I have been out of the loop the last 2 months or so and didn’t realize there was new firmware after 1.17. I was unhappy with the first release after the original firmware, but 1.17 seemed to sound okay.
Last night I tried 1.21 and for my system it was a revelation. All the things that nagged me about my system simply fell away. The sense of the sound being a bit locked to the speakers was now gone. I felt like I was listening to a holographic presentation and with new height information as well. The presentation, aside from way more dimensional in the z (depth) Axis, also possesed a swing factor, along with the micro and macro dynamics the DS already did so well. The upgrade feels more in line with a new component, rather than just a tweek of the original qualities. And the fact that this was free makes it even better. Some James Taylor tracks I listened to with 1.17 then again with 1.21 went from sounding rather mediocre to full audiophile quality. The Sufjan Stevens Illinoise CD’s opening track has flutes, that were now rendered as fully undulating columns of air in resonance. I really feel like the digital conversion has gotten totally out of the way and now mostly what I’m hearing is the differences int he recordings themselves, not sample rate or bit depth differences. Stings the Last SHip (the Broadway show here in NY is highly recommended BTW) on 24/96 showed itself to be rather compressed and processed in some aspects, with lower res recordings actually sounding better.
My mid sized system now sounds like a much larger one (i.e) a Wilson WAMM I was so impressed with back in the day. Mine is a bit of a Frankensystem with TAD CR1’s augmented with Sopranino supertweeter (hence the nod to the WAMM), and Velodyne DD10+ subs.
Being a point source from 250 to about 8K, there was always a locational aspects to the sound which DS now fully engages the best aspects of.
I will have to play some more ISO’s to hear if I notice any softness others have heard. I did have a screen crash within an hour of loading 1.21 so I hope that won’t be a recurring issue.
Ted has done it again, and I feel the DS with this last upgrade has advanced the state of playback to a level that other innovations in electronic and speaker design have not touched. The effects is so pronounced, I can imagine even fairly modest systems with the DS in them portraying much of the qualities I’ve noted.
I should mention I am using the bridge with Jriver20 on a mac, but trying to decide if I should go over to a Mac mini with Pure Music so I can do crossovers and room correction in the software.
I can’t wait to get Paul’s new amp in here.