DSJ - Snowmass listening thoughts & comparisons

I would like to start a new thread purely focusing on the new Snowmass OS for the DS Junior. The “other” thread has completely devolved into trouble shooting and editorials about PS business and service practices.

So with that said…I am not instantly warming up to SM. I am loving aspects like an extra layer of detail drawn out and a more accurate representation of drum tones(cymbals are extremely good). I also find it just as dynamic as RC, which I found to be a RC strength. I am not as of yet getting the smoothness others are reporting but just a broad relaxed presentation. I also am getting a dryness in the mid-band that probably helps expose details. I think, based on memory, I am missing the vocal presentation from Redcloud, I really enjoyed it in my system. I do not like swapping incessantly back and forth looking for comparisons but rather digest big chunks as I seem to break in just as much as gear sometimes. Monday evening I am going to reload RC and post my thoughts again. I listen to mostly all kinds of Rock and in a near field type set up. I would live to here your impressions and how they compare or have changed with more listening.


Maybe some more listening sessions during the weekend.

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What make me buy DSj was the better analog sound than my former Auralic Aries/Dac combo.
Now SM elevated in a way RC, more air, better separation, forwarded vocals but kinda feel is more dryer and hi-fi’sh sound than Red Cloud.Maybe just my 98 dB speakers…

I like it. I spent 8 hours listening yesterday an enjoyed it. Having the ability to go back and forth between different builds is a nice option but I’m sticking with SM.

I find that Snowmass improvement on rebook CDs much greater than SACDs.
I am not complaining by any means. I have a DMP and use I2S for connection.
Love this DAC.

My experience is this is the case with any system improvement.

Yes,you’re right. I feel SM is improving a lot on 16-bit/44 kHz material.

I already posted some more DSj Snowmass impressions on the other active thread, but I will compile now the findings here, so others can check it more easily.

Issues wise:

  • Fade in: clearly notice, but only in the beginning of every album, and if the format is different from the last one. So, although my initial fears, this is a non-issue in my daily use. I guess for those who have playlists with different formats, it could be a problem indeed.
  • In the beginning of every DSD file, I hear a tinny click (where there is no fade in since the clock was already locked in that format). This issue was already clarified by Ted, and is something related to Foobar2000 / DSj, in my case.

Sound wise:

  • Less congestion and another layer of harshness removed (listen to Mahler 5th by David Zinman SACD, and everything is fluid, musical, and well defined)
  • Body, definitively everything has more “meat”
  • Micro dynamics improved
  • I confirm that everything is a little more forward. Not negative, but with big classical events, any Mahler’s Symphony for instance, I guess I prefer a little more distance. A little adjustment on the listening position (slightly further from the speakers) attenuated this.
  • Although listen to DSD files (native or converted from SACDs ISO) is the ultimate listening experience, is with PCM that I felt major improvements.
  • A few weeks back I had the opportunity to listen to a dCS Rossini Player/DAC. I was stunned with the amount of information taken from a CD with an absolut sense of timing and ambience (the right amount of reverb telling exactly what was the venue of a recording). Before, I had the same kind of experience with Esoteric Players/DACs. Now, my DSj with Snowmass is giving me the same kind of experience. Much more information, ambience, and accurate timing are retrieved from the recordings.

Some of my impressions are similar to others, so I guess some of them can be considered system independent.

Spinning Red Book CD’s on an OPPO UDP-205 via 1m WireWorld SuperNova Toslink cable into DSJr/Snowmass revived memories of first listening to SACD’s during 2001-2002. I was late to leave vinyl and very early to adopt SACD. The OMG, it’s virtually an “analog waveform” moment with that huge soundstage, tight bass and “air” between instruments on the early flagship Sony ES SACD players is what I heard when I played long-ago “demo quality” standard resolution CD’s this weekend.

To my ears and in my nearfield system, the genius of the DSJr/Snowmass combo is what it brings to the table for legacy formats. I’ve had other upsampling DAC’s in my system, but found that PCM to DSD conversion was virtually unlistenable. Now I’m pulling discs without reference to resolution.

I seem to recall Ted Smith being an active participant at the Hi Res Highway on Audio Asylum back in the day. May I suggest that the DVD-A versus SACD debate would have been unnecessary if we had known that the data was hiding in Red Book CD’s all along, waiting for Ted to unlock it?

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I agree with most aspects already mentioned above. The layers of harshness removed by SM is huge for me. With RC I had tried compensating for the fatigueing harshness in many ways. Switched all of the speakers active filtering to lowest setting. Pointed towers away from listener. Deleted some speakers that we’re 92db and not if the majority 89db. Glad i didn’t start spending money on cables. Which was next. Seems like the PRAT factor is improved…is it bit timing?
The mids and bass have increasedd in definition with more punch. I moved my speakers back two feet and they probably could go back farther. In general speaker placement is not such a big factor. Seems like no matter where l put them the largness if the soloist is big and centerish. I have more headroom with my system now and my P10 is not using as much power or its load is not peaking as high with a BHK 250 and two REL G2 taxing it.

Strange but maybe not strange thing happened. So on my previous post I indicated I was not warming up to SM, tons of detail and great pitch definition but I was not getting a forward sound on vocal and the presentation was dry. I had no problem loading SM or bouncing between firm-wares or so it would seem. I mean it recognized loading and showed on the display as the right version, I did the recommended remove USB drive and reboot, and it sounded different so I thought it was what it was. Sunday I decided to pick up my things and drive 3 hours to see Ween live in NY so I did a reload of SM and then shut down my whole system from the iso transformer, I usually leave everything on all the time. When I got back the next day I fired everything up and went to work for a few hours. When I came home to listen it sounded completely different! Big, bold, with tons of texture and dynamics. Lots of detail and that vocal forwardness that people have mentioned but I was not getting but wanted. So I love that it sounds way better now but I hate the fact it could load and sound good but not sound it’s best. Now I have a fear of turning off :slight_smile:
So is it possible to have good loads and bad loads? Seems like it to me and in the future when I have a successful load I will shut everything down for the night directly after and start fresh the next day.

With your late impressions… now you are listening to Snowmass. :blush:

If I recall, Ted already mention that remotely some bad load can occur. @tedsmith , correct me please If I’m wrong.

What I did upon Redcloud > Yale > Snowmass, was rebooting DSj and then reload Snowmass again (it reloaded fine Snowmass over Snowmass – real-time checked).

Now, and besides many (and PS) preferences, I turn everything on when I arrive at home after work, shutting everything off when I go to bed.
Every single day, it sound outstanding.

I believe Ted does not recommend reloading the same os consecutively. I may be wrong… but maybe he will comment.

I guess I missed that.
Let’s wait for Ted clarification.

But my DSj is sounding very good though.

well, any one finds that the output level of bridgeII is higher than that of USB?

The most probable thing you might have run into is that sometimes the first boot just after doing an update doesn’t sound as good as it should. A power off and then back on after an update is what matters, not doing another install.

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It was recommended to wait a minute after powering down before powering back up. I did this and also unplugged the mains but only for a minute. Is there something to powering it down for longer, after new install, that makes a difference? My case was a day but maybe a 10 minute “drain” would have sufficed where as a one minute “drain” was insufficient. Could there be something technical to this or just happenstance? Also thank you for your Post’s and design fine tuning…much respect!

A non-PS Audio I2S source may provide 5V power to the DS or DS Jr which can easily mess up upgrades.

In general there’s no need for unplugging the mains, the power switch on the back is a simple switch that disconnects the hot side of the mains. If you’ve had a big static shock or such perhaps unplugging for a while may help.

With out a non-PS Audio I2S source, the Jr doesn’t need to be off too long - 20 seconds or so - the bridge module bleeds down the power supply pretty fast. The Sr takes a little longer but still 20 or 40 seconds should be plenty. There are times that people have needed to power off for longer, but to the best of my knowledge that was to everything on their networks forget about the bridge, not to drain the power supplies. So if you aren’t dealing with bridge/network issues 20-40 seconds is plenty.

I only brought it up in my “what to do if your install fails” post because some were only waiting a second or two (which often works, but not always.)

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So now that I got a “proper” load of SM and am absolutely sold and loving the sound. A lot has been made about the phase and the temporal aspects which really result in powerful natural sound. Just oodles of detail front to back which add to the realism. Bass notes have great fill with plenty of pitch definition and seems to generate the apporpriate amount of force. Spatial cues are excellent and not overhyped so you feel like your in a theater. I was contemplating maybe another dac or some costly tweaks and all the pondering has disappeared. I feel I could live with this release for some time.