Thoughts on PS Audio's SuperLink Gen II DAC

I'm upgrading my Cambridge Audio D500 by adding a DAC, and my dealer is graciously letting me audition several DACs. After turning the first couple down, I've found one that I like. It's a used, nearly mint condition PS Audio Superlink Generation Two. Though I've nearly made up my mind to buy the piece, I'd like to see if anyone has had any experience with it. I've found next to nothing on the internet about it. It's built like a tank, though I think it's an older model (the circuit board has 1992 etched into it). The dealer said it retailed for $1400, and he's asking $350 (it's actually a consignment piece that the owner originally asked $700 for, but couldn't get). It has two co-axial digital ins (switchable), a toslink digital in, and RCA analog outs. It has a very nice liveliness/musicality, and more weight in the low end than the D500, though the D500 seemed to have slightly more control over the bass lines. The superlink isn't capable of revealing any more (or less) detail than the D500. The D500 seems to have better accuracy, but sounds somewhat dull and flat in comparison. My favorite thing about the Superlink is also my least favorite thing. It's very musical, and makes almost all my CD's sound good, some very good. The D500 on the other hand, is quicker to point out flaws in the recordings. This makes me think that the D500 is truer to what's actually recorded on the CD than the Superlink is. So it bothers me to think that the Superlink is making my recordings sound better because it's not reproducing the material as faithfully as the D500 (I think it has a bump in the midrange). Still, the Superlink DOES make me enjoy the music more, and that's what counts. It just makes the gear-lover in me struggle with the music-lover in me a bit (to think that I'm spending money on a piece of gear that is going to give me less accuracy). As a side note, the Superlink DAC may be too bright in some systems. I have laid back cabling (Transparent Audio), and a laid back warmish integrated amp (Audio Refinement Complete) that seemed to complement the lively Superlink. My speakers are Monitor Audio 5i's, which are slightly bright. When I switched out the T/A Super interconnects with some cheap Monsters laying around, the sound was a bit too bright. On another side note, the Superlink DAC sounded better with my Hitachi DVD player as the transport, than it did with my Cambridge D500 as the transport. So I'll probably sell my D500 which will pay for a lot of the Superlink. What a deal. I'll be that much closer to my next upgrade which will be a sub. It's between the REL Strata III and an NHT offering (since my dealer carries NHT and I can audition first and it's cheaper). Please let me know if anyone else has any experience with the PS Audio Superlink II.

I owned an Ultralink II and found it a little strident. Lots of detail but it could drill a whole through you on occation.
I used a Superlink II for a few years as my main DAC, and still have it in a second system that I don't use much. Since then I traded up to an PS Audio Ultralink II (a significant step up) and my current EVS Millennium.

I always enjoyed the musicality of the Superlink, though the Ultralink gave noticeable improvements in resolution, smoothness, and transparency without sacrificing the musicality. In my book, always go for musicality. How enjoyable is it really to sit there and marvel at the "truth" instead of enjoying the music. Music is about emotion, not intellect (unless, maybe, you're into modern classical msuic; sorry for the mini rant!). Besides, the Superlink's sins are of omission (not the last word in resolution or smoothness--but then that's why you pay more) and not comission (heightened detail that wears on you after a while and makes you listen less).

Now, I've seen used Ultralink IIs here for under $700. That's tempting.

John K.
I would avoid any digital equipment designed prior to the last couple of years. Digital has made some stunning advancements with products such as the MSB Link DAC and the Perpetual Technologies stuff. The difference between the newer stuff and the Superlink would be like night and day.
I used to own a Superlink and and just offering my honest opinion.
Hi Gil

350.00 for a Superlink is IMO entirely too much to pay for what is essentially a digital dinosaur. It has been superceded by many inexpensive DAC's. The Ultralink model is better as noted above. I purchased a used Ultralink after listening to a friends Superlink 4 years ago. It was better in all areas. I sold it over a year ago on AGon for 300.00. A Ultralink II is worth no more than 400.00. The Superlink probably isn't worth more than 200-250.00 tops.

Musicality is dated with reference to digital. The Ultralink processor was a Class B Stereophile product in 1992. The Superlink a Class C. By todays standards these processors sound strident (read digititis). An anti-jitter box would help but it would cost more still yet wouldn't bring the old DAC current with today's crop. For a few hundred more I would consider a used Bel-Canto or MSB or maybe even an Art DI/O which although I haven't heard personally is viewed by some a David in the land of Goliaths. This remains to be seen by me but for 122.00 and a few mods I am planning on hearing for myself. I hope you get the point Airman. You can do better for your 350.00. I can make available to you an Ultralink for probably 280.00-300.00. It is my buddy's who recently upgraded to a Bel-Canto 1.1 after listening extensively to mine. Good luck in your search.
I returned the PS Audio Superlink II to my dealer today, stlll unsure of whether or not to buy. Since he knew I was planning on getting a subwoofer in the near future, he let me take home an NHT Subtwo (I currently have no sub). Wow, what a difference! Everything improved, and my search for an upgrade is over. Yes, I know everyone recommends REL on this board, but I have no way of auditioning one (though I was hoping to), and the NHT is a little cheaper. Plus the reviews on NHT subtwo and REL seem to be nearly identical on audioreview. Both are musical, fast, and subtle. Thanks for all your responses.