"One of the Most Musical Front Ends Available at Any Price"
PS Audio's PerfectWave DAC Mark II is a high resolution Digital Music Player (Media Server) that brings uncompromised music into your high-end audio system. With the PWD Mark you can store your music in one place and access it anywhere in your home or from a CD, DVD or computer.
What comes out of the PWD Mark II directly into your amplifier is music as good as it gets with details you never knew were there. With the PerfectWave system, compromise is not something you worry about as you rediscover everything in your library as if it were the first time.
The Mark II version of PS Audio's PerfectWave DAC is a major leap forward in performance and features. New features include 192 kHz, 24-bit asynchronous USB, NativeX mode, non-saturated logic data path, 11 additional power supplies, lower jitter, and a precision balance control for the volume. The Mark II comes with a completely redesigned digital input board, software, connecting cables and remote control, as well as the addition of a PS Audio Critical Link fuse for the power supply.
"An Outstanding Buy"
In the September 2012 issue of The Absolute Sound magazine, Anthony H. Cordesman raves, "The DAC II is an outstanding buy… and is one of the most musical front ends available at any price."
"The MKII update is a game changer that raises the PerfectWave DAC's level of playback significantly," notes Keith Howard inThe Computer Audiophile for September 23, 2012.
"One Of The Finest CD Players That I Have Heard"
In his joint review of the original PS Audio PerfectWave transport and DAC in the August 2009 issue of England's Hi-Fi News magazine, Keith Howard notes, "The PerfectWave combination proved to be one of the finest CD players that I have heard. Effortless detailed and yet never cold or clinical, it spits in the face of all who say that CD is inherently unmusical." The combo won the magazine's coveted Editor's Choice award.
Full-Color Touch Screen
The PWD Mark II has a simple faceplate containing a power button and a color LCD touch screen. Through the touch screen you can control an amazing number of features and functions.
You can use the touch screen to select any of the seven digital inputs and assign any one of six sample rates and five filters that fit that input perfectly, and the choices will be memorized by the PerfectWave DAC. You can control the phase and the volume with a simple touch of your finger or press of the supplied remote control. You can even assign each of the inputs a custom name like "PerfectWave Transport" or "Music Server."
Overview of an Overachiever
The PWD Mark II has seven digital inputs that include two I2S over HDMI, an optical TOSLINK, coax S/PDIF, balanced AES/EBU, 192kHz 24 bit USB and the network Bridge.
The HDMI inputs are designed not for accepting HDMI data, but are utilized in a unique PS designed standard for I2S data. I2S data is the native data management system within every transport, CD player and DAC. It consists of three separate clocks and one digital audio data line.
When a separate transport and D to A processor are used in a system, the I2S data inside the transport is typically mixed together to form one single data line so it can easily be transferred between the transport and the DAC through either optical, coax or balanced means via S/PDIF.
Once the S/PDIF signal is received by the DAC it must then be separated back into its I2S components and that is where the trouble lies. The process of encoding and then decoding the I2S data into SPDIF data compromises the audio quality on a high-end system. The PWD Mark II solves this problem in two ways: through the built in Digital Lens and through PS Audio's unique I2S over HDMI for products like the PerfectWave Memory Player that use I2S technology.
The Dazzling Digital Lens
A feature unique to the PerfectWave MKII is a built-in Digital Lens. It takes in any digital audio signal you feed it and regenerates a new and jitter-free version sent on to the DAC. The new version is called NativeX and is characterized by openness, greater depth and substance to voices and instruments. They just seem to take on a renewed sense of being closer to the source, as if the recording engineer moved the microphone a little closer to the instrument.
NativeX will reduce incoming jitter levels to below 1 pico second, regardless of how jittered the incoming signals are and when this happens, the associated glare and hard edge to the music vanishes and in its place, the most analog-like music you've heard emerges. It will change everything you think about digital audio.
Optional PerfectWave Bridge
To be able to play music stored on your computer, external hard drive or NAS (Network Attached Storage), add the optional PerfectWave Bridge, which connects all your digital music sources in your home together through your home's network. The Bridge is the key to playing music at the touch of a finger over a home network with your iPhone, iPad, iPod or Droid mobile device.
The Bridge provides bit perfect performance of any sample rate music up to 192 kHz, 32-bit audio. It accepts any network audio sent to it and converts that stream to jitter free I2S data that is then fed into a built in Digital Lens that asynchronously connects the audio in jitter free fashion directly to the PWD Mark II's audio player.
Minimum Phase and Apodizing Filters
All DACS and digital media servers rely on filters to clean up the audio and help make the music sound open and natural. The qualities of these highly technical filters have a great deal of impact on how the music sounds through your system.
In the PWD Mark II, PS Audio engineered its best sounding apodizing and phase correct filters. All are available at the touch of a finger on the PWD Mark II's touch screen or through the supplied IR remote control. The PWD Mark II will actually memorize each of the filter choices for each of the inputs so that when you choose your favorite filter it will always come up to optimize the particular input you have selected.
You can also use the auto filter function. Auto filter chooses the best selection of filter based on the sample rate chosen. This means that as you play different sample rates, such as when you switch to USB and the sample rate goes to 192 kHz, 24-bits, the appropriate filter is automatically chosen for you. The auto filter chooses one of the five available filters.
One of the handiest features on the PWD Mark II s the polarity (phase) control. It is common knowledge that sources and music have seemingly no standard for absolute polarity. This fact is easily demonstrated by switching polarities on the PWD Mark II as the music plays. Many audiophiles mark their discs in phase and out of phase and are very careful to select the proper phase before playing each disc.
Some CD players and sources themselves invert phase so that a disc you believe is inverted actually is correct played on a specific device and incorrect on yet another. To fix this problem you can assign each input on the PWD Mark II to switch to the proper polarity when you activate that input.
Inside the PWD Mark II
Inside the PWT Mark II is an amazing piece of engineering that features the latest in technology coupled with parts quality and circuitry of the highest order.
The heart of the PWD Mark II is a Wolfson WM8742 stereo differential DAC, one of the latest generations of high-end DACS in the world. The extraordinary low order modulator and multi-bit DAC architecture found in the WM8742 achieves low out-of-band noise and world-class linearity for outstanding sound quality.
The DAC displays characteristics typically associated only with extraordinarily expensive high-end audio products including group delay, phase and latency, impulse response, and transition band roll off. These features significantly reduce pre-ringing and give maximum insensitivity to clock jitter.
Every component in the PWD Mark II is hand chosen, listened to and evaluated. Resistors are the best in the world – PRP PR9372 audio resistors. Power supply capacitors are hand selected low ESR types.
The audio path is, of course, completely direct coupled from input to output. In the ever-important analog power supply, large transformers handled by discrete Jung regulators proliferate the analog circuit board. There are 11 separate low noise regulators on the digital input board alone – plus another five on the analog board.
Because the PWD Mark II is a no-holds-barred high-end DAC, PS Audio made sure that there were absolutely no integrated circuits or op amps of any kind in the signal path. Every component is a discrete proprietary audio design developed and refined over the last 40 years of audio design expertise and experience.
Note: Owners of the original PerfectWave DAC will be able to upgrade fully to the Mark II standard by replacing the digital processing board, fuse, and software upgrade. The procedure can be handled by PerfectWave DAC owners at home, by available for professional installation through your dealer, or by PS Audio directly.
New Mark II Features
"The DAC II is an outstanding buy… and is one of the most musical front ends available at any price."
"PS Audio PerfectWave DAC II and PerfectWave Memory Player are superb sounding products. They demonstrate that the days when CD dominated digital music, and digital sound was 'impure and imperfect forever,' are long over. I would make listening to these units an essential part of buying a digital front end at anywhere near their price range - or even at prices twice their cost or more."
- Anthony H. Cordesman, The Absolute Sound magazine, September 2012
"The MKII is definitely a HiFi component with a great feature set and matching sound quality. The overall sonic signature of the MKII in NativeX mode is somewhere in the middle of solid state and tubed electronics, but leaning a bit more toward solid state."
"The MKII update is a game changer that raises the PerfectWave DAC's level of playback significantly and places it firmly in competition with the next echelon of converters."
- Keith Howard, The Computer Audiophile, September 23, 2012
Praise for the Original PS Audio PerfectWave DAC
"Editor's Choice" Award Winner - Hi-Fi News Magazine
In its joint review of the PS Audio PerfectWave transport and DAC, England's Hi-Fi News magazine praised the duo for "offering a dynamic alacrity and resolution of fine, musically telling detail that the other interfaces could not match, sounding somewhat clouded and diluted by comparison."
"Differences between the five filters are not large, but they are perceptible - as subtle changes in image focus and dynamics - and allow the sound quality to be fine-tuned to taste."
"With all my favored options enabled - PS interface, Native mode, filters 1 or 2 - the PerfectWave combination proved to be one of the finest CD players that I have heard. Effortless detailed and yet never cold or clinical, it spits in the face of all who say that CD is inherently unmusical."
- Keith Howard, Hi-Fi News & Record Review magazine, August 2009