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  1. #1

    DXD and DSD DACs

    After CES 2011 I expected to hear some news on DXD and DSD DACs on the horizon. Have I missed something?

    Obviously the more sites that offer DSD or DXD downloads is great but I was hoping that 2011 would be the year for native playback computer audio solutions for DSD or DXD instead of using players, like HQPlayer or Audiogate, that convert these files in realtime before playing.

  2. #2
    Pseudo Journalist Part-Time Audiophile's Avatar
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    Playback

    I think the only DACs on the market currently that can handle DSD playback are the new ones from Playback Designs. And they do it over USB no less.

  3. #3
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    Yes, The Playback Designs 3 series (MPS-3) will be released

    in the late Spring. When I saw and heard it at CES it was mostly doing very nice DXD (meaning 24/352), just as the M2Tech Young DAC can do (I have that one inhouse currently). Jonathan's plan is to have the MPS-3 do all the way to DSD (2.8Mhz) via USB but I didn't hear that at CES. And players/software for true DSD will be a tough find.
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

    My JRiver screencast tutorials : http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f1...tml#post272960
    My DSD database: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...ySk/edit#gid=0
    My SACD Ripping Guide (needs updating but still works): https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...r%20v4.0.1.pdf

    US Technical Advisor, NativeDSD.com: www.nativedsd.com

  4. #4

    There will be soon the Mytek

    There will be soon the Mytek Stereo 192 DAC that will be able to decode DSD through USB.

  5. #5
    Sophomore Member pacwin's Avatar
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    DXD and DSD DACs


    Korg are working on a DSD USB based DAW

    http://www.recordingmag.com/news/display/501.html
    http://www.studiotrax.net/forums/showthread.php?t=45766

    Obviously it wont be cheap but the direction is emerging.

    I would prefer it if who ever designs these DACS could add an I2S and HDMI input into the back of thse things as well as the usual input connections and follow the lead of M2Tech and handle 32/384 PCM as well. While they are at it a connection for an optional external clock, optional external battery power source would be good. Actually a decent volume control, so I can directly drive my power amps perhaps also with switchable impedance so I can match the imput impedance on various power amps would be great as well. Oh and a proper touchscreen digital display/UI controller with real time waveforms and spectra, inset into the top of the DAC that pops up on little angled hydraulic arms.

    And there should be a multichannel option version for those who want to download 6 channel DSD files or route their bluray/dvd-A/dvd-V audio through it.

    Oh and another option would be to have the ability/option to apply some kind of real time room correction capabilities (Audyssey/ARC etc) processing to PCM data. Yeah so several FAT DSP CPUs in there as well.

    Okay whose got other requirements?





  6. #6

    My only requirements are

    1. Excellent state of the art sonics at an affordable price

    2. DSD64 and DSD128 playback capability

    Item 1) is obvious and should be the goal of almost all audiophiles. For me any price around $2K or less is an impulse buy. Anything approaching $5K is painful and any purchase would require a 30-60 day no questions ask return policy and my purchase probably be delayed 9 months or longer until the product proved itself for superior sonics in the marketplace.

    Item 2) is firm requirement for me since I presently record analog at DSD128 and I believe that the release of the treasure of thousands of existing DSD64 audio files is the easy future for the availability of excellent high resolution music.



  7. #7
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    Requirements

    Okay whose got other requirements?

    All you need is a PC with a recent multicore CPU to begin with. All the listed things can be done already... And more in future.

    No need for FAT DSP CPUs for computer audiophiles.

    Signalyst - http://www.signalyst.com
    Developer of HQPlayer

  8. #8
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    Two things:

    1) I misspoke (mis-typed). The Playback Designs Series 3 DAC will do 5.6Mhz when released, not "just" 2.8Mhz.
    2) Does anyone feel that DXD (24/352) is enough, or is somewhat of an equivalent to 1 bit DSD? The data rate is 8.4672 Mbit/s per channel – three times that of DSD64 (according to the ever-reliable wikipedia ). Just asking...I've no dog in this.
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

    My JRiver screencast tutorials : http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f1...tml#post272960
    My DSD database: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...ySk/edit#gid=0
    My SACD Ripping Guide (needs updating but still works): https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...r%20v4.0.1.pdf

    US Technical Advisor, NativeDSD.com: www.nativedsd.com

  9. #9
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    DXD vs DSD

    2) Does anyone feel that DXD (24/352) is enough, or is somewhat of an equivalent to 1 bit DSD? The data rate is 8.4672 Mbit/s per channel – three times that of DSD64 (according to the ever-reliable wikipedia ). Just asking...I've no dog in this.

    My own subjective estimate is that sonically DSD64 is quite close to 176.4/24 PCM and DSD128 is quite close to 352.8/24 PCM.

    Maybe something like DSD64 = 132.3/24 and DSD128 = 264.6/24.

    Signalyst - http://www.signalyst.com
    Developer of HQPlayer

  10. #10

    I guess I need to tighten up or clarify my requirements

    After posting my earlier 2 requirements I realized that my existing Korg MR2000S already does this and more. Unfortunately DSD64 and DSD128 playback is limited to the internal 80GB hard drive. The USB in the Korg is limited to transferring files to and from the computer, which is a workaround that is not as convenient as playing directly from the computer. Of course sonically playback from the internal drive may be preferred by some since it removes many of the sonic negative effects of the computer and interconnects from the listening environment. So to clarify I want:

    1. Excellent state of the art sonics at an affordable price, a unit sonically on par with the likes of the LIO-8, M2Tech Young DAC, Mytek Stereo 192 DAC, or the Phasure NOS1 DAC. Perhaps this is a tall order but these are some of the leading DACs on my radar screen and any DAC that I purchase will be compared against one or more of these DACs assuming I can arrange the necessary evaluation periods.

    2. DSD64 and DSD128 playback capability without any conversions to PCM resolutions and DSD64 and DSD128 playback from an external hard drive or computer. I would think that either a modified Oppo BDP-95 or the next generation Oppo could achieve this within budget, though my preference would still be a Windows or Mac computer.

  11. #11
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    Audiozorro, I think we ALL want the sonics of a LIO-8 or similar

    level of DAC...that will do DSD....for the price of an Oppo!! Let us know when you find one. The Oppos and LIO-8s are built and targeted to way different quality levels, and the ESS Sabre chip in the Oppo can't be modified to accept DSD128 (nor would they, there is no consumer market for DSD128 in their eyes).
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

    My JRiver screencast tutorials : http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f1...tml#post272960
    My DSD database: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...ySk/edit#gid=0
    My SACD Ripping Guide (needs updating but still works): https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...r%20v4.0.1.pdf

    US Technical Advisor, NativeDSD.com: www.nativedsd.com

  12. #12

    I may be dreaming but for a moment share my dream

    I was assuming the price of an audiophile quality DSD64, DSD128, DXD DAC could easily be at the $2K level or twice the price of the upcoming Oppo BDP-95. For less than $1000, the Oppo BDP-95 plays all PCM resolutions up to 24/192 and internally at least plays DSD64 without conversion to PCM. Add DSD128 and DXD capabilities and what do you think the price could be? Is it impossible for 3rd party modders to take on this upgrade if Oppo is not interested?

    The Korg MR2000S currently does A/D and D/A at all PCM resolutions up to 24/192, DSD64 and DSD128. It is currently available at Sweetwater for less than $1800. Take away all the recording features, the A/D capabilities, and the internal 80GB hard drive and what would you estimate the price could be? The Korg MR2000S is already highly regarded sonically, strip out what I suggest and how much more would you suppose it would cost to achieve spectacular sonics.

    I believe that with the current 25% discounts being offered now the Metro Halo ULN-2 which is not state of the art would be approximately $1275 and the state of the art LIO-8 is approximately $3000. If Metro Halo were to update the ULN-2 to a LIO-2 what do you think the price could be? Or using the LIO-8 take away the A/D capabilities, limit the DAC to just two channels and add DSD/DXD capabilities and what do you think the price could be?

    I think even Gordon suggested that it would not be that difficult to add DSD64 and DSD128 to his future Wavelength DACs if the demand were there.

    So if I'm dreaming, let me enjoy my beautiful dreams. In my mind it's not a question of if, it's only a question of when. And given the fact that many audiophiles like me are more than willing to spend $45 on HRx discs or $60 on audiophile LPs, it does not take much for someone to open the tap on the existing libraries of high resolution DSD albums and make great profits.

    And if my kids are representatives for what music consumers will be in the future, I suggest that the music industry act soon on this potential DSD profit bonanza, before folks like me disappear.


  13. #13

    Audiozorro, can you please clarify?

    Are you saying that MH products are being offered at 25% discounts from the published prices, or are you speculating that the prices would be about 25% lower if some of the features were stripped out?
    Nick

  14. #14

    I was referring to the 25% discounts from published prices

    that were discussed here and on other audio forum sites. Here is one dealer's current discount offer:

    http://www.graniterocks.com/GraniteRocksLive/Granite_Rocks_Live.html


  15. #15

    Not to go all Bill Clinton on you, but...


    2) Does anyone feel that DXD (24/352) is enough


    I'm afraid that depends on your definition of "enough". Just as there probably won't ever be a definitive "enough" when it comes to megapixels for cameras, I think that in this singularity-driven world we live in a valuable sanity-relief-valve on this sort of parameter has melted away.

    Back in the "old days", there was good enough, and there was something better than that which only a handful of people could afford...and that was that. Now we live in a world where that (perhaps artificial) economy of specs has been turned on its ear.

    I suspect as the technology continues to improve, there will always be someone who can, or at least thinks they can, hear a difference. If I live long enough (let's see, maybe 10 years?) I fully expect to see the same question raised when somebody finally has a way to up the ante from 64/1Gbps audio up to 128/2Gbps audio. There is no particular reason for it to end somewhere, and no way to look back and definitively say when the last real difference occurred and it was all Emperor's new clothes beyond that point.

    It took awhile for me to finally admit to myself that I could hear a difference between iTunesPlus and Redbook. I haven't yet graduated to being able to reliably hear a difference between good Redbook and good HiRes. I'm hoping that doesn't happen until after I can get something other than Britney Spears in HiRes.
    New guy here - old guy elsewhere...Mac Mini - BitPerfect - USB - Schiit Bifrost DAC - shit cable - Musical Fidelity A3.5 - home-brew speakers designed to prioritize phase and time response (Accuton ceramic dome drivers and first-order crossovers) and a very cheaply but well corrected room...old head, old ears, conventionally connected to an old brain with outdated software.

    "It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled." -- Mark Twain

  16. #16
    Masters Level Member ted_b's Avatar
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    Jeff in SD, I didn't mean 'enough" in your context.

    My words were whether anyone felt DXD was enough of an approximation to DSD that we don't need pure DSD. Of course we are never happy with "enough".
    "We're all bozos on this bus"....F.T.

    My JRiver screencast tutorials : http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f1...tml#post272960
    My DSD database: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...ySk/edit#gid=0
    My SACD Ripping Guide (needs updating but still works): https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...r%20v4.0.1.pdf

    US Technical Advisor, NativeDSD.com: www.nativedsd.com

  17. #17

    Ah, I see...enough formats

    I definitely think we have enough formats.

    Just chalk my comment above up to the ramblings of a lunatic then.


    New guy here - old guy elsewhere...Mac Mini - BitPerfect - USB - Schiit Bifrost DAC - shit cable - Musical Fidelity A3.5 - home-brew speakers designed to prioritize phase and time response (Accuton ceramic dome drivers and first-order crossovers) and a very cheaply but well corrected room...old head, old ears, conventionally connected to an old brain with outdated software.

    "It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled." -- Mark Twain

  18. #18
    Junior Member 57gold's Avatar
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    What are you guys gonna play....

    On this ultra hi rez sh*%???

    In last week I have visited about a half dozen "hi rez" download sources and they have crap to sell...goofy chamber music, unknown artists and the guys who are known to anyone but their relatives are dead jazz guys who recorded in analog tape in the 1960s... oh, yeah, there is the 4th or 5th reissue of Gaucho for your hi rez listening pleasure.

    OK being a bit harsh...but other than guys who have recording studios, who needs this stuff to listen to music...as opposed to listen to their stereo's resolution?
    Tone with Soul

  19. #19

    My priorities are music first, high resolution second

    SA-CD.net lists over 6800 SACDs. If I assume that only half are DSD in origin and not some converted PCM then perhaps there are 3400 pure DSD albums. Assuming that I would only want to buy 10% of these, that's 340 albums. That's enough of a reason for me to want pure DSD64.

    By contrast I have less than 10 24/48 albums, maybe 50 24/96 albums, 20 24/176.4 albums, and 10 24/192 albums. I have no DXD albums but I have maybe 5 DXD tracks.

    The lion's share of my music library is several thousand LPs and perhaps one thousand CDs (assuming I count my box sets as one CD, rather than the actual number of CDs in the box set). So my primary interests should be vinyl playback and 16/44.1 playback, perhaps the same 16/44.1 upsampled to 24/176.4. I also have an interest in DSD128 since I digitize some of my LPs to DSD128.

    Is DXD was enough of an approximation to DSD that we don't need pure DSD? Only if DSD64 converted to DXD is sonically superior than pure DSD64. Some folks feel that most conversions should be avoided but I only care if the converted file sounds better. I will be happy to take any hardware or software that has DXD capability but I have little demand or need for it.



  20. #20

    SW player for true DSD

    I more think the challenge is on the DAC side (even if sometimes it may be "only" a firmware/driver issue as some DAC chips already have DSD capability. May need some more on the analog side though...), than on the SW player side.
    On OSX, it would be something as simple as playing in Integer Mode a 1bit 2.8MHz stream. And I'll be happy to implement it in Audirvana (I also have a good number of SACDs I'll love to hear with the same quality increase I got from moving the RBCD playback from the CD player to computer+DAC).

    Damien
    MBP 15"/Mac Mini, Audirvana Plus, Audioquest Diamond USB, AMR DP-777, exD DSD DAC (for DSD), Audioquest Niagara balanced/Viard Audio Design Silver HD, Accuphase E-560, Cabasse Sumatra MT420

  21. #21
    Senior Member PeterSt's Avatar
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    Worth-while ?

    You should let weigh-in the redbook albums !
    I guess that would lead you to a CD player.

    :-)

    But in the end I'm serious. I think the story is known : I have over 300 hires albums (already a lot I think) but I exactly *never* play them. There is just no need for it ! The chance they sound better is near to zero.

    So here I am. I *have* such a DXD DAC. And yes, it is true that the native DXD tracks really sound better. But what to do with that ? Must I really step away from Black Sabbath and fall in love with Beethoven ?

    Even with all 6800 SACDs in your pocession, it won't be your favorites, and I guess that is never going to happen anymore either.

    AZ, I only want to say : you seem one of the most in-depth researchers for where to get the best sound from. The most serious too. Good sensors ? yes.
    But maybe don't get obsessed by something which isn't worth while anyway. If it was, I would be hunting for it too. Or I would have made another type of DAC (and DSD really has been within my horizon).

    About the worth-while : we can disagree of course. But hey, there are an infinite number of redbooks waiting for you, and they really can be so much better. If not today, then tomorrow.

    Peter

    PS: Not sure why I responded to this. But I guess I just wanted to share your grief - somehow.

    XXHighEnd (developer)
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  22. #22
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    SACD and DSD

    I'm a big fan of Mahler and Shostakovich and have quite a number of SACDs with these. Mostly pure DSD recordings. Redbook is just insufficient to for properly representing the dynamic swings of their symphonies with all the detail and it's still only stereo. And as particularly challenging for any recording equipment is Mahler's 8th, which I'm yet to hear satisfying recording of...

    Just compare how a well-recorded symphony sounds in Redbook stereo vs 5.0 channel SACD (or 5.1 channel FLAC for that matter)...

    People who don't enjoy, or want to listen, unprocessed classical music probably don't find much point for SACD. There's not that much other type of material available as pure DSD recordings. Even though it would be possible to multitrack-record in DSD and then mix and master in analog table and store the final result in DSD again.

    Second reason for me wanting DSD128 is that I've found it to best preserve the sonic characteristics of analog audio, be it from microphones or LP transfer.

    Even if there's a playback side conversion of DSD to PCM, there's still less conversions in total recording-playback chain if the recording was made in pure DSD, than there is in any PCM recording made with modern hardware.

    Signalyst - http://www.signalyst.com
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  23. #23
    Senior Member PeterSt's Avatar
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    DSD Rip

    Sorry for a possible stupid question, but are we as far that DSD can be ripped from the SACD ?

    Or otherwise, is there any signal that DSD's can be downloaded in near future (or already) ?

    Thanks,
    Peter (who doesn't keep track of *everything*)
    XXHighEnd (developer)
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  24. #24
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    DSD

    Or otherwise, is there any signal that DSD's can be downloaded in near future (or already) ?

    Blue Coast Records is selling DSD64 downloads in both of the popular formats. 2L has also some material available in DSD64, I have the 2L-RR1 album.

    I would expect more to come, especially once there are more DSD64/DSD128 capable DACs and players on the market.

    Another quite popular use is to use DSD recorders to record LPs in DSD128.

    (What comes to SACD, I'm happy with Sony SACD player, but I would prefer to have same material also available as download.)
    Signalyst - http://www.signalyst.com
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  25. #25
    Senior Member PeterSt's Avatar
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    Ok

    Thank you Miska.
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