Now that Windom has been launched it might be interesting to try a new kind of experiment.

My friend Seth suggested a synchronous listening evaluation.

I will propose three tracks we should all listen to on both versions of firmware. We’ll then post our notes on the forums.

The synchronicity comes from where our tracks are sourced. With the proliferation of streaming services like Tidal and Qobuz, we can all source the same files and compare notes. I don’t think that’s ever been possible before.

The three tracks I am suggesting come from my Qobuz playlist:

  1. Alexandra Leaving . Leonard Cohen
  2. Tenessee Waltz . Alan Taylor
  3. Organ Concerto No.3 in G minor . Accademia Bizantina

These are three tracks that our listening panel of Darren Myers, Scott McGowan, and I used. Compare each of the tracks on Snowmass and then Windom and then head over to our forums to post your thoughts.

This will be fun.


Excellent idea!

“Both” which Paul? Snowmass/Windom? Sounds like a good, short list that should reveal differences. Sorry, just reread. More coffee, pleas…:roll_eyes:

Nice initiative.

I don’t use Qobuz anymore. When Tidal is used it brings an extra variable so i don’t know if thats a problem? Just in case it’s no problem below a link to the converted playlist from Paul.

Minus 3

What will make it a little difficult for some incl. me is…how long can we remember differences of 3 tracks when we only switch between Snowmass and Windom once? Will be interesting…I at least don’t plan to switch firmwares more than once. And I usually take other tracks which I also have to remember :wink:
Better to have two DAC’s side by side :+1:

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Here’s my untrained but clear take:

I feel like Windom removes part of the peel from the banana. That listening to Cohen before and after didn’t shine up the music as much as it revealed it.

Part of me misses the peel, the regular kind, that semi-dull coating around the essence of the music, because it was the kind I was used to.

But now that I’m hearing the unvarnished music inside, I’m confident I have no interest in going back.


Only problem with this listening test is that I don´t want to go back and forth with FW versions anymore. Windom is and will stay now. Enough said how it sounds…:ok_hand:

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Agree - as much as I love and appreciate the enthusiasm around such updates and I’m always quick on the uptake I’ve never had any kind of night and day experience with them.

My setup sounds great anyway, it also did when early firmware like Pike’s Peak was in there, so after the 5-10 minute lag of doing an update it’s too hard for me to come to any definitive A/B conclusion.

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Oh I had quite noticeable experience, but I’m lazy switching between firmwares :wink:

I like the game, Paul!
I also like that I just got introduced to some new-to-me artists and recordings! Thanks for sharing your playlist.

Every time there’s been a new firmware released for the DSD Sr I’ve heard something different and better. Windom is no exception.

I can appreciate the “banana” metaphor (thanks, SethGodin1)above. Windom seems to remove a subtle layer of haze between me and the soundstage. Besides there being an extra level of clarity, this also results in a slightly more laid-back sound, viz the voices are a little further back from the front of the speakers, and hence a little more 3-dimensional. The emotional experience is one of being pulled into the performance a bit more.

I don’t have a bass-heavy system–just a pair of QUAD 2905s, no subwoofer (yet, but maybe someday, esp if I can go a while without buying something from PS Audio!). The bass in Windom is about as full as I’ve come to expect, though the bass, too, benefits in quality from the deeper and clearer soundstage.

My DSD Sr was already warmed up when I changed the firmware. The sonic differences were there right away. Album art shows up as it has been since the newest Bridge II firmware update. When initially powered, the DSD Sr sets the volume at 25. I increase it to 80 and listen away.

So, regarding the recordings Paul suggested we listen to:

Leonard Cohen with Sharon Robinson “Alexandra Leaving”: A good recording already, just that much clearer and engaging with Windom. Although Cohen’s voice may be an acquired taste, there’s still a lot of nuance as these two sing harmony on what is yet another deeply poetic song from a master of poetic songs. Cohen’s voice in particular benefits from the clearer bottom end and the more laid-back soundstage. I’m looking forward to diving into his rich catalogue!

Accademia Bizantina’s Handel Organ Concerto No. 3: what a great recording! I’ve loved Handel a long time, esp his Op 6 concertos, and now there’s this to discover! There’s balance between instruments, clear definition of the various strings, a full bass (again, such as I can get from the Quads), and it’s all highly engaging. Snowmass already had me saying “Wow” to myself when I listened last night and again this morning. Windom has me saying “Wow” again. This is the best reproduction of a chamber orchestra I’ve ever heard in my listening room.

Allan Taylor’s “Tenessee Waltz”: (note the spelling of his first name): You picked another state-of-the-art recording of what seems to be a live event in the studio. Everything that seems so right about this song is even more so with Windom. The recording favors a degree of reverb and instrument size that persuades me that this is not an acoustic concert happening in my listening room. Even so, the subtleties of the instruments are all there and just a tad clearer. I haven’t heard a more involving recording of either acoustic guitar or dobro before.

An album I always listen to in comparing equipment is Mark Isham’s Blue Sun. It’s a so-so recording from the 90s–the piano especially is captured less well than the horns, and the electric bass can sound muddy in other systems (ie the ones I owned in the past). Any box or tweak that can make this recording sound better will always grab my attention. Windom, once again, makes the piano in the back of the soundstage sound more acoustic and clear. The tenor sax sounds both smaller in its place within the soundstge, and yet more full and expressive overall. Well done!

A final note about this whole firmware upgrade thing. I bought the PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC just after the DSD Dac was released. I installed the new DSD insides at home, myself, years ago, with no significant trouble. I’ve inserted the Bridge cards myself, and have easily managed all of the firmware upgrades. I’ve yet to have a problem with this thing! It just works, it sounds better with every change, and it has become one of the most gratifying components I’ve ever owned. If PS Audio keeps it going with these free firmware upgrades, they may have trouble convincing me to buy another DAC.

Ted, you did it again!
(Now, if only I could reconcile which outstanding product I want to listen through for the rest of today: the new Stellar Phono or the Windom-powered DSD Dac! What an embarrassment of riches.)


Well, I tried the Windom OS after listening to two of the three tracks of Paul’s suggested tracks. The Tennessee Waltz and the Leonard Cohen. I didn’t get much out of the Organ Concerto so I didn’t use that in the comparison. Also my system was good and warmed up. I also played a track or two from my 3 TB music drive on my server, a Wolf Audio Systems Alpha 3 machine. Said machine obviously was playing the Qobuz and the test tracks.

I found that the overall definition and space was better and the voiced were my human sounding. As a matter of fact as I listen to more of my familiar stuff, I must definitely impressed!! Windom Rocks.


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I managed to load Windom after many attempts and listened to the tracks before and after.

There is a distinct difference between the previous version and the latest. More ‘air’ and detail over all. And the sense of being closer to the music which is delightful! Something I would expect to come from upgrading to a new component.

However I notice a slight increase in harshness, something I spend a lot of effort removing in my system and I have found that adding more detail usually results in this.

I am pretty sure at first listen this is recording related and not coming from the software upgrade, I think Ted’s improvements just reveal more of what is there. Thanks Paul and Ted for another FREE upgrade!

Paul, as I am not a Qobuz user I thought I would be able to use something that I was relatively familiar with. As I recently became aware of an artist I had never heard of and probably never would have except I recently purchased some 250 CD’s from a gentleman that was looking to get rid of them for his daughter. The artist I elected to listen to, before and after is Enya and the album Watermark. It had enough variables, piano, chorals, singular vocals, minor orchestral pieces I thought it a worthwhile for comparison.

Well, it turns out I was right, the differences between Snowmass and Wisdom was immediate and stunning. Tell Ted he has hit it out of the park…again. I would be really surprised if he was ever able to (mountain)top this…

Thanx for giving me a brand new DAC

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I agree with Jonny; for sure it’s not night and day between Snowmass and Windom. There was more difference between Snowmass and the previous upgrade than this time around, in my humble opinion. But I will have to listen a bit more before drawing a final conclusion. Also of the three tracks suggested I only have the Leonard Cohen CD.

Welcome, hifipete!

You would be surprised. I can play a very familiar tune in my head, months, sometimes years after last play, and if I put it on via digital or vinyl, it will be virtually the same. People underestimate the power of a person’s auditory memory, along with their auditory acuity. My auditory memory destroys my regular memory. Magnitudes better.

Hey Paul, finally I’m also in the game and made the update (Snowmass 3.06-Windom)! Seems this thread is quite little used for whatever reason…maybe the task was too concrete :wink:

But I admit, you didn’t make it too easy, at least for those not using streaming services.

First, those tracks are not what many already have in their collection I guess…second, the one or other album is not that easy to find… third, you didn’t mention the composer and which track you used from the Organ concerto… forth, you misspelled Allan Taylor… fifth, I recently deleted all my Allan Taylor files as, although they sound fantastic, they are really boring stuff for a jazznut (but that’s my problem).

So finally I got them all and made the move with them. Forgive me if I didn’t get all the differences due to the one time change instead of switching back and forth (but I had to make some notes).

But listening to the tracks I saw that you guys know what to choose…well suited to get essential differences!

  1. Alexandra leaving:
    Great track for testing! With Windom Cohen’s voice has more solidity and appears more in an own aura/air with better articulation. The female singer as well, she’s a little more in the foreground and the two voices are better separated with Windom in a bigger and much more natural appearing aura, very real sounding. Cymbals have little more color and natural sound.

  2. Tenessee waltz:
    With the first guitar stroke it’s already obvious: Windom enables a more open, airy , ambient, “living” sound. The two voices speaking in the following are more solid and articulate and again less flat, more free in the room with Windom…air everywhere. The kind of tuning effect Taylor’s compagnion makes a few times with his string has straight away more ambiance, shape, openness and pop. The later appearing quiet background string sound is little more ambient and real sounding with Windom.

  3. Organ concerto:
    Organ didn’t play a big role here, but the whole string sound in the room was quite transformed. First with Snowmass I heard a nice transparent soundstage with little better than average ambiance. A nice “better than average, not explicitely audiophile” recording like I also tend to use for testing (as it plays a role, how much “normal but good” recordings are improved). Windom then made Snowmass appear a bit flat with hifi like transparency compared to the vibrating life, realism and ambiance Windom added. It was too but less a clearly identifyable extension in soundstage or transparency, but more an enablement for the sound to breathe and the instruments to develop a bodily aura around.

Summed up, Windom in my setup has a noticably more lively, bodily, 3D, ambient sound which mainly cares for a more real and airy presentation, just like several are used from some characteristics of tubes/vinyl. Bass is tighter and runs out a little deeper without changing too much otherwise in my setup…just a bit richer, no sub phase readjustment necessary (I made the test). I just very slightly reduced the level of my bass chassis amp.

So the change was immediately noticable to the better in a direction usually everyone is keen on without any downsides. A smaller change than Snowmass was before, but in the very right direction…more natural, ambient, real. I certainly won’t go back to Snowmass and congratulate Ted to his latest achievements and Paul to caring for the right characteristics when voicing with those tracks!


Excellent review!

Spot on. Right on.

Thanks, Jazznut. It was a noble experiment and not many people tried it. Good idea, but….

Doing it with physical media seemed even harder since it would require every one to have the same discs.