PS Audio PerfectWave Transport

Reads standard and high-resolution audio from CD and DVD (Silver)

  • PS Audio PerfectWave™ Transport


  • PS Audio PerfectWave™ Transport

    Angled view

  • PS Audio PerfectWave™ Transport

    Angled view (Black)

  • PS Audio PerfectWave™ Transport


  • PS Audio PerfectWave™ Transport

    Back (shown in black)

  • PS Audio PerfectWave™ Transport

    Closeup of digital outputs

  • PS Audio PerfectWave™ Transport

    Color touchscreen display

  • PS Audio PerfectWave™ Transport

    Inserting disc for playback

  • PS Audio PerfectWave™ Transport

    Internal view of player

  • PS Audio PerfectWave™ Transport

    Remote in hand

Item #: 681TRANSPS
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Original price $2,999.99

Our take on the PS Audio PerfectWave™ Transport

by Dave Bar
angled view black

The ultimate CD transport

There are lots of listening options available to music lovers these days — smartphones, portable MP3 players, even Internet radio on our computers — but when we have time to devote our full attention to the music, most of us still turn to our trusted collection of CDs for the best sound quality possible. Yet even CD sound leaves many audiophiles cold, not always delivering the natural warmth and richness of the finest analog and high-resolution digital music sources, such as vinyl or SACD. PS Audio says, don't blame the CD, blame the player. Years of digital playback R & D led them to create the PerfectWave Transport. This revolutionary disc player will extract both standard and high-resolution audio stored on your CDs or DVDs, and send it as bit-perfect digital audio data to your favorite outboard digital-to-analog converter for a sonic experience that you'll have to hear to believe. Here's how it works.

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Transport gut shot

Each beautifully crafted Transport is individually hand-built by PS Audio in Boulder, Colorado.

A better way to spin your discs

When a CD player reads music off of a disc, it's far from the surgically precise process it might seem to be. All kinds of things can go wrong — imperfectly stamped discs, wobbly or eccentric discs, scratched discs that scatter laser light, etc. These imperfections wind up interfering with playback, creating errors in the timing of the data stream called "jitter" that can adversely affect sound quality. Jitter can make music sound harsh and edgy, and smear subtle details. Standard CD players compound this problem because they only get one chance to read a disc, errors and all. From there on any unwanted artifacts introduced into the data stream have to be corrected by a software error correction process. That process isn't perfect and it too can degrade sound quality.

PS Audio developed a better way to get the music off your discs. Its PerfectWave Transport takes many of the problems faced — or created — by standard players, and eliminates them. Instead of reading a disc just once, it can re-read a CD or data DVD as many times as needed to capture the music with 100% precision, eliminating the need for error correction. The bit-perfect music data is then separated from the digital clock signal and collected jitter-free by the Transport's Digital Lens, a 64MB internal memory buffer that temporarily stores the music in raw digital form without any embedded clock data or reference to time.

Finally, the music information is retrieved from the buffer by the Transport's separate high-precision timing clock and then passed through the Transport's digital audio connections to your DAC with perfect timing and extremely low jitter. And if you're connected to PS Audio's PerfectWave™ DAC via HDMI, your music even comes through completely jitter-free. You'll hear stunning levels of detail and transparency, along with a sense of "realness" on every disc in your library.

color touchscreen display

The color touchscreen display provides convenient access to the tracks on your discs.

Network-connected with a color touchscreen display

The PerfectWave Transport's network-capable design can download cover art and song titles from PS Audio's GlobalNet™ servers and display them on its front-panel touchscreen for easy viewing and playback control. Now instead of choosing among just track numbers like you would on a standard CD player, you can select each song by its proper name.

You can also use your PC to add, delete, and edit any of the song titles and cover art associated with your discs. Artwork and song data for each disc is stored on the included SD memory card for instant recall the next time you pop that disc into the Transport. The SD card also stores firmware updates to keep your Transport up to date with the latest software from PS Audio.

Complement your PerfectWave Transport with the PerfectWave DAC

The Transport works perfectly with any outboard digital-to-analog converter. Your choice of optical, coaxial, and even professional XLR digital outputs ensures a good match with the highest quality DACs available. But where the Transport truly shines is when you use its I2S (pronounced "I squared S") output via HDMI. This connection delivers the highest signal quality possible for digital audio data transfer. Here's why.

Transport and DAC stack

The PerfectWave DAC makes an ideal companion for the Transport.

When the digital audio signal from a CD player is sent over an optical, coaxial, or XLR connection, the audio bits and clock data are combined in order to fit on a single cable. When the signal reaches a DAC, the data must be separated. The encoding and decoding of this complex data is never perfect, and the resulting inaccuracies create timing errors and jitter that can degrade sound quality.

The PerfctWave Transport works together with the matching PerfectWave DAC to avoid those drawbacks altogether. The engineers at PS Audio found a way to a transfer the separate data streams from the player to the DAC via the multi-conductor design of a standard HDMI cable, eliminating the process of combining and then separating the data. This completely bypasses the problem of jitter, working wonders for the sound of your CDs.


  • reads stereo audio from standard CD, CD-R, DVD or DVD-R
  • reads high-resolution stereo WAV files (up to 192kHz/24-bit) on DVD or DVD-R
  • does not play SACD only or DVD-Audio discs
  • disc transport only — requires outboard digital-to-analog converter
  • built-in 64MB digital memory acts as playback buffer to send high-accuracy digital music signals to an outboard DAC
  • color touchscreen displays cover art, title and track info
  • editable library of artists and titles
  • audiophile-grade parts used throughout
  • sample rate output to 192kHz
  • bit depth to 32 bits
  • asynchronous output clock for extremely low jitter
  • digital outputs:
    • 3-pin XLR (AES/EBU)
    • coaxial RCA (S/PDIF)
    • optical (Toslink S/PDIF)
    • I2S (via HDMI) for use with PS Audio PerfectWave DAC
  • Ethernet connection for downloading album artwork and title/track info from PS Audio's online database
  • firmware updatable via Ethernet connection or SD card (2GB card included)
  • remote control
  • 3.5mm IR input and RS232 port for system control expansion
  • detachable power cord
  • 17-1/16"W x 3-15/16"H x 16"D
  • weight: 25 lbs.
  • warranty: 3 years (with product registration)
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
Disc Capacity 1
Disc Exchange N/A
Track Programming No
Random Play No
Disc Naming Track, Album, Artist
Direct Track Access Yes
Direct Disc Access N/A
Remote Included
Display Color Color LCD
Multiple CD Player Control ---
Parts Warranty 3 Years w/ registration
Labor Warranty 3 Years w/ registration
CD-R Playback Yes
CD-RW Playback Yes
MP3 Playback No
SACD Playback No
CD Frequency Response Not Given
Signal to Noise Ratio Not Given
SACD Frequency Response Not Compatible
SACD Dynamic Range ---
Digital Optical Output 1
Digital Coaxial Output 1
Headphone None
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • PerfectWave Transport (CD and DVD)
  • 6' AC power cord
  • Remote control
  • 2 "AAA" batteries
  • 2GB SD memory card
  • White cotton gloves
  • Declaration of conformity
  • Letter to PS Audio customer

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.



Overview: The PS Audio PerfectWave Transport (PWT) is an optical disc transport with four types of digital outputs, converted to analog using an outboard digital to analog converter (DAC).

Disc Compatibility: In addition to CDs and CD-R/RWs recorded in CD-DA format, the PWT will play lossless WAV files stored on DVD, DVD-R/RW, and DVD+R/RW discs. DVDs must be recorded using the UDF 2.0 system and all the audio files must be placed in the DVD root directory, not contained in a folder.

Owner's Manual: Although not included in the box, an owner's manual is available on PS Audio's web site.

Digital Outputs: The PerfectWave Transport has four types of digital outputs, making it compatible with almost any digital to analog converter:

  • Optical: Toslink S/PDIF; up to 96 kHz/24-bit
  • Coaxial: single RCA S/PDIF; up to 192 kHz/24-bit
  • XLR: balanced single XLR S/PDIF; up to 192 kHz/24-bit
  • I²S: HDMI connection; up to 192 kHz/24-bit; compatible only with other I²S components, not standard HDMI inputs

I²S: Although not an HDMI output, the I²S (I squared S) output uses the standard HDMI connection. When used with a compatible digital to analog converter this offers the best signal transfer because HDMI's 19 leads allow multiple data streams, so the digital signal can remain in its native format; four distinct digital streams, bit clock, word clock, master clock, and audio signal. S/PDIF connections must combine these four sources of information into a single digital stream.

High Resolution Audio: While standard CDs are recorded at 44.1 kHz/16-bit, high resolution WAV files can also be played with the PWT from a DVD. WAV files up to 192 kHz/24-bit are compatible, including 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, and HRx recordings.

Touch Screen Display: The only hard button on the front panel is power (on/standby). Transport functions are controlled using the touch screen display or the remote control. When a CD (CD-DA) is inserted the PWT automatically accesses PS Audio's GlobalNet servers via the rear panel Ethernet port and your broadband Internet connection; the album art and song/artist/album information are then displayed on the touch screen. When cover art or text information is not available for a disc, you can add it (or edit) on a web page specific to your PWT, set up when you register your purchase with PS Audio (required to extend the warranty from 90 days to 3 years). Elapsed time and remaining time for the current song are displayed, as well as the sampling frequency and word length (44.1 kHz/16-bit, 192 kHz/24-bit, etc).

SD Memory: There is a rear panel SD memory card slot and a 2GB SD card is included. Once the cover art and song/artist/album information for a CD is accessed on-line, it's stored on the SD card. The SD card is also used when downloading new firmware as it's introduced.

Remote Control: The included wireless remote offers transport controls, including direct track access via its numeric keys. It also has controls for PS Audio's PerfectWave DAC. The PWT's rear panel has a 3.5mm IR input and an RS232 port for system control expansion.


Warranty Note: The warranty on the Transport is 90 days. By registering your purchase with PS Audio, the warranty is extended to 3 years parts and labor. Registration can be completed on-line, by mail, or over the phone.

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