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Does DSD sound better than PCM?

Frank Dernie

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I mean, 16 is still less than 20, so you can't say there's no benefit, only a very small one in some cases.
My point was that 20-bit is a pointless, almost certainly inaudible, gain over 16-bit. In my room if I had a recording with a full 16 bits of dynamic range (and I am not sure one of music exists, never mind 24-bit) if I set the volume for the quietest bit to be at the room's noise floor the loudest bit would be at least 126dB, enough to cause immediate hearing damage.
More than 16-bit playback is pointless for music in a room, just of slight academic interest, and to make recorders more idiot proof.
 

mansr

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As for the bitrate argument, the PCM equivalent bitrate is 24 bit, so by going 16-bit (and under the 20-bit noise floor), PCM is gaining a 33% reduction in overall bitrate. Whether that's appropriate is up in the air.

I generally try to find my files in 24/44.1 or 24/48, so still a sizeable difference compared to DSD64 (which is approximately 24/88.2, but with more noise due to noise shaping)
DSD64 is comparable to 20/64 PCM. This means the lowest common PCM format capable of fully capturing the audio content of DSD64 is 24/88.
 

graz_lag

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Extracts from a 2009's interview to Tom Jung, founder of DMP - Digital Music Products, pioneer in digital music recording :

"To me DSD sounds, what I call, "ear friendly", you know the slight pain you get in the ear when listening to the harsh or glaring sound from some digital. With DSD you get none of this and can hear around the individual instruments, not just the front."
"What makes DSD shine sonically is that the pure 1-bit signal, sampled at 2.8224MHz (64x44.1kHz), does not get decimated or changed in the process of recording or playback; there are no brick wall antialiasing filters or decimation filter. This is a much simpler process and is really more analog like. The 1-bit DSD signal can be down converted to any of the current digital formats."
According to Sony, the use of aggressive noise-shaping in DSD results in a frequency response that extends to over 100kHz, with a dynamic range equivalent to 24-bit linear-PCM digital."
"To my ears DSD recording is ideally the most realistic and the most consistent with what I hear in the concert hall."


From a Stereophile's article (Feb-2018) : Tom Jung - I Want More !

Tom Jung : "... we were invited to a private demo of DSD at Sony's New York Studios, along with a few other industry people. Mike Bishop from Telarc, John Gatski of Pro Audio Review, Bob Ludwig, and Bruce Swedien were there. We were able to listen to the live feed from a jazz quartet. The signal was recorded and played back with DSD and with some of the latest 20-bit converters and a few of the older 16-bit machines. We all agreed the live signal was best, but close behind was DSD. And quite a ways behind that was the 20-bit sound. And of course, on the street it was still a 16-bit world."
 

andreasmaaan

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Extracts from a 2009's interview to Tom Jung, founder of DMP - Digital Music Products, pioneer in digital music recording :

"To me DSD sounds, what I call, "ear friendly", you know the slight pain you get in the ear when listening to the harsh or glaring sound from some digital. With DSD you get none of this and can hear around the individual instruments, not just the front."
"What makes DSD shine sonically is that the pure 1-bit signal, sampled at 2.8224MHz (64x44.1kHz), does not get decimated or changed in the process of recording or playback; there are no brick wall antialiasing filters or decimation filter. This is a much simpler process and is really more analog like. The 1-bit DSD signal can be down converted to any of the current digital formats."
According to Sony, the use of aggressive noise-shaping in DSD results in a frequency response that extends to over 100kHz, with a dynamic range equivalent to 24-bit linear-PCM digital."
"To my ears DSD recording is ideally the most realistic and the most consistent with what I hear in the concert hall."


From a Stereophile's article (Feb-2018) : Tom Jung - I Want More !

Tom Jung : "... we were invited to a private demo of DSD at Sony's New York Studios, along with a few other industry people. Mike Bishop from Telarc, John Gatski of Pro Audio Review, Bob Ludwig, and Bruce Swedien were there. We were able to listen to the live feed from a jazz quartet. The signal was recorded and played back with DSD and with some of the latest 20-bit converters and a few of the older 16-bit machines. We all agreed the live signal was best, but close behind was DSD. And quite a ways behind that was the 20-bit sound. And of course, on the street it was still a 16-bit world."
No offence to Mr Jung, but unless he's demonstrated that he can actually hear a difference between the formats under controlled conditions, his opinion about how they sound different under uncontrolled conditions isn't worth much IMHO.
 

bennetng

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DSD64 is comparable to 20/64 PCM. This means the lowest common PCM format capable of fully capturing the audio content of DSD64 is 24/88.
So 2560kbps (20/64) to 4223.6kbps (24/88.2) for DSD64 (5644.8kbps). Only 45-75% as efficient as PCM. No wonder why there is no DSD16 or 32.
 

Roen

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My point was that 20-bit is a pointless, almost certainly inaudible, gain over 16-bit. In my room if I had a recording with a full 16 bits of dynamic range (and I am not sure one of music exists, never mind 24-bit) if I set the volume for the quietest bit to be at the room's noise floor the loudest bit would be at least 126dB, enough to cause immediate hearing damage.
More than 16-bit playback is pointless for music in a room, just of slight academic interest, and to make recorders more idiot proof.
Ah, I see what you mean.
 

Roen

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So 2560kbps (20/64) to 4223.6kbps (24/88.2) for DSD64 (5644.8kbps). Only 45-75% as efficient as PCM. No wonder why there is no DSD16 or 32.
Oh wait, my math is wrong. DSD64, which is 2.822 MHz, is about the same as 16/88.2
 

graz_lag

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No offence to Mr Jung, but unless he's demonstrated that he can actually hear a difference between the formats under controlled conditions, his opinion about how they sound different under uncontrolled conditions isn't worth much IMHO.
You are right, my point was abt. the fact that - neither the opinions from an audio engineer who has pioneered the industry, gaining a solid experience during the process, can clear up the DSD vs. PCM discussion ...

The quality of source makes all the difference, not the type of format, IMHO.

I enjoy a lot the SACDs from DMP, Telarc, Channel Classic, PentaTone, and others, as much as the CDs from Stax Records, Concord, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, and others, as much as the Hi-Res PCMs from HDtracks of David Chesky.
Details come out naturally, there is no need to stay focused to pick them up.
 

Gomjab

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Hello everyone! I just joined the forum though I have followed it for some time.

I have a different take on the PCM vs DSD debate. Some of my favorite recordings are boutique DSD recordings. What makes them great for certain types of music is the fact you can’t easily edit them without conversion to PCM. Some of the DSD purists will take great pains in setting up a live one take recording to capture a performance direct to DSD.

The irony is I buy these recordings in PCM or convert them to PCM after purchase as I don’t have a DAC with DSD playback capability. What makes these recordings so special to me is the musicians all get to hear each other as they perform and they take great pains to record in an awesome sounding environment.

It doesn’t work for everything but for jazz or acoustic it’s awesome!

I fully support DSD so these particular studios continue this recording approach ;)
 

graz_lag

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I mean, is anyone really surprised that the source matters most?
And so what ?
Perpetrating the idea that either DSD or PCM are technically "better" than one another is a waste of intellectual horsepower.
The debate should be how to use each format to achieve the best sonic results.
If less time is spent describing format issues and more time finding solutions that best utilize recording methods, the results would be better recordings and less time wasted championing things that don't need champions.
 

Roen

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Hello everyone! I just joined the forum though I have followed it for some time.

I have a different take on the PCM vs DSD debate. Some of my favorite recordings are boutique DSD recordings. What makes them great for certain types of music is the fact you can’t easily edit them without conversion to PCM. Some of the DSD purists will take great pains in setting up a live one take recording to capture a performance direct to DSD.

The irony is I buy these recordings in PCM or convert them to PCM after purchase as I don’t have a DAC with DSD playback capability. What makes these recordings so special to me is the musicians all get to hear each other as they perform and they take great pains to record in an awesome sounding environment.

It doesn’t work for everything but for jazz or acoustic it’s awesome!

I fully support DSD so these particular studios continue this recording approach ;)
Hopefully you can experience native DSD playback one of these days and let us know if you think it sounds any different than converted to PCM.
 

graz_lag

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1546554146827.png
 

Gomjab

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Hopefully you can experience native DSD playback one of these days and let us know if you think it sounds any different than converted to PCM.
I actually have an SMSL SU-8 Version 2 on order from MassDrop so in February I will be able to do that test.
 

bravomail

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I'm not sure why u guys keep telling that more bits is inaudible. Bits are just bits. I understand that u use absolute scale translating bit into dBs. But! Bits can be used for more precision, not necessarily more dynamic range. I'd say use fixed DR, and split it to 24 or 32 bits. to main topic: DSD must die!
 

andymok

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My point was that 20-bit is a pointless, almost certainly inaudible, gain over 16-bit. In my room if I had a recording with a full 16 bits of dynamic range (and I am not sure one of music exists, never mind 24-bit) if I set the volume for the quietest bit to be at the room's noise floor the loudest bit would be at least 126dB, enough to cause immediate hearing damage.
More than 16-bit playback is pointless for music in a room, just of slight academic interest, and to make recorders more idiot proof.
It may not mean a lot in playback. But when doing multi-track noise floor adds up fast. But then if we do 16-bit out of 24-bit master that involves dithering, noose floor elevated and content gets compressed a lot
 

Blumlein 88

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It may not mean a lot in playback. But when doing multi-track noise floor adds up fast. But then if we do 16-bit out of 24-bit master that involves dithering, noose floor elevated and content gets compressed a lot
Well yes 24 bit is good for everything, but not a big deal for final distribution. Dithered 16 bit can reproduce to -120 dbFS or in some types of dither more. That is good enough it isn't a limitation for playback. And even if used for mixing, mastering it could be much better than your old classic recordings done on reel to reel tape.
 

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