Bodgit

PS Audio anyone?

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Wondering if anyone here has PS Audio gear, if so what do you have & your opinion?

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Have to agree with you there!

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I nearly bought the old 4.6 preamp when my Audionics died .. the bloke wanted too much money for it and I bought the SP9 instead.

When I first moved to Northampton the owner of Listen Inn used PS Audio stuff in his personal system with Acoustat loudspeakers.

To my ears PS Audio stuff from that generation was great stuff.  Clean, neutral and very open sounding and very similar to the Audionics preamp I had loved and was great value for money.  Preamps appear from time to time on ebay and if i was putting together another system for another room if I could get a 4.5 or 4.6 at a decent price I would buy it without hesitation 

I don't think I have ever seen a bad review and I do keep my eyes open for second hand power amps as I do have a hankering.  You can call him a salesman but the ideals and principles with which the company was started seemed genuine.  The company was sold in 1990 and I have no experience of products after that date and was bought back by one half of PS Audio (Paul McGowan).  There is no doubting the guy's credentials so whilst he may be a great salesman I think the hifi  products hold up.  Unless of course you are talking about their mains conditioners which seem to be vastly expensive  for what they are. 

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Thanks. Just thinking long term, I mean loooong term.

Assuming I move to the active SCM50s, I can plug my Wadia straight into it via XLR, but I might want the flexibility to add some additional analogue devices and/or add a decent streamer. I've been looking at the BHK preamp and one of their streamer/DACs - the Direct Stream DAC would be a nice addition.

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Super Dealer

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10 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

Well that is not strictly true - to use Jahn Atkinson's words    "In many ways, PS Audio's DirectStream DAC measures superbly well. But I was somewhat bothered by its ultimate lack of resolution with data capable of higher-than-CD resolution, which I suspect lay behind AD's finding the processor to sound "a bit rounded off" and lacking in immediacy. Whether or not that will be an issue will depend on the listener's taste and the character of his or her other components. It is also fair to point out that the DirectStream's introduction of random noise at the 17-bit level will be sonically preferable to a processor whose errors consisted of enharmonic tones. But I was bothered by the PS Audio's poor linearity at low frequencies. Yes, some extra second- and third-harmonic content at low frequencies will add some "phatness" to the sounds of bass instruments; and as the nonlinear transfer function has been significantly improved in the midrange and above, that "phat" quality will not be accompanied by the high-frequency harshness of intermodulation. But the engineer in me doesn't like to see it."
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/ps-audio-perfectwave-directstream-da-processor-measurements#rJEkCEBQY3TakmWV.99

The listening review however was very upbeat "Time will tell if and when these levels of performance, flexibility, and luxury will become available for less than $6000. But today, for those who've waited for a computer-friendly DAC that offers, with every type of music file, the best musicality of which DSD is capable, the PerfectWave DirectStream may be in a class by itself."
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/ps-audio-perfectwave-directstream-da-processor-page-2#QHj3rqhFH671c1pK.99

As we all know - measurements are not the only factor .. how does the thing sound to our ears (as opposed to an Oscilloscope)?

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Super Dealer

Amusingly Stereophile’s  subjective reviews often do not  tally with the measurements.

Keith

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, uzzy said:

Well that is not strictly true - to use Jahn Atkinson's words    "In many ways, PS Audio's DirectStream DAC measures superbly well. But I was somewhat bothered by its ultimate lack of resolution with data capable of higher-than-CD resolution, which I suspect lay behind AD's finding the processor to sound "a bit rounded off" and lacking in immediacy. Whether or not that will be an issue will depend on the listener's taste and the character of his or her other components. It is also fair to point out that the DirectStream's introduction of random noise at the 17-bit level will be sonically preferable to a processor whose errors consisted of enharmonic tones. But I was bothered by the PS Audio's poor linearity at low frequencies. Yes, some extra second- and third-harmonic content at low frequencies will add some "phatness" to the sounds of bass instruments; and as the nonlinear transfer function has been significantly improved in the midrange and above, that "phat" quality will not be accompanied by the high-frequency harshness of intermodulation. But the engineer in me doesn't like to see it."
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/ps-audio-perfectwave-directstream-da-processor-measurements#rJEkCEBQY3TakmWV.99

The listening review however was very upbeat "Time will tell if and when these levels of performance, flexibility, and luxury will become available for less than $6000. But today, for those who've waited for a computer-friendly DAC that offers, with every type of music file, the best musicality of which DSD is capable, the PerfectWave DirectStream may be in a class by itself."
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/ps-audio-perfectwave-directstream-da-processor-page-2#QHj3rqhFH671c1pK.99

As we all know - measurements are not the only factor .. how does the thing sound to our ears (as opposed to an Oscilloscope)?

Low-res, high distortion...

.

JA always ends up on a positive note (if all else fails he'll even praise the quality of the packaging), and tries to dismiss the shortcomings as either inconsequential or as character.

You don't bite the hand that feeds you.

.

One of the reasons why reviews are worthless...

.

If people still want to read them they must learn to read between the lines because sometimes the reviewers will bury some criticism deep under the text.

Edited by tuga
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I'm rather more interested in personal experiences than in quantified measurement of the stuff.

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2 minutes ago, Bodgit said:

I'm rather more interested in personal experiences than in quantified measurement of the stuff.

We all have different tastes, someone may like some of the things you like but the chance is still quite slim. At least measurements are unbiased and universal.

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Super Dealer

If you are interested in even more poorly measuring equipment look at ‘Schitt’ lots of measurements over at ASR forum.

Keith

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As my friend often says “measurements are for deaf people or for people without own opinion”

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, uzzy said:

  "In many ways, PS Audio's DirectStream DAC measures superbly well. But I was somewhat bothered by its ultimate lack of resolution with data capable of higher-than-CD resolution, which I suspect lay behind AD's finding the processor to sound "a bit rounded off" ...

I hadn't seen the Stereophile review when I tried one at home, but I felt it was artificially smooth as to be inoffensive and lacking 'drive' on music like fast rock/metal or EDM. It didn't unearth anything my current DAC could, if anything it was less resolving and too polite - so I didn't buy one. The Stereophile review seems surprisingly consistent with my impression of the DAC in this respect.

My personal experience of PSA servicing via the distributor is that it's appalling. I wouldn't buy a PSA unit because of it.

The older PSA PerfectWave DACs are very good units and far better VFM. I like the PerfectWave Mk2 more than the DirectStream.

I think their BHK amps are overpriced. All the units have nice enclosures, a glass top, look good, have a nice remote, and good socketry, so have a luxurious feel. Generally, they all sound rather nice, except maybe the DirectStream DAC, although that might be entirely firmware dependent. I would still shy away from a unit that when measured independently had mediocre resolution, with subsequent firmware reviews saying the sound was better, but did not re-measure resolution to say this had fundamentally increased to what one might expect for high end DAC.

41 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

Amusingly Stereophile’s  subjective reviews often do not  tally with the measurements.

Keith

Well the "rounded off" comment was on point.

What I find amusing was how they show it has mediocre resolution, poor linearity, added second and third harmonic and yet they still conclude "the best musicality of which DSD is capable". Perhaps they meant to allude that DSD is fundamentally flawed and that when they said "the PerfectWave DirectStream may be in a class by itself" they meant a class below, not above. It's interesting how an article can be written in such a way as to put a positive spin on things.

I preferred the older PSA PerfectWave Mk2 DAC - to my ears, it was far better than the new 'make everything DSD' idea. 

Edited by Metatron
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Posted (edited)

I demo'd the BHK preamp into my ATC Active 50s. I liked it a lot and almost bought it but ultimately it was beaten by a Music First Audio Passive. 

The BHK may not measure well but it sounded good in my setup. YMMV of course. 

Edited by Stidge
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