DSD files do not play correctly

I am unable to play DSD files through my sonicTransporter I5 into a DSD capable DAC using Roon software (version 1.5). An Ultrarendu streamer relays music signal from the sonicTransporter to the DAC. The USB cable from the Ultrarendu to the DAC is an Audioquest Cinnamon cable.

I have two DACS, one is PCM only and the other is DSD capable. The DACs are manufactured by Audio Horizons.

The DSD files (.dsf extension, DSD128) came from the www.NativeDSD.com website.

The DSD music files are stored on the NAS device (Synology DS418) in a subfolder of the same folder that contains PCM music subfolders. Roon plays music files from the PCM music subfolders without hesitation.

I copied these same DSD files onto a laptop computer that has JRiver MusicCenter software installed on it. I connected the laptop to the DSD capable DAC via the DAC USB interface and played the files through the JRiver software. THE MUSIC PLAYED THROUGH THE LOUDSPEAKERS. So, the DSD files and the DSD capable DAC work together.

When I play the DSD files through the sonicTransporter hardware using Roon, the Roon interface software indicates the files are playing, but NO SOUND COMES THROUGH THE LOUDSPEAKERS. Roon identifed the DSD files. According to album page, the Roon software recognizes the DSD music files as “DSF DSD128” files. I queue the DSD files in Roon to play them. The Roon queue controller indicates the file is playing. NO SOUND COMES THROUGH THE LOUDSPEAKERS. It is as though a full mute command is active.

I have tried to play the DSD files with the DSD capable DAC (#1) and with the PCM only DAC (#2). In both cases, the Audio App Switcher of the Ultrarendu is active on “RoonReady.”

In #1 configuration, I set the Ultrarendu’s Roon Ready Setting of DSD support to “DoP”. On the Roon device setup page, the Ultrarendu streamer reports a connection to XMOS HIFI DSD, which indicates that it recognizes its connection to the DSD capable Audio Horizons DAC.

In #2 configuration, I set the Ultrarendu’s Roon Ready Setting of DSD support to “none". The “none” setting should alert the Roon software to transcode the DSD into PCM. On the Roon device setup page, the Ultrarendu streamer reports a connection to C-MEDIA ELECTRONICS INC. USB2.0 USB HIGH SPEED TRUE HD AUDIO, which indicates that it recognizes its connection to the PCM capable Audio Horizons DAC.

In both cases, I can play PCM files successfully. In both cases, DSD file play is fully muted - NO SOUND COMES THROUGH THE LOUDSPEAKERS.

I have reviewed the settings and installation of the sonicTransporter I5 and Ultrarendu with Andrew at Small Green Computer. All is correct with the hardware setup.

I am stumped. The Sonictransporter is properly set up. The DAC works properly. The DSD files DO PLAY through DAC when I use the JRiver software. However, they do not play in Roon either as DSD files or as transcoded PCM files. I’ve applied the usual troubleshooting steps - reboots, review Roon settings, etc. What do you suggest?

I think @support, which I am tagging for you, will want to see screen shots of the Device Setup page for your devices and, if your have DSP enabled, then the DSP settings.

Screen shot of Ultrarendu device setup with PCM only DAC.
DSP is not enabled. However, same muting problem exists when DSP is enabled.

My Device Setups have a field above “MQA Capabilities” that talks about “DSD Playback Strategy”. It seems like you want this to show so that you can pick the option “Convert to PCM”.

Looks like some parm in ultraRendu isn’t genned right? In config #2, wouldn’t you still need to specify DSD support, so that the ultraRendu would pass that to Ronn to convert to PCM? Dunno.

Just kibitzing until support comes along.:sunglasses:

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Are you sure your DAC has DSD support under Linux. The ultrarendu and Sonic Transporter are both based on Linux operating systems. Not all DACs have drivers that give their full potential on Linux. As your DAC worked connected to a pc this would likely point to this being the issue. I would reach out to Sonore and see if they do support this DAC with DSD.

I think you are on to something here @CrystalGipsy. It looks to me like the Sonic Transporter reports back to Roon that it is DSD compliant, hence Roon will send DSD stream to transporter; which again try to push this to the DAC (which it might not be capable of since many Linux setups are not able to push out native DSD to connected DAC via USB. Maybe DoP over any of the SPDIF connections will work?

I have a similar problem with my Moon MiND2 Network Player; it reports back as DSD capable, so Roon sends DSD stream to the MiND2, but my connected DAC(s) - I have tried multiple and unable to interpret DoP; so I get no sound. Seems like we are missing the “DSD Playback Strategy” option in device setup - which according to multiple people I spoken to should not be visible for a DSD capable Roon ready endpoint. Which of course gives these problems :slight_smile:

Workaround is of course to setup up custom sample rate conversion for the DSD-streams to corresponding PCM under DSP/Sample Rate Conversion. This will work. By corresponding PCM; that would most likely be 176.4khz or 352.8khz (depends what DAC and transporter are capable of).

The conjecture about drivers is interesting and possible.
In the DSD DAC I own, the internal receiver board has an LED indicator that, I am told, shows whether the appropriate driver signal has been received from the source. Red means no. Blue means yes.
When I play the DSD file from the Roon queue, the blue LED indicator lights up. That would be counter indicative of the driver conjecture.
I will seek more info from the manufacturer, too.

Regarding the proposed sample rate conversion work around, I would regret to lose the DSD qualities by converting the sample to mimic PCM.

The comments above have helped me to see more of my ignorance in this matter. Here are some questions, the answers to which I would like to know:

Since the physical connection between the DAC and the DSD file is Sonore hardware, does the DSD playback glitch through the DAC arise at the Sonore interface or at the Roon interface? Who controls this interface point?

Do Linux based systems require special drivers to play native DSD files via USB connection - drivers that are not universally available in DACs?

Is Roon, a Linux based system, limited by this constraint? Does the sonicTransporter play native DSD files via USB connection?

If not, are non-native DSD files similarly affected?


Since no one has gotten back to you, I’m going to take another run at it.

I know the manual for your device tells you this, but it won’t be the 1st time a 3rd party manual has been wrong. -

The problem is that in device setup you don’t have a drop down that lets you select how you want DSD playback.

Try an experiment, you can always set it back.

In the ultra’s setup set Roon Ready Setting of DSD support to a setting indicating DSD. If the drop down in device setup, that asks about DSD playback strategy, shows up then set it to what you want.

Hello @Rand_Anderson,

Thanks for the detailed report, and apologies for the delay in our response.

Have you tried using the “MPD / DNLA Renderer” app on your ultraRendu to play DSD files? Try the following steps to make sure this test is set up correctly

  1. Connect the Audio Horizons DAC to the ultraRendu.
  2. Use the " Audio App Switcher" on the ultraRendu to make “MPD / DNLA” the active audio app.
  3. Configure JRiver to output to the ultraRendu DNLA renderer.

I would attempt DSD playback, as well as playback of 24/176.4 content with this setup. This will help us determine where in your playback chain this issue is occurring.


John, I will work at the configuration you suggest.
Slim, thanks for your continued interest.

A post was split to a new topic: Native DSD on Moon DAC (ROCK)