Mighty Impressed with DirectStream

After much dithering, tonight, I replaced my long loved Audio Research DAC8 with a DirectStream. Right out of the box, I’m telling you, this thing just rocks! I don’t even know what firmware is loaded in the device and right now, I don’t care - enough time for that. Though I loved the DAC8, I feel cheated, I had no idea that a DAC could have such a profound influence over the whole range of my sound quality.

I’ve just gone through three quick listens - no need to do any A/B comparisons between the DAC8 and this sweetheart. Tchaikovsky symphony 6 Michael Tilson Thomas - perfect; Best of U2 1980 to 1990 - perfect; Dvorak Violin Concerto in A Minor Anne Sophie Mutter - perfect.

Maybe I pull an all nighter, on Friday. Oh man, Knopfler and Harris, Beachcombing - and this just the itunes download!


Hey great news! I’m hoping to get my DirectStream Day in 2 days (depending on the dealer procurement).
Enjoy it!


In another month you are going to be in for a real treat, months later it will sound amazing from today. Also, make sure you keep it on all the time. The only pieces of gear I turn off is my preamp (tube) and amp (tube) and that’s just overnight. The first thing I do is turn them on in the morning before I make my coffee.

Ha! That’s what I do too, first thing; turn on my tubed preamp and tubed mono blocks. Everything else is already on!

Glad you are enjoying your new DS DAC! It only gets better as truly stated above.

Cardri is right as rain.

…and if for some reason the OS is not Snowmass, you’re in for yet another gob-smacking experience when you install it…

Have fun. I think that’s the point of all this lunacy. :grin:

Before I turned in, last night, I listened to my favourite Beethoven pianist, Paul Lewis. Now, having twice heard Lewis play merely feet in front of me and having listened to his piano playing, through the DAC8, I can see that the Directstream has a way to go. The piano seems too bright and unreal. I’m a patient person, I’ll leave the the DSD on all day and listen for changes. Looking very, very good.

What I can say I that, as a general proposition, for me it makes sense to make changes in my system over the course of years, not months. The DSD is welcome in my house and so long as it it gets its act together on the piano, it will be here for a very long time.

Here is the evolution of my system in a few months, then roadmap for the next few years culminating in the future 2 channel system Block Diagram (BD) shown below. However, 2019 came early executing the roadmap (thanks Santa). I designed and implemented the initial 2 channel system in May, 2018.

Initial 2 Channel System - May, 2018

Present 2Channel System - December, 2018

Future 2 Channel System - Spring 2022

2Channel System Roadmap


Looks informative and very well though out. Thanks for sharing.

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Thanks, just sharing ideas. There are many approaches, this is just one; however, it may get people thinking. The only reason I have shared it… to help… what to do, or not to do… :slight_smile:

Give it time and verify that it is running Snowmass. It will take several hundred hours or so.

My own experience is that well-recorded piano has never sounded better than with the DSD.

Tonight, I’m going to verify that it is running Snowmass. But you know, although the piano is rough (really digital sounding), the advantages are already apparent. Bass is so much more present and very well controlled, saxophones and human voices are really good. With the DAC8, I’d listen to Toto’s ‘Africa’ in my car and wonder why I couldn’t get that bass response in my house. I use Revel Ultima Salon 2 speakers. When I’ve listened to these speakers in other places, they have an incredible low - but not in my house. Last night, that problem substantially changed.

biggarthomas Had the same exact situation and response with my Revel F228Be’s. Snowmass saved the day

Right. I installed Snowmass. There was an immediate and noticeable difference all around. Pianos are far more realistic but with some way to go. What an unbelievable soundstage such strong imaging. I’ve got to play this thing night and day. My brother arrives, from the UK, on Sunday and I want this DAC at the best that I can show it off.

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I’m listening allowing Roon to play random files from my local library. Much of it is from the days when my boss and I ripped our CD collections and storage was still rather expensive, circa 1996.

This 152kbps MP3 just played. No it’s not high resolution but it does have a dynamic range of 10, per Roon. I was enjoying the piece and looked over to see the bitrate in the last few seconds of play. Snowmass rendered it exceedingly well. The improvement in ‘garbage’ files is astounding.