Windom Oct 26 2019: Firmware Update Loading Experience

I have created a new thread related to the recent break-out of the DSD series Windom firmware updates. Over the weekend PSA posted four Windom Firmware updates to their WebPage Resources Download Section.
They include OS and DAC specific firmware updates with instructions. I have not reviewed all four, as I have a MAC and the DSDsr as my focus. For that particular application it appears PSA has provided updated instructions for uploading the firmware, possibly a revised version of Windom, and a link to Etcher. The latter is an App that should ensure a clean download of the firmware to either an SD Card or a USB thumb drive. No endorsement on my part.

I leave it to PSA to clarify what is provided and details related on how to do it. It is not clear at this time if Windom has been revised as part of this release. I leave that for PSA to clarify.

Note I have not downloaded Windom on my DSDsr, either the initial release nor the most recent release. At this time my intent is to provide a thread offering a clean slate to discuss DSD owners’ experience with the new downloads.

Clearly some may question if they have what they be to be a “good” download should they pursue this most recent release. This thread could be a good venue for that conversation as well. My system is currently in flux at the moment, pursuing firmware updates in the next 10 days or so is not in the cards, pun intended.

I ask that those who choose to use this thread include the OS (Windows or MAC) and either DSDsr/jr. (Senior-ita/Junior-ita for those so inclined).

My hat off to the PSA crew for taking the community’s comments to heart and putting forth a solution in rather quick step. Stealing some one else’s phrase, but it seems appropriate in these times…

Enjoy the Music!

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The files are binarily identical. Etcher ensures a proper format, Copy and verify, and proper eject/dismount.

For those of us who may not be familiar with you are you associated with PSA, and how did you confirm the files are equivalent? No disrespect intended, just thought clarification upfront will minimize later questions.

Hi weedeewop,

Just a customer. I used Hex Fiend on MacOS to do a binary comparison of the fpga and DSD files, they’re identical


On Wednesday Oct. 23, I decided to call PSA to ask for a pre-loaded SD card for Windom as I had tried the normal avenue of updating, but each attempt to update Windom was a “downgrade” sonically. I originally downloaded Windom the day before it’s “official release” based on the early email invite that some of us received. Windom did not impress me ANY of the 10 plus attempts to load…Trust me, I tried all the suggested genuflecting-rosary-kissing-back grading to Huron, Red Cloud, Yale, etc. Everytime, the dismal Windom sound would require me to go back to Snowmass 3.0 and then I enjoyed the music. So during last weeks call to PSA, the first question they ask me was: “Do you have a Mac or PC”…Mac I said. I was then instructed to go to the downloads page and follow the PDF instructions for new Mac specific download. Low and behold, BAM! Right out of the chute, instant improvement in all the audio parameters we look for, and were told Windom has. I did not have to “burn-in or play” Windom for hours or days, it was immediate. I informed a friend to try the same exercise as he uses a Mac also. Unfortunately, he is using Catalina, Mac’s latest OS, and Etcher had not been updated to work with Catalina, so be advised Catalina users. I have had my Directstream since it was first released, and I NEVER had the problems of updating it’s firmware like I had with Windom. So I will say for me, PSA came through in spades with their improved platform specific update process. Way to go!


Great story, so encouraging for all of us Apple-Heads DSDsr owners. BTW I am holding off on any MAC OS upgrades.

Wise to let Apple and app developers sort out the changes in Catalina for a few weeks at least. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, but don’t be too far behind or you’ll lack the important security updates closing vulnerabilities and what not.

After using the binary compare tool, my system began scrolling and jumping up/down in browsers like it was possessed. I simply restored to 9am this morning Time Machine backup to be guaranteed this app was no longer on my system. The problem remained after the system restore. A quick search turns out it’s a known issue that crept up early October update. I reset of the SMC resolved it for my late-2013 MacBookPro.

I manage many thousands of Windows computers, hundreds of Linux variants, and a couple dozen Macs, including my own. It just keeps working like it did in early 2014 when I bought it.

But I digress from the title of the thread…

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i have Catalina. Maybe that’s way I can’t get Etcher to work, but when I extract the files from the new download, it is identical to the former Windom load. I loaded the newly extracted files and it sounds identical to the former, mabe because they are the same files. I think Etcher is just another way to load the same firmware.

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I’m on a Mac with Mojave as I always wait at least 6 months before updating Mac OS to let all the bugs sort through. I went through the Etcher Mac routine for the DSJ, unplugging Ethernet, I2S and everything else. Turned off the amp per the pdf instructions. Also did the reboot per Ted’s advice.

I’m one of those who could not spend more than 30 minutes with Windom without returning to Snowmass. I have to say, Windom is much better than it was. Before, the middle of the soundstage was collapsed, and now its back to how it was with Snowmass. Windom is now a smidge brighter than Snowmass, but not offensive like it was before. I listened for an hour without feeling the urge to revert back to SM. Felix Laband’s “Red Handed” sounded incredible, really. My various test jazz tracks all sounded normal in tone, where before something was really off. I find Windom a tad spicier than Snowmass, not quite as smooth, but still interesting and engaging.

I remain a huge fan of Snowmass. For me, Windom is not a massive leap forward, but more an enjoyable variant of Snowmass. I put them on a similar level, just different. But the difference is more incremental than I experienced before, which is a good thing. Windom has more bass, but for me, Snowmass’ bass is more balanced in my system.

I’ll spend the week with Windom to get to know it better before checking in on Snowmass again. The Etcher load made a clear difference for the better. Thanks PSA :pray:


Thanks for the heads up. I’ve been putting off updating my Mac to Catalina for a number of other reasons, but was getting close to pulling the trigger. I will continue to hold off until I decide if I’m going to try the new Mac specific Windom firmware.

I didn’t have issues updating to Windom from a Mac or Windows from the initial batch of files.

Both sounded the same.

I use Catalina so the new Mac update will not work for me.

I don’t think I got a bad load - I guess I just prefer Snowmass 3.0.0 to Windom, in my system.

I feel I’m morphing into @badbeef :innocent:, but it’s worth trying out the Etcher MAC route and follow all the instructions in the pdf. I do still like Snowmass but my current Windom load that followed the above procedure is very nice compared to the many Windom loads I had done before. The harsh Windom highs are now quite sweet. Tone, bass, soundstage, etc are in the spirit of Snowmass, just accentuated.

Windom is now like Snowmass after a fresh snow rather then some alien from the sonic hinterlands. Either I got lucky with the loading roulette Gods, or Etcher made sure all the molecules were aligned properly.

I want to avoid exaggeration, the Windom changes are not overt, but very nice. I now like Windom and Snowmass equally, where before, Windom was not tolerable.

Explain to PSA your Catalina Etcher issue and they ought to send you a free card with a pure Windom on it.

Use the force Luke. Follow the Light :sunglasses:

I can’t do that because I am running Catalina.

I previously tried the regular Mac files as well as thew Windows ones separately and they both worked and sounded the same so I guess there isn’t reason to believe that i had a bad load.

PSA will snail mail you the proper version. Just ask :+1:t3:

Who do I ask? Do you have a contact email address?

Also, how do I phrase it ie. request for a proper version of Windom with the pure files as I cannot use Esher on my Mac running Catalina?

Yes, just explain that you’ve tried all the online ways but are still getting terrible results with Windom. You want to try the Etcher Mac way but Catalina is not compatible. Ask @jamesh to mail you a SD Card (Or USB drive for DSJ) with the extra proper Windom on it…

I have James’ email as Or you can message him via the forums…

Paul confirmed the firmware is identical as well, no changes refer to posts #299 & #300 in the Windom Installation Experience Thread:

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Perhaps its because I have just rudimentary computer knowledge and skills, I had zero problems downloading Windom to my Lenovo Windows 10 laptop, thence to my SD card, and zero problems loading it onto my DSD Dac. And the sound improvement is nothing less than breathtaking, especially on piano and vocals. The realism and “naturnalness” is eerie. Neal

Same here. Followed the guide for Mac and it worked easily well.

Welcome to Windom, and the forum.