HD Tracks - download DSD or PCM?

I just got my system working ( Sonic Transporter, uRendu, Brooklyn DAC). The Brooklyn can play up to PCM 32/384, and DSD256. An album I want on HD Tracks is available in DSD 2.8, 5.6 or PCM 352. Of course I’d like to take full advantage of the Brooklyn’s capabilities. But as I understand it (I’m a noobie) Roon will convert DSD to PCM. So which format should I download ?

clearly I have nothing better to do on the 4th of July :wink:

Depends on the provenance of the recording.

You can configure Roon to output DSD to your DAC (and even up-sample it further) if it’s capable of DSD (which the Brooklyn is).

I download DSD from HDTracks. Roon plays native DSD and upsamples to DSD, depends on the DAC. You should get DSD256.

BTW - I’m thinking of getting a Brooklyn. You like? Any disappointments?

@xxx I own the Brooklyn and I’ve been very impressed. It’s an amazing machine and, honestly, I’d rank it at the same level as the Bryston DAC 3. My only pet peeve is the on/off switch (via a press and hold of the volume dial, which doesn’t feel that robust). I’m afraid that within a year or so it’ll stop working or lose grip).

@Qua_Veda You should be able to listen to DSD via Roon if you configure it to do so.

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The Brooklyn and Roon will play whatever you want. Depends on how you define each setup.
As far as which one to get:
Do you have any personal preference for the sound of DSD vs PCM?
I have a Mytek 192 DSD. I think it sounds slightly better playing DSD. Do you hear any advantage to either format with the Brooklyn?

Do you know about the original recording? Or it’s digital transfer if it was analog?
Many say you should stay with whatever format is closer to the original digital version.

Personally, I find both DSD and PCM can sound great. I was using a system that sounded best upsampling everything to DSD. Now I’m playing back over a system that converts everything to PCM.

I personally don’t think it matters. If conversion is well done, It sounds fine in either direction.

Thanks for the tips. I have only had these components for a few days, and just coming up the learning curve. so no opinion on how the Brooklyn sounds with DSD vs PCM. and I’m also not familiar enough with the “sounds” of the various formats to have a preference yet. But I don’t know how to configure Roon to send DSD to the Brooklyn. From the Roon Settings > Audio, it seems that Roon will convert any DSD to PCM. I don’t see how to change this. And I don’t know if I want anything upsampled, or not. I do know that I want the best sound quality, which might mean trying various settings etc. This is the recording that I thought I would try at its highest resolution.http://www.hdtracks.com/beyond-464186?format=DSD.

This might help: https://kb.roonlabs.com/Audio_Setup_Basics

HI Slim, Joel,
my screens in Roon look different than the ones in the link that Joel posted. I clicked on the gear symbol next to the Roon Ready device (uRendu) and found the DSP Engine. It appears disabled, and so the Sample Rate conversion is disabled. Enabled or disabled, the drop down menus for sample rate conversion choices are: For Max Compatibility, Max PCM, Max PCM (x2) and Custom. Under Custom, all the frequencies are at Default.

I haven’t found Exclusive Mode settings and no Bit Perfect info.
Here, https://kb.roonlabs.com/Exclusive_Mode, it seems to say that Exclusive mode is not supported for Roon Ready devices . Does this mean that my Brooklyn DAC is handling the DSP?

this is all brand new to me, thus my questions.

From the description of the inputs on pp.5 and 14 of the Brooklyn Manual the USB input appears to accept native DSD rather than DoP.

DoP stands for “DSD over PCM” and means that the DSD signal has been decimated into 10bit words. It’s a transmission protocol that can make it easier for DSD to be sent over coax or Toslink.

The microRendu tells the Roon Core how to send it DSD.

Using a web browser on the same network as your microRendu, navigate to Sonicorbiter.com. You should see your mR listed as a network player. Click Manage to access it. Under Apps, check that Roon Ready is selected as the active App in App Switcher. Under Settings, click Roon Ready and next to DSD Support select Native DSD. Save changes and close Sonicorbiter.

In Roon select the mR as the active zone. Right click on the Zone icon in the footer and access the DSP Engine.

Enable Headroom Management and check that Show Clipping Indicator is set to Yes. Set Headroom Adjustment to 0dB for the moment.

Enable Sample Rate Conversion and configure it as follows:

Enable the DSP Engine (top left) and play either a PCM or DSD file in Roon. It should show on the Brooklyn as DSD 256 and hopefully you hear music. It will sound softer than PCM as DSD modulators have an inbuilt headroom adjustment. You can adjust your preamp to retain your preferred listening volume.

If the Signal Path Indicator flashes red, then return to the Headroom Management and increase the Headroom Adjustment. Set it to -3 and then increment by -1 until the Signal Path Indicator no longer flashes red.

Play with the filters and modulaters on the Sample Rate Conversion screen until you find the combination you prefer. Precise filters are longer with a sharper cutoff frequency. Smooth filters are shorter (better transients) but have a gentler slope (more ultrasonic noise).

Linear phase filters pass all frequencies at the same time. Minimum phase filters pass frequencies at minimum time, meaning high frequencies are delayed slightly less than low frequencies.

The selection in the screenshot should work well for jazz or rock. With Classical you might prefer a precise linear phase filter.


Wow Andy! This is exactly what I needed. Thanks to you an all on this thread for helping me get up to speed. I can now see that my Brooklyn DAC is displaying DSD 256 for this particular hires file. I’m sure I couldn’t have figured the DSP settings on my own.

thanks so much !!
PS: just noticed that now when I play other files , e.g. Tidal, the Brooklyn display still shows DSD 256 and is not showing the current resolution.

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That’s because the settings in the screenshot cause Roon to upsample all file types and resolutions to DSD 256. The Brooklyn is correctly showing what it is receiving. If you click on the Signal Path icon (the light to the right of a playing title in the footer) then you will see the source resolution and the DSP settings affecting it.

If you would like to change the output from Roon then select a max PCM option in the Sample Rate Conversion menu, or specify a particular PCM or DSD rate using Custom.

If you just want Roon to output the source file format and rate then disable Sample Rate Conversion and the Signal Path should confirm that is occurring. That is what you would do with MQA files in order to pass them through to the Brooklyn to process.

My default settings upsample everything (including Tidal and Internet Radio) to DSD 512 and send it to HQ Player and then to a microRendu. I only change it to play with other filter combinations.

I thought that directly passing through the source to the DAC without altering it, might be best. I hadn’t considered upsampling everything to DSD. I just wanted to be sure that DSD files would play through the uRendu to the DAC. In your experience, does upsampling everything to DSD sound better most of the time? what would be the down side of doing that?

Upsampling to DSD 512 is well re-guarded by a lot of people. So much so, that they will acquire specific DACs, like the T+A DAC8 DSD, and run additional software, Like HQPlayer, on a purpose built and specialized computer to achieve the goal.

My perception is that DSD upsampling has less sibilance and more detail, but PCM has better dynamics and weight.

You’ve now got a setup where you can listen to both and decide which suits you.

If you want to play MQA files though, then I think upsampling in Roon will prevent the relevant lights showing on the Brooklyn.

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Thanks again andybob. I have tried switching the DSP upsampling on/off and at first listen, I tend to agree with you perception about the difference. And I also noticed that the MQA indicator does not lite up. Now if I can just get Roon to correctly scan my library folder… when I delete files from the folder they still show up in Roon (but of course cannot be played). sometimes when I add files, they don’t show up in Roon. (even after Force Rescan)

Super helpful tips from everyone ! Thank you so much!

How are you deleting files from your library ? If you select an Album (right click or long press) and then use Edit/Delete Album then Roon should immediately delete it on screen. (Note. This is the only time Roon will alter your physical files. Don’t delete local Albums without having a backup from which you can restore if you change your mind). If Roon gets stuck you can use Settings/Library/Cleanup Library to get rid of stale data.

Not sure why added albums may not show. Can you describe how you add albums to Roon ?

HI Andy, I copy (drag/drop) audio files (usually an album folder that contains .flac files) from one of my hard drives to the Music folder in the SonicTransporter’s SSD. This is the folder that Roon is looking at. Mostly this works fine. But sometimes Roon has not displayed them I have deleted files from the Music folder by Moving them to Trash. Roon still shows me these albums.

So far I have not copied my entire library to the Music folder on SonicTransporter since I want to see how it works, and work out these add/delete issues.

Is there any need for a particular folder structure within the Music folder that Roon is pointing to? Is there any advantageous folder organization?