How to play DSD files on Foobar

May 2, 2014
 by Paul McGowan

DirectStream is able to play DSD files from a computer over USB, or the coaxial, balanced or I2S inputs.  To do so, the DSD files need to be converted to DoP (DSD over PCM).  This process is typically handled on the fly by programs like JRiver.  Foobar, the free Windows media player can be setup as well to play DoP.  In addition, it is possible to play original extracted ISO files (what’s on an SACD) through Foobar if setup properly.

This process is not for the faint of heart, necessarily, but with these instructions and some diligence, it is certainly possible and valuable once setup.

The page describing the project:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/sacddecoder

The latest release of the sacd decoder project at sourceforge:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/sacddecoder/files/latest/download?source=files

Note that it’s a file with a read me and three components.  The first two components are still in the latest release .zip and the third is in the older releases or here:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/sacddecoder/files/sacd_metabase/sacd_metabase.7z/download

The readme is fairly opaque but to a first approximation it says:

Run ASIOProxyInstall-0.6.5.exe to install the foo_dsd_asio proxy.  It’s an ASIO driver available to any program on your system that supports ASIO – it receives audio over ASIO and redirects it to another ASIO driver (PS Audio USB Driver in our case), but as it redirects the audio it provides some optional processing functions.  For us we want it to wrap DSD in DoP.  To set it up you need to go to foobar2000 options, Playback, Ouput and select foo_dsd_asio as your output device.  Then in foobar2000 options, Playback, Ouput, ASIO, double click on foo_dsd_asio to open the foo_dsd_asio control panel.  There you need to use Device: PS Audio USB Device, DSD Playback Method: DoP Marker 0x05/0xFA, PCM to DSD method: none, Fs: DSD128, DSD/PCM Transition: 0ms.

foo_input_sacd.fb2k-component is an input processing add in for foobar2000, install it like other foobar2000 addins (drag and drop it to the foobar2000 components option page, or if you have a standard foobar2000 installation just double click it and it will install.)  This component decodes DSD related input files for foobar2000.  It adds a new SACD option page under the tools page in the options.  The critical values for us are to use ASIO mode: DSD, Preferable Area: Stereo, Editable tags, and probably Store Tags with ISO.

The sacd_metabase is a directory of user contributed metadata for common SACDs.  It’s installation is optional but it might save time if you have many SACD .ISOs.  To install it extract sacd_metabase.7z to your foobar2000 configuration folder.  To get to your foobar2000 configuration folder, press the shift key as you click on foobar2000’s File menu, then click on Browse configuration folder.  The sacd_metabase.7z file can be extracted by WinZip, WinRAR or similar compression programs.  At this point you should have a new sacd_metabase directory in your configuration folder.  There’s a !!!readme!!!.txt in that folder with a little more info.

http://www.audiostream.com/content/how-play-dsd-file-using-foobar2000 has a set of slightly different recommendations for configuring this stuff.

Here’s exesound’s take

http://www.exasound.com/Blog/tabid/74/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/61/Configuring-Foobar2000-for-ASIO-DSD-DXD-Playback-with-exaSound-DACs.aspx

Another one:

http://jlsounds.com/uploads/foobar_ASIO_setup.pdf

Ted Smith

One comment on “How to play DSD files on Foobar”

  1. Thanks, Ted! That helped a lot!

    Also, I had foo_input_sacd.fb2k-component installed before, but the playback was interrupting and impossible to listen… I had no idea what was wrong. I even started to change and try different USB cables! 😀
    But updating those components via the link presented here solved that problem and everything works just perfect! 🙂

    Cheers,
    Sergey

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