why dsd

Until a few days ago, i had never heard of dsd. Apparently it was developed thru sony/philips and used as the foundation for super audio. Why is everyone so hyped on this. I have had a sony 9100es for several years and have a handful of discs. Big deal. I am selling the damn thing and will toss in the discs if anyone is interested. I get the waive stuff bla bla bla. Yes- digital can sometimes sound bad, but have you ever listened to a poorly engineered record. Ugh. Less to do with the medium and more to do with the recording

My MAc mini into my C2 sounds good and upgraded spotify is great.

We are so caught up in hype. We split hairs over everything and talk about stuff that only an electrical engineer gets. We call 4k budget gear! Are you kidding me???

Music is something that touches your soul, and we don't listen in a perfect room with a lab coat on. If my foot taps then I'm happy.

I am trying to buy a dac with pre and HT pass, not because I am going to squeeze an additional drop of shimmer out of my system, but because I need something easier for my family to use.

Stop buying into hype! Records sound great but digital is more convenient and has opened the door to a world of music that should blow you away. If you are more concerned with being sold than just enjoying the music then you are missing the point.

Any thoughts on a dac/pre combo with bypass :-)
Post removed 
Famoej, Absolutely - if you're satisfied then don't spend money. On the other hand 16/44.1 processing has its own problems and that's why engineers introduced new schemes. SACD is DSD and carries more info. Whole thing started with new types of DACs that perform Delta-Sigma modulation. Today a lot of DACs use Delta-Sigma D/A converter. It is converting digital data into stream of pulses with varying duty cycle. It is followed by lowpass filter that returns average value of the stream. DSD/SACD is this stream recorded and CDP adds only lowpass filter. Delta-Sigma converter allows to get better resolution by means of dithering and lower noise by pushing quantization noise above audible range. A/D converters that produce DSD stream, have most likely single pole low pass filters set high above audio band, resulting in better pulse response.

As for DSD being only for engineers and "more concerned with being sold than just enjoying the music then you are missing the point" - this is an audio forum concerned with achieving the best possible sound. Music is just only one area of discussion here.
Mate - its simple - utterly simple.

Go out and listen to gear and make up your own mind.

Until a while ago the best DAC I had heard was a Playback Designs via DSD. But recently I have heard two PCM DAC's that best it - a Killer and Phasure - and I prefer the Killer which uses an old Phillips Double Crown 44.1 16 bit chip. This modern stuff isn't the be all and end all by a long shot - let your ears decide.

Kijanki ... admittedly I don't understand anything about Delta-Sigma DACs or Alpha-Pi-Omega D/As configureed in quad mono mode, or this or that. But I have a thread running about redbook CD not being a dead medium. I maintain that redbook CD can still provide a meaningful, engaging and enjoyable musical experience if the source material is well engineered and recorded.

My contention about redbook CD is validated, at least to me, when I listen to "Gold" quality CDs, e.g., from Mobile Fidelity. I also bought a pot pourrie box of used classical CDs from a vender here on A'gon. I'm listening to a surprise CD out of the box right now: Stravinsky's Rites of Spring. Excellent!!

There's also a couple of technical articles I've read which make a convincing case, at least to this non-techie, that the redbook CD format is quite capable of rendering an exellent musical experience. The author of one article credibly maintains that the so-called "problem" with the medium isn't its technical foundation. Rather, it's the crummy quality of engineering, mastering and recording. My personal experiences anecdotally support that view.

DSD ... sure. I'll bite, or at least take nibble, if the industry settles on a standard format and I am convinced there's as much attention paid to engineering and recording quality as there is to "quality electrons." :)

Most of the excitement is due to the limited quantities of really well-recorded tracks and the fact that it is hi-res compared to CD sample-rate. If they took this kind of care to record CD tracks, they would be even better than DSD IMO.

I have compared a number of dual-layer PCM/DSD disks and I always find the PCM layer of the same recording to sound even better than the DSD layer.

Even with this result, I must offer some DSD capability in my products in order to compete in the current computer audio market. Its what the customers want and expect.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
DSD is not a big concern to me. I have a Wyred Dac1 which was all of 999.00. I have had it for 2 years and am more than satisfied and I get 192K from my dedicated laptop going through a Musical V-Link 192 usb/spdif converter. I rip all my sacd's using the Sony PS2 method into flac.

So why would I need DSD?
I have never heard a redbook disk played back through one of the $40,000 - $100,000 digital sources. Based on current projections- which do not include any form of retirement, and a child bound for college - I will never own such a thing. If you have heard or owned digital at this level, how good does redbook sound? Better than a $10,000 tt/phono pre/cartridge? As good as? So far, regardless of the numerous advantages of digital, ime, records sound more enjoyable. I sort of take it on faith that sufficiently large sampling rates, possibly even dsd, may be equivalent to analogue, especially to my aging ears, but...there is just something about analogue that reaches me in a way no digital sound ever has.
I almost gave up on recorded music in the 80's, until I figured out the problem was cd's and solid state amplification. Never did get on the SACD bandwagon. Got away from all that, and have had listenable sound ever since. It would be great to avoid the hassles of tubes and lp's, but...
Not repeating the stupid digital/analogue argument here, just asking about the experiences of those who have heard better digital equipment than I.
Lloyd ... if you look at Stereophile's 2013 List of Recommended Components, you'll see some reasonably priced and highly regarded redbook CD players listed. I think the cost of top grade CDPs has gotten to the point where the entry cost will not require you to sell your kids off to buy a great product.

I think Steve N's comment about the real problem *not* being the technology per se, but rather the recording and engineering quality, is spot on. I believe it is possible for redbook CD to provide a satisfying musical experience if the source material is of good quality.

And I do have a decent vinyl set up which sounds pretty ok, provided the LP is well recorded. But you know, sometimes I just want to listen to my music while reading a book or fiddling with my computer and not get up off my lazy old butt after 15 or 20 minutes to flip the friggin' record.
Bifwynne, many people believe that high bit rate MP3 or AAC can sound even better than Redbook CD. If 16/44.1 satisfies you that's great. It is funny that many reviewers who praised SACD playback claim at the same time that CD layer playback performance of these players was substandard - just the opposite to Audioengr experience. I rejected SACD for other reasons. They have very limited selection, cost more, cannot be used in server and cannot be backed-up.
Kijanki, I'm on another computer. My wife confiscated my computer.

I mentioned all of that because I have the URL link of an article that makes a good case in support of the redbook CD format. Similarly notworthy is that the author also explains why the CD layer of many SACD discs had substandard sound performance. I'll pass along the link when I get my computer back.

"Until a few days ago, i had never heard of dsd. Apparently it was developed thru sony/philips and used as the foundation for super audio. Why is everyone so hyped on this. I have had a sony 9100es for several years and have a handful of discs. Big deal. I am selling the damn thing and will toss in the discs if anyone is interested. I get the waive stuff bla bla bla. Yes- digital can sometimes sound bad, but have you ever listened to a poorly engineered record. Ugh. Less to do with the medium and more to do with the recording"

If you just found out about SACD a few days ago, how did you end up with a handful of discs? Also, why not take some time to at least try the format before passing judgement on it, one way or the other? You already have the equipment.
I remember getting a launch PS3 many years ago. One of the first gen units that also played SACDs. I didn't get the hype.

I compared the CD layer to the SACD layer and in my budget home theatre system, I didn't see what the hype was all about.

And then I had the chance to hear some really well designed SACD players. A friend of mine had gotten the EMM Labs TSD and DAC2 combo and it was spectacular. The DAC converted all signals (PCM/DSD) into 2xDSD and it was clear to me that the DAC was doing something right - even when converting CDs to 2xDSD.

I think the technology has improved many fold since the SACD was introduced. EMM Labs, Playback Designs and dCS all build their own custom DSD DACs (not off the shelf chips) which really show the advantage of DSD.

These days, there's trickle down technology from more affordable offerings like Teac, Mytek and Benchmark so I think there's some momentum behind the DSD train.

It's enough to get Sony to tie up with an online reseller to sell their old catalog of SACD titles as DSD downloads. I think that's a really good thing. Some of the old SACDs are out of print and cost a bomb. So this way, we get the quality recordings but without the crazy mark ups.
SACD or DSD Hi-Res files can sound better than cd. They don't always, but they should and frequently do.

We have not yet reached the pinnacle of sound reproduction. The sound quality of recordings continues to improve as time goes on. DSD is part of this improvement. It can be a major improvement.

If you don't care about sound quality, what are you doing here? You could save a lot of money shopping at BestBuy or ebay.

I don't know yet to what extent I will jump on the DSD "flavor of the day" bandwagon, but I certainly want to at least check it out for grins and giggles.
If you have the beatles white album on original vinyl you needed at some time the original MFSL vinyl. then the cassette, then the CD. Once we all bought the CD there was nothing else to buy, until we were told that vinyl was better again so we needed the new "audiophile" vinyl reissue. then the 45 rpm reissue. somewhere along the way we also needed SACD. Then we were told we really needed to download it cause everything prior sucked. Add a re-re-reissue super quality 33 rpm vinyl somewhere along the way. Wow, finally, we can enjoy an album. Nope, we were wrong all along, to really enjoy it we need DSD download. In the future it will be DSDx4, DSDx8 etc. Then LMNOP then QRST. See, the biggest reason to go DSD is so we can keep buying the same thing over and over again. Isn't' that fun!
"many reviewers who praised SACD playback claim at the same time that CD layer playback performance of these players was substandard"

This is not so surprising. I believe it is actually easier to design a good DSD DAC/SACD player than a good CD player/DAC. As a result the quality of the SACD hardware will probably beat the CD hardware in most players.

When I made these comparisons it was with a top-end SACD player that I had highly modified, both SACD and CD sections. They were both terrific, but it really showed that the CD layer was more live and accurate than the SACD layer in most recordings. Particularly obvious in classical recordings.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Steve, do you think that recording music in pure DSD and mixing for SACD in mind could make a difference?

I wish they would stop compressing music. It might be necessary to allow playback on small speakers or boomboxes but when you select audiophile intended media like SACD it should allow full 120dB dynamic range of SACD to be utilized.
"Steve, do you think that recording music in pure DSD and mixing for SACD in mind could make a difference?"

Certainly, but the quality of the A/D, the master record clock and the mixing etc. all matters. I'm shocked most of the time when I find out how the average recording studio captures a digital track. They are not doing nearly as good as job as we are on the playback side and their equipment choices are disappointing IMO. Finding a recording engineer that is a believer in quality cables is almost impossible. They typically don't mix for the audiophile, they mix for the boom-box and car stereo.

Some of the best tracks I have heard were captured using multi-track analog tape and then mixed with analog mixers and then finally digital conversion to 24/192. They used a variety of audiophile cables too.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Speaking from a long-term experience with PCM and DSD converted to PCM, I must say that the only way of approaching Analog is with DSD.

Both PCM and DSD are fine in the digital domain, and both have their problems when it comes to converting them to analog. But, for example, DSD can be converted to analog with a simple Low Pass Filter. Please do not try this with PCM.

Simply, to me, DSD is Analog and PCM is Digital. And this how these formats compare when it comes to sound quality.

Above said, you really need a real PCM D/A converter and a real DSD D/A converter in order to truly compare the two formats. Anything else will not do a justice, IMO.

To have a better example, between DSD and PCM conversion to Analog, you cannot use a microphone preamp with vinyl, and the other way around.

Just my 2 cents, as usual. :-)

Best wishes,
Alex Peychev
"They" can't make anyone buy anything. If you are happy with your 1980s vintage Lp or Cd or just don't want to buy an album more than once it is your inalienable right to not buy it again in another format.

There are many albums I won't buy again and others that I might. I'm glad that efforts to improve the sound quality of recordings continue.

I agree with Steve that much more needs to be done on the recording end of the process. That's probably where the biggest improvements could come from.
I find joy in many different formats. Good vinyl sounds great. And so do well-recorded CDs and SACDs and DVD-A discs. It really comes down to the mastering, the media is decidedly of secondary importance...

I love all the responses. I sit there and try to listen to music. I have heard bad, good and great. I am drawn into all the hype just like everyone else who is into gear and music.

BTW- I said I had SACD for several years- listened to the 20 discs a lot which I own and also happen to have as standard. While I notice an analog softening in the sound., my breath has never been taken away.

Again, I have had stuff in the chain that just did not fit. Not saying it's bad, just did not fit sonically with my setup.

Digital makes my life easier. I can even listen to spotify. How often do I get the chance or permission to turn the lights down and chill for an hour of hard listening??? Not often, but the first thing I do when I get home is fire up the gear.
dont be mean- I love it all- Have been into audio since I was 12 and I'm almost 50- My dad was an original audiophile and more home was music 24/7

I have never owned a receiver, not even at 12. I troll AG and drool at all the great stuff. I just don't buy into some of the magic.

I'm sure if I could afford a 10k dac that I would buy one and appreciate it as well.
I am simply suggesting that there is only so much one can squeeze out of technology.

Are we simply not trying to achieve the effect of the real thing- Have not heard that yet, but that does not mean that I do not enjoy trying to recreate it or at least being happy with what I have.
Davt wins!! and i own the while album on vinyl and CS- plus mono box reissues
good thread and I did not mean to stir up haters- I spend good money on SACD and just did not appreciate what I paid for.

LOVE my records but I have had some my entire life and they just can't be played anymore.

I know that there will be some technology that will improve our experience and others that will not. A lot of this is personal. My ears vs yours.

I just feel that some things are simply shoved at us for the wrong reasons.
Redbook gets a bad reputation that's unfounded, it is a very good format as others here have noted. The root determining factor is quality of the recording process. If done with skill and concern the sound quality is quite good, natural and conveys much emotion. To be fair certain genres (jazz for example) consistently sound superior to most pop and rock recordings. It seems there's less temptation to process jazz and classical music, and certainly in general there's less compression utilized. With quality digital components 16/44 is very satisfying and very plentiful in choice, my library keeps expanding.
"02-06-14: Davt
Ok Zd542. I will do what you say right away."

I was just kidding. Sorry if you took it as anything else.
"I was just kidding" the shortcomings of text . There's no substitute for direct talking and voice inflections.
Oh, I am just chuckling at us all. We are all so worried that we are doing it right we fail to enjoy the experience. There is very little I take offense to at all. I think it's good to laugh at ourselves. "High End Audio" really does not make sense. My first system upon return to audio about 10 years ago cost $3200 and I was so excited with it and enjoyed it so much. Now I have spent nearly 30 times that and have not yet fully captured that first system excitement.
Until ylou try DSD with a filter box like the Lampi DSD (no Dac chip used) you dont know what the potential of DSD is.

As to the talk of limited supply, if you have a PS3 ripper, you can go buy tons of 2nd hand SACDs for cheap on Amazon and Ebay and rip away to build up an impressive DSD library.

Quie frankly, I love well recorded DSD and PCM and want the flexibility to play both.

Nothing touches DSD128 in my experience, by the way, NOTHING.
I'm on my third DAC, just recently purchased a MSB Analog DAC and I have been playing all types of file formats, 16 bit, 24 bit, with most of the various bit rates, and both PCM and DSD and I have also used several different player software programs including Decibel, JRiver, and Audirvana (my current player). My music server setup has also evolved to the point where I now run Audirvana on a Mac Mini and store all my music files on a 3TB external FireWire drive connected to the Mini.

In all instances, every time I compare a DSD 64 formatted song/album with the same music in any PCM format I have always liked the DSD version better. I don't know the technical reasons why that might be the case, but to me the DSD file format always sounds much more like vinyl. It doesn't sound exactly like vinyl but it has that relaxed, warm, musical sound that is just more fun to listen to and to me it just sounds more real.

Now, I always hunt for the the DSD version of any music before I buy downloads.
Hi Davt,
Have you given thought to returning to your initial system? If was far less money and most likely simpler. The systems that communicate emotion and make you happier are the best.
Wisnon wrote "... if you have a PS3 ripper, you can go buy tons of 2nd hand SACDs for cheap on Amazon and Ebay and rip away to build up an impressive DSD library."

I for one would love to get my hands on a PS3 ripper and rip DSD files from all the SACDs I already own, but the information I've found on the Web about how one actually goes about doing this is completely useless.

If anyone has a link to a step-by-step procedure that anyone can follow without having to be an Einstein, please share it! Because all of the so-called "how-to instructions" that I've seen about PS3 SACD ripping might as well be written in Klingon, that's how incomprehensible they are.
I would like to do this as well, but I hear you have to buy a certain PS3 at a certain date and have it altered. I think the work to do this is unbelievable. I would be glad to let someone do this for me for a fee.
Charles1dad, yes, I often think of simpler times. I figure that if I read enough reviews telling me what I am supposed to like I will eventually find the joy of youth. Actually, my current system sound so freaking good right now I will gladly suffer for a few more years as things sit. But no upgrades for a long long time. Even if they come out with a turntable for my car.
Once you truly enjoy listening to your system it's time to just relax and appreciate what you have.
Hi all,
I just heard about a dsd download remastererd from an original 24/192 master - Lyn Stanley- at Blue Coast Records.
Why would they do that? Most dsd dacs can do 24/192 anyway.
Can a dsd file remastered from 24/192 really sound better than the original 24/192?
I downloaded the 24/192 format and it sounds great but I can't compare with dsd because my dac does not do dsd.
they had a turntable for the car- search on the web- but only in hd- you just cant experience it unless it's in the newest hd visual version :-)

loved this thread
JWM and Gz,

I just saw this.

PM me over at audiocircle and I can hook you up best I can.
Hi Wisnon, thanks for your offer. I just now registered at audiocircle, but I gather from site instructions that, as a new member, I won't be able to exchange PMs for awhile. Whenever I find that I can do the PM thing, I will give you a holler.
Didnt think you wanted to post your email publicly JWM. Gopher has my contact info. Use him to reach me....