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.

Ag insider logo xs@2xo_holter

I wish Foobar was easier...also for stable DSD native playback. Chime in, if anyone has an updated solution. I have great respect for all the work that has gone into the program. I realize that playback of DSD is still a niche. 'Addicted' people like @milpai and myself ; - . Foobar seems to work fine with PCM and maybe with upsampling to DSD also. 95 percent of all users? But NOT what I want. Just pure DSD playback. This is what Audirvana does with no hassle. So I think I will invest in the Origin version (one time investment). With a bit more testing, first. Fidelizer - this is not for pure DSD files, is it? I get sceptical to a program that wants to fix something that should be left alone...but, OK, I will try it. 

Testing Fidelizer + Audirvana vs Audirvana alone. Abba Voulez-vous from original LP, DSD 5,6 file. First impression, no dramatic change of the sound.

Testing the same Voulez-vous file in my main system, with the Teac NT-505, tube amps and big speakers. More meaty and layered sound (of course) than in my small office system. A better DAC. Next I listened to the same track through Qobuz streaming. It is only 44/16 pcm, yet holds its own in some ways. My LP is worn and has more noise. So at first the pcm stream simply sounds clearer and better. It is only after a while that I notice that the upper register is less delicate, the sound flatter, and more ’blaring’ or ’in my face’. To my ears.

However this gap is not as wide as it was ten years ago. And the plus and minus situation makes me wonder - is it worth it? DSD itself is maybe ’future proof’ for a while longer, but is vinyl? Analog production and playback has also developed, not just digital, although it was declared it dead long ago. When DIGITALLY REMASTERED was actually a sales sticker on LPs, rather than a no-no. The LP is not dead, and the recording of LPs is still meaningful.

This depends a lot on the LP, of course. The better the recording and production (and the vinyl), the better is the sound in the DSD recording as well. However I can enjoy DSD rips of lower quality recordings, like 1960s singles and EPs, also. They often have more "guts", for lack of a better word. In mono, at 45 rpm. This format paved the way for the consumer music business in the 1960s.

Given the current level of hassle with Foobar, if I was the OP I would just shell out for Audirvana, which in my past experience had pretty good support (the OP may want to investigate this during the trial period) or since this is a second system, bite the bullet for a relatively inexpensive streamer that does DSD, such as the iFi product.  If Foobar is this difficult to setup, consider what might happen down the road.  A software update of your computer OS might suddenly cause a malfunction, and then if you are back to square one you would like to be dealing with a product that was easier from the get go 

Thanks to all of you for discussion, and now to @mahler123 for comments. We are thinking along the same line. Quality companies like Audirvana deserve investment. I also hope Foobar comes with a better solution.


Audirvana on my Thinkpad T14 through Topping e30ii seems a good, portable and cost effective solution. Not sure, would an external iFi bring it further along. Maybe in my home office.