Peculiar HQPlayer Behavior


Aloha Jussi (and everyone),

(This is all using HQPlayer with Roon)

After literally years of perfect functioning, HQP Desktop (currently 4.22.0) has begun to behave very oddly. No matter how the Default Output Mode is set (source, PCM, or DSD), and no matter if the source file is PCM or DSD, HQP will only output PCM.

  1. It will not upsample PCM to DSD no matter the oversampling, modulator, or bit rate settings.

  2. It will downsample DSD files to my PCM Defaults if the Default Output Mode is set to Source.

  3. If the output mode is set to DSD and when playing DSD files, according to Roon, HQP applies my PCM filters to the DSD (not the SDM defaults) and no sound comes out, nothing passed on from HQP to the iFi Zen Stream.

The only thing working normally is PCM files upsampled to 352.8. That behaves as it should.

Seems that the entire DSD functioning of HQPlayer Desktop has come to a screeching halt. To my knowledge, I’ve not changed my basic settings, but who knows, maybe I tapped something by accident?? Please refer to the screenshots of my settings below. When this issue began I have tried numerous DSD oversampling and modulator settings to see if that would fix it, but literally none work, even the most basic.

Wondering if the ZenStream has suddenly begun acting up, I tested DSD files from Roon straight to the ZenStream (Roon exclusive mode), and that works normally. My HQPlayer usage with the ZenStream is always in HQPlayer exclusive mode on the ZS.

Guidance greatly appreciated!

Try changing to 1x = gauss-long and Nx = gauss-long-hires-lp

And output rate 44.1k x 256

And output mode = DSD

1 Like

Please set Default Output Mode to “SDM”.

If you don’t use the input feature, set input Backend to “none”.

Please also make sure your Zen Stream is disabled in Roon Settings → Audio.

Some better modulator likely also works, such as “ASDM7EC-light”.

@dabassgoesboomboom thanks for the suggestion. It’s something beyond adjusting the filters. I’ve owned HQP for over 7 years and have never had the entire DSD refuse to work no matter how much I adjust the filters.



I’m still on HQP4 and don’t see the ASDM7EC-light option.

I did your other suggestions, but the same issue persists. DSD refuses to play.

In the screenshots below, notice the difference between the PCM and SDM settings. Sinc-M is only on the PCM side. Then notice in the screenshot of the Roon signal path how HQP (I assume), despite being set to SDM, is using the PCM side filters (sinc-m instead of poly sinc short mp). And the result is the track not actually playing in Roon.

This is what was happening before. Very odd as nothing like this has happened in 7 years!

Here is an AIFF file, with HQP set to SDM. Same thing, at least according to Roon, HQP is using the PCM filter settings. And once again, the track does not actually play.

Here’s a DSD file played with HQP output set to “source”. According to Roon, it uses the PCM settings and downsamples to those PCM settings.

You can see that in the HQPlayer screenshot that it’s ignoring the SDM settings entirely. No matter what the Default Output Mode is set to (source or SDM), HQP is reverting to the PCM settings. I’ve tried it in every possible combination.

It’s as if the entire DSD engine in HQPlayer4 has gone on strike and refuses to work.

It says “DSD64”, so it is likely playing at DSD64, but Roon just shows something bogus. What does HQPlayer main window show?

OK, here you are getting DSD->PCM conversion.

For some reason, DSD capability of your DAC is not detected and that is the likely reason.

Is the Zen Stream in NAA Exclusive mode? Or how is the hardware mode selector set?

Your Marantz SACD 30n (?) should certainly work up to DSD256. But maybe some update to Zen Stream or to the 30n has broken the native DSD support.


While anything is possible with the ZenStream, I’m not sending (I think) native DSD to the Marantz. The ZenStream can only do native DSD with iFi DACs.

Hopefully I’m sending DSD via DoP, as I have done for many years without issue. I have not done any ZenStream update in over a year.

And the ZenStream was able to send DSD via DoP from Roon to the Marantz.

And yes, I disabled the ZenStream in Roon and am using HQPlayer exclusive mode.


That is not the case…

If that is the case, for the output you currently have SDM Pack set to “none”. Meaning native DSD.
But it also means you are limited to max DSD128.

1 Like


Changing the SDM Pack to DoP has fixed it, bravo! My Mac Mini can’t do anything more than DSD 128 anyway, so no loss.

At one point I was attempting to get Native DSD to work through the ZenStream, so perhaps I altered the HQP settings then and never switched it back. User error was always the mostly likely culprit.

The wise folks on the extremely long ZenStream thread, to my understanding - which may or may not be correct - said the the ZenStream’s Native DSD abilities only (or perhaps best) works with iFi DACs. I forget the reason why.

We were unable to get it to work with the Marantz via the ZS, even though the Marantz itself can handle Native DSD.

I recently got my first record player (Pro-Ject Debut Pro) which has altered my perception of sound, hence the re-interest in different flavors of DSD upsampling. The Marantz upsamples all PCM to DSD 256 internally.

Thanks again for your prompt help!

1 Like

Hi Dancing sea and glad to read that you fixed this.
From memory it’s not that the Zen Stream only does Direct DSD with Zen DACS (as people have it working with other DACS) its more of a compatibility issue due to the age of the kernel and it not having the correct drivers for some devices.


If you had a spare RPi4 around or even a laptop or PC, would be interesting if you could load NAA OS (doesn’t need to over write the existing OS for laptop/PC) and try that as an NAA.

If DSD256 worked with SDM Pack = none, then this could be proof of the issue @Michael_Harris mentions

There’s a chance it still doesn’t work but worth a shot, for another data point.


I seem to remember that this information first came from Jussi when people were saying that they could not get DSD working in Direct mode on the Stream. I could be mis remembering this, but it feels right.

For me the Zen Stream/Zen DAC runs perfectly well with DSD256 for both Roon and HQPlayer, but I am running my MA Mini-i Pro 3 through a Raspberry Pi and NAA OS which gives me DSD512 as opposed to DSD128 through Roon.


Thanks for the insight and suggestions @Michael_Harris and @dabassgoesboomboom

I’m all in on the ZenStream/ Farad Super3 combo, and set on the Marantz SACD 30n as the DAC. DSD128 is plenty for me, sounds great. My previous DAC (DirectStream) upsampled to 1024, and I didn’t notice it being that different. Now vinyl has captured my attention, curiosity and resources. It’s a money pit! But has a quality or essence to the sound that alludes digital. Not necessarily better, but different and amazing, especially with late 1950’s jazz.

My ZenStream, after more than a year of flawless operation, has started to periodically freeze where it ceases to be recognized by HQPlayer and it can’t be turned off by the power button. I have to unplug it and restart which fixes the issue until the next time.

Any ideas?


Let’s be honest DSD128 is more than enough, unless of course you can get more :rofl:

Not heard of this problem and not seen it myself as yet.

I wonder whether a Settings reset/factory reset on the Zen Stream is not in order.
I have not had to do mine for some time, but I am also stuck on a semi borked beta update while trying to find out some information for another user, no one to blame but myself and iFi for that one.

Still Roon and HQPlayer both work fine on the device and I have had no lock ups.


My suggestion to try NAA OS is only for temporary troubleshooting data

Not a suggestion to permanently use a Pi (even though an RPi4 running NAA OS image is very good, highly HQPlayer optimised solution)

If NAA OS works but ZenStream doesn’t, you have some data, to even contact iFi with…

1 Like

After reading several post by jussi about dsd rates, I’m convinced anyone wanting to output dsd should aim no lower than dsd 256.

1 Like

I’ve been a long ways around the bush when it comes to upsampling and have settled on mastering of the recording being far far far more important than the bit rate. Though I understand the psychological appeal of thinking higher numbers must sound better.

Of course, to each their own.

1 Like