PS AUDIO PERFECT WAVE MKII


Hello,
Ps audio manufacturer states that it has an internal pramp on this dac.

I wonder if the mk2 gives better results with is own internal preamp or adding an external preamp could give better results? Are anyone had a chance to make the comparison?

Thank you!
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I had a Perfectwave DAC MKII and tried it direct into my amp. I preferred to have the preamp in. At that time a had a Parasound P5 preamp. I decided to upgrade and purchased a Parasound JC2 preamp and PS Audio Directstream DAC. I tried the Directstream direct into the amp and strongly preferred the sound. As a matter of fact I sold the JC2.
I second Ricred1's comments. I was using an Audio Research LS-25 with the PWD Mk II, it definitely sounded better that way. Now with the DirectStream it's more of a toss up. For me the big difference was the PWD had a rather high output requiring me to run the volume in the 40-60 range which was compromising the sound. With the DirectStream the overall output level is down slightly plus there is an option for an additional 20 dB of attenuation. This works great with sources that vary in their output. The DirectStream also has a much larger bit depth and you can lower the volume to 50 (maybe less) without any loss of data, on the PWD it was more like a volume setting of 70 where there was data loss.
Great responses so far. The preamp/direct question seems to be one of those things that can be very unpredictable and influenced by impedance matching and many other factors. I'm willing to bet that the MKII > Amp can be bettered by a very, very fine preamp but in my situation it's not a margin I'm willing to pay $5-10k to explore.
It all depends on your preamp, system synergy and personal taste. Personally I much prefer with my VAC SigMKIIa pre in the chain when I had a PWDMKII.

My brother has a DirectStream and is using his McIntosh preamp in the chain.
I used it with a preamp, which I much preferred. Amp-direct, the DAC sounded a bit shrill and the soundstage collapsed. Even Paul McGowan, the head of PS Audio, who initially claimed amp-direct sounded best, ended up buying an Aesthetix Calypso and concluded that his system sounded much better when that preamp was inserted between the PW2 and his amp.
Also if you are using a preamp, turn volume on the DAC to 100% for best results. Volume control is in digital domain so truncating bits if not 100%
Knghifi, according to Ted Smith of PS Audio,it does not matter where the volume level is,the DS will not lose any bits digitally.

From PS Audio forums. Ted Smith quote below...

The DS doesn't loose bits digitally no matter what the volume is set to. Still there's an analog noise floor so if you never have the volume set above, say 60, you'd be better off to use the 20dB attenuator and have the volume up nearer 100. Since the 20dB attenuator is implemented passively in analog it lowers the analog noise floor by, well, 20dB.

Also, FWIW, there's nothing special about 100, e.g. 93 (or any volume setting that works for you) will not cause any less accuracy anywhere in the DS than you get with the volume at 100.
01-16-15: Aolmrd1241
Knghifi, according to Ted Smith of PS Audio,it does not matter where the volume level is,the DS will not lose any bits digitally.

From PS Audio forums. Ted Smith quote below...

The DS doesn't loose bits digitally no matter what the volume is set to. Still there's an analog noise floor so if you never have the volume set above, say 60, you'd be better off to use the 20dB attenuator and have the volume up nearer 100. Since the 20dB attenuator is implemented passively in analog it lowers the analog noise floor by, well, 20dB.

Also, FWIW, there's nothing special about 100, e.g. 93 (or any volume setting that works for you) will not cause any less accuracy anywhere in the DS than you get with the volume at 100.
Interesting! Thanks.
Volume level-resolution characteristics for the Directstream don't necessarily apply to the PWD MKII.
Bsme85, if Directstream volume control is implemented in the digital domain, I don't understand how bits are not truncated if not running full volume.

If I remember correctly, in the PWD MKII running singled ended, you can attenuate the volume 20db at 3 different levels. This enables you to run full volume and not truncate any bits. To clarify, when I say 100, it means full volume.