Directstream DAC output level controls


My DAC output doesn’t seem to change at all when using the up or down arrow buttons on my remote control. The remote works, however, because it does change tracks, etc… Is there a way to change the DAC output using the touchscreen? The DAC was recently upgraded to Pikes Peak.



This is very odd. I take it the volume controls on the remote worked fine prior to the upgrade of the firmware?

Yes, volume can be changed on the touchscreen by touching any part of the volume bar at the bottom of the screen, or by touching and holding the + and - at the ends of the volume bar.

Have you tried turning off the DS and turning it back on?


When you change the volume the level numbers are quite large on the DS screen so you will know whether or not anything is happening. Rebooting is a good idea. If that doesn’t work you might try going back to 1.2.1 to see if it works there and then do a clean install of Pike’s Peak.


Thanks guys. I have rebooted the DAC several times by turning the power on and off, but without any apparent effect on this output issue. Because I had trouble installing the Pikes Peak software upgrade (like some other members with upgrade problems detailed in this forum in other sections) I had to send the DAC with its Bridge back to PS Audio where Pikes Peak was finally successfully installed. The unit(s) was then returned to me about 6 weeks ago with everything supposedly working correctly. I bought the PS Audio PWT about 10 days ago, and added it to the DAC via the HDMI I S #1 connection, using a high-grade, silver-wire, Audioquest HDMI cable… But, I can’t understand how adding the PWT should have had any effect on the DACs output volume contrroller. Changing the DACs filter selection changes the DACs output a little, but never above 50 on the bar. Touching the + or - ends of the bar causes the output level numbers to fluctuate rapidly; but each attempt results in the DAC output settling back to roughly between 40 and 50 at most. Any other ideas? Or do I need a second factory visit?


Random questions and a few debugging suggestions which might help us narrow down what’s happening:

When you say that the output settles back to roughly between 40 and 50 does that mean with no-one touching anything? Or perhaps you don’t know that the volume goes to where ever you press (or you can touch the + or - on the ends of the volume control?

By fluctuate rapidly what do you mean? Going up and going down repeatedly?

Is the PWT plugged into the same outlet as the DS? If not, as a test plug it into the same outlet (or move the DS plug to the PWT’s outlet.)

Unplug the Ethernet cable on the bridge as a test.

If you have the USB cable connected, unplug it as a test.

Cover up the IR receiver on the DS. (It’s just to the left of the touchscreen.)

Changing the filter selection has no effect on the volume selection - it’s purely an analog shunt and the volume selection is purely digital. If just pressing a button on the remote that isn’t a volume up/down and anything happens to the volume then either the remote is broken or there’s a lot of IR interference in the room (a stuck remote for some other device?) or sunshine hitting the DS remote receiver?



Yes, the DAC’s output value randomly and rapidly swings between the high 50s to the low 30s, and then finally stops at around 40-42; all without anyone touching a remote’s button or the DACs touchscreen. This happens at random intervals while I am listening to music while seated in a chair at the other end of the room. I put an expensive, after-market, power cable on the DAC, but nothing regarding this varying DAC output changed. While touching the + or - end of the touchscreen bar the volume will change in the correct direction, but shortly after removing one’s finger from the touchscreen the output varies wildly before settling somewhere between 40 to 50, around 42 usually. I switched the DAC’s and PWT’s outlet connections without effect. No USB nor ethernet cables are attached while this fluctuation happens. The DAC’s IR receiver has been cleaned and covered, but without curing the problem. The only other remote in the room is for the Jeff Rowland Concentra II integrated amp thru which the DAC plays. The JR Concentra II remote is not on, in fact has no batteries in it. The DACs IR receiver doesn’t get any visible light on it. The PS Audio remotes (I have 2: one came with the DAC, and the other with the PWT) function properly to change tracks, change filters, turn off power, etc… So, they seem to be functional except in controlling the DAC’s volume, i.e., output. Many thanks for taking your time to give me these ideas to try. It seems like the DAC has an audio gremlin of some sort. It looks like another factory return may be needed.


I would suspect something in the room is triggering the IR sensor. Try covering it up with tape just to see. It’s just to the left of the touch screen


Boy, if with the remote receiver covered up and no USB or bridge connections the volume is still spontaneously changing and you’ve tried powering it off for a little (maybe 1 min) and it still flakes it is indeed time to phone home.


OK. I put blue painters tape (3M) and two layers of black, opaque, duct tape (Gorilla brand) over the DACs IR sensor. I manually set the DACs output bar to 55. The setting stayed put for all of about 4 minutes before then randomly and variably going up and down between about 94 and 23. It settled for a while at 39; but, then a few minutes later, moved to 42. No batteries were in either of the two PS Audio remotes in the room. Clearly, something is malfunctioning in the electronic, digital control of the DAC’s output. This experiment was tried after the DAC was without power for 24 hours, allowed yet again to initialize, etc… How about a return shipping label from your service department Paul? This DAC has gremlins beyond a home cure!


Try taking it to a friends home and plugging it in perhaps? It’s the weekend anyway, so you have some time before you could ship. Just a thought.


OK, several days with the DAC in a friend’s home (without any stereo equipment close-by) produced the same thing, i.e., varying DAC output levels over time with spontaneous (no touchscreen or remote commands were given) level resets. After three days in my office which is shielded to prevent electronic eavesdropping the DAC continues to be unstable as to its output level. I really don’t understand how the required Pikes Peak update factory trip and return caused this problem. But, the DAC obviously is not useable in this state, so back again for a service visit I guess.


That sounds like it could be an issue with the touch screen. It sounds like it is time to phone home.




I suggest emailing Dennis and asking him if there is a software reset you can try before sending it in.