I finally got the DS upgrade kit installed in my PWD. After a slight hiccup when the dealer couldn’t get the screen to work after the upgrade, necessitating a trip back to Magenta, I connected the DS back into the system and sat down to listen. I have followed all the discussion on burn-in with interest and can only say that if the sound is going to improve significantly, I will be one very happy camper.
I started with some mp4 tracks from iTunes just to get the system warmed up and the DS lays bare the nature of compressed music files. Even so, White Wedding from Billy Idol rocked along nicely, sounding better than I have heard before.
After about an hour, I put on some favourites. Waltz for Debby - Bill Evans 96/24 was magnificent. Fabulous playing in a live club setting. Here I could discern all three players in their own space in a much more coherent way compared with the PWD. Motian’s brush work on the drums was far more apparent and following La Faro’s bass lines that much easier. The piano sound from Evans just lovely and feeling natural. The trio seemed to be in the room.
Another go-to track for me is Girl Talk - Eliane Elias (I Thought About You 96/24). Her piano playing is superb and this track really swings. Next I went to How Long has This Been Going On - Claire Martin on Linn Records 96/24. This is a truly stunning recording and the huge soundstage with a palpable "touch it"feeling was bliss.
Although almost a cliché, I went to Take Five - 176/24. Here the recording ambience is picked up with the characteristic hiss in the lead in and lead out. Although I must have listened to this 100 times, I must not have really been listening. The drum part just over half way through was communicated to me in a far more detailed fashion than I have heard and the byplay with the piano and bass propelling the song with great rhythmic drive was utterly compelling. For interest sake, I played the same track from a Redbook rip and could not honestly discern much difference other than if anything the CD version seemed slightly more “exciting”, the HD version having greater ease and smoothness.
What is really noticeable is how the DS shows up exactly the nature of the recordings. There seems to be a matter of fact reflection of the material in the recording, for better or worse. This is something I like as I want the equipment to interfere as little as possible so I can listen to the music, not the equipment.
As many others here have posted, the DS gets the head nodding and the foot tapping, drawing you into the music. The fact that we can get into a higher level through an upgrade is just another astonishing bonus in our disposable society.
As you might have gathered, I am absolutely delighted with the DS after only a few hours of listening and looking forward to some serious time on the weekend.