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

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. 

@o_holter , Fidelizer has nothing to do with DSD. It optimizes playback by shutting down unwanted services and daemons running in the background. There is something more that it might be doin. You can go to their website and lookup.

Like I said, Foobar2000 is not for everyone. I can set it up and configure it in under 30 minutes due to the sheer amount of time I have spent on understanding and setting it up on 2 previous laptops before I installed and set it up on my server. On website they have a thread on T+A DAC 200 and how to use HQPlayer with that DAC. It is far too complex than Foobar2000, but is supposed to provide the best possible DSD listening experience. Seems like you can convert even Tidal and Qobuz to DSD 512 or 1024. I am thinking of going that route, some years from now.