Playing DSD files

I have a small but DSD-capable DAC (Topping E30ii), and many DSD files on my hard disk. I am trying Audirvana Origin (one month free trial). It is able to play my DSD files, and the sound is good. However, before I buy it, I would like to test Foobar2000, with DSD components / plugins, maybe the sound is equally good.  Yet I cannot get it to work. I’ve installed foo-component for dsd and sacd, but no sound, or even  error message: unrecognized format, trying to play my .dff files. Anyone knows a workaround? With Foobar, my DAC display shows PCM (up to 706), it does not show (correct) DSD, like it does with Audirvana.

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Thanks! Before recording to DSD the last fifteen years, I recorded my LPs to analog tape, mainly with the Revox A77 from the late 60s to the 90s. A reliable serviceable machine. But it weighed a ton! I then switched to digital and the new sound technology, with several Sony DAT recorders. And 80ies digital gear, like a small cd player. Not something I listen to, today. I invested in DSD recording early on in the 00s, even though, at the time, it was seen as peripheral at best.

Note that by saying I like DSD, I am not saying this format cures all and any problems. I am not a DSD fetishist. It is only the total of recordings, compared to the total of PCM recordings, that all in all sound better. There are a lot of exceptions. A poor recording in DSD will sound worse than a good PCM recording. The same goes for production. It is no miracle cure. It is only the average bonus of the format.

Maybe DoP sounds as good as direct DSD. So far I have not been able to compare.




Your Revox is heavy? I can’t even lift my Otari BQII any more. (Anyone interested?) I enjoy my favorite well made recordings in Redbook (or analog) more than most DSD files that I have. I used to record vinyl but I cannot abide permanent surface noise and the dynamics that are compressed for LPs I always play vinyl through an expander. The fact that DSD is non editable i(without PCM conversion) is a nonstarter for me. I am not "anal" enough to put $1600 into a SugarCube SC-1, my Puffin is good enough for vinyl playback. I only rip vinyl when rare music is otherwise unobtainable.

Whatever trips your trigger. We all have our "own" stubborn beliefs. As long as they are based on facts vs faith, all is good.

In short, Audirvana seems up to the task, while Foobar doesn't

I am able to get pure DSD out of the Foobar. So I feel it is a user setup issue and not software issue. What is the Output "device" that you have selected? It should be the ASIO+DSD one and not just the Topping that you might be selecting. Also under Preference -> Tools -> SACD try to seletc the output Type as "DSD" instead of "DSD+PCM".

That tutorial like that I have provided is excellent resource for setting up Foobar2000. Yes, Foobar2000 setup is a bit technical in nature. Hence most folks here don't want to deal with it. But the gains are awesome, once you set it up. If you think that Audirvana gives you the results, then that should be the way to go for you.

And you are correct - don't mess with DSF files to convert then to 2X or 4X DSD. The PCM files can be converted to 1X, 2X, 4X DSD if you use the "DSD Processor". The only other s/w that does NOT convert DSD to PCM while upsampling 1X DSD files to 2X, 4X DSD is the HQPlayer. But that requires even more complex setup, which might deter folks.

I recently came across a podcast where Peter Comeau from Mission mention that - the reason why people like upsampling to higher bit rates is because it pushes the noise to higher frequencies. Maybe that is why we prefer DSD to PCM? Whatever - but correct mastering is the key to a great recording.

@milpai - thanks! It worked! I selected the Asio+DSD device and SACD output to DSD. And tried another .dff file, since foo had some kind of hangup with the test file. Now I’ve got Foobar sound. The DAC displays 5,6 DSD, and the volume level is fixed, so it seems correct. Now, to the next step - comparing Foobar and Audirvana. They should sound identical, maybe ; - )

This is weird. I had it - and lost it! I got Foobar to play my dsd files using milpai's advice. For a while I switched back and forth between Foobar and Audirvana, testing for sound differences. Since I know that such programs can be jealous of each other, I was careful to turn off F when listening in A and vice versa. But then; no direct dsd sound in F! Just, back to pcm, with "176.4 pcm" on the dac display! Why? I didn't change anything in the Foobar setup. And a reboot did not help. This is seriously beyond my understanding. The impression is that Audirvana grabs hold of the pc with an iron fist, I can hear the slight click as it switches to direct DSD, and it plays my files with no problems so far. Foobar, on the other hand, does not. Or only maybe. Now and then, like they say. Puzzling.