PS Audio Digital Link II D/A processor Review context

Sidebar 1: Review context

My reference playback system has remained nearly constant for the past year, providing a stable platform on which to audition and compare digital processors. I auditioned the four processors reviewed in this issue under identical conditions and at matched levels. Additionally, the reference playback system has remained nearly constant for the past year, providing a stable platform on which to audition and compare digital processors. The converters under review fed an Audio Research LS2 line-stage preamplifier, which in turn drove a Mark Levinson No.23.5 power amplifier via its unbalanced inputs. Loudspeakers were Hales System Two Signatures, occasionally augmented with a Muse Model 18 subwoofer.

Interconnects included Expressive Technologies IC-2, AudioQuest Diamond, and Monster Cable Sigma (no relation to the CAL Sigma!). Loudspeaker cable was 8' runs of bi-wired AudioQuest Sterling/Midnight. A Theta Data Series II transport or Museatex CD-Deck provided the digital signal, and a variety of digital interconnects were auditioned with each processor.

Other converters on hand for comparison included the Theta DS Pre Generation III, Musik System Zero, and that low-cost standard, the Audio Alchemy Digital Decoding Engine. The excellent $1500 Musik System Zero provided a good benchmark for these much-lower-priced units under review, and the Audio Alchemy DDE brought another reference point at the lower end of the scale.

All AC power to the processors was conditioned with a Tice Power Block and Titan, and all the processors were left on during the three-week audition (Leaving your D/A converter on all the time ensures that it will always sound its best. If you turn it on just before listening, you'll never hear what it can really do. I find that it often takes several days or even a week before a processor reaches its maximum smoothness and liquidity. In addition, leaving the processor constantly powered reduces turn-on/off stress on internal components, increasing the product's life.).—Robert Harley

PS Audio Inc.
4865 Sterling Drive
Boulder, CO, 80301
(720) 406-8946

hnickm's picture

Odd that none of the Digital Link products show up on the PS Audio website.
Is it vaporware? Doesn't sound like how I've thought of PS Audio in the past.

John Atkinson's picture
hnickm wrote:
Odd that none of the Digital Link products show up on the PS Audio website.

It isn't odd, as not all companies list discontinued products on their websites.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

Bogolu Haranath's picture

May be JA1 could review the new Bryston BDA-3.14 multi-function DAC, streamer, pre-amp ($4,200) .... (may be a follow-up review)? :-) .........

JRT's picture

The product that is the subject of this article wears the PS Audio brandname, but that product was not built and sold by the same business that is today's PS Audio. It is not a legacy product of the current PS Audio business.

Paul McGowan and Stan Warren co-founded PS Audio. Warren later left PS Audio. Later still, McGowan sold the business, and the product that is the subject of this review was something designed, built and sold by PS Audio under that other ownership.

That business later failed and liquidated, and McGowen bought back the PS Audio brandname, but not the legacy product line, and then built a brand new business under that name, the current PS Audio. The earlier products were of an older defunct business. I expect that Paul McGowan and PS Audio have been careful in not claiming any false relation to older products that were not theirs.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

The old PS Audio was 'Mufasa', the old Lion King ......... The new PS audio is 'Simba', the new Lion King ....... 'Simba' is roaring :-) .........

sethgodin's picture


I'll confess to being confused when I saw Harley's name, but even with that clue, it took me a few tries to realize that this review is from 27 years ago...

It's a neat artifact, but particularly for a digital processor, I'm not sure it belongs in the same stream as the current reviews. It wouldn't be hard to mark it more clearly, even adding a sentence at the beginning of each of these that says something like, "This is a classic review from our wayback machine. It was first published in 1992".

Without the context, it's not only not worth reading, it's affirmatively confusing, no?

rschryer's picture

...but the year the article was first published is included in the byline:

Robert Harley | Nov 8, 2019 | First Published: Oct 1, 1992

sethgodin's picture

I guess my point is that if you were reading a stream of articles from a newspaper, a sports site, the weather channel--you probably wouldn't expect to find an archival story mixed in. If the Times put "War in Germany!" in their feed, most people wouldn't stop to read the date next.

I'm certainly not complaining about all the goodness that Stereophile delivers, it's a fabulous resource. Simply pointing out that if the labeling isn't working 100% of the time (and the comments on this one post indicate that at least twice it didn't work) there might be a better way...

JRT's picture

And I appreciate that these are added along with the new content.

Glotz's picture

That there were aliens sighted!

Some guy named Orson Welles reported on it..??