has anyone tried PS Audio perfect wave duo

any experience/thoughts on new PS audio perfect wave transport and dac
In addition to it apparently being compatible with some emerging high res formats, I gleaned that the novel feature here is that data is cached in memory with this setup rather than read live direct from the optical CD disc as is done with most players and this is an affective approach for minimizing jitter.

Network players like Roku SOundbridge ($200) and Logitech Squeezebox have been doing this for several years now and are another cost effective way to get this benefit if you are willing to go the music server route. For best sound, just use these with the external high quality DAC of your choice.

I believe I saw PS Audio will offer a similar network player as an alternative to the transport at some point.

Some other resampling DACs, like the Benchmark, are also designed to effectively minimize jitter on board the DAC as well.
A friend has had his for almost a month. It's very nice as-is while he's waiting for the debut of the "Bridge" which will enable him to use his modded SB(He wants to get away from discs altogether).
I don't get it.... This unit has a one disc memory and plays the disc from memory, not directly from the disc.
In effect, this is a one disc music server.
Am I missing something or is this just the ultimate in audiophile marketing hype?
I think it has some smart out of the box design features that should lead to good sound.

Nothing you can't get elsewhere for lower cost I think but those routes currently will probably generally require more effort and knowledge on the part of the user to get right.

Also I am not fond of products that require bridges in general, unless absolutely essential. This is usually an indicator that proprietary approaches are being used that may produce very good results but limit options in terms of integrating with other vendors products. That usually end up meaning you pay more for what you get from that particular vendor.
The combination is truly excellent to a degree that all of the aforementioned devices/DACs pale by comparison (yes, I have heard the aforementioned servers and Dacs - PS Audio-DLIII, Benchmark - DAC 1/pre, Cambridge-DAC Magic, ARC-CD7, Wadia devices, SB3/Duet/Transporter, etc.). I do not have any experience with the acknowledged digital leaders (i.e.: MBL, dSC, and other five-figure devices), but I can verify that the Perfect Wave combination indeed takes digital to a new level.

Wpines - the PWD will allow full server capabilities once the Bridge device is released later this year. Most high-end transports these days are designed for single disc operation. The key to the Perfect Wave Transport is the built-in Digital Lens, along with the true I2S interface. Combined, these two technologies allow, among other things, exceptional jitter control (i.e.: reduction). The PWT also supports up to 24/192 native. The forthcoming Bridge will also feature a "built-in" Digital Lens and I2S interface. The big deal is, it is a true high-end solution to music servers (which is the only way to go for digital, because HD SR files absolutely convey more information than the limited (and “old”) Redbook format (16/44). Finally, digital is becoming a nice alternative to analog.
I don't get it.... This unit has a one disc memory and plays the disc from memory, not directly from the disc.
In effect, this is a one disc music server.
Am I missing something or is this just the ultimate in audiophile marketing hype?

I don't think you are missing anything. Any lo-fi cd player, and I believe any $20 computer cd-rom drive, not to mention any audiophile-caliber digital transport, has a solid state buffer memory (aka cache) through which the data coming off the disk is passed, before being clocked out at a fixed rate which is not subject to the (very large) variations in the rate at which data is retrieved from the disk.

The only relevant difference that I can glean from PS Audio's literature is that their memory is 64mB, which is much larger than typical. But I fail to see how the larger memory size would convey any benefit, assuming that the disk-reading mechanisms are performing in a half-way reasonable manner. The 64mB, by the way, is nowhere near large enough to cache an entire disk (which may be up to 700mB or so). PS Audio's writeup describes it as being able to store "up to 3 minutes of music," which is in the right ballpark.

I have no doubt that it is a very well engineered and good performing player, but its descriptive literature is misleading and disappointing at best.

-- Al

The larger cache may be needed to handle the higher res formats that this device is advertised to handle.

I think that would be the main purpose.

I can see this as an effective though pricey out of the box solution for those seeking the bleeding edge of current digital formats.

Personally I will stick to the music server approach but I can understand if many are not comfortable mixing computers with their audio on their own.
Hi Mapman -- My main point was that it is misleading to claim that other transports output data directly from the optical read mechanism, and that other transports are therefore subject to the timing variations which inevitably occur as data is read from the disk which is spinning at a varying, motor-controlled rate.

But re the larger cache, all that is necessary is to have a cache which is large enough to not become emptied under conditions of worst case variation of the rate at which data is read from the disk. A few seconds worth of cache should be way more than enough to accomplish that for any audio format, for any reasonably well performing read mechanism.

Best regards,
-- Al

Yes, it would make little sense to output time sensitive data directly from an optical read device. I've always assumed that most or all devices do not do this but was not sure.

Usually if a cache is not big enough, a clear audible dropout will occur I believe and not a subtle change in sound.

I would expect the same to occur but much more frequently if bits were read direct from a relatively slow and more error prone optical device and that seldom seems to occur with most properly operating readers.

Does that sound right?
Hi Mapman,

Yes, if the cache were not large enough to support the timing variations of the read mechanism, clear audible dropouts would occur.

If the optically-read data were conveyed to a dac, or to the internal dac of a cdp (transport plus dac in one unit) without any memory cache in between, I would expect the result to be a total mess combining dropouts with various distortions associated with the timing variations.

Best regards,
-- Al
Al and Mapman,

What the Perfect Wave Disc player does is read data off the disk like a computer - not a CD player. That is, will re-read sectors if there is an error until it gets it right rather than a one-pass stream that a CD player does. It essentially achieves the benefit of a file based transport with a disc based one and assures that the data is always perfect. Also, it can do pretty much any format including file based formats on DVD (which is how many of the new high res formats are being distributed).

Combined, the main benefit of the two pieces is all about avoiding the hallmark problem areas of typical disc players and DACs. By "ripping" the data like a computer, the disc player gets the data correct to begin with. By keeping it in I2S format all the way to the DAC chip, it keeps it perfect. No error correction, no jitter, no re-clocking of digital stream data, no latency problems. Basically, what we have been spending thousands on for Pace Cars and re-clocker mods and such is no longer necessary.

Everything I've seen and heard thus far tells me it's pretty much the best "technology" out there. The real question I think is whether you like the sonic quality of the DAC or not. It would be nice if a standardized I2S interface could emerge for transport devices and DACs so we can replace the error prone SPDif, Toslink, and USB ones. The clever use of the HDMI hardware might just be the ticket.
Thanks for the good explanations, Shazam. You should replace whoever writes their literature!

I do agree that the file-based read, and the I2S interface (which avoids multiplexing the data and clocks together) sound like excellent approaches. Hopefully, as you say, the I2S approach, or something similar, will be adopted by others.

What I was taking exception to as misleading, though, is exemplified by this paragraph at their site, in the description of the transport:

In a standard CD player or Transport, the master clock is synchronized to the optical disc reading mechanism. This means you are basically relying on a mechanical spinning mechanism and all of its correction systems to give you a perfectly stable, fixed clock to feed the DAC. It does not work and it is not stable.

Here's the problem. Optical disc readers are constantly changing the rate at which the data is coming from the disc. Sometimes it comes faster and sometimes it comes slower than the fixed speed of an asynchronous clock. If that data is coming in faster than the clock, you get a traffic pileup and the system crashes. Too slow and nothing comes out.

The Digital Lens has a large and smart memory storage buffer. It's big enough to handle any speed variation of the optical disc reader.

That would appear to indicate that in other transports and players the timing of data to the dac is subject to fluctuation identical to the fluctuating timing of the data coming off of the disk. It was sufficiently misleading, in fact, to have apparently misled one of our most intelligent and experienced members, with whom I was having the discussion above. :)

Best regards,
-- Al

I was under the impression that most optical drives, audio or computer, do rereads of data normally when errors are detected? I didn't think most modern CD players were one pass only because frankly there would seem to be no reason for them to suffer with that limitation.
I am a PS Audio dealer and am anxiously awaiting the demo set to be brought by from the rep firm who is local. When I have actually heard the set in my system I will give a report based on comparison to my current reference room demo set of the Bel Canto dac3 and CD2 combination.
I agree that the literature is poorly written and doesn't explain it well. I actually spent a good 30 minutes in the PS Audio room at the RMAF last fall chatting with Paul and others about the technology and I think I understand it pretty well.

A typical CD player does have a buffer, but it basically amounts to a fraction of a second in most cases (good players will have a second or more). This is to allow for the variations in spin speed and movement of the laser changing the timing data being pulled off the disk. So long as the data pull stays within the margin of the buffer you are fine in this regard. But pull too much data and the buffer doesn't have room for it (buffer over run). Pull not enough data and the buffer empties out and the digital stream stops (buffer under run). This is basically the second paragraph Al quotes above.

The Perfect Wave has a significantly larger buffer which provides much more room for error. Let's say the PW holds a minute worth of music and begins to generate the digital stream when it is half full. This gives the laser 30 seconds either way to keep the buffer filled with enough data to keep music going.

The second part of the equation, however, is the important one. A CD laser is a single pass reader and uses error correction (ECC) to try to clean up dropped sectors - it has one chance to get it right and one chance to clean it up (with imperfect correction data no less). The PW laser operates like a computer drive, which will read a sector multiple times if necessary to assure it has the data right. If you read up on the technology in the ripping software Exact Audio Copy (EAC), you will get a better understanding of the principle at work here. In fact, if I heard Paul correctly, the PW actually uses EAC to read the disk and generate the buffer.

The CD player has to spin at a constant rate that basically reflects the stream rate (this is "1x" speed in CD-Rom speak). The Perfect Wave can spin up significantly faster because it's building a significanlty bigger buffer data file (think a CD-Rom that runs at "16x" or "24x" speed). This is how, when they demo the player, they will eject the disk after about 30 seconds and the music continues. The PW is capable of pulling the data much faster because it is acting like a computer drive to create what amounts to a file, which is then turned into the digital stream.

Finally, the PW generates the digital stream like any other CD player, but if you take the stream out to the PW DAC, it keeps it in I2S format all the way to the DAC chip. A traditional transport device must convert the stream to a different format to accomodate Toslink, SPDiff, or USB, and then the DAC converts it back to I2S to send to the DAC chip. By doing this, all sorts of timing errors and re-clocking problems are introduced which creates jitter and hash. This is where we spend money on external re-clockers (like the Pace Car) to better manage this process. Using the PW combo eliminates this problem because the data is always in the optimal I2S format.

Does that make sense?
Mostly, yes. I'm still of the opinion that the design is a very good one. if you like the sound of the DAC, it should work well.

I'm not convinced yet that, other than support for higher resolution, it is leaps and bounds above other player or in particular server options at least for redbook CDs.

Isn't it a bit ironic the prices charged for "good" CD transports when a computer is seemingly so much better equipped and cheaper, at least nowadays?

I suppose when CD players first came out the technology needed to read and forward the data correctly was pricey, but I am certain it is not nowadays.
Shazam -- Yes, it makes (bit-)perfect sense! Thanks very much.

So the benefit (or at least a benefit) of the large cache is that it allows time for the large number of retries which may be attempted, at least with marginal disks, which in turn would essentially eliminate the need for error interpolation.

One question that brings to mind that I would want to assess is how well-controlled the acoustic noise produced by the drive mechanism is, considering that it is running at considerably faster than 1x rates, and it will occasionally shuffle around and backtrack for the re-reads. I'd assume that is addressed well in the design, but it seems like a relevant question to raise.

Another point relating to their descriptive literature, though, would be that claims that no error correction is used are probably mis-stated. EAC's site, in fact, states that with the EAC software "if there are any errors that can’t be corrected, it will tell you on which time position the (possible) distortion occurred, so you could easily control it with e.g. the media player." In other words, I would envision that the PerfectWave Transport does away with the combined error correction/error interpolation provisions that are provided by more conventional cdp drive units, but then makes use of the Reed-Solomon error correcting codes in its own processing, to correct all errors which can be bit-perfectly corrected. There would seem to be no reason not to do that. The difference relative to a conventional cdp is, if I am correct, that no error interpolation (i.e., estimating of what the sample value should be) is performed -- that is what is eliminated by the multiple re-reads.

FYI, re your statement about the PW using EAC, one of the pages at their site indicates that their MREC (Multiple Read Error Correction) process is "similar in concept to EAC."

The benefit of all of that, of course, will vary with the physical quality of the cd, and perhaps the age and condition of the laser. But there is no question in my mind that the I2S interface approach is vastly preferable to the conventional interfaces that multiplex and then de-multiplex clocks and data, and that is perhaps the most significant advance provided in this design.

Thanks again for the good explanations.

-- Al

i find it surprising that ps audio did not use one of three 32 bit dacs. perhaps one of the dacs which incorporates such a chip will give ps audio's productm competition, e.g., the buffalo dac.
There are well known and praised digital front end systems on the market listed at $68,500, $29,000, and…I don’t know off the top of my head what MBL’s best are listed at. Now, we have the Perfect Wave system listed at $6,000. Comparatively speaking, this cannot be considered “over-priced.” I just bought the PWD for $2,000 (plus trade in). I have written about what this system sounds like. It does not deserve comparison to the DACs that I am familiar with in the $5,000 and under sector. The PWT/PWT should be compared to the super high-end digital front end systems on the market. It may, or may not hold its own with such products, but I can verify that it is superior to most of the well mentioned systems. Personally, I have opted for the forthcoming Bridge instead of the PWT (transport). To me, a high-end music server makes more sense – why bother with individual CDs…
2chnlben, if I understand this right, the Perfect Wave merely reads the cd into flash memory and then replays it. Why this is then not added to a hard drive seems unfortunate to me, but I can see why a perfect copy would be better than relying on the cd player to get the data just in time to send it on.

I have not heard a demonstration of hard drive to flash drive for replay versus straight from hard drive. Perhaps this does make a difference.
I suspect that it is not flash memory which is being used, but rather dynamic RAM (random access memory), similar to computer RAM memory except with much less capacity. Hard drives and flash memory retain what has been stored when power is turned off, while dynamic RAM does not. However, RAM is much faster, and also cheaper and more compact. Also, flash memory has a limited number of write cycles it can handle before failing, the number being fairly large but potentially a significant factor in cdp or transport lifespan. And it requires sophisticated memory management algorithms to minimize that limitation.

In principle a transport could certainly be designed to utilize either a hard drive or a flash memory, but it would add to the cost and complexity, without providing added value for many or most users.

-- Al
Almarg, I think the Memory Player uses flash memory or claims to. I don't remember whether it retains its information, however. What is in this memory can then to downloaded to the hard drive.
Tbg -- From the owner's manual:

The memory for the PWT is not located in the rear SD card as is commonly assumed. The rear panel SD card holds the cover art and song title information as it is acquired. In addition, the SD card is used to program new firmware in the PWT.

The SD card is flash memory, of course, but as this indicates it is not what is used as the buffer memory for the music.

-- Al
Any other beta testers besides Mr Darby? Comments?
The buffer in the PW Transport and PWD Bridger is a RAM chip very similar to computer memory.

Also, they haven't decided if the Bridge will be wireless or not yet (I think it might have been another thread someone asked about that). They are considering doing something like Sonos does where you can plug a device into the router and create their own network mesh that doesn't bother depend on the limitations of standard WiFi.

This from the horses mouth last night (Paul of PS Audio).

That approach wouldn't surprise. Looks like PS is going down the high performance/proprietary architecture/customer lock-in route more like Sonos with this product line from what I can see.

The plus to this is that the stuff you buy from PS Audio should perform very and be easy to use together.

The down side is that you may be locked into PS Audio for upgrades and add-ons that are compatible down the road and may pay more for what you get as well.

Kind of like the Apple computer road that many gladly go down.
I think very few people have heard them, just beta testers. Their impressions on PS Audio's forum have been generally quite positive, with three caveats. First, the Transport/DAC supposedly sounds best on high-res formats that are not widely available commercially. Second, the units supposedly sound best plugged directly into an amp rather than a preamp, which creates a problem if you listen to vinyl. Third, the products may not be completely bug-free at this point and some of the functionality (like wireless music server capabilities) has yet to be developed and is not scheduled to be released until the end of the year.
Distributor representatives hit the road with products for auditioning in June. That’s how I auditioned the series at my local dealer. The series that I listened to extensively was just superb. While the HD files and DVD disc (containing HD files) did sound exceptional, I found that Redbook playback was the best that I’ve heard to date.
I'm thinking of taking the same road that 2chnlben is taking. The Powerwave DAC seems to be the answer for what I'm looking for and I'm very curious about how the bridge will be implemented.... AND how much it will cost. If they keep the cost down it will probably be a no-brainer
Paul M of PS Audio said he believes the price on the bridge will be in the $500 range. But that is subject to change if they change the design (which is possible given the current design lacks wireless - an unacceptable condition in my eyes).

I'm still waiting for delivery of my DAC - no word on when that will be. Not even sure if my dealer has one yet.

I'm still waiting on mine too. Like you, I’m hoping for a wireless Bridge, but as long as the remote control interface is stiller (which Paul indicates that it will be) I can live with an Ethernet connection - which might even enhance the transmission quality. It would be another freakin' wire to string across the floor though.

While you’re awaiting the Bridge, what will interface your Sonos and PWD with – USB or S/PDIF?
no USB on the Sonos - so SPDIF it is.
I'm going to trial the PW DAC with my Duet and eventually pick up a NAS when the bridge is out ("Has anyone seen that confounded bridge" - Led Zep) Using the Duet is much more convenient than getting off the couch, turning up the lights and digging through the CD drawers to find the next selection.

I now have the Duet feeding a Cullen Stage 4 PS Audio DL3 and it sounds pretty darn good, but it won't handle any rez higher than redbook, hence my interest in the PWD. It will be interesting to compare the two DACs.
Actually, the Duet will support up to 24/48 natively. I'm not sure about the DL-III (I know it up-samples – not sure about native though)?? I do know that the 24/96 files that I feed my Cullen-modded DL-III via the Duet all sound superior to my Redbook.
How are you feeding 24/96 files to the DAC? Are you using a software player that downsamples them to 16/44? Tell me how so I can try it!


Since you have the SB Duet, you are undoubtedly running the SqueezeCenter software, which will down-convert 24/96, or anything higher, to the Duet's native 24/48 output. I’m not sure if SqueezeCenter up-converts 16/44 to 24/48, or if it simply streams the 16/44…anyone?? Now, what I don't know is what the DL-III does with the 24/48 signal. It will depend on what it supports natively (maybe the PS Audio website has this information available), but remember it is an up-sampling DAC. So, if you have the DAC set on 24/96, it probably takes the 24/48 signal (and/or 16/44) and up-samples it to 24/96 (I assume this is the protocol). In native mode, the PWD will support up to 24/192 without any up-sampling (i.e.: it will support the Duet's 24/48 "signal" natively).

PS says that the USB on the PWD, which supports 24/96, runs straight to I2S and is one of the best USB interfaces available, but the Duet doesn’t support USB – so you and I will have to run S/PDIF. Once the Bridge arrives, the best interface between it and the NAS will be Ethernet (or wireless – if they go that route, but it sounds like they’re still undecided), effectively eliminating the need for USB or S/PDIF. The Bridge will also go directly to I2S (the PS protocol is to place the Bridge/Lens in the chain prior to the analog conversion, at which point it is output to I2S with asynchronous clocking).
I'm 99% sure the DL3 only takes in straight Redbook on the SPDIF inputs (16/44.1) USB is a different story, but I'm not interested in using USB. I want to have some higher than Redbook FLAC files on my laptop ready to feed the PWD when it arrives, so I'm still trying to figure out how to do that (besides USB. But if that's the only way, oh well.) I'm thinking of buying a couple 24/96 albums from HDTracks to use. I'll post this question on the PS Audio forum.

Since the DL-III is an up-sampling DAC (with the choice of either 24/96 or 24/192) I assume that when the SB Duet feeds it a 24/48 signal (from 24/96 files which SqueezeCenter down-converts to 24/48), that signal is automatically up-sampled it to either 24/96 or 24/192 depending on the setting you choose? In other words, we're not really hearing what 24/48 sounds like natively, we're hearing it up-sampled to 96 or 192 kHz. Therefore, via the Duet and DL-III you and I cannot hear what native 24/96 really sounds like. I (think) what we get is a weird hybrid (24/96 converted to 24/48 and then reconverted back to 24/96)??

Once you and I receive our PWDs we can feed them up to 24/48 natively via our Duets, but that's the limit. We'll have to wait for the confounded Bridge to realize native 24/96 and higher.
I believe the DL-III upsamples as a way to reduce jitter. Unfortunately, it does not offer a "native" mode of 44k(like the PWD will.) In any case, I am 99% sure it only deals with 16 bits, but I haven't queried the PS Audio folks yet to get the real answer.

I'll be in the Denver area next week and plan to visit the factory, so hopefully can resolve all my questions there. I'll post my findings.

In any case, I am 99% sure it only deals with 16 bits, but I haven't queried the PS Audio folks yet to get the real answer.

Ahh...does this mean the 96 and 192 kHz up-sampling modes are actually 16/96; 16/192? That doesn't seem right?? I guess it won't really matter come December!! Ironically, the 24/96 files that I feed the Duet-DLIII do sound superior to the majority of my Red Book files (just think what they'll sound like via the PWD).
Will the PWT/PWD be able to be controlled and your music files accessed with an I-Pod touch? I had read this someplace but haven't heard it discussed lately? Or would this be connected with the yet to be released bridge?
Will the PWT/PWD be able to be controlled and your music files accessed with an I-Pod touch? I had read this someplace but haven't heard it discussed lately? Or would this be connected with the yet to be released bridge?

This will be implemented via the forthcoming Bridge device. At one point there was talk about interfacing with an iPod/iTouch device(s). From talk on the PS Audio Forum, it now sounds like PS may take a different approach. As of now it has not been decided (or at least made public).
Does the dac sound better single-ended or balanced?
Does the dac sound better single-ended or balanced?

I'm still waiting for my PWD to arrive. During the audition, it was connected via a balanced interface, but I'm not sure there would much of a difference between really great single-ended ICs vs balanced ICs. I'll use balanced just because it's available and I have some good balanced cables on hand.

One thing to consider is the fact that balanced gives you a 6db gain so if you plan to use the PWD as a preamp that may give you a little extra headroom on the volume.
I will receiving this new exciting product in a few weeks. My dealer says I in for a real treat.
He states that the sonic presentation is truly non-digital sounding and extremely enjoyable that most people can live with the PW duo until the end of time.
I am hoping owners may share their opinions about the sound performance and some tips using this new PW.

Thank you,
i'm considering the PWT/PWD too. just gave them a short demo at a local audio shop. sounded really nice but then everything i hear in a demo room sounds really nice. have heard alot of positive comments(mostly from folks selling the product) but would like to hear more from owners who have some extended "real world" use with the pair.

look forward to hearing and reading more.
Best demo I've heard of the PWD: a decent CD player and the PW duo connected to the same pre/amp/speaker setup with two copies of the same album. We did some A/B listening flipping between the two and got a real sense of the differences. Much smoother and a bit better stage I recalled. But most importantly, it was the least "digital" sounding digital device I think I've ever heard - and that is what sold me. Seems there is something to the new filters.

My PWD just arrived at the dealer today (just got the call). I think I'll take my source in (Cullen modded Sonos & DL3 with Cullen level 3 mod) and do some listening since I'm swapping out my DAC as part of the deal. We'll see if they let me do it.
i'm jumping in the lake without dipping a toe first. have been looking to upgrade my cdp and eyeballing DAC/Transports for a while. the PS Duo just popped onto my radar last month. a set was made available the other night (right after i posted above), so i jumped on it. should have mine next week. much rather waited a year for some debugging but hey....it's not a pacemaker or baby crib. i'll survive if it takes a crap.

with everything i've read and 4k with trade-in program....it seemed like the thing to do.

looking forward to it

I got an answer from Ryan Conway at PS Audio:

"The DL3 will take virtually any two channel PCM you can feed it as follows:

USB = up to 16/48
Toslink = up to 24/96
Coax Digital = up to 24/192"

So I can hear hi rez today (well, once I figure out how to get 24/96 out of my HP laptop. No Toslink or coax on this bad boy. :-( )
Here is my experience with the PerfectWave transport (PWT) that I received a few days ago.

Nice and well built piece although the drawer makes an awfully cheap sound when it opens/closes. The touchscreen is a nice feature but with the unit I have received it flickers once in a while (intended?).

To evaluate the sound quality of the PWT I compared its music presentation with my 2-channel reference transport/Dac system consisting of a Forsell Air Reference MarkII transport and an Audio Synthesis Dac2 D/A converter connected to a Meridian G 68 XXD pre/pro. Amplifiers were Krell KSA-300S, speakers Apogee Divas and cables NBS or Transparent Audio Ultra/Reference. The power cables for the two transports were matched and provide balanced power from an Equitech power supply (50amp dedicated circuit). For the comparison of the transports I used the same Redbook CDs with Jazz, female opera singer, classical piano, violin, whole orchestra, and choir acapella music. The PWT was connected to the pre/pro in two different configurations: I first connected it via NBS Master S/PDIF digital cable with a digital input of my Meridian XXD pre/pro to provide the D/A conversion (24bit/96kHz) dacs. Alternatively I connected the PWT via an NBS Pro balanced digital cable with the Audio Synthesis Dac2 which in turn was connected to the Meridian pro/pro in the same way as the Forsell transport. So alternative one was "all digital" from transport to digital pre/pro, alternative two included an external D/A converter in addition.
For both pathways the PWT sounded detailed and with a solid lower range. Voices and solo instruments were presented with good texture and placement. The overall impression of the sound was on the bright side and not very lively. It was clean and precise, but somewhat 'sterile' (esp. live recordings). Unexpectedly the soundstage and the volume of the reproduction increased when the path with the additional external dac was taken.
The direct A/B comparison of the PWT with the Forsell transport with the same diverse music material revealed for both setups that the PWT cannot reach the sound quality of the presentation of the Forsell. The Forsell transport presents voices and instruments more solid in their position and more natural in their texture. There is more ambiance/detail in the presentation, it is significantly more lively and engaging. The differences were not subtle and an audience of several audiophiles could pick them up in a blind A/B session easily.
Although the PWT is obviously a very good sounding transport it is no match for the transport (Forsell) used in this comparison as a reference.