PS Audio announce NuWave DAC


PS Audio have announced the replacement to the outgoing Digital Link III DAC. The thousand-buck NuWave DAC will be the first in a new series of digital audio processors from the Colorado company.

Based on the PerfectWave unit, the NuWave DAC (NWD) offers USB (24/192, asynchronous, XMOS chipset) and S/PDIF inputs plus either single ended (RCA) or balanced (XLR) outputs. Borrowing terminology from the PerfectWave, the NuWave will process all sample rates bit-perfectly using new “Native Mode”. Otherwise, switchable up-sampling to 24/192 is available for those that want it.

Notice that isn’t “Native X” mode (as found in the PerfectWave) so the NuWave most likely doesn’t feature the Digital Lens technology found in its bigger brother.

There are no op-amps in the output stage. The NWD features a 100% class A discrete, high voltage, direct-coupled FET based output stage with low noise bipolar transistors for the gain and output stage.

Physically it’s similar to the DLIII – it’s a half width box. Measurements are 8.5″ (W) x 14″ (D) x 2 1/4″ (H). Oh yeah, it’s built in Boulder, Colorado (not China).

The NuWave DAC will begin shipping in November for US$995.

Further Information: PS Audio

Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

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  1. Paul McGowan said a couple of years ago that they were going to market a stand alone digital lens. I wonder if they still intend to?

  2. Having a DLIII, I was wondering if there will be a large queue forming for this newer DAC. No, I have not had the opportunity to enjoy the new one but the DLIII does a great job for my purposes…pc

  3. Just got my NuWave DAC today. Right out of the box, it is much better sounding than my old DLIII with Cullen mods.
    When I first got the DLIII, I wondered if my unit was broken. The sound was incredibly shrill with the USB input. I solved that problem by getting an M2TECH HIFACE asynchronous USB output interface. I had sprung for the Sennheiser HD 800 headphones and was pleased with the midrange detail and high frequency response (only after extensive break in.) The base was anemic, which didn’t bother me too much because I don’t listen to a lot of base heavy music. Still, I always felt that for the price, the base should be better.
    The NuWave USB input works without any tweaking. More impressively, my Sennheiser HD 800 suddenly had bass and the whole sound stage developed an immediacy that had been lacking. I had always thought that my anemic bass and distant sounding sound stage were due to my X-Can headphone amp and the HD 800 characteristics, which I had read about in several reviews. Not the case. With the NuWave, the true nature of my HD 800 headphones is revealed. Garbage in, garbage out applies to more than just bytes and bits. Those phones sound as good as I could ever have hoped for.
    I realize my setup of streaming digital music from hard drive storage and listening with headphones is not for everyone, but for myself, I can say I am finally happy with the sound I am getting. (At least until PS Audio comes out with something new.) Sorry for the lack of technical detail, but I am just a good listener, not a techie.
    My only problem now is deciding what to do with my DLIII with Cullen mods and HiFace interface. Not sure if I’ll be able to get more than the $300. trade in once people hear the NuWave.

    • I still like the NWD after a week of intensive use, but hang on to your USB convertor if you are using a computer to stream your music. There is still a small amount of noise in the higher frequencies that contributes to listener fatigue after prolonged use. It is noticeably less with the M2Tech HiFace USB convertor.