Get ready for the weekend

June 8, 2017
 by Paul McGowan

Huron, the revolutionary new upgrade for DirectStream is finished and ready for release. Here’s some background.

DirectStream and DirectStream Junior are FPGA based DACs. This means that instead of an off-the-shelf DAC chip as most DACs are, DS products are completely handled in code through a complex arrangement internal to the device. This means the designer, Ted Smith, can pretty much design and redesign the DAC at will. Which is exactly what he’s done.

Huron is startlingly better than Torreys (the last OS in DS). For one thing, Ted was able to wrestle a whopping 21dB of noise out of DS—3dB lower noise in the audible band and 18dB of ultrasonic noise. That’s extraordinary on any number of levels.

When you hear Huron for the first time you’re immediately aware of a blacker background. Instantly obvious. Instruments and voices appear out of the seeming blackness of space. What you’re hearing is that 3dB of lowered noise. But, more than the blackness, is a cleanliness and lack of hash I never anticipated—and the reason for it is obvious. Lowered ultrasonics.

High bandwidth power amplifiers and preamplifiers like BHK are capable of passing ultrasonics. “But wait!” You say. “So what? We can’t hear ultrasonics and speakers aren’t affected by them.” You’d be correct except for one thing. Amps and preamps are impacted by ultrasonics. The fewer ultrasonics they deal with, the sweeter they sound.

And Huron sounds sweet—perhaps because Ted has increased the DAC’s ten times upsampling-to-DSD to twice that: twenty times. Extraordinary.

And Huron has top-end extension I’ve never known the IRS capable of. On Daft Punk’s Within you can hear what sounds like another octave of extension to the cymbals. And horn blats are now as real as if they were live. On the San Francisco Symphony Mahler collection, the opening blasts of the horns have just the right amount of blare without harshness.

And Huron has depth and a correctness to instrumental placement that renders everything else wrong.

And Huron has bass. OMG, the bass thump of the kick drum sends shudders through your chest.

Huron also is MQA and Tidal ready for Bridge II owners. Once Huron’s installed and we release new Bridge II code later this month, DS owners will be treated to a full unfold of MQA (up to 192kHz) and access to Tidal.

We’ll do an official Huron for DS release on Friday, June 9, just in time for the weekend.

Less than one week later, we’ll release Huron for DirectStream Junior.

Huron, MQA, and access to Tidal are free. Indeed, a year of Ted Smith’s life has gone into this miracle of programming and lucky DS owners get it for free.

We all owe Ted Smith a big thank you.

Thank you, Ted. Job well done.

Subscribe to Paul's Posts

31 comments on “Get ready for the weekend”

  1. Congratulations to one and all.
    It is quite a revelation to hear that spatial blackness. I heard it with the dCS Vivaldi, not exactly a fair comparison as it is a $100,000 electronics package from a company with a totally proprietary system, having a team that developed industrial and military A/D and D/A converters for many years before getting into audio.
    It seems to be what makes DACs stand out from the crowd, the only other similar proprietary DACs I’ve heard being my own Devialet and the Chord DACs, making DS and DSJ very competitive. They do demand very accurate and resolving speakers to appreciate this sound quality.

  2. Great to hear ,one thing I can add the Synergistic 1.2Amp Black fuse made a noticeable difference in soundstage tonal depth as well as imaging with the Huron it should be
    Excellent.
    One question for Paul M, Hello Paul my current Auralic 100h player has Tidal will I now be able
    To utilize Tidal potential once released I would hope so.
    Please advise .p.s one thing more to enhance all your connections,fuse sockets
    After using alcohol, Stabilant-22 or undiluted Stabilant the best product out there period ,
    And lasts for at least several years !!

          1. Sorry for my ignorance! Safe to assume the 192kHz to 176kHz is only with the bridge II? If I have just the DS DAC will I get the 192 to 176?

  3. Wow, I can’t wait to hear especially the add. top end extension! I think we all made more than a great choice with the DS’s! I personally have to wait 2 more weeks with listening, damn.

    TED I bet you’re the man who not only invested paid time into this….thanks much for your dedication!!

  4. Great news, thanks to all the team. I told a friend of mine, who enjoys good music and hifi, about the Huron upgrade and he just assumed I was buying yet another new piece of equipment. When I told him it was a free FPGA upgrade to my DAC he couldn’t believe it – these things are very rare anywhere nowadays, so thanks to Paul for taking this approach. I’m on holiday from Sunday so that gives me 2 nights to play, can’t wait! Regards, Mike.

  5. wau……Many thanks and warm greetings to Ted, Paul and the whole team. Thank you for the unique and imaginative support. It is the world’s highest standard – five star plus. More love from Denmark.Regards, Michael

  6. Paul, This sound great, my thanks to you and Ted.

    Could you or Ted please comment more about the ultrasonics? Reducing ultrasonic noise is great, but we do not want to remove the ultrasonic frequencies that are part of the music. As we know from our friend Fourier that it is the ultrasonic frequencies that give the leading edges of the sounds that most instruments produce crisp, sharp and clean edges. Here is an example of the how the shape of a square wave improves as you add in higher and higher frequencies (see the forth figure in the linked webpage) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_wave. It is these clean, sharp edges that not only make the reproduced music sound more natural, but they also allow us to better determine where the sound is coming from and thus get a better 3D acoustic image. This is one of the main reasons hi-rez digital music sounds better.

    1. In fact with Huron I filter the ultrasonics less than I did in previous releases. It’s by doubling the upsampling frequency to 56.448MHz that I move the ultrasonics from the noise shaping higher in frequency and therefor more of them are filtered out by the final analog low pass filter which converts DSD to analog in the DS.

      1. Ted, Thank you so much, I should have been able to realize that going to 20 X DSD sampling would shift the ultrasonics from noise shaping up in frequency myself. Sorry to have to take you away from more important things.

  7. Ted is such a genius (at least to this plebian) that he can continue to improve upon the DS firmware, and … and … we get these improvements for free! Thank you Ted and thank you PS Audio! I sure hope Ted is getting compensated (handsomely) for his work!

  8. I absolutely love when these new firmware versions are released. The anticipation I feel right now is just as strong as when I await the arrival of a new piece of gear that I have on order. I am brimming with excitement.

  9. Yes, yes, yes!!! What a lovely gift! I’ll be waiting patiently for the DSJ Huron release and the Bridge II update as I’m a Tidal/Roon/MQA user. Killer! Thank you to Paul and Ted for your continued efforts to improve your products.

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you Paul & Ted! I have applied and enjoyed each and every firmware update since I’ve had my DirectStream DAC (about 2 1/2 years now), and each one has provided a noticeable improvement. I look forward to apply this update!

    I ordered a DirectStream transport from my dealer, to replace my PerfectWave transport. Can’t wait for it to arrive! I suspect that the DirectStream DAC & transport, with the I2S connection and SACDs will be the best sounding combination one can have!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Paul & Ted!

    1. Yes. We don’t involve the DAC. Couple of things going on. The Bridge is a source – it’s just internal to the DAC. They’ve measured DS impulse response with help from Ted and the unfold uses that info to tailor the output to fit the DAC.

      Should be exciting.

  11. Well should I rob a liquor store or a bank? I so want a Directstream and a DMP. Anyone need a kidney?

    There are lot of good audio manufacturers, but I would say that PSA is one the great ones, maybe the best.

    Here’s to a clean install, and a whole lot of tasty music. I have an excellent DAC, thanks to my friend Bob. He replaced that excellent DAC, that sold for around twice what a DS with Bridge retails for, with a Directstream. I am predicting that he will be adding the Bridge in the near future.

    Someone should start working on those bronze busts, as Paul and Ted will be in Audio’s Hall Of Fame. No Audio Hall Of Fame? Might be time to start one. Future generations should be aware of Audio’s great ones. Maybe it’s time for grumpy old Ken Kessler to write a book about PSA, with lots of photos. What the sickest of us, refer to as audio porn.

    Enjoy the upgrade. If this was Dear Abby, it would be signed Envious.

    1. Very happy with prospect of this upgrade. Expecting arrival of BHK pre tomorrow. It will be hard to leave the house this weekend!
      I will have to pick up bridge when dust settles.
      Many many thanks to PS Audio team.

  12. Did more listening today. Ted, i gotta hand it to you, you did an outstanding job!

    Detail, coherency, macrodynamics, noise floor…it’s all significantly improved.

    It’s the most dramatic improvement I’ve heard from a firmware upgrade. Period.

  13. Just installed Huron. The improvement — and I really didn’t think much improvement was even possible — is spectacular. Incredible crispness, incredible imaging, incredible presence.

Leave a Reply

© 2023 PS Audio, Inc.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram