Question regarding DoP. . .

Roon Core Machine

ASUS laptop (Intel Core i3-6006U CPU @ 2.00GHz ) running Windows 10 Home (21H2); 8 GB RAM.

Networking Gear & Setup Details

[Not relevant.]

Connected Audio Devices

Connected to a Denon AVR-X3400H via HDMI.

Number of Tracks in Library

[Not relevant.]

Description of Issue

Simply put, DSD over PCM is not working.

Yesterday, I was able to set up Roon two ways: a manual setup to my AVR (using Intel Display Audio) and one using ASIO4ALL v2. Both were set to use DoP, but neither output any audio.

Looking at the matter again tonight, I can get audio output from ASIO4ALL (setting the X3400H as the audio device), but now, weirdly, it outputs audio but converts the DSD128 audio to PCM 352.8 kHz, which is then converted to 176.4 kHz, and converted from 64-bit float to 32 bit.

Somewhat frustratingly, if I try to select my AVR, I get a pop-up telling me the audio device is in use. This did not happen yesterday (and, indeed, when I just tried it again [?!], it reverted to the behaviour I noted yesterday, downsampling to DSD64, but outputting no sound), when I was able to flip between the two outputs, both of which indicated they were using DoP but simply output no sound.

(I also had a track skip ~½-way through, which was a bit weird.)

Anyone have any idea how I can get Roon to output audible DoP? (I should likely note that this issue is with the Iván Fischer recording of Mahler’s Second. While my AVR will do DSD128 directly through a USB connexion, it apparently doesn’t like the fact the fourth and fifth movements are played attaca and refuses to show, let alone play, the final movement.)

Any help would be most gratefully accepted.

Skimming trough the manual of your device, I was unable to find a place where Denon writes that it it should work.
Trying to send DSD over HDMI (DoP or not) to AVR receivers is normally futile because of HDCP - DSD is usually only accepted when sent from a licensed CD/DVD/SACD player.

This is the way to go through HDMI. ASIO4ALL is no prerequisite for doing that, the same should work without it (using Intel Display Audio).
The only other direct way for Roon to send audio to your AVR is via AirPlay. AirPlay does also not support DSD playback.

Connection via HDMI is dumb. I’m not insulting you or your methods😂 HDMI is a one way connection system. Roon has no way of determining the capability of the device it is streaming to. So it offers you all of the choices and the deal is that you read your receiver manual and make your settings based on what the manual tells you. If the manual tells you HDMI can accept DSD then it will almost certainly be from a licensed player. Things you have to consider:

  1. Roon settings.
  2. Laptop chipset capability.
  3. Receiver capability via HDMI.

If the laptop is your core and you are using it wirelessly that might explain skipping in some setups. Networking is probably the single most relevant thing about Roon.

No, that is incorrect. HDMI is not “dumb” or “a one way connection.” That would be S/PDIF or similar.

HDMI most definitely is bidirectional. It requires handshake between source and sink to determine capabilities, such as DSD or 4K. Moreover, if HDMI were not bidirectional, then functions like CEC and e/ARC simply would not work.

HDMI is well sorted in the AV world. The problem is that it is half assed on PCs. And Roon RAAT stops at the HDMI adapter or even the OS sound mixer.

AJ

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You are of course correct (depending on what iteration of HDMI is being used). But with the exception of DSD licensing none of it pertains to audio. In short my conclusion that Roon cannot determine the capability of the devices connected by a HDMI cable still stand, even using a Windows device with the proper drivers installed. The advice to match the output of Roon to the capabilities of the receiver is still the direction most likely to get it all to play nice together. :slightly_smiling_face:

I apparently didn’t drill down deeply enough. The fact that the default for my AVR, either using Intel Display Audio or ASIO4ALL, was to convert to PCM should have been the clue. add eye-roll emoji here

What I find confusing is that I can play DSD128 files using a USB stick but am unable to do so using DoP. I think I understand the licensing involved, but I can see no functional difference between the two. I have already purchased the files, so it’s not like I’m in some way hijacking the studio masters.

I’d previously been playing with Audirvāna, which is how I ended up with ASIO4ALL installed.

As far as I can tell, AirPlay is limited to 16/44.1, which is how I ended up using Intel Display Audio/ASIO4ALL, even though the vast majority of what I stream is just 16/44.1.

I don’t know, how often the question about DSD over HDMI was asked, but it’s really not the first time :upside_down_face:

The problem is not HDCP, but there aren’t any drivers on the PC side, which can handle this.
The other point is, that (I don’t know any) the most AV-Pres cannot be used with DoP.

USB is in here complete different, but also here I don’t know any Pre, which accepts multichannel DSD here.

But you can use an external USB DAC also for DSD in multichannel like the Okto Research DAC8 Pro or the exaSounds S88 or e68.

Otherwise you’ve to set in Roon the upsampling to PCM and the most newer AVRs are able to work with up to eight channels in 24/192.

In this particular instance, I’m dealing with a local file. I /do/ use a VPN, which throttles my download speed, but I’m still well above the 1.14 Mb/s of a normal CD. Roon does skip (advances to the next track) from time to time, which is more than a bit annoying, but I’ve not yet been able to determine the conditions under which this skipping occurs.

That is exactly what the manual says your device can do. It should also be able to do that when it can access the files over a network share.

Because, according to the manual, there is no support for that.

Reading a file and playing its content is fundamentally different from accepting an audio stream from another player. A mass media device connected via USB is fundamentally different from an AV source (player) connected via HDMI.

HDMI for consumer AV products is all about protecting the content (HDCP). It not only regulates what can be played via HDMI but also if and how content may be stored, processed and accessed in/from a device through the licensing terms that come with it. If a manufacturer would be found guilty of releasing devices that don’t comply to the licensing terms for HDMI (including HDCP), Dolby and so on and so on, would be in great troubles - and owners of such devices maybe too.
The idea behind the copy protection is to encrypt content sent over HDMI and the licensing companies having control over the keys for en- and decryption. In a case of license infringement, the keys used by infringing devices (or even all the devices from that infringing manufacturer) can be revoked and the devices would become just dead weight on users shelves. That is why consumer AV electronics can’t play plain, unencrypted DSD content delivered over HDMI (licensing terms don’t allow for it). AFAIK does Sony not sell and license the needed processing (and encryption) chip for use in general purpose devices like PCs and the likes. So the only allowed sources are properly licensed (by Sony) CD/DVD/SACD players. (Paul McGowan also talked a bit about the matter)

In the case of users buying DSD files, this is fine (they pay for it) and software players can read and play those files locally - like for example your AV receiver if he has access to those files. Pure audio devices often also accept DSD (native or DoP) content streams from other players over suitable connections - if/because they are not bound by the HDMI (HDCP) or Sony licensing terms (no HDMI connector and also no support for DSD playback from licensed CD/DVD/SACD players over other interconnects :wink:).

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I don’t have an NAS, so can’t check out the network share. (The Mahler album does show up in one place HEOS Music Servers, but selecting it simply returns No items to display.)

I may be fundamentally misunderstanding what DoP does. My understanding (based largely on comments by Paul McGowan) was that DoP was a way of encapsulating DSD to pass over an HDMI connexion. Or maybe I don’t misunderstand and I’ve just come up against the inbuilt limitations of the AVR itself.

Part of the issue is that I understand why an SACD would be encrypted (in order to prevent copying) but don’t understand why something similar would apply to a DSD file that I’ve purchased since the file can already be copied.

I doesn’t apply to bought DSD files, your files are not encrypted, player software on your PC or built into your AVR can play them, but the Sony decryption chip cant decrypt the non encrypted DSD (DoP) stream when received over HDMI because he is not encrypted by a Sony encryption chip. So you’re screwed.
Manufacturers have to make a decision here if they want users to be able to connect SACD players for DSD playback or not. Especially for the Japanese brands, with SACD still a thing in Japan and therefore usually all make and sell licensed SACD players too, this is a rather obvious choice for them to make. Surely they want that their receivers to be fully compatible to their SACD players. So they have to buy these Sony decryption chips and apply to the accompanying license agreement which seems to exclude playback of DSD streams from other sources.

You are on a wild goose chase. No AVR in the world supports DoP over HDMI. If you find one, let me know. Otherwise, DoP does not exist in the AV world. It is a high end audio and computer workaround/compromise.

AJ

I did find a workaround for my specific issue (which is related to a firmware issue: the final movement of the symphony does not show up when trying to play from the USB stick), which was to play it using Universal Media Server (rather than the DLNA server).

Thank you for your help, and I apologise if I seemed somewhat obtuse – these are things I’ve never had to deal with or even think about before.

I did find a workaround for my specific issue (which is related to a firmware issue: the final movement of the symphony does not show up when trying to play from the USB stick), which was to play it using Universal Media Server (rather than the DLNA server).

The multiple responses above about AV receivers do not support DoP over HDMI are correct.

I just want to add that even if you succeed to send DSD (e.g. from USB stick, or DSD over HDMI from SACD Blu-ray player) to the Denon AV receiver, Denon just converts it to PCM internally otherwise room correction and many other AV receiver functions cannot work.

So ultimately it’s a case of which component (Roon or Denon) converting DSD to PCM sounds better to you, in case you hear a difference, assuming you do have a way to send DSD to it.

You’ll need to elaborate on this: as far as I can tell, playing back a DSD file, even on the Auto setting, turns off Audyssey MultEQ XT32, and selecting either Direct or Pure Direct disables it entirely. At least all information I can glean seems to suggest that’s the case.

In any mode other than DSD Direct, if you need Audyssey or bass management, it has to convert to PCM.

Both via USB and Universal Music Server, selecting Info when playing the DSD file using Auto shows [Audyssey] MultEQ XT32 : Off. Selecting Direct, of course, doesn’t show [Audyssey] at all.

This whole . . . exploration . . . started because of a firmware issue, but soon became a question of whether or not it might be worth investing in an SACD player (Denon’s retails here in Canada for $2 000) or just building up a digital library that ignores the SACDs I’ve already purchased. Honestly, I don’t know.

I do know I need to invest in a proper CD player in the near future (I’m currently using a DVD player to play CDs), but I need to decide whether or not the premium for an SACD player is worth it when I have limited physical space in which to expand my collection of discs.

It’s not difficult to rip the SACD layer to DSF files that Roon can play. You just need a compatible blu-ray player. These can be purchased on eBay for around $40 + s/h. For example:

https://tinyurl.com/Sony-SACD-Players
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Thanks for the feedback. (The URL wasn’t live.) That’s something I should look into. For the moment, at least, I’ve found a workaround to the specific problem that brought me here in the first place (using Universal Media Server as a network share).