Why I embraced DSD


Mr. Hansen

Charles Hansen at Ayre has published a lengthy article about the evolution of high resolution digital playback. As is often the case, DSD is criticized heavily based on scientific analysis and lack of mixing/mastering toolsets.

Several members have asked me why I, a self-proclaimed mad scientist and inveterate tinkerer with an engineering degree, have embraced DSD playback.

I’ll share my answer with you:

For me it’s simple. There are amazing recordings on DSD that I want in my collection. They are not available at the same quality in PCM. With one or two exceptions, the best DACs in the world play DSD “for free.” I own such a DAC. Done.

The fact that I can (and do) rip SACDs to DSD is gravy.

Most of us read a lot about our hobby. Analyze and over-analyze. Sweat minutiae. That’s cool – it’s what men (and some women) do. But ultimately I just let it rest and listen. Then decide.

Shouldn’t you too?


Friday, January 17th, 2014 Audiophile, Bob, News

4 Comments to Why I embraced DSD

  1. Bob, what do you mean by the best DACs in the world play DSD “for free”?
    You mean they have inherent DSD decoding capabilities?
    Convert DSD to a high quality PCM?

  2. Gary on January 18th, 2014
  3. Hi Bob: I think that is a bit too rational for this hobby. Actually listening to the difference and then deciding on your own?


    Did you see this article on Computer Audiophile? It appears that dsd playback quality may be dac dependent …


    Cheers! Peter

  4. ptruce on January 18th, 2014
  5. They inherently – and automatically – decode DSD streams.

    Audiophile computer playback software can often convert DSD files to PCM (for older DACs that don’t support DSD). This can sound quite good (or not). But not as good as “native playback.”


  6. Bob on January 19th, 2014
  7. All these digital audio technologies ultimately have to convert to analog a process long recognized as easy to screw up. I bet that there are bad DSD converters or converter algorithms out there along side the finer ones. And of the finer ones are the differences discernible or enough to matter in the overall technology that comes together to result in a musically engaging render. There are countless converters, electronics, EQ, processing, a lot of which are not DSD that are part of most any recording we hear, analog too. Having the focus and desire by those working to make quality recordings is what counts to the achievement of highly satisfying recordings and if these sorts of people are all into DSD then that is what we buy because it is good.

  8. mark on January 20th, 2014
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