I really like my speaker rig’s digital front end which consists of an Exemplar Music Server and an Exemplar XD-1 DAC (A heavily modified Xindak DAC-5). The XD-1 is an amazingly good DAC, its strengths are the quality of the 6922 based SE outputs (and the associated supped up power supply) but it has a few shortcomings that I’d like to address. (I also use an Oppo BDP-83SE that is currently being modified by Exemplar Audio)
1) The XD-1 puts everything through its SRC, so there is no Native playback option. Especially with High Resolution files I’d prefer to not have the data manipulated by a SRC, or at least I’d like to have the option of Native playback.
2) The XD-1 will not accept sample rates above 96 kHz. I’m itching to try some of the Reference Recordings HrX 176.4 kHz recordings.
3) The XD-1 does not have balanced outs (The Xindak DAC-5 does). Since my preamp (Parasound JC2) and amps (Parasound JC1’s) are both fully balanced I’d like the ability to go fully balanced.
So I’m looking for a DAC that:
Allows for Native playback (especially important for High Resolution)
Accepts up to 192 kHz sample rates.
High quality balanced and SE outputs.
I’ve done a lot of research and the DAC that keeps coming out ahead is the PS Audio Perfectwave DAC. I’m not a fan of touch screens that I’ll almost never touch, but aside from that the PWD is the only DAC that fits my requirements. The Network Bridge also seems like a fabulous feature. The idea of having a remote DLNA compliant NAS RAID server is exciting (My Exemplar Server could be moved to my Bedroom/Headphone rig).
I plan on ordering a PWD on Monday. Have I missed any other DAC’s that meet my requirements? What are your thoughts about the PWD? Pros and Cons?