DSD blasphemy

what a brand, Dangerous

It would really need the kinda thing broadcast use for (e.g.) classical music.
Multi-band compression etc.
Given that every decade or two HiFi starts having reverb processors sold at it, I’m surprised no one has done this with “inaudible” dynamic control.
Maybe “they” have and I’m just not aware.

As an aside anyone here ever use a reverb processor aimed at consumer use?

I’ve thought a couple of times of hooking up an old unit I have (not a very good one) to a spare amp and speakers placed somewhere vaguely to the rear or the side, just for laughs :slight_smile:

…and I recall that “Soundmind” from the Paul’s Posts comments back in the day had some kind of reverb and delay set up to simulate large halls in his living room.

It’s a long way from “accurate reproduction” though (same as vinyl with it’s compression and EQ specifically to fit within the limitations of vinyl medium :wink: ).

Yarlung Records and Blue Coast Records (Cookie Marenco’s label) record and release in DSD. But that’s about it, afaik. Reference Recordings and Octave Records record in DSD256, but typically master in DXD (like Channel Classics). The National Symphony Orchestra (Washington DC) will record live performances in DSD256 (depending on whose handling the recording), but most of their releases are then mastered in DXD. Not sure about the other U.S. orchestras’ in-house labels. None of the classical music labels I know of record in DSD, they are all recording in some iteration of PCM.

Europe seems the center for DSD activity, but that is among niche labels (like Myrios, Eudora, Cobra, Just Listen, occasionally Hunnia), not the majors.

Thanks. So a very small club. I’d forgotten about Yarlung from Tibet and that Czech lady with the wrong track listings. Funnily enough, a Czech lady we hadn’t seen for 20 years rang the doorbell without warning yesterday, which was a surprise.

Certainly the Merging technology is widely used in the UK, but not for 2-channel DSD audio.

I’d forgotten that the London Symphony do loads of DSD recordings, approaching 100 now, but they are done at The Barbican and I do not like the acoustic or the venue generally. There are more attractive nuclear bunkers.

That’s certainly the way it’s regularly portrayed in Mick Herron novels.

It’s in an ugly part of the City of London, you drive into the underground car park and never see the light of day. There is nowhere nice to eat or have a coffee. From the tube you walk down a tunnel to get in. The Festival Hall (and two smaller halls), on the other hand, is on the river, surrounded by restaurants, markets, etc, and a huge piazza, and always buzzing, even in the winter, and there is a huge Christmas Market.

Half the thing about live shows is how you feel before it starts and if your only consolation is that you will survive if the Russians attack, there’s not a lot going for it.

This is one of the nice bits - it’s called “Brutalist” architecture.

The bad bits are here. It’s horrific.

On the other hand, Covent Garden has several restaurants, coffee shop and a very nice bar.


~70% of my listening is to large orchestral music where dynamic range in recordings can be overwhelming.

I could list at least 100 works but I’ve been listening to a lot of Shostakovich and Vaugahn Williams lately (both in my top 5 composers) and, even within movements, the dB contrasts can be staggering.

Luckily, compression or other techniques have been applied in many recordings so my ears can enjoy the albums.

In fact, if I had a truly monster $$$$$$ system. For example, Wilson WAMM Chronosonics plus Wilson subs, much of the music I love would be unlistenable.

Here’s a short video of the final moments of Scriabin’s Le Poème de l’extase which, thankfully, has come compression applied but, if one looks closely, there’s a patron holding her ears.

Hi all. Hope you won’t mind me sharing a technical viewpoint on this.

“Dynamic range” just means the difference between the loudest signal a format can encode and the level of the noise floor at the limit of its resolving capability. For 16-bit PCM that’s 96dB, for 24-bit PCM it’s 144dB and for 1-bit DSD it’s somewhere in between (nominally 120dB) for the 20Hz-to-20kHz range that we care about for audio.

Even 16-bit PCM has more than enough dynamic range to have you riding the gain control, and you can transfer any modern pop/rock track into DSD format and it’ll still have had all of the life compressed right out of it.

What you’ve experienced with these DSD recordings is not the fault of the format but a stylistic decision by the producers. They think you’re seeking something different and have worked to give it to you. They could have done exactly the same thing with PCM.


exactly, though in my case it’s too much in the DSDs I have purchased other than SACD discs, and relatedly or not, something is missing regarding a completeness in some DSDs, eg Octave’s Temporary Circumstances. Sparkle and ambience perhaps. Minimization of frequencies or of the musicians perhaps. I have listened again in direct comparison of some carefully produced performance…important sounds and music are missing in action.

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Sorry, I just don’t hear what you think is missing in this DSD256 release of Temporary Circumstances. To me, it is one of the best sounding of the various Octave releases.


I just listened with frequent peaks between 95-100dB, which is already quite loud and fun. But what are we doing with all the so important dynamic range? I turned down the volume to a then really barely noticeable level, which still had 35-45dB, which makes 65 practically usable dB dynamic range. So I wouldn’t really want it louder than 100 and lower than 45dB doesn’t really make much sense either, 35dB is no music anymore. I’d like to see those propagating the need of CD’s or Hires’ range, using it in a listening room without getting deaf.

Unfortunately high dynamic range music is rare these days.

That is a sad tale. I suppose I just stay too much within classical music and 50s/60s jazz to notice this so much. With the current classical I’m hearing, dynamic range is still very much alive and will kick my butt if I’m not careful.


Exactly correct and as I want it to be.

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Everyone appreciates it, but how do you think you hear over 60dB dynamic range on headphones?

I admit I also thought I listen to higher ranges on speakers and I might if I listen to partly very low level music with a big short sudden strike without getting a heart attack…but tell me, how could we use this range over 65dB?

It’s not that I propagate brickwalling, compressing or low dynamic range…quite the opposite…but I lost any idea of its meaning in practical use…where’s the bug?

Most here say they don’t listen louder than 85 dB max peak if at all…so how should they?

Different in large rooms.

But ok, you have much lower basic noise level with headphones…but can you listen to 70-80dB with them?

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Did I say I did? Still, I value recordings that have a greater dynamic range than a more compressed dynamic range. I tend to listen at “moderate” listening levels. Always have. I don’t care whether it’s a range of 60db or 40db or 120db, what I care about is that the music can get very soft, down to the barely heard whisper (that may even be below the ambient sound of the room) and also very loud as in a orchestral fortissimo. But, I’ll never let my ears be subjected to that 110db that is easily possible in an orchestral hall. If the music has been dynamically compressed so I can hear it all driving around in my car, I’m just not interested in listening to that in my home.

No, I don’t place a noise level meter in my listening room or between my ears and my headphones. That is simply not useful information to me.

I am entirely unclear as to what the argument is here.



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Exactly II…

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I agree with all of it.

My point is, people (like usually myself and most here) argument as if dynamic range (over the in most rooms practically usable 70dB) was an important quality criteria of recording formats or media, while even if a higher range is recorded, hardly anyone makes use of it or could (with human ears) even if he wanted.

If we just would want to make real practical use of the 96dB dynamic range of CD (assumed it was recorded), we’d have to turn up the volume so loud, that the peaks would be 120-130dB. It’s not possible. We either consume much lower dynamic ranges on this kind of media or we gain ride (if you will compress) it manually with the pot. And the only way why such high dynamic ranges can be recorded is the fact, that the mic‘s are placed so much closer and directed to a timpani (or whatever) than a listener could be.

I just recognized how silly the wish for highest dynamic range is practically. But certainly also I want it :wink: And I’m against compression, too!

As an example, some Reference Recordings files or LP‘s come to mind. Great stuff, but hardly listenable throughout without the remote at hand, either for the loud or soft parts.

I could understand that better if you didn’t care about dynamic range either. If I’d care much about it, I’d also like to know if I can make use of it at all.