Yale upgrade


#1

Can somebody tell is it worth upgrading from DirectStream 1.2.1 to Yale in my DAC? And of course why? I am hesitant with upgrades as usual… Is it safe enough to upgrade? Thanks.


#2

Welcome, Emir –

Something tells me this post will be moved at some point, but…

Yes, I think it’s worth upgrading to Yale. For my situation, everything was better.

Upgrading really couldn’t be any easier. Download the files to an SD card, put it in the DS, and power the DS back on. Wait a few moments. Done. And if you don’t like it, you can revert by having 1.2.1 on an SD card and repeating the sequence.

Full instructions can be found on the site.


#3

Emir,

Why upgrade? Answer: much better sound quality. There have been several upgrades (1.2, Pikes Peak, Yale beta, Yale final) since the DS was released. The majority of people, including me, feel that Yale final is the best. Some find that an earlier version sounds better in their system/to their ears. Unlike many products, with the DS you can downgrade to an earlier version so there is no risk. But I think you will be very pleased with the change from 1.2 to Yale. It’s almost like getting a whole new DAC.

As Rob H. said, it’s usually an easy process. The one thing to be aware of is that sometimes a particular SD card does not work, for reasons that aren’t clear. In that case, try a different brand of card. Smaller-size cards formatted as FAT32 are generally the most reliable. But people have used larger cards; try what you have on hand and if it doesn’t work, get a different one. With some products, firmware upgrades can fail and you have to return the product for service. That’s not how it works with the DS. If you do have a problem, you can go back to 1.2 if you copy the files off the existing SD card before you begin, or try a different brand of card. But generally the process works without a hitch–it always has for me.


#4

Agreed but if the card is 4GB (I think, definitely if 2GB or less) or less format it as FAT16.

And +1 on the welcome to the forum!


#5

Emir,

I seem to be perhaps the only person on earth who thinks that 1.21 sounds better than Yale. But musicality is far more important to me than is transparency and detail.

That said: Absolutely you should upgrade! Its trivially simple, and downgrading back to 1.21 is just as trivially simple. I’ve swapped mine back and forth at least a half dozen times now, and I keep coming back to the musicality of 1.21 over the incredible detail, and superior imaging, but (IMO) overly analytical nature of Yale.

Personally I’d absolutely love it if Ted managed to achieve the detail of Yale without loosing the musicality of 1.21. Unfortunately the detail freaks seem to get the preferential treatment. So as things stand, I may be sticking with build 1.21 indefinitely.


#6
TarnishedEars said Personally I'd absolutely love it if Ted managed to achieve the detail of Yale without loosing the musicality of 1.21.
Detail, clarity and transparency are far from the opposite of musicality and are not mutually exclusive. Many find Yale more musical.

Thus, it is best to try all options and determine which one personally prefers.


#7

First of all kudos to PS Audio, you can upgrade or downgrade very easily and without any problem, a big thank you…

Second, TarnishedEars, you are not alone my friend… After 5 upgrade and downgrade and listening many kind of music I know well, I also decided to downgrade to 1.2.1. I have proof too. Just listen to Joe Sample’s Seven Years of Good Luck and you will understand why. In my opinion Yale is killing the wonderful musical and vinyl like sound of this beautiful DAC. But again this is me and I must tell I have big ears :))

The question then is when I do not upgrade what do I miss for operating system? I encountered self muting for no reason with 1.2.1 for example. Is that an issue addressed in Yale? Or anybody reported such an issue at all?

Thanks for all your help and comments… Cheers!


#8
EmirAslan said I encountered self muting for no reason with 1.2.1 for example.

I also sometimes muting "for no reason", it happens because of voltage drop in the house. For example light bulbs in the room blinked slightly and DS DAC makes a "click" and turns off the volume.


#9

Yep, there’s a voltage level sensor in the DS that watches for the power to the digital card sagging. If it drops more than 0.37 volts the DAC is muted to avoid doing rude things to the user’s system. Almost always this happens when the power is removed abruptly, but as you note it can happen with a brown out. When the power stabilizes press the mute button (once or twice, don’t remember) to go back to normal.

I don’t remember anything else causing a mute in both channels at once.


#10

Interesting… I have dedicated and good quality voltage regulator for my beloved hifi system. Voltage drop can not be the reason guys. Any other thoughts? Thanks.


#11

I also installed an automatic voltage regulator mains conditioner (Torus Power AVR). But about once every 2-3 months the voltage is suddenly only half a second will blink and the DS DAC will mute.


#12
Elk said
TarnishedEars said Personally I'd absolutely love it if Ted managed to achieve the detail of Yale without loosing the musicality of 1.21.
Detail, clarity and transparency are far from the opposite of musicality and are not mutually exclusive. Many find Yale more musical.

Thus, it is best to try all options and determine which one personally prefers.

True. But being lifeless and dead, no matter how awesome the system otherwise sounds, makes me not want to listen to my music anymore. Whenever I try Yale, my foot stops tapping, and I get bored quickly. This is even when listening to my favorite music. And in this regard, everything following 1.21 has been a step backwards IMO. However 1.21 pulls me in and engages me emotionally. So far at least the twin peaks have both failed in this regard.

I’d love to offer some input and ideas I have on how it might be possible improve this particular aspect of the DS’s performance without loosing the improvements. But I am under the impression that the input of anyone who values musicality over detail is not something which people want to hear around here.

I hope that this post doesn’t sound bitter, because it is not intended to be so. I think that the DS sounds great with 1.21, and I am extremely grateful that unlike many companies PS audio allows downgrading of firmware. I’m just bummed that since I am in the minority, my input is ignored.


#13

I agree with tarnish

I feel if there is an improvement it’s weight that 121 has. It’s not warmth now how it’s done I have no idea if it’s how real live music is maybe not. But it’s what I want in my music reproduction experience. Setups that go to extremes in detail can still have this quality.

Now how TED can make this happen or does Paul and company feel it’s what’s needed is another thing.

I own dacs that have what I am asking for and its all I feel is missing here.

I think there are at least two groups here one knows how real live manic sounds and the other is like me it’s hiw it seems real. When I go to rooms it a second I can tell if I will love it or not. We pre programmed overt time right so we cannot always agree as groups


#14

@tarnishedears, if you have not yet had the chance, please go back and read through the FW threads. I think you’ll find that no one’s input is being ignored. I think you’ll also see a number of useful posts from Ted as to the basis for change in the FW updates. Also, don’t be discouraged; it took many more FW iterations to get the PWD to where it is. More than a few of us think there is still something about 1.2.1 that has yet to be fully recaptured in the recent DS FW updates; in my own case I can work with Yale for the time being as without it I can’t use the Bridge 2. A bit of work on my part to find a better IC between the DAC and my preamp was enough to help make Yale “click” better in my system.

If you have some observations regarding Yale and where you think it can be improved, I encourage you to go to the Yale thread and post. Ted and Paul do listen to what we have to say.


#15
TarnishedEars said

But being lifeless and dead, no matter how awesome the system otherwise sounds, makes me not want to listen to my music anymore.


I am certain everyone agrees with this. The disagreement involves what constitutes lifeless and dead.
But I am under the impression that the input of anyone who values musicality over detail is not something which people want to hear around here.
Utter nonsense. There have been great multi-page discussions of the appeal - or lack thereof - of the various firmwares, with all having their say. Merely because others disagree with one's views does not mean these views are unwelcome. Again, there simply is disagreement as to what is "musical."

And again, musicality and detail are not mutually exclusive. If they were, we would all be listening to mono bandwidth-limited transistor radios and cheap ear buds as their lack of accuracy and detail would be vastly more “musical” and therefore more compelling.


#16

I just wanted to thank EmirAslan for the topic and TarnishedEars for his comments regarding version 1.2.1, which I have just installed. I started my Directstream adventure with Pikes Peak; I then moved to Yale, then back to PP. I am struck by how easy it is for me to listen to all versions except for the Yale variants. I don’t know which I will settle on (1.2.1 or PP), but I am curious why Yale is so different in character. The major difference in my system is in the perceived soundstage (or should that be “head-stage”, since I listen to headphones). Yale sounds very compressed. Ted, was there a change (removal, addition or modification) to a DSP algorithm, or am I on the wrong track?


#17

If you are curious about whether the changes you hear are DSP based or not, do your A/Bs with DSD - none of the DSP in the DSD path changed from 1.2.1 to Pike’s Peak to Yale. All changes on that path are jitter and FPGA noise related. All of the DSP changes from 1.2.1 to PP to Yale Beta to Yale happened in the PCM upsampling processes.

Going from 1.2.1 to Pike’s Peak was theoretically a step forward in DSP accuracy for 88.2k and higher but Pike’s Peak went backwards when converting 44.1 to 88.2, so I didn’t know what the net result of PPs 44.1 to 88.2 to 176.4 would be. Based on the feedback about PP, Yale was again better in both regards - it undid the PP misstep for 44.1 to 88.2k and was more accurate on all PCM upsampling. For me PP didn’t cut it, but many liked it better than 1.2.1. For more of us Yale was better than PP and for most Yale was better than 1.2.1.

The other work in the FPGA was lowering jitter and FPGA generated power supply noise from release to release, some perceive the impact of jitter on the high frequencies as “more detail”, “more like PCM”, others “haze”. I’m sure that there are people out there for whom PCM sounds better than DSD who like the sound of more jitter (note: I’m not saying that that’s the only reason some may prefer PCM to DSD, it’s just one reason some do.) Personally I think some systems benefit from more auditory cues for rhythm, etc. which can make things more musical. I’m not trying to imply any value judgements, it’s just that system synergy is important and many things can mess it up - I’m not at all surprised when I hear one system sound better with 1.2.1 and another with Yale.

To me the sound stage definitely changed shape (width vs. depth) from 1.2.1 to PP and then again in a different way to Yale - I think front to back changes in sound stage are less obvious for most people on headphones so those that prefer a deeper narrower sound stage with speakers may not like that with headphones.

There’s also a practical matter: more people had trouble upgrading to Yale than previous upgrades (perhaps it’s just that more people decided to upgrade to Yale and the failure rate didn’t change) and a few of them had a bad upgrade in that their sound was definitely worse, until they went back and then upgraded again. We’re working on better checks that everything works correctly in the upgrade processes, but until we release code that checks every step, if you feel that the sound quality took a big step in the wrong direction it’s worth going back a release and then forward again (and verifying on the version screen that you did go back and then forward.)


#18

1.2.1 works for me (having tried the others on my particular setup) and find that there is plenty of detail, which I like. In my system, upgrading the OS did lead to more perceived detail, but it didn’t sound “natural” (quality of overemphasis) and the rhythm seemed “off.” Clearly system specific effects (meant as a neutral statement). in my system, 1.2.1 works well for both good recordings and for internet radio (important in our household).

I was able to increase detail without other effects but continuing to clean up the incoming power (seems never ending; why don’t we all go to battery power?).

If a different OS increased the realism of timbre, there would be motivation to upgrade. Agree with everyone who say “give it a try” to all OS possibilities. Your ears and your system. Part of what makes the DS a great DAC.


#19

I continue to find all of the responses interesting.

I personally thought that PP was more punchy for lack of a better way of putting it. Currently using Yale which is better for certain things, such as sound stage transparency but I still miss PP. Maybe my tired old ears find the increased jitter on the older FW more to my liking.


#20

Besides all discussions on SQ with different firmware: if I rember right Yale is a must for BridgeII users (like me).

I’m absolutely satisfied with Yale. I did two HiFi shows here in Germany to present Legacy Audio speakers (Aeris and SignatureSE) to >2.000 people using my DS with Yale as the source. Many guests said that the setup was “best of show”.

Although I admit that only few people at a HiFi show would hear the difference between 1.2.1 and Yale, even my personal preference is Yale. But, as always, ymmv, if only because every setup/room situation is different and every ear/brain combination is unique.

Therefore the option to switch back and forth (with the restriction to BridgeII users) is highly appreciated by me.