How to upgrade the DirectStream Operating System

February 9, 2015
 by Paul McGowan

One of the beauties of DirectStream and DirectStream Junior DACs are their ability to have their operating systems upgraded. Operating system upgrades bring new levels of performance to your DirectStream, similar to a physical hardware update. Operating system upgrades are typically free.

Installing new firmware on DirectStream or DirectStream Junior is a simple procedure. The entire update is stored on an SD memory card (similar to what you might find in a digital camera for memory) in the case of DirectStream, or a USB memory stick for DirectStream Junior. The necessary files are loaded onto the SD card or USB stick, placed in the rear of DirectStream when the AC power is off, then the files are automatically loaded as soon as the AC power is connected. It’s really that easy.

Overview

Download the files. They are sent in a zipped format. Unzip the files and copy the contents of the folder to a blank SD memory card or USB memory stick (depending on which model DAC you have) using your computer to do so. Ensure that the SD card or USB stick are formatted to FAT 16 or FAT 32. As well make sure that they are no larger than 32 Gb. Ensuring that the power is off, insert the SD card or USB stick into DirectStream or DirectStream Junior and turn the power back on. The front panel logo light will blink indicating the upgrade is taking place and when the unit is ready to play again, simply remove the SD card or USB memory stick and you’re done.

The contents of your SD card or USB stick should have a group of files that look similar to these:

Check to see what version you have installed

To check what firmware is currently on DirectStream touch the small tool icon in the upper left corner of the touch screen, or hold the menu button down on DirectStream Junior. The version number and name of the operating system will appear. If you are installing the Huron operating system, you will see the word HURON written on the tool screen or version screen.

Download the files

You can download any update firmware from our download site. Go to Downloads and find the version you wish to use. Older versions are located in the Archive section of the same page.

Download the files onto your computer. It’s easiest in many cases to place them on the desktop of either your MAC or Windows computer. This just simply helps locate them. If you received the files in a zip folder you must first unzip the files. Do NOT try and add the zip file itself to the SD card. DirectStream cannot read a zip file.

You will need a standard SD memory card to load the files onto. You can use a standard SD card up to 32gB in size. Ultra, Ultra II SDHC SD cards work as well in DirectStream. If a USB memory stick, 1Gb is fine, but larger ones are acceptable as well.

SD card

Place the SD card in an SD card reader, or the USB stick in a USB port connected to either your MAC or Windows computer. SD card readers and low cost and easy to acquire. They typically plug into your computer’s USB connection and self-install. Most computer setups already have access to this type of card reader. Some cards have a lock on them that prevents data being removed or added make sure this is unlocked.

Once the computer recognizes the SD card in the reader, or the USB memory stick in the USB port, double-click to see the contents. Make sure the SD card or USB stick are empty and formatted. Most are. If there is content on the SD card or USB memory stick, it’s best to erase the content and clear the card.

With a cleared SD card or USB memory stick, simply drag the unzipped PS Audio update files you downloaded from our servers onto the card. Make sure you see all the files on the SD card or stick. Make sure there is not a zip file or a folder on the SD card.

The group of files should look similar to this group.

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 6.17.33 AM

Load the firmware

Turn off your system’s power amplifier. This will make sure that when you turn the power off you don’t get any unwanted pops and noises.

Turn power off on DirectStream or Junior. To do this, reach around the back of the unit and switch off the power. Check to see if there is an SD card or USB stick installed already.

If there is an SD card installed, push on the card to get it out. The card will pop out for you. Note that the card is installed upside down.

Install the new card with the OS on it or the USB stick. Make sure the card goes in upside down as shown in the picture. Make sure it clicks into place.

Turn the rear panel power switch on. If everything is going properly, the front panel logo light will begin to blink, indicating the firmware is being loaded. It will keep blinking until the entire code has been loaded. Once fully loaded, DirectStream or DirectStream Junior will restart and be ready for operation.

DirectStream-Rear

Remove the card and you’re done

You can now remove the SD card or USB memory stick.

You can check the front panel setup screen to verify you have the latest update completed successfully if you wish. If the logo light on the front panel did not start blinking then the firmware was not installed. Call us for help or email our service department.

As always, we are here to help you in any way we can. Thanks for the support!

23 comments on “How to upgrade the DirectStream Operating System”

  1. I have done all per your instructions and the logo is flashing FOR HOURS! What is going on? I tried to upgrade first to 1.2.1 and then to PP, with separate cards, and the same problem happened with both cards — endless flashing. When I turn off power, pull out the card, and turn on power, I have a black screen. So now, no DAC at all. WTF!

    Neal

      1. Thanks for reply.

        I tried to load 1.2.1 with one card, and when that did not work, PP with another, into DirectStream DAC.

        On DirectStream DAC Forum, I posted a longer message describing my efforts in agonizing detail. Thanks. This is very frustrating. I am usually not technologically inept.

        Neal

                1. You may have corrupted the file system somehow. If it keeps blinking for hours, it is not loading properly. I can get you a rescue disc but unfortunately it is the weekend and tomorrow’s a holiday.

                  Email me directly, paul @ psaudio.com and I will do what I can. Perhaps one of the forum leaders on the forums can help this weekend.

  2. I downloaded the Yale software for the DAC, and it contains only 5 files; contrary to Pikes and the example in your guide for upgrading the DAC’s firmware — which contain 6 files. Something is missing?

  3. Is there a way to force a firmware to load? I posted the details of my issue on the forum, but, in a nutshell, I need to replace the messed up firmware I have on the DSD/Bridge and reload the clean firmware they came with. Inserting the original SD cards doesn’t trigger the update process, so I need to force it manually. How to?

  4. […] Bridge II works with DirectStream, DirectStream Junior (built in), and The PerfectWave DAC. If you have either DirectStream DACs, Huron OS is required. This is a free update and if you’ve not yet made the change, you’re missing out on some great sound in addition to the feature updates available for Bridge II owners. If you’re unfamiliar with the DAC upgrade process it’s explained in this How To. […]

  5. Mine doesn’t even blink or recognise the 4 unzipped files. Very disappointing -no Redcloud, not even a switch back to good ol’ Yale, it just stays on Huron. Pah 🙁

  6. Hallo everybody

    I am trying since two days to upgrade my PS Audio Perfect wave (upgraded to Direct stream) to Windom.
    I use:
    1) A new MacBook Air running Mac OS 10.15.2
    2) An SD card reader from San Disk
    3) A San Disk 2 GB SD card (larger and newer cards unfortunately are no accepted by the Ps Audio device)
    4) BalenaEtcher version 1.5.70 as suggested
    5) The DSD Windom for Mac version downloaded from you site

    Unfortunately, I cannot load the image in the SD card using BalenaEtchter because I am always asked a password which however is neither my admin password nor my user password…

    I already tried to format the SD drive before (EXFAT, FAT32, MacOS journaled), without any success.
    Can you please help me install the new firmware Windom successfully and without problems?

    thank you and best wishes for the new year to all off you!
    René

  7. “ …a rising tide floats all boats”

    The most accurate example of this quote, in reference to manufactured consumer products is the order of magnitude improvement in Japanese car quality in the mid 70’s.

    I was working as an development engineer at General Motors in 1977 when the company purchased a Honda Accord for “benchmarking” (evaluation and dissecting). Comparing the Accord quality to a similarly priced Chevy Monza or Pontiac Sunfire was like comparing Prime Cut Sirloin to ground Chuck.

    Many in GM management could be heard saying “Honda must be dumping Accords on the US market for a loss!” But those of us in engineering knew the real truth was Honda had invested heavily up front in product design and tooling to achieve this quality level. Something GM engineers had been begging for decades their management to do.

    The rest is history, and a hard lesson for US and many European auto manufacturers.

  8. Credit has to be given to Arnie Nudel. With the Infinity IRS he lifted the price of a hi fi component into the stratosphere where no price had gone before. It was the start of a trend. The price of the best audio equipment began a relentless rise from the hundreds to the thousands to the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands. It’s not unusual to see a high end audio system at a consumer hi fi show that would cost over a million dollars to assemble at retail. Monster cable deserves similar credit turning what was an ordinary product few people even thought about into a luxury product starting not just wirepocalypse but a whole slew of other trivial products into a mania. Who remembers green felt tip pens or putting a brick on an amplifier? What ever happened to magic pebbles?

    The rising tide of prices in this industry raises the question of are the products worth what is being asked for them? My answer is emphatically no. What’s more the expensive enclosures to package them which reminds me of the trend of chrome and tail fins on cars in the late 1950s adds to the cost but is of no practical value. Not only does some of it look absurd such as the Rube Goldberg turntables some of which are towers weighing hundreds of pounds but most of it is plain Jane or IMO downright ugly. The insanity of it is only augmented by the kind of recordings most audiophiles listen to with it. Much of the world has become a mass horde of musical ignoramuses.

    One interesting thing I’ve noticed watching a lot of reviews of tube amplifiers where audiophiles "roll tubes" that is interchange them. The tubes manufactured decades ago especially NOS from companies like GE, Sylvania, RCA seem to be considerably superior or at least better liked than those being manufactured today. Small wonder they command high prices on ebay. When they were being manufactured,none of them cost more than a few dollars each.

  9. Hallo everybody

    I am trying since two days to upgrade my PS Audio Perfect wave (upgraded to Direct stream) to Windom.
    I use:
    1) A new MacBook Air running Mac OS 10.15.2
    2) An SD card reader from San Disk
    3) A San Disk 2 GB SD card (larger and newer cards unfortunately are no accepted by the Ps Audio device)
    4) BalenaEtcher version 1.5.70 as suggested
    5) The DSD Windom for Mac version downloaded from you site

    Unfortunately, I cannot load the image in the SD card using BalenaEtchter because I am always asked a password which however is neither my admin password nor my user password…

    I already tried to format the SD drive before (EXFAT, FAT32, MacOS journaled), without any success.
    Can you please help me install the new firmware Windom successfully and without problems?

    thank you and best wishes for the new year to all off you!
    René

  10. “ …a rising tide floats all boats”

    The most accurate example of this quote, in reference to manufactured consumer products is the order of magnitude improvement in Japanese car quality in the mid 70’s.

    I was working as an development engineer at General Motors in 1977 when the company purchased a Honda Accord for “benchmarking” (evaluation and dissecting). Comparing the Accord quality to a similarly priced Chevy Monza or Pontiac Sunfire was like comparing Prime Cut Sirloin to ground Chuck.

    Many in GM management could be heard saying “Honda must be dumping Accords on the US market for a loss!” But those of us in engineering knew the real truth was Honda had invested heavily up front in product design and tooling to achieve this quality level. Something GM engineers had been begging for decades their management to do.

    The rest is history, and a hard lesson for US and many European auto manufacturers.

  11. Credit has to be given to Arnie Nudel. With the Infinity IRS he lifted the price of a hi fi component into the stratosphere where no price had gone before. It was the start of a trend. The price of the best audio equipment began a relentless rise from the hundreds to the thousands to the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands. It’s not unusual to see a high end audio system at a consumer hi fi show that would cost over a million dollars to assemble at retail. Monster cable deserves similar credit turning what was an ordinary product few people even thought about into a luxury product starting not just wirepocalypse but a whole slew of other trivial products into a mania. Who remembers green felt tip pens or putting a brick on an amplifier? What ever happened to magic pebbles?

    The rising tide of prices in this industry raises the question of are the products worth what is being asked for them? My answer is emphatically no. What’s more the expensive enclosures to package them which reminds me of the trend of chrome and tail fins on cars in the late 1950s adds to the cost but is of no practical value. Not only does some of it look absurd such as the Rube Goldberg turntables some of which are towers weighing hundreds of pounds but most of it is plain Jane or IMO downright ugly. The insanity of it is only augmented by the kind of recordings most audiophiles listen to with it. Much of the world has become a mass horde of musical ignoramuses.

    One interesting thing I’ve noticed watching a lot of reviews of tube amplifiers where audiophiles "roll tubes" that is interchange them. The tubes manufactured decades ago especially NOS from companies like GE, Sylvania, RCA seem to be considerably superior or at least better liked than those being manufactured today. Small wonder they command high prices on ebay. When they were being manufactured,none of them cost more than a few dollars each.

  12. Hello folks! I recently managed to ship my circa 2015/2016 PerfectWave Directstream DAC to where I’ve been living after being apart for more than 3 years… Tried to update the firmware with the “latest” Directstream firmware, but nothing happens when I insert the SD Card and power up. Just asking here if anyone has any advice as to which file I should be using. Many thanks in advance! The following info is from the machine settings: Bootloader 1.13, Firmware 1.2.3, Bridge 0.0.0, FPGA 0.79, USB 00.06, Rev: Pike.

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