This thread starts with opinion stated as fact, under the guise of an “application note”…and then it goes downhill from there.
I posted an objection, which I hope was more civil than most of the “DSD IS SNAKEOIL!!” posts. Sheesh! What is it about PCM that brings out the anger and contempt in its followers?
–Oh, wait–I think I know the answer. But why don’t you go there and join in the discussion?
I don’t mind a provocative discussion topic being thrown out in order to promote productive discourse, or even the occasional controversy for controversy’s sake. I do, however, find the leading nature and dismissive, dogmatic tone of this presentation to be highly disturbing. I also think–for whatever it’s worth–that presenting the initial statement as an “application note” rather than the statement of opinion that it is, to be hugely misleading.
Full disclosure, for those who don’t know me: I am the Director of Marketing at PS Audio, which for 30+ years has been at the forefront of digital consumer audio, including the first stand-alone DAC in high-end audio. PS has long propounded the benefits of DSD and will continue to do so. As you may know, our DirectStream DAC converts all inputs to DSD, and has been found by many highly-experienced listeners (including Paul McGowan, Gus Skinas, Cookie Marenco, Steve Hoffman, Richard Murison, and many more) to provide the most lifelike sound available from any digital audio system at any price.
I say this not as sales-pitch, but to indicate that our followers and others who record in DSD or develop DSDhardware (including Andreas Koch, Bruce Brown, Larry Ho, Ray Kimber, Michael Bishop, Robert Friedrich and many more) are not babes in the woods, and certainly would not be sucked in by snake oil (as one poster so charmingly labeled DSD). They use DSD, as we do, simply because it sounds better to us.
This is not to say that great recordings cannot be made in PCM (or reel-to-reel, or direct to disc). Mark Waldrep recently visited us at the PS factory, and Paul commented on how wonderful Mark’s recordings sounded. Conversely, Mark commented on how impressed he was by the sound of DSD recordings played back through DirectStream in our Sound Room One.
We believe DSD has innate advantages in linearity that result in more natural sound quality. Others may disagree–and God bless 'em.
FWIW, our digital guru Ted Smith believes that"IMO, the root of evil is the anti-aliasing filter when PCM is recorded, and to a lesser extent, the reconstruction filter when it is played. PCM requires these filters to have very steep slopes and that implies a tradeoff between phase issues near the transition band or amplitude issues there.
“These days with sigma-delta DACs and ADCs, Sony’s original marketing about the extra conversions to and from PCM are even truer. How can extra (lossy) conversions be better?”
Richard Murison at Bit Perfect provides another interesting perspective on the whole us-vs-them divide:
Richard makes the interesting point it’s easier to get a great clock than very stable voltage rails–it points to a theoretical advantage of higher rate sampling over PCM with even excellent power supply designs. But I digress.
Years ago when I worked in automotive racing engines, I encountered a similar divide: Chevy vs. Ford. Chevy racers could point to airflow graphs and dyno tests showing higher specific output per cubic inch, than comparable Ford engines. Ford racers could point to certain characteristics of their engines that they felt proved their superiority over Chevy engines.
Who was right? Objectively, at one time or another, perhaps both were. Unlike differing audio camps, the Chevy-Ford rivalry was largely good-natured.
My (perhaps elusive) point is this: my camp is convinced of the superiority of our methods, both objective and subjective. Your camp may well believe something else entirely. That’s fine: but throwing out inflammatory terms like “myths” and “snake oil” does not advance the dialogue, or allow either camp to learn from the other.
So–to quote a long-dead soul: can’t we all just get along?