DXD, DirectStream, Foobar, 2L downloads = Confusion

Cripes… I am getting dizzy…

Foobar denotes one thing, the DirectStream denotes another.

I am buying, hearing, and seeing some confusion regarding 2Ls magnificent recordings. What is going on hear? (pun!)?

My relevant equipment: DirectStream DAC, Foobar2000 player on PC, and USB interface.

2L recordings, stereo DXD downloads: Magnificat, Inside Polyphony, and Bellezza Crudel


1 - I understand DXD is not DSD but really 352 PCM. Sony requires you to call it DXD due to license requirements. Correct?

2 - I can not buy, via download from 2L or anyone, real DSD because Sony has license restrictions. Correct?

3 - Magnificat and Bellezz Crudel: Foobar player denotes the files as Codec=DSD128, Sample rate=5644800 HZ but my DirectStream DAC shows 44.1K PCM… ??? I am very confused both by DSD and 44.1. Can you help me understand what is going on here? What do I have and what am I hearing?

4 - Inside Polyphony… foobar notes these files are 352800 HZ Codec=FLAC and my DirectStream DAC shows 352.8 PCM. This appears to be correct in that DXD is really 352 PCM. Correct? Why does this file play differently from the prior two I noted above?

5 - If I want real DSD into my DirectStream, I must purchase the PS Audio DVD Blu Ray player - Sony licensing issue as I understand?

6 - BONUS QUESTION! So a DSD recording that is sold to me via DXD download. What am I missing and how much “better” is this 352 PCM over 44.1. I get it, one of those impossible to answer, but give it a shot please.

Bruce DeBonis (Atlanta GA)

There used to be a really good “foobar2000 for Dummies” site with very clear and explicit instructions on how to set up DSD, etc. in foobar2000. I can’t find it now, but here’s another simpler version (but it’s a little stale.)
Configuring Foobar2000 for ASIO DSD / DXD Playback with exaSound DACs. > exaSound Audio Design

1.) DXD is 32 bit floating point @ 352.8k. Technically it’s not PCM since PCM is fixed point, but no-body cares :slight_smile: It has nothing to do with Sony, but was instead an intermediate format used Merging Tech on their DSD editing system.

2.) Can’t buy real DSD? Real DSD is very available. The licensing is related to SACDs, protecting their licensed content. Enabling or selling ripped SACDs is definitely a violation of the Sony SACD licensing. DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, etc. are all available from many places and you’ll have to look at their provenance to understand the details of how DSD the recording/editing/mastering, etc. was.

3.) If the DS is displaying 44.1k PCM then that’s what it is getting. Something upstream isn’t configured correctly. The DS will display, say, DSD128 or DoP128, etc. if DSD128 or DoP128 is coming over the wire.

4.) DXD isn’t DSD, as mentioned above it’s 32 bit floating point at 352.8k. So things seem to be working correctly for you there.

5.) Not at all. If you want to play SACDs, you’ll need an SACD transport and PS Audio sold the DMP and now the newer SACD transport. Or you can aquire DSF, DFF or iso’s of DSD material from many sources.

6.) Some hear a vast difference between 44.1 and higher rates. Some don’t. Mostly it’s not really a question about DSD vs. PCM. Higher resolution has the possibility of sounding better, all other things being equal. Some of us find a noticable difference between PCM and DSD, but that difference is almost in the noise compared to the differences in performance, recording, editing, mastering, and even the configuration of the software doing the playing.


Update: Thanx much Ted… I had some tool installed in foobar that made SACD output all 44.1. That will teach me to dick around too much. Sorry about that… all my own fault.

The files I was playing, coming into the DirectStream as 44.1 PCM are .dsf… how does that relate to DSD?

Bruce in Philly

.DSF and .DFF are to DSD as .wav and .flac are to PCM. They are the container files that support DSD or PCM with (varying levels) of metadata as well.


Thank you again. Your support is above and beyond… especially when I made the mistake.

Now to figure out how I did that? What the heck was I trying to do? I am an old IT guy and nothing drove us more nuts that when we moved something into production and the calls started coming in.

BTW, what triggered my discovery is that playing Magnificat sounded harsh… like what the heck?