Your best DSD256

Actually my brother did mentioned to me he bought something in DSD 512 and said it sounded pretty good. He did not bring it over to me to try because my PS Audio DAC doesn’t do 512. Good for me or I would be buying a lot of 512 stuff.

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My DAC does do DSD512 so your forget DSD512 post seems wrong to me.
“Forget things I myself cannot try do to limitations I have accepted” would have been a better post.

(And my Brother agrees)

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I have accepted the limitation of not having a device that plays/decodes DSD512.
I have also accepted that I am one of the lucky few in society that have been able to enjoy some incredible sounding music in DSD256, a format that, other than us audiophiles, most others do not even know about


A friend who is a mastering engineer frequently works on remodulating DSD256 files to DSD512 and 1024 for release. I asked him why. He replied that there was market interest, they created “some buzz” and they sold well enough to be worth the time to create. Did he find them sonically more pleasing, I asked. He replied, “No, I personally don’t find the difference over DSD256 to be worth the storage space for my own listening.” So, I share your acceptance of my own inability to play them. :wink:


I am saying Ted Smith believes 256 will sound better than 512. That is way I say forget 512, not because I cannot do it. If I want, I can get a DAC to do 512 if it does sound better. So in your experience, does 512 sounds better?

I’ve never heard DSD512. But I will not judge it before I do.


I was a little perplexed why this HDTT file sounds so different than my AP file so I pull out my AP 45rpm record, and it sounded remarkably similar to the DSD64 AP file with the same sweet fullness of the sax. In comparison the contrast seems to be turned up a bit with the HDTT file. It started to wear a little too much for me on that first track, but all the other tracks seems to be not so bad. Perhaps it’s just my system. But I love every other music files I got from HDTT so far. It’s not so important where they got the music from, I only care how it sounds, and boy, do they sound good!!

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Just a bit of clarification about how the mastering engineers and labels are using the term “Pure DSD” these days. It started with NativeDSD trying to clarify the provenance of various DSD files in its catalog. As now used, “Pure DSD” means the file has not seen any processing in PCM, no post-processing in DXD for example. What you are getting is the pure DSD transfer from the analog tape or a pure DSD capture from the microphones.

As some examples, you will see the term “Pure DSD” used accurately by High Definition Tape Transfers (who are very clear about their mastering process), NativeDSD, Blue Coast, Cobra Records, Eudora Records, Fone, Just Listen Records, all of whom release Pure DSD recordings. The source of a Pure DSD can be analog tape (if originally recorded on analog tape) or a file originally recorded in DSD. If recorded in PCM, it can never be considered “Pure DSD” no matter what the delivered format may be.

Hope this can help add clarity to our conversations here. :thinking:


I think Cookie of Blue Coast said she mixes in analog, never read from her she made pure DSD releases, but maybe. I don’t know how Fone and the others do, but my impression so far was, pure DSD recordings (other than transfers) are a rarity. Simply because usually things need to be post processed and it’s hard to record them perfectly from start. I think Native DSD just record in DSD, that’s what they mean with „Native“. It doesn’t tell anything of post processing or not. What do you think?

Yes, I agree that my understanding is also that @cookie will mix, when she has to, via an analog board (perhaps she’ll chime in). Octave Records did this for a while, but I think Paul has said that they now go into DXD when they need to mix or do some other post-processing. I’m sure Cookie has some Pure DSD releases among her own recordings; I’d have to research that.

And, yes, recording in DSD and then staying purely in the DSD realm through release of the album is challenging. Gonzalo Noque at Eudora Records does this, as does Tom Peeters at Cobra Records. But both are largely recording small ensembles, not orchestral music. Jared Sacks will record mostly in PureDSD on his jazz label, Just Listen Records. Occasionally he has to pull the DSD tracks into DXD for some mixing or post-processing, but then it is no longer marked as PureDSD. For his orchestral recordings on his classical label, Channel Classis, Jared records in DSD256 but mixes in DXD so these also are not marked as PureDSD. He says trying to capture a full symphony orchestra and not expecting to do some post-processing mixing is just not realistic/practical to achieve the sonic results he’s seeking.

NativeDSD is an online retailer representing an increasingly larger number of other labels. They were founded by Jared Sacks in an effort to support more DSD recordings by other labels in addition to Jared’s own Channel Classics label. Today, NativeDSD will only sell recordings that come from a DSD, analog tape or DXD original recording source, with no lower level PCM in the processing chain. (DXD, of course, is PCM – just very high frequency.) As you point out, the reality of current technology is that not everything can stay PureDSD and DXD via the Merging Technology Pyramix Digital Audio Workstation has gained wide acceptance for being about the best solution available.

As you point out, PureDSD recordings certainly are more common among direct transfers from analog tape, provided the tape is in very good condition. No mixing needed when doing a straight transfer of an already mastered tape. For new original recordings, you also are correct that PureDSD recordings are fairly rare.

But more recording engineers are beginning to make the effort because of the supremely excellent sound quality that can be achieved. Just listen to any Eudora or Cobra recording that I’ve recommended in various articles on Positive Feedback. The transparency and natural analog-like sound is wonderful.

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As we already share several preferences for not so familiar labels (Northstar/Turtle, Sono Luminus etc.), I’ll try those you mentioned which I don’t know yet.

I bet you also noticed that among the less known PCM labels, e.g. Genuin, CIC/Aparte, Phi, Nimbus, Ozella, Fidelio, Dorian, Alfa not rarely stand out of the mass.

And I didn’t know, NativeDSD also sells hires PCM recordings under their otherwise declared label name.

Hello Jazznut, Blue Coast Records now records direct to DSD256. Because we often use more than 2 microphones for recording we must mix the multitrack files in order to get a stereo mix. We use more than 2 microphones to capture most of our music which varies from jazz to folk to Americana to New Age to ambient.

We prefer not to go to DXD for this mixing stage. Here we use an analog console then recapture the stereo mix on 2 channels of DSD256.

In the past we did use tape as our preferred medium for the multitrack recording, then mixed directly to DSD in 99% of the cases. The other 1% we mixed to 1/2" tape and DSD simultaneously. Because the quality of tape has been going downhill, for the last 5 years (more or less) we have been recording direct to DSD256.

Ramblin’ is a Blue Coast Records album and example of recording direct to DSD256 using 6 microphones, mixing through an analog console to DSD256. John R Burr (piano) and Mads Tolling are incredible musicians. You might recognize some of the songs they cover here.

For Blue Coast Records I never record to PCM. If you forget our processes we always list the processes (provenance) on each album page at Blue Coast Music.
Blue Coast Music is our store.

Thanks for the continuing conversation,
Cookie Marenco


Thanks Cookie!
Does this mean, if tape quality wouldn’t have been gone downhill in modern times, you would still use tape for pure sound quality reasons (convenience and other reasons ignored)?

Somit mentioned on your site where tape was used as a recording medium or is it identifiable otherwise?

So finally I understood you never made pure DSD recordings but always mixed somehow.

Hi Jazznut… what is your definition of Pure DSD recordings? I do record to DSD256… isn’t that pure DSD?

Yes, I do like the sound of tape, but for long term storage and current optimal sound quality, I have switched to DSD recording for Blue Coast Records.



What we meant with „pure“ in the discussion above is „unmixed“ (DXD or analog), DSD media as recorded. Your recordings certainly are also pure DSD, but your commercial media is mixed analog inbetween. Nothing to complain about at all…if it has to be mixed, it can’t be “pure” DSD throughout the process.

I’m very much looking forward to your DSD 256. The Blue Coast SACDs I’ve heard are exceptional!!

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Dear Jazznut… Can you give me an example of a recording and the proces from the microphone to DSD that is PureDSD? And a link to something I can listen to? Perhaps a professional audio engineer can offer a description of PureDSD?

It’s not a big deal, really. Again, these are choices a producer makes when recording an album. Just like Picasso wouldn’t be asked to paint like Van Gogh. I choose to use multiple microphones.

At the end of the day, it’s about the music, right?



Hi Cookie,
when Rushton mentioned a bunch of labels offering DSD downloads which are not edited on the analog or DXD way, but just released as recorded, we were just talking about this aspect.

Music certainly rules and also the choice of the producer. We were just talking about the different ways to release DSD music and the processes involved or not.

The word “pure DSD” shouldn’t mean a quality criteria, it was just used by us to name the process of recording in DSD and releasing this recorded file without editing.

According to Rushton, the following labels use this process:

Cobra Records, Eudora Records, Fone, Just Listen Records

I’m not sure about that, no clue. I personally doubt it a bit in case of Fone (will ask Giulio as I’m interested generally how he edits if he does) and don’t know the other labels.

Hi Jazznut and thank you for the explanation.


Hi @cookie, you are very gracious, as always, to chime into these conversations to answer some questions. If you look at post #89 above, you will see my effort to confuse matters. :sunglasses:

The term “Pure DSD” is just a marketing term to differentiate DSD files that have never been brought into PCM for editing (thus “Pure DSD”) versus those files that have been mixed in DXD. I first saw this phrase used by NativeDSD as they were trying to clarify the provenance of the various DSD files available in their catalog from various labels.

Since that first appearances, more labels have picked up the phrase to differentiate their recordings. It is gaining recognition among audiophiles seeking the most transparent and most natural digital recordings.

Since a “Pure DSD” file can be a DSD file that is a transfer directly from an analog tape, I suspect almost all of the music Blue Coast Records issues would fall under the “Pure DSD” moniker, even those recorded in DSD and then mixed via an analog mixing board. The key factor is that the file not sourced from PCM and there has been no PCM stage in the mastering of the file. I don’t see how moving from DSD to analog and then back to DSD would change that provenance. Tom Caulfield at NativeDSD may have some thoughts on this, but I suspect he tries to stay away from the marketing jargon. :upside_down_face: