PS Audio DirectStream Memory Player with pure DSD "Handshake" technology. My review coming soon..

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steve Hoffman, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    I only realized today how many SACD's I actually have. I have all the original Sony single layer disks released (a lot) that were sent to me by Sony back in the day and I have all the Fantasy Jazz disks plus over 100 more at least and that is not counting the entire RCA-Victor Living Stereo series and the bunch I mastered. Other than my original Sony player (that glitched every damn day until it finally died a gruesome death), I haven't heard pure DSD except in the studio working on SACD projects like Nat Cole, Ten Years After, America, etc. DSD with PS Audio quality is something to look forward to.

    I've been waiting for this since 2009. Well, it's time. Released last year, mine is coming to me in five days.

    It is the new PS Audio Universal Transport, capable of playing multiple types of optical discs including, DVD-Audio, AVCHD, SACD, HRx, CD, CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL, BD-R/RE, as well as stored data through its USB digital input.

    The Handshake technology means that (to keep SONY happy, copyright wise) the DSD pure playback will only work with the PS Audio DirectStream DAC designed by Ted Smith. (Latest upgrade "Redcloud.") Since I have that already, I'm in.

    Bill Leebens of PS Audio tells me that Paul and the gang were most surprised at the boost that regular Redbook CD playback got from this new system.

    Looking forward to trying out both CDs and SACDs on this. I think the list for this is $5,999.00


    DirectStream Memory Player

    ps-audio-directstream-memory-player-front.jpg
     
  2. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    I see that the dac and dmp combo is $11K. :eek:

    Steve,
    I am very interestes in your findings. Looking forward to your review!
     
  3. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    This has been on the market quite some time now hasn't it?
     
    Metralla likes this.
  4. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I've been enjoying mine tremendously. SACDs sound great and CDs sound better than one expects. It's a slight bit wonky on some of the dvd-audio discs but a firmware fix is imminent.

    By the way, unless you go to stupid crazy priced HDMI cables to connect the DMP to the DS DAC, the stock one is excellent enough for most.
     
  5. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    yes and no. :) The DAC came out around 2014 and the transport a bit latter...however since these are FPGA machines, the converter software of RedCloud is only a month or two old. Being able to update the software by downloadable file is quite unique.
     
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Lee, I honestly didn't realize how many SACDs I actually had. Sony sent me everything when they sent me the player and over the years I've received a ton more. Looking forward to this.
     
    LeeS likes this.
  7. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I have 1,400 myself. You will likely be very impressed with SACD playback. It's honestly among the best I have heard and I've heard a lot. Look forward to your thoughts. The RedCloud software kicked this into reference territory in my mind.

    But if I might humbly suggest...play a disc on repeat 24/7 until you get the full 500 hours (!) of break-in. It just keeps getting better and better imho.
     
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Yeah, it's not cheap. Should be an interesting listen. A few people I know (and who's ears I trust) cannot say enough nice things about the upgraded CD playback so that's a real plus. We'll see!
     
    ultron9 likes this.
  9. marcb

    marcb Forum Resident

    Location:
    DC area
    Do you have any of the Audio Fidelity SACDs? A few are actually pretty good...I recommend them.
     
    Don Parkhurst likes this.
  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    I might have every one, I'd have to check.
     
  11. triple

    triple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    He said innocently.
     
  12. MDW

    MDW Howard The Duck's Biggest Fan

    Location:
    Arkansas
    I’m very interested. I just bought a Marantz SA-8005, which I’m quickly falling in love with. That said, if it’s a considerable step up I might try to swing it.

    Can’t wait!
     
  13. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    Just to be clear, this is only true in the cases where manufacturers do NOT use HDMI for the digital (DSD) connection between transport and DAC. If, as in the case of PS Audio, a manufacturer chooses to go the proprietary connection route, they must encrypt that link in order to satisfy the SACD license requirements. If I remember correctly, PS Audio uses I^2S via a HDMI connector for the digital link.
     
  14. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Correct. It's an I2S connection.
     
  15. marcb

    marcb Forum Resident

    Location:
    DC area
    So do I. :agree:
     
  16. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    DREAM LINK

    Hopeful that Steve will have a chance to borrow Playback Designs new flagship at some point to compare with PS Audio. Andreas Koch, PD founder, has been involved with DSD (and audio engineering in general) for a while. I believe PS Audio partnered with him to get their FPGA going.
     
  17. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    I had not heard that.
     
  18. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    Without knowing anything about this device, but after having read the marketing bumph, can someone explain to me 1. what is new here and 2. why it would make any difference?

    My previous generation Sony BD players (say $129C) could send out a DSD signal via HDMI, just as my new Sony UBP-X800s ($200C) do. My older Onkyo PR-SC886 pre/pro (in main home theatre) can accept a DSD signal via an HDMI input. My likewise almost-as-old Pioneer VSX-1029AH-K receiver (in family room home theatre) can also accept a DSD signal via an HDMI input. In both cases I'm using a $10 generic CanadaComputers HDMI cable. In both cases things (my dozens and dozens and dozens of SACDs) sound fantastic - both in stereo and multichannel.

    Without even waiting for Steve's review I'll accept that the conclusion will be that it sounds plus-que fantastic. For that amount of money it should. But is this because it's doing something that's truly never been done before (and if so what is it) or is it just because it's a $6k piece of gear and darn well better for a bunch of other design / quality reasons?

    More to the point: is this all because of "pure handshake DSD technology" - whatever that is?

    Sincerely.

    Jeff
     
  19. MDW

    MDW Howard The Duck's Biggest Fan

    Location:
    Arkansas
    Jeff, I actually just did a shootout between a Sony BDP-S6500 and a Marantz SA-8005. There is a BIG difference. I will agree with you that these marketing terms are wearing thin, but it’s just a label. Somebody had an idea, hopefully a good one, and had to distinguish that something is different from brand x. There are a ton of reasons for disc playback to be problematic, and yes, they rear their ugly head more often than we would realize (or care to admit). But if you are happy with the sound, don’t worry about it! Nobody knows you like yourself.

    Edit - That came out harsh and I truly didn’t intend for it to. I’ll just wait on the review.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
    TarnishedEars likes this.
  20. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Although an HDMI cable is used, it's the I2S protocol.
     
    Dave likes this.
  21. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Just like the rest of us, our leadeer is getting older; ergonomics will figure into your entertainment once you start doing the math about how to spend your off-hours to best effect.

    I wonder how this will change his listening habits, both personal, and in the presence of company.
     
  22. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    No problem.

    So if I were to connect the Sony via HDMI and stream DSD to the two devices as I previously described, and then did the same with the Marantz, I would notice a big difference? To what might that be attributed?

    So in a similar manner, we could expect this new PS Audio transport to create an even bigger difference when compared to the Marantz, and especially the Sony?

    It will be interesting to see if it therefore meets expectations.

    Jeff
     
  23. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    Ok, so as near as I can tell, this Wiki entry deals with the I2S protocol (which I fully admit I'd never heard of before).

    I²S - Wikipedia

    If that's correct, it's been around since 1986. So what's new is that unlike most (but not all) others who have used it to link a transport device to a DAC (externally) PS Audio uses an HDMI cable. So that doesn't appear to be new nor novel. Is PS Audio the first to do DSD over HDMI? And again that raises the question (to me at least) as to why that should sound better than what others have done?

    And if nobody else does that it would make a comparative listening test impossible - insofar as being able to isolate and attribute any improvement (or the opposite, since we need to always be prepared for that possibility) solely to using I2S passing DSD over HDMI.

    In any case, Steve's review is even more highly anticipated!

    Jeff
     
  24. MDW

    MDW Howard The Duck's Biggest Fan

    Location:
    Arkansas
    I used coax and optical (no HDMI on the Marantz), with everything else the same. And yeah, you should notice it :)
    As far as the PS Audio, I hope it is better and eagerly await said review. Note I’m skipping the why (because I honestly don’t know).
     
  25. F1nut

    F1nut Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Mars Hotel
    No offense, but there are numerous SACD players that will out perform what you have. However, their benefits may not be apparent used with the other gear you mentioned.
     
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