DSD256 and how it's being played

At Octave Records we’re preparing the necessary equipment to remaster a few of our classics, like Gabe Mervine’s Say Somethin’, among others and will make these remasters available in DSD256 for download.

I am curious how many people in our community are interested in DSD256 and how they are playing it. I assume downloading, dropping it onto the hard drive, then playing through Roon or some other server into the DAC.

In speaking with Blue Coast Record’s Cookie Marenco, she tells me their biggest demand is for DSD256. Since we are soon to be fully capable of DSD256 and will start recording everything in it, I just wanted to feel out the market to see what people thought.

I sure am blown away with how it sounds!

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Download > Synology NAS > Lumin T2

If 256 is available, that’s what I purchase. Mostly as a future-proof option. Especially as DAC’s become more resolving.

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Download, copy to hard drive plugged into Auralic Aries G1, played through Matrix X-SPDIF2 to Direct Stream over I2S (the Aries puts out 256DSD over USB but the Direct Stream only accepts it over I2S, as I understand it).

I would pay a reasonable premium for DSD256. Some labels allow downloads at lower rates when you purchase the highest rate. Since PS Audio generously includes PCM along with their DSD download packages, I would hope they would do the same (include lower rate DSD when DSD256 is purchased) as not all of my systems can play DSD256.

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I am surprised DSD256 is in Blue Coast Record’s greatest demand. Interesting tidbit.

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For me I have tried it, but had technical issues due to Roon DSP. When engaged the DSP engine and DSD can take a ton of effort. When I tried it, lots of choke points and pauses. Turn off DSP and it was better. I think I still had some drop outs but I know thats because my USB hard drive is 2 floors up and 3 switches in-between. Fixing that issue. But for me DSP to fix room issues done in digital domain via Roon gives me way better sound than that gained moving from 64 or 128 to 256. That being said when you buy from Octive you guys give us all the versions. I have them if my hardware issues ever get settled, as in if Roon starts using the full power of the chip. I think its limited in its use of the cores in the intel platform.

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That is great news. In my system DSD 256 is so much better than my DSD 64 copies it ain’t funny. It is approaching my LP system in involvement! LPs still has the fullness and textures that are more natural, but this DSD 256 is not far behind and has me reaching for my IPad much more often than not.

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Paul, DSD256 direct, Aurender - Matrix - DSD Sr.

I purchased a DSD256 collection from Blue Coast for $50. It seems anything I looked at that was DSD256 was $50. I purchased Audiophile Collection III from Octave which is DSD64 and cost $29. I can barely tell the difference. I definately can’t tell the difference between DSD128 and the DSD256 I just purchased. That being said, for me, I won’t be paying the extra $20 for rhe higher resolution because these ears can’t appreciate it.

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I have three recordings in 256 and they sound analog like with great details, and I will be interested to get more for sure. I need more files to fill up all the empty SSD I bought for no apparent reason, until now.

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I guess the first question is, if it is offered how many of us are appropriately equipped? My Bryston BDA-3 will handle DSD256 native. Curiously, Bryston only supports DSD128 with the companion BDP-3, which I have as the other half of my digital stack. Fed by a USB hard drive. Hmmm, I’d have to replace my BDP-3 with something else that can play back DSD256. I have a small by growing number of DSD128 releases. I’ll admit I can’t say yay/nay about 128<->256, but I will say I’d be hard pressed to ditch my BDP-3 just to support DSD256. Not an Octave Records specific matter for me, mind you. But for the sake of broad minded market research I’ll opine that upgrade isn’t highest priority on my list and likely won’t be anytime in the near future.

Paul, if you had the production facilities to do DSD128, is it a quantum leap moving to DSD256?

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Yes and yes. I would be interested in 256. It is a part of the DS I haven’t used yet. Would be going I2S from matrix to DS.

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I would be interested in the DSD 256. I think it would be beneficial for the Airlens release and the DSD MK II.

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I just compared a DSD 256 Bill Evans with a 192k 24bit copy and night and day difference. 24bit is really washed out next to the DSD 256. 192k 24bit and DSD 64 is very similar, really a toss up with DSD 64 slightly smoother.


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Waltz for Debbie is a big improvement also!

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I never heard Waltz for Debbie with such fidelity as the DSD 256 version! It is surely a file to die for. Ran all over my DSD 64 version.

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Care to elaborate which album/track specifically you listened to and with which DAC exactly, that you were blown away with?

The Grimm downsamples 256DSD, I end up with tweaked 176k.
Pink Faun, oddly enough is LIMITED to128. Wut?!
So, most amusingly the only thing that will stream it pure is my sensational MacBook Pro SSD. Dang. This means I have to point the Mac to the new NAS. I prayed for death. Ten minutes later was pointing Audirvāna at the NAS and it started examine each file in half speed real time.

So right now I am listening to a 16.44.1 RIP of a CD and it sadly sounds really good. DSD256 report coming in mid 2023, just weeks before the AirLens Beta begins.

Quick update. I Hit stop on the Mac and put the CD in the Ethos. I am confounded at the difference. LP quality heart and soul, no getting out of my chair to flip. I can’t believe how much better it sounds vs. streamed data of the RIP of the same CD. Bits do not appear to be bits.
Who knew?

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Al, you are really gracious for loaning out your PS Audio DACs for such long term usage. I think your friends are really taking advantage of your kind nature. They should get their own DACs by now. Even the PS Audio DS Jr. can do DSD 256. With a system such as yours, it will easily show how superior the DSD 256 is over the other formats. I would love to hear a review from you on this with your fabulous system.

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Clifton, I have a DS jr with sunlight and thought DSD 128 was the limit; how do you get it to process DSD 256?