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PS Audio NuWave DAC Review Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 January 2013
Article Index
PS Audio NuWave DAC Review
Setup and Listening
Listening Cont.
ImagePS Audio, out of Boulder, CO, has been a major player in high end audio for decades. Their power distribution/conditioning units and digital source components have been go to products for droves of audiophiles who value high value and high performance. The lists of PS Audio’s innovations and market firsts are extensive and highly impressive. Their power cords have also been a mainstay in a highly competitive market. I personally use several throughout my systems, on everything from CD players to HDTV’s, with great results.

PS Audio is known as a company constantly striving to push the envelope, bringing cutting edge products to the market based on sound engineering and at very sane price points. The Digital Link series of DAC models were a huge success for the company, which leapt ahead of many other manufacturers with the introduction of the uniquely designed PerfectWave DAC and Memory Player transport. The PerfectWave DAC is now in its second generation, appropriately named the PerfectWave DAC II.

If you believe in trickle down product design, then the introduction of the PS Audio’s brand new NuWave DAC is welcomed news. The company says they have applied much of the technology found in the PerfectWave series in a more affordable package. The NuWave DAC retails for $995. I arranged for a review sample, and was told the initial production run had sold out, based on initial buzz and the popularity of their previous digital convertors.

Patience is priceless, and I shortly thereafter received a review sample in silver. It is also available in black casework. The NuWave is very impressive in build quality and feature set, even at double the price. There are three digital inputs: two S/PDIF in the form of a coaxial and optical, and one “asynchronous” USB input.  The coax and USB inputs handle sample rates up to 24-bit/192kHz, while the optical input is limited to 96kHz. The USB input is plug-and-play with an Apple computer, and for Windows machines you must download a driver from the PS Audio website.

The NuWave DAC offers something unique at the sub $2000 price point, and that is optional upsampling to 192kHz. A front panel button allows you to select “Native” or “192kHz”. Native leaves the incoming sample rate unchanged, while 192kHz upsamples to, you guessed it, 192kHz. PS Audio advises experimenting with different recordings to see what setting is most pleasing. Everything about the NuWave DAC’s layout and connectors is first class all the way.

Other features, noted by PS Audio in their literature include:
  • Designed and Built in Boulder, Colorado
  • RCA and XLR Balanced Outputs
  • High Current "Class-A" Analog Output Stage
  • Extremely Low-Jitter PerfectWave Clocks
  • Fully-Balanced Fully-Discrete Analog Electronics
  • Burr Brown 24 bit DAC Chipset


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