Has PS Audio any plans for a lower cost DSD recorder for converting vinyl to pure DSD?


#1

I am a new member and live in the UK, I am diving into this forum and may not have read all earlier posts. I have read that all ADC chips actually work in PDM/DSD internally and that a PDM/DSD DAC is a simple filter so why is the hardware to record in pure DSD so expensive (psa phono converter)? Has PS Audio any plans for a lower cost DSD recorder for converting vinyl to pure DSD? I do not need editing facilities as I record whole sides and just add a file title. I do this to preserve my LPs and listen to the HD files on different systems in different rooms.

Background

I have been recording LPs into HD PCM over many years but I feel that PDM/DSD may give better sound quality. I bought a Sony PS-HX 500 turntable as this is supposed to include the hardware for recording DSD via USB. I have just discovered in a recent review in HiFi World (excellent UK magazine) that the USB link does not have DoP and the turntable only outputs HD PCM (This was high quality when tested but the fitted cartridge was not doing justice to the high quality electronics.) This is then converted to DSD in Sony HD recording software. A warning to all that pure DSD is hard to find. Does DSD converted from PCM sound better than the original PCM as the DAC filtering is simpler?

http://www.hi-fiworld.co.uk/


#2

Welcome, Mike!

I moved your post to its own topic in hope it gets more attention here.

miketk said Does DSD converted from PCM sound better than the original PCM as the DAC filtering is simpler?
The DirectStream DACs are a partial answer to this question. They convert PCM to DSD and sound spectacular.

#3
miketk said A warning to all that pure DSD is hard to find.
Have a look at nativedsd.com; 1200+ albums from 50 labels. Also look at Blue Coast Music, a small outfit devoted to maximum sound quality.
Does DSD converted from PCM sound better than the original PCM as the DAC filtering is simpler?
I don't have the technical knowledge to answer this, but let me suggest another way of approaching the issue. I think the quality of the recording and mastering is incredibly important, along with the quality of the playback equipment. A Redbook CD can sound almost as good as high-res PCM if the engineers had the skill and the time to do it right and it's played back on something like the PSA DMP. I've heard 96/24 PCM that sounds just as good as 192/24 or DSD. So it's really hard to generalize.

I do find that pure DSD very often has a slightly smoother, more analog quality that I enjoy; but not always, see paragraph above. My prejudice, which I have never attempted to validate scientifically, is to play recordings as they were produced: if recorded to PCM, play as PCM; if recorded as DSD (not converted PCM), play as DSD.

As far as recording LPs, I use PSA’s NPC and record to DSD with good results.


#4

Thank you for your helpful reply. Yes, I do have a lot of DSD downloads and I agree with all you say about the quality of the original recording and the smoothness of DSD. My main concern is recording my own LPs at the best quality I can afford and I cannot justify the ps audio phono converter (even at the reduced end of line price). I am looking for a lower cost solution and I am hoping that PS Audio can use their commitment to DSD and experience to engineer a lower cost solution to transferring vinyl to DSD. I only have a few hundred LPs bought new in the late 60s and early 70s. They have been played on a variety of turntables. Most are still in good condition and deserve a good HD archive file but at lower cost.


#5

That would be a pretty tough price-point to make. Doing without the “editing facilities” wouldn’t help as that is done by software external to the converter.


#6

Perhaps shop for a used unit?


#7

Excellent suggestion.


#8

Thank you for all the useful comments and suggestions. I will look for a secondhand NPC in the UK. I do think that PS Audio might consider a line level to pure DSD ADC unit without the phono amp circuits to reduce costs. For example I think the Korg DS DAC 10R might be able to do this. I just want a unit that samples as DSD and outputs as DSD with no PCM in the recording chain. (I do not need to do any editing so I do not need PCM for this.) I have many good HD PCM recordings of my LPs, and some good DSD recordings of my LPs from the Sony (but via PCM). My aim is to compare them to pure DSD recordings of the same LPs and decide which I prefer for future recordings.


#9

The NPC costs more than a straight ADC, as it is also a decent quality phono preamp.

When I thought I had access to 6 large crates of LPs, I was loaned one, and then life got in the guy’s way. He has now moved across country. Well I have 600+ LPs that I chose to digitize the rare ones.

Now that I have access to Tidal, I have found a lot of albums that I never thought would be there. So less motivation to transfer. I can either play the vinyl, or Tidal which will either be CD quality or MQA.

As to recording, I bought a HRS Linestreamer+, no DSD, but 24/96 which I believe is plenty hi-rez for LPs. And I do use Vinyl Studio to edit the lead in and out grooves. I also use their default pop and tick remover. There was a period in the '70s where vinyl was really crappy. It was not unusual to return 2 or 3 copies, before getting one that was listenable. My buddy had two copies of King Crimson’s “Red”, one for each side.

I would bet you will never see a straight ADC from PSA. There isn’t enough demand, and there are many good ones. Ayre, Benchmark, and all the pro ADCs like the Korg you mentioned.

My main DAC, does not do DSD, so JRiver converts it to 24/176, and it sounds really good. If you already have an ADC that does PCM at 24/88 or above, in my opinion, that is all you need.

What DAC and ADC are you using now?


#10

I have so many ADCs you wouldn’t believe!!

I started with PC soundcards. Despite the critics some are good especially the Creative ZxR 192/24 (still available).

Then external soundcards, especially the Terratec Aureon Xfire 8.0 HD USB (German, still available, very cheap, very good).

Then the wonderful Novafidelity X40 which is a streamer, server, ESS Sabre DAC, and ADC. Rave reviews in the UK hi-fi press and it is a lovely piece of equipment. Truly ‘audiophile on a budget’ (still available)

But none do DSD!!!

Playback. I have three systems in different rooms. Main system is Auralic Aries Mini server via USB to Audiolab M-DAC+ out to Prima Luna HP and Monitor Audio Gold 200 speakers. Next is Novafidelity X40 into Quad Artera amp and Quad ESL63s. Then Naim SuperUniti into Monitor Audio Bronze and other old but good speakers. I cannot part with old equipment, even the Pioneer PL12D bought new a long long time ago.


#11
miketk said Does DSD converted from PCM sound better than the original PCM as the DAC filtering is simpler?
In my experience, YES.

I originally ripped my entire CD collection to 44.1/16 PCM FLAC files using dBpoweramp. I later converted the FLAC files to single rate DSD using JRiver Media Center. Details here:

http://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/179508/the-pcm-to-dsd-conversion-project

I also converted my small vinyl collection (several hundred LP’s) to single rate DSD using the NuWave Phono converter. The DSD files sounded better than the vinyl playback. Details here:

http://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/174885/the-turntable-retirement-project/p1


#12
DarqueKnight said ... I later converted the FLAC files to single rate DSD using JRiver Media Center.
To my ears, the PCM->DSD conversion in HQPlayer sounds much better than JRiver. If you can stomach the weaker user interface and have a powerful enough system you can experiment to your hearts content with filters and algorithms. However, I dont think HQPlayer allows conversion back to disk ...only realtime to the hardware DAC.

#13

Btw, you don’t need to be stuck with the HqPlayer interface.

HqPlayer can be driven remotely by other front ends including Roon.

I use a ‘Roon Light’ product called Muso (http://klarita.net/muso.html). It is imminently affordable and works quite well with HqPlayer.

Screen shots enclosed.

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#14
Dmance said

However, I dont think HQPlayer allows conversion back to disk …only realtime to the hardware DAC.

Correct. That's why it was disqualified.