Permanent PCM to DSD conversion in DSP

Hello everybody,
does permanent PCM to DSD128 conversion via DSP and data transport via USB to the USB-Dac port make sense from the point of view improvement of sound quality?
Greetings
Oliver

try it and trust your own ears…we all hear differently.

will also depend on what rate your hardware can cope with upsampling

Practicably impossible to answer with no info on your system details.
Direct connection of core to DAC via USB might introduce audible artifacts, so using network transport to a dedicated endpoint is recommended best practice.
Upsampling may or may not gain improvements and those are mostly subjective, but give the forum details to work with.

1 Like

I use a MacBook as roon core and a T+A network player as end point (“roon ready”). The T+A only accepts DSD files over USB, not over LAN. Native DSD-file-processing via USB results in a very good sound quality. So I wonder, whether it makes sense to transform PCM files principally to DSD files before sending them to the USB DAC, knowing that these files are definitely not “native”. Thanks for your comments.

Archimago has done some measurements in this area. Here’s a link to one of several blog posts on this topic. If I understand his measurements correctly, there really shouldn’t be an audible difference between running DSD natively or converting to PCM provided that you’re using a reasonable engine, like Roon, to do your conversions. Some DACs will have better measured performance by converting to PCM but any difference will be quite marginal at best and unlikely to be audible in any case. So short answer to your question is, no, it doesn’t seem to make any sense to permanently convert for sound quality reasons.

It could make sense to convert for convenience reasons by converting to an audibly transparent format like 24/48. It saves workload on Roon core if you’re using Roon’s DSP functions that need to convert DSD to PCM anyway and gets you a file format that has greater compatibility with DACs.

From a measured SQ perspective, it doesn’t matter. Some folks seem to like DSD direct though. I can’t distinguish the the two in my own listening experiences.

It does not make sense to bake an upsample into an actual file. It is always better to upsample on the go.

Have you looked into HQPlayer to explore upsampling PCM to DSD on the fly.

Yes, I think too, you may give HQPlayer a shot. Here is a group for this at Roon Forum. Maybe as a start this article is not bad…Myself however did just use it as a starting point, finally it depends on your equipment and ears of course :slight_smile: HQPlayer - Better Than a $5,000 Upscaler? - Audio Bacon

ROON offers PCM to DSD conversion (upsampling?) in its DSP engine (section: sample rate conversion). Is the HQPlayer software necessary anyway?

Well, to me HQPlayer offers better SQ. Check out the trial and compare :slight_smile:

No explicit need to run HQP, just an option instead of using Roon to upsample.
I did not dive into that rabbit hole, but many feel it being of audibly superior quality.
Needs a real beefy computer, best to use a separate machine for the heavy duty lifting it’s doing, and may overwhelm you with a myriad of options to choose from, driving you into Audio Nervosa if OCD with achieving THE best possible sound.

Just start with Roon’s options and decide for yourself, if you gain anything.

Best to always keep in mind that possible improvements will be ever smaller in effect the further you dive into it.
You may want to look into room acoustics and possibly better speakers or positioning first, if you desire a wow effect…

It is a remarkable SQ improvement, but only if the rig in total is able to be as transparent as possible. There are many obstacles on the way, I have been auditioning HiFi gear that could not present any difference at all between filters. In my opinion, there are considerations to make before HQP will come in as the great game changer. But, when there, … you’ll just have to listen to beleive. In many forums I read about bad recordings/productions. For me it is a before and an after HQP, what music I thought was good enough to playback and enjoy. But, again, I have not experienced any hardware that is completely immune the surrounding noise and my journey started several years before HQP in isolating the common domestic noise sources causing bad sound. It will never stop, btw. And HQP never stops to surprise, just today I learned by these wonderful members here how to turn of a thing or two in my DAC to further improve HQP impact. It is not a goal, it is a path to enter … :slight_smile:

Of course it is not necessary. Is it better than Roons upsampling? That you would have answer for yourself as everyone’s ears and gear are different. HQPlayer does allow a trial with it’s software, so there is no commitment to try it out.

The comments about requiring a powerful CPU, to actually play some of the best options, like EC or ECv2 imho, is true.

May be it is about time I report my HAPPY experience with ROON up-sampling non-MQA files to DSD256 from Windows 10 core via cat6/power adapter wired connection to Matrix Audio Element M. Absolutely flawless consistent performance over a month now… both FLAC files from the attached SSD external drive and TIDAL albums. SQ improvement is remarkable. No hiccups, no stutter or crackling noise during change of track.
Worth noting on the side, Audirvana Studio is able to up-sample to DSD512 over this setup but unable to suppress inter track stutter which can be very annoying