What's the deal with album art on the DirectStream?

Well, sad to say – I have taken advantage of PS Audio’s generous 30 day return policy. I was on the fence with whether to keep the DirectStream or not. I found that its sound quality wasn’t a significant improvement over my existing DAC. But the DS is always updatable, so I knew that could improve down the road. It was a tough decision.

However, the issue with the album art continued to irritate me. It wasn’t a major issue by any means. But I thought it was troubling for a device at this price level. As an example my Raspberry Pi running Ropiee has no trouble interfacing with Roon and displaying the album art on it’s 7” display – total cost under $100 (and it pulls up the jpg instantly – doesn’t take 15-30 seconds).

PS Audio’s customer support is absolutely first rate, and I hope to do business with PS Audio again in the near future when I will be looking for an amp.

FWIW I leave the DS display (and the rest of the components with displays) off to keep any possible hash from them out of the chain so cover art is a non issue.

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Which DAC are you going back to?

Just received by new DirectStream as well, and running into the same issue.

  1. I don’t think the manual even mentions that an SD card is needed.
  2. I formatted the supplied card through my Mac (MS-DOS (FAT)), but still nothing.

I’ve tried both Roon and mConnect, but have not seen a single piece of Album Art.

I can understand it’s not an easy thing to “fix”, but we’re also not talking about a $99 piece of equipment.
I’ll order a new SD card on Amazon and try that, but I don’t get why this doesn’t work out of the box.

Perhaps a Windom patch can increase the time available with a few seconds? I think we’re all fine waiting 3-4 seconds into a song to see the art appear, if that means it will work reliably.

The art appears after about 15-20 seconds. Make sure the card is in the DSD contacts up. Also make sure there is a folder.jpg that includes the album art in the directory of all albums. I know album art, in general, works. There are issues, explained in detail above, but it does work.

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Thanks, but wouldn’t it also work with songs from Tidal or Qobuz streamed through Roon?

How far away from the DS is your seating position?

Good question. Don’t know. I don’t stream.

I experience intermittent album art as well. What is “best practice” to get it
to present? Basically what strategy does the DS use in order to retrieve Album Art? I’m using a NAS with a Bridge 2 and have a new 32gb memory card in the back formatted as fat32. All of my folders have a folder.jpg that is light weight at 600x600. Half of my files have the album art embedded. File types are Flac’s & Dsf’s.

I’ve been streaming Tidal and the album art is hit or miss. It is a bit frustrating to spend this much money and can’t get a straight answer as to why this is a problem that can’t get resolved. I traded in a CA CXN that never failed to display the album covers. I just don’t get it.

@Paul Were you able to get any insight into why it’s not working as designed?

These threads makes me quite worried about claims of PS Audio building a streamer without Roon support! Supposedly, their software is going to work better than Roon?!

If they can’t get Album arts right, how can they get a suite of software for streaming with all bells and whistles of Roon right? Call me skeptical… :thinking:

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They don’t make the software for the DSD. It’s a third party. That’s perhaps why they want to make their own.


Weak excuse.

A manufacturer can outsource whatever he wants, but the product including the firmware for the display is sold under one label.

The company whose label is on the product has the sole responsibility to provide the products to those specs. Is the manufacturer has no control over the integration of purchased parts, it is an issue which the manufacturer will have to get under control and correct for those who paid good money for those products.

It is an incredibly weak excuse. It should work perfectly every single time. There are two main contributing factors at play here that make it a little tricky.
1, We don’t do much of the code for the Bridge, so it is difficult for us to completely redesign it in order for the album art to be more efficient. Music is the primary focus with the Bridge, so if we were to clutter up more bandwidth for AA the quality of the sound would be victim.
2, We have had people call in having trouble getting the AA to show. What ultimately made it work was turning off a number of their firewall settings. I’m no networking expert, so I don’t know why it was blocking this from coming through, but this is what solved it. The customer decided the firewall protection was more important.

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Below is a process to “tame” windows defender using for JRiver uses. I modify this with every year’s new JRiver release. Seems like something that can be extrapolated to match whatever software anyone is using. It’s a little tedious but this process works. Once you have it set up for one year, you just change the file name to match the new version.

Taming Windows Defender

Something to note, JRiver works as perfectly as any software program can: nearly perfect. However, album art works but somewhere well shy of flawless. I’ve posted this many times. Anytime file types or data rates change from song-to-song, album art hangs. It “usually” restores after the second consecutive song of the same type or data rate plays. My Friday nights always devolve into a “best of” playlist by the end of the night. Album art ALWAYS hangs up multiple times. My files are 98% FLAC but I have some DSF and a decent amount of 24/96 and 24/192 hi-res files.


It is hit or miss, sometimes it works, sometimes not. It doesn’t really matter, as I turn off the screen. I have switched back to using the BII. With Windom, the latest BII firmware, and going MM Fiber direct from my Roon Server to a media converter running off of a Uptone Audio LPS 1.2 power supply, my DS DAC has NEVER sounded better. This is as significant as a new DAC, and easily equaled going from snowmass to Windom. I have an Ether ReGen on order from Uptone, but I didn’t get in until Feb…

After reading through most of these comments, I wanted to note that if using a network switch or wireless extender, we’ve noticed a problem with these devices giving our Bridge a Gateway, which is directly related to album art - even certian direct to router connections can have this.
Basically, you can send info to the unit (Stream music/Track info), but the unit can’t send anything out, including album art requests.
This can most of the time be resolved with a static IP on the unit/router. I wish I would’ve caught this thread sooner!

Thanks for the response. Just for the record, all devices in the streaming chain have static IPs assigned based up the device MAC address. Also, on my network, all devices, except controllers -iPad/iPhone, are wired with category 6 cabling. On simple switch in the network: Apple AirPort Extreme.


Thanks! I’ll give that a try, though the album art issue doesn’t bother me much. My OCD gets tickled, but not for long.