Building a DSD system

November 28, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

6 comments on “Building a DSD system”

  1. Good afternoon Paul!
    Perhaps maybe you can answer this question for me.
    I have a cupple of pretty good DSD systems here in this house.
    But, my desire is, to take my collection of DSD files with me.
    I downloaded an app that’s called, Flacbox from the Apple App Store.
    I ordered an EarMen Angel headphone amp/DAC that can decode and playback DSD from 64 to 512.
    My problem is, nobody even including Apple can seem to tell me how to get my Angel to work with either my iPhone 13 and or my iPad Pro 12.9 fifth Gen tablet.
    One of my friends spoke with a cupple of people in L-A.
    Both them and Apple told him to tell me to get a new iPhone and a new iPad.
    Ok, all well and good.
    The iPad needs to be upgraded anyway.
    But why should I upgrade my iPhone when therre’s nothing wrong with it?
    Is it something to do with the type of cable?
    Or, is there something elce that I’m missing here?
    Please if you can, help me out!
    Thanks in advance!

  2. Of course when Ivor made his declaration about the front end that’s all he sold. He was correct but he ignored the rest of a system since he was only selling turntables at first(then tone arms and then cartridges and then speakers). But an audio system is a chain and the weakest link dominates the performance no matter which link it is. Good input doesn’t matter if the electronics are lousy or the speakers or… And much of England followed the Ivor Bible and spent loads of money on the front end, sometimes with the front end costing more than the rest of the system.

  3. Although not free software, HQPlayer Desktop for Windows, Linux and MacOS from a company called Signalyst is another example of a DSD-capable ‘player’ computer program. In addition to outputing DoP it can also output ‘native’ DSD (as well as PCM of course 🙂 ).

  4. So it’s recording in DSD that makes it superior not necessarily what it’s played back on. This does me no good since nearly 100% of what I listen to was recorded in analog and I prefer to listen to it on CD or my turntable. If those recordings were all mastered to DSD from the master analog first pressing it will likely sound better than my CD’s but nobody is doing that except Mobile Fidelity and you cannot trust their LP’s were all recorded from an analog source. Their CD’s are out of print and production so I have to pay out of the ass to buy those in the after market and it’s only worth buying for the big recordings like Pink Floyd Dark side of the moon or other great musical works of art otherwise my CD collection played on my Phillips 630 CD player or one of my other vintage CD players is good enough. Unless someone wants to pick up where Mobile Fidelity left off and flood the market with gold CD’s whether made from DSD or pure analog when it comes to LP’s. I don’t mind my gold CD’s cut from DSD from a first pressing but my records need to be pure analog cut from first pressing sources.

  5. My recommendation is to hold off on native DSD and work on upgrading your PCM sound quality — like FLAC, ALAC, WAV, or AIFF files.

    VOX (on a Mac) is a great first solution to try — it’s free and plays DSD files (.dsf and .dff extensions), because it simply coverts DSD files to high quality PCM — 32-bit 44.1/48/88/96kHz PCM format. And 96kHz/24bit files on VOX sound darn good.

    VOX allows playback of DSD files on the standard/conventional sound card in your Mac. So, download some good quality FLAC and DSD files onto your Mac and VOX will find them and play them. File format and conversion bitrates are displayed as the music is playing, so this way, you can compare sound quality of FLAC vs DSD and different bitrates for yourself. Unless you have maxed out your PCM quality to at least 96/24 and yearn for something better, then forego native DSD. For now.

    And of course, everything matters when it comes to sound quality — even 96/24 FLAC files. The next steps are to think about headphones vs speakers. Then a basic desktop DAC/Amp (Dragonfly or Schiit). Then desktop (powered) speakers. Then streaming solutions. Then Roon.

    While you are working on improving your PCM quality, native DSD equipment will get cheaper and VOX will probably have “direct/native DSD” support. Win-Win.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to Ask Paul

© 2023 PS Audio, Inc.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram