PS Audio Direct Stream Mk2 DAC - How good is it vs Mk1? Weiss, Bricasti?

I have the original PS Audio Direct Stream DAC, and had been considering upgrading, as it is the oldest item in my system, and I am getting the itch to upgrade.   I had been looking into the Weiss 501 or the Bricasti M1, used.  But have ready several positive things about the PS Audio Mk2.

I am wondering if anyone has really compared the original to the MK2? Or to the Weiss or Bricasti?



I recently was in a local shop that sells the Weiss dacs and had a chance to listen to the 501 and 204. Now granted this experience was not in my own system, but in a very expensive setup nonetheless. I wanted to hear how it somewhat compared to my MKI.

A while back I sent my MKI in for the APS transformers and Vcom mods to determine if I would still feel the need to upgrade to the MKII. After the long and I mean long break in period, it has satisfied my upgrade itch. These mods transform the DAC in all the right ways.

I think it would worth the APS upgrades first and then see if you still feel the desire to upgrade. It saves a lot of money and sounds really really good.

Brownsf-  yep, that trade in and trial makes it almost an offer I can’t refuse. So this is much of a sanity check before making the final decision.  

pursuitofnow- I had not heard of the upgrades, so I’ll google them


Pursuitofnow - who did your upgrade? How much was it? Even with the mk1 upgrades, the firmware upgrades to the mk2 will just keep making the mk2 better and better. I use Ethernet and the new mk2 doesn’t have Ethernet so I would have to get their server so I could us i2s, I never use usb. I still like the sound of the mk1 over many other more expensive dacs. 

You can see the available mods here. I had everything installed by APS.

To be clear, I'm not saying the mk2 won't get better. I'm just saying for a lot less money you can have mk1 with upgrades, and it as nice and maybe more preferable than the mk2 with current firmware.

I had both the PSA DS MK2 and a Bricastl M1 together for most of a year. The Bricasti M1 sold in the end used for more than the MK2 cost after the US trade-in program. At first, the Bricasti had the edge in SQ. The Bricasti also can be used without a preamp. Technically this is possible with the MK2. But it is not really meant for it. At lower volumes, signal-to-noise suffers as the MK2 does not have the proper analog output stages that the M1 has. But, with a preamp, and with the latest PSA software releases, the MK2 has had the edge since last Summer.