its a miracle sound
Nitewulf, it's not a delta sigma DAC.
It uses an FPGA chip whose logic is determined by software. I understand it to be like a blank slate. Ted Smith writes the code. And there are periodic upgrades. It just keeps getting better and better. It sounds as good as the most expensive R2R ladder DACs that cost 10-20 times more, or so it has been stated by those who own both kinds.
AFAIK, Chord is the only other company using an FPGA approach. But Chord doesn't have Ted Smith. And PS Audio provides exemplary customer support; maybe Chord does, as well, but I don't know much about that company.
A recent post from... richfield_hunter from the... "Absolute top tier DAC for standard res Redbook CD"
"I have to put a plug in here for the the Bricasti M1 SE and most recently the PS Audio DS with the new Red Cloud firmware which get closer to the Davinci in SQ than they ought to considering the price difference."
Pretty impressive company for the PS Audio dac.
According to Exogal CEO Jeff Haagenstad in conversation with Michael Lavorgna of Audiostream:
"The longer version is that we don't do our D to A conversion in a conventional way. We have implemented a 6-core DSP in an FPGA (and we blew the "Read" bit, so we can write to it for upgrades but it can't be read or decompiled...) and we use some signal processing approaches that are unconventional in audio but not in wider signal processing work."
"The EXOGAL DSP platform (on which the Comet is the first of many products to exploit the technology) does have some conventional DAC chips but only the final output stages of the DAC chips are used for the final translation into analog. The main output uses PCM4104 DAC's and the headphones use PCM5122 DAC's. The outputs are buffered using TI/National LME49600 buffers. These are high-current, high-impedance, class AB buffers with no feedback. Beyond that, we ain't sayin' "
Read more at https://www.audiostream.com/content/exogal-comet-dac#zHAKuQUy8iV0yglU.99
Metrum is r2r, but there's FPGA processing:
"New to the Adagio are Transient DAC Two modules, a further development of the Transient and FPGA architecture used in the Pavane DAC. Inside each module are two 16-bit R2R ladder converters and one FPGA. When a 16 to 24 bit signal enters the module it is split into two sections by the FPGA. The upper bits are passed directly to one of the R2R converters, while the lower bits are raised to the highest level before they reach the second R2R converter. This increase in level is done so as to use the highest voltage on the ladder resistors, moving away from the relativel noisy, low level signal part that exists in all types of converter. Before the output stage the signal level of the second converter needs to be adjusted to the correct level and combined with the original upper part to create the correct output signal. Metrum manipulates the least significant bits (LSB) because lower level irregularities occur, non-linearity arises and digital noise becomes part of the analogue signal with lower level signals. These modules reduce noise by -145dB or more. This might sound simple but it took years to write the algorithms for the FPGA and to develop the Transient DAC Two R2R converters."
Not to stray too off topic though, PS Audio dacs are great, was just wondering what other dacs use fpga processing.
I honestly felt the ps audio ds dac was soft in the bass, it also lacked some detail. When I pulled off the cover I found a pair of m6 lamination edcor transformers doing, the current to voltage conversion, I would think. The difficulty with using a m6 lamination in a low level signal application is the core is has higher hysteresis loss than nickel and is far less sensitive to small signals. Just because a dac has a FPGA doesn't make it a great dac. The analog section plays a key roll in sound reproduction. The Schiit Yaggasil was far superior in my system IE bass, information, sound stage width. Then I went to a gustard x20 pro which is an amazing dac. Tight bass, massive sound stage, all sorts of subtle detail. The output stage is filled with the evil op amps etc.
Now I am running an audio gd 2 and the gustard x20 pro. The audio gd has a warmer sound but they are very close sonically over all.
FYI I have 4 systems in my house and I found basically the same result in 3 of the systems. My fourth system is av.
As someone who is in the clothing business, my technical knowledge of some of the things mentioned above is pretty limited. that said, i have been into and enjoying good home high end audio since the mid seventies. I have a system that is 100% PS Audio and think they are a fantastic company with fantastic products. Is there better out there? Probably but i do not stray as i am happily married. When a company has designers like Paul McGowan, Ted Smith, BHK, etc. then that is pretty impressive. Add great customer service and built and serviced in the US, plus the free upgrades like Red Cloud (which i thought was a nice improvement over Huron) and they are #1 in my book. And they have great sounding products which is why we are all here.
I've enjoyed a PS Audio DirectStream DAC since it first came on the market, and have applied (and enjoyed) each software upgrade since. I also have one of their DirectStream transports, the combination of the two is the best digital sound I've heard! I do have a Mytek Brooklyn DAC for streaming MQA...but I think the PS Audio pair beats the sound of most music remastered in MQA (but not all). I also have one of Paul's P10 Power Plant's, find that having clean power does make a difference with digital sources.
Installed Red Cloud a couple of nights ago - system comprises Zanden transport, PS Audio Directstream, Air Tight ATC2 & ATM3 monos, Tannoy Autograph speakers.
Substantial increase in resolution of individual instruments right through the midrange, improvements in coherency. On orchestral the location and specificity of individual instruments vastly better. On opera you can hear much more of the chest cavity on vocals. Yes slightly softer in low bass region but the other improvements are substantial, takes the DAC to another level. To my ears this is now a much more resolving DAC. Same results on both computer source and redbook CD.
Having just purchased PS Audios Direct Stream Player and Direct Stream Dac senior I’m now completely satisfied with digital playback and this latest firmware release has made listening even more pleasurable.
The PS Audio components replaced a Esoteric K03 which replaced a EMM Labs CDSA-SE both fine players in their day however when I really wanted to hunker down to listen to music I enjoy vinyl playback was ultimately more satisfying to me ,.,
Now that I have the Direct Stream Memory Player and Dac vinyl is rarely played now ,....
Going through some of the well known great recorded music spanning over past 60 years available on CD , SACD , Blueray including so called HIRES down loads which all were a pleasure to listen to however one recording in particular stood out that will give many a fright it’s sooo realistic sounding , a percussion piece recorded by Tonian Labs , Drums & Bells .
Tony Minasian engineer extraordinaire with a investment of over 200 grand in mic’s alone he modified specific models that capture so much realism in his recording of Drums & Bells with more to come from what I understand.
Getting back to the subject, this Red Cloud firmware update was immediately noticeable , so my highest praise goes out to PS Audio ,.
Ted Smith nailed this Redcloud OS. Listen to any well recorded cd/sacd and be amazed at the lifelike sound quality achieved by a ’non-hardware’ upgrade no less. And what is really spooky about all this is that Mr.Smith has already stated that he can and will get better results with the DS dac in pending future firmware updates.
And all this for FREE!!! Wow and double Wow!!!
Bring on the future...its looking very bright for all DS owners.
PS...The DMP transport is the icing on the cake.
I have the Tonian Labs Drums & Bells CD. I don’t know how Tony is doing it but It is the most dynamic recording I’ve ever heard. Since you mentioned it I am playing it now on the DS DAC. It is an excellent recording to test your system. It is just now that I am realizing just how good this latest firmware update is.
Lancelock , Incredible timbre and dynamics , I don’t know what to make of this recording, why does it sound so realistic and natural and the real kicker it’s red book ,
People are going to have to rethink what is possible using 44 16 ,.truly astonishing to say the least, Gotta keep an eye on Tonian Labs
I hope all PS Audio users will watch the video recently put out by President Paul McGowan about upgrading fuses. He heard the difference a better fuse makes ! It is at the PS Audio Web site- ask Paul. I recently upgraded the PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC and Perfect Wave Transport with Synergistic Research Blue fuses. The sonic improvement was significant.
They are sold with a 30 day trial. One good source via the internet is long time Audiogon seller " highend-electronics.com ". Alfred Kainz is a gentleman and will gladly refund your money if you do not think the Synergistic Research fuse is worthwhile.
I think they are the perfect Christmas present.
JoeCasey your welcome , isn’t it uncanny , just remarkable how realistic sounding it is .
I have since compared it to other superb percussion recordings by Sheffield Labs and Chesky Records however as good as these recordings are the Tonian Labs recording is clearly better, ,...uncanny .
Merry Christmas and happy listening everyone,.