Native DSD in the cards?
  • Vote Up0Vote Down archive_Edorrarchive_Edorr
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    Paul, probably not a high priority given everything else on your plate, but I am thinking it should technically be possible to implement DSD playback with elyrick. For the PWD / Bridge to then process DSD natively end to end may be too much asked (not sure if the Wolfson DAC supports DSD and what else is required), but you could convert the DSD stream to high rez PCM either in elyric (Pure Music, Amarra, Footbar and a few others do this as well) or on the bridge.

    Is this in the cards? DCS is offering this now with the debussy. The fact that a few manufacturers on both the hardware and software side are jumping on this may indicate commercial opportunity. I guess application would be folks wanting to archive their LP collection in DSD, or ripping their SACD collection (which can be done with a PS3). A few publishers actually sell downloadable DSD content.

    I have this vague vision of some day ripping my SACD collection and play it over the network. If the code for DSD - PCM conversion can be easily obtained and incorporated in elyric this would be a nice feature, and may be create a bit of marketing buzz for PS audio.
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  • Vote Up0Vote Down archive_Edorrarchive_Edorr
    Posts: 127archive_member

    But if DSD playback becomes a viable niche in the next couple of years, we may see this feature in PWD Mk.III :) Remember, even though Paul is not high on USB, he can be persuaded to upgrade it in Mk.II.

    I very much doubt the PWD can be upgraded to process native DSD without major surgery, even if the Wolfson DAC support DSD. However, converting DSD to high rez PCM in eLyric server or on the bridge should be quite doable. Any el cheapo universal player does it, and so do quite a few music servers.

  • It's unfortunate that the PWT and PWD do not support SACDs. Given the small possible demand I understand why the PWD does not. Given the licensing issues I appreciate PSA's decision not to include reading SACDs as part of its capabilities; they would have to encrypt the data stream as sent to the PWD.

    But if DSD playback becomes a viable niche in the next couple of years, we may see this feature in PWD Mk.III :) Remember, even though Paul is not high on USB, he can be persuaded to upgrade it in Mk.II.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down archive_Elkarchive_Elk
    Posts: 21archive_member

    PWD uses the Wolfson WM8742 chip, which does support DSD inputs when set to the DSD mode. AFAIK, PSA has set the WM8742 to run in PCM mode permanently; to re-enable the DSD mode you need to modify the board.

    Interesting. Thanks.

    It's unfortunate that the PWT and PWD do not support SACDs. Given the small possible demand I understand why the PWD does not. Given the licensing issues I appreciate PSA's decision not to include reading SACDs as part of its capabilities; they would have to encrypt the data stream as sent to the PWD.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down archive_Darekarchive_Darek
    Posts: 60archive_member


    Licensing is not an issue. As long as you have the SACD ripped and stored on a computer you can do whatever you want with it. Whether technically it is legal to rip your own SACD's I do not know, but that is of no concern to PS audio. The tricky part is the ripping. For a primer on how to do this, check this out: http://code.google.com/p/sacd-ripper/


    Unfortunately, using PS3 to rip SACDs requires firmware 3.55 or earlier. I have 3.60, not possible to downgrade :( and I guess 3.55 must be quite rare these days - unless somebody keeps their PS3 disconnected from the Net.
  • IMHO by transcoding DSD to PCM you loose the only DSD benefit which is applicable only when feeding DAC chip dieectly by DSD and this is not supported by DAC chip inside PWD.

    Tomas

    PWD uses the Wolfson WM8742 chip, which does support DSD inputs when set to the DSD mode. AFAIK, PSA has set the WM8742 to run in PCM mode permanently; to re-enable the DSD mode you need to modify the board.
  • IMHO by transcoding DSD to PCM you loose the only DSD benefit which is applicable only when feeding DAC chip dieectly by DSD and this is not supported by DAC chip inside PWD.

    Tomas
  • Vote Up0Vote Down archive_Elkarchive_Elk
    Posts: 21archive_member
    I wasn't aware of the possibility of ripping an SACD on a PS3. Kludgy, but fun that it can be done.

    Licensing isn't an issue for the end user. It is however for PS Audio.

    Again, quality transcoding can't be done in real time. If the proposed process involves transcoding in any event, why not simply transcode the rip properly and stream the resulting 96/24 PCM? You will get better sound.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down archive_Edorrarchive_Edorr
    Posts: 127archive_member
    Sony's licensing agreement precludes sending the datastream from an SACD in the clear.

    While SACD can be transcoded, a PC cannot transcode in real time unless you are willing to give up quality. Transcoding and SRC take a great deal of computing power to perform well.

    (As an aside, a lot of SACD is transcoded to PCM during professional editing.)

    If you have a way to rip an SACD (do share!) I would transcode it to 96/24 for playback. 96/24 has slightly more resolution than DSD so you will be set.

    Licensing is not an issue. As long as you have the SACD ripped and stored on a computer you can do whatever you want with it. Whether technically it is legal to rip your own SACD's I do not know, but that is of no concern to PS audio. The tricky part is the ripping. For a primer on how to do this, check this out: http://code.google.com/p/sacd-ripper/

    A lot of music servers support DSD to PCM conversion (including J RIver). Not sure if streaming into the bridge with J River as UpNp server would do the trick. It would if it does the DSD to PCM conversion in conjunction with UpNP/DLNA serving. If the UpNP/DLNA server streams the files to the renderer only in native (no decoding/coversion) format it would not work.

    Since eLyric is designed to do some decoding (including Flac) on the server and send PCM (I presume) over UpNP to the bridge, this would be the ideal way to do DSD conversion on the server.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down archive_Elkarchive_Elk
    Posts: 21archive_member
    Sony's licensing agreement precludes sending the datastream from an SACD in the clear.

    While SACD can be transcoded, a PC cannot transcode in real time unless you are willing to give up quality. Transcoding and SRC take a great deal of computing power to perform well.

    (As an aside, a lot of SACD is transcoded to PCM during professional editing.)

    If you have a way to rip an SACD (do share!) I would transcode it to 96/24 for playback. 96/24 has slightly more resolution than DSD so you will be set.
  • DSD decoding basically requires one capacitor per channel, certainly not a DAC chip. that is the 'analog' elegancy of the scheme. No idea why you would want to transcode on a server on playback, that defeats all the quality advantages of DSD. So some logic in the MkIII to play DSD streams, that would be nice. I can't understand why Sony does not do more licensing of the SACD stuff, they do not even make SACDs anymore themselves? My SACD player outplays the PS-Audio DAC big time (multichannel SACD on Yamaha vs CD track on DAC), especially in full orchestra passages.
  • We have been looking into this very subject for quite some time and may be able to incorporate something like you're proposing in a future DAC product. Basically, all modern DACS are PCM to DSD converters so their outputs are essentially one bit already - certainly the PWD Mark II is this way. What we might look at is a complete discrete one bit DSD decoder for our future DACS but that's a lot of R and D down the road and certainly nothing we would see in 2012.
    Paul McGowan CEO PS Audio
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  • Vote Up0Vote Down gordonGordon
    Posts: 6,039PS Expert
    This interview is from a while back but of course you all know that I am a "Meitner fan-boy" since forever and not just because he comes from Montreal.

    I think it's our fabulous bagels that he grew up on.

    http://www.positive-feedback.com/pfbackissues/0802/pappas.Meitner.rev.8n2.html
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    “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
    ― Albert Einstein
    "Who tastes not, knows not."
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  • Thanks, Gordon, for bringing back memories of 2002. I bought my SACD machine around that time and am still keeping it. SACD could definitely give you some relaxing time...
    P5 > PWT + PWD mkII + Bridge > Art Audio Carissa Signature SET with KR 845 > Avantgarde Uno + REL G1. Cables inc. AC-10, AC-5, Tara Labs, PSA I2S-12
  • Vote Up0Vote Down elkElk
    Posts: 4,389Community Leader, Beta Tester
    Meitner equipment is wonderful.

    Neat info schoone and Paul. I had not thought of modern DACs this way.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down gordonGordon
    Posts: 6,039PS Expert
    He certainly is a brilliant man. Imagine the things he knew 20 years ago.
    "The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science." - Einstein
    “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
    ― Albert Einstein
    "Who tastes not, knows not."
    - my Mom

  • It's unfortunate that the PWT and PWD do not support SACDs. Given the small possible demand I understand why the PWD does not. Given the licensing issues I appreciate PSA's decision not to include reading SACDs as part of its capabilities; they would have to encrypt the data stream as sent to the PWD.

    But if DSD playback becomes a viable niche in the next couple of years, we may see this feature in PWD Mk.III :) Remember, even though Paul is not high on USB, he can be persuaded to upgrade it in Mk.II.



    I have to admit this is a big issue for me in deciding what to do about transports. Right now, my transport is an Oppo BDP-95, but I do not output to the PWDAC. The Oppo has its own good DAC, and its primary purpose is to play Blu-Ray video and audio, SACD, and multi-channel DVD-A. Everything else, including 2-channel DVD, is ripped and stored on the NAS.

    MSB Tech has their own transport [ http://www.msbtech.com/products/universal.php ], and I have to admit it looks pretty impressive. Doesn't have all the PWT features, but it covers the disc market. They took a different approach to "future-proofing," by using an unmodified Oppo drive for their reader, so it can be firmware updated. Anyone ever hear one of these? Anyone know if it can feed SACD to the PWDAC?

    BTW, I would not be thinking of a transport to feed the PWDAC, were it not for the Mk II upgrade. It makes a huge difference.
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  • Vote Up0Vote Down elkElk
    Posts: 4,389Community Leader, Beta Tester
    MSB's implementation of I2S is not compatible with PS Audio's version.

    The PWD will not decode DSD.

    The MSB transport is $4K, without a power supply. How much is the supply?
  • Elk, I don't remember the PS cost, something like $500 for the low-end so-called desktop supply, I believe, but if you pair it with their DAC IV, they can both use the same base PS. Those big power supplies are not cheap, starting at $2495.

    Yeah, I know the PWDAC won't decode DSD, and that the I2S implementation is not compatible. And for now, the UMT won't play AIFF files, which is both disappointing and shall we say, something less than "universal"? That's why I am taking my time and walking my way through these options. Another interesting thing is that MSB claims to be working on a multi-channel version of the UMT & DAC. Will just have to keep watching. It may well be, that by the time we really get easily accessible 32-bit SACD access, none of it will matter.

    But it sure would be grand if the PWT and PWDAC could be upgraded in tandem to be a bit more universal in their disc playback. I could see skipping DVD-A, I suppose (though it is implementable in a ROM drive approach), but there appears to be a growing SACD library, in both 2-channel and multi, and I would love to play those back through the Mk II and its progeny. Jazz at the Pawnshop in 5.1 SACD is very impressive on the Oppo and playing back through my Decware system. But I suspect that there is more to hear in that disc.

    So I guess my question to Paul is simple: might the PWT have a future even better than 24-bit, and might it eventually be more than a data disc reader? If the answer to that is "not likely," I may still get one, because I am a confirmed PSA fan, and one never knows. But I may have to be putting some of my beer money aside for something like the MSB.
    You can't win. You can't break even. You can't get out of the game.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down elkElk
    Posts: 4,389Community Leader, Beta Tester
    Excellent thinking.

    I would love for the PWT to be more universal. It would also be great for it to read SACD and transcode to PCM to send to the PWD.

    I have a MSB Gold DAC, with the older style platform power supply. Wonderful device. Unfortunately my house was hit by lightening last year and the right channel has never been quite the same.
  • elk said:

    I would love for the PWT to be more universal. It would also be great for it to read SACD and transcode to PCM to send to the PWD.



    ^^^^^. This. Agreed.
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  • Vote Up0Vote Down adminPaul McGowan
    Posts: 4,188PS Expert
    I wish it could as well but it's not going to happen because the DVD drive can never read a BluRay or SACD disc as its laser is the wrong flavor.
    Paul McGowan CEO PS Audio
    Are you receiving a copy of my Paul's Posts series? You'll receive fresh insights into high end audio each morning - good to start the day. Learn more by visiting our YouTube channel as well you can watch the unfolding inside story at PS Audio by visiting our Instagram page.  Have fun and thanks for sharing.
  • Paul, you're the man, of course, and no argument about the current drive. It would definitely have to change.

    Still, one can wish.
    You can't win. You can't break even. You can't get out of the game.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down elkElk
    Posts: 4,389Community Leader, Beta Tester
    +1 I have been imagining a drive swap, for example, Oppo's.
  • Yep, all seem to agree that Oppo drive is a winner. I love my BDP-95. Excellent. The drive is right, and I have to give Oppo credit for focusing even more on he audio output. The 95 is really a 93 on audio steroids. I have referred more than one friend to the 95 as a great place to step up, preserve your disc library, get BluRay and SACD, and also be able to read files over a network. It's a mini-MBS UMT.

    I think for now, I am going to revert to path #2: ripping SACDs using the retro-PS3 method. It's about 5% of the cost of the UMT, and it keeps everything going though my PWD. No multi-channel, but the Oppo does nicely at that. And most of my SACD is stereo.
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  • Vote Up0Vote Down elkElk
    Posts: 4,389Community Leader, Beta Tester
    I have four transports connected to my main system. The Oppo is one. :)
  • That's a lot of transport! Well, when I add the PS3, that will be my second, not counting the Mac mini.
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  • Vote Up0Vote Down elkElk
    Posts: 4,389Community Leader, Beta Tester
    It just sort of happened.

    I believe they breed on their own.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down dcastleDavid
    Posts: 2,618Community Leader, Beta Tester
    Am I right in understanding that they only known way (at the consumer electronics level) to rip the SACD layer is to use a Play Station?
    ELECTRONS > P10 > PWD MKII > Mastersound Evolution 845 > Verity Audio Sarastro MK1 > SOUND
  • David, that is my understanding.
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  • This site shows an interesting trend line: for a failed format, SACD release rate is increasing (http://ps3sacd.com/). Having heard and compared the SACD Scarletbook layer against the Redbook layer of the Creedence box set, I can say this trend is encouraging, and it gives me high incentive to break down and get the PS3 and go this route. I have a good friend who did this (he and I have paralleled each other all through headphone audio), and the tracks he gets are better.
    You can't win. You can't break even. You can't get out of the game.