PS Audio, Digital Link III, DAC
PS Audio got its start back in the seventies, the brainchild of Paul McGowan and Stan Warren. Stan left to pursue other interest and ultimately Paul sold the company to new owners, under whose supervision PS Audio was forced into bankruptcy. Paul bought back the company for a nominal sum and made a fresh start with a brilliant conceived line of Power Conditioners. This led to a full range of cables and ultimately electronics, featuring a new amplification module, the Gain Cell. Now PS Audio has a stylish new DAC which it will follow early in 2009 with a memory based CD drive which is bound to create a lot of excitement in the audio world.
The new DAC is the Digital Link III, initially priced at $1349 retail and the styling is consistent with the rest of the current PS Audio stereo line up. We’re talking slim low profile units with a 15-inch depth, a black case and a contoured, brushed aluminum faceplate. The fit and finish is impeccable, while the controls are minimal and functional. You get a single push button on each side of the PS Audio badge. On the left you can select the input, on the right you can select the upsampling frequency. Actually, you don’t usually need to select the input – the unit works out which of the three possible inputs are active. Your input options are Optical, Coaxial and USB, while the upsampling frequencies are 96 kHz or 128 kHz. Blue LEDs indicate your current settings, and whether a signal has been locked. This all sounds simple enough, but you really have to see the unit up close to appreciate just how elegantly the controls and indicators have been laid out and what superb engineering is involved.
The heart of the beast is a Texas Instruments chip, the PCM1798DB, which made its first appearance in 2003 as a Burr Brown product. According to TI’s product description, it’s a monolithic CMOS integrated circuit that includes stereo digital-to-analog converters and support circuitry in a small 28-lead SSOP package. The data converters use TI’s advanced segment DAC architecture to achieve excellent dynamic performance and improved tolerance to clock jitter. PS Audio is not alone in selecting this chip – versions of the PCM1978 can also be found inside the Roksan Kandy CD player and the expensive SimAudio Moon SuperNova CD player.
So done with the tech talk and on to the performance. Let's just say I once owned a Rega, DACr and this PS Audio's soundscape far exceeds that of the Rega, a truly fine sounding DAC even by todays standards. The Digital Link III is just a sweet piece of kit. It's an upsampling component of the highest order and for $329 (has some scrapes on the top as seen in the photos) it's a a no brainer addition to your CD transport and or streaming setup.
Heres a full review from Positive Feedback: https://positive-feedback.com/Issue34/psaudio_link.htm
Come demo this fine PS Audio DAC at our Lawrence shop or purchase with confidence via this online store.
PS Audio, Digital Link III: $329 + applicable sales tax