New life to Red Book CD
The Compact Disc was first introduced in 1982, nearly 35 years ago, as of this writing. Over the years, steady progress has been made improving its musicality. But retrieving all that is possible from this optical medium has remained somewhat elusive until the introduction of the DMP.
Most engineers in our field, including our own, failed to recognize the critical need for timing perfection to appreciate all that is available on CD. Not until 2009, with the introduction of the PerfectWave Transport, did we begin to understand that there was more to CD than we had ever imagined. The PWT demonstrated that careful extraction of data, coupled with isolation of the output clock, yielded unexpected benefits: more information than we knew existed.
Our next uncovering of what treasures lay hidden in the CD was even bigger. DirectStream DAC. DirectStream DAC’s inventor, Ted Smith, opened our eyes to what was possible to render (playback) from the original optical storage method—once believed to be so lacking that only higher resolution upgrades could salvage the sound.
The PWT opened our eyes to what could be extracted, the DirectStream DAC turned the lights on for what could be rendered, and the DMP has finally opened wide the door to what is possible when extraction and timing are near-perfect.
Cover art and song titles
DMP enjoys a new user interface that includes song titles and tracks that can be read from a distance. Like its predecessor, the PWT, album art can be automatically downloaded when DMP is connected to the internet.
Every time you play a disc (and are connected to the internet) a copy of the cover art and song titles are kept for you on your own private library page, accessed through our website. From your personal page it is a simple matter to correct any of the CD’s information, change cover art and polish your CD collection.
Sony and Philips corporations introduced the CD’s successor, the SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) in 1999, 17 years after the original launch. Instead of downsampled PCM from higher resolution original recordings, which many Red Book CDs are based upon, SACD held the promise of access to the original master tape or recording through a new format, PDM (Pulse Density Modulation) that Sony and Philips rebranded as DSD (Direct Stream Digital).
Because this new high resolution digital format was essentially identical to the master tape, strict copyright protections were put in place to protect the rights of artists and recording labels. Those protections remain in place today, as well they should. Most collections of SACD have only been heard through Sony/Philips authorized DACs, internal to the players, unavailable as a separate digital audio datastream to external DACs.
PS Audio’s DMP is one of the first transports to provide external access to the pure DSD layer on SACD. DMP can do this, legally, because the raw data stream cannot be copied. DMP owners with PS Audio’s DirectStream DAC, or DirectStream Junior, can access this encrypted layer through our unique I²S interface. Once connected, DMP authenticates the presence of a PS Audio authorized DAC and, for the first time, listeners can get closer to master tapes than ever thought possible.
DirectStream DACs are pure DSD based and nothing sounds quite as magical as DSD copies of master tapes processed into exquisite analog through DirectStream DACs.
I2S through HDMI output
There are three ways to get digital audio data out of the DMP: S/PDIF, AES/EBU or I2S HDMI. I2S is the preferred method if you have a PS Audio DAC or any manufacturer’s DAC that can receive it. Three such I²S interface are provided, allowing for 6-channel high resolution audio to be streamed from DMP.
S/PDIF (and AES/EBU) are the standard delivery methods found on all transports and, while excellent, remain a compromised format.
Standard digital outputs take three separate internal clocks along with the raw music data and combine them into one stream to the DAC. This mashup of music and clocks causes the audio to sound flat and harsh compared to I2S.
A much better way of delivering the music is what I2S does, by transferring the clocks and data on separate wires within the HDMI cable, and the audible results are impressive. Simply use any HDMI cable between the DMP and appropriate DAC and you are transferring data perfectly, through I2S.
A growing number of DACS and devices are adopting the PS Audio HDMI standard for digital audio transmission because of its superior audio quality.
Powerful analog discrete power supply
Clean and well-regulated power is essential for a high-performance universal disc player like the DirectStream Transport. Instead of the typical switch mode power supply, a fully analog approach is taken with DMP.
Three separate and isolated analog power sections make up DMP’s power supply. Fed from a large toroidal power transformer with three galvanically isolated windings, each of the three power stages utilizes discrete full wave rectification based on high-speed low-loss diodes. Energy storage for the three sections comes from a bank of low ESR high-value capacitors bypassed by non-inductive film capacitors.
Each of the three power storage banks are then double regulated by discrete, linear, voltage regulators which reduce ripple to the microvolt level and lower impedance to well below an Ohm.
Playback of stored data
The front panel USB input on DMP is available for small music collections stored on USB drives. Plug in a USB thumb drive and its contents can be accessed and played back through DMP. While the instrument itself is capable of handling large numbers of tracks, selection can become cumbersome if there are too many.
Tracks from the data drive are displayed in small groups on DMP’s touch screen, and navigating larger libraries can be time consuming. PS engineering added this input as a courtesy port offering quick access to a friend’s favorite album or track. We imagine being at a consumer audio show and customers wishing to hear music stored on their thumb drives will find this input convenient and excellent sounding.