Snowmass DirectStream Sr. upgrade - Available in the Downloads Section


Make it snappy!!!:sunglasses::sunglasses:


Have you got HQP outputting PCM or DSD, to your DS DAC? And which sample rate and which filter/s specifically?


SACDs are still playing as 88.2 PCM. Reboot corrects the problem for a while. In other words: same issue as before.


HQP is outputting PCM for PCM content and DoP for DSD. I don’t have much DSD content. In fact, I have not played any yet with Snowmass.

I am upsampling all PCM to 24/352.8 and using the poly-sinc-xtr-mp filter and NS5 noise shaper. Initially I turned off all upsampling, filters, and noise shaping to hear Snowmass as Ted made it. It really sounded great but I still prefer the sound using the HQP filter.

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Do you also get this issue with DSD playing at 88.2 PCM as loud static noise?

I have been too but via an Auralic Aries streamer (see linked post) rather than SACD’s and thought I was the only one.


No, only the conversion to PCM. No static, pops, crackling, or other weirdness.

Edit: perhaps my bug report belongs in the DMP thread. My apologies for posting it here. The reboot I mentioned was of the DMP, not the DS Sr.


I can confirm the behavior, because I simultaneously listen to Roon and Foobar2000 via USB.


Snowfall is impressive. I’m hearing more detail. Better separation. Soundstage definitely wider. Warmer yes. There was a sharpness I would hear at times with Redcloud, this is now gone. Cymbals sound better. I would often find the bass mesmerising with Redcloud. I do think that the bass is fuller now and less textured than Redcloud. I’m missing it.
Recordings I found too bright before, have calmed down a lot. Overall the sound is more natural, smooth, very easy listening.
I did install DMP 3.10 a couple of days ago, so there are others changes to consider. I’ll keep listening.

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The more I listen to Snowmass the more impressed I become. The sound is much more natural and neutral. Gone is any hardness or sharpness I would occasionally hear. The mid and lower bass range is also much improved. Mid bass is fuller and punchier, and the low end is tighter and digs deeper, resulting in a more balanced and satisfying tonal balance overall. Whereas before, the tonal balance seemed slightly lean, with more energy focused on the mids and highs. The soundstage has gone from good to spectacular. Images project further in front and behind the speakers, along with added height. All the improvements come together to better serve the music, and further suspend my disbelief.


That’s the first negative I’ve read about the bass. Not that I’m discounting your experience at all. What are you feeding the dac with?


I’m not quite sure what you are saying. The DS is simply reporting what it gets. It looks and the number of samples / second to report sample rate and it looks at the number of bits that are changing to report sample width - there’s no issue of getting the wrong meta data or anything like that, the DS doesn’t look at metadata (at least not outside of the Bridge.)

If it says 24 bits then bits beyond bit 16 are changing and if your source is only 16 bits then something upstream of the DS is changing the bits (and not just by adding zeros). If that upstream change is simply, say, the volume control, or replayplay gain, etc. it’s probably not a problem at all. But if it’s compression, something weird like stereo expansion, etc. and you don’t want that you’ll have to fix the options in your player. The Bit Perfect How-To I mentioned above has some suggestions for places to look. The options that it lists for JRiver MC are a few version old, but they still exist somewhere in the interface and can probably found easily enough with a search in the options box. Foobar2000 still works the same for non-DSD files and tho the sound control panel seems to move around in Windows release to release, once you are there the instructions in the How To are accurate.


I don’t recognize your handle (I’m not reading the DMP threads) so I don’t know if this is old news for your or not, but just in case:

In previous releases we’ve had people that noticed various changes in the bass - most of the time changing something like speaker toe-in, or perhaps positions of bass traps, etc. made a significant difference. We all tailor our systems to the components we have and when various components change we know that we may have to revisit some tweaks or other choices. The change in releases of the software DS often make as much difference as changing hardware.

I should be clear, not everyone likes all of the changes in any given release, but they are free to go back if they want. I pay attention to all of the reports here about sound quality, etc. and use them to inform possible future changes.


You’re right. I just ckecked my settings in Foobar and corrected them. Now the DSD shows the correkt info.


@Jazznut and his earlier first impressions post,

Your brain is analogue Sir.
Kudos, fine writing and very much “in between the lines” thinking.

Paints a very specific picture, one which I more than look forward to when I can download the official update to Redcloud.


@Paul Wondering if there’s going to be a beta testing period for the DSJ? If so I would happily participate :grin: Looks like Snowmass is a winner

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Early morning here on the East Coast. Thank you Ted, Paul and the PS Audio team. I had a chance to listen last night for about 2 hours, and wanted to share my initial impressions:

In heavy rotation right now is the new Twenty One Pilots release - Trench. It is a great album musically. I started on track 11, “Bandito”. I have been using this track as a reference lately. Not necessarily for how well it is recorded, but for its content and my emotional connection with the music. I know this track very well. Within 3-seconds of hitting play from Roon, I almost fell out of my chair! My first reaction with SM installed was “how did I miss that before?!?!”. What jumped out at me right away, is back of the hall resolution, clarity, and depth of image. Let me explain what I mean by “back of hall resolution” - its the layering of resolution from the front plane of the speakers all the way back to the very back wall of the studio. In LP playback, its like when you strap a very expensive MC cartridge onto your tonearm and dial it in correctly, you hear things in the grove that you never knew were there before. This was the same effect I heard with SM - and I detected it less than 3-seconds into the very first song. As an analogy, It was like looking out a clean window (RedCloud), then busting down the wall and looking directly outside for a panoramic view of the landscape (Snowmass).

Like others here, I too heard the elimination of slight glare or congestion in the upper-mid range present on some recordings with RedCloud. This was very apparent with the new Twenty one Pilots release. I have an SACD rip in DSD of the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway that I imported from Japan. This release was re-mixed and re-mastered, and is slightly bright and forward sounding. Not really annoying, but with RedCloud some passages can almost pierce your ears. With Snowmass that glare is gone, the music is still bright sounding, but that glare or congestion is gone!

I was able to listen to all sorts of music across different genres and formats: DSD, High-res, Redbook, even MQA from Tidal, all through Roon. No issues switching between them, no ticking with DSD.

Prior to listening I was thinking that Paul may have been hyping up how good this release is :wink:
Because I had already thought to myself how in the hell can they make this DAC better than what it already is with Redcloud???.. I have to eat crow, because Paul is right. @Ted, you have managed to elevate a great DAC to new musical heights! Whatever you did sir- MAGIC! Thank you so much for what you do for PS Audio and for this hobby. Paul, thank you so much for sharing this “beta” with the beta-community.

FWIW, I have owned the DS DAC since shortly after it was released (cant remember the year, but I think 2014?). Snowmass is the most significant-sounding update since this DAC has been released!


Listening this morning with Snowmass / system sounding the best I’ve heard it by a distance. Just so darn natural, unforced and musical. Just my opinion: but for me it is like a marriage between 1.2.1 and Torreys A.

I liked Torreys A but it had a zippering bug so Ted nuked it. Torreys Final had better low level linearity - but the noise floor wasn’t as low as Torreys A and I could hear what was missing in that respect. Redcloud is much better than 1.2.1: I rolled back the years and with 1.2.1 loaded in one of my DS boxes I compared it against Redcloud in my other DS… 1.2.1 was grainy and slower had less information - ‘maybe just coloration’ - but a tube like quality, the instruments sounding so natural, with a lot of ambiance …!

Pulling out CDs I haven’t played for ages and whilst listening to Joan Armatrading – ‘Joan Armatrading’ CD: the intro on ‘Like Fire’ it’s just so realistically in the room and it trounces Redcloud… ‘Obviously - this is what I hear and experience in my room so judged in that context.’ I can’t praise Snowmass highly enough !

It’s the musicality, instruments sound excellent and there is bucket loads of ambiance, air and space around everything . We talk about frequency response and other detail but for me it is the emotional experience, like when I go to a concert and I get sucked in to the musical experience…

… Best experience from any firmware …


I would like to thank Paul, Ted and the entire PS Audio team for their efforts and for the opportunity to “Beta” the Snowmass firmware.

Like with the previously provided firmware updates, Snowmass installed without issue.
For me, in my system, the power cycling of the DS has a negative effect until it settles back in.
This is something that I wanted to note with this firmware update.
Listening to Patricia Barbers Let It Rain from her Companion album it was very easy to hear the effects of the power cycle.
The entire track sounded a bit bloated, the vocal “pitter padder” sounded like “fitter fatter”.
I loaded a playlist that would run all night until Saturday AM when I would resume listening.

By early Saturday morning the DS had settled back in and I was ready to begin my listening.
Immediately the following improvements were obvious;

Piano notes sound much more natural and in some recordings the piano is more to scale.
Vocals have greater definition, texture and are more 3D.
Plucked strings, especially bass, dig much deeper into the notes.
Cymbal work is much more 3D and textured.
Everything extends further into the sound field.

While I took time to listen to many different tracks and entire albums, I must make a comment on Patricia Barbers Companion album, which is a live album.

With this album, the difference between Red Cloud and Snowmass is this for me;
Red Cloud brings the venue into my listening space.
Snowmass transports me to the venue with all of its ambiance.

Prior to my PWD2 / DS update acquisition I was on the MSB merry-go -round.
Sonic updates were primarily achieved by monetary purchase of hardware and firmware.
I probably paid for my Platinum DAC 3 times before I just could not keep up with the expense of updating.

Between the PWD2 and the DS hardware update I have lost count of how many “free” firmware updates I have installed, all of them making a difference for the better.

Snowmass pushes the DS further than any other update, I am always left wanting for nothing and you guys always find a way to give me more.


Thanks and you’re right in that way, that my brain is analogue as I’m used to some musical virtues and compare with them for decades that seem to come to some purley digital listeners positively by surprise or which were not perceived as virtues by those who only know more reasonably priced analog gear that definitely has many other shortcomings compared to digital (in my mind).

So as Snowmass adressed so many analog strengths I come from this side in current descriptions. But you could see me writing about digital’s strenths as soon as someone’s saying similar priced analog gear could compare with the DS. For me at the end it will have needed a 50k vinyl environment to be on par with several digital strenghts (as long as there are no mechanical limitations) and still benefit from analog’s.
I’m far from saying analog is the benchmark generally. Digital and analog seem to approach the goal from two sides.