I have been playing my Pontus II with the new FPGA firmware update for about a week now and I can confirm that the random pops/ticks I was experiencing are now absent. This mirrors my experience with upgrading the firmware on my Ares II. So it seems the issue was in fact software based.
I am skeptical of that conclusion, as if it were true, there is no reason that the problem could not have been fully resolved. Instead, we get this:
- Reduced the effect of Buffer overrun/underrun due to the Source’s Clock and the DAC’s Clock differences
"Reduced", not eliminated. What this suggests, and I would say clearly, is that it is in fact a hardware problem, which they are attempting to mitigate with a software patch.
Perhaps the approach will prove effective in reducing the audible artifacts to a very low level. But as I have pointed out numerous times previously, there is no reason that such a problem should exist in a relatively expensive, otherwise high-quality DAC. In other words, it is either a design flaw, or corners were cut on the related hardware.