I just finished auditioning what is likely the final version of Yale, the next major update to an amazing DAC, DirectStream. Ted Smith, inventor of DirectStream, has done it again. Not only has he managed to lower the noise floor another 3dB, but the sonic changes he has wrung out of the FPGA core engine are stunning. Have you ever watched or read the Chronicle of Narnia? C.S. Lewis wonderful children's fantasy tale is a classic I have enjoyed watching many times. One of my favorite scenes is when the kids enter the closet and are transported to Narnia, a secret world hidden just behind the closet. I am equally fascinated when I too discover that which had been hiding all along. Like pulling a cloak off long hidden objects, your mind races with excitement at new found treasures. Such was my experience listening to Yale. "What?" You might ask. "Ted Smith uncovered yet another layer of hidden information in our CDs? How is that possible?" Truthfully, I haven't any idea, but ask the obvious question. Just how much more is there to discover? How long can we continue uncovering new information buried deep within recordings, unveiled with a simple firmware update? It's uncanny how much we apparently haven't yet heard. On Reference Recording's Rutter's Requiem, for example - track 9 - the soloist has always been expressive and it was easy to tell she is singing in a large space. But with Yale, DirectStream now reveals just how large the cathedral space is. For the first time I can not only hear the reverb surrounding her voice, but I can also hear the actual bounce of the voice off the walls. It is nothing short of extraordinary. And then there's the chorus on the Requiem. Men and women sing together and with Pikes, the former software, they sound somewhat 2-dimensional relative to the independent many I am now hearing with Yale installed. When Arnie Nudell helped setup the IRSV after its crossover rebuild, he was excited to hear the improvements of Yale on Music Room One. After one comparison between Pikes and Yale he turned to me and said: "No speaker designer in the world could make this change in a loudspeaker. There is simply nothing in the design of a speaker that could account for increased information like we're getting from this firmware change. Extraordinary." We are releasing Yale for general Beta to anyone wishing to experience it, this weekend, through our forums. It is, of course, free. The official launch will be in a couple of weeks.
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