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 realize this resembles a one man show, but so be it.

Problem with micro sd card - after full format in Tascam - solved.

Problem with .dff playback in Foobar - not solved. It insists on playing them as pcm, whatever components and outputs I try (foo_this, foo_that). While .dsf files play fine, as 'true' dsd. Maybe in some systems it doesn't matter, but in my case, the true dsd playback (where volume is disabled) is truly worth it. 

Happily, Audirvana plays both .dff and .dsf just fine. I also wonder if it plays the .dsf files a bit better than Foobar. Slightly more sonic space, and no breaks/gaps like I sometimes think I hear in Foobar (maybe, a buffer problem). Not sure, though.

Testing recently recorded LPs like Beatles: Magical mystery tour, the German Horzu version with true stereo. If you have rare costly LPs like this you owe it to yourself to record them to DSD. And the better the sound of the original LP the better it is from the DSD file.

It can be subtle, though. In this and many other cases, the streaming version of the album (on Qobuz) is not actually the original. It is "remastered 2009" whatever that means. They have obviously tried to fix the sonic problems of the original. Superficially, for a short while, it sounds better. In the longer run, no. 

 

 

Testing .dsf file playback with Audirvana vs Foobar. I am not able to hear any clear difference. Also, no breaks/gaps. Testing Doors: LA woman, Analog production 2 x LP at 45 rpm. Sounds great. This has been some days work, but I have now recorded 77GB of .dsf files (24 albums). To be played back in whatever system I use. I now have a total of 214 albums, 750GB, thanks to the Tascam recorder, and a small portable WD Passport 5TB disk.

Foobar issue fixed, it now plays .dff as well as .dsf files correctly. Trivial reason: I was running v 1.6.4. I upgraded to the latest (v 2) and updated the DSD and SACD components also. The Topping E30ii dac needed a restart. Now, it displays the correct DSD rate (5,64), and this is displayed correctly in Foobar also.

A new test.

Beach boys: Holland - a classic from 1973. The qobuz streaming is clearer, and quite good. My vinyl rip from the original LP is more noisy. It is a quite even match, give and take.

Karpe: Omar sherrif (2023). This is interesting since it is a frontline good-sounding production, from one of Norway's best bands. I compare the Qobuz streaming to my recording of my vinyl version of the album.

Here, the wear and tear factor with the vinyl is less obvious. It is clearer that the vinyl sounds better than the streaming version, This is probably due to a better master used on the vinyl version compared to the streaming version.

 

Some more comparison. Is DSD worth it?

First, from the Native DSD sampler, Shostakovitsj. Sounds good. A well recorded symphony orchestra with no compression. Maybe it sounds just as nice in PCM. 

Second, my DSD128 recording of Grateful Dead: Dancing in the street, live from Cornell 1977, recorded from LP. Recorded from a good source - my 5 LP box from this concert. Better than streaming? Maybe.