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Papa's Got a Brand New DAC! PS Audio's New Snowmass Operating System for DirectStream Junior

12-12-2018 | By Gary L Beard | Issue 101

PS Audio Snowmass Operating System

On December 11, 2018, PS Audio announced download availability of the newest Operating System for the PS Audio DirectStream Junior DAC. Named after another of Colorado's 14,000 foot peaks, Snowmass, this update to PSA's DirectStream digital converters is likely to be judged a significant step up in sound quality.

Handwritten for the DirectStream Junior's Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), the Snowmass code was developed by a team of  PS Audio engineers, led by audio-programming whiz Ted Smith. Various iterations of the code were vetted by a listening panel (including PSA CEO Paul McGowan) via PS Audio's Infinity IRSV reference system.

I have only listened to Snowmass for about four hours, however I believe it offers sonic advancements that are difficult to miss: Deeper and more powerful bass is the most pronounced improvement; but it is also airier, livelier, and more dynamic. Musical images seem denser and less bound to the speakers. Overall, the DSJ has a new sense of ease that makes this DAC an even better music-maker.

I've enjoyed the DirectStream Junior since I first heard it four operating systems ago. With each update of the DirectStream code—free to DS, and DSJ owners—the PS Audio team hikes digital reproduction to an ever loftier elevation. And while first impressions are just that, Snowmass sounds like an unmistakable and significant upgrade.  Kudos PS Audio!