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SACD Surround: DSD or Not?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob49 View Post
 

Hi Brian,

 

I can't claim that you're wrong, but I must admit that I thought it was possible to listen to DSD signal in surround, and not just stereo ?

 

Maybe it has become possible in the past few years, but I'm still not sure it's totally practical--yet! Have a look at the crazy lengths one person will go to attain 5.1 "native DSD" nirvana:

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6-dac-digital-analog-conversion/first-multi-channel-direct-stream-digital-playback-solution-mytek-14946/

 

See this thread, too:

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f23-dsp-room-correction-and-multi-channel-audio/mytek-multichannel-8x192-direct-stream-digital-capable-digital-analogue-converter-10646/

 

And then there's this announcement from Stereophile (March 2013):

 

Now, here's the really good news. The Oppo will play multichannel as well as stereo DSD and that makes the Oppo [103 or 105] the least expensive multichannel DSD-file player by a wide, wide margin. I have been enjoying glorious multichannel downloads from Channel Classics' website as well as a couple of their spectacular "live" session files (Mahler Symphony 1 and [. . .] made at the recording and without edits. Wow is all I can say.

 

This is a major development, as pure DSD multi-channel playback was unknown until recently. Indeed, SACD surround sound receivers output audio only after converting the DSD to PCM. It's especially true for room correction, bass management, and other such adjustments. I'm not sure why; it's simply the nature of the beast.

 

Again, many receivers unnecessarily convert stereo DSD to PCM, a process that's not always obvious. Does your receiver appear on this list?

 

Regards,

Brian

post #2 of 5

Sony actually have some relatively inexpensive AVRs which support multichannel DSD audio, but the problem is getting a signal to them.

I think they only support this over HDMI, but no video cards on the PC side of things support DSD or DoP via HDMI yet.

 

While some hardware (the Mytek gear in particular) sounds better with DSD signals, that's more of a failing in their PCM handling than DSD being the better format, in my opinion.

Software like JRiver has no problem converting multichannel DSD to multichannel PCM and properly filtering out all the high frequency noise, which allows you to use any HDMI-equipped AVR for playback.

With hardware devices, you probably have no idea what they're doing about the high frequency noise. At best, they will probably just have the scarletbook-spec 50kHz filter, which does not filter everything out.


Edited by StudioSound - 12/20/13 at 6:00am
post #3 of 5

No Brian, I don't have a receiver that decodes pure DSD. I've read that some people can't really tell the difference from DSD / LPCM ?

I actually bought a Oppo 93 about 4 months before they brought out the 103 / 105. If I had known they were about to upgrade their models, I would have waited ! Really would have liked that DSD file capability....

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post
 

Sony actually have some relatively inexpensive AVRs which support multichannel DSD audio, but the problem is getting a signal to them.

I think they only support this over HDMI, but no video cards on the PC side of things support DSD or DoP via HDMI yet.

 

Interesting! Do you know which models? I just glanced at Sony's site and didn't notice receivers that feature DSD decoding.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob49 View Post
 

I've read that some people can't really tell the difference from DSD / LPCM ?

 

Here's a definitive answer: I have no idea. :D

 

Many argue that DSD--and, by extension, SACDs--has a smoother, less "digital" sound compared to PCM. I'm inclined to believe there may be some truth to such claims. I've got SACDs that sound spectacular, with an analog-like quality and a clarity that I have never heard from CD. Indeed, I have had non-audiophile* friends hear my system and marvel at the sensation of "being right there." Yep, the difference is unambiguous!

 

Unfortunately, those discs are few; I can count them on one hand. Usually I can't distinguish SACD from CD, and I suspect claims to the contrary are often products of suggestion or bias. I've also got to wonder why certain SACDs sound so startlingly superior--was the mastering job truly so much better, or was it because of DSD? Perhaps there's some combination of these factors at work? (Remember, too, that pure DSD recordings are rare, with many SACD productions relying on PCM during recording or mastering.)

 

In short . . . who the heck knows? :smile:

 

Regards,

Brian

 

* I'm not a true "audiophile," either, just a music lover with an interest in audiophilia.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post
 

Sony actually have some relatively inexpensive AVRs which support multichannel DSD audio, but the problem is getting a signal to them.

I think they only support this over HDMI, but no video cards on the PC side of things support DSD or DoP via HDMI yet.

 

Interesting! Do you know which models? I just glanced at Sony's site and didn't notice receivers that feature DSD decoding.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob49 View Post
 

I've read that some people can't really tell the difference from DSD / LPCM ?

 

Here's a definitive answer: I have no idea. :D

 

Many argue that DSD--and, by extension, SACDs--has a smoother, less "digital" sound compared to PCM. I'm inclined to believe there [i]may[/i] be some truth to such claims. I've got SACDs that sound spectacular, with an analog-like quality and a clarity that I have never heard from CD. Indeed, I have had non-audiophile* friends hear my system and marvel at the sensation of "being right there." Yep, the difference is unambiguous!

 

Unfortunately, those discs are few; I can count them on one hand. Usually I can't distinguish SACD from CD, and I suspect claims to the contrary are often products of suggestion or bias. I've also got to wonder why certain SACDs sound so startlingly superior--was the mastering job truly so much better, or was it because of DSD? Perhaps there's some combination of these factors at work? (Remember, too, that pure DSD recordings are rare, with many SACD productions relying on PCM during recording or mastering.)

 

In short . . . who the heck knows? :smile:

 

Regards,

Brian

 

* I'm not a true "audiophile," either, just a music lover with an interest in audiophilia.

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