Over four years ago, in May 2014, I reviewed the PS Audio DirectStream (DS) DAC. I ended up purchasing it and I still use it as my reference. Many times over these last four years I have been approached by other audiophiles asking why I have a DAC as my reference that is not ‘new’ and ‘up-to-date’ as compared to other DACs that have the newest DAC chip. ‘Oh no’, I say, ‘you are wrong’, ‘my DAC is only at most months old, it is yours that is old.’
My response is in fact, a fact, and that is what is so special about the DS DAC: Because its electronics are software based not hardware based, you get a new DAC every time PSAudio updates the software—and updates are free of charge. The DS at $6,000 retail does not have a traditional DAC chip built within; instead it uses a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) which is an integrated circuit board that is programmed to serve whatever function it is commanded, including non-audio applications such as medical instruments and defence, distributed monetary systems and security systems.