Update on the PS Audio Digital Lens

The April PS Audio newsletter has the following snippet on the long forthcoming Digital Lens:

The long awaited release of the PerfectWave Digital Lens has both good news and bad news.  The good news is I am sitting here looking at it, playing with it and enjoying what it does for the system.  The bad news is I can’t share it or sell it yet.  Sigh.

The engineers are struggling with the new asynchronous USB 192kHz/24 bit input processor included on the Lens and how to get this “lensified”.  For me I could care less as (most of you know) I believe USB audio is already a dinosaur waiting for the end to come knocking.  Our network connected audio products already obviate the need for USB, but we gotta include it  because the idea behind the Lens is to take any digital input, from just about any source, rebuild it perfectly and then send it back out to any DAC ever made.  To do this we certainly don’t want to forget computer audio.

So, hopefully we’ll get the kinks worked out in USB and be able to put it into production soon.  It’ll be really cool when we do and I wish we could give you a firmer date than that but …… I cannot.

These delays continue to be annoying and disappointing, and I’m worried that the longer they wait, the less relevant this product will be.

Never heard of the Digital Lens or why it’s potentially relevant in the first place? Well, you can be forgiven your ignorance. Isn’t that good to know?

Well, as the newsletter says, here’s the scoop: you can “take any digital input, from just about any source, rebuild it perfectly and then send it back out to any DAC ever made.” That is, you can take your $100 Blu-Ray player or a 1st generation iPod, hook them to the Lens, and have the data output rendered as bit-perfect, de-jittered, and re-clocked into the DAC of your choice — and have it sound just as awesome as that $10k transport you’ve been drooling over for the last year. That is, every source — regardless of price — pretty much gets elevated to “awesome” status. I think that’s awesome.

Interesting that the holdup is 24/192 async USB, though. Sounds like someone ought to give Gordon Rankin @ Wavelength a call.

Also, as an aside, I will have to take issue with Paul McGowan’s dismissal of USB audio, however. Well, a little issue. I suppose it’s possible that networked audio is the “wave of the future”. But speaking as a networking pro, I have to say that I think this is an unqualified “bad idea” and its a gateway drug to per-access usage fees. Just say no to cloud-based music “services”! Speaking as a consumer, I suspect that networked audio is going to Betamax itself in the next 18mos, so it’s probably a very savvy move for PS Audio to wait to get the computer audio interface “right” before release, even if that’s for reasons contrary to the goals of PS Audio’s business model (which leverages it’s Bridge).

Okay, this brings up another aside. Apple has reinvented itself as the world’s most awesome tech company on the back of iTunes. Not the iPod. Not the iMac. It’s all about iTunes. And iTunes has had a full decade to hook it’s users on its own particular brand of crack, which itself relies on the most common way we consume music — which is to own it. We treat our music files the same way we treat LPs and cassettes and CDs. They’re things. Tangible things. Yes, they have a player (iPod) and they’re not bought in at a physical store, but they’re my files. Which means they’re on my computer. To play them, I use my iPod or my computer. Ta da!

Networked audio, by contrast, requires me to be something other than a techno-moron. And that’s why it’s gonna Betamax, regardless of whether or not the solution is in any way superior, technically — or profitably! And believe-you-me, cloud-based music delivery is way more profitable to the music industry than the current one. Damn shame, really. But inertia is a total bitch.

About Scot Hull 1063 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.