DS Internet firmware update? App?


#1

A couple of posters have bemoaned the DS does not have an app and does not upgrade firmware over the Internet. Some decried the lack of such capabilities as anachronistic.

Queries:

  1. What would you want the app to do? What other DACs have such an app?

  2. Which competing DACs (not players) are upgradeable over the Internet via an Ethernet connection?

  3. How important are these qualities? Why/why not?


#2

This is not one of the questions you asked, but: I think it would save a lot of frustration if people could use any SD card to upgrade. Some people can use larger ones, while others have to find a 2GB card; some can use FAT32 and some must use FAT16, which apparently is an issue with some computers (not mine). Being so finicky about SD cards seems truly anachronistic to me.

It’s not always easy to separate players and DACs. The first digital piece I owned, a Marantz NA-7004 (I think that’s the number) was a player but I also used it as a DAC in preference to the one built in to my CD player. And it did update itself over the internet.

In a perfect world, there would be a UPnP controller that also had functions to control the DS; like the old eLyric control point, which I still use. There are a number of control points for the iPad, but most of them are not very good, IMO. I like the layout of the eLyric PC and the fact that I can switch inputs, phase, etc. even with the DS. I realize that PSA probably is not going to resurrect eLyric, but that’s my .02.

I don’t see a real need for a separate app for the DS. The remote has all the control functions. I suppose an app is cooler than a plastic remote, but since the PWD and DS do not come with an ethernet connection, there’s no way for non-Bridge users to upgrade firmware anyway. (Or could it be done via USB???)


#3
  1. I’m not interested in a control App

  2. My Krell processor does automatic software updates (although it’s a different product category to DS).

  3. No interest in control App or automatic software updates, because I don’t need them.


#4

I’d welcome option to upgrade PWD the same way as bridge - via the web interface , entering either direct url to PSA servers or my own web server with pre-downloaded firmware file (to avoid wan network hiccups etc).

Also in some cases lot of hassle would be solved if PWD could retain “backup” firmware in case upgrade fails (network / power cut etc). Or do whatever possible to avoid “bricking” PWD.

By PWD I mean of course PWD/DS :)


#5

Elk,

Every update via the download to my PC and transfer to the SD card has given me a visceral/tactile sense of closer connection to the DAC and excitement…much like “tricking out” a race car with one’s own hands and then, upon taking to the track, having a much keener sense of the change (or even the pseudo life in the machine, itself). Thanks for indulging my comment as this is probably much too personal (or just plain goofy) to mean much to anyone else.

Additionally, I feel a bit “serviced” when Sony or Oppo “auto upgrade” their pieces in our home . So… long live the SD upgrade path!


#6

At first I had issues with updating firmware, incompatible SD card, but I worked through the learning curve and now its a snap!

What I would like to see is an APP, Android and Mac OS compatible, that would at least allow for volume and input selection at a minimum.

Full function control, like the handheld remote would be nice but may be to much to ask for, beggars cant be too choosey.

The only reason for this desire is to have ONE user interface for control of my music.

I suspect that the DS would have to have a Bridge to connect via Wi-Fi or LAN?

Thanks for asking!


#7

A remote app for the DS seems like it might be a lot of effort for not a lot of win. Apart from firmware updates, what would people do with it? Infra-red remote control is cheap, immediate and reliable for power on/off, source selection and volume control.

What I’d like is for the DS to expose its FPGA volume control via USB so that apps which control music playback (primarily meaning track selection from a software library) could also provide volume commands to the DS. No IR remote necessary if I’m already using a player app.

In an ideal world, that same USB connection would also be usable for firmware updates. Unless the XMOS receiver chip can be pressed into service (which I doubt) then hardware changes would be necessary. Maybe a USB hub chip inside the DS, presenting both the XMOS audio receiver as well as the thing-which-receives-firmware-updates.

The simplest “thing” might be an embedded flash chip, connected where the SD card goes today, pre-formatted in FAT16. Firmware updates could be as simple as “copy these files to the DS DAC over USB and reboot it”.


#8

Previously the DS was shipped with an SD card ONLY if as a kit or with an installed Bridge.

I hope this has changed as a factory supplied “functional” card would save a lot of frustrations and issues and really Should be included as it is necessary to do the firmware changes. I think this would solve 90% of the issues and possible frustrations.

When Bridge2 hits the market, it would be nice if it’s LAN/WAN connection intersected withthe DS upgrade path as well as an “upgrade available icon”

2g cards are hard to find and their archaeic rareness does not match the modern marvel of the DS.


#9

The way Linn is doing their firmware upgrades has been working very well.


#10

Does Linn make a stand alone DAC that is just a DAC (and not also a streamer, etc.?)

If so, how do they update its firmware?


#11

I think Linn do network music players, but not standalone DACs


#12

I think updates are easy enough using an SD card - besides, how often are they released? The next update would probably be a long way off.

Another advantage of the SD method is the ease with which you can revert to an earlier version of firmware and if something goes wrong you can rescue your machine. Try to do that over the internet with a bricked unit.


#13

I think Elk’s original question has not been answered. Most of the devices I am aware of that can update firmware over the internet are streamers or renderers. I have 4 such devices and they are all slightly different in their approach to firmware upgrades.

  1. Cambridge Audio NP30 Network player. This checks for updates in firmware on boot up. Process is automated and I have had absolutely no problems with it.
  2. Cyrus Streamline2. This used to have some update process which was done by logging into the web page of the streamer - not particularly simple. The most recent upgrade required a factory return!
  3. Naim ND5XS. This is similar to item 2 and was quite arduous but it did work.
  4. Bryston BDP-2. Firmware upgrades appear on the device web page and have all run smoothly except for the last one a couple of weeks ago.
My Sony TV upgrades automatically if I say yes to the "Do you want to upgrade? question. Given I use the DS as a DAC, I don't have any need for automatic firmware upgrades as it is not connected to my network or the internet. The recent 1.2.1 upgrade was a complete doddle and took less than 5 minutes from downloading the firmware on an SD card until music playing.

So I think that the most sensible improvement for PS Audio would be to have the device not picky about formats on the SD card and more range of card sizes. I now have 2 2 Gb cards that I use just for firmware upgrades of the DS.

I guess the summary of these ramblings is that the DS firmware update process is not too bad in comparison with some other products and that the flexibility for users with the ability to change firmware at will outweighs a minor inconvenience of a manual process. Just try reversing an app or software version on an iDevice and see how far you get !!! yell

Cheers,

Chris


#14

One thing to remember, if we did automatic updates, you could not mix and match firmware like is currently possible.

Dennis


#15

That would be pity, but there could be further option in DS menu to either select firmware or just use latest stable, or something like that :)

But I agree, the benefit for most people would be minimal and the effort to achieve this would be considerable


#16

Recent upgrade went very smoothly for me.

The only improvement for which I would advocate is to allow greater variety in SD cards that are compatible with the upgrade process. I happen to have a few 2GB SD cards around, but others may not or may not want to wipe them for the sake of upgrading.


#17

I, too, think it would be great if the DS/PWD accepted a broader range of SD cards. Updating via a USB flashdrive would be great also. The control we currently have is wonderful however.

cerobo said

Bryston BDP-2. Firmware upgrades appear on the device web page and have all run smoothly except for the last one a couple of weeks ago.

Odd. Bryston units tend to be bulletproof in all respects. As an aside, I just got the same unit a couple of weeks ago and upgraded to the latest version of Manic Moose without issue (love the firmware name, of course.) Phenomenal unit.

#18

I am surprised and disappointed that the DirectStream DAC does not accept any SDHC compliant card. No, I do not mean nor expect DSXC (>32GB), just the common SDHC standard - 4GB to 32GB. These have been the norm for several years now, with 2GB or less SD cards becoming hard to find, and more expensive than 4GB and even 8GB SDHC cards.

Just saying that digital based equipment, including audio equipment, should keep up with the common market computing standards. This includes things like Gigabit Ethernet and at least 802.11n WiFi.

J.P.


#19

Why gigabit ethernet support? I can easily push uncompressed blu-ray video + audio down a 10/100 link, a 10/100 ethernet interface on DS does not present any bandwidth limitations for what it needs to do (Paul, is BridgeMk2 gig or 10/100?).

Has anybody tried partitioning a 4+ GB SD card into a 2GB partition and testing if that works on DS? In any event I don’t see the 2GB SD card being a limitation as DS ships with such a card. Mine just lives in its slot in the DS and only ever comes out for firmware upgrades. I don’t see it being a problem at all, unless you buy a used DS and the previous owner hasn’t passed the original SD card on. PS Audio will be able to sell you one if needed, so there again I don’t see it being a problem at all.


#20

Gigabit is not about just the music data stream, it is about marketing and about the remote possibility that a few users might not set up a unique and private network just for their one network connected renderer, or maybe they have multiple renderers on their music network, or maybe their music system(s) share the network with the rest of the family.

While most of us who have PS Audio equipment are crazy about setting up everything exclusively for their music, not everyone has the financial and/or technical resources to do so and cater to the rest of their lives too. Gigabit compliance just MIGHT make a shared network play cleanly where 100Mbit might stumble. And yes, I know that a single 192/24 data stream would almost work on a perfect 10Mbit network and would not of itself stress a 100Mbit network. However, shared network traffic rapidly degrades the network’s ability to deliver any given data packet in a timely manner. A 100Mbit multi user network cannot carry anywhere near 100Mbits of actual data traffic.

J.P.