PS Audio Announce DirectStream Junior
The DirectStream DAC from PS Audio is arguably one of the most successful HiFi products of the last two years, if not the twenty-tens. It's most certainly become one of the largest selling DACs in any case.
In the eyes of company main-man Paul McGowan, there was just one problem with the DirectStream DAC. The technology involved with the advanced FPGA and DSD capability commanded a premium price tag, some 41% higher than PS Audio's previous DAC, the PerfectWave.
This didn't sit well with McGowan, despite the global roaring sales.
Many loyal PS Audio customers had to sit on the sidelines, priced out of the market. Within a few months of DirectStream's launch, work began on a lower cost version code-named "Junior".
McGowan and code genius Ted Smith got to work with a simple aim; develop a more affordable version by reducing costs involved with the chassis, user-interface, PC boards and more. Include as standard the Network Bridge, and ensure its overall performance is at least 85% of the DirectStream.
And the DirectStream Junior (DSJ) was born. It took two years of hard work, apparently.
According to PS Audio:
The two instruments have near identical character of sound. Full, rich, warm, never electronic. Both units share the remarkable ability of helping Red Book CDs sound close to high resolution audio, and uncover a wealth of music long buried in home libraries.
Where the two deviate is in terms of spatial accuracy, transparency, separation of instruments, soundstage width and treble accuracy. The best measure of these differences can be expressed in percentage. DirectStream Junior provides 85% of DirectStream's performance in the aforementioned areas. The differences are not glaring, and auditioned in a vacuum, DirectStream Junior will impress listeners as one of the finest audible experiences they have yet had.
Ted Smith has once again worked his magic with the same FPGA architecture as DirectStream, although differences do exist with the firmware given the changes made with the deletion of the touch screen and different output stages.
DirectStream customers have enjoyed semi-regular firmware updates, each improving the performance of the unit for no extra cost. The same applies with end-user upgradable firmware, this time via USB stick instead of SD Card.
Mike Kirkham of Magenta Audio told StereoNET:
We're very excited about the upcoming DirectStream Junior release. While sales of the DS have been bigger than we could have ever anticipated, DS Junior will allow more music and HiFI lovers the opportunity to hear PS Audio, and the difference their DACs really can make to your musical enjoyment. Add to this, DS Junior should be 'Roon Ready' in time for launch. You really do get a lot of value for your money.
DirectStream Junior will ship in March, and sell locally for $6795 RRP (including network Bridge II). For comparison, DirectStream sells locally for $8295 RRP plus $1000 for the PerfectWave Bridge II.
StereoNET's Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers to headphones. Marc also founded Melbourne's International HiFi Show.
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