DSD


#1

How does Sprout handle DSD files?


#2

As far as I know, the Wolfson WM8524 DAC in the Sprout is PCM only. If you want to handle DSD files I believe you would need an outboard DSD DAC that would feed the line-on analog jack.


#3

Andrew is correct. Sprout doesn’t handle DSD files.


#4

You may want to check out DSD Master if you’re on a Mac. I’m not familar with the app, but supposedly, it allows DSD-to-PCM conversion so you don’t have to give up on listening to your DSD music on the Sprout.


#5

Supposedly JRiver does DSD to PCM conversion, too. Anyone have experience with these?


#6

JRiver will do the conversion on the fly. I believe foobar2000 (available only on the PC) will too. DSD Master (from the BitPerfect folks) works nicely as well.


#7

I suppose if you have a small number of DSD files you want to listen to on Sprout or if you only occasionally listen to your DSD files on the Sprout then conversion to native PCM might make sense. If, however, the Sprout is your main Amp and you are intending to invest in DSD music I would strongly suggest that the investment include an entry level DSD DAC. The UFO DSD DAC featured on Blue Coast Records web site (and available elsewhere) is a pretty good and (relatively) inexpensive choice. (Of course if cost is no object, PS Audio makes a pretty nice product I’m told :)

The reason I say this is DSD -> PCM conversion isn’t particularly easy and WILL result in some sonic loss. Lot’s of “math” goes into making the conversion. Some even say that the resulting file contains all the weaknesses of DSD with the additional weaknesses of PCM. DSD is a purists format and can sound absolutely glorious. You take the DSD bitstream, feed it into the best DAC you can afford, the output goes into the best preamp you can afford, followed by the best amp and the best speakers… you get the picture. Essentially any manipulation of the music will occur in the analog domain and is generally kept to an absolute minimum. This approach is at the absolute opposite of a modern AV receiver which has virtually all of it’s paths through a digital section where tons of DSP occurs. Sprout is a bit of a jack of all trades. It’s analog input will likely do no violence to the converted DSD signal but it may prove to be the weak link once you begin to appreciate this format.


#8

One of the main points of DSD is to not use PCM anywhere in the chain, but if the sprout is a 2nd system & you want to play your DSD converting makes sense.


#9

Thanks all. That is what I figured. Mainly I am looking to compare various hi-res formats as I dive into this. DSD is most likely something that won’t be for me.


#10

What does PSAudio recommend when considering a DSD file and Sprout?

  1. Is it worth it to use something like JRiver to convert it on the fly? What would be the most advantageous settings in JRiver for this?

  2. Use a DSD DAC to play and input to Sprout’s analogue input?

  3. Ditch DSD and get a 192/24 file.

  4. Other.

Thanks.


#11

If you use a program like JRiver on the computer it’ll convert DSD files to PCM on the fly and Sprout can handle easily and then sound great!


#12

Thanks, Paul. I appreciate your presence on these boards (and just discovered your daily blog, impressive if not overwhelming).

I’m a newbie to all these file formats, so forgive me if I’m asking the obvious. Are you saying it is preferable to let JRiver convert a DSD file than to get the same recording in say 24/192 in the first place? I’ve always thought the less the conversion on the consumer end the better. Thanks.


#13

That’s a good rule of thumb, all else being equal (which sometimes it isn’t as the DSD and PCM masters may not be equal to begin with or one may have been converted from the other format; format conversions on the commercial end are best avoided where possible as well).


#14

It is best to purchase and play back a file in the same format in which it was originally recorded.

But this does not really answer your question as to which is the best method to play back a DSD file using Sprout. Lets assume the file was recorded in DSD and released as a DSD file. The most likely best sound would come from using a DSD DAC and playing this through Sprouts analog input.

There are so many variables however I would not try to find a best method for all DSD files you come across. Some will have better PCM versions, some will have lousy PCM versions. Etc. Thus, I suggest finding a method which is easy and you will happily use to play all of your music.


#15

S

fritzg said Thanks, Paul. I appreciate your presence on these boards (and just discovered your daily blog, impressive if not overwhelming).

I’m a newbie to all these file formats, so forgive me if I’m asking the obvious. Are you saying it is preferable to let JRiver convert a DSD file than to get the same recording in say 24/192 in the first place? I’ve always thought the less the conversion on the consumer end the better. Thanks.


Sorry to be overwhelming! I can spew a lot of stuff out and need to be taken in small doses for people to survive without a headache. nospeak_gif

I agree with Elk you should buy in the format you wish to listen to. I thought perhaps you already had DSD recordings.

But here’s where I would disagree. If you were building a library and were trying to decide which format to purchase tracks in, my choice would be to go with the format you eventually want to wind up with. For my money, DSD is the superior format for the long run. So, if you’re library building, buy what you want and don’t let the hardware dictate those choices. Convert for now, upgrade the hardware to match the library over time.