Review: PS Audio PerfectWave System Page 3

The PWD is capable of upsampling audio from 48 to 192 kHz and includes a host of filter options and phasing adjustments. I played with these settings briefly but ultimately left the DAC in its native (not upsampled) and auto-filter settings, as PS Audio recommends. You can ascertain from my comments on the sound quality that I was more than thrilled with the results.

I don’t generally connect my computer to my stereo to play music, but since this is becoming increasingly popular, I tested it out. I can confirm that a USB connection from my laptop to the PWD worked without a hitch and yielded terrific sound, with no trouble or effort required short of plugging in the cable and selecting the USB input on the PWD.

Interacting with the Bridge requires a bit more work. First, you need a way to control it, and that means downloading PS Audio’s $10 eLyric app for the iPhone/iPad. (That this isn’t made available free to owners is a bit of a stumble, in my opinion, since the Bridge is essentially unusable without it.) This elegant, user-friendly app lets you build and edit playlists and queue music, quickly search your music library, and read related artist reviews.

Also required is some kind of UPnP server software running on your computer. I used PS Audio’s free eLyric Music Manager, which worked perfectly for several days before I started experiencing really spotty performance. The DAC often wouldn’t appear as a selectable “media renderer,” or the library would show the message “error reading directory entries.” Sometimes a reboot and power-cycle would get it to work; other times it wouldn’t. After assigning the PWD a static IP address, its performance stabilized, and I could now use my iPad to control streaming of all of my MP3, AAC (non-DRM), FLAC, and WAV files from my computer to the DAC. The Bridge is 192-kHz/32-bit-capable, meaning it’s up to the task of handling the highest of available high-resolution files. As with everything I listened to through the PWD, streamed music sounded wonderful.

Bottom Line

To put it simply, PS Audio’s PerfectWave DAC produced the most significant improvement of any audio component I’ve ever added to my system. Even when I listened with my 15-year-old CD player as a source, the sound was revelatory. Budget permitting, I’d recommend going all in and swallowing the $6,700 cost to purchase the entire system. You’ll breathe new life into your existing digital music library and be stunned by how good your discs sound. Add the Bridge and start streaming high-rez music for another revelatory experience.

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