POLL: Which is the Best-Sounding DS Sr. Operating System?

Non-scientific poll: Which is the Best-Sounding DS Sr. Operating System?

  • Snowmass
  • Redcloud
  • Huron
  • Yale
  • Pike’s Peak
  • Torreys (any variant)
  • v1.2.1
  • Other

0 voters

NOTE: This poll is intended for DS Sr. owners, as Snowmass for DSJ has yet to be released. A separate DSJ poll would make sense after Snowmass for DSJ has been out in the wild for a sufficient time.

good idea

great idea… Hey - anyone out there that had Torrey’s - A beta… It has been a real long time but if you had it and tested with it – There was something I liked about it - and I think that has been captured in snowmass… Primarily the depth of stage… Just wondered if anyone else thought this… And again - I’m not saying they are the same - I just seem to find a similarity there… I don’t want to get off of snowmass so I’m not going to re-load the old OS… :slight_smile:

Can’t see snow mass for DS DAC in current updates only the junior. But, I did update my P10 and MP CD player while I was in the mood.

Only Snowmass for DirectStream Senior is in Downloads.

It is the last folder on the Downloads page.



My bad, my eyes wanted to see DS DAC, after that I think it is for the JUNIOR model.

So may as well use the day for listening! Someone has to do it.


A perfect plan!

Beats the heck out or sitting in an office. Like me. (Although I’ll be heading to a Hot Tuna concert a little later so no need for pity.) Have a great Thanksgiving everybody!


Glad I’m retired or I’d be fired for not showing up at work listen to this update! This upgrade to the DS DAC is REALLY good. My quick take is that harmonic phase alignment is closer to spot on, impossible through the audio band as the dielectric change properties. Still, the openness and ambience are strikingly good to my ear. Records seem to have better phase built in, not dynamics or frequency extension I think we can agree. What digital lacked is PHASE accuracy that changes the sound of the music in the “room”.

I hear a record now, and that’s good! Records still are great despite worse SN, less dynamics, and poorer frequency response because they capture phase and harmonics so much better…at least the pre 1980 records that are analog.

This update gets digital to where I WANT to listen to it.


Couldn’t agree more. Just sold all my analog gear for a nice penny. Selling my records next. The DSD is more than good enough to replace analog…along with all the advantages of digital playlists.

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Very interesting take on what’s going on Galen. All I know for sure is it sounds amazingly great and Ted is a freaking genius. (You are too but that’s for another thread.). :grin:

Snowmass is so good, nothing comes close.

I think a recount is called for, it should be 100% :+1:


I feel that Redcloud and Snowmass both sound very good, I just enjoy Snowmass more.

I bought my DS with Redcloud and while I loaded other versions, I really only did so to prove that it would work.

It took 35 years to know enough to make OK cables. I’m more the try all available solutions till it works best…it may get the job done, but far from genius.

I currently know too much about how mother nature fixes the problem in cable to make it intractibly impossible to make frequency referenced linear solutions.

Cables, and even more so speakers, are non linear train wrecks! How can we ignore their interactions severe as the interactions are?

Until such time as products are properly tested and speced, how are we to reach the next level, where reactive interactions are mitigated?

Ted’s changes seem to have time aligned what has always been in the recordings to minimize phase cancellation(s) where it is most important to our ears. It isn’t attenuation, I think we can agree.

Shift two identical some waves in perfect phase alignment even a little bit. What happens to the output? Yes, it goes bonkers, and QUICKLY. If the harmonics off the fundamental are moving at different speeds than in a natural setting we are used to hearing, we will sense distortion, and the frequency range of that distortion is likely important to how bad we feel the errors are.

Listen to an acoustic guitar with snow mass then Huron. This is strikingly different in timber. One has captured more fully the reaction the instrument has in the room, and the other doesn’t.

The great news, is Ted HEARD this. In audio, the right answer is too easy to miss if you only go with the numbers. Tubes are an example. Worse in measured areas but BETTER in areas where our ears are most sensitive.

Audio is about balancing the bad and the good. It is, and always will be, non linear in circuits until such time dielectric constants at audio are ruler flat. Until then, we have to listen and perfect the phase responses where we best enjoy it. Snowmass seems to do this.

Enjoy the to holiday! Turkey day is my favorite as we can all be together as equals. No materialistic stuff needed like presents. Just your loved ones and kindness, for at least an entire day! Food helps, but we are only what we could afford growing up and never thought the food was really the point, we ALL are the point . Like the song, and for at least today, love the ones you are with.



Great post, Galen!

Indeed phase accuracy is extremely important.

Have you tried MQA?

MQA destroys phase accuracy and consequently sounds terrible and completely artificial.


It might be interesting to do another poll.

Preference of MQA processed audio in the DS Sr vs the inherently more phase accurate DS Sr standard Ted Smith approach (without a MQA and linear phase).

Just to add - I don’t think I have ever seen a poll produce such categorically conclusive results (Snowmass is so heavily favoured). I would expect a poll about MQA or not MQA to be much more balanced or less conclusive.


I am sensing the imminent creation of an MQA poll . . .

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I find I prefer the non-decoded MQA versions of some/many releases, but only when played as backwards compatible flac. Probably the better master or better handling making the difference. I don’t care for MQA decoding in my system.