February 28, 2014 - PS Audio of Boulder, Colorado, announced a new DAC that claims to deliver improved sound from both Pulse-Code Modulation (PCM) and Direct Stream Digital (DSD) sources. The DirectStream DAC is said to improve the way PCM files, from CDs to the highest-resolution files, are decoded.
How does it do that? By converting everything to DSD. And not just ordinary DSD; it converts all inputs to 10x DSD (that’s 10 times the usual DSD sampling rate of 2.8224 MHz), then converts it down to a 2x DSD (5.6448 MHz) sampling rate. PS Audio claims this process reveals information in PCM files that is normally masked. To do this, PS Audio dispenses with off-the-shelf DAC chips and uses a Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) which they configure into a true 1-bit processor. Using a FGPA provided a variety of advantages which are described in a white paper. All of the DAC’s inputs are converted to DSD, not just USB. To quote PS Audio’s press release: “PS Audio’s DirectStream isn’t just another new DAC. It's a whole new process for decoding digital audio.”
The MSRP for the DirectStream DAC will be $5995 in the USA; overseas prices will vary. Upgrades will be offered to convert PS Audio’s PerfectWave DACs. Shipments will begin to dealers and distributors in April, 2014.
Look for a review of the DirectStream DAC in The Absolute Sound.