PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC

Not sure if now's the time to ask since this thing hasn't even begun to ship yet, but anyone have any take on whether the new PS Audio PWD is a viable "one box" solution that would rival in quality what a simple NOS dac and USB converter (i.e. Empirical Audio) would provide? Did I tip my hand as to what I own now? :)

Sounds like it will be spendy $3,500+ when you include the "bridge" option to reclock an incoming signal. It doesn't appear to deal with Apple Lossless format (or potentially AIFF), but the one box solution that allows interface via an IPod Touch or similiar device and that offers 16/44.1 via I2S w/o digital filtering looks like it has potential. Of course they had to go proprietary with HDMI to eliminate Empirical or anyone else from the equation for the time being.
At that price it would have to outperform Ayre QB-9 and what are the chances of that happening?
The price is actually $3000.

I heard a pre release unit at an audio club 2 months back, but I can't make any meaningful judgments about sound quality from the demo, since the gear and music was unfamiliar.

But based on the quality of their current DAC, I am confident it will be excellent sounding (since the new one is 3X the price and the latest technology. They have also learned things from the modded DLIII's that were being done, to incorporate into the new design.

I do think it can handle any codec except ALC, but Paul McGowan did say the unit's firmware is user upgradable to accept new codecs, as they appear (or become popular) It does flac for example (at various sample rates), and they added Reference Recordings HRX compatibility since I saw the demo.

I don't know if the bridge reclocks, but it will allow the unit to be hooked to a hard drive or network, and browse song titles from there.

I hope that sheds some light on the unit. PS AUdio has a forum on it's site where the discuss the nitty gritty, future features etc.
Combined with their new DAC, also $3,000, it will very likely set new standards. The reviews have been excellent. My friend, who is an audio dealer, and a trusted one at that, said the demo at the CES show was very impressive. Six grand is not an option for me tight now....
I believe it'll run $3500 w/ the "bridge" that provides reclocking from what I've read. If it gets rid of the need to have a computer in the equation, I'd probably be interested. I have an MHDT Havana tube dac right now though that I'm pretty happy with though it's fed by a more expensive USB converter. A "one box solution" plus a hard drive might be a better solution in the long run versus a computer/converter/dac scenario. It will be interesting to see this play out over the next 12-18 months.
My real question is how will it compare to the Modwright transporter? All the reviews on that say it is amazing... I have a regular transporter right now but am debating between upgrading it or getting the PW.
T?aS just reviewed the PW MKII DAC in the September 2012 issue. Here's the bottom line:

"The DAC II is an outstanding buy, even at $3,995, and is one of the most musical front ends available at any price."
– Anthony H. Cordesman, The Absolute Sound
I have $7,000 worth of hardware to feed my perfectwave MKII over AES/EBU (CAPS 2.0 server, Offramp 5 + powersupply + some cabling).

The reason I need this, is I have a Trinnov processor in front of the DAC that only uses AES/EBU, so I cannot use the bridge if I want to use my Trinnov processor.

If I take out the Trinnov, and compare the straight AES/EBU feed (remember, $7K!), the bridge wins (I tried this). Total cost of digital source is now $500 for a NAS and cheap PC.

Bottom line, the bridge architecture eliminates the need for some very expensive digital source hardware, which makes the PWD MKII + Bridge a killer deal. They can be bought used or demo for less than 3K, which will be some of the best money you'll ever spend on audio.
The ever even-handed Mr. Cordesman writes that the Perfect Wave DACII and Perfect Wave transport come very close to his $35K+ EMM labs XDS1/Soolos reference system and he says that on high res recordings the Perfect Wave is "sometimes better." When you consider what an MKI is going for used right now, it makes a lot of sense to get one and upgrade it to the MKII. Could be one of the best bargains in high end right now. I'm loving mine and I've heard some of the best.
Did he comment on the bridge too or just using the pw transport into the pw dac mkii?
He did talk about the bridge and stressed that he would only endorse a unit that works well as a server for his 9000 Cd's and music files. The DAC II met all of his expectations in that department.
never hurts to have ones own opinion somewhat validated by a professional review. seldom happens with me so i'm enjoying it. have been a psa pwt/pwd fan-boy since release mid 2009. the pair sounded great from day one. then came the bridge which was a little tricky at first.... but has progressed to be a real game changer in pc audio. the mkII hit it out of the park imho. truly incredible sound and still the best digital front end i've ever personally listened to.

have done a few comparo's with friends over the years and most had pricier gear at the time. almost everyone involved in those auditions now own the mkII/bridge or pwt/mkII/bridge. i'm still in love with them after 3 years (which count as dog years in digital audio)

agree with Vhiner above....buying a used pwd and upgrading to bridge and/or mkII is one of the best deals in hi-fi out there. it's a 2k-ish investment that could change your mind about computer audio and digital in general.


It was one of your early posts on a'gon that convinced me to check the PWD out. Many thanks!

Dumb question, how is everyone getting this article since I can not find it electronically (on their website or ordering the electronic version) or at the newsstand? The issue does not exist except I see it talked about here and on the PS Audio website.
Glad it worked out for you Vhiner. Jeff: didn't mean to imply i've read the article. just snippets here and there. Paul McGowen quoted a few lines as well and said it was a "rave review" i'm just assuming it will be.
The article is in the September issue, which has been mailed to subscribers like me. It should be on the newsstands by now. It won't be downloadable until September, I believe.
The issue is now available for download at the TAS site.