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Template for DSD Surround and Stereo Playback

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My DSD Template


Like you Iíve made the leap to deal with a technology oft maligned but which consistently sounds the best to my ears. It is a big investment in time and money to achieve full advantage of DSD in your system so buyer be ware. In a years time we may see shift to 32 bit music at which point PCM may reign supreme again, however, the file size vs quality leads me to say DSD will be relevant long into the future.

I though it might be valuable to some of you to share the way Iíve maximized use of SACD and DSD material to enjoy the music I love best.

Template 1: Surround Sound- DSD Surround Jute box via HDMI

I believe this is the real killer feature of DSD material. In order to enjoy DSD in surround, however you need a system capable of reproducing surround music (ie 5.1 speaker system or 5.0 I suppose) and probably SACD ripping capability (not easy) as most surround material is on physical discs (although you can purchase surround files from native DSD but they are usually more expensive than the discs). Many receivers, especially ones designed in Japan are capable of decoding DSD natively over HDMI. I think this is the crux of my blog post: how to get a DSD jute box going to store and reproduce surround DSD. So here it is, my template for doing so:
Hard drive 2TB or less with DSD rips in surround DSF format (formatted NTFS or Fat 32)-> usb input of Sony Blu-ray player capable of playing DSF files (ie BDP-S6200 cheap!)-> HDMI output to DSD native receiver-> 5.1 surround (its magic, really)

One could purchase a 4k+ dac and try to play from the computer but you can get a hold of a cheap Yamaha receiver with HDMI DSD native playback and a Sony Blu-ray player (check that it has this capability first) for pretty cheap. Spend the rest on good speakers.

Template 2: Stereo

My best stereo system is attached to my computer via a PCM only Dac that I bough last year for a considerable sum and I donít really want to go through the hassle of trying to sell it in favor of a dac that can do dsd but probably not PCM as well (especially where most material is in PCM still). So here is my stereo template
DSD download or SACD rip in Stereo-> Hybrid DSh file using DSD Master-> iTunes -> PCM Dac -> rotel/b&w stereo system

Both of these setups allows on-demand play of music which was my aim and while the surround setup is a bit of a hack it is native playback and sounds amazing. Canít wait for my SACD shipment from hong-kong to arrive. Keep it up Sony Hong-Kong!

Enjoy the music,
Tags: dsd, hdmi, stereo, surround


  1. YashN's Avatar
    Very cool template for DSD surround, arw. Thanks for sharing. Any model for the Yamaha receiver or any other one in mind? Would an Oppo BDP-105d do?
  2. arw's Avatar
    Even the baseline Yamaha RX-V377 (299 msrp) will decode DSD over HDMI. Others will too, just read the manual to make sure. I'm not arguing for Yamaha, however, my point is that this can be done rather cheaply; you don't need to be rich to enjoy this hobby and good music in general. I've gravitated towards direct to amplifier decoding (i.e. receiver via HDMI) for MC because I've noticed that even with the best outboard analogue 5ch transport there are sufficient timing errors introduced (esp with such detailed music as MC dsd) that you can tell a big difference when you switch to HDMI.
  3. ted_b's Avatar
    Hi. Good stuff. As a veteran of DSD multichannel playback I can tell you that 2TB is not enough hard drive space, but you can always add on. You will outgrow that in less than a few hundred albums unfortunately.

    But your template for universal player-to-receiver setup is a good one. Use what you save to invest in full range center and surrounds that match best with your mains. Enjoy.

    For those setups that require channel trims a Sony TAP-9000ES multichannel preamp can be had cheaply, and it has clean analog channel trims.
  4. YashN's Avatar
    arw, I don't have enough experience with this configuration to know, probably even if I look into the manuals. I think it would be very useful if we could make a list of all potential combinations of Blu-Ray player and Receiver which allow this. Realistic endeavour?
  5. ted_b's Avatar
  6. YashN's Avatar
    Just saw the first link's content and was going to post it before I saw you already did!

    Thanks, that helps a lot.

    I think an Oppo would do the job on its own, am I right?
  7. arw's Avatar
    Yash, Playback from an HD (specifically DSF MC)->HDMI is only possible as far as I know from BDP-S6200 and BDP-S7200 (undocumented feature). There may be more but those are the ones I know about. I don't think the oppo does this, its setup to accept a computer usb output (as a dac) requiring a dedicated source computer. It may have other dsd compatible inputs so you'll have to check (sd card slot?), I don't have one.
    Many HDMI transports exist (ted's list) but only those I have listed above work sans computer and or discs which is, again, the point of this template.

    Yes Ted, if one has a huge collection, a dedicated computer is probably your go-to (or have a really well organized and executed disc library, kind of 20th century stuff there though :). At that point you probably have the resources to afford a proper MC dac as well and a pre with balanced MC inputs. However, one of the goals as stated above is direct access to your amplifiers so as to minimize time distortions which you minimize on a receiver directly off of hdmi, eliminating cords and so on. Note that both the players I've listed here have two usb inputs so that one can have a total of 4gb of storage (you could also probably just get multiple bluray players as well at <200 a pop) which moves the max library one may access somewhat.
    Updated 06-07-2015 at 01:46 AM by arw
  8. arw's Avatar
    Lastly of note, one of the beautiful things about DSD is that it doesn't take a rocket scientist to find the last word in decoding it so most receivers that do native dsd will sound very nice indeed, another reason this template works quite well. Cheers.
  9. YashN's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by arw
    Yash, Playback from an HD (specifically DSF MC)->HDMI is only possible as far as I know from BDP-S6200 and BDP-S7200 (undocumented feature). There may be more but those are the ones I know about. I don't think the oppo does this
    I believe the Oppo does. Check this:

    and this one on audiocircle.