Does the DirectStream DAC Convert 16-bit to 24-bit and is That a Good Thing?

Hi, I’m new here but not to (analog) audio. I recently purchased a DirectStream DAC and noticed that the unit is displaying 24-bits for all my standard 16bit CDs, Qobuz streams and ripped CDs. I’m new to digital audio and so I have no idea what is happening here. I’m going to assume that this is a good thing, but should it actually be displaying the 16-bits that I’m feeding it?

The DSD will display whatever it is being fed.

What are you using to get a signal to the DSD? The source is 24-bit or is at least sending non-zeros for 24-bits.

I’m feeding the DSD a streaming signal from a Roon Nucleus. Any 16-bit standard CD file is displayed as 24-bits on the DSD’s screen.

I a not a Roonie so I cannot help specifically, but something is set in Roon to send a 24-bit digital stream. I am certain this can be turned off, but I cannot tell you how.

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Thanks!

Are you saying that that’s something I would want to do or is it better to leave the output set to 24-bit?

I suggest telling Roon to send an unmolested native signal to the DSD.

Then after you hear this, you can always go back and try other options.

Hopefully a Roon user will see this and will offer guidance.

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I really appreciate all your help and suggestions.

It is not much help yet. :slight_smile:

There are a good number of Roon users here who likely will chime in tomorrow.

nevertheless, you tried!

You might have sample rate conversion turned on. Go to the DSP settings for your Roon endpoint and disable it if enabled.

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You could also click on the little colored dot next to the song title at the bottom of the Roon screen which will tell you what is going on too.

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It’s not the DAC that’s converting. It;’s Roon. DS will only report what’s being fed to it so you’ll have to check your setting in Roon. There’s nothing in DS to do this.

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Paul, is it beneficial to have it set this way? Should I just leave it as it is?

No. If it were me, I’d want bit perfect and let the DS do its thing. I am not a fan of how Roon upsamples and would prefer instead the native sound. However, pick a track you know well, something with lots of depth and only a few instruments with lots of acoustics and overtones. Then try it both ways and see what works best on your system. Mine’s different than. yours.

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Thanks Paul, that helps a lot!

Hey Paul, I asked about this on the Roon forum and this is the answer I received:

Since you are doing volume leveling, Roon changes the bit depth because doing that (or any other DSP processing) in 16 bits would reduce sound quality. Roon actually does all the processing in 64-bit floating point, as you see, but the DAC can’t accept floating point so it needs to be converted to integer, and Roon does that to the highest bit depth that the DAC can accept, typically 24 bits, sometimes 32. It’s all to preserve the best quality of the volume adjustment.

I was able to turn off the volume leveling and now my standard CDs are displaying at 16-bit on the DSD’s screen.

Good to have this figured out.

Thanks for providing an update.

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