PS Audio has announced the availability of a free operating-system update for its DirectStream DAC, which Brian Kahn reviewed for us last November. The upgraded OS, named Pikes Peak after the famous Colorado fourteener, offers broader compatibility of sources, further reductions of jitter sensitivity, and improved sound quality. Get more details below.
From PS Audio
PS Audio, manufacturer of fine audio components since 1973, is pleased to announce a new operating system is available for its revolutionary DirectStream DAC, substantially improving its already remarkable sound quality. The upgraded OS is called "Pikes Peak."
Since its introduction almost a year ago, DirectStream has altered the expectations of audiophiles worldwide, rewritten the rules of how a DAC works, and proven that--with its ability to be upgraded in the field, at no cost to its owner--obsolescence is obsolete.
To briefly review: DirectStream, based upon a design by software engineer Ted Smith and perfected by Ted and the PS engineering team, differs from other DACs both structurally and operationally. DirectStream upsamples and converts all inputs to DSD, which reduces the amount of processing the signal undergoes and shortens the signal path. Processing occurs within an FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array), rather than an off-the-shelf DAC chip. An FPGA offers a skilled designer the ability to precisely control the allocation of resources used during processing, avoiding issues of overheating and limited processing capability which are often encountered in designs based upon ICs (Integrated Circuits).
Since its launch last spring, there have been several major upgrades of DirectStream's operating system, each providing improved functionality, reliability and performance. The last release, 1.2.1 in October 2014, improved audible and measured performance to such a degree it was named Digital Product of the Year by both Stereophile and The Absolute Sound, and amassed a dozen awards from other authoritative magazines and sites.
The Pikes Peak release is, as the name implies, an even more significant improvement to the operating system than 1.2.1. Pikes Peak provides broader compatibility of sources, further reductions of jitter sensitivity and added proprietary resource management within the FPGA. The sound quality of Pikes Peak towers above that of its predecessor, and provides compelling evidence of the value of DirectStream's ability to be updated in the field by owners--at no cost to them.
"What blew me away with the Pikes Peak OS is the immediate improvement of body and palpability of instruments--and the soundstage improvements are stunning. Individual instruments are now more distinct, and ambient and spatial cues are clearer than I have ever had the pleasure to hear," said Paul McGowan, Founder and CEO of PS Audio. "It sounds more like music than anything I have yet heard through CDs, LPs, hi-res files--it's truly groundbreaking."
This latest operating system is called "Pikes Peak" after the most famous of Colorado's "Fourteeners" (the 53 mountain peaks in the state that rise above 14,000 feet). Future upgrades will all be named after a "Fourteener."
The Pikes Peak operating system is free and can be downloaded immediately from the PS Audio website, here (scroll down to Pikes Peak OS).
"I'm really excited at how much we've been able to improve DirectStream, which was pretty darned good from the beginning," said designer Ted Smith." It makes me really happy to be able to guarantee owners that the DAC they buy today will continue to be state-of-the-art as long as they own it. Obsolescence really is obsolete."
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