FPGA improvements in Redcloud


#1

Paul has let the cat out of the bag (http://www.psaudio.com/forum/bhk-power-and-preamp-forum/preamp-stacking/#p80737):

"Some of the noise problems people have experienced with DSJ are about at an end. The latest release of firmware, called Redcloud, will fix the noise issues some have experienced with DSJ. Not only that but of course, Ted’s spun his magic web over this latest release (for both DSJ and DS) and it sounds utterly amazing.

Can’t wait to have you experience Redcloud. Expect to see a release in about two weeks."

I’ll give you a preview of the next release of the FPGA code in Redcloud (I’ll leave it to Paul and others to talk about other parts of the Redcloud release.)

Redcloud continues the work done for Huron. Huron had a few rough edges that were especially apparent on the DS Jr at lower volume levels. It turns out that they were always there but were more exposed in Huron than previous releases. A few DS Sr users noticed them as well.

Redcloud features much whiter background noise: this should greatly help those who listen at lower volume levels. The system’s analog background noise floor hasn’t changed (that would require a change in the hardware) but the cause of the digital noise floor being colored differently with each release has been fixed, this also lowers THD at all signal levels less than -10dBFS (i.e. almost everything you’ll listen to.)

With this change some of the less effective ameliorations for low level noise/distortion have been removed. This should firm up the bass, lower THD, lessen distortion at very high levels (> 3dBFS) and overall be less hazy than previous releases. In particular the changes in the bass from Torreys to Huron were an adjustment of one of those anti distortion patches. Now the whole patch is gone with another improvement to the bass.

Huron fixed some clicks and pops for a few users, but I think that almost everyone noticed some slightly louder clicks and pops switching between PCM and DSD that weren’t there in previous releases.

Some of those clicks and pops during transitions from one format to another have been treated. A quick volume ramp down and then ramp up has been added at any change in sample rates, transition to/from PCM from/to DSD happens, or deemphasis being engaged or disengaged. Also a source of some small ticks going from DSD to PCM have been fixed.

Here’s a quote from one of the beta testers (used without permission :slight_smile: ): “I think FPGA131 is as big a step from Huron as Huron was from Torreys. Voices etc are so focused now that I can decipher words that I couldn’t previously. This also means that bass is much more real with real attack.”

We didn’t do a public beta, but I invited a few customers that had noticed some of the above problems to check that I was addressing their concerns and their feedback was very helpful.


The next DirectStream update?
#2

Direct Stream FGPA + Ted = the gift that keeps on giving.

Awesome! Many thanks.


#3

How Ted can improve on Huron is beyond me. I’m waiting with baited breath!


#4

Almost from the beginning I’ve wondered about running out of improvements but feedback and experience almost always point to new ideas about possible improvements after each release.

I still have some theoretical ideas that I want to implement and listen to for a future release, but there are some problems in Huron that seem more important. With some help from a few customers that heard something they didn’t like we could finally reproduce and measure some issues with lower level signals. I have to thank those customers for their perseverance in bugging us about their problems, but usually until we have a reproducible and measureable example of a problem it’s very hard to get to the bottom of it.

The good news was that one particular test case made it pretty obvious where the problem was. I realized that I had had the solution in hand years ago but I had screwed up implementing it.

Anyway, doing the right thing (in the right place) once again brings audible rewards and lays the ground for even more improvements in the future.


#5

TED rules!!

I love sitting on the sofa, waiting for improvements instead of building own power supply upgrades or similar :wink:


#6

WOW! What great news!


#7

+1. I’ll be ordering a card!


#8

And so the nervous wait begins. Firmware updates - success or otherwise - for these DS and DSJ seem so random; for some owners it works as intended, others not so. Some have to go backwards 2 releases before updating, some have to do this or that or hop on their left leg during update or whatever. How the same firmware update on different devices can be so problematic for some but not for others makes me cringe come update time.


#9

Wow!! This comes as a complete surprise!! Thanks so much Ted. I will say the clicks on transition never bothered me one bit. Felt like I was dropping the needle :). Now if sound improvements await. - wow. MORE COWBELL BABY!! Lol.


#10

Well as a new customer of a two week old Directstream Jr. I am eager to hear the new firmware. I heard significant static and distortion at low volume levels and had assumed I had a ground loop or other interference. Not saying that couldn’t be a possibility yet but I had none of those issues with my previous DAC.

At louder levels the DAC sounded great but when I had it at low levels (kids sleeping) the distortion was very noticeable. My Jr is directly feeding a pair of ncore 400 amplifiers. Not sure if using the DAC as a pre makes it more noticeable (I would think so considering the DAC would be set to a higher gain with a separate pre, as the previous would attenuate the signal).

I will say that the Bridge has been very impressive compared to my previous streamer. No drop outs any more, no loss of synch, and volume being controlled remotely via Roon is a big plus.

Looking forward to the update.


#11

A new OS already? Hey- slowdown!!! (Said absolutely no one except perhaps a reviewer)

Can’t wait to hear it, although I run my DS full volume into a preamp so I may not get as much of a benefit as those using the built in volume.

.


#12
emailists said

Can’t wait to hear it, although I run my DS full volume into a preamp so I may not get as much of a benefit as those using the built in volume.
.


You’ll still hear a difference - the changes aren’t related to the volume setting per se, but to the current signal level (after the volume is applied.)

#13

This is an unexpected Holiday gift!

I was always under the impression, from discussions with Sonore, that the pop I heard when switching between PCM and DSD was caused by the SSR’s two independent clock systems.

Along with the other mentioned improvements, it will be interesting for me to see if the transition between format pops are gone or at least less noticeable.


#14

Wow, good things are coming before Christmas! The bridge update with MQA and some extras and now Redcloud with improved sound!! Will it also fix the plopping noises when switching off and at changing digital format (ie PCM to DSD)?


#15

Hi,

great news :slight_smile:

this is one of the thing I love with you psaudio guys!! Your products are really on top and this possibility to upgrade and found a butter gear than the one you bought is unique !!

Keep enjoying us

many thanks


#16
Cable-guy said

Wow, good things are coming before Christmas! The bridge update with MQA and some extras and now Redcloud with improved sound!! Will it also fix the plopping noises when switching off and at changing digital format (ie PCM to DSD)?


I hesitate to claim that all clicks and pops will be gone, but more of them are and some more of those that are left are quieter.

#17

Thank you, Ted and PS Audio, for yet another (free) mic drop! We are not worthy!


#18

As a recording engineer I cannot express how much I despise a mic drop.

I would greatly prefer spoken points being emphasized with a puppy punt.


#19
brodricj said

And so the nervous wait begins. Firmware updates - success or otherwise - for these DS and DSJ seem so random; for some owners it works as intended, others not so. Some have to go backwards 2 releases before updating, some have to do this or that or hop on their left leg during update or whatever. How the same firmware update on different devices can be so problematic for some but not for others makes me cringe come update time.

As Thanksgiving is upon us, I suggest we be thankful we have a DAC that is firmware-upgradeable, that the upgrades are free, and that the end user can install the upgrades. Many audio products are not firmware-upgradeable, others require a round-trip journey to the manufacturer or dealer to receive the upgrade, and still others are upgradeable only for a fee (for example, Berkeley charges $595 + $20 shipping to acquire the MQA firmware update for its $19K "Reference Series 2" DAC).

When you have end-users burning firmware updates onto various SD card media and using different software programs for burning, there are bound to be some glitches along the way. I have applied every DS firmware update since v1.21, and every Bridge II update since v2.3.x. My DS sounds and works better than ever, and I am looking forward to checking out Redcloud when it is released. I doubt I will have a problem with the update, but if I do I know PS Audio’s crack customer support team will be there to help.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


#20

Elk - It was still kinda funny, if only for the fact that he’s one of the whiter black dudes I’ve ever seen out of the popular culture in Chicago.

If you want to punt my doggie, then he and I have Issues with you, bruh. Yup - he’s eyeing you. (He’s 11, so Older than me in Dog Years)

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