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PS Audio Unveils New Flagship DirectStream MK2 DAC/Preamp

PS Audio’s DirectStream MK2 DAC/Preamplifier up converts all digital audio signals to pure DSD and then to analog. Is this method better? Only your ears know that answer.

PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream DAC MK2 Angle Right in Silver

PS Audio is now shipping a new ultra high-end DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter). The $7,999 PerfectWave DirectStream DAC MK2 is the successor to the original version, which claims to deliver a new level of sonic excellence in digital audio playback, along with easy setup and the convenience of remote-control operation. Its built-in volume control enables it to function as a digital preamp and can be directly connected to a power amplifier.

The DirectStream DAC MK2 employs a FPGA (field-programmable gate array) using PS Audio-designed software, rather than standard off-the-shelf integrated circuits. This FPGA design enables the software to be custom-tailored for the highest level of audio performance, and the software is user-upgradeable to accommodate any potential updates.

PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream DAC MK2 Front in Black

The DirectStream DAC MK2 converts all input signals to a high-sample-rate 50-bit version, which is then converted to pure DSD and then to analog. The DIrectStream DAC MK2 accommodates PCM sources up to 705.6 kHz and DSD up to 256. PS Audio claims its extreme processing power of the FPGA design has significant sonic benefits, yielding a remarkably natural sound with extraordinary resolution, depth and dynamic impact and complete freedom from digital artifacts.

PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream DAC MK2 Rear

The PS Audio DirectStream DAC MK2 claims to eliminate noise and jitter by galvanically isolating every input, output, ground, and power connection in addition to its fully balanced architecture. It offers a host of inputs including two I2S, two balanced, coaxial, optical and USB inputs. The DirectStream DAC MK2 also provides balanced and single-ended analog audio outputs. It features an all-new attenuator architecture for maximum signal quality at any volume level, and can be connected directly to a power amplifier or used in conjunction with a preamplifier.

The DirectStream DAC MK2 is easy to set up and use, thanks to its streamlined front panel menu display and full-function remote control, which can also be used to operate other PS Audio components.

Like every PS Audio product, meticulous attention has been paid to parts selection and construction. The PerfectWave DAC MK2’s elegant design matches other PerfectWave components, and it’s available in silver or black.

PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream DAC MK2 Angle Left in Silver

Key Features:

  • Two I2S, two balanced, coaxial, optical and USB inputs
  • Exclusive FPGA circuitry offers superior sound quality and user upgradeability
  • Balanced and single-ended analog outputs; fully balanced design from input to output
  • Accommodates all PCM sources up to 705.6 kHz and DSD up to 256
  • Built-in volume control enables use as a preamp
  • Galvanically isolated inputs, outputs, and ground and power connections
  • Remote control or front-panel operation; remote can be used to operate other PS Audio components
  • Plug-and-play with no configuration required

Price & Availability

The PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream DAC MK2 is currently available for $7,999 at psaudio.com (USD) in silver or black.

Comparison

DirectStream DAC
(2014 model)
DirectStream DAC MK2
(2023 model)
Physical
Unit Weight22 lbs [9.97 kg]21 lbs [9.53 kg]
Unit Dimensions14” x 17” x 4” [ 36cm x 43cm x 10cm]14” x 17” x 4” [ 36cm x 43cm x 10cm]
Shipping Weight31 lbs [14 kg]30 lbs [13.6 kg]
Shipping Dimensions20.5”x 24” x 10” [52cm x 61cm x 25cm]20.5”x 24” x 10” [52cm x 61cm x 25cm]
Power requirements
Input PowerModel specific 100VAC, 120VAC, or 230VAC 50 or 60HzModel specific 100VAC, 120VAC, or 230VAC 50 or 60Hz
Power Consumption30W25W
Digital audio inputsI2S(2), Coax, XLR Balanced, TOSLINK, USB, Network Bridge slotI2S (2), Coax, XLR Balanced (2), Optical, USB
Sample RatesOptical (TOSLink): PCM 16 and 24 bits at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz and 96kHz

XLR (AES/EBU)S/PDIF (coax)– 44.1kHz to 192kHz 16bit, 24bit, DSD 64

I2S, and USB — 44.1kHz to 352.8kHz 16bit, 24bit, DSD 64, DSD 128 (I2S  DSD 256 with Sunlight update)


Optical (TOSLink): PCM 16 and 24 bits at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz and 96kHz

S/PDIF (Coax and XLR): PCM 16 and 24 bits at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz and 192kHz

DoP64 Dual XLR: PCM 16 and 24 bits at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz and 352.8kHz

DoP64 and DoP128 I2S: PCM 16 and 24 bits at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, and 705.6

DoP64, DoP128, DoP256, DSD64, DSD128, and DSD256 USB: PCM 16 and 24 bits at 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, and 705.6, DoP64, DoP128, DoP256, DSD64, DSD128, and DSD256
Analog Audio Output
ConnectorRCA/XLR Unbalanced /Balanced (X2)RCA single ended or balanced, XLR balanced
Output level, low0.282 VRMS Balanced
0.141 VRMS Single Ended
Output level high, maximum2.818 VRMS Balanced
1.414 VRMS Single Ended
4 VRMS Balanced
2 VRMS Single Ended
Output Impedance100Ω/200Ω<100Ω/<200Ω
Frequency Response20-20KHz +/- 0.25dB20-20KHz +/- 0.25dB
THD&IM @ 1KHz (full scale)<0.03%<0.1%
Output Stage




Passive audio transformer, fed by high current, high speed analog amps producing double rate DSD.


Passive audio transformer, fed by high current, high speed analog amps producing double rate DSD
Data Handling
FormatPCM or DSDPCM or DSD
Sample rate (PCM)44.1kHz, 48.0kHz, 88.2kHz, 96.0kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz44.1kHz, 48.0kHz, 88.2kHz, 96.0kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz; 705.6kHz
Word length (PCM)16b, 18b, 20b, 24b16b, 18b, 20b, 24b
Data rate (DSD)Standard (2.8MHz) or Double (5.6MHz) DoP as well as raw DSD on I2S and USB inputsStandard (2.8MHz) or Double (5.6MHz) DoP as well as raw DSD on I2S and USB inputs
Input jitter reductioneffectively 100%, residual immeasurable. No input PLLs, FLLs.effectively 100%, residual immeasurable. No input PLLs, FLLs.
Input Processing170MHz225.792MHz
Signal Processing50MHz56.448MHz
Synchronous Upsampling, all inputs28.224MHz56.448MHz for 48k, 96k or 192k; 11.2896MHz for all others
Digital Processing S/N ration>146 dBUpsampling > 210dB, volume control and Sigma Delta Modulator: > 330dB
Digital Volume ControlZero loss of precisionZero loss of precision
Analog Conversion methodDelta Sigma (DSD) Single-bit double ratelow pass filter DSD256 (quad rate DSD: single bit DSD at 11.2896MHz)
I2S Digital Input
ConnectorHDMIHDMI
FormatPCM or DSD. DoP on all inputs as well as raw DSD on I2S inputsPCM or DSD. DoP on all inputs as well as raw DSD on I2S inputs
USB Digital Input
ConnectorUSB “B” TypeUSB “B” Type
FormatPCM or DoP v1.1 (DSD over PCM)PCM, DoP v1.1 (DSD over PCM), or Native DSD
Transfer modeAsynchronousAsynchronous

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