DSDIFF (.dff) and DSF (.dsf) and Metadata and PSA Music Server

I put this in “Ask the Experts” because I hope that Tim and Elk (and others) can help me with the DSD formats and Metadata and I hoping Paul can tell me that the planned PSA Music Server will work for me. Let me start with some background. As Elk knows from another forum I understand the math that goes with digitization and have some long ago hands on experience with ADC’s (PCM back then). My digital front end is a PSA DMP and DS DAC. The music I listen to comes from either my 500 to 600 SACD’s or my ~ 3500 vinyl records. I do not download or stream anything.

I do, however, make needle drop DSD recordings of some of my vinyl. I use a TASCAM DV-RA1000HD to do this. As I understand it the 1000HD digitizes at 2 x DSD but then down samples to DSD and gives you DSDIFF (.dff) files. The 1000HD also allows you to playback these files from either its HDD or burn a DVD+RW which it can also playback. This is how I listened to my needle drops in the past. I can also send the files from the 1000HD to my PC using USB cable. This is a simple file transfer. When I connect the PC to the 1000HD the 1000HD appears as an external HDD to the PC.

So now we are at present time. A few days ago I took 7 DSDIFF .dff files (each being a track from an LP) and put them in a folder that I named after the album that the files came and copied it to a USB memory stick (also called a data stick). I then stuck that stick into the USB port on the front of the DMP and in less than a minute the album began to play on my system. I sat back and listened to the album and was very happy at how easy it was to play my needle drops on my PSA digital front end!

NOW COMES MY QUESTIONS. As I understand it the difference between a .dff file and a .dsf file is that the .dsf file can contain Metadata. And Metadata is the album name and the track names. If one makes an original DSDIFF recording (which is what my needle drops are) where does the Metadata come from? The vinyl LP Metadata is on the label in the middle of the vinyl disc and is not digitized when you do a needle drop. Even if I converted the .dff file to .dsf ( I am not sure if I have a program that will do this ) and entered the Metadata into the .dsf files that is going to be a lot of typing and when it is displayed on the small (2" x 3") screen it is at least 20 feet from my listening position and I cannot read the names at that distance. (I actually think I can manually rename each .dff file and that name will be displayed on the small screen.) At this time it seems easier for me to just take the vinyl album with me to the listening position and read the Metadata from the cover. If there is some reason why I need to convert the files to .dsf and enter the Metadata that I do not understand please explain it to me.

Paul, I am clueless about Music Servers (MS). I hope the PSA MS is a box that is in the same format as the DMP and the DS DAC so I can stack it on top of those two and connect is to the DS DAC with an HDMI cable. Will I be able to transfer DSDIFF (.dff) files from my PC to it using a USB cable the same way I transfer files from the TASCAM 1000HD to my PC? Will the MS work with .dff files or does it have to have .dsf file with Metadata? I really hope the PSA MS will work for my ever growing number of DSD needle drop files. If there are things I should do now to make my needle drop files compatible with the PSA MS please let me know.

There is no need to convert DFF to DSF unless you want to add metadata. Putting all of the files from a given vinyl album into a single conveniently named folder is certainly enough for basic organizational purposes.

I do not yet know enough about the new server to answer specifically, but I am certain it will have USB connectivity to allow one to load files into an internal hard drive (or SSD), and connect an external USB drive. I anticipate a USB port on the front to allow one to play files off of a USB flash drive as well.

DSD needle drops can sound wonderful if prepared with some care and I am certain yours are excellent.

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