Playing DSD files

Hey folks. What’s the cheapest/easiest way to listen to DSD files and benefit from the improved sound quality? I only have 8 albums (octave records) and could put the files into a memory stick or similar… Is there a streamer/DAC I could plug the memory stick into? My cd player has digital inputs… Not sure if that helps!?

I’d love to just get a PS Audio transport/streamer but I’m about £8k short!

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The cheapest way to listen to DSD files is to listen at your friends house on his or her system.

Thumb drives will work, external hard drives or SSD drives will work. You can play them from your computer to your source if you have a USB input.

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Don’t you need a program such as Audirvāna to make that happen?
Or am I confusing rabbits with guinea pigs? :slight_smile:

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I have great results from JRivers, but can’t you just get DSD Master app and play back DSD in I Tunes for free?

Sony UBP-X1000ES/UBP-X1000ES, the chinese HDMI Video to I2S HDMI adapter Box, A Topping D90 DAC. That’s it. You can use the the 1000ES/1100ES’s internal DAC (RCA out) and forgo the DAC & adapter box. But it’s no where near the sound of a DirectStream Sr. or even the various YouTuber loving ChiFi DAC’s out there.

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try this type of DAC/player- where you place files into a microSD card (since you only have 6 albums- you can buy a small 32gb card). FiiO M3K HiFi MP3 Player for about 70 bucks in Amazon.

" Master of decoding: Supported formats and file types include: PCM up to 384kHz/32-bit audio, DSD, CUE files, and LRC files for displaying lyrics."

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You can play DSD with Foobar and it’s free. It truly is Just Another File Format. I do have 5TB of DSD now and it is a very enjoyable File Format. I don’t know that it has anything at all on 24.192k FLAC. I don’t know a single person who could accurately identify the difference in sound between DSD and 24.192. Nobody.

But with my current gear 16.44.1k has legs that stretch out into the future.

Nothing beats my Turntable setup though. Nothing.

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Nothing beats my digital streaming setup though. Nothing.

Oh, wait, that only applies to me….as does your preference for vinyl.

I actually like to listen to music and the few cases where vinyl is better than digital does not justify the massive headaches that playing vinyl well come with….I just can’t justify the rituals vinyl requires.


So I’m not sure what you have now. You need something to take in a dsd stream … like a directstream dac $$$$ or an ifi dsd dac $.

Then you need a streamer like jriver to play the dsd file off your laptop.

If you aren’t purchasing dsd files or streaming from a service (in which case you still need step 1) and you have sacd discs - then you need a way to extract the dsd from the sacd to file format. The computer audiophile site has a lot on that.

The Octave records SACDs also come with a DVD data disc which I would extract the DSD files from.

I might be asking the wrong question here … several suggestions involve using a pc to play the dsd files. If I connect my pc to an external dac with usb input, then from there to my preamp… has the PC converted the dsd files in order to output them via usb? Has that conversion trashed the sound quality?

I don’t have the answer, but you did ask the right question :slight_smile:
The other suggestion, using a Fiio, is also interesting. (I have a Fiio portable music player that plays DSD files, but I listen thru headphones (with the Fiio) and have not tried to connect the Fiio to my preamp, as I have an all-in-one cd/sacd/dvd/blueray player that plays what seems to be every type of disc and file imaginable).

What’s your multi format disc player just out of interest? I need a new Blu-ray/4k player…

My sentiment exactly. I’ve given up on Vinyl and it’s no longer an “Ordinary Average Guy’s” Sport anymore. With new pressings being resold by speculators at astronomical prices, somethings not right.

The same can be said about our precious SACD’s and even DVD-Audio discs.


An older Pioneer Elite UDP-85FD and a newer Panasonic DP-UB9000.
The Pioneer is HD and not 4k, but plays SACD discs.
The Panasonic is 4k, but does not play SACD discs.
Both have slots for usb flash drives that play almost every type of audio/video format, including DSD.
The Pioneer players have been discontinued, so the only option is the Panasonic, except no SACD capability.

Is this the Panasonic player with balanced outputs?

The fact that you have given up doesn’t affect reality for the rest of us. You make your choice, correct or not. No problem.

The rest of us? Do you think everyone else but @rajugsw plays vinyl? People who play vinyl are absolutely in the minority. I think you mean “those of us who play vinyl”.

Correct or not? There is no “correct” here. If people want to deal with vinyl and all that goes with it, great! If people chose not to put up with vinyl that is great too.

Hi hiace,

I’ll have a go at answering your second question first. I think it depends on what other things, if any, that you’ve done to mitigate potential impacts of the conversion process. (How’s that for obfuscation. :smirk:)

More seriously though on your first question. A typical Windows-based PC only works with PCM audio files or maybe even FLAC files as well (FLAC being just a lossless compression scheme for PCM). Typically, the driver software (application components that allow the PC to work with attached peripherals or devices) only know how to process PCM.

The two main strategies employed to process DSD (.dsf) files are as follows.

  1. DSD over PCM (DoP). This is just a bit packing scheme that takes a stream of DSD bits (read from a file, for example), chops it up into blocks of bits and packs them into PCM packets such that the PC just processes the data as PCM. For this strategy to work, both the source and destination processors must be able to pack and unpack the DSD data. The current DoP standard is limited to double-rate DSD (DSD128)

  2. Audio Stream Input/Output (ASIO). This is a proprietary standard for which application developers can purchase a licence to incorporate in their products. It allows multi-channel audio files of diverse bit depth and sample rate, including two-channel DSD beyond DSD128, to be processed in most computer environments over, for example, USB. Again, both source and destination processors must be ASIO-capable.

There are a number of players and devices that use ASIO. Matrix Audio, for example, provide a free downloadable software driver for Windows for use with their X-SPDIF 2 product. Most Linux-based OSs understand ASIO natively.

So, simply put, you just need a player that can read DSD files and can ‘talk’ in ASIO terms. The destination device needs to also understand ASIO in order to output the DSD bit stream to a DAC, like the DSDAC. The X-SPDIF 2 is a device that understands ASIO.

The DSDAC can only process PCM and DoP data on its USB input but can also process native DSD on its I2S inputs.

So you can either set the Matrix to unpack the DoP packets or just pass them through to the DSDAC. Ted has previously mentioned that there’s no extra processing demand on the DSDAC to unpack the DoP.

Somewhat long-winded but I hope it was of some help. :relaxed:

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That’s a superb explanation and the complexity may give a hint as to why DSD failed as a mainstream format, even though there are huge numbers of audio devices that can handle the data.

My very simple system sends DSD files from an Innuos server to a Devialet player over an ethernet cable. No special boxes, cables or software are required. Various other brands can do the same, I think Melco or Lumin can also send data out over an ethernet cable, no doubt others as well.

The fact that I only have 5 DSD files and Devialet converts them to 40/384 PCM (slightly higher than DXD, in which most DSD files seem to be recorded and/or edited), is entirely besides the point.

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