PS Audio DirectStream Junior DAC
DirectStream Junior, like its progenitor, is a handwritten, discrete, digital to analog converter that uncovers all the missing information hiding in your audio library. CD’s, high-resolution PCM- or DSD-based media are expertly upsampled in DirectStream Junior to ten times the DSD rate and output as pure analog directly into your amplifier or preamplifier.
Classic PCM-based DACS, including many of today’s DACS that can also process DSD, tend to cover up some of the subtle musical details buried deep within digital audio music; a problem inherent in their architecture.
DirectStream Junior solves this problem by employing a pure DSD single-bit approach for both PCM as well as DSD media. This means that your entire library of music can finally reveal all the music and subtle low level details buried deep within its core – and now, at a more affordable price than its progenitor, DirectStream.
Imagine going to a recording studio and listening to a master tape of any recording made. This is the experience DirectStream Junior affords its owners who enjoy a renewed sense of enjoyment and discovery when listening to everything in their library: CD’s, downloads, DSD.
Whatever the format, whatever the sample rate, DirectStream Junior provides a pure DSD based solution that fulfills the promise of high-resolution analog performance from digital audio. If you know the sound of music and instruments, and want to hear what’s been missing on your discs, then this DAC is right for you.
While DirectStream Junior does not share DirectStream’s touch screen, larger power supply, or taller chassis, it does share remarkable performance uncovering all that buried treasure in your digital music collection. Connect DirectStream Junior to your NAS, computer, or favorite internet streaming station through its built in Bridge II, I²S through an HDMI cable to the PWT (or upcoming DirectStream Transport playing your favorite SACD), or any digital output source, and sit back and relive musical performances few have enjoyed at this price.
Pure 100% single bit DSD based D to A Converter
Most of today’s sophisticated DACs are IC based instruments using off-the-shelf-chips that are Multi-bit Sigma Delta based designs. While these are relatively simple to design and produce, they don’t often give the best results sonically. Because they are one-chip systems compromises are made in their architecture that found in DirectStream Junior’s custom based architecture. DirectStream Junior takes both PCM and DSD, upsamples the data and converts to single-bit DSD and then outputs pure music regardless of input format for the data. The results of this design can be heard in increased musical information presented to the listener at every opportunity.
Passive/active output stage
Most modern DACs use some form of active tube or solid state output stage to amplify, filter and drive the DACs output. DirectStream Junior takes a different approach: passive filtering with high-speed, high current analog buffering. In one of the simplest, elegant and musically correct executions of an output stage, high speed class A video amplifiers are used as the final switch for the single-bit, double DSD output of DirectStream Junior. When you listen to DirectStream you never are accosted by added bright, hard glare in the music as happens with many op-amp based designs. Instead, clean, pure music flows from DirectStream Junior directly to your preamplifier or power amplifier.
Resolution perfect volume and balance controls
Designer Smith perfected a 100% bit-perfect volume and balance control that’s built into DirectStream Junior, enabling users to control the output level when feeding directly into a power amplifier or preamplifier. That the volume control is completely bit-perfect means there is no loss of resolution for any volume setting, a feature unique amongst the majority of DACS in the world today. The ability to eliminate the preamplifier in the system without any resolution loss is a major benefit to DirectStream Junior’s outstanding musical performance.
Simple, direct signal path with only one master clock
Typical high-end DAC designs use more than one master clock. There are often separate clocks for USB, Audio and others, causing challenges for system designers trying to synchronize the clocks. DirectStream obviates the problem by basing the entire design on one master clock of extraordinary high quality. Used is a low phase noise, low jitter clock designed for DirectStream Junior by Crystek. Using this advanced approach the need for synchronization is eliminated, jitter levels are reduced and music is delivered with a clarity rarely heard.
High immunity to jitter from sources
Sources have always had a major impact on sound quality with DACS. Transports, computers, CD players, cables all make a significant impact on performance into a typical DAC. This problem has been significantly reduced with DirectStream Junior. Now, for perhaps the first time, sources of just about any quality and jitter level sound nearly identical. For example, you can take a cheap $30 DVD or CD player’s digital output, connect with DirectStream Junior and have sound quality unthinkable for such a poor source. Performance levels no longer are as dependent on the quality of source or connections; certainly not to the degree they have been in the past. Yes, cables and sources still make a difference, but with DirectStream Junior that difference is significantly reduced.
Asynchronous high speed USB and Network access
DirectStream Junior can match up to either a computer or a home network. If a network connection is desired, DirectStream Junior comes equipped with our latest network card, Bridge II. Connect to a NAS or computer with ease, and control your music with an iPad, iPhone, or Android device. You can also connect directly to your computer via USB. USB communication, if handled properly, can have every sound quality advantage of a dedicated CD transport or Network Bridge. DirectStream Junior provides a fully synchronous 24 bit 192kHz path for USB based audio, supporting up to 32 bit 192kHz, and single as well as double rate DSD. Using a good quality USB cable between DirectStream Junior and your computer, like a quiet MAC Mini, provides an instant media server that can be controlled through any number of handheld devices like an iPod, iPhone or Android using a 3d party controller program. Your music can be managed by iTunes, Bit Perfect, Pure Music or Ammara for ease of use.
A handy feature on DirectStream Junior is the polarity (phase) control. This remote control option allows users to select normal or inverted polarity for every input and for every performance. Sources and music have no standard for absolute polarity, a fact easily demonstrated by switching polarities on the as the music plays. Many Audiophiles mark their discs in polarity and out of polarity and are very careful to select the proper polarity before playing each disc. Some CD players and sources themselves invert polarity so that a disc you believe is inverted actually is correct played on a specific device and incorrect on yet another. To fix this problem you can assign each input on DirectStream Junior to switch to the proper polarity when you activate that input, through the menu system. Activating this control is the same thing as reversing the loudspeaker connections of both loudspeakers (+ to -) at either the amplifier or speakers. All live acoustic music is in absolute polarity but some recordings may accidentally be made inverted and should sound more realistic when you correct their phase with the switch.
Play directly into your power amplifier or preamplifier
DirectStream Junior offers the ability to play directly into either your preamplifier or power amplifier through either its balanced or single ended outputs. You can select the optimum gain setting through DirectStream Junior’s setup menu, or from the remote control, to match your amplifier and loudspeaker’s sensitivity. If you choose to go through a preamplifier, it’s easy to set DirectStream Junior at maximum level (or any level you wish) to match the preamp’s gain. DirectStream Junior’s unique zero-loss volume control maintains full resolution bit-perfect performance at any volume setting from the lowest to the highest levels.
Hear more than you ever imagined from CDs
DirectStream Junior converts everything to DSD, even PCM before delivering the music to your system. This approach, coupled with careful design, low jitter and a simple and direct signal path has the benefit of uncovering details buried in the music you may not have realized are even there. CDs come alive with subtle details that were never apparent with your older DAC; details you never knew even existed. CDs sound more like high resolution audio than you imagined, closing the gap between higher resolution PCM and DSD copies. No longer do you need to consider replacing your CD library because once you hear what’s truly on your discs, you may not need to upgrade to a higher resolution copy at all. Yes, it is that obvious and significant.
DirectStream Junior is built in the United States by hand. Local manufacturers use sophisticated PCB building machines to populate and test the multi-layer board used in DirectStream Junior. It takes a number of companies and a lot of skill and equipment to build something this elegant and affordable. From high tech x-ray technology to place the FPGA IC on the board, to automated pick and place machines adding parts in just the right spots, DirectStream Junior’s circuitry is built, tested and delivered to our Boulder Colorado facility by handpicked US vendors. The chassis of DirectStream is a metal sculpture that is by far the best we’ve ever built. A combination of aluminum and steel, DirectStream weighs in at 20 pounds of elegance and beauty. There is a measure of pride of workmanship that goes into every one of these PerfectWave products and it shows from the moment you open the unit up and plug it in.
This is one gorgeous piece of equipment and just the beginning of the most beautiful natural sounding audio equipment you have ever had the privilege to own.
Globally recognized, locally handcrafted.
- Pure 100% DSD-based D to A Converter
- Fully upgradeable through software releases
- Built in Bridge II Network streaming Audio input
- Resolution perfect volume and balance controls built in
- Upsamples PCM and DSD to 10x DSD rate
- DXD support
- Passively filtered high speed output stage
- Improves imaging and soundstage
- Simple, direct signal path with one master clock
- Handwritten filters, processors and upsamplers
- Immune to incoming jitter problems from different sources
- Increased digital headroom
- No off-the-shelf IC DAC chips used
- FPGA-based circuitry
- Uncovers musical details masked by typical PCM based processors
- 6 digital inputs
- Fully balanced from input to output
Unit Weight 18 lbs [8.1 kg]
Unit Dimensions 14” x 17” x 2.75” [ 36cm x 43cm x 6.98cm]
Shipping Weight 27 lbs [12.25 kg]
Shipping Dimensions 20.5”x 24” x 10” [52cm x 61cm x 25cm]
Input Power Model specific 100VAC, 120VAC, or 230VAC 50 or 60Hz
Power Consumption 30W
Digtial audio inputs
I²S, Coax, XLR Balanced, TOSLINK, USB, Ethernet
I²S,S/PDIF, and USB -- 44.1kHz to 352.8kHz 16bit, 24bit, DSD 64, DSD 128
TOSLINK – 44.1kHz to 96kHz 16bit, 24bit
Analog Audio Output
Connector RCA/XLR Unbalanced /Balanced (X2)
Output level, low 1.41 Vrms(+5BV)/3.15
Output level high, maximum 2.81 Vrms (+8dBV)/5.3 Vrms (+12dBV)
Output Impedance 100Ω/200Ω
Frequency Response 20-20KHz +/- 0.25dB
THD+N @ 1KHz (full scale) <0.03%
Output Stage Active high current, high speed analog amps producing double rate DSD.
Format PCM or DSD
Sample rate (PCM) 44.1kHz, 48.0kHz, 88.2kHz, 96.0kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz, 352.8kHz
Word length (PCM) 16b, 18b, 20b, 24b
Data rate (DSD) Standard (2.8MHz) or Double (5.6MHz) DoP on all inputs as well as raw DSD on I²S inputs
Input jitter reduction Effectively 100%, residual immeasurable. No input PLLs, FLLs.
Input Processing 170MHz
Signal Processing 50MHz
Synchronous Upsampling, all inputs 28.224MHz
Digital Processing S/N ration >146 dB
Digital Volume Control Zero loss of precision
Analog Conversion method Delta Sigma (DSD) Single-bit double rate
I²S Digital Input
Format PCM or DSD. DoP on all inputs as well as raw DSD on I²S inputs
USB Digital Input
Connector USB “B” Type
Format PCM or DoP v1.1 (DSD over PCM)
Transfer mode Asynchronous
I bought my DSJ at the same time I was overhauling my entire rig, adding an Audeze LCD-4, a Headamp GSX Mk ii, and wires. I'm utterly thrilled with my entire system, but without a doubt, the DSJ is the biggest star. So let me confirm everything you read about this DAC in terms of its ability to take PCM files and generate an audio product that is virtually the equivalent of any analogue (translation: "turntable") source. The DSJ incorporates some profoundly innovative and groundbreaking technology, and the end product shows it.
And combined with Roon, which I use via a dedicated ethernet input to the Bridge II board incorporated in the DSJ, I have the ability to enjoy my music collection in a way that I haven't since I had to sell my Well Tempered Turntable and Koetsu Rosewood Cartridge in the late 1980s (as babies arrived...). It's just that good.
So if you're in the market for a DAC, consider the DSJ. But be warned: you should be prepared to spend some time learning about the various bitrate and sample rate options and constraints as they are impacted by what your source is and what your files are. In other words, this product is for audiophile hobbyists who understand what it does, and does well.
Roon Nucleus Music Server$1,398.00