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Does DSD sound better than PCM?

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bigx5murf

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#21
I've noticed DSD files play fine through DACs without DSD support, even with wasapi. Is it being converted to PCM in that case?
 

pkane

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#22
Does DSD measure better than PCM? That's the question I wanted to answer a while back.

I compared this in the digital domain, as this eliminates some of the complexities and noise of converting to analog and back. Using my own null-testing software I call DeltaWave, I compared DSD256 and PCM 24/96 of the same track by BlueCoast music. The track was by Jenner Fox, Twice as Lonely from album Buffalo.

Here's the spectrum comparison of the entire track @ 192KHz . DSD is pink, PCM is blue:

1544915447310.png

There is almost no difference up to about 30KHz, at which point DSD is starting to droop slightly compared to PCM. And of course, PCM shows no frequencies above 48KHz. The content above about 24KHz looks to me to be mostly noise pushed out of the audio band by noise shaping.

Here's the same comparison, but now limited to 32KHz using a low-pass filter:

1544916195095.png


Up to 28KHz, the measurements show that the two files compare very well:
  • Difference (rms) = -90.41dB
  • Correlated Null Depth=108.37dB
That's a pretty good match!

Here's the spectrum of the difference of the two files. Mostly under -120dB:

1544916337032.png


Phase is closely aligned up to about 20KHz. This plot shows phase difference for both tracks at each frequency bin in the FFT:

1544916744975.png


Of course, I can also do a similar comparison with 16/44.1KHz version of the same track. Here's the spectrum of the difference:

1544917307379.png


And the phase difference plot (diverging after about 22Khz, as expected). Interesting spike at about 4KHz, not sure what that's about.

1544917379123.png
 

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MZKM

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#23
DSD has zero benefits. 24Bit has lower noise floor than we can hear (even dithered 16Bit), and 44.1kHz covers all frequencies we can hear, and modern filters are good enough that any decent DAC should not audibly affect frequencies <20kHz.

People saying improved transient response are uninformed; by Nyquist, as long as the sampling rate is >=2x [>2x] the frequencies you want to cover, it can reproduce it 100% identically.
 
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RayDunzl

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#25
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#26
If SACDs are a total waste of time then it's a shame outfits like MoFi won't offer many of their releases in any digital format except Hybrid SACDs. They should know that I'd be happy purchasing any of their excellent transfers in PCM-only, as Red Book CDs.
 
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watchnerd

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#27
If SACDs are a total waste of time then its a shame outfits like MoFi won't offer many of their releases in any digital format except Hybrid SACDs. They should know that I'd be happy purchasing any of their excellent transfers in PCM-only, as Red Book CDs.
Lots of other labels offer downloads in the form of DSD and PCM in addition to SACDs. I have several Acoustic Sounds releases as digital downloads that were also released as SACD.

MoFi are just numbnuts.
 

bravomail

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#28
pcm used for mixing/production/mastering. pcm to mp3 aac pirates etc. pcm converts easily to Dsd. Dsd then released to the public with a claim of higher quality. Bait. Dsd to pcm (to mp3) introduces high freq noise with pretty high amplitude, higher than signal. making garbled pcm and disappointed pirates.
got the pic?
Does DSD sound better than PCM?
Do you get better sound?
I am so confused.
 

Dogen

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#29
I like multichannel SACD very much as a format. But DSD is basically a waste of space and inferior to PCM, IMO.
 
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#31
FIFY

where foo = USB scrubbers, "audiophile" USB or ethernet cables, cryogenically treated cables, demagnetizers, CD stoplight green pens, TICE audio clocks, AC power scrubbers, Mpingo disks, harmonic resonators, etc, etc.
cryogenically treated cables does actually change the material property of wires.
 

Wombat

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#32
cryogenically treated cables does actually change the material property of wires.
That has been known in metallurgy for yonks. To what worthwhile benefit for audio application is the question?
 
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#33
pcm used for mixing/production/mastering. pcm to mp3 aac pirates etc. pcm converts easily to Dsd. Dsd then released to the public with a claim of higher quality. Bait. Dsd to pcm (to mp3) introduces high freq noise with pretty high amplitude, higher than signal. making garbled pcm and disappointed pirates.
got the pic?
So converting from PCM to DSD (or DSD to PCM) in software introduce noise..... ic, but audiophiles do claim that they hear a better quality sound though....
 

JJB70

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#36
I think the fundamental problem for the audio industry is that 40 years ago the Phillips and Sony engineers who developed the CD format did their job too well. The red book standard has stood the test of time remarkably well, probably better than even its creators anticipated. I really see no benefit from the higher resolution formats and if I am honest find 320k MP3 files to be as close as to make no real difference to red book. I listen to music to enjoy the music, not identify subtle differences between formats. The result is that the record labels and hi-fi companies have really struggled to convince people to embrace high resolution music. In this case I think that the consumer is right, industry is just trying to sell stuff nobody needs. What makes a much bigger difference, which is immediately apparent to many listeners without having to break into a cold sweat with the effort of trying to identify differences is the quality of recordings andmastering. And although things like mic placement is generally OK the quality of mastering went into freefall a long time ago with over compressed garbage becoming the norm. I really think the endless threads about formats miss the point, if people want to improve sound quality then pressure record labels to improve the quality of recordings.
 

DuxServit

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#37
... if people want to improve sound quality then pressure record labels to improve the quality of recordings.
This one I absolutely agree with. I have several CDs that sound so awful, that if I was the artist I’d be offended my artwork was disfigured.

However, I’m not sure how people can pressure the Labels. The Labels’ primary motivation as a business is maximizing profit for themselves (not for artists or consumers). So if the iPod generation is satisfied with the less-than-RBCD quality of music and have never heard better, then the Labels can get away with crappy engineering/mastering (and save production costs). If the audience have grown up with McDonalds and eating whoppers of them, why try selling them nice steak/wine :)
 

graz_lag

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#38
No recording medium is without intrinsic issues that limit fidelity ... :rolleyes:
PCM and DSD should - and can co-exist, in the recording industry, IMHO, each has certain advantages over the other, technically-wise, primarily based on what they do best.
 

FrantzM

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#39
PCM is perfectly adequate, DSD was a flawed medium thirty years ago, nothing has changed.
I thought the thread was finished to this point because this sums it up: DSD is BS!!!

One of the better example of Triumph of marketing over Science and Engineering might have been DSD .. Fortunately the public caught up quickly and send the BS format to History's dustbin ...

@Kal

SACD is MultiChannel and for those who care, this is great. still MCH is easily accomplished with PCM, e.g. the various Dolby and DTS surround formats .... meanwhile DVD-A is DEAD. If there were enough demand you could see streaming MCH music. I recently clocked 125 Mb/s on my North Miami Internet connection ... Enough to pump out any sane number of (PCM :D) channels/ MCH with 4 K video on top of it ...
 
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FrantzM

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#40
No recording medium is without intrinsic issues that limit fidelity ... :rolleyes:
PCM and DSD should - and can co-exist, in the recording industry, IMHO, each has certain advantages over the other, technically-wise, primarily based on what they do best.
Care to let us know what DSD does better than PCM?
 
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