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After some insights into DSD and if it is worth pursuing.

 

How does the SQ compare to Tidal Masters

 

Is there a worthwhile catalogue 

 

are there any subscription based services or is it pay per album only

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most of the early stones recordings are now on DSD, both cd and lp

many say some are stunning ,and possibly the  best they have ever sounded

 

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I haven't moved into computer audio but there are cdp's (like the Ayon CD35) doing PCM>DSD64-128-256 conversion. 

Does this mean any music file can also be upsampled to DSD via the Ayon dac?

 

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Do you have a DAC which can do MQA (Tidal Masters) and/or DSD?  If not, then suggest not bothering.  MQA is dying and DSD is niche and expensive.

 

I found MQA to be no better than CD and DSD to be sightly better than CD.  But often superior mastering is what makes things better. Also, some DACs are better in some formats.

 

As I said earlier, if you starting now, suggest getting a DAC which sounds good with CD quality FLAC files and not bother seeking one which can do MQA and/or DSD. You will save yourself money and angst chasing questionable improvements in SQ...

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Posted (edited)

Mostly I only seek out DSD files (and SACDs) for albums that have superior mastering in the DSD format. For example, some of the early Black Sabbath albums; classical recordings like Mitsuko Uchida's sole SACD recording of some Schubert sonatas / a few Esoteric symphonic remasters; some Mobile Fidelity jazz remasters like Miles Smiles and Mingus Ah Um... Some exclusive jazz DSD releases by StoryVille... Lately most SACDs are hybrid CDs anyway, yet the CD layer can be inferior...

 

In other words, I only play DSD when the mastering is better.

 

Regarding PCM to DSD conversion (which is all the rage), I always prefer original PCM playback. I've come to this conclusion after owning the Marantz SA-10, or using HQPlayer's highly regarded PCM-DSD software etc.

 

 

Edited by was_a

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I have a moon 340IX which has DSD decoding so thought i might see if its worth it. Had a look on HD tracks website but cant say any titles took my fancy,

 

I don't have a dac that does MQA but I've never been overly impressed with Tidal which seems to be the main source. I find the interface clunky and I never find as much new music as I do with spotify if only they went Hi Res but i heard they did a massive trail and hardly anyone could tell the difference 🙂

 

Agree that no format can make a poor recording sound good and it's all about the performance and the engineering. Brothers in Arms is one example for me of sound quality perfection weather it be on vinly, mp3 or CD it always sounds so right

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12 minutes ago, mpearce38 said:

I have a moon 340IX which has DSD decoding so thought i might see if its worth it. Had a look on HD tracks website but cant say any titles took my fancy,

The best source for DSD is still a rip from SACDs.  There are not many good non classical SACDs, often a remaster of old favorites. And they often cost way north of $30.

 

P/s best Brothers in Arms is the MOFI SACD stereo remaster. Beats the 20th Anniversary version easily for stereo, but 20th has 5.1

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I have a few DSD/DSF albums as files, they sound better than most other music, but I suspect that's because the source was well made. The average album would probably not sound better as the original is average to begin with.

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Not sure what your taste in music is, but you can download some demo tracks in different formats including DSD and hires PCM from the following site:

 

http://www.2l.no/hires/

 

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1 minute ago, davm said:

Not sure what your taste in music is, but you can download some demo tracks in different formats including DSD and hires PCM from the following site:

 

http://www.2l.no/hires/

It is also good for comparing formats using the same master.  For example CD 16/44.1 vs 24/96 vs SACD DSD64 vs MQA.

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On 02/04/2020 at 7:00 PM, Snoopy8 said:

Do you have a DAC which can do MQA (Tidal Masters) and/or DSD?  If not, then suggest not bothering.  MQA is dying and DSD is niche and expensive.

 

I found MQA to be no better than CD and DSD to be sightly better than CD.  But often superior mastering is what makes things better. Also, some DACs are better in some formats.

 

As I said earlier, if you starting now, suggest getting a DAC which sounds good with CD quality FLAC files and not bother seeking one which can do MQA and/or DSD. You will save yourself money and angst chasing questionable improvements in SQ...

I'm in complete agreement here. I started off chasing high res and played with upsampling lower res content to DSD. In the end I've found that a well executed modern implementation of the classic Phillips TDA1541A DAC chip gives far superior rendition of both 16 bit 44khz CD content and down sampled high res vs DSD content.  Go figure right? 

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I think DSD is worth it if it does not cost you too much time, effort and money. My DAC decodes PCM and DSD so no cost difference for me. I feel my DAC sounds better when decoding DSD.

 

My music application will put out DSD regardless of source material (Wav, FLAC etc). So no need to buy DSD files.

 

Out of curiosity I did buy some DSD files. The DSD catalogue was fairly limited but the tracks did sound good. I think the difference is companies such as 2L do very good recordings and pay attention to the fine details which makes them sound so good rather than the difference is the tracker were recorded in DSD format.

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I think its worth it. Why do High end Digital Play back companies i.e. Accuphase, Metronome and Esoteric make dedicated SACD and CD players, the SACD player is generally way more expensive, the electronics are better engineered. Just an observation.

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5 minutes ago, Cruncher said:

I think DSD is worth it if it does not cost you too much time, effort and money. My DAC decodes PCM and DSD so no cost difference for me. I feel my DAC sounds better when decoding DSD.

 

My music application will put out DSD regardless of source material (Wav, FLAC etc). So no need to buy DSD files.

 

Out of curiosity I did buy some DSD files. The DSD catalogue was fairly limited but the tracks did sound good. I think the difference is companies such as 2L do very good recordings and pay attention to the fine details which makes them sound so good rather than the difference is the tracker were recorded in DSD format.

It does depend on a DAC whether it DSD sounds better or worse. The issue with DSD is lack of non-classical material; unfortunately DSD is a niche market with people prepared to pay a premium.  Look at the classical market as a good example where often the SACDs are no better than CD material.  

 

Upsampling to DSD is a different issue, probably outside the scope of OP's question.

 

Agree 2L is very good, especially for multi channel.

2 minutes ago, maximus said:

I think its worth it. Why do High end Digital Play back companies i.e. Accuphase, Metronome and Esoteric make dedicated SACD and CD players, the SACD player is generally way more expensive, the electronics are better engineered. Just an observation.

Some of the high end manufacturers make SACD players because they are addressing the well heeled buyer who are willing to pay a premium for both hardware and SACDs.  It does not make DSD better. 

 

I have quite a few SACDs, bought more for multi channel music than stereo playback.  Not many SACDs stereo playbacks are significantly better than the CD layer.  Some of the SACDs have a poorer CD layer; conspiracy???

 

At the end of the day, value is in the eye of the beholder...  

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On 02/04/2020 at 9:54 PM, Snoopy8 said:

The best source for DSD is still a rip from SACDs.  There are not many good non classical SACDs, often a remaster of old favorites. And they often cost way north of $30.

 

P/s best Brothers in Arms is the MOFI SACD stereo remaster. Beats the 20th Anniversary version easily for stereo, but 20th has 5.1

thanks will try and get my hand on the copy have the 20th anniversary version but much prefer stereo 

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49 minutes ago, mpearce38 said:

thanks will try and get my hand on the copy have the 20th anniversary version but much prefer stereo 

If stereo, then get MOFI version is the one to get, but an ouch price! (and cannot import either in these troubled times).
https://www.melbournehifi.com.au/products/mofi-dire-straits-brothers-in-arms-hybrid-sacd-1

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I think some of the older jazz stuff can be remastered to sound better in DSD but certainly not all of it  - its more a question of how it was recorded. But I have a few recent ECM albums that sound brilliant in that format.

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Posted (edited)
On 02/04/2020 at 9:31 PM, I'mInterested said:

Hi, you might be interested in this article by David Elias, who really did heaps with DSD and now is equally happy (it seems) with MQA...

 

https://art-of-listening.com/2020/03/06/why-dsd-why-mqa-why-hi-res-why-art-of-listening/

 

 

I'll tell you a story about David Elias, or rather his curious techniques.

 

I have a pioneer N50A, which plays dsd files as well as PCM. David Elias offers a demo recording of a song recorded in dsd and he also provides that same song in PCM. So of course I downloaded both the dsd and PCM for comparison. And it happened that in my opinion the dsd sounded better and there was something that didn't sound quite right about the PCM. But I also noticed there was a difference in level between PCM and dsd. So this made me think that something fishy was going on. 

I also have some USB sound cards, so I decided to record the analogue output of my Pioneer whilst it was playing the dsd file, and I recorded it on my computer using PCM.

Then when I played back my recording in PCM (16 bit 48khz) I found that now the dsd and the PCM sounded virtually indistinguishable.

 

So I don't know what David Elias had done when he converted his dsd file to PCM, but whatever he did completely stuffed up the sound. and this is the same files that have been used on his website for years to promote dsd over PCM.

So I think this is highly suspicious. 🧐

End of my story. 

Edited by eltech

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Your experiment has variables that undermine any solid conclusion.

 

My first question would be how does David Elias convert DSD to PCM? Even well-heeled record labels don't always do this successfully... 

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Is this my experiment or is this David Ellis's experiment?

 

I guess you'd need to ask him what he did.

 

They are publicly available downloads. 

If you don't like my story, you could do your own tests and form your own informed opinion.

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I use Chord Qutest DAC. This DAC supports both PCM and DSD. I ripped an album (by Hanne Boel) in flac and DSD 2.8MHz formats. We listed to these two formats, plus in LP. We found that the flac files played through PCM was slightly inferior. LP and DSD quality were not distinguishable.

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In general, Yes it's worth it. Most Dacs handle DSD these days so it's just a matter of finding some files and seeing for yourself. I have a lot of SACD rips and Tower Records in Japan are still releasing some new SACD remasters that sound awesome. 

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On 02/04/2020 at 8:00 PM, Snoopy8 said:

But often superior mastering is what makes things better.

This ^

 

As far as upsampling to DSD goes sometimes I think it sounds better, sometimes not and sometimes I think I'm imagining the difference.

As far as MQA goes, don't bother (IMHO)

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