PS Audio UltraLink DACs

UltraLink

D/A processor

User Reviews (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7  
ddowney   Casual Listener [May 01, 2008]
Strength:

Powerful signal. Very good shaping of the signal. Sounds very real and bright.

Weakness:

Percussion is a little startling sometimes.

Very strong signal, but not harsh, soft sounding, clear, subtle, lots of punch. Voices and leads sound very analogue like. Even Jimmy Hendrix -Star Spangled Banner sounds smooth and not harsh. You can play this really loud and there is no shrillness like other digital machines.

I don't know what the other dacs in this price range sound like, but for a little more if you can pick one of these up you will be very pleased. It is extremely well built i.e. expensive parts.

Similar Products Used: Harmon Kardon AVR 140
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
newyorkjosh   AudioPhile [Apr 09, 2002]
Strength:

Bass slam, liquid midrange, non fatiguing highs, vivid imaging.

Weakness:

Overall spatial presentation a bit forward. Midrange slightly more prominent than ultra-high end competition

Killer unit - way ahead of its time. I bought this back in ''94-95 when the UltralinkII was coming out, so the Ultralink I''s were on discount. I brought home a demo of the CJ DAC1 to compare, and I already had an Audio Alchemy DDE+ and DTI Pro. Transports used were Phillips CD80 and an Optimus 3400. The rest of the system downstream: ARC SP14 Preamp to an ARC Classic 60 tube amp with KT-91 output tubes to ProAc Response 2s. All cables MIT 330 & MH-750 Shotguns. The Ultralink blew the field away. Liquid and sweet at the highs, with vivid U-R-There midrange and huge slamming bass. The Ultralink brought me within shouting distance of the big Wadia and Theta rigs I''d been hearing in the salon big rooms. The ultralink excelled on rock, jazz, classical, and small acoustic ensembles alike. It was just a completely killer product that made a vinyl junkie like me start enjoying digital. I still have it and use it ALL THE TIME. I just love my ultralink. Here''s how I''ve found to tweak it: 1) Use the AA DTI Pro - a jitter reducer between the transport and DAC. This is the biggest tweak of all. 2) VanDenHul "The First" cable as digital cable. Actually I''ve had good results with all kinds of digital cable. I have VanDenHul MD102 in there now, and like Kimber Illuminations D60 and Kimber Lightspeed too. "The First" is just a great value and utterly neutral. 3) Isolate it. It likes a bag of lead shot on top and sorbothane pucks or inner tube underneath (this is pretty much universal for all non-tube gear).

Similar Products Used: Audio Alchemy DDE+, Conrad Johnson DAC1, MSB III
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Lee   Audiophile [Apr 06, 2000]
Strength:

Musical

Weakness:

Manufacturer went out of business, new management doesn't plan on supporting the product.

When replacing an older, Stereophile-recommended Sony player, I borrowed a Counterpoint transport and DAC from a local dealer, along with a Theta Cobalt DAC and PS Audio Lambda drive. After extensive listening over a week's time, I wound up buying the PS Audio Lambda and the Theta Cobalt. After six months of searching, I found a PS Audio Ultralink II (non-HDCD). After listening to all of this I came to the following conclusions:

1. Bits are not bits. ANY combination beat out the Sony mid-fi player quite handily. Music was no longer a collection of notes, but a collection of sounds and harmonies. Details never heard before came out quite clearly. Recordings that had been muddy before became easily discerned. If your system sounds tired and everything has a "sameness" to it, try upgrading your front-end, whether analog or digital.

2. There are differences in DACs. The Theta is a good entry level DAC and is quite musical but it didn't have a very deep soundstage. The Counterpoint is extremely musical, soundstage is huge, and the midrange is SO sweet. The Ultralink finally won my vote. It did everything the Counterpoint did but seemed to have more punch and showed dynamic contrasts better. Too, I figured it my have some synergy with the Lambda transport.

In sum, since it's now only available on the used market, it's relatively cheap. It's built like a brick outhouse too, and I believe all versions come with both single-ended and balanced outputs.

Highly recommended.



Similar Products Used: Counterpoint DAC11, Theta 307 Cobalt
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Lee   Audiophile [Mar 13, 2001]

My comments above were in reference to the Ultralink II, non-HDCD.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Yuh-Herng Chen   Audiophile [Dec 12, 2001]

I had been using SONY XA50ES for a while. A few days ago I found this baby (not Ultralink II) in a second hand store. I hook it up with my SONY and the change is dramatic. The sound is smooth and detailed. Excellent.

I compared this with an Audio Synthesis DAX (yes, an expensive British made DAC) in the store, I found Ultralink has more punch and clean sound. Maybe DAX can give a warmer sound (not lack of detail, though), I do not think one can top the other. Especially consider the price difference, Ultralink caught my heart.

AS mentioned by another reviewer, PS Audio do not support this product anymore. But I a very good respond from their customer service (Jonathan Hart). And I believe they are going to post some information on their website soon. I would give a thumb up for them.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Will   an Audio Enthusiast [Mar 06, 1999]

I reacently upgraded my old Marantz CD-46 to Cd-67SE, and after spent couple hourses with my new machine I realized that it still carries the typical characteristics of entry-level CD players. The high end is thin, bright, and a little edgy. The mid is bland. The overall presentation is plain and sounds like recorded music. However, compared to CD-46, 67SE has much higher built quality. It weights 11 lbs vs. 8 lbs of cd-46. It also has digital output which is really helpful if you want to move up a notch toward high-end hifi area. I was wandering in my a local dealer's store that day and saw a nice-looking used PS Audio Ultralink digital processor. I have no previous experience with PS Audio stuff, but the price is really appealing. (List price is almost $2,000 and it is for sale for much lower of half the price) So I loaned the unit home. The difference is not subtle, and I just can't believe the sonic difference it made. The high is higher, low is lower, and most importantly is that the mid-range is fuller and carries more weight. Every instruments are more distinct and layers of music is more noticable. This is probably my best spent investment on my system. Previously, I upgraded my Marantz PM-57 intergrated amp to YBA intergre, Man, it makes a huge difference and it seemed like I had a new system. But the price I had to pay was also high ($2,200). Now for only couple hundred bucks, my system experienced another big leap. Highly recommendated. Five stars for the value!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Tom T.   Audiophile [Dec 27, 1999]

I have the second version of this D/A converter (UltraLink II). I had a good Sony CD player and used to think bits was bits, number are numbers. Not so. The difference was dramatic; clarity, smoothness and detail were all improved. I think much of the improvement is accounted for in reduced jitter. As a bonus, the output of this converter is almost twice the 2 volt standard, about 3.6 volts. This permits me to use a passive preamp.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-7 of 7  

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