PS Audio PerfectWave Transport & DAC

I've known about the well-regarded audio and power products from American maker PS Audio for years. Submitted for your consideration here are the PerfectWave Transport and DAC, which combine to form a formidable disc-playback system.

The PerfectWave Transport (PWT) was designed and built from the ground up to extract digital audio at resolutions up to 24 bits and 192kHz from CDs and DVDs, store it in a special memory buffer called the Digital Lens, and retrieve it using an asynchronous fixed-timing clock with extremely low jitter from its digital-audio outputs (S/PDIF and AES/EBU) or no jitter at all from its two HDMI outputs, which send digital audio and three separate clock signals in a format called I2S. Even better, its firmware can be upgraded to include various codecs, such as FLAC and MP3.

Of course, no matter how perfect the digital information is, it must be converted to analog at some point, which is where the PerfectWave DAC (PWD) comes in. It provides seven digital inputs, including two HDMI/I2S (which is definitely what you should use with the PWT), AES/EBU, optical TosLink, coax S/PDIF, 24/96 USB, and Network Bridge, which accepts data from other DLNA devices on your local network. The Bridge also allows the PWD to act as a music server, optimizing audio files with its own Digital Lens. Both balanced and unbalanced analog outputs are also provided.

Both PerfectWave units provide a color-touchscreen interface on their front panels. Of course, the PWT's interface includes the standard transport controls and info about the current track, while the PWD offers several advanced functions, such as a sample-rate converter, several selectable filters, and phase and volume controls as well as an input selector. You can also name each input with an onscreen keyboard.

Naturally, the PWT and PWD ain't cheap—each one goes for $3000, or $6000 for the pair, which is actually quite reasonable compared with some transport/DAC systems I've profiled. In any event, they embody the very best that PS Audio technology has to offer, and I'm sure they will greatly please those fortunate enough to own them.

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Scott Wilkinson's picture

Basically, jitter is any inaccuracy in the timing of digital pulses as they are recorded or played back, which leads to an inaccurate reconstruction of the final analog waveform. Jitter is specified in terms of time, and the lower the number, the less variation there is in the timing and the more accurately the signal is represented.

For a detailed explanation, see:

Jarod's picture

Thanks Scott!

Jarod's picture

I had a question regarding what the "jitter" effect is that you describe the digital audio outputs and hdmi outputs to have very little of? Thank you.

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