PS Audio’s AirLens Network Streamer Has Arrived

This is news that’s been a long time coming, with the AirLens first hinted at by PS Audio last year. But wait, what is an AirLens?

If you read the PS press release or some of the reporting on the new AirLens, you’d think it represented a new class of hifi component. But we know that network players/streamers/network streamers have been around for ages and we also know that they do not include a DAC unless specified. Not automatically assumed. I’m a fan of the stand alone network player but prefer mine with AES output to connect to my DACs of choice (totaldac d1-unity and Mola Mola Tambaqui).

As you can plainly see, the AirLens offers I2S and Coax S/PDIF out, an odd couple in my experience seeing as Coax inputs on many DACs cap out at 24-bit/192kHz and I2S over HMDI as is the case here or over RJ45 is not standardized so you’ll have to make sure your I2S-endowed DAC and AirLens speak the same language (pinout). In any event, the AirLens outputs handle PCM rates up to 32-bit/352.8kHz, DSD128 via DoP (Coax), and native DSD256 (I2S ).

the PS Audio AirLens comes in black and silver

In terms of network connectivity and playback control, the AirLens sports Ethernet and WiFi while being Roon Ready with UPnP support to boot, the latter allowing for control from apps like mConnect and Audirvana.

From PS Audio:

Galvanic isolation means the complete elimination of any physical electrical connection between input and output. Typically, a common power supply provides ground and power to both inputs and outputs. Once a non-galvanically isolated device is connected to a noise source at its input, its shared ground passes the noise through a common ground to the output stage where the DAC is connected. The challenge with the AirLens was to design two fully isolated stages: input and output, and connect the digital audio signal between the two without any loss. To do this we incorporated a low-noise galvanically isolated DC-to-DC converter to feed power to the AirLens’ output stage. We then deliver the received digital audio data to that clean output stage using only air as the interface. The results are nothing short of amazing. Finally, streaming music with all the noise and jitter-induced haze and congestion gone.

Again, companies have been using galvanic isolation inside devices like network players and DACs for years, but with any tech it’s all in the implementation. In addition, the AirLens incorporates a variable RAM buffer and internal clock, PS calls this their Digital Lens technology, that’s meant to provide your DAC the cleanest low jitter digital audio signal possible. Less noise, more music.

The AirLens is available now direct from PS Audio or through authorized dealers for $1,999.

Company Website: PS Audio

Specifications

General

Unit Weight 4.8 lbs [2.2 kg]
Unit Dimensions 10” x 7” x 1.5” [ 25.4cm x 17.8cm x 3.8cm]
Shipping Weight 6.8 lbs [3.1 kg]
Shipping Dimensions 5.8” x 13.6” x 11.6” [14.6 cm x 34.6 cm x 29.4 cm]
Color Options Black, Silver
Voltage Options Universal
Mains Power Input 100-240VAC 50-60Hz
Power Consumption 5W Typical/10W max
Accessories Included Power cord
Input 10/100/1000 Ethernet or 2.4 & 5GHz WIFI
Audio Outputs 12s, S/PDIF Coax

Features

Audio Interface • PCM: Up to 352.8kHz/32
• Native DSD up to DSD256 (I2S output)
• DoP (DSD over PCM) up to DSD128 (Coax output)
Network Support • WiFi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5GHz dual band)
• 10/100/1000 Ethernet
WiFi Setup • WPS
Connectivity • DLNA 1.5 & UPnP AV 1.0 Digital Media Renderer
• Spotify Connect
• Roon Ready
• TIDAL Connect
• Qobuz (through Roon)
• Dropbox (through Roon)
• MQA