After much work on the part of Ted Smith and the evaluation team, we officially release version 1.2.1; the single biggest improvement to DirectStream yet.
Here’s a little backstory. We’ve had Ted locked away in his development lab for some time now, brewing up new improvements to DirectStream. As owners of DirectStream know, this is a product where the word ‘obsolete’ doesn’t apply. Cannot apply.
DirectStream is really nothing more than a beautifully built hardware platform with state of the art power supplies feeding an FPGA, its performance, its sound quality, its entire DNA, can be changed via a simple downloaded file. In other words, we can email a new product to owners anywhere in the world.
Obsolescence, is now obsolete.
Ted had a number of truly advanced ideas he was toying with and in the middle of working on. Then came the review in Stereophile where Atkinson pointed to a bit of distortion in the lower bass. We sat around the engineering meeting discussing ideas for lowering that level. None of us really felt it was sonically important, but it would still be nice to have the measurements look more like what people’s expectations were like. Why not? Ted waved his magic wand, added his advanced thinking on improvements already in the works and bingo! We get 1.2.1.
Our first indication this was something more than just another update came at Arnie’s house. We fired up Ted’s latest firmware and we both turned to each other in astonishment within the first three notes of Mahler’s second. “What the hell?”
The bass was magically transformed. Tightened up, firm, punchy, toe tapping. This was a shock because we really didn’t think lowering the distortion would have much of a sonic change. Boy was I wrong on that one! But then the bigger surprise. The soundstage became magical in a way I’ve not yet heard any DAC, any system, perform. The degree of new layering, depth and openness really stunned us both. I would be remiss if I did not suggest this firmware places DirectStream in an entirely new class of DAC. To say ‘you ain’t heard DirectStream yet’ is NOT an understatement.
We prepared 40 versions of the code, each with small tweaks. Arnie and I personally went through each and every one of them and found the very best of them all. We then presented all this to our Beta testing group and gave them yet a few more choices in another area of code. After much cussin’ and discussin’ we arrived at 1.2.1. Wow.
Lower noise floor, lower distortion levels yes. But most important, a MAJOR sonic improvement.
And, as I hope all DirectStream owners appreciate, the upgrade is free. How many high end companies do you know of that modify every parameter of their product for you for free?
Go here: http://www.psaudio.com/support/downloads/ and download your copy of 1.2.1. Unzip the file, place the contents on a blank SD card, place that card in DirectStream and power cycle the unit via the rear panel power switch. The logo light on the front will blink for about 30 seconds, the unit reprograms itself and suddenly it is transformed. If you need help, the community members are here for you.
You do not have to do anything else. It doesn’t matter what firmware you start with, you can go directly to 1.2.1. If you wish, you can download earlier versions and go back to see the difference. Most of you will not need to.
It’s that good.