It doesn’t have to make sense
We love things to make sense and fit into neat little boxes so we can manage our view of the world. When they don’t we can take a number of different paths: ignore, anguish, change the story, disbelief, start researching.
We understand that at the heart of 2-channel high-end audio is the goal of doing no harm: the purer the signal, the better the sound. It’s why we make sure there’s perfect power, low distortion, unfettered transient response. We also understand that less is more—the fewer stages a signal has to pass through the better its chance of arriving unscathed.
Which is why it is so maddening that a good preamp placed between the DAC and amplifier sounds better than going direct.
When this statement of fact is presented to people you can almost always categorize their response: agreement from those that have a proper preamp, disbelief from those that don’t, or sometimes anguish and denial because it rubs against the grain of all they know.
The idea that audiophiles often make decisions based on what they hear as opposed to what they “know” is what drives the Objectivists bonkers.
It doesn’t have to make sense.
It just has to sound good.
Paradigms are models of accepted norms: templates of how we arrive at a product or result using standard practices. The paradigm of a room full of neatly ordered books on shelves is called a library. The paradigm of hardwired circuits specific to the conversion of digital bits into analog representations is called a DAC.
When one paradigm is shattered and a new one emerges it is called a paradigm shift.
When digital audio guru Ted Smith moved from a hardwired IC-based DAC to an upgradable palette that can be reconfigured with little more than a stroke of genius and a few keystrokes of the computer, the high-end audio world got treated to a paradigm shift in the DirectStream DAC.
Explaining difficult engineering concepts to non-engineering people is not easy. I watch eyes glaze over when I attempt to educate hungry minds on the inner workings at the heart of the PS Audio DirectStream, the Field Programmable Gate Array—better known as an FPGA. Perhaps the easiest explanation is to imagine a computer—the very device you’re reading this post on. Whether phone, tablet, or desktop device, the very instrument that allows you to share these written words is like a chameleon capable of changing its identity in the blink of an eye. By the simple act of loading software, your computing device can assume just about any role: music player, word processor, post reader.
Every time we launch a new program for DirectStream DAC owners they receive a new DAC just as fresh and exciting as if they’d unboxed new hardware.
Our latest model of DAC is called Snowmass and we’ve upgraded our thousands of DirectStream owners around the world for free.
Want to join them? We’ve made a small number of DirectStreams available for purchase at a greatly reduced price.