PS Direct Stream latest firmware, "Snowmass"


Just installed the latest firmware "Snowmass" that is offered by PS Audio and WOW what a difference in sound quality! Wider, deeper soundstage and with increased dynamics. The sound also has such a purity of sound that I just can’t believe.

Right now it is in Beta testing, the firmware should be available to all others Monday at NO cost!

"It’s the gift that keep’s on giving Rusty".

ozzy
ozzy
I see they also just released new 3.10 update for the DMP. Will order both from PS on Monday. All the beta reviews seem awesome.
jl35,

Yes, I also installed the 3.10 update on my DMP. 
Why don't you install the firmware update yourself? It is very simple. 
If you need help let me know through a private message.

ozzy
Yes, Ted Smith is a genius whose name will live in hi-fi history.
3.10 and Snowmass are awesome. Thanks ozzy 
I wonder how the PS Direct Stream with the new Snowmass firmware would compare to the $$$ Dac's? I'll bet it would compete.

ozzy
The DirectStream with Snowmass punches far above its weight. It’s no longer a mere hiring component. It’s a musical instrument. (Would be remiss to omit to my ears in my system. 

But still. 

Sat down after upgrading intending to get a quick first impression. Seven hours later I was still listening. Deeply involving—no more wondering which part of my system to upgrade.

An interesting reminder that those who preach  “source first” may have a point.  

And the crazy part is that Ted Smith believes there is still room for improvement. 

How high is up. 

Here's my advice:

If you are a billionaire, buy $$$ DAC, since you can afford to throw it away when the next $$$$ DAC becomes available, and then throw that one away when the next $$$$$ DAC is released, $$$$$$, $$$$$$$, $$$$$$$$, $$$$$$$$$, $$$$$$$$$$, etc. 

But if you're an ordinary schlubb like me, or you're extremely shrewd, buy a PS Audio Direct Stream DAC. It's as good as it gets (maybe even better than $$$ DAC) and it's gonna' get better and better with each of Ted Smith's firmware releases. 
It’s amazing that they offer this magnitude of improvement for free...
Anyone have an idea what type of things Ted Smith is changing? Using a FPGA is it code that he is changing or reconfiguring the software? Still using Delta Sigma DAC isn’t he?
Check out the PS Audio Community Forums.  Ted has many responses there. Paul too
I don’t own the PS Audio piece, but I have owned some PS Audio stuff in the past, including. DLink DAC that I just revived to good effect to pair with a Bluesound Node2 in a HT System, and I have a healthy respect for the company.  I am also not questioning the perceptions of the OP.  I note, however, that others have made similar posts about PS Audio firmware upgrades here in the recent past, with each new upgrade prompting some comments remarkably similar to the OP.
  So my question: is it really possible that each upgrade is really that much better?  That every few months PS Audio unlocks some new secret of Daiquiri?  Or is it more likely that the upgrades are different, emphasizing different characteristics, and on some people’s systems suddenly hitting a sweet spot that is system dependent?  I’m just curious what PS Audio owners think.  I don’t have an agenda here
The DAC upgrades seem to be about once a year. This is my first upgrade. In my system I think it’s a terrific upgrade. Everyone familiar with my system agrees   The transport upgrades have been more frequent. To me each has improved sound but not of the magnitude of the yearly DAC upgrade 
I own a DS and upgraded to Snowmass.....
The upgrade is an improvement. A nice one and I am very happy. "Is it that much better?" No of course not. The DS was already a wonderful DAC and the improvements are incremental. But it is easy to get excited when you listen to say a Simon & Garfunkel recording that you know in and out, and hear the clear chunka-chunka of a rythm guitar you never heard before.... yes you knew it was there, but now it is a distinct instrument. For this, we audio nerds get really excited.
Regarding the upgradability of their DS DACs: what is there not to like? But, don’t assume it is charity. With each new release, they get press and more sales for virtually none of the investment of a new product. Ted does not get paid to do the software development but makes money on sales. At some point, the development will stop....even if this new upgrade is the last one, I am very happy as it is. Personally, I suspect there are more gains to be had by upgrading the analog amps.... but that is just my assumption.
There are few hi fi products I have purchased in the last 40 years that I have been very pleased with... this PS Audio DS DAC is one of them.

I think they are running a sale right now.... you should check it out.
Peace,Bruce in Philly
Viewing the PS Audio Forum, I don’t think there has been a single person that is not satisfied about this firmware upgrade. Excuse me, not just satisfied but raving about the improvement!
To me, it’s almost like listening to the original studio recording.
Thank you PS Audio.

ozzy
Fantastic fix. Sounds like they have finally fully addressed the low frequency performance issues identified by JA in Stereophile’s review. It has taken several firmware upgrades.

Is it available for DS Junior?
This is a significant upgrade. I listened to my system just before I upgraded it. Snowmass has better imaging and is smoother with vocals. It eliminated a harsh, eteched trailing edge on vocals that would present itself occasionally.  I am still listening. 
I don’t own the PS Audio piece, but I have owned some PS Audio stuff in the past, including. DLink DAC that I just revived to good effect to pair with a Bluesound Node2 in a HT System, and I have a healthy respect for the company.  I am also not questioning the perceptions of the OP.  I note, however, that others have made similar posts about PS Audio firmware upgrades here in the recent past, with each new upgrade prompting some comments remarkably similar to the OP.
  So my question: is it really possible that each upgrade is really that much better?  That every few months PS Audio unlocks some new secret of Daiquiri?  Or is it more likely that the upgrades are different, emphasizing different characteristics, and on some people’s systems suddenly hitting a sweet spot that is system dependent?  I’m just curious what PS Audio owners think.  I don’t have an agenda here

+1.
Does Snowmass fix the clicks and pops between tracks of different format or sample rate? 

Or does it try to hide the problem by lowering volume?
this is discussed at length on the PS A forums with lots of input from the designers.  Too much to summarize.  I have never had that issue.
Ditto, never had that issue.
Upgraded to Snowmass, and there are some improvements but it isn't day and night in my system.   Still like RC a lot.  Never had the problem with hash or edgy vocals with RC.  On some discs, still like RC better.  It might be that I am just so used to hearing RC.  Will definitely do more listening this weekend.  Just the fact that you can upgrade or change the software is really a brilliant feature.
Hate to be a party pooper, but this is same old story as every firmware release.

I upgraded from Redcloud to the T+A Dac 8 DSD, a DAC with a $2,000 less msrp, and it eats the Directstreams lunch in every way imaginable.
Ha! To my ears, he DirectStream with Redcloud is better than the T+A Dac 8 DSD. And Snowmass is a ste up. Then again, for PCM, I like the latest Schiit Audio Yggdrasil better than the T+A Dac 8 DSD...
Will this update come to the PerfectWave DAC, do you know? 
The PerfectWave firmware is not upgradeable. If you upgraded the PerfectWave to a DirectStream (there was a kit for that at one time), then yes, the update would already be compatible.
Just upgraded the directstream memory player to version 3.10 from 3.06. Also updated the perfectwave directstream dac from redcloud to snowmass. Wow! Sounds like a new and better piece of equipment! So happy I made the financial leap of purchasing these items. One can always revert to previous software versions free of charge if unsatisfied! Beautiful!
tom6897:
          "Still using Delta Sigma DAC isn’t he?"

No, DA conversion is performed by software on the FPGA.


Agree, at least in my system, the DSD was the winner compared to the T+A Dac 8 DSD.  Had a chance to borrow one.  Nope, keeping the DSD 
SnowMass is the most outstanding Software upgrade to the DirectStream it just blew me away, better dynamics, Big sound Stage,  Clarity.  Very very happy with my Directsream DAC
A_Shah
Yes, it really is amazing how PS Audio (Ted) can make such a significant change without changing the hardware. 
With other companies this would have meant buying the latest newest  2.0 Reference model.

ozzy
PS Audio isn't the only company using FPGAs.
       "PS Audio isn't the only company using FPGAs."

Chord is another one.


Also a small company called dCS 
         "Also a small company called dCS"

Here's a long discussion of FPGAs: https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/39190-fpga-dacs/ 


 
I own one since product’s inception & have no financial interest in PSA.  That said, I can’t remember how many FPGA upgrades with dramatic quality enhancements I have received....for free. In my system, to my ears, this one (Snowmass)  is a true quantum leap.
So, if you are interested in a new DAC, read your buns off about this one and the rest and compare like the dickens.
But, if you really want to BUY a new DAC, I recommend you hear this one in your system (needs 400 hours or so) and, in my humble but deeply experienced and committed opinion, you will know.
jedi1:
Ditto, my advice and experience track with yours. I have no financial interest either. Simply wish to steer other music lovers in the right direction. 
I have been using a DS JR for quite some time and have enjoyed it with Huron and then Redcloud. In fact, I recommended this DAC to many, and I bought it new for a great price. I decided to buy the full on DirectStream (Senior) last week at a great Black Friday deal (free bridge and the $2k off the DAC that is on special now). When it arrived I listened with Redcloud as that is what I have been listening to for months with my Jr. WOW WOW WOW, what a jump in performance from the Junior. Much more open, more organic, more analog and never a hint of harshness. I then loaded Snowmass and well, game over. I do not see how it can get better. The sound is incredible. Detailed yet never harsh at all, wide open soundstage, meat on the bone but never thick or mushy. Someone above said it, like listening to a master tape. I am so happy I went with the Directstream Sr, as at $3999 with bridge I can not think of anything that can beat it. I have tried low end dacs, mid range dacs and uber high end dacs. Nothing even has come close to this. Anyone that wants a solid dac with addicting gorgeous sound, that is upgraded by PS Audio every year, take a look at this one. Seriously guys. I think they have them on sale at $2k off through November. If you call around you may get an even better deal as I did.
and it gets better with a few hundred hours playing music...
I saw the $3999 offer on the PS Audio web site but the bridge was another $800 or so extra.  Where did you find it at $3999 including the bridge?  
A lot of dealers have "Make offer" enabled....ordered a new Memory player from one at $3300....think there must be a big reduction from PS Audio , as they are able to give even better prices..
Or.. that means a newer version of the Direct Stream is in the process and dealers are selling off stock.
I hope not.

ozzy
they were available at those prices a year ago, though that was not advertised...
I see there is now a Snowmass V2...anyone try it yet?
From what I can tell the V2 version is for the Bridge firmware and for setting the volume into a fixed or variable mode.

ozzy
The special is over, its back to $6k and they are only shipping in May 2019.
Shipping in May. Hmmm Axpona is in April.