DSD and DFF


#1

Amarra 3 was just launched and they say it will now play DSD via DSF or DFF file types. I have forgotten what they are, also I’m thinking my DS will not play them, could someone help me here, thks ?


#2

DSF and DFF are the two types of DoP files (i.e., DSD files that look like PCM files and are transmitted the same way) so the DS will certainly play them. Any DSD you buy and download will be one or the other. The DSF format allows tagging while DFF does not. Some server software supports one or the other. It’s nice Amarra 3 will do both. Assuming you get it, we look forward to hearing what you think.


#3

I do have a trial version but the one DSD file I’ve downloaded so far does not play (it does on Pure Music). So must be a set up issue, the manual has zero on how to. Thks for the explanation, will ask Amarra.

edit, figured it out, lovely SQ.


#4

Excellent


#5

I

rogerdn said Amarra 3 was just launched and they say it will now play DSD via DSF or DFF file types. I have forgotten what they are, also I'm thinking my DS will not play them, could someone help me here, thks ?
I use JRMCs Media Network to stream via PLCs to my DS/Bridge. I was just checking out Amarra but was set back by the $189 price tag. If I thought it was worth it sonically I would try the trial version but I think I will stick with what I know.

#6
stevem2 said DSF and DFF are the two types of DoP files (i.e., DSD files that look like PCM files and are transmitted the same way) so the DS will certainly play them. Any DSD you buy and download will be one or the other. The DSF format allows tagging while DFF does not. Some server software supports one or the other. It's nice Amarra 3 will do both. Assuming you get it, we look forward to hearing what you think.
No, they are two types of DSD files. DoP is (optionally) done by the player in the output routines, not usually in the file.

There are a bunch of DSD file formats, tho not as many as PCM file formats. They also may contain compressed DSD (DST) which is fairly hard to decode but once again done by the player, this case in the input routines.


#7

My only regret with the dsf files I purchased from Acoustic Sounds is that when Bitstreamed as DoP in JRMC I cannot apply volume levelling when I play them in playlists. I made a post on JR forum here: http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=90060.0

The JR bossman says to play them back as PCM. I have used dBpoweramp’s DSD codec to covert them to flac (you can even do flac uncompressed) just to compare them to the dsf files. I have not got around to comparing them yet. I don’t really like to minutely pick things apart but I will eventually.

Any comments from anyone?


#8

Comments:

I intensely dislike Replay Gain and any other form of volume leveling.

Even though the vast majority of DSD files have already been converted to PCM and back again, I would hesitate to convert them yet again to PCM for listening. To do the conversion properly is non-trivial and I would not trust a free/inexpensive enthusiast’s CODEC for the task. But if you cannot hear a difference you are all set.

YMMV and all other disclaimers apply.


#9

Ted, thanks for the correction. I didn’t look quite right even as I typed it.


#10
Elk said Comments:

I intensely dislike Replay Gain and any other form of volume leveling.

Even though the vast majority of DSD files have already been converted to PCM and back again, I would hesitate to convert them yet again to PCM for listening. To do the conversion properly is non-trivial and I would not trust a free/inexpensive enthusiast’s CODEC for the task. But if you cannot hear a difference you are all set.

YMMV and all other disclaimers apply.


Elk, the new Amarra 3 plays my 64 DSD file back as 176 PCM, so help me understand, does this comment of yours about replay gain apply here ? I cannot compare what the differences might be for this track btw.

#11

I saw on the Amarra website that it converts DSD to PCM. Does it not have an option to play DSD as DoP (looks like PCM but it’s still DSD inside)? If not, that’s a strike against it in my book, although I might well not be able to tell the difference. I haven’t used programs to convert DSD to PCM on the fly but I have used AudioGate and BitPerfect DSDMaster to convert files (need PCM files in my other systems) and they do a pretty good job.


#12
stevem2 said I saw on the Amarra website that it converts DSD to PCM. Does it not have an option to play DSD as DoP (looks like PCM but it's still DSD inside)? If not, that's a strike against it in my book, although I might well not be able to tell the difference. I haven't used programs to convert DSD to PCM on the fly but I have used AudioGate and BitPerfect DSDMaster to convert files (need PCM files in my other systems) and they do a pretty good job.
The Instructions about DSD in the user manual seem minimal but no mention of DoP I have found. Pure Music apparently does.

#13

BitPerect supports DSD if you use their DSDMaster program to created special hybrid files that play DSD if you tell BitPerfect that the DAC is DSD-compatible and otherwise plays it as 176/24 PCM (i.e., converted from DSD). Their DSDMaster program also can create stand-alone PCM conversions. It’s Mac only. I believe Gordon has said that he plays DSD using Audirvana Plus.


#14
stevem2 said BitPerect supports DSD if you use their DSDMaster program to created special hybrid files that play DSD if you tell BitPerfect that the DAC is DSD-compatible and otherwise plays it as 176/24 PCM (i.e., converted from DSD). Their DSDMaster program also can create stand-alone PCM conversions. It's Mac only. I believe Gordon has said that he plays DSD using Audirvana Plus.
I'm locked into 10.6.8 unless I'm willing to give up my Mach2 MIni tweaks, so BP is not an option or I would probably have it.

#15
rogerdn said Elk, the new Amarra 3 plays my 64 DSD file back as 176 PCM, so help me understand, does this comment of yours about replay gain apply here ? I cannot compare what the differences might be for this track btw.
These are two separate issues. ReplayGain and other forms of volume leveling are just this; each track or album (depending on setting) is manipulated to a standard volume reference. I have two objections. First, tracks and albums are meant to have different overall gain structure in relationship to each other. Removing this destroys part of the expression of the music. Second, the methods of changing volume may or may not damage the sound.

DSD to PCM is a second issue. It is not easy to transparently transcode DSD to PCM. And vice versa. Thus, if one has a DSD track I would figure out how to send it to the DS as DSD, not as converted PCM.


#16
Elk said
rogerdn said Elk, the new Amarra 3 plays my 64 DSD file back as 176 PCM, so help me understand, does this comment of yours about replay gain apply here ? I cannot compare what the differences might be for this track btw.

These are two separate issues. ReplayGain and other forms of volume leveling are just this; each track or album (depending on setting) is manipulated to a standard volume reference. I have two objections. First, tracks and albums are meant to have different overall gain structure in relationship to each other. Removing this destroys part of the expression of the music. Second, the methods of changing volume may or may not damage the sound.

DSD to PCM is a second issue. It is not easy to transparently transcode DSD to PCM. And vice versa. Thus, if one has a DSD track I would figure out how to send it to the DS as DSD, not as converted PCM.


I’ll take slight issue with your replay gain objection - replay gain supports both single track and album modes. There are separate tags for each so you can make your choice as you play. For PCM ReplayGain works very well for me (and FWIW foobar2000 lets you configure each play list independently for using replay gains, it’s modes or whether to just use the default, so I don’t forget I have it on on demo playlists, etc.)

In addition to the fact that going back and forth from DSD and PCM being hard to implement well, there are also a lot of options that can confuse the uninitiated that may further distort the results: e.g. options like using +0dB… +6dB when going from DSD to PCM (it’s almost never a good idea to do anything but 0dB)


#17
Ted Smith said I'll take slight issue with your replay gain objection - replay gain supports both single track and album modes.
Yes, I noted this. :)

I do not dispute it works. I simply do not like auto gain manipulating relative volume as these are artistic decisions. I do not want tracks within albums played back at the same volume, nor do I want multiple albums equalized to a single gain setting. Others obviously really like this. :)

As an example, a recording of solo guitar should be quieter than a recording of a large ensemble - whether within the same album or between albums.

My guess this is another classical v. pop distinction. It may not matter to a pop listener that a Springsteen track is played back with exactly the same volume as a Alison Krauss as a Diana Krall. It would make me seasick. surprised-014_gif

Then again, I just returned from 150+ miles of aggressive riding my Ducati on high speed twisty stuff - listening to Bach Cantatas. I certainly am not going to criticize others’ listening habits.

One also need be careful with how the volume changes are implemented and where. But this is a case by case issue, depending on playback software and hardware.


#18

I tend to use ReplayGain for background listening and hands on the volume control when I get a little more realistic volumes. I certainly agree that indiscriminate use of it can take the life out of a lot of music.


#19
Ted Smith said I tend to use ReplayGain for background listening and hands on the volume control when I get a little more realistic volumes. I certainly agree that indiscriminate use of it can take the life out of a lot of music.
As some know I like to play playlists. Volume levelling is great for that. In JR its easy to turn VL off, which is what I do when I get serious. I understand and respect everyone's opinion. I have known of Elk's (& others) disdain for replay gain for a long time now. It's all good.

I have never heard anything as good as unadulterated dsf (as DoP) files played back on the DS. That’s with NO alterations & additions. Just a whole new ballgame & I am very glad I went to the DS from PWD mkII, which was/is a great DAC already.inlove_gif


#20

There are almost as many ways to listen as there are types of music, all equally valid.

It is not that I have disdain for volume leveling, I just do not like it; it is a form of dynamic compression which I find jarring. Like random play, it is easy to avoid. :)