SACD (DSD) to external DAC

Okay … so like I thought a manuf could only pass DSD if they had purchased a license … or something like that. I heard Paul McGowan, in one of his videos, claim that they could pass the full DSD data stream between their (PSA) products because they had gotten permits from Sony (??). Correct???

I don’t get it … here’s what I don’t get … right here …

Not sure … but about that Oppo/Denafrips claim … either it ain’t true that they’ve got DSD – the real McCoy-- transmittin’ over the HDMI cable … or that it very well is the real McCoy and it is an “illegal” (un-liscenced) hack. Correct?

The Chinese box is ignoring copyright/licensing concerns but is fooling the compliant Oppo into thinking otherwise. The Oppo then agrees to send the DSD bitstream in HDMI protocol as it would to an AV receiver that supports DSD, and the Chinese box copies that bitstream into a (variant of) I2S format that gets relayed over a HDMI cable though no longer using HDMI protocol. The DAC is able to be configured to recognise the particular DSD-in-I2S-on-HDMI pattern in use and you get legally-dubious audio to enjoy. :slight_smile:


Sony is primarily concerned with a user copying the music on an SACD and sharing/reselling. In the way PS Audio moves the music from the player to the DAC you can’t record the stream and make a listenable file or disc. So PS Audio is not violating the terms of the SACD license. As for the companies/users who bypass the restrictions they are technically in violation of the licensing and could be fined. Back when Sony was actively selling SACD players and SACD discs they were strictly enforcing the licensing agreement. Now that they are out of the player and disc market they aren’t as concerned. It’s a cat and mouse game and the mouse is still alive. Of course, now you can buy DSD files for download and there is no technical limitation to prevent purchasers from sharing them. Of course, there is a legal restriction, but who cares about that? :upside_down_face:


I don’t know WTH is goin’ on with that Oppo/DENAFRIPS combo???
Maybe Ted Smith could chime in. He hacked that Sony SACD player, many years ago, so he’d be my trusted source for info.

From what I recall … all you need is the data stream comin’ off the laser pick-up / decoder. And then “just” LP filter that. Yes?
If so, then that’s the data stream the OPPO is pukin’ out that HDMI output. No license needed. Slicker n’ snot.

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The two previous answers are correct, here’s a restatement that might make things clearer:

The HDMI protocol supports protected DSD. It presumes that companies follow the licensing on the parts that decode the HDMI, obviously not all do. I.e. they encrypt the DSD or at least use trusted handshaking to verify that a complying component is on the other end. Thus, it is possible to pass DSD without violating Sony’s licensing over HDMI. I don’t know if Oppo/DENAFRIPs are following “the rules” or not. There are plenty of “Chinese” boxes/boards out there that do some form of cheating and delivering the raw DSD bits from an HDMI connection. I don’t keep up with them but there are some threads around here with info…

FWIW I have a Vanity HD card which replaces any Oppo’s analog board which taps off the DSD and presents it (in multichannel) to a set of six RCA digital connectors. Technically that card is in violation of Sony’s licensing. But it was nice to have a multichannel DSD system back up with it until PS Audio did the DMP transport (which sounds better.)


Thanks Ted Smith!

And here is the Paul M. video from 2018 that I should have pasted into my OP:

Yeah … I think Oppo/Denafrip pulled it off. Good for them! Healthy competition and attention to the DSD format will benefit everyone.
About the Paul M. video … not sure I agree with him that dupes of the “mastertape” is what caused that ridiculous license thang … for several reasons:
– Most studios want their public releases to sound great – this strategy sells more records. Duh!!
– Many, many DDD recordings (even Red Book quality) are MATHEMATICALLY identical to the master tape. Duh!!
That said … Sony (et al) probably realized that CD ripping and Napster and file sharing were happenin’ in the late 90s, and they thought their license thang could set a precedence … but SACD flopped … even with dual discs. And Sony shot themselves in the foot with Playstation. Duh!!
DSD / SACD … what a mess… soup to nuts. Duh!! BUT, as I noted in my other thread, DSD is ideal for preserving analog master tapes. Or maybe live “direct to DSD” recordings.

No, the music industry has really been protective of hi-res. There’s DRM on DVD’As that (optionally at mastering) keeps any external device from receiving more than 48k. The DSD layers on SACDs are encrypted and the key is encoded in a way that isn’t readable with the (then available) DVD readers. Many of the SACD transports wouldn’t even give out the DSD bits, they’d only deliver 24/88.2k PCM. The original S/PDIF, TOSLink and AES/EBU had a field to keep from the bits being transferred twice. I.e. it was fine to get it from your CD player to your DAC, but if you record those bits you couldn’t play them. This was defeated pretty early on.


This is such an interesting conversation in that, so much of the media consumed today is done so due to how convenient it is to access. We can all remember the sales pitch that you can “fit 10,000 songs in your pocket,” or something to that effect. How many of those consumers would bother with hi-res files, when the marketing for it would sound more like, “The files are about 200MB each, but they have a richness on par with vinyl?” It stands to reason that Sony believed there was enough of a market who wanted to listen to quality audio over quantity.

In the early days of MP3s’ popularity, I downloaded my share. What I did as a result, however, was purchased, in CD form, what I liked from the downloads. I sampled before buying. Most of what I didn’t buy got trashed and if it wasn’t, it was forgotten about. I guess I still can fault a company from protecting its interests.

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@dvorak I’ve been enjoying “legally dubious” Audio via a Sony UBP-X1000ES into the Chinese Adapter Boards and then into my PS DSSr. for almost 2 years now !

And not only DSD but BluRay 96/24 & DVD-Audio Stereo are played back with the watermark removed (via coax, they “dumb down” to 48/16).

Only problem I recently noticed is that the Treble is rolled off when playing 16/44.1 discs/files via I2S but is fine via S/PDIF, AES/EBU, Toslink, and USB. Not a big deal.

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What do you use for power source for the Chinese Adapter ? I bought the required equipment but have not installed these yet !

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This will work.

ALITOVE 5V 8A 40W AC to DC Adapter Power Supply Converter Transformer 5.5x2.5mm Plug AC 100V~240V Input for WS2812B WS2811 SK6812 LED Pixel Strip Light CCTV Camera Security System

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Your treble is being rolled off by the Chinese adapter because it is feeding 5v to the DS on one pin which triggers the DS into turning-on the CD de-emphasis filter. So you’re actually rolling-off 10dB of high-end by not correcting for this issue.

A few years ago I posted a picture on this forum of how to disable the 5v output through that pin so that the DS would not have its de-emphasis improperly triggered by that cheap Chinese adapter board.


Can you send me a link to that post please ?

I can’t find the post. But in looking at the picture of the board at the top of your thread, I believe that one only needs to remove the single surface-mount resistor which sits in-between the I2S output and the Coaxial output.

@tarnishedears I built this last night but my Sony needs the pin 18 5VDC on. I just bought some surface mount HDMI female connector boardlets from Amazon. Got a piece of stranded CAT6 wire (kept the twisted pairs and just separated them at the ends), and some tie wrap.

Worked like a charm !

Oiyagai 10pcs Gold Plated HDMI A Type Female Plug Connector with PCB Board Version 1.6 19PIN