The DS-10 had no issues rendering physical content up to 24/176.4kHz, the latter from the M.A. DVD Sera Una NocheLa Segunda. Remember that the PS Audio PWT sports a computer drive that can read more than just audio CD. In the latter format we really enjoyed other jewels from our stock. Bass Extremes is the result of sessions bassists Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey recorded in 1998. As expected, these are eye-popping fireworks from 6- and 4-string electric basses. Boy did we love that sound. We couldn't resist cranking the volume up to just below danger levels.

From electric to acoustic bass seems a small step but in the case of the Suite Andalouse by Pedro Soler and Renaud Garcia-Fons on the French Al Sur label, it's big. Sure, there are 11 strings and two pair of hands but the intensity and emotions are quite different. The opening track "Puente de Triana" displays rich dynamic content with plenty of transients that call upon the capabilities of the playback chain. The bassist's long and strong bow strikes and flageolet exploits will trigger any shortcomings. Not here though. We could fully indulge the music and regretted that this CD had stayed in the drawers this long.

Another CD that had clearly missed our TLC for quite a while was Titi Robin's Anita!, a live recording which includes the still highly emotional "Ton Doux Visage". In Dutch there is a saying "oogjes op sap" which roughly translates as "juicy eyes". That's exactly what happened each time we played this track. To us it proved that the DS-10 was most capable at communicating emotions.

In the meantime we had more exchanges with Gold Note. Next to the issue of no initial Wifi joy without first using a wired connection—to be addressed in a future firmware update—we had a question on local attached storage. The manual states that the USB A port can be used for flash drives formatted in FAT32 or NTFS. We have a collection of USB disks and were curious whether the existing firmware would see such a drive as local storage media. We knew from our Mytek Brooklyn Bridge review that the Converse Digital software supports it. Not though the DS-10.

"In our design, the USB-A port can only manage limited data quantity due to the 'basic' quality of the interface. For larger storage, we absolutely recommend a NAS or grabbing the music from a server or computer on the network."  So locally attached disk drives aren't supported but the network option worked fine. MConnect discovered shared storage on our home network and accessed it for playback. Another question we had was about the return to PRE mode after a certain time of idle. When output goes to an integrated amplifier or separate preamp, one wants to use the DS-10 as a fixed DAC to bypass its volume control. In PRE mode, analog attenuation is active. Yet when DAC mode confirmed on the display, the DS-10 reverted to PRE after some time of inactivity. An upcoming firmware release will change this behavior at the user's discretion. Incidentally, with all of our questions, Italy's response time was almost always instant and to the point.

At this stage of our narrative, we would have happily concluded that the DS-10 was a 4-in-1 of the highest standards for its price range. But the story continued. Gold Note announced a firmware update which not only addressed some of our issues but added truly unique features we've never seen before. It has led their team to call the DS-10 the chameleon DAC. So we downloaded and installed the update.