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Does DSD sound better than PCM?

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graz_lag

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#61
Purely out of intellectual curiosity and the desire not to waste my own time and money on a format that doesn't provide any improvement, I'd like to know if there really is a difference and what that might be. Capitalist argument may work for a real marketplace, but I'm not running a marketplace in my listening room ;)
You are absolutely right !
Your ears and only them can cover your doubts, I am afraid ... I went thru the same process as many of us in here, starting from the SACD discs to today' DSD files.
Play one of the High-End Audiophile Demo discs from Denon for example, or a Jazz SACD from DMP label ... You will get blown away by the sound quality !
For serious listening I want the highest resolution possible and for me that is both DSD and high resolution PCM recorded SACDs.

IMHO, the ultimate question is : did you go thru the upgrade process from CD to SACD ?
If YES, as I did, you want today to continue enjoying the DSD format. (Possibly with a dedicated capable native playing DAC.)
If NOT, there is no reason for you to lose time and waste energies about DSD ... :cool:

High-resolution PCM and DSD formats are indistinguishable from one another, but that's me and my ears with my setups in my listening room ... I can say of my subjective preference for the DSD but that has zero value on the technical content of this discussion ... ;)
 

mansr

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#64
And PCM or DSD recording in Tascam?
It only supports PCM. As the title of the figure says, the recording was done at 192 kHz. The ADC chip is the TI/BB PCM4220, which internally is based on a 6-bit sigma-delta converter.
 

Frank Dernie

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#65
An acquaintance on another forum compared ripping his LPs using PCM and DSD on a Tascam DA-3000 iirc. He sent me samples to listen to. The DSD rips sounded better but were markedly louder. I wonder how many DSD recordings play back at a higher level through a DAC than their PCM "equivalent"
 

pkane

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#68
An acquaintance on another forum compared ripping his LPs using PCM and DSD on a Tascam DA-3000 iirc. He sent me samples to listen to. The DSD rips sounded better but were markedly louder. I wonder how many DSD recordings play back at a higher level through a DAC than their PCM "equivalent"
I'm not sure if DA-3000 does something to compensate for this, but DSD is usually at -6dB or so relative to the same PCM recording.
 

Frank Dernie

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#71
I'm not sure if DA-3000 does something to compensate for this, but DSD is usually at -6dB or so relative to the same PCM recording.
I don't know either. I don't have a DA-3000, I use Metric Halo recorders so PCM only. I can't remember which DAC I listened on, it was years ago, Maybe that could have had an influence too. All I can say is that without touching anything the DSD files were louder.
 

mansr

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#75
DSD is usually at -6dB or so relative to the same PCM recording.
That's a bit of a misconception. All it means is that if you digitally low-pass filter the DSD signal, the peak value of the result is 0.5. Nothing says a DAC can't, or shouldn't, produce the same peak voltage level for PCM and DSD. Then again, nothing says they should, so in practice they are all over the place.

As an example, here's an iFi DAC playing a 0 dbFS 1 kHz tone as PCM:
tek00000.png


Same DAC playing a full-scale tone as DSD256:
tek00001.png


That's a reduction by 4.5 dB.
 

Kal Rubinson

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#76
Many of those are converted from high-rate PCM. It's a mystery to me what is "native" about them.
I don't think so. "NativeDSD.com offers original recorded DSD data, directly from labels that recorded in this format."
 

mansr

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#77
According to that page, "unless otherwise indicated, NativeDSD offers only DSD Edit Masters, sourced from DSD session recordings," but even that is not entirely true. Take for instance this album. According to Sound Liaison it was recorded in 352.8 kHz PCM, yet this is not mentioned anywhere on the NativeDSD page. The only clue that it was sourced from PCM is that they offer a DXD version for download. Since the entire premise of the site is the superiority of DSD, I really think they ought to be clearer about this. I guess they realised that pure DSD recordings are rare as hen's teeth and expanded their definition of "native" a little so as to increase the size of the catalogue.
 

graz_lag

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#78
According to that page, "unless otherwise indicated, NativeDSD offers only DSD Edit Masters, sourced from DSD session recordings," but even that is not entirely true. Take for instance this album. According to Sound Liaison it was recorded in 352.8 kHz PCM, yet this is not mentioned anywhere on the NativeDSD page. The only clue that it was sourced from PCM is that they offer a DXD version for download. Since the entire premise of the site is the superiority of DSD, I really think they ought to be clearer about this. I guess they realised that pure DSD recordings are rare as hen's teeth and expanded their definition of "native" a little so as to increase the size of the catalogue.
Fair enough !

82d1df8a0356bfc3df1262ab9de2fe5a.jpg
 

pkane

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#79
That's a bit of a misconception. All it means is that if you digitally low-pass filter the DSD signal, the peak value of the result is 0.5. Nothing says a DAC can't, or shouldn't, produce the same peak voltage level for PCM and DSD. Then again, nothing says they should, so in practice they are all over the place.

As an example, here's an iFi DAC playing a 0 dbFS 1 kHz tone as PCM:
View attachment 18993

Same DAC playing a full-scale tone as DSD256:
View attachment 18994

That's a reduction by 4.5 dB.
That's true, the differences can vary. And of course, there's no accounting for custom processing in digital or analog domains, each device can be different. Nevertheless, most of the DSD content I've found (or converted from PCM) was about -6dB lower in level. In my own software, I simply multiply the output level of DSD by 2, as that matches it well with PCM in most cases. I guess that's done to add some headroom for processing.

Here's that same Jenner Fox track I posted earlier in this thread:

1545072055991.png
 
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mansr

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#80
Nevertheless, most of the DSD content I've found (or converted from PCM) was about -6dB lower in level.
Of course it does. It has to. -6 dB is the reference level for DSD.

n my own software, I simply multiply the output level of DSD by 2
As you should. You can't meaningfully compare things without matching the reference levels. Beware though, some DSD content exceeds this level for brief periods. Think of it as an analogue (of sorts) to intersample overs in PCM.
 
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