64fs versus 128fs versus 256fs, DXD-wise

I’ve just read enough on the internet to make me wonder if I can ask an intelligent question on this subject: With DXD 64fs versus 128fs versus 256fs, is any one format better than the others, if played via Roon 1.3 (on Win10 x64) into an Antipodes Edge into a Classe pre-amp into a Classe amp?

I am thinking specifically of downloads from NativeDSD.com, such as “Bill Evans - The Hilversum Concert” (as a follow-up to “Bill Evans - Some Other Time,” truly lovely). 64fs costs less than 128fs, and 128fs costs less than 256fs (but each download includes any lower-resolution versions). In addition to the cost factor, a higher-resolution download takes up more space; even though storage is relatively cheap (on HDD, less so on SSD), over time the higher-resolution versions could add significantly to the storage needed for one’s music library.

So, any opinions about the worth of 64fs, 128fs and 256fs?

Why not purchase something you enjoy in 256 and compare for yourself on your system?

Theoretical and/or quantifiable differences mean nothing if you don’t experience the difference.

Age and not always using hearing protection has left me without the ability to hear above 14khz, and even less in my right ear, so much of the vaulted ‘air’ is lost on me. I still enjoy some long lost records that I have only in low bit rate mp3 that I still enjoy from time to time…some obscure punk bands that never made it to from bootleg cassette let alone CD from my youth near Sacramento, CA in a burned out brick warehouse unit known as Club Minimal.

I did listen to samples of “Some Other Time” at the different resolutions, and I thought I slightly preferred the 256fs, and that was the resolution I bought. But it was such a subtle difference I wasn’t sure of what I heard.

Only you can decide if the subtle difference is worth the delta $.

You don’t say what equipment or environment you are using to listen, I find the most consistence repeatability using headphones. My 2-channel setup gets brought out of the closet and setup and put away each time I use it so I can never be sure (I’m sure it’s not) ever the same. I have made numerous acoustic absorbers as well that get ‘staged’ all around the room and above, it sounds great to me but I still feel nothing beats the more controlled environment of headphones.

Best to you

Actually, I gave most of my equipment, starting with Antipodes EDGE. I didn’t mention my 27-year-old Thiel speakers. (I’ve never gotten into the habit of listening regularly with headphones, although now that samples are so widely available, I do use headphones with my computer desktop to “kick the tires.”)

Ah you did, my apologies. Perhaps without the speakers I discounted it.

I still very much enjoy my 20 year old Sennheiser HD 580 open headphones. They give me a similar lush sound I like, similar to Vandersteen 2 speakers. I really detest ~5khz harshness, something to do with my hearing damage I suspect. I had to ‘downsize’ a couple years ago to Ascend Sierra 2. They will be with me 'til the end.

If I can get the highest resolution said DSD256, I would rather pay a little more. NativeDSD provides down-sampled rates for free of charge. This is advantage since not all DACs out there support such a high sample rates. On the other hand, I’ve a few albums in DSD64 that I brought from them early on. They do upgrade to a higher sampling rates for a small top up fee.

You don’t specify which Classe preamp you are using. If, for example, you are using the CP-800, the Classe specs seem to indicate that its Wolfson DAC chip can only accept 2.8 Mhz DSD fiules (or DSD64). So you might want to make sure that your DAC can natively accept higher DSD res files (the Antipodes Edge can, but that only suggests which file formats it stores).

As others have said, the differences between DSD64, 128, 256 and 512 are subtle. Different DACs also process digital files differently and some seem to sound better fed PCM signals while others really shine when fed a steady diet of DSD512.

You can also use programs like Roon and HQ Player to “up-rez” your files to the format your DAC does best with. In my case I upsample everything to either DSD512 or DSD128 depending on which DAC I’m listening to. The difference between a 16/44 file uprezzed to DSD512 and a native DSD512 file is also subtle (the native DSD512 file does sound better).

Lastly, the quality of the recording makes a huge difference. There are many recording not worth owning in DSD256 or DSD512 format. So I generally start by listening to 16/44 material through Tidal and if I really like an album, I’ll check out its recording qualities and whether it is available in DSD256 or DSD512. If well recorded, I’ll then buy it in that format.