Here comes the PS Audio's streamer -- anyone excited?

Many here are much more well versed in good streamers than me. Interested in reactions to this new entry.



It has coax & I2s out ( no USB ) and galvanically isolated output and I assume input. It has a quiet internal switching supply and will be Roon ready. Probably out in 2-3 months for around $2K.  Their new DAC will be released prior to releasing the AirLens.

Well, their DSJr. DAC has been serving me quite well for several years, so I’m optimistic about the new DAC.  The AirLens price point places it in a very competitive market segment, so it will have to prove its value.

despite uncle paul's good intentions, the product seems 'me too' at this stage of the game in the marketplace

rather late to the party

galvanic isolation well solved in a $350 ifi zenstream... among others

According to the video they still enforce coof mandates. They are no longer of any interest to me. 

I'm no longer interested in their products after buying a Stellar DAC that has had a bad optical port since day 1. I even sent it in for repair and was advised it's working properly. 

I saw the video and might be interested. The way they isolate the d side from the a side without using optical cable is intriguing and I have a DAC with an I2S input, so the lack of USB won’t be a problem.  I’d like to hear a review or three before I decide to drop $2000 though.


If your DAC doesn't use their I2S protocol it won't do you any good and if it does both the Silent Angel Munich and iFi Neo Stream have an I2S output using the same protocol for less. Plus with the Neo Stream you have an alternative DAC to try out. 

PS audio does nice videos but not really make the best equipment. 


Keep searching. 

Not really ,I owned their top dac ,and inside a rip-off for the money the case is cheap like a $300 Blu-ray player ,I almost cut my hand open ,from the sharp edges 

this too means it rings like a 🔔 no damping inside whatsoever ,on a $5k + piece of equipment and inside was just hollow space .

that’s why I am not to thrilled , if someone takes the cover off and machined  casework like Bricasti ,and well designed with multiple linear power supplies and regulation then I will maybe look deeper into it.

I'm glad to see a reputable American company introduce something like this. Many good loudspeakers and amps are made in USA, but when it comes to streamers (or streaming DACs/preamps), most of  the best products seem to be Asian, European, or Canadian. Streamers and DACs are prone to software/firmware problems. This makes after-sale service/support important. For American customers, I believe this is best provided by an  American company (or by a foreign company with a strong North American presence.).

The AirLens  product itself does not excite me much.  I'd rather have streaming functions integrated with the DAC/preamp in a single box (like PS Audio's old Direct Stream Junior, without any kinks in the ethernet "bridge"). With a dedicated streamer, maybe half of what you'll pay for is the fancy case and connections.  More clutter, more complexity, and more cost, probably with little or no sound improvement compared to putting an ethernet port on the back of a high quality DAC/preamp. But if PS Audio provides a really good app to control it, and if it's Roon-ready with good integration into the rest of your system, then it might be worth considering if all you're missing is a streamer.  

I am looking for a DAC..PS Audio has 30 day trial and for $2K it must be better than my iFi Zen. The one warning flag is the "quiet switching power supply".

I don’t know how this compares to a properly designed linear supply. I added the iFi $299 switching power supply to my Zen Stream and noted a big improvement in presentation.

Their new 30K speakers are off to a good start and their soon to be released DAC is looking promising. So, like many companies, they are worth a look, but not a blind buy.

I for one am excited. But I have a modified DS Sr DAC whose I2S input said by its own designer is better than the usb input. The Mark II is going to have better isolation on the inputs. But for me this fits nicely in my system. 

But the lack of USB output does trouble me. Limits my options for DACs in the future. But for the 2k built in USA and its isolation will fit me now. I have a spare matrix mini pro 3. See what they give as trade in too. The lack of usb has been talked much about on the psaudio forum. It’s going to limit their sales big time but I don’t think they care. They don’t crank out thousands of devices.  

PS Audio has 30 day trial and for $2K it must be better than my iFi Zen

famous last words?  🤣

Speculation until someone does the 30 day demo and compares it to something else worth comparing to.  However, if folks have had issues with their components and did not feel supported with a resolution, i'd have a concern too. Probably paying a little more for the Room capability & support too.  PS Audio fans might like it. Wishing them good luck on their new USA product, few and far between.   

jjss49 said

"despite uncle paul's good intentions, the product seems 'me too' at this stage of the game in the marketplace

rather late to the party"

It remains to be seen how well this product sounds and operates, but there is a reason for it being "me too" and late, read on ... 

Paul has a philosophy of being able to sell a complete system, an ecosystem as he has referred to it.  As an aside, the introduction of the Aspen FR30 speakers was a move in that direction, albeit a very expensive one.  The AirLens is intended to be a partner to the upcoming DirectStream DAC Mk II, i.e., a piece of the ecosystem.  The previous DirectStream DAC, which I have, has the internal Bridge, I & II, to serve the same purpose as the AirLens. The Bridge is a computer card design, so space constrained, is a bit fussy, and is made by a third party so problems were difficult to address.  Additionally, many found the Bridge noisy since it was inside the same case as the DAC, so a separate component was necessary.  Another aside, the Bridge III, either internal or external, has been talked about for at least five years, probably more. Personally I have enjoyed the Bridge for nine years (both versions) but haven't tried another streamer so can't comment on the noise. 

As for "rather late to the party", yes they are, but it is partially due to COVID and the screwed up supply chain.  The AirLens (in its current form) has been promised "soon" for over a year and just keeps getting pushed back.  There was an issue with Apple AirPlay certification that delayed things and then resulted in a redesign when Apple said not too long ago after PS Audio received AirPlay certification "oh by the way, there is a one year delivery delay for the AirPlay chip". Accordingly, the AirLens will not have AirPlay.  A more long-term contribution to the delay was Paul's quest to produce a server and software that sounded better than Roon and was as good in other aspects.  This proved to be a bridge waaay too far and was dropped a few months back.  The AirLens was always planned (think Bridge III) but was the secondary priority for several years while working on the server.

As a PS Audio supporter, it has been very frustrating to see the AirLens and DirectStream DAC Mk II delayed so many times, but it seems to be the way of the world lately.  It doesn't help that Paul likes to tell folks too soon about what is in development and then be overly optimistic on when it will hit the market. Paul is a great guy, and he runs a great company that makes a lot of product in the USA.  Despite the issues I can support that!

jackd said,

"If your DAC doesn't use their I2S protocol it won't do you any good"

You won't be able to take advantage of I2S, but as vonhelmholtz said and is confirmed in the video, there is an RCA SPDIF output.  Compatible with essentially all DACs.  As for USB, Paul and the engineers at PS Audio don't care for USB so they choose not to emphasize it.  If someone needs USB out then look elsewhere ...

audioman58 said,

"I owned their top dac ,and inside a rip-off for the money the case is cheap like a $300 Blu-ray player ,I almost cut my hand open ,from the sharp edges

this too means it rings like a 🔔 no damping inside whatsoever ,on a $5k + piece of equipment and inside was just hollow space ."

Yes there is some empty space, that is a design decision. Digital circuits need to be kept physically apart from analog circuits to minimize noise transfer. Also, the DAC uses an FPGA for the digital conversion, a lot happens in that chip that eliminates some of the external components.

I also would not call that case cheap like a $300 Blu-Ray player, it’s a fairly simple design but has features that minimize the ringing compared to a cheap Blu-ray case. The fancy cases we see on expensive components are a significant cost driver. The DAC could have cost $1k more (or higher) if there was an audiophile approved case. Unknown if an audiophile approved case was more functional or just bling but PS Audio made their decision, and it works.

@pmotz ..."Yes there is some empty space, that is a design decision. Digital circuits need to be kept physically apart from analog circuits to minimize noise transfer."

Glad you pointed this out. Was thinking the same when I read some of the comments. Folks who understand at least the basics of design and best attempts at eliminating unnecessary noise can appreciate this. i.e. keeping the two parts isolated and apart from each other that is. Would have to listen to it for an extended period of time before determining if it’s worth the investment or not. 👍


Not excited, but I do appreciate PS Audio efforts and their business practices. I am fond of PS Audio, particularly their power regenerators and DACs. After I messed up a modificaiton on my DAC, PS Audio’s customer service was outstanding with their communication, time to repair, and price of repair. With PS Audio’s I2s not being univerally accepted as other manufactures have different standards, the I2S may not play well with others.

I for one am very interested, as are many others who are in the PS Audio digital ecosystem.

Many owners of the PS Directstream DAC long ago became disenchanted with the internal Bridge II card and migrated to the Matrix X SPDIF 2 DDC to convert and re-clock USB from a computer or Nucleus to I2S over HDMI, even at the cost of losing the second MQA unfold.

In my case, I am have been using the Nucleus+ via USB into the Matrix, but many folks have found that an Ethernet connection from the Nucleus (or computer) into a dedicated Ethernet (or wifi) Roon endpoint is sonically by far the better way to go.

So no, this product is clearly not for everyone--and far from it--but if you are happily in the PS Audio digital ecosystem, right now you can't wait for the AirLens (to say nothing of the Directstream Mk. II) and have been saving your pennies so as to pounce as soon as  they begin shipping.

And, for the PS Audio-curious, there will be a sh*t ton of pre-owned Drectstream DACs and Matrix DDCs hitting the Audiogon listings later this year at very attractive prices...


Does it have any features such as Chromecast, AirPlay, or Bluetooth?  How does it handle Internet Radio and Podcasts?  And what App is controlling it?  

All of the above are imo important for streamers.  I got rid of a Bryston streamer which sounded excellent but had controlling software that made usage a miserable experience.  The Cambridge Audio that replaced it has a much better app, and I frequently Chromecast to it from Qobuz or files from my phone.  It also has a decent DAC that I bypass but it cost 1/3 the Bryston 

certainly makes sense that this unit is for those well steeped in the ps-audio product family already (kind of a newer gen bridge for the megabuck ds replacement dac coming out)

otherwise, much less appeal to others, maybe to some i2s connectivity fans

oh, and by the way, roon doesn’t ’have a sound’...

I'm hoping to discover whether there is internal design improvements (connoted by the name "air lens") which make a real difference. I heard Paul's description in the video, but I'm not sure whether that technology is elsewhere, too, and whether it matters, much.

Until we can listen, yes, this is "speculation." But those who follow the developments of this arena of technology may have some good guesstimate as to whether there is some actual engineering in this thing which will prove game-changing.

@mahler123 Does it have any features such as Chromecast, AirPlay, or Bluetooth? How does it handle Internet Radio and Podcasts? And what App is controlling it?

Def worth sending a note to their marketing dept there to learn more. Some folks claim they cannot hear differences with the different software platforms and protocols.

Sat at my buddies house and home comparing many hours with Roon, Airplay II, DTS PlayFi, MusicLife, others, no bluetooth - and comparing to native file connections playing the exact same track, song, version. Each platform adds or removes its own magic software dust layers for better or worse. We most certainly heard differences.

Reply back here if you ask what they are going to do and offer w/the streamer. Thx. 


don’t know if you know about the genesis digital lens unit from the 90’s 00’s - that word ’lens’ has been part of paul’s lexicon for digital since his arnie nudell/genesis days

thusly i wouldn’t connect his use of the word is any particular suggestion about what is in this new streamer

The Air Lens has no software included at all.  Easier to think of it as a Rendu with an I2s output and SPDIF output. Same collection of aftermarket software choices as work with the two iFi devices.

AirLens word is referring to something PS Audio already used on their SACD transport, lots about this you can find on PS Audio forum along with dedicated thread about the upcoming unit.


@pmotz according to the video, masking is still required to visit. That put me off. I was already wavering when I saw the fr 30 and that was the last straw

This sort of marketing hyperbole is what drives me nuts about this company. At around the 4:30 mark it sounds like he is claiming they invented the sony/Phillips I2S data format. Even if you can say well he meant the interface to access,  all that amounts to is a pin layout for HDMI.  I also don't get the notion USB  which uses galvanic isolation in any decent implementation is terrible but digital coax and HDMI  with galvanic isolation on this is great.  So I'm not at all excited about nothing new to see here.

The I2s advantage is that clock and data are provided to the DAC. In other videos Paul makes clear that they took the internal I2s bus and created their own standard to externalize I2s. He is their prime salesperson.  He sold me on the value of I2s.

Any updates on this?  I find the inability to play Apple Music, Spotify (for playlists/tracks unavailable on Qobuz), on the new DAC Mk. II frustrating.  I would have preferred a single box solution with two price points.  Love the idea of a preferred output stage -- can you feed a ROON NUC into this streamer (as an alternative to the SGP System Optique setup).  Seems silly to have multiple mini-computers in a system.

probably the best streamer out there. Paul has it right, USB is the worst, I2S is the best, then Ethernet, but most people don't want to spend the money for a good dac with these inputs, they will be a cheap dac with usb and then spend hundreds if not thousands of $$$ trying to make USB work.

I would take this streamer over an Aurender or Auralic any day. If you use Roon, then why would you use a 3rd rate software like surrenders or even Auralic's?