PS Audio DirectStream Memory Player with pure DSD "Handshake" technology.

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

  1. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    This is incorrect. Ted Smith partnered with PS audio and he is responsible for the majority of the design behind the Direct Stream DAC and its FPGA.
     
  2. Claus

    Claus Food Critic

    Location:
    Germany
    Great combo!!!
     
  3. MichaelXX2

    MichaelXX2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    A SACD transport that can output pure DSD to a PS Audio compliant DAC is something we've needed on the market for 18 years. I'm pretty sure my Holo Audio Spring is compatible with this transport, and it would be nice to spin actual SACD discs instead of ripping them to my PC, but that price! :eek:
     
  4. warp2600

    warp2600 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Budapest, Hungary
    How were you able to compare the DSD streams output by the Sony and the Marantz players if there is no HDMI OUT on the Marantz? AFAIK DSD from SACDs cannot be output through coax or optical.

    What jaffmackwood asked was whether there was a difference in streaming the DSD source from different SACD players/transports through the same HDMI connection. One would think that one would get the same bitstream from the sources and what really matters is the other end of the line, where your DSD bitstream gets converted to analog.
     
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  5. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    "Ted freely admits his debt to other DSD designers like Andreas Koch of Playback Designs, who generously shared a concept or two with Ted to help him work through his own design approach. It is like unto what Andreas has done in his own reference-level work with the MPx series of players and DACs, all of which make PCM sound much more pleasant than any purely PCM approach has done."

    LINK

    So, anyhow, hopefully Steve will get his hands on the Dream series at some point.
     
  6. Lonson

    Lonson Don't get around much anymore

    Location:
    Chardon, Ohio
    There are quite a few comments about the DirectStream Memory Player in this thread Steve started:

    PS Audio DirectStream DAC & PerfectWave Memory Player duo, converts to DSD, my review....

    I was a "beta tester" for this player and bought the unit I tested. . . it's the best transport I've ever had. SACD and Redbook playback connected to the DirectStream DAC is very very good. There are functional issues that can be hassles for some more often than others (some units seem less functional than others) and because there is no video output it is unfortunately not able to play the correct tracks on many DVD and Blu-ray Audio discs. A firmware rewrite which will be out in time will probably help functional glitches go away, but the playback problems with DVD and Blu-ray Audio discs will persist.

    For SACD and Redbook . . . I predict that after breakin Steve will really enjoy this duo.
     
  7. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    No offense, but none of that answers the questions that I asked.
     
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  8. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    I've had a DirectStream Memory Player and DAC here for demo units a while now......It's really a very nice combo.

    It has become my main go to when playing cd's or streaming for customer demo's.
     
  9. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I2S has indeed been around forever. But it was never intended to be an external interface like SP/DIF, toslink, and HDMI both were and are. It was designed for internal use inside of CD players. It is a pretty recent development to take this internal bus and use it for external connections as well. The primary advantage of I2s over SP/DIF, as I understand it, is that I2S sends a discrete clock signal along with the data, rather than having to derive the clock from the data. It is more of a "raw" or "pure" interface, if you will, which inserts less hardware in-between the sender and the receiver than do any of the other formats.

    This gives I2S the advantage of being a slightly more precise means of sending the clock signal than SP/DIF is capable of. I2S also does not suffer from being tied to as much hardware which was specifically designed to recognize and pass PCM data. This makes it possible to send 100% pure DSD signals over this type of connection which could not have otherwise been passed-through in a native format though PCM chipsets (without needing to wrap it inside of a DoP protocol, that is).

    One of the additional problems has been that Sony's SACD licensing specifically forbids sending unencrypted DSD data (including DSD which has been converted to PCM, and by implication, DoP as well) over any type of external connection. All of this has, up until now, largely made building 2-box SACD players impossible (yes, I'll get to HDMI in a minute). And this INCLUDES sending unencrypted DSD data over an external implementation of I2S.

    But apparently PSAudio was able to get around this restriction by working closely with Sony to come up with some means of creating an encrypted proprietary hand-shake between these two devices. There is probably no way that Sony would have allowed even this 10 years ago, but with the cat being out of the bad in terms of ripping SACDs now, I'm guessing that they are not as dead set against such an application anymore.

    OK, so what about just using HDMI you ask? There are two problems here. 1) HDMI licensing fees are horribly expensive to a small high-end manufacturers who, despite the prices of their products, really do not make very much money. Yes big companies have no problem with this, and many Chinese manufacturers just used it, without bothering to license it. But PSAudio is a small company, and not licensing HDMI by a US company will get your butt sued off.

    Now for the secondary issue with HDMI: HDMI was never designed to be an audio-only interface. In order to send an audio signal over HDMI it must first be embedded inside of a video signal. This means that all audio data is tied to video "frames". This means that this data must be extracted from video frames which are inflexible and are not timed optimally for sending most audio data. Only a 48kHz audio signal is ever fundamentally 100% in-sync with the video. All other sample frequencies much be chopped-up to fit inside of this video frame. And while this can be, and is done regularly, it represents a very high jitter way of sending an audio signal. And it is a widespread belief inside of the high-end community that any jitter which a digital audio stream is subjected to can subtly degrade the quality of the resulting audio.

    Now please don't ask for me to argue with you about the merits of reducing jitter, which is its own discussion and controversy. I'm just providing a quick and dirty explanation of why what PS Audio has done here is so revolutionary inside of the SACD domain.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  10. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    LeeS likes this.
  11. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    I don't believe it is "revolutionary", but I sure am pleased that Playback Designs, PS Audio, and others (such as dCS) are supporting physical SACD!
     
    F1nut likes this.
  12. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    I'm excited to read your review, as I only became aware of these units the other day. And because I've always been fairly unimpressed with any CD playback that I've heard. I don't have a ton of SACDs, but at least you can still buy lots of them at reasonable prices.
     
  13. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
  14. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    It is indeed {edit to recognize Black Elk's point} highly unusual to have a 2-box SACD player because this has (almost) never been done this way before. If this were not so, then literally EVERYBODY would have been using SP/DIF to send unencypted DSD for the past 15+ years, and 2-box SACD players would be a dime a dozen.

    All of the other means of extracting unencrypted DSD signals (or PCM conversions of these DSD streams) out of SACD players which have been invented over the past 10 years have ALL been in flagrant violation of Sony's licenses. You simply can't do this sort of thing as an actual manufacturer of an SACD player and get away with it. This is the loop-hole which Vanity and some of these other HDMI de-embedder manufactures have been able to jump-through: Because they do not make the players, they do not require Sony's licenses.

    And yes Ted's implementation of the DAC was indeed inspired by some of Kock's work. But Ted's implementation of the firmware inside of the FPGA is all his own, and it has evolved a very long way from his original attempts.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  15. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    What are you talking about? Sony/Philips approved proprietary interfaces for several companies from the very earliest days of SACD! (see above for one example)
     
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  16. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    OK, I will concede this point. I somehow completely forgot about Accuphase and a couple of others who did this before... {hangs head in shame}.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  17. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    dCS?

    Playback Designs had a modded Oppo as SACD transport, which I thought came out before the PS Audio.

    Esoteric likely had a two box for SACD before them as well. I'm not looking up the dates.

    Anyhow, your enthusiasm is terrific, but PS Audio isn't breaking ground.

    Perspective. Ask Ted about Andreas as an engineer. There was more than merely inspiration.
     
  18. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    To which you can add Accuphase, Sharp, EMM Labs, and I am sure that I am forgetting one or two others.
     
  19. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    I guess people with affordable A/V receivers that decode DSD over HDMI have been doing this for a decade. It's us smug audiophiles who have been going one box. :)
     
    mtrot likes this.
  20. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    I'm not sure what it is about McIntosh, Oppo, B&W, and PS Audio which attracts such loyalty. Sony can do no wrong for so many faithful in front projection, for another example. Interesting.

    Anyhow, I'll continue to hope that Steve will shine some light not only on PS Audio, but maybe help some forum members discover lesser known products and engineers.
     
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  21. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    It is a bit of an odd conundrum, isn't it. Unfortunately very few audio-only DACs accept HDMI inputs for the reasons which I have stated above.
     
  22. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    Eh, that would be I, with three different AVRs, first with my Yamaha RX-V1800, followed by Onkyo TX-NR809 and Denon AVR-5200W. They have all been fed by Oppo universal disc players. SACD and DVD-Audio sound pretty good to me via this method, but still not as good as some of my vinyl LPs on my turntable.
     
  23. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

     
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  24. triple

    triple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Dave and Don Parkhurst like this.
  25. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    Your post may end up reported to the PS Audio police! Take appropriate action. Thou shalt never criticize Sony, McIntosh, PS Audio, Oppo, or B&W.
     

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