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PS Audio's NuWave DAC

Digital by PS Audio

Manufacturer's Description:

Introducing the NuWave Digital To Analog Converter

The NuWave DAC is the first of a new breed of high-end digital to analog processor from PS Audio.  Based on our acclaimed PerfectWave series, the NuWave DAC (NWD) accepts inputs from any digital source including USB (up to 192kHz 24 bit asynchronous) from any computer and connects to your system’s preamplifier with either single ended (RCA) or balanced (XLR) connections.  Used with our free eLyric Music Manager software and iPhone app (or any music manager) the NuWave becomes your entry into the world of high-end digital audio music.  Perhaps no other affordable high-end solution gives this much performance and value.

Performance is unmatched at anywhere near the NWD price and there’s good reasons why; as you’ll read below.  In fact, the NuWave DAC is one of the best sounding DACS we have produced in our 23 years of building them.  Sweet, open spacious and effortless, this device will bring the life back into your music and all at the touch of a finger.

The NWD is high-end all the way

The NWD is a killer audio product featuring the latest fully balanced generation of 192kHz 24-Bit resolution TI engines, 123dB dynamic performance and its rated THD is a stunningly low 0.0005%.  It comes with differential outputs, an 8 times oversampling filter, Native mode, XMOS USB processor and all providing exceptionally lifelike audio.

Our engineers based the NWD around a solid high-performance DAC engine, state-of-the art XMOS processor and then designed an all new input circuit and receiver, a 100% discrete output stage and a huge power supply to finish it off.

This is true high-end.  You won’t find any chip op amps in this product.

Native Mode and SRC

A Media DAC, like the NWD, allows you to stream bit perfect digital audio in a number of different ways, including music stored on your computer.  But getting that music to sound right is a challenge, one our engineering group prides itself in doing right.

In a high-end, yet affordable Media DAC like the NWD,  the use of sophisticated sample rate converters coupled with new input improvements and Native mode are the keys to cleaning up the digital audio stream in preparation for conversion to music.

PS Audio’s unique “Native” listening mode delivers the most natural, spacious, and detailed sound possible. Upsampling lower sampling rates is a technology that most CD players and DAC’s employ as one of their “best” selling features. Truth of the matter is the upsampling processing has some positives, but also has negatives to it as well. Anytime a signal, be it analog or digital goes thru a myriad of processing, there are facets of the original sound that just don’t sound original anymore.

The PS Audio NWD has the capability through Native Mode to decode any resolution from 192khz/24bit and down, to it’s full integrity with no processing needed.

The “Native” mode bypasses the upsampling processor completely, and the resulting sound sets new levels of quality. “Native” mode converts bit for bit information coming into the DAC to it’s fullest, most accurate and natural reproduction possible.

Should you wish to upsample, it’s no problem.  A new high-performance upsampling engine has been added to the NWD providing 192kHz 24 bit performance for any input and any incoming sample rate.

The output stage is the key

Once the the digital audio data has been received and cleaned up in the NWD, it is sent to the NWD’s balanced internal DAC and its output is fed into our unique hybrid output stage.

The output of the internal balanced D to A converter needs to be changed from a power output to a voltage output that a preamplifier can deal with.  This point of conversion is absolutely critical to the sound of the DAC and PS Engineering has designed an innovative approach to a classically tough problem.

Instead of using harsh and digital sounding chip op amps to perform the conversion, a 100% discrete hand built conversion stage is implemented.  The result of using discretes rather than chips is remarkable.  Openness, richness and a full body to the sound of instruments and voices is an unmistakable benefit to discrete conversion.

192kHz 24 asynchronous USB

The NWD features our new high-resolution USB path based on the same XMOS technology found in our PerfectWave DAC.  Asynchronous and capable of 24 bit 192kHz performance, the NWD USB input sounds every bit as good as the best digital audio.

Using a high quality USB cable between the NWD and your computer, like a quiet Mac Mini,  you create an instant media server that can be controlled through any number of hand held devices like an iPod, iPhone or Android using a 3d party controller program.

Your entire music library can be managed by iTunes, J River, eLyric, Windows Media Player, Foobar, Pure Music, Bit Perfect, Media Monkey or Ammara (to name a few) for ease of use.  And, if you haven’t experienced the pleasure of scrolling through your library of hundreds, perhaps thousands of tracks with full cover art on an iPad or Droid, you really haven’t experienced what so many are enjoying.

With the NWD and a USB cable you can join the fun of streaming audio, up to 192kHz 24 bit resolution, using nothing more than your computer and a hand held device to control and play your entire music library.

Active vs. passive filtering

Once the digital audio data have been processed through the NWD’s input stage it’s time to turn them into music and this is the job of the analog filter and the output stage.

Most DACS use an active filtering system to clean up the output of the internal DAC but we’ve always maintained this can add a harsh bright sound to the music.  In the NWD we use all passive analog filtering giving our output a sweet open sound unencumbered with harsh digital artifacts.

FET discrete output stage

The real challenge to keeping the music open and analog-like is staying away from chip op-amps.  Chip op-amps are used by the vast majority of all high-end DACS and while good, they just don’t have the openness and sweetness of an all discrete, high voltage class A circuit.

Instead, the NWD features a 100% class A discrete, high voltage, FET based output stage.  Here we use luscious, analog sounding FET’s at the input and low noise powerful bipolar transistors for the gain and output stage.

Everything is direct coupled so bass is  stunning in its power and impact as well as the all important midbass region where the human ear is sensitive to any alteration in sound quality. 

The all important power supply

Last, but certainly not least, is the power supply.  Everything we do to help the sonics of our product be the best in the world would be for naught if we had a small power supply.  We’ve seen everything from the wall mounted transformer supplies (shudder) to power amp size power supplies.  Bottom line is this: if you want high-end performance you need a high-end power supply.

Inside the NWD is a huge transformer, coupled to many thousands of microfarads of capacitance, Linear Technologies regulators and high speed, low noise diodes.  We have taken every effort to make the NWD as good as it gets.

It is here, in this all important power supply region, where voices and instruments take on what is known as proper “bloom” and give us the illusion of being right in the room with us.  The last thing you want is an anemic sounding musical presentation – but with the right power supply, you get the fulness of the music in all its glory.

It’s built in Boulder

The NWD is in a new industrial design based on the PerfectWave series.  It’s half width of a PWD and the same length.  Measurements are 8.5″ wide by 14″ deep and a mere 2 1/4″ tall.

This beauty feels just right when you pick it up, its build as solid as it gets and best of all, it’s hand crafted right in Boulder Colorado.

Bottom line

In the 23 years we have been making DAC’s the NWD is the sweetest, warmest, most open and musical DAC we have ever built in the affordable category.  It will bring new life to your entire music collection – regardless of whether it’s on your computer or your discs.

Regardless of what you have for a transport, from a low cost CD player with an optical output, Apple Airport Express or TV, computer, or even the highest end transport on the market, adding the NWD to your system will change everything for the better.


Pricing Information

Price: $995.00
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