New Snowmass OS for DirectStream DAC


Press release | Boulder, CO - PS Audio is proud to announce the availability of Snowmass, the sixth OS upgrade for our DirectStream DAC named after a Colorado Fourteener--- the 53 peaks in the state that that rise above 14,000 feet in elevation. Snowmass Mountain is in the Elk Mountains, southwest of Aspen.

Ted Smith, our longtime collaborator and lead designer of the DirectStream and DSJ DACs, has periodically written new OS which reconfigures the basic structure of the DACs. The FPGA-based architecture of those models allows owners to download new OS and update their DACs in the field, whenever Ted devises a way to produce better performance and better sound. In this way, owners are assured of performance which improves over time, and units which never become obsolete.

Since the initial release of DirectStream in 2014, Ted has authored nearly a dozen OS updates, each better than its predecessor. As improvements in both sound quality and functionality increased dramatically, PS dropped the usual numeric labels and began naming the OS updates after Fourteeners, to symbolize the company's aspiration to ultimate sound quality.

PS Audio DirectStream DAC
So what magic did Ted unleash with this new OS?

“For Snowmass, I rewrote the FPGA code that upsampled lower rates of PCM to 352.8k (or 394k, depending). I wanted to get better control of the times at which things happened, in order to have more control of noise generated, and of the jitter generated by the FPGA. I could also get a better balance of FPGA resources needed to do the filtering. In the old upsampler, I got about 144dB S/N in the upsampling, in the new code I have about 156dB S/N.

"Lowering noise and jitter makes everything better---352.8k PCM and DSD will also have a quieter background and essentially everything else mentioned, but perhaps not with the magnitude of improvement heard with CD."

Ted's clinical, modest description makes it sound as though Snowmass wouldn't make much of a difference in sound quality--- but PS Audio CEO Paul McGowan found that nothing could be further from the truth:

"Redcloud, our last upgrade, made a huge improvement in the sound quality of DirectStream, but Snowmass is truly stunning," said McGowan.

"Everything is more open and has soundstage depth that is better-defined. This allows your ear to work less because the image is more palpable and the illusion is therefore much more realistic. In the midrange, there's more detail with less harshness, and voices and instruments are better separated, more precisely located in the soundstage. It's easier to hear the enunciation and vocal technique of singers, dynamic contrasts are far greater and crescendi just leap out at you---and everything just sounds more 'real'.

"Snowmass is our best update yet, and as always, DirectStream owners get this upgrade for free---and holy moly, they're not going to believe how good this is. It'll easily blows away six-figure DACs."

Simultaneous with the launch of the Snowmass DAC OS, PS Audio will also release new code for the network Bridge II. The new code will improve connectivity and stability of Spotify Connect and include a number of improvements in functionality, including a dimmer feature for the display.

As always, Snowmass and the new Bridge II code can be downloaded from the PS Audio website at no cost. For those who prefer to purchase the DirectStream code on SD cards, they will be available directly from PS at modest cost. Code for the DSJ will be available soon, including availability on a memory stick.

PS Audio supports its customers in every way possible, ensuring that our products will always be worthwhile investments. With PS products---obsolescence is obsolete.

PS Audio DirectStream DAC
About PS Audio: Founded in 1973, PS Audio has a worldwide following and a reputation for designing and manufacturing innovative, high-value, leading-edge audio products. Our design and core manufacturing facilities are in Boulder, Colorado, at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. While our engineering staff is second to none, PS is not constrained by NIH Syndrome: recent products have included design input from industry gurus Ted Smith and Bascom H. King.



For further info: to the PS Audio website

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