Music software

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the use of HQPlayer ahead of the DS Dac in particular. Outside using it for “room correction”, I don’t see that is does anything but 1) accurately transmit the data, or 2) degrade the data (with a possibly pleasing effect). I understand that you believe that it improves SQ, so usually what I’d do is plug it in and see if it improves SQ for me too. Unfortunately, it appears there is a lot of effort involved in plugging it in, so before I go to the trouble, I’d like to understand the rational behind why it may improve SQ.

In a recent ask Paul video someone asked him what’s important when using a computer as a source. Paul said software and cabling are most important. Software makes a significant difference. What you will prefer is entirely individual.

Here is a thread with over 14K posts and 1.3M views about HQPlayer. Without reading 5 years worth of posts, it’s reasonable to assume a significant number of people think HQPlayer improves the sound of their computer centric source.

Ultimately, the only way to know if you like it’s presence is to try in your own system. But there’s overwhelming evidence to suggest it’s at least worth the exploration.

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Here’s a dated, but more basic manual for getting started with HQPlayer 3. HQP 4 is a little different…

Well, I spent some time leafing through thousands of posts and looked at some other information from the HQPlayer developer… and here is what I’ve discovered so far…

That legions of users believe that HQPlayer improves SQ is pretty much irrelevant to using it with the DSDac. I have no doubt that many people do attain SQ improvements using HQPlayer. In the case of most chip DACs, offloading the upsampling task to a higher functioning processor can both improve the quality of the upsampling and decrease the internal noise generated within the DAC because it is not working as hard.

But I was specifically asking about the use of the DSDac with HQPlayer as the above doesn’t really apply. The DSDac has an FPGA which has the power to properly process upsampling at equivalent levels. Due to its unique design, it will be further upsampling anyway no matter what resolution it’s fed, and according to its designer, pre-DAC upsampling does not decrease the workload whatsoever. So my best guess at this time is that it basically comes down to saying that if HQPlayer has an SQ advantage when used with the DSDac, that would be because it is a better upsampler to PCM 352.8k/384k or a better upsampler from PCM to DSD. (Note that when presented with such upsampled data, the DSDac, then upsamples it further to DSD 56.448MHz).

My original intent was to understand how HQPlayer may improve SQ, so I could decide if taking the trouble to tackle the learning curve might be worthwhile. While I now think I do understand, whether to make the time and financial commitment to evaluate the difference is a tough call. Different upsampling algorithms from two world class designers that are still updated frequently -it sounds like a lot of ongoing effort when the DSDac already sounds so good. I will have to think about this…

As an aside;
Further, upsampling to less than PCM 352.8k/384k doesn’t make much sense since you will be adding another layer of upsampling. DSD upsampling seems similar -adding another layer.

There is a free trial for HQPlayer. Beyond that, you’ve likely spent more time trying to grasp the theories surrounding HQPlayer than it would take to simply try HQPlayer :innocent:.

The only way to truly know how HQPlayer will sound in your system, is to actually try it.

Roon makes it very easy to connect HQPlayer. The challenging part is setting up HQPlayer itself, at at first. If you’re on a Mac, I can provide screenshots of settings that will at least get you going. I’m sure a windows user here could do the same.

Beyond that, you’ll just experiment with the filters and see what you think.

The more basic theory is that some sort of software has to be used on a computer to play audio. There are several different ones to choose from. And HQPlayer is one of those options. Some people like it, some people don’t. That sort of conclusion is based upon direct individual personal experience rather than larger theoretics.

Most of the content I listen to is 16/44.1. I find in my 2 channel setup that HQPlayer upsampling to 24/352.8 using the poly-sinc-xtr-lp filter and NS5 noise shaper sounds clearly better than letting the DirectStream do the upsampling and dithering/noise shaping.

I don’t see it as HQPlayer vs the DS. HQPlayer does its magic, passes it on to the DS or DSJ, which adds yet more magic. Mo’ magic, mo’ bettah. It’s like having an extra scoop of ice cream :yum:

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Well, with PCM it is a competition. There is little point in using HQPlayer to upsample part of the way to 352.8 and then have the DirectStream go the rest of the way. Either you like how one of the HQPlayer filters upsamples better or you like how the DirectStream upsamples better.

This is the thing. I must have hit a dozen forums/KB’s to figure out how to make HQPlayer work.

But once it worked, i really was amazed with the difference in sound quality, and bought the full version right away…

Granted, I’m not using a DS or expensive DAC or anything. Just a Mac Mini and Roon and a Topping D50. It was like pulling wax out of my ears.

Its fun to play with the filters and settings. Sometimes I upsample pcm to DSD 128, depending on the type of recording, and it sounds great. HQPlayer has almost too many options, a veritable armada…

Thanks. This is exactly the type of comment I was looking for and the degree of upsampling makes sense. The only real downside, other than time, is I will have to acquire an NAA as I don’t have a computer in the sound room. Are you using an NAA?

Yes, I am using an ulltraRendu as an NAA with a Matrix X-SPDIF 2 feeding my DirectStream via I2S.

I think you are quite smart to not have a computer, other than the NAA, in the sound room. It may seem like overkill, but the ultraRendu is a great NAA.

I just ordered a Roon Nucleus Plus, when it arrives, will move my Roon core off a Dell I7 Windows10 Pro machine to the new Roon box, USB connection to the music on my external hard drive, other USB connection to my PS Audio DirectStream DAC.

When the unit arrives and I’ve done the conversion, will report my findings!

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Interested in knowing how your Nucleus+ works out. I got one recently but my Benchmark DAC usb does not always play nice with it.

I am really happy with my Nucleus Plus, it sounds really good with my PS Audio DirectStream DAC!