PS Audio Snowmass OS update now available


In the digital realm, unlike the analog kingdom, upgrading a component has turned into a vastly simpler, quicker and in most cases free proposition to drastically improve the sonic performance of a high-fidelity source component.

Want to improve tone, timbre or bass response on your turntable? You’re looking at the costly time and effort of selling either your entire transcriptor, or selling the tonearm, platter or cartridge and then going out and buying and installing a replacement (or paying to have it installed), which can run from just a couple hundred dollars into the tens of thousands of dollars depending on your audiophile budget. Then there’s the option of improved tonearm cabling, or we could get into phono stages which is another proposition entirely and one that can be far more costly in many cases.

Not so when it comes to the modern digital sound stage. Many of the latest DAC/Streamers, or even those that have been around a number of years already – for those who prefer to get their hi-fi freak on via computer-based audio playback – are imbued with FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) circuit topologies for handling the digital-to-analog conversion, which allows for large improvements in SQ (or file-type handling like MQA for example, or access to new cloud-based streaming services) to be enabled by simply downloading firmware/software updates from a manufacturer’s website directly to your components via ethernet on those capable of such remote-access, or via a USB stick or SD card jacked into the appropriate slot on your choice piece of kit.

Try doing that on your reel-to-reel, cassette deck or turntable.

Such abilities allow companies to extend the bleeding-edge capability of their components longevity and relevance in the quickly-changing digital landscape which seems to see the state of the art surpassed on an almost monthly basis.

Take PS Audio for example. A company which takes product longevity and return on investment so seriously that they allow for hardware trade-ins that in most cases see the consumer getting full retail value on their trade-in.

Back to what you get via a download though; PS Audio’s latest Operating System upgrade – Snowmass – now available for purchase on a pre-formatted and installed SD card for $29 USD, or for free via download with detailed installation instructions, allows for their DirectStream DAC and DirectStream Junior (DSJ) to be transformed to a higher level of playback performance in minutes.

The company says “Snowmass improves the sound of Red Book audio as well as DSD and high-resolution PCM. Blacker backgrounds, greater instrument weight, wider and deeper soundstage, elimination of upper midrange glare, improved image separation, far lower noise, better clarity and more lifelike presentation of music are among its many benefits. Snowmass is a free upgrade for DirectStream and DSJ owners. (DSJ Snowmass available in a few days. Sorry for the delay). Snowmass is the single biggest improvement yet in the DirectStream product line. It shouldn’t take long for you to hear the major improvements, big enough to call it a new DAC. Let your friends know you just got a new DAC and for free, just one of the many benefits of our unique software upgradeable DAC series. And, because it’s PS Audio, we never charge for software upgrades (via download).”

Here’s what’s new in Snowmass:

  • MQA, Tidal, ROON, Spotify Connect, Quboz, Vtuner Ready (with Bridge II update)
  • Significantly better low level linearity at low volume levels
  • Lower audible noise
  • 20X upsample rate
  • Extended high frequency response
  • Extended low frequency response
  • Reduced jitter
  • Reduced linearization heuristics
  • Blacker backgrounds
  • Linearized lower level signals
  • Increased depth of soundstage
  • Lessened noise on DSD -> PCM or PCM -> DSD transitions

PS Audio
4865 Sterling Drive • Boulder, Colorado • 80301

Everclear's picture

...... and, none of those upgrades can be made 'over the air' for the analog gear :-) ...............

Anton's picture

Budget budget budget.

I've heard this line and love them!

toxicnewt's picture

They have also updated the Bridge II (PS Audio network card for the DSD and DSjr) firmware to improve connectivity as well as aspects of MQA.

I don't work for PSaudio but own some of their stuff and think that their commitment to upgradability deserves some public praise.

Bill Leebens's picture

...and thank you for your kind words!