JK Richards PS Audio DSD MKI transformer upgrade

I sent my PS Audio DSD MKI to JK Richards to be fitted with the upgraded nickel transformers and VOCM caps. Should be arriving today. Will follow up with a comparison review  once the upgraded DAC settles in. 

Here is a link to the lengthy thread covering the evolution of the PS Audio DSD mods.



Today a PS Audio technical service technician posted an advisory regarding modified DSD Mk II DACs (latest iteration).  Apparently they have had more than a few of these modified units come i for repair. The nature of the repair was an output transformer swap.  PS Audio is not saying what transformers were installed, who did the install, or if the installation was sub par.  These units are failing all PS Audio bench tests and the repair is a replacement bard with the original style transformers installed.  As the affected units have been modified the repair is not covered buy warranty.  A link to the thread provided in the PS Audio Forum is provided for reference: 


Here is the real reason the new MK2 is failing.  It is filled with flaws and QC is awful.  From the flawed grounding tabs to screws crossed threaded and many never tightened. Loose power transformers and many adapter boards hand soldered makes for many failure points.  We have install many audio transformers, none of which has failed or caused any issues.  We did our last MK2 transformer swap yesterday and found ALL digital board standoffs and power transformer bolt completely loose.  It's a wonder it didn't fall apart.

It's so bad we stopped offering transformers for the MK2.  Our Signature Series modified MK1 sounds better than the MK2 and we are focusing our efforts on them instead.

Here are just a few examples of what we have been finding.

Many months ago we set out to make the outgoing PS Audio Directstream MK1 with upgrades to the transformers and circuits, sound better than the "new" $8,000 PS Audio Directstream MK2.

We finally did it with our Signature Series upgraded MK1 DAC.

We had a panel of audiophiles,mix engineers, and musicians / vocalist over to pick their favorite DAC.

1) Directstream MK2 (stock).

2) Directstream MK2 (APS transformers installed).

3) Signature Series Directstream MK1.

Our studio is setup to play all DAC’s the same exact digital signals via a Denifrips Hermes DDC and the ability to a/b/c each DAC’s output with a remote for the Audio Research preamp at the listening position. No one was told what the input was for each DAC and we level matched them all to keep it fair and accurate.

Hands down everyone except a couple liked the new Signature Series the best. The MK2 with the APS transformers was a close 2nd. Two could not pick between the Signature Series and the APS MK2. They like them both.

Why purchase a $8.000 DAC when you can have one that sounds better for a fraction of the cost?

PS Audio is no longer supporting mods on the new MK2 in addition to all the flaws and bad QC in these new units makes it an easy decision. Plus, we happen to like the larger touch screen user interface instead of the clumsy new tiny user interface.

Our Signature series also measures a lot better than the new MK2.

We no longer are offering APS transformers for the MK2 because of all these issues.



TOP: PS Audio Directstream MK2 with APS transformers and all flaws addressed.

BOTTOM: Our Signature Series Directstream MK1.