Perpetual Technologies P-1A DACs

P-1A

Digital Correction System

User Reviews (44)

Showing 1-10 of 44  
ecclezia   AudioPhile [Aug 18, 2004]
Strength:

Marginal improvement over 16/44.1 straight-through, but not enough to justify its cost or lofty reputation.

Weakness:

Lowers signal considerably; push-button interface is a real pain to use.

I bought a complete set comprising the P-1A, Signature 1 P-3A and MS P3b power supply new from av123. I later bought Revelation Audio Labs I2S cables and power supply links as well. At the time, a Jadis JD-3 Drive was used as transport, feeding the P-1A via a DH Labs Silver Sonic coax digital cable. I ran the PT combo in 24/96 mode most of the time, doing the upsampling in the P-1A, thus employing the P-3A as a straight-through DAC. My initial impressions were quite positive. Compared with playback from the Jadis (which employs a 1-bit processor),I perceived a wider (but not really deeper) soundstage, less glare in the highs and upper-mids and slightly more fullness in the bottom end. I did not sense any real increase in resolution (despite the claims of Resolution Enhancement) but overall the sound was noticeably less "digital" with the PT combo in service than without. For short time, I was forced to use the P-3A alone when the P-1A was sent back to PT to rectify a sudden and unexplained loss of signal strength. To be honest, I could not discern any significant difference with or without the P-1A, other than the fact that with the P-1A in the chain, the level was reduced considerably (by 6dB, I read somewhere). The upshot is that while the PT combo does not, in my view, degrade the signal substantially, they do not enhance the sound very much at all. The most noticeable effect is the reeduction in signal level with the P-1A in the chain. Other than that, the marginal changes to the sound were only discernable if you listened critically (wider soundstage, lower glare). All in, I did not think the units lived up to their lofty reputations. Two years after I bought the PT combo, I had the opportunity to pick up a pre-owned Krell KPS-20i. This unit runs 20-bit proprietary reconstructive software and employs 16x upsampling to 705.6 kHz. The Krell was a revelation. It had pace, grace and bass in spades and truly showed up the Jadis/PT system as distant seconds. The Jadis and PT units are now gone.

Similar Products Used: None.
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Sam Rico   AudioPhile [Apr 21, 2003]

For all those looking into upgrading their p tech setups here's a list of some available upgrades: Power supply: 12vdc high amp switching power supply for p1, Monolithic power supply for P1 and P3, Dan wrights monolithic power supply upgrade, upgraded cable for power lines from monolithic power supply to the p1 and p3 P1: ModHi-Fi capacitor upgrade, 192khs chip upgrade (when available) P3: ModHi-Fi op-amp upgrade (ok), Dan wright stage 1 upgrade (better), Dan Wright stage 2 upgrade (best) I2s: Audio Magic Mystic I2s cable. These units seem to respond well to upgrades, no wonder there are so many available. how does it sound you ask? read annother review besides this one :) I wonder in an A/B test how different a fully upgraded p tech combo would sound compared to a stock setup. it seems to me people are reviewing entirely different setups and configurations with all upgrades and setting combinations it's no wonder some people love these things and some peopel hate them.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
daniel-SF-USA   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 26, 2003]
Strength:

Modest pricing, new. Killer pricing, used. Ease of installation. Deservedly awarded product of the year by several different audio magz/venues. Really deliver on de-jittered, reclocked, 24-bit interpolated DAC output. Excellent detail available at all frequencies. Vivid, clear, large soundstaging. Regular cds can rival SACD or DVDaudio in quality of reproduction.

Weakness:

Tricky to program without the assist of an onscreen display. (let's see, which program layer am I in, now?) But who cares? I got help from somebody who pushed the buttons while I read the manual outloud.

I got the p1a/p3a duo, used, purchased from a seller on this website. At first, I just plugged it into my modest starter system, quite uncertain if I would hear any difference, given the fact that I had done no other upgrades yet. Well, even with my old JVC rcvr the increased quality was striking. All cd's sounded like the more specialized 20-bit/24-bit remasterings in both classical & jazz music. Less distortion, of even the more intangible kinds where you can't hear any direct distortion problem but still feel that something is hanging there, between you and the music. Then I got my upgrades going. Full range definitive technology speakers, bp10 rear surround, bp20 front. bryston power amps on all channels. these units finally let me just sit back and get lost in the music. As it happens, because of the digital coax cable, the units also process the front two channels of movie dvds. WOW, who knew dts or dolby could sound so good? Yeah I bet you can spend even more, in fact way way more;but the law of diminishing returns suggests to me that these units are a really great place to start moving beyond off-the-shelf consumer mid-fi electronics. Given how great the units sound now, future power supply upgrades will only make them sound that much better. So it's nice to know you can get started, and then continue upgrading piece by piece, level by level. Who knew cd's could sound this much better?

Similar Products Used: Not really fair to compare with DAC's typically built into most of the consumer home audio electronics available in USA.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Mario   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 13, 2003]
Strength:

Resolution, detail, and musicality....

Weakness:

cheap op amps used in the 3a stock build, to be replaced.....

Where do I begen, it started with the purchase of the P3a Dac when it initially debuted. The 3a replaced my Adcom 600 Dac; I imedietly noticed a huge diffrence in resolution and musicality never heard from my system. Jump two years latter, I decided to pair the 3a with the 1a. Boy was I in for a bad surprise. The openess and resolution decrease and was very noticeable. I initialy connected the PT units with a Wydeye AES/EBU cable, I was not happy with the results, I then tried the stock I2S cable that came with the 3a-Strike 2, not much of a diffrence. Reading the professional reviews availiabe and heeding the advise of one Audiophile writing in this venue...I went to the local electronics surplus store and bought a switching power supply($29.00)-12VDC rated at 2.0A, and held my breath when I connected it. Wonderful describes the diffrence in sound when the 1a was fed its required power. Moreover, I upgraded the stock I2S cable and bought the Revelation Audio Lab Siver ($90.00) and was amazed at the detail, sound and dynamics brought forth by this upgrade. I am very happy with the PT products in tandam; together they outmatch CD players costing 2 to 3 times the price of the 1 & 3. The P1a and 3a together with the additional tweeks make this a steller buy. Sound System: Esoteric P-10 transport Sonic Frontiers Line 1 PreAmp Audio Research D115 MII Amp Hales Rev 2 Speakers Soler stainless steel speaker cones Audio Power 116 conditioner Tara Labs Decade 1m RCA interconnets Tara Labs Master Gen II speaker cable Tara Labs RCA digital cable Revelation Audio Labs I2S digital cable vibropods

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
James Delaney   AudioPhile [Feb 12, 2003]
Strength:

as it relates to the P-3... dynamics, pace and high resolution as it relates to the P-1... smothness, on top of a great quality to the sound that is decidedly NOT digital sounding

Weakness:

the P-3 in it's stock form is a touch on the harsh side but that's easily remedied with either modhi-fi's cost effective upgrade or modwrights even more comprehensive upgrade (although it cost's quite a bit more)the p-1 lacks the overt dynamics and detail of the P-3 alone but it's truly great for some forms of music that you dont want a "edgy detail" or where dynamics isnt' an issue for instance smoth jazz or chant, in relaxed music like this the P-1 is in a class of it's own and really does do a great job

Some people like the sound of the P-1 while others don't i figure it's the same for tube amps and so forth... some would rather have tons of detail while others would rather have smother sound (and therefore a P-1) Regardless if you like the P-1 or not it's pretty unanimous that the P-3 is an all around great performer... not to mention that you can get the output stage of yoru P-3 upgraded at modhi-fi.com for only 95 bucks. I've tried it and it makes for a much smother sounding unit with EVEN MORE DETAIL so if you regardless if you prefer smoothness or detail you get both and for 95 bucks it's a steal. The P-3 is a great unit regardless with it's 140 db signal to noise ratio it's a truly ground breaking unit

Similar Products Used: too many to mention
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
torstenr   AudioPhile [Aug 02, 2002]
Strength:

None

Weakness:

Doesn't make anything better.

I am most disappointed with this product, which I fortunately got my money back for. The only audible difference in my system was a weaker sound due to the P-1A's lowering of the signal strength. I heard no change what so ever to the sound quality. Please feel free to doubt my hearing, but I do hear differences between e.g. signal cables and I have spent more than $11,000 on my system, so I do care about sound. OK, so it wasn't properly burnt in? No, my unit was used for testing by a Hifi magazine before it reached me. OK, so my transport or DAC are low quality? NO, EAD T1000 and MSB Link dac III. (Here I can add one thing: the P-1A actually succeeded in making the 96kHz LED light up on my dac showing that it was upsampling the signal. But I'm not willing to pay that much for a small glowing light.) Are all you guys who love this product employees of Perpetual Tech or selling their stuff? I wonder. Go buy a CD-stoplight pen for $10 and paint the edges of your cd:s. That improves the sound, but the P-1A doesn't.

Similar Products Used: None
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
yohjo   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 17, 2002]
Strength:

None

Weakness:

See review

Though I find the P3 a very good sounding dac, especially considering the price, and would highly recommend it, I find the P1 to be an utter failure, concealing, rather than "enhancing" sound. I tried two units. Various cables and settings changed and adjusted were of no effect. Thinking the first unit might be defective it was exchanged for a second unit. No difference. Let me attempt an analogy. Imagine two photographs, one with the camera aperture and lens speed having been set to show all subjects, foreground and background, in complete focus. This is the "without the p1." The second photograph, with the aperture and lens speed set to focus only on the foreground subject with the background out of focus or blurred, is the "with the p1." The foreground in the picture is the main instrument/voice in the music and the background in the photograph is the remaining instruments and voices. The background instruments become muffled and barely audible. There is no improvement in the foreground instruments. Playing with "depth of field" in photography to blur the background thereby bringing more attention to the foreground subject is artwork. Doing this with audio equipment to a recording destroys the music. Imagine throwing a heavy wool blanket over your speakers and listening to the background instruments. It is like going to a concert, regardless of the type of music, and hearing only half of the instruments. Whatever the algorithm produces it is not music. I was able to compare several songs I have on dvd-audio and cd, with and without the p1. No comparison. As imaginative as Perpetual Technology's goal was, this unit is a tragedy. Perhaps that is why it can be found at such a large discount from sources other than the Perpetual site. If your curiosity guides your pocket-book do not buy it unless you are absolutely sure you can have your money returned. My equipment consists of a California Audio Lab CL10 as a transport, Nordost Silver Shadow digital cable to p1 or p3 (in numerous comparison attempts), Homegrown Audio Silver Lace interconnects, B&K 307, Analysis-Plus Oval 9's speaker cable and Definitive Technology BP2006 speakers.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
zug   Audio Enthusiast [May 23, 2002]
Strength:

Great resolution, soundstage, detail.

Weakness:

See review

I've owned the Audio Alchemy DTI Pro for years, and appreciated what it could do for my Link Dac. My reservation about getting a P1a was that my Link II could not connect to it via an I2s. Instead I had to use the S/PDIF interface. Played with the different settings and ended up at 48/24, without Resolution Enhancement for most of my listening. Even at this setting there is a noticeable increase in resolution over what the DTI Pro can do. The character of the sound was fundamentally changed, as if I had a completely different Dac. Much more refined and detailed, but also lacking the wild exhuberance of the stock Link dac. No more irrational exhuberance here. Bass more tuneful but less impactful. More insight into the tonal and textural qualities of instruments. In essence, it seemed to me that I gained some good qualities but also lost the basic qualities that made the Link Dac so right for me and my listening tastes. If that is all there was to it, I may still have nodded in favor of the P1a. But there is more. After a few weeks, I began to get that uneasy sensation in the pit of my stomach, which I finally recalled was the kind of sensation I got from jitter-prone dacs of years ago. Rereading the Stereophile review, I noticed the comment that there was high jitter measured in the device (they claimed they a later follow-up on a new sample, but I never saw that followup). So that at least was a confirmation of my reaction. In the end, the P1a did not do it for me. Maybe the P1a-P3a with the I2s is better, but then you're also talking custom power supply, plus more digital cables..... at that cost, I might as well try out other products such as those of Musical Fidelity.... I reinstalled the DTI Pro, and did some more tweaks such as upgrading power cords and digital cables. I'm happy to be back to the sound of the Pro -- not quite as resolving but "no static at all". Note: the company does offer a free trial period. My toys: Proceed PDT3 transport Link Dac II, AA DTI Pro with Monolithic_MPS ps Bryston B60 integrated amp, Infinity QE speakers Audioquest Diamond interconnect Straight Wire Rhapsody speaker cables Tesseract AES/EBU digital Canare Digiflex RCA digital JPS Labs Power AC cords Vibration cones

Similar Products Used: Audio Alchemy DTI Pro
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Victor   AudioPhile [Apr 12, 2002]
Strength:

Very good out of the box, but with some minor upgrades can really sing.

Weakness:

covered in review.

The combination of the P-1A and the P-3A have real potential. When everything is right they can make music. (Everthing means having selected the best combination of possible clock/data rate, cables, power etc.) To characterize the sound I would say that there is weight and definition w/o harshness. The soundstage depth is good but not great and width is good. Musical pace and dynamics are also good. Bass lines are detailed enough to be interesting ,and the top-end is inoffensive and extended. Energy at the boundries of the soundstage was not a strong point however. I found myself always aware of the center of the soundstage. ( my last DAc was a real winner here, spreading the sound with authority across the sounstage) I found myself a little ambivalent concerning the monolytihic power supply.I think it is definitley an improvement but may not be worth the money. I discovered that a -12V switching power supply (purchased at my local electronic surplus store) rated at 1.5A, beat the Monolytic for use with the P1-A. The sound became more powerful and immediate. I chalked it up to the speed of the switcher, keeping power levels up ,feeding the P1-A all the current it wanted. The downside of a SPS would be noise but I didn''t notice any problems. Then came... MODS: I replaced the OP-AMP drivers in the P-3A with Burr Brown''s best and replaced the bridge rectifier with fast recovery devices ( read bye bye warranty).The rectifiers in that circuit look like very cheap low power devices. Besides the switcher ( for the P1-A)I built a power cable from teflon coated silver wire for the 9VAC source of the Monolythic to the P3-A. I removed the noise filter from the Monolythic and rewired parts of it as well. (I hope this doesn''t sound too pretentious.) Rating the MODS for most effect: 1. the rectifier diodes (big change) 2. the switcher 3. the improved op-amps 4. any rewiring Rating the new sound: The diode upgrade improved depth and sound stage enery and focus at the corners etc... and the improved op-amps smoothed out the sound. I love this combo now. Music should be exciting and that is what it is now. W/O mods 4 stars ,with, 5 stars.

Similar Products Used: Meta research
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Philip Lemanski   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 18, 2002]
Strength:

very musical, no digititis, cost

Weakness:

included power supply. upgrade to Monolithic Sound power supply.

This is a review of the P-1A and is a follow-up to my review of the Signature 1 modified P-3A (modified by Dan Wright; Dan now has a second level mod – see http://www.modwright.com) which is below. The Signature 1 P-3A is a very fine DAC and as I enjoyed it I began to wonder if adding another piece of equipment would make a significant improvement to the sound. In short, I have found a more significant improvement than expected and would encourage anyone with the P-3A alone to try the combination for 30 days. The combination is very musical -- the P-1A adds extraordinary nuance and detail while eliminating any residual listening fatigue. As I describe below, however, the P-1A must be fully burned-in in order for you to judge for yourself. You might be wondering whether this is a good time to buy equipment for CD playback when new formats are battling for the marketplace. Do you think the various labels are going to re- issue all of your favorite CDs in the new formats? Neither do I. Or if they do, not for a very long time. Since I’ve been using these two units, I no longer care when and how these formats are sorted out (although I would certainly welcome higher resolution). Tips for getting the most out of the P-1A: 1. As Perpetual Technologies advised, burn-in for the P-1A is indeed different from the P-3A. The P-3A showed its stuff after about 60 hours and by 100 hours it was at about 95% of its potential. Not so for the P-1A. I wasn’t hearing much until about 140 hours and after about 160 hours (PT suggest 150 hours required) the sound and soundstage changed suddenly. The unit continued to improve for the next 30 or 40 hours (I wasn’t keeping track at that point, just listening to music for hours). 2. Purchase the Monolithic Sound MSP3 power supply. It powers both the P-3A and P-1A. Both PT units are sensitive to electrical noise and fluctuations. The power supply helps deliver clean power. The change in the sound is significant and immediate. 3. PT suggests using a power regenerating device. I decided to use the PS Audio Ultimate Outlet instead (for reasons of cost and space). I’m using the high current model (with 15amp IEC) in order to plug in my amplifier as well. I highly recommend this unit since it reduces noise very effectively instead of allowing the noise to be transmitted to the

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 44  

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