Is it just me? (Preferred Mk1 firmware)

Out of nothing better to do I’ve been going back to the previous operating systems/firmware releases for my DS DAC Mk1 that I purchased back in 2015 from TMR. I use the DAC almost exclusively (>90% of the time) streaming wirelessly to my router/modem (Xfinity Gateway) using JRMC 31 and Foobar2000 and from there via Ethernet to the original Bridge.

I’ve gone back through most of the named releases with Redcloud being a particular favorite. I realize that Sunlight has been the pinnacle (pun intended) and it is a great release. I’m finding though that some of the earlier releases each have their own merits.

A couple of days ago I loaded version 1.2.1 which may be the release that the DAC came with way back when I got the unit. I find myself thoroughly enjoying it and while the latest releases may tick-off more of the audiophile boxes it seems that in comparison to 1.2.1 (and Redcloud as well) that the earlier releases sound to me more like music and the newer ones are more hifi-ish. The older releases also seem to get the album art correct more often than the newer ones.

I realize this is very much system- and user-preference-dependent but I’m just curious what others may think.


It would be cool if you could have them all on the ready and switch back and forth like the tube geeks do.

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Yes, like some DACs have the ability to switch between filters on the fly. I think the DS Mk2 lets you do that with the filters – not sure.

I loved Snowmass when I had a DSJ, thought it sounded best in my system, followed by Sunlight


If people had the option to adjust bass, treble and top end, they would have to quite different conclusions when comparing whatever, I’m sure (because I can).

This usually missing option in high end causes a ton of bad decisions and n terms of absolute quality because most are manly based on tonality, starting with choosing cabling to compensate.


I never stop recommending folks to get an equaliser to play with - after all, some of the folks here could get a really good EQ :slight_smile:

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I personally wouldn’t do that but there’s another option, without losses…an active speaker.

Yep that would do if you can vary the relative levels.
A digital EQ is more fun though :wink:

Yes, but a digital EQ is also something I’d just do for the bass region in case it’s implemented in an otherwise all analog speaker design.

I heard the impressing options of completely DSP‘ed speakers but also the limitations.

Yes, Joe, It is just you. And that’s the way it should be.
Everyone’s ears and system and taste is different. Enjoy whatever firmware that works best for you.
In my case, I didn’t prefer Sunlight when it was first released, so I went backwards a step and never gave it a second thought—until now.


nirvana can be obtained with an Active Crossover, allowing for tuning individual drivers to “work” (blend) with the room acoustics…

or not…

R :sunglasses:N

Yes when a passive speaker is fitted with an active crossover, you have the same thing, just with amps in front of the crossover instead of behind.

I use one of these in each of my systems and I can’t imagine a system without one now:

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There’s a total lack of understanding as to what can be achieved with powerful digital processing that can correct speaker response/level, crossover and add EQ all in one box to create a great active/digital speaker system.

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If I wouldn’t have what I have, it would be something like this, regardless of disadvantages. Before I had what I have now, I had speakers with switches to modify the crossovers for different bass/treble levels or I integrated such (into Logan’s at the time). With the system getting better and better, those options are just very rarely needed for different recordings’ tonality, but slight adjustments are extremely helpful in case of any HW changes. It saves so much money, prevents so many needless and wrong decisions.

I can’t do without this one. It cures ills I didn’t know my system has, as well as solves the problems I knew I needed to address. And with tube rolling it’s like a multi-verse navigational tool. The only real downside to this imo is the long waiting list.

I prefer to just use my gear as it came. Tone controls? Not present. Equalizers? No thank you. I leave things as the original designers intended them to be. Second guessing experts creates fools.


The tool I use was created by the designer and builder of my amplification components and speakers. I’m following the intention.

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I understand where you come from and from the puristic point of view that’s correct and I see it the same (ok the advantage of active speakers or crossovers is, they are also puristic although they have the options).

The thing with the designers intent in terms of his intended tonality is, that even if you’d use exactly the same gear and cabling he used and listen to the same kind of music mainly, you’d still have a different room and different ears. Not sure if it’s a good advice not to alter anything because of his intent, although most of your situation will be quite different. Finally you do alter anyway, you just don’t do it with lonson’s zRock, but with your individual choice of components, cabling and your room influence. And the problem for many is, as soon as just a DAC’s firmware changes, they might have to buy new parts of equipment or cabling to get the whole thing back on level (slightly exaggerated but not totally off).

I’m in the purist camp, if you will. I usually side with a “less is more” approach to electronics that will hopefully do the least harm. With respect to recordings, however, the quality is so over the map that I begrudge no one that would use a signal sweetener to enhance the results.