• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Multi-channel DSD playback

somy

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
371
Likes
86
Hi guys, in my collection I have a few multi-channel DSD albums, when I play from Audirvana looks like it’s been down sampled to 2 channels.
My question is how to play multi-channel DSD in bit-perfect way (I have 5.1 setup)? Most DACs seem to only support 2 channels. Maybe an AV receiver is needed? But how to bitstream DSD to AV receiver then? Is there any streamer/DAC out there support multi-channel playback? If not common what’s the purpose of multi-channel recording?
 

Kal Rubinson

Major Contributor
Industry Insider
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Messages
3,982
Likes
6,371
Location
NYC/CT
Almost too much to answer.
I have a few multi-channel DSD albums, when I play from Audirvana looks like it’s been down sampled to 2 channels.
One can play multichannel files in Audirvana if set up correctly and connected to a suitable endpoint/DAC.
Most DACs seem to only support 2 channels.
There are multichannel DACs.
But how to bitstream DSD to AV receiver then?
Not likely since the HDMI output of PCs cannot handshake with the HDMI input of AVRs.
But how to bitstream DSD to AV receiver then? Is there any streamer/DAC out there support multi-channel playback?
1. DSD is tough. See above. 2. Many but rarely DSD.
Let me suggest that you search around here for this topic which is not unique. Also, take a look at my last MITR column where I offer reflections on these matters. It is not significantly outdated. ;)
https://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round
 
OP
S

somy

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
371
Likes
86
Almost too much to answer.

One can play multichannel files in Audirvana if set up correctly and connected to a suitable endpoint/DAC.

There are multichannel DACs.

Not likely since the HDMI output of PCs cannot handshake with the HDMI input of AVRs.

1. DSD is tough. See above. 2. Many but rarely DSD.
Let me suggest that you search around here for this topic which is not unique. Also, take a look at my last MITR column where I offer reflections on these matters. It is not significantly outdated. ;)
https://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round
Thanks will read through.
I compared the 2ch version vs the 5.1ch (downmix to 2ch) in Audirvana, they do sound different.
Notice wider and deeper stage with 5.1ch.
 

HighImpactAV

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
84
Likes
154
But how to bitstream DSD to AV receiver then?
You can stream DSD to many AV receivers (that support DSD) by using the network and DLNA. I have done it with JRiver Media Center.

I personally decode my 5.1 DSD files to PCM and send directly to my multi-channel DAC. I could also send the PCM over HDMI to my audio processor. I have over $50,000 of gear and pursuing "bit-perfect DSD" doesn't even make my priority list.
 
OP
S

somy

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
371
Likes
86
You can stream DSD to many AV receivers (that support DSD) by using the network and DLNA. I have done it with JRiver Media Center.

I personally decode my 5.1 DSD files to PCM and send directly to my multi-channel DAC. I could also send the PCM over HDMI to my audio processor. I have over $50,000 of gear and pursuing "bit-perfect DSD" doesn't even make my priority list.
Ok, I didn't know you can stream DSD to DLNA renderer, assume it's bit-perfect? Can you elaborate a litter more on your setup? Which software player, DAC and audio processor do you use? Thank you!
 

HighImpactAV

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
84
Likes
154
Any time that volume control is being used by the DAC, then it is no longer bit-perfect. All DSD DAC's that offer volume control are converting to PCM internally. Streaming DSD to DLNA renderer is bit-perfect, but then the receiver still converts to PCM for volume control. I'm not aware of any receiver that doesn't convert DSD to PCM. I tested via DLNA with a Yamaha CX-5100 and RX-A3060.

I have a StormAudio ISP MK2 processor with AVB audio output connected to a MOTU 1248. I use JRiver Media Center as my source and can send directly to the MOTU 1248 via USB or to the StormAudio ISP via HDMI which then sends to the MOTU 1248 via AVB. These outputs are setup as two separate zones in JRiver.
 

horiken

New Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2021
Messages
2
Likes
0
Hello,
I have been wondering about the same stuff for long time and have been listening Mch SACD only on direct disk playback. But I recently discovered streaming multichannel DSD using DLNA is possible by accident. The universal disk player that I own is pioneer UDP-LX800 (out of production) supports Mch SACD playback. I didn't realize until recently that this device's manual says supporting multichannel DSD over DLNA. I also own Yamaha RX-A3080 which supports receiving DSD bitstreaming over HDMI(out of production but successors came out recently without having much change). And I own QNAP NAS TS-659 as DLNA streaming server(very old NAS). The connectivity is basically

TS-659 (server) <--- ethernet ----> UDP-LX800(renderer) <---- HDMI ----> RX-A3080 ---> speakers.

The built in DLNA server function on my QNAP didn't seem to support streaming DSD over DLNA(potentially because it is an old QNAP) so I downloaded the trial version of Asset UPnP server app for QNAP. Also, for some reason UDP-LX800's internal DLNA browser menu doesn't pickup the DSD files (but FLAC is OK) on Asset UPnP's music directories. But both Asset UPnP + UDP-LX800 supports DLNA 1.5, so I can use DLNA controller. I used Bubble UPnP app on smartphone to control the playback. Bubble UPnP app displays playing back 24bit +96khz FLAC but UDP-LX800 and RX-A3080 says it's receiving DSD so i think it's just a bug on the Bubble UPnP. Couple of downsides, though. Mch DSD tends to become large and UDP-LX800 only has 100Mbps ethernet port, so downloading the file to start playing back takes longer than FLAC file. And it must be coming from the way Bubble UPnP controls the renderer and the way RX-A3080 turns on it's Pure Direct mode, when playing the entire Mch DSD album with Pure Direct mode on RX-A3080, it generates the gap and clicking sound from the relay device from the Amplifier inbetween music titles. Strangely i don't have this when plaing back 2ch DSD with Pure Direct mode. And on rare occasion, it disrupts the playback in the middle. This could be coming from the quality of the home LAN that I use or my old QNAP jittering the streaming. But i was able to hear the Mch DSD sould coming out of speaker with very good quality using some Mch DSD files I purchased.
I feel the difficulty to achieve Mch DSD on DLNA is the scarcity of capable renderer device, though we know what AV amplifier to use. UDP-LX800, Oppo UDP-205 would do becuase it's manual did say it. (But they are out of production) Recently released Reavon UBR-X200 could be also a good one but it's manual doesn't say anyting on supported file format. Only if AV amplifier could just directly decode the Mch DSD over DLNA.. Many of them can play back 2ch DSD over DLNA already...
 
Last edited:

dadregga

Member
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
92
Likes
197
I use Roon and convert the MCH DSD to 176.4khz PCM - that will work with any DAC/AVR and is not going to be an audible difference.
 

horiken

New Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2021
Messages
2
Likes
0
Definitely it's hard to tell the difference. But I hope someone can tell the difference. And the appreciation being able to listen in purer sound form utilizing the available current technology and struggling to make it work by tuning your equipments is worth the effort. That's basically the point of Audio as a hobby. And technically speaking When the DSD converted PCM data goes into any DAC, it will convert to DSD again and converts it to analog signal for the output anyway. How many conversion do we need to go through before the music reeaches your ear? I don't say you would lose the data but you lose the appreciation of all the effort of those involved in making this DSD formatted musics available ( the artists who agreed to publish DSD recordings, those recording engineers in the studio or live venue, and audio equipment manufacturers) and try to make you feel something different beyond the CD. And once in a while, not so frequently, you will stumble upon great Mch DSD recordings.
 
Last edited:

dadregga

Member
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
92
Likes
197
Definitely it's hard to tell the difference. But I hope someone can tell the difference. And the appreciation being able to listen in purer sound form utilizing the available current technology and struggling to make it work by tuning your equipments is worth the effort. That's basically the point of Audio as a hobby. And technically speaking When the DSD converted PCM data goes into any DAC, it will convert to DSD again and converts it to analog signal for the output anyway. How many conversion do we need to go through before the music reeaches your ear? I don't say you would lose the data but you lose the appreciation of all the effort of those involved in making this DSD formatted musics available ( the artists who agreed to publish DSD recordings, those recording engineers in the studio or live venue, and audio equipment manufacturers) and try to make you feel something different beyond the CD. And once in a while, not so frequently, you will stumble upon great Mch DSD recordings.

I mean I agree, the SACDs I have I love because they have nice masterings and/or unique multichannel mixes.

However, none of that will be audibly affected by a decent on-the-fly PCM conversion.
 

Tom C

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
864
Likes
749
Location
USA
Really, the only advantage of DSD is that it is the format that many multichannel recordings are available in. Converting to PCM at the PC level is simpler and more flexible than sending DSD from the PC to the hardware, and no additional conversions are required. I do not believe anyone can hear the difference. I know I can’t. I might feel better about straight DSD to hardware with no conversion, but I don’t think any audible differences are present.
Some recordings are available in vinyl LP, DSD, hi-res PCM download, and blu-ray. Which is thought best by the original recording artist? My guess is, they are offering the consumer to choose for himself. Except for the LP, I don’t think you can hear the difference between any of them.
 

Kal Rubinson

Major Contributor
Industry Insider
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Messages
3,982
Likes
6,371
Location
NYC/CT
I have a StormAudio ISP MK2 processor with AVB audio output connected to a MOTU 1248. I use JRiver Media Center as my source and can send directly to the MOTU 1248 via USB or to the StormAudio ISP via HDMI which then sends to the MOTU 1248 via AVB. These outputs are setup as two separate zones in JRiver.
I've done this with a Trinnov prepro, as well.
 
Top Bottom