Opinions on DSD Please

Now THAT sounds like a great investment. Cheers! :clap:

Well, I don’t think I’ll do the DSD thing. It looks like a rebranding effort by Sony for SACD. Not that I blame them. All companies try to monetize old inventory.

uh, whaaaat?
DSD downloads are SACDs without the physical disc. Not sure at all what you mean about it being a ‘rebranding’ or why, even if it was, that would be a reason not to use that file format? DSD and SACDs themselves sound great. There’s no reason to avoid them.

By rebranding, I meant that this was a way to re-sell the SACD technology, which was killed off in 2007. It seems like millions of people avoided it, not just me. Not everybody agrees with the value proposition.

BTW, your incredulity, albeit impolite, was noted.

As to your question:

The DSD download of “Tea for the Tillerman” is the best audio version of the album, vinyl included (obviously imho). But, individual tastes/ears vary. You should listen to DSD and make your own decisions.


Are you concerned with the amount of disk space DSD takes? (I am only slowly growing used to the word Terabyte.)

I will shortly have the proper equipment to perform a test between DSD and other highend versions. That’s one album I know by heart.

A 4TB drive is $100 or less. It will cost you thousands to fill it with DSD.

DSD64 is roughly the size of 24/96 FLAC file, that is as far as one can go without eating up too much space in your hard disk. If you got a lot of 16/44.1 files, then it is advisable to use Roon up sampling DSP. If you got a lot of SACD ‘specially ripped’ dsf files then up-sample to DSD256 or higher.

SACD was a failure b/c Sony limited it to SACD players - the DSD on them couldn’t be listened to unless the player was licensed by Sony and you couldn’t make a digital rip of them, even for backup (without complicated hacks and special HW).

DSD downloads have no such limitation and can be played on any computer with suitable (free) software. The DSD downloads in the market today don’t necessarily have any connection to Sony or licensing, so it isn’t a rebranding.

As far as Tea for the Tillerman - I highly recommend the DSD. At Acoustic Sounds it is a new remaster direct from master tape. In general, DSD remasters done this way tend to be the best sounding version available, bar none (IMO).


lol, HEAVEN forfend that I was surprised by a question that made no sense. hopefully your pearls survived the clutching.

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Great tip, thanks! Just listening to this now and I completely concur, have never heard this album sound better. Downloaded the DSD 64 version from Acoustic Sounds. As analog as I’ve had playing in my digital world.


Music is a very personal thing, its emotion and not science.

I love technology and therefore I still have to control myself not to listen technically.
A good example that I often use as reference is my experience with the Album the Dark side of the moon album from Pink Floyd. I loved the Vinyl album from day one ( 70’s)
It was later released on CD and wow…technically it sounded so much better.
However the goosebumps I had with Vinyl ( emotion ) were gone.
25 years a special anniversary CD was released. Still… no goosebumps.
Only when it was Released on SACD I got my goosebumps back.
SACD brought back to the Vinyl feel.

Yes, I’m a big fan of DSD but not to the extent that I declare it to be superior to 24 bit PCM.

BTW, I read in a article that the DAC chip converts all incoming PCM to DSD before it goes to analog.
True or false ?

My Aries Mini can handle both PCM and DSD and I did some comparison.
converting DSD to PCM always degradation of music technically and emotion
Converting PCM to DSD = warmer sound , more vinyl like but depending on the recording I lost details.
I have to be careful with my statement.
The conversion was done via Roon and perhaps Roon is coloring the sound.

from my collection SACD (DSD) , these my favorite recording :

Donovan - story teller
Pink Floyd- Dark side of the moon
Carpenters - Greatest hits
All the Creedence Clearwater Revival albums
Carol King - Tapestry
Blood , Sweat and Tears
Eric Clapton - 461 Ocean Boulevard
Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells
Santana - Abraxas
Animals - Retrospective
Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms

That’s the problem with NooBs: always asking stupid questions. And yes, the pearls are just fine. If you think DSDs are worth it, then that’s good enough. I stand humbled.

Hans, thanks for your well-considered opinion. And you got to my real question: whether DSD is worth it at the margin? For you, the jury’s still out vs. 24 bit PCM.

I think the real answer is that (like in a lot of audio) “it depends” and “your ears may hear it differently”. As others have stated, mastering trumps the format. What you should be looking for is the best mastered version. Whether it is in DSD or PCM matters less, imho.

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Rugby, my original question was never about SQ but about value. DSD albums go for $40-$50 a pop. Plus possible new DACs. Plus broader bands. Plus four or so times the disk space. So asking, “is it worth it”, seems a sensible question.

It seems particularly relevant to ask in light of the long list of now-failed standards and technologies that were once hailed as the “best thing.”

But perhaps this “horse” was never alive to be beaten to death.

I’m confused now @John_V. What do you mean your original question was never about SQ?

You said “Is a Cat Stevens DSD going to be better than the (well-kept) CD?”. If that question was not about SQ, what was it about?

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And surely “is it worth it?” has to be about sound quality?

How else would you attribute value. I certainly don’t pay $40-$50 per download though. At twice the CD quality download price and with about 3 times the file size I think its definately worth it for a well mastered good quality recording in the same way that CD quality is “worth it” in comparison to MP3.

MQA is the only pseudo high Resolution format I am not yet convinced by.

Regards Andrew

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Most DACs that use a DAC chip to do DA conversion work like this:
for PCM they upsample/convert everything to DXD rates, then convert to a DSD like format and then filter to analog.This is almost all DACs, except some R2R based and FPGA based DACs that don’t use a DAC chip.

Generally these DACs leave incoming DSD as a form of DSD and filter to analog.

There are some DACs that do the opposite: the convert everything to PCM and then process. But those are the minority.


If most of the DAC chips convert the PCM signal to the DSD format then I’m surprised that there are only a limited amount of " affordable " DAC out in the market that support DSD.

Converting PCM to DSD using Roon should sound superior compared to to PCM streaming.
Like you said, in the end it is DSD anyhow. We can take out 2 conversion steps out when streaming DSD.
This simplification has to lead to less jitter jitter and therefore better sound

Next to that, Roon is based on software.
Sound improvements using software like Roon are cost efficient, otherwise we all have to buy a new DAC every few years.

Does this all make sense to you ?
Then why is this not happening ?