Snowmass V1sounds better than Snowmass V2

My experience with Snowmass 2 was not great.
I originally had the beta version of Snowmass 1 and was thrilled with the sound.

I updated to Snowmass 2 with the understanding that it sounded the same as Snowmass 1.

It sounded just OK at first but I assumed it would improve over time.
For 10 days i never really got sucked into the music even though there was nothing
obviously wrong with the sound.
I did all the usual suggestions like reboots, reloads, and letting music play 24/7 with the 20db pad engaged.

3 days ago, just to try something, I went back to Snowmass 1 and all the magic has returned.
Any theories as to what was going on? The only source I listen to is CDs from the DMP

I suggested to a friend that he revert back to Snowmass 1.
Here is his report:

“Ok here it is. I noticed a significant improvement with Snowmass 1. The sound is much less constrained and individual notes blossom and breath and open up in a much more natural way. Also everything is much more 3 dimensional. It’s is if the chains were removed from the soundstage and from within the soundstage. The music breathes, flows and blossoms in a more realistic 3d space naturally.”

I agree, I prefer 3.0.0 v1 over 3.0.4 v2. Want a real shocker? Go back to v11-061-01-1-FMC-4. This is the oldest I have.

It’s absolutely wonderful that anyone can run any version they prefer.

Is it possible to get a copy of Snowmass V1?

See PM - they pulled it down for support reasons I’m sure, to not complicate things. Probably best we don’t share it publicly.

And remember to not complain about bugs or sound quality if you aren’t running an official release.


It can only be the interaction with the PIC code as the fpga file is same name and date. I didn’t compare checksums.

Ted, do you run the attached PIC code or run ‘headless’?

The FPGA runs essentially fine without interaction from the PIC. Input select is handled by the PIC. On the other hand the PIC polls for sample rate, sample width, DSD/PCM, connection status, etc. But I’m reasonably sure that most of the interaction that people might hear comes from noise generated by the display (both RFI and electrical noise) and to a lesser extent by the bridge. The PIC itself is a noisy chip in the RF and that noise can be modulated by the code that’s running, but I suspect that difference is small compared to whether the display is on.

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My DS is in another room so I’ve never left the display on and I don’t have a bridge. v1 sounds modestly more ‘3D’ than v2 to me. I’ve switched back and forth over the period of a few days to confirm my impression, but it was certainly not a blind test.

I don’t need the additional volume choices in v2 so I’m going to run it with v1.

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As a follow-up question; Is the bitperfect test originating from the PIC or FPGA?

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The PIC is never involved with the sample data. It’s job is taking care of the display, status, UI interactions, etc. The FPGA is always watching for the bit perfect test pattern in the incoming audio stream. When it sees the pattern beginning it raises one flag and then if the pattern is perfect for at least a second it raises another flag. When the PIC sees the second flag it puts up the green checkmark.

Just trying to find out why the DS says bitperfect from my source S/PDIF output, but not when signal is fed via I2s.

Is there any chance that your I2S has the wrong polarity on the clock lines? (If it were wrong on the data lines then when you played 16 bit data it would show 24 bits (the bottom bits would always be 1’s instead of 0’s. If it were wrong on the Left Right channel you’d probably notice but the bit perfect test wouldn’t.)

Yes, it could be. I believe it says 24bit when playing redbook, but at least the L/R channel are correct, meaning that when I play test CD, L vs R shows up in the expected speaker and the end to end cable routing is verified correct.

From Sonore Google sheet:

Rockna WDN also provide 5V on pin 18, where DS says Not used.
This is probably the reason for why the source tries to power up the DS over I2s when the power button on the DS is powered off.

the complaining of sound less involving is more important that bug (if bugs are’nt too much…). in case of compromises i always choose the solution which give more pleasure… and the v3.0.0 give it…

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I noticed no difference in the sound quality of Snowmass V1 vs. V2. After people posted observations to the contrary, I re-installed V1 and listened for quite a while, re-installed V2 and did the same, did not observe any difference.

To Ted’s comments, especially the one about RF, when I first purchased my DirectStream Sr. DAC (just after it was introduced), my system was up in our living room, where our Comcast router, home phones, etc. were probably the cause of a small but somewhat noticeable noise floor (audible when using headphones). I moved my audio system down to my “man cave” at the other end of the house, down a flight of stairs, as far away from the Comcast router, no wireless home phone sets near, etc. and the noise completely disappeared.

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With all due respect…your findings do not negate what others have reported finding with their own ears also…

Certainly, I was not trying to negate what others have posted here. I just thought it might be helpful to report my experience with the DAC and potential RF interference.

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I read each post and am paying attention even if I don’t respond to a given post. I usually only respond when I’m pretty sure I can help.

With every release we struggle mightily to not have to do a patch release, just because of the unsettled feelings it causes in many customers since inevitably some like the original more than the patch and vice versa and no one wants to be left out when trying to get better sound.

As will all releases whether major versions or minor each user has to evaluate their own level of enjoyment of a given release vs. their own annoyance of a given bug that was fixed. I just caution people to not complain about bugs if they aren’t using the latest software and if they recommend to a friend to use something other than the latest to remind them of the bugs that were fixed and to caution them to try the latest before complaining about bugs.

FWIW the FPGA is the same with all of the Snowmass releases and it’s the only thing I personally have control over. So I’m just gathering info and trying to be helpful about other issues like update problems.


thank you Ted for your clarity.