New PS Audio software update coming tomorrow...

Lee

Active Member
Feb 4, 2011
1,409
3
38
Alpharetta, Georgia
#1
Paul McGowan just announced a new DirectStream DAC upgrade called RedCloud that will be available tomorrow.

Here is his email form this morning:

The audition
Yesterday and today are reserved for the audition process.

Engineer Darren Myer and I began in Music Room One at about 10 AM, yesterday, with 20 slight variations of code for Red Cloud, the next Ted Smith upgrade miracle of lowered noise and jitter and significantly better sound quality for DirectStream DACS. It’s an arduous process, culling out the weak versions, focusing on the strong ones, until a clear winner has emerged.

A clear winner for DirectStream has emerged and Red Cloud is coming Friday.

Of course, the audition began with the DAC’s current software version, Huron, to establish our reference. The first track was Vivaldi: Concerto For Violin, Strings, And Harpsichord In G Minor, R. 331 – 1. Allegro on the Archiv label with the Venice Baroque Orchestra. This is a tough piece to reproduce properly and one of our torture challenges. In its opening refrain, the ensemble’s in full swing and you feel like it should be powerful, but it sounds rather meek before lowering in intensity. We can hear the harpsichord tinkling in the background, but just barely. The sonic performance is respectable—if not a smidge cluttered and compressed sounding—something we thought to be the recording itself. Wrong. Holy sh*t. With Red Cloud, it’s a 10-seconder (an in-house term when the change is so apparent it takes only a few seconds to hear it). Weight, authority, and anxious intensity where with Huron there was complacency—laid back like Vivaldi can sometimes be on poor recordings but never in person.

Within seconds of Red Cloud playing both Darren and I turned to each and uttered the same profanity at the same time. Darren insisted we immediately go back to Huron, so big the differences that neither of us could believe it was the same recording. With Huron it sounds as if half the instruments are missing and the confusion is back. Upgrade to Red Cloud and instantly the clutter’s gone, the violin of Giuliano Carmignola now rich with rosin and full with body—and the small ensemble led by Andrea Marcon comes alive with an energy unknown to me from this recording. What was once an alright disc now has moved to first place on the short list of reference CDs.

If I had just laid out $50K for a new DAC and heard this change I would pat myself on the back for making a good choice. But this was no new DAC (though you could have fooled us both).

Then the pièce de résistance, the San Francisco Symphony’s Mahler III. OMG again. The blat of horns was perfect: blaring without a hint of tizz. The orchestra suddenly transformed from great to spectacular: full-bodied, rich, without the slight bloat we now understand Huron to have had. The remarkable depth of the distant orchestra even deeper, beyond the walls of Music Room One. Captivated we could not turn off the music. That piece is nearly an hour in length. We did not move. Could not move.

Tomorrow we’ll repeat the audition process for DirectStream Junior.

On Friday we will launch the biggest DAC upgrade in the history of DirectStream and DSJ—elevating these remarkable DACS to even higher levels than thought possible—just in time for the weekend.

For free.

And there’s new Bridge firmware too. We’ve added Spotify Connect (more on that tomorrow), VTuner, Quboz (the European based high-resolution streaming service), and the latest ROON version so users can play MQA encoded files using ROON.

For free.

My apologies to non-DirectStream owners who won’t be enjoying their new DACS and services over this weekend (though we’ll buy your existing DAC back at full retail if you’re so inclined to upgrade).
 

Yucca

New Member
Nov 19, 2017
21
0
1
France
#2
Update done today with my DSJr Dac.
Had some difficulties, as I had to go back to Yale version, before to upgrade (it seems it was the same for many other PSA owners)

I can confirm there’s better separation, more organic sound, vocals are more vivid...I don’t know if my Dac is worth a $50000 device, though, even if the improvement is quite evident.
The fact is PSAudio gives their customers a great service, and all for free with their FGPA devices...happy DSJr owner here ;)
 

Lee

Active Member
Feb 4, 2011
1,409
3
38
Alpharetta, Georgia
#5

Lee

Active Member
Feb 4, 2011
1,409
3
38
Alpharetta, Georgia
#6
Chord Dave comparison anyone? :D
I wish I had one to compare with. It's been difficult just to procure a Hugo 2 for review which should arrive soon.
 

Hifi Boy

New Member
Sep 16, 2017
70
0
0
#7
Nice review you got there. Seems like lowering the noise floor really did the trick and DirectStream sounds better than ever because of it. Mainly in the perception of the environment where the music is being played. Could this approach have anything to do with Ted's recent attendance of Rob Watts' presentation on how he goes about doing his Chord DACs? :)

Because this sense of space is what Rob mostly talks about, oh, and transients!

In any case, I bought a Hugo 2 recently, and must say I'm quite happy with it!
 

edorr

WBF Founding Member
May 11, 2010
3,151
0
36
Smyrna, GA
#8
First listening session with Red Cloud. Completely transformed the DAC. This is a massive upgrade, like trading in a $15K ultra high end piece for the $30K model, only difference is the DS is still $6K (list) and the upgrade is free. No hyperbole here. I have had other FW upgraded that were marginal at best, but this one is astounding.
 

rockitman

Member Sponsor
Sep 20, 2011
6,889
20
38
Northern NY
#9
First listening session with Red Cloud. Completely transformed the DAC. This is a massive upgrade, like trading in a $15K ultra high end piece for the $30K model, only difference is the DS is still $6K (list) and the upgrade is free. No hyperbole here. I have had other FW upgraded that were marginal at best, but this one is astounding.
+1
 

edorr

WBF Founding Member
May 11, 2010
3,151
0
36
Smyrna, GA
#10
Another listening session. I am absolutely floored. I have been throwing a small fortune worth of hardware at the sound reproduction problem and what finally transformed my system from merely very good sounding to magical is a free FW upgrade. This version should put the 5 figure DACs out of business.
 

wisnon

Active Member
Dec 12, 2011
2,528
20
38
#11
The hyperbole is killing me. I heard this dac in a day long shootout a few years ago with 4 different FWs. Decent on pcm...atrocious on dsd.

I cant imagine that it will be any giant killer as 2 giants squashed it that day.
I can buy "much improved" with redcloud, but more that that I cant take seriously.

One piece of logic, unless one never heard it with the new FW, why would you buy it or hold onto it?
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,137
55
48
#12
The hyperbole is killing me. I heard this dac in a day long shootout a few years ago with 4 different FWs. Decent on pcm...atrocious on dsd.

I cant imagine that it will be any giant killer as 2 giants squashed it that day.
I can buy "much improved" with redcloud, but more that that I cant take seriously.

One piece of logic, unless one never heard it with the new FW, why would you buy it or hold onto it?
hyperbole is everywhere. and all about actual frame of reference or lack thereof. and we need to filter it out. most digital products these days are good enough that one can get worked up listening with the right files/discs. but what does that excitement actually mean objectively?

Ted Smith is a good friend, and very smart guy. so anything is possible. I've not heard this dac in my system for years now since he brought over the prototype a few times to compare it to my dac I had then for reference, the PD MPS-5.

but let's wait for someone to tell us about the comparison of this dac with the Redcloud upgrade to another reference dac before we go either way. it's been a modestly priced dac with a fairly devoted following. I do appreciate throwing '$50K dac-like' comments around does pull them into the deep end.

i'm happy for the owners of this dac that they got a big step up. and let's allow them to enjoy it.
 

edorr

WBF Founding Member
May 11, 2010
3,151
0
36
Smyrna, GA
#13
The hyperbole is killing me. I heard this dac in a day long shootout a few years ago with 4 different FWs. Decent on pcm...atrocious on dsd.

I cant imagine that it will be any giant killer as 2 giants squashed it that day.
I can buy "much improved" with redcloud, but more that that I cant take seriously.

One piece of logic, unless one never heard it with the new FW, why would you buy it or hold onto it?
I put it up against a $25K MSB with original firmware before deciding to buy it and it was within striking distance. With this firmware, it will destroy the MSB.

For the record, many people decided to buy and hold onto it with older FW versions and it got stellar reviews, suggesting it was highly competitive in its segment all along.

The notion it was decent on PCM and attrocious on DSD defies logic, because it converts all PCM to DSD. I am aware we all bring massive bias to the high end audio game, but I will tell you the new firmware takes the DAC to en entirely new level of performance.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,137
55
48
#14
I put it up against a $25K MSB with original firmware before deciding to buy it and it was within striking distance. With this firmware, it will destroy the MSB.

For the record, many people decided to buy and hold onto it with older FW versions and it got stellar reviews, suggesting it was highly competitive in its segment all along.

The notion it was decent on PCM and attrocious on DSD defies logic, because it converts all PCM to DSD. I am aware we all bring massive bias to the high end audio game, but I will tell you the new firmware takes the DAC to en entirely new level of performance.
I think we need to be specific. what's a $25k MSB dac? with older firmware? is that even a current model?

there are lot's of 2-3-4 year old dacs out there not very relevant. so the PS Audio dac being better than them means.....what exactly? nothing really. comments related to spendy past model dacs would be all over the board. and the marketing comments from PS Audio related to some unnamed '$50k dac' are unfortunate as they energize the naysayers at least as much as the fans. they ask for conflict.....and.....attention.

likely Norman's pcm-dsd comments relate more to the relative strengths of the dacs he compared head to head at that time with the PS Audio. and that their weakness was PCM at that point. I know as a owned an early Lampi GG and it did suck to some degree on PCM.
 

wisnon

Active Member
Dec 12, 2011
2,528
20
38
#15
hyperbole is everywhere. and all about actual frame of reference or lack thereof. and we need to filter it out. most digital products these days are good enough that one can get worked up listening with the right files/discs. but what does that excitement actually mean objectively?

Ted Smith is a good friend, and very smart guy. so anything is possible. I've not heard this dac in my system for years now since he brought over the prototype a few times to compare it to my dac I had then for reference, the PD MPS-5.

but let's wait for someone to tell us about the comparison of this dac with the Redcloud upgrade to another reference dac before we go either way. it's been a modestly priced dac with a fairly devoted following. I do appreciate throwing '$50K dac-like' comments around does pull them into the deep end.

i'm happy for the owners of this dac that they got a big step up. and let's allow them to enjoy it.
I totally rate Ted and from all accounts the breadboard Dac was wonderful. However I do know the DStream commercial product and it is no giant killer...not by a longshot.
I have no issue with owners enjoying it, as the price is reasonable and indeed used ones go for as little as $3.5K.


I heard it against a Gen 1 Lampi B7 and a $40K Msb Platinum Dac and both destroyed it with 4 different FWs that we rolled.IN BOTH PCM and DSD.
To each his own, but I cant stand the hyperbole.

My 2 cents and with that I am gone.
 

wisnon

Active Member
Dec 12, 2011
2,528
20
38
#16
I put it up against a $25K MSB with original firmware before deciding to buy it and it was within striking distance. With this firmware, it will destroy the MSB.

For the record, many people decided to buy and hold onto it with older FW versions and it got stellar reviews, suggesting it was highly competitive in its segment all along.

The notion it was decent on PCM and attrocious on DSD defies logic, because it converts all PCM to DSD. I am aware we all bring massive bias to the high end audio game, but I will tell you the new firmware takes the DAC to en entirely new level of performance.
Exactly! Its for that reason it was most disappointing!
 
Dec 12, 2013
943
3
18
NYC , USA
#17
Edorr are your dealer of this DAC ? I like ps audio and I do think ted is way above most DAC designers . Having said this and the wonderful,sound of each formware upgrade I for one just cannot read any more About this is amazing ....yet agin. This reminds me of the hugo u all reme,beer this giant killer it too was as good or better than an msb right edorr lol. I was lucky to have sold both about a year ago , but would love to hear this vast improvment yet agAin. I am sure it's an improvement but it's been more than 3 years and it's now great ? How about a new model and let ted really make it sound as good as the bread board one this time.
Lastly how is its dsd compared to its PCM ? Sorry if my honesty is upsetting some but enough already how many times can the sky be falling and you still look up hahahahaha .
 

edorr

WBF Founding Member
May 11, 2010
3,151
0
36
Smyrna, GA
#18
Edorr are your dealer of this DAC ? I like ps audio and I do think ted is way above most DAC designers . Having said this and the wonderful,sound of each formware upgrade I for one just cannot read any more About this is amazing ....yet agin. This reminds me of the hugo u all reme,beer this giant killer it too was as good or better than an msb right edorr lol. I was lucky to have sold both about a year ago , but would love to hear this vast improvment yet agAin. I am sure it's an improvement but it's been more than 3 years and it's now great ? How about a new model and let ted really make it sound as good as the bread board one this time.
Lastly how is its dsd compared to its PCM ? Sorry if my honesty is upsetting some but enough already how many times can the sky be falling and you still look up hahahahaha .
Unlike some others here I don't get upset about anything related to consumer electronics so now worries. I am not a PS audio dealer and had in fact been laying low on things audio due to lack of time. I got an email announcing the new firmware, installed it and was floored by the level of improvement. I stand by my assertion that it is essentially a new, higher caliber DAC sonically. that is all there is to it. It would be interesting to put it up against current models of the ultra expensive boys. No doubt someone will at some point.

I don't do DSD because I convert to pcm for Dirac DRC, so,I can't comment on that. I guess this fact alone makes me unqualified to weight in on SOTA sound systems. Worse, I don't own a TT.
 
Dec 12, 2013
943
3
18
NYC , USA
#19
A very kind and honest reply.
Thanks
 

wisnon

Active Member
Dec 12, 2011
2,528
20
38
#20
Unlike some others here I don't get upset about anything related to consumer electronics so now worries. I am not a PS audio dealer and had in fact been laying low on things audio due to lack of time. I got an email announcing the new firmware, installed it and was floored by the level of improvement. I stand by my assertion that it is essentially a new, higher caliber DAC sonically. that is all there is to it. It would be interesting to put it up against current models of the ultra expensive boys. No doubt someone will at some point.

I don't do DSD because I convert to pcm for Dirac DRC, so,I can't comment on that. I guess this fact alone makes me unqualified to weight in on SOTA sound systems. Worse, I don't own a TT.
Fair enough Edorr.
 

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