers to our readers an extensive information resource about home theater and high-end audio. I also subscribed to Qobuz, so I have virtually unlimited hi-res music at my fingertips for this review, up to 24/192 resolution. By contrast, the GCD bass presentation of the song, while still conveying the overall bass energy, was not as authoritative. Audio bliss awaits me, so let’s get into the listening session next. The PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamplifier more than lives up to what I have come to expect from a PS Audio phono stage. The review sample has a matte silver finish with black side panels, which to me looks particularly classy. You can hear her take in a breath on some songs and you are immediately struck by the close placement of the microphones and the tiny details they have captured. The DAC section of the GCD is based on the 32-bit ESS Sabre Hyperstream architecture with a fully balanced Class A analog output stage. Moreover, with 30 days home-trial offer and generous trade-in policy, this is a must audition product for someone looking for modern affordable preamp/DAC. The blue LED display of the GCD is sufficiently bright and displays volume level in relatively large digits that can easily be read from 10 ft away. Full-range Speaker Systems vs. Satellite-subwoofer Combinations, Schiit Audio Freya+ Preamplifier and Vidar Amplifier Review, Andover Introduces Spindeck Belt-Drive Turntable, Astell&Kern A&norma SR25 Digital Audio Player Review, Audio-gd Vacuum HE1 XLR Tube Preamplifier Review, Audio Research LS28 Triode Stereo Preamplifier Review, Starke Sound A8.350 8-Channel Power Amplifier Preview, Introducing the DALI RUBICON 6 BLACK EDITION, Cambridge Audio doubles the power with new Edge M monoblock power amplifier, BLUESOUND ADDS NEW SURROUND MODE LISTENING OPTION, PreSonus Eris E3.5 Powered Speakers Review, Andover Audio Spinbase Turntable Speaker System Review. This allows the customers to try out the products for free in their home environment for 30 days, which is the best possible audition scenario. There is a lot of technical information on PS Audio’s website and the user manual has a lot of detailed information as well. We learnt a bit more about his motivations and mind set in an interview we conducted with Paul at the eve of introducing their Network Bridge, an add-on to the PS Audio PerfectWave DAC or PWD for short. Music should transport you from your daily grind and make you just enjoy the sound. The GCD is very adept in navigating through a dynamic piece of music like Steps of Maya from Keiko Matsui’s The Ring (2002) album. Noise is pushed into the higher frequency band and filtered out via a passive low pass filter. PS Audio came up with a solution to this problem long ago: completely regenerate the incoming AC power in an effort to minimize these issues. I’m looking forward to the view from the next mountain top. 1 & 2, Janos Starker, György Sebök (Speakers Corner 180g) Subscribe Its audiophile quality is obvious in every aspect of its sonic performance. In essence, the Digital Lens technology makes the signal purer with less noise/errors in the effort to generate more accurate digital music reproduction. I’m struck with how very analog it sounds. The Stellar line represents the entry tier to the company’s plethora of separate hi-fi components. First off, let me start by saying that reviewing the GCD has been a joy. I first knew of PS Audio when they were best-known for amplifiers which they, of course, still design and produce. I was loving my music collection again! For album covers to display on the panel, you’ll need to leave the data card in place in the back, which is fine, that way you don’t lose it. Last year, we published a very enthusiastic review of PS Audio’s top P20 DirectStream Power Plant. Blue Coast records offer free jazz samples, and in spite of OPPO’s withdrawal from audio world, they still offer free samples as well. Remember when we used to go to audio shows? The Stellar GainCell Preamp/DAC (GCD) reviewed here is from the PS Audio Stellar line, which represents the company’s affordable-tier products. The I2S input keeps the data in their parallel form, which is the native form required by the DAC to process, hence skipping the data combining and separating process used in the other connection methods. Amplifiers, CD players and transports, DACs, and preamplifiers. It surprised me in terms of the high-quality sound it could produce. As indicated by its name, at the heart of GCD is the analog GainCell, which is used to eliminate the sonic degradation problem associated with volume control. As mentioned, the DAC can handle both PCM and DSD signals. Once that driver is installed, a quick visit to the Windows 7 control panel’s “Sound” settings offers the PS Audio DAC as an output option. In general, the music seems more organic, and more, for lack of better description, musical. The GCD has a pair of unbalanced and a pair of balanced analog outputs. I expect PS Audio components to be well designed, with excellent fit and finish, innovative circuit design, and tangible value for the dollar being asked. For a phono cartridge, it can handle both Moving Coil or Moving Magnet. I labeled the UMC’s input as Analog In, with direct selected as opposed to stereo, as that would reprocess the analog signal back to digital for processing. The versatility of the Stellar GainCell Preamp/DAC does not stop there; it also includes an analog headphone amplifier with a headphone jack on the front panel. The Digital Lens technology discovers the sample rate and format, reclocks all incoming data, reduces jitter, and reshapes the data output to the DAC chip. Model specific 100VAC, 120VAC, or 230VAC 50 or 60Hz, I2S(2), Coax, XLR Balanced, TOSLINK, USB, Network Bridge slot, I2S, and USB — 44.1kHz to 352.8kHz 16bit, 24bit, DSD 64, DSD 128, 0.282VRMS, Balanced 0.141VRMS Single Ended, maximum: 2.818VRMS Balanced, 1.414VRMS Single Ended, 20-20kHz +/- 0.25dB, THD&IM @ 1kHz (full scale) <0.03%, Passive audio transformer, fed by high current, high-speed analog amps producing double rate DSD, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, Standard (2.8MHz) or Double (5.6MHz) DoP as well as raw DSD on I2S and USB inputs, effectively 100%, residual immeasurable. This is what the Dectet manual says: We strongly recommend the use of a PS Audio PerfectWave Power™ AC cable and a PS Power Port™ AC receptacle to feed the Power Center electricity. The higher sample rate does not create new information from the original signal but allows for better filtering algorithms which allow for more of the detail of the original signal to come through. I am not so much of a headphone guy, but from my brief tryout of the headphone feature of the GCD using my son’s V-Moda Crossfade Wireless 2 in wired mode (which is Hi-Res certified), I was quite impressed by the clarity, details, and natural sound of the music I listened through it. Are Expensive outboard DACs a waste of money? Also, the GCD did not have the last bit of crystal-clear upper midrange and treble presentation of the PerfectWave DAC II. That is a quality you want to hear. He also serves as an adjunct professor for Salem State University where he teaches a course in nuclear instrumentation. Its shortcomings were not at all obvious or objectionable, and in most cases, the GCD made up more on the other aspects of its performance that was more crucial to the overall musicality of the presentation. By now, it should be clear that I admire the musicality of the GCD. In the setup mode, the volume knob also serves to navigate through the available setup options. An awful lot has changed since then, including, in recent years, a shift of PS Audio's emphasis from audio amplification to AC-power regeneration. Hey, I like to multi-task sometimes. The amplification used during the review was alternating between the PS Audio HCA-2 and the Bel Canto Ref500S, driving my trusty NHT Evolution T6 speakers. I actually enjoyed reading the manual and found it interesting, even though I can be a Luddite at times. My speakers are the Revel Concerta2 F36’s. A black finish is also available. My interest was piqued. Outputs are either balanced XLR or unbalanced RCA. This sounds like a bargain if the product can deliver the crux of the matter, which is high-fidelity sonic performance. The PS Audio DirectStream Junior DAC ($3,999) is a prime example of this phenomenon. It was there that he first became interested in classical music. It features music from famous movies such as Dances with Wolves, E.T., Carousel, and my favorite, the suite from The Wizard of Oz. The sense of depth, when the organ joins in, is impressive. Windom replaced its soul and life force by fleshing out the music into a more realistic 3D space and a more supportive low end. Perfect for any speaker. For $1699, you get a product that can serve as an analog preamplifier, a full-featured DAC, and a headphone amplifier. So when I found out there was an updated and upgraded Sprout100, naturally I was intrigued. The I2S and USB inputs can handle up to 384 kHz PCM and 5.6 MHz DSD signals. Vacuum tubes and 1200 watts The M1200 monoblocks combines rich warmth with jaw-dropping power and seemingly infinite headroom. They also make preamplifiers, power conditioners, an integrated amp the size of a Jane Austen novel, audio accessories, and a unique DSD DAC that I am reviewing here today, the PerfectWave DirectStream DAC. Fortunately, I have a few dozen DSD music files on my Mac that I could play to my heart’s content. That means you get to try a “new DAC” every so often. Currently he is the director of Nuclear Medicine at the North Shore Medical Center, located just outside of Boston. Vol.11 – November 2020, A Collection of New Vinyl for the Audiophile: November 2020, The Smallcombe Home Theater II – Part 1, What We Are Watching Vol. Because of this, theoretically, it is the best digital connection to use. Phase and filter adjustments are also provided to tailor the DAC better to the rest of the system and the listener’s preferences. The level of the fixed volume is adjustable and if a unity line-level gain is desired, the manual states that the volume level should be set at 76 (out of 100 scale). PS Audio’s BHK Signature preamplifier is a statement product that produced beautiful music. I have been using an NPC for some months now, eve The possibilities are endless (hyperbole, yes). Album art is only displayed via the network bridge. Above is a picture of their room at AXPONA 2019. PS Audio also manages to squeeze in the proprietary technology called the Digital Lens, which is derived from its higher-end DACs. The GainCell varies the gain as the means of controlling volume without additional circuitry in the signal path, hence preserving the signal purity. Certainly, there is not enough landscape on the OLED window to display everything in large digits, but a possible way to overcome this is to rotate the information displayed using large digits, for example by using a remote-control command. 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That was then or what would become the MK1. JBL Synthesis SDP-55 & SDR-35 Q&A Nick Clarke – Senior Director of Global Engineering, Thank You To All of Our SECRETS Fans and Supporters, RIAA Vinyl Sales Q&A with McIntosh Group CEO Jeff Poggi. All inputs can be renamed. The PS Audio DirectStream is a musically authentic, thoroughly engaging and ultimately compelling DAC that elevates the listening experience to an entirely new level. …and did I mention it’s FREE? PS Audio from Boulder/Colorado/US is an established company for Audio and Power components, and digital products not only with the Direct Stream series, but since 2017 it offers the Stellar series of DAC/Pre and power amps, from which the S300 is the "cheapest" device. I recommend going to their site and downloading as many free samples as you can. After listening back and forth with these filters for a variety of music, I settled with Filter 1 during most of the listening sessions, which to my ears, gave the best overall results in my system. Maybe the blame should fall on Sony. That experience got me into pursuing better quality DACs in my continuing quest to reach that mythical sonic Nirvana. The digital inputs include one I2S, two S/PDIF coax, one optical, and one USB. My CD collection was sounding like sonic wallpaper…. At the time of this conversation, Snowmass, the 8th major firmware update, had just come out and was garnering positive attention. Campfire Audio Dorado 2020, Vega 2020 review (and podcast) November 24, 2020 Old’s kool: Dynaudio’s limited edition Heritage Special November 23, 2020 HELM’s Bolt is a $99 portable DAC for Spotify, MQA November 20, 2020 Using the front panel touchscreen is intuitive; allowing you to select inputs and change the volume (which can also be set to Fixed). I had chalked up the lifeless sound of my system to the new, larger room I had moved into, but now I realize that it was more likely tied to my long-in-the-tooth DAC. A unique feature is the ability to flip the phase of the incoming signal either from the panel of from the comfort of your couch via the remote. There are three unbalanced analog line-level inputs as well as one balanced XLR input. The setup mode, which can be accessed by long-pressing the input-selector button next to the LED display, needs only be accessed for balance adjustment, phase setting, maximum analog and headphone volume limits, input name editing, home-theater bypass setup, DC trigger delay, and DAC mode setting. (Electric Recording Co. 180g) Vinyl Review: Miles Davis – Jack Johnson (Mobile Fidelity 180g) Vinyl Review: Brahms – Sonatas for Cello and Piano Nos. Although it has been available for over six months, I've seen only a few reviews … This was equipped in turn with a selection of cartridges, including an Audio-Technica AT-OC9 ML/II and EAT Jo No5 [HFN Dec '18] – both MCs – and the Pro-Ject Pick-it S2 MM [HFN Aug '19]. The two products that came in for review, however, are completely different animals. Still hi-res, but not pure DSD. Vol.11 – November 2020, A Collection of New Vinyl for the Audiophile: November 2020, What We Are Watching Vol. The GCD easily earns my highest recommendation! I threw in various music files in various formats (PCM and DSD) and bit depths/rates to the GCD, and as long as they were within the signal specifications that the GCD could handle, it played them fine. Clean power has been the driving force behind PS Audio, leading to a full range of components from critically acclaimed digital sources, to well respected and reviewed amplifiers and preamplifiers. Overall image presentation had good focus and tended to be slightly laid- back. This chip is used in many different electronic devices. I knew the DirectStream was special when it was able to place the orchestra in the fore and the organ behind and slightly above the stage. Never have I seen this kind of value in a HiFi Integrated Amp and yes this amp does give you a small taste of what the high end is. Even though the GCD might not be the best in all the things that it does, nor does it pretend to, it seems to do everything right. One 1/4″ headphone connector front panel, 20Hz – 20KHz +0/- 0.25dB With PS Audio's Stellar M700, I knew at first turn-on that there was no problem with noise. At every audio show, the PS Audio room is always a can’t miss and requires more than one visit. The I2S bus separates clock and serial data signals, resulting in simpler receivers than those required for asynchronous communications systems that need to recover the clock from the data stream. 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