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 had a friend bring one over and it did very well compared to my Chord DAVE.  I liked it.


I had the PS MK1 for a few years, now the MK2 and it is better in every way, especially with the recent upgrade FPGA...the PS Audio forums have extensive discussion with lots of comparisons...the TAS review predates the most recent upgrade

I upgraded from the Directstream 1 to 2 about 6 months ago.  Ar first, I wasn't sure it was worth the difference...until this week when I installed the new massive firmware update.  Wow-Major improvement.  Now I wonder if they will ever be able to improve on that--and find it hard to imagine how.  With the generous trade in allowance and 30,day trial period, it's pretty irresistable.

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.

carousel- thanks for your thoughts. Perhaps a coin toss between  the two.  I had listened to the M3 and was impressed, but preferred my original mk1 PS DS. Also, I would never use a DAC without a preamp as past listening has taught me.

Thanks to all who commented. I have ordered the mk2, so I am shutting down this thread 

@meiatflask I was one of the "early adopters" of the MK1 DAC, enjoyed that very much.  When PS Audio offered that great trade in on the MK2, I "took the plunge" and immediately out of the box enjoyed more detail, better soundstage and better "tonality" (especially with acoustic instruments).  It only took a few days before I boxed up the MK1 and headed to the UPS Store!  I'm sure you'll enjoy the upgrade!

Never seen a thread on here just shut down. Likely five years from now people will be responding and giving advice… maybe even longer.

Ejr1953- thanks.

Adg101- well, I can’t “shut it down”, but I will stop following it and responding. 


@carousel Which Bricasti M1 model did you have?   Was it the M1, M1SE or the M1 Series II?

My very first high end stand alone DAC was a PS Audio Direct Stream MK2 DAC.  The PC Audio DAC sounded fine, but I eventually switched to an Ayre Acoustics QX-5 Twenty DAC, which sounded more appealing to my ears.