Nuwave DSD DAC in excellent condition. For sale only because I am breaking down my headphone system (See Taurus MKII ad). This is a great sounding amp which handles PCM and DSD equally well. Michael Lavorgna at Audio Stream awarded it a "greatest bits": Here is what he said in part.
Fortune Smiles Upon Those Who Listen
The PS Audio NuWave DAC makes some nice music.
While the technology responsible for turning bits into music in the NuWave is anything but straight forward, listening to the result is. I listened to the NuWave DAC for more than a month, and from the get-go what I heard was a very dense, rich, and fluidly rewarding way with music. The scale of the presentation is portrayed in a believable manner, meaning that there's no overtly unnatural spotlight drawing your attention from the gist of things. Some DACs can sound a bit too resolute, a too micro-detail lit, where you find yourself drawn into relatively insignificant details while missing the bigger and more important picture.
The NuWave does not lead you astray in that way, rather it pulls you into the performance where you'll experience a very solid, dimensional, and appropriately-sized sound image. While this may seem contradictory to what I just said, the NuWave delivers some very solid and full bass, more so than many other DACs I've had the pleasure of listening to. Don't get me wrong; bass does not stand or jump out, but its rich fullness is worth highlighting.
There are no rough edges to be found coming from the NuWave, think smooth yet nicely textured. Compared to the recently reviewed and similarly priced Metrum Musette (review) there's a bit more flesh on the music's bones with the NuWave, and a generally more dimensional presentation. Where the Musette will grab some listeners is immediacy; the Metrum DAC sounds faster, for lack of a better word, and a bit more lively. Horses for courses. I'd suggest that people who enjoy rich, full, and fluid will likely prefer the PS Audio DAC.
PS Audio's new NuWave DSD DAC has taken some engineering cues from the company's much-loved DirectStream DAC (see review). While the NuWave does not house the same FPGA-based processing as found in its larger and more costly sibling, it does house a complex programmable logic device (CPLD), a device that sits between a programmable logic device (PAL) and a field programmable gate array (FPGA) in terms of complexity. The CPLD in the NuWave is tasked with one important job; take the incoming bits from the XMOS-based USB receiver and other digital inputs and pass it along to the 32-bit ESS Hyperstream DAC corrected; "discovers sample rate and format, reclocks all incoming data, reduces jitter, waveshapes data output to the DAC chip, and utilizes high speed/low gate count logic to reduce propagation delay for faster throughput". The CLPD accomplishes this in what the company calls "Native Mode" meaning there's no sample rate conversion employed. After the DAC, a passive filter is applied in the analog output stage.
The DAC can handle PCM resolutions from 16-bit/44.1kHz to 192kHz and DSD up to 5.6MHz via its asynchronous USB (DoP) and I2S inputs (the Toslink and Coax inputs are content with PCM-only). The NuWave houses a direct-coupled, fully balanced, high current class A hybrid output stage with a claimed "extended bandwidth of -3dB at 60 kHz!" The company calls that analog transformer pictured above "massive" and they'll get no argument from me on that score. Remember, PS Audio also designs and builds power products so they know from whence they draw. In addition to the ins and outs, the unit's toggle power switch also resides around back. An IEC inlet for the included power cord finishes things out.
The front panel is all input-based information including a list of 'em with associated blue LEDs, and two small buttons with up or down arrows, to work your way through input selection. The chassis is made from black or silver aluminum and steel, another inherited trait from the DirectStream, with a black mirror-like top plate. At 20 pounds, the NuWave feels and looks more than its asking price to my eyes and resembles in dimension a round cornered version of the safe deposit boxes used by really rich people, drug dealers, and super secret agents.