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 .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.

Summary of results so far. The gap between pcm hires streaming and dsd is smaller than some years ago, but dsd still has the edge, to my ears. Direct dsd sounds better than dop (dsd over pcm). The low price Topping E30ii DAC, and the mid-price Teac NT-505, both take a major step up in sound quality, playing direct / native DSD, with the volume control disabled. On both units, DSD128 recordings sound better than DSD64.