THE PS Audio NuWave DSD digital-to-analogue converter, which is now shipping, builds on the strengths of its predecessor, and adds DSD processing for good measure – because, these days, if it doesn’t do DSD, it ain’t worth a bit (geddit, geddit?).
Technological cues here are from the flagship DirectStream, but applied on a smaller-scale lower-cost unit; PS Audio says users are going to be highly impressed with what it has accomplished on the NuWave DSD.
These are the highlights of the NuWave DSD:
– Fully asynchronous, accepting PCM inputs up to 32-bit/192kHz from any digital source, including I2S (unlike the old NuWave DAC), coax, and USB; Toslink is limited to 96 kHz. DSD (single or double rate) can be input via I2S and USB.
– All input signals are taken into the NuWave DSD in native mode, without sample rate conversion.
– The input is a simplified field programmable gate array (FPGA) known as a CPLD (Complex Programmable Logic Device), which discovers sample rate and format, re-clocks all incoming data, reduces jitter, wave-shapes data output to the DAC chip, and utilises high speed/low gate count logic to reduce propagation delay for faster throughput.
– The DAC chip is the acclaimed 32-bit ESS Sabre Hyperstream architecture, its output passively filtered to reduce transient distortion.
– The power supply includes a massive analogue transformer, seven regulators, properly-bypassed high-speed switching diodes, and 15,000 mircrofarads of storage capacitance.
– The output stage is a unique Class-A configuration, fully balanced and direct coupled hybrid array (utilising both discrete semiconductors and ICs), with an extended bandwidth of -3dB at 60 kHz.
The NuWave DSD was hand-tuned by company supremo Paul McGowan, and fully designed, engineered, programmed and built at the PS Audio factory in Boulder, Colorado. It retails at US$1,299.