PS Audio Sprout 100

Just wanted to say I received my Sprout 100 today and I love it. Listened through my Pro-Ject S2 pre box DAC to start off with then switched to the onboard DAC. Wasn’t expecting too much as Steve Guttenberg hadn’t been to impressed and suggested using an external DAC. But to me it sounded great, even without the full MQA. Will be doing some intensive testing over the next week or so… Can’t believe what you get in the package for the money.

The more I hear modern affordable DACs the less I hear major differences between them. My rapberry pi dac boards and my Chord DAC at 8x the price of the DAC boards are not night and day different - more like different hues of sunset.

I love the little Sprout too. I even had it powering my floor standers in my living room for a few days and it did very well there. It’s fantastic for my library, powering a pair of KEF Q300s.

The built-in DAC sounds great IMHO. You can go nuts chasing after specs and measurements, or you can just listen and enjoy it. I find it actually sounds very similar to the Stellar Gain Cell DAC. Very enjoyable.

The built in DAC will always be used , no matter what you connect to it.

The original Sprout used an analogue volume control but the Sprout 100 uses the ESS’s digital volume control, so even analogue sources are digitized.

I was close to getting one for my old man to partner with the Pro-Ject S2. He was needing an integrated amp upgrade. He’s obsessed with feeding the DAC DSD512 via HQPlayer. So we ended up getting a purely analogue integrated instead , to parter with the S2 DAC, to avoid the Sprout100’s internal conversion back to digital.

Having said all that I do think the Sprout 100 still sounds fantastic.

Do you have a source for this? There’s no mention of an ADC, which it would need if it were digitizing the analog signals to then pass through the ESS. The volume control is clearly digitally controlled, but it’s part of the amp section from what I can tell, and has nothing to do with the DAC.

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Interesting. Thanks!

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So, I’ve spent a couple of days testing this. With MQA, there are times when the soundstage is a little wider when I use the Pro-Ject, but there are also with a few songs where I think the Sprout is better, likely down to the fact that the signal path is shorter. What I do find is that with the inbuilt DAC, that there is a bit more punch, a but more power available, maybe a touch more warmth. I’ve liked using the Pro-Ject, but I’m thinking that it may get repurposed or sold, there isn’t enough difference between the two. Really impressed with the Sprout, to achieve what they have for the price is remarkable. Actually thinking that Steve Guttenberg may not have realized that the bass boost is set on as default.

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Oh, driving some Dynaudio Excite X14 with this, nice match!

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The DAC section of the Sprout100 will always be used, no matter what you connect to it. Even if you connected a DirectStream DAC to it (example only) it would get converted to PCM192kHz by the Sprout100’s A-to-D converter, and then it’s D-to-A section.

If I were in your shoes I would move the S2 DAC on, unless you can use it another system (heaphones?).

Just posted on Amazon. :grinning: Don’t want to give it away as I like it and will use it for the office if needed.

Nice. I think the S2 DAC is better, but only if the analogue output stays analogue all the way to speaker outputs.

So with the Sprout100, I’d always feed it a digital signal.

I agree, though on a direct comparison it’s so close that I’m at the point where I think I’m imagining the differences!

Hello im new here and have some questions if noone minds. Thinking of possibly getting a psaudio sprout 100 for a pair of dynaudio excite x14s and connecting turntable… I was first thinking of connecting the dyns to zone2 of my marantz sr7012 for seperate 2 channel. But rethinking about the sprout100. I use roon /tidal presently to marantz or oppo. But the sprout has allways intriqued me so asking is going to sprout a better/ smarter option quality wise compared to going the zone 2 route with the dyns. Want simplicity aswell.

Hi Enrique

I have the Sprout 100 and the Excite x14s. Got to say, it’s a very good combo. I’ve not used the Marantz, but a good dedicated stereo amp usually beats an av amp in my experience - even tho yours is probably one of the better ones for stereo.

I’m currently running mine with an Allo Usbridge and a Schitt Modi 3 DAC. The inbuilt DAC is pretty good, but it doesn’t like the Allo. For $100 the Modi 3 is amazing and I like the sound of that a bit more than the Sabre DAC that is built in.

The Sprout plays well with an RPi if that is the route that you want to go. And I believe it comes with a 30 day return if you buy direct. But you’ll be happy with it after only a few days.

Dont know anything about the rpi? Is that the raspberry i3? Dont they have to be built somehow. Can they be plug and play. Like i said dont know anything really about them. But if im correct i can get full mqa with it? I know i cant with the marantz or oppo so it would be a info i have a google chrome cast audio coming in was planning on that if i got the sprout

Yes, but they are really simple to build. You can pass through to get MQA on a DAC that supports it. Look at Ropieee on the forum and follow the instructions on the Ropieee website.

If you wanted plug and play with MQA, you are looking at the Bluesound Node 2i, about $500.

That would still need an amp.


I suppose the bluesound powernode 2i would work then in place of the sprout 100 so to speak. Not sure of the powernode with the dyns… if i get the sprout ill then look at the add on you described to be able to get Mqa or i can live without the Mqa. Im sure the sprout100 would do just as good w/o it based on what ive read. Thanks

The powernode would, however, I’m not sure it is as good an amp or DAC as the Sprout.

I had MQA through a Pro-Ject DAC running the Sprout. With Roon doing the first unfold of MQA, I found the Pro-Ject and the Sprout very similar, they use a similar Sabre DAC chip which may explain why. I preferred the Schitt Modi 3 without MQA over the Pro-Ject.

With Roon doing the first unfold, you get the majority of the benefits of MQA, there is certainly a difference there, outside of that I feel that the DAC itself has more impact on sound.

Thanks for all the info… a wrench has been thrown in as i have been offered an opportunity to possibly get a peachtree nova125sky for just a little more money than what a sprout would cost me … so im back on the fence. Not sure if i should pass up the peachtree…Need to look into this a little further as to what is best.