I ripped my first SACD and played it via Roon. This is what I see for signal path. As expected it is labeled High Quality
I also ripped a DVD-Audio disc and played it via Roon and this is what I see for signal path. Why is this not considered High Quality? I could not find any definitive criteria when Roon decides that a signal path is high quality.
In the end
SACD is output at 176.4kHz 24bit
DVD Audio is out at 192kHz 24bit
Lossless is best quality; it is bit-perfect. In contrast, High Quality has undergone some form of Digital Signal Processing (DSP), i.e. DSD to PCM conversion. I don’t believe the Meridian Explorer supports DSD, which is why Roon is converting the signal to PCM.
You are correct, the Meridian Explorer is a PCM only DAC. Two questions:
- Does the digital signal processing affect sound quality negatively?
- Would it be worth investing in a new DAC that can play DSF (DSD) files natively?
Those questions can only be answered by you. Different people prefer different sounds. I know people who don’t want any conversion and those who prefer the sound of DSD files converted to PCM. Depends on the person, the DAC, the AMP, and the speakers in question.
I found that unless I got a good DSD focused DAC, meaning it did not really do PCM well, I prefered letting Roon convert to PCM. I didn’t get such a DAC because they started in the mid $X,xxx.
Yes, it does appear that DSD DACs are still quite expensive
iFi makes several acceptable DACs, capable of up to DSD512, for around $400-$500.
There are others, of course.
Or the RME ADI-2 DAC, ~ 1K Euro.
Interesting DAC, heard very good things about it. Seems to at par with Benchmark‘s DAC 2/3
I agree with @Rugby. Personally, I dislike DSP and think it creates an artificial sound … but others clearly like it. I think it all depends on your setup. I let my Chord 2Qute do the magic.