DSD? Opinions

There was an earlier thread on the new forum about ripping SACDs using certain bog-standard players - I bought a suitable Sony player on eBay about 6 months ago for £50 and with a couple of bits of downloaded software have ripped dozens of SACDs very easily, and very successfully, as DSD files. If you can’t find the thread I’ll try and find it over the weekend and re-post.

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Actually I did some searching on Google and that thread came up!

I had an ebay search for the players suggested and, when I looked yesterday, they all seem in the hundreds of pounds.

Maybe I’ll give the idea a miss :wink:

Ouch. Interestingly, the prices of “popular” SACDs on eBay has increased recently too. Rarely under a tender now - I paid £1.50 for the Nick Drake a while ago

SACD was expensive when it was available as a semi-mainstream format. Now everything is just used. Shame really because it sounded better than DVD-A at the time IMHO.

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Quite interested to know a bit more about the Naim implementation myself as I’ve started buying/playing SACD accessed via Asset and enjoy all the titles I currently have in my collection. I have an NDS and found this on the Naim website in relation to the v4.3 update…

“DSD files can be played back via the UPnP™, electrical S/PDIF or USB inputs. To keep the DSD audio routing as pure as possible the digital header information is stripped out by the DSP leaving only the audio. This is then optimised for the DAC by down sampling the stream to 40bit/768kHz, using Naim Audio software to maintain the high sample rate and accuracy. This adapted DSD stream then enters the DAC, bypassing the DACs internal digital filter”

Not sure I understand exactly what’s happening but the down sample sounds like a compromise? I wonder how you down sample from 1 bit to 40bits, the sample rate is clearly a down sample. Not sure what the adapted DSD stream means either, is this still DSD?

Would be interested to learn more if you have any additional information or links, thanks

A little bit (pun intended) too much techno babble that doesn’t really tell what’s going on.

This is a system called DoP, its a means of transmitting DSD audio over PCM frames
40bit/768kHz is PCM.
DoP is a system to wrap the DSD data & carry it over PCM making the non-native DSD components in the system think its transporting PCM.
The audio data is DSD & it stays DSD all the time.
The DAC strips the wrapper & sends the native DSD to the decoding chip & the Naim streamer plays DSD.

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Thanks Mike

Does the down sampling infer a loss in quality with regards to the DSD stream, do you think?

There are a lot of SACDs still being issued - most jazz and classical. Go to online outlets like CD Japan and you’ll see quite a few NEW rock/pop titles for sale.

I have one DSD album. Choice (at least for my likes/taste/curiosity) is too narrow to allow me to investigate any more at the moment. But I live in hope.

It appears to have a rather natural sounding, open and life like presentation. How might this be attributable to DSD? The album is also available in 24Bit PCM. What was the format of the source material? Does the DSD codec confirm a sound signature on the material, or is this how native DSD sounds?

All unknown.

Not at all, PCM is down sampled to optimise it for the DAC.
The PCM stream is the carrier, the DSD packet remains as-is, unchanged.


As an experiment I’ve tried a DSD64 file going from Asset running on a NUC to my NDX… it’s struggling to keep up. The problem is the system can only JUST supply the data stream fast enough for the NDX. My gut feeling is it’s the NDX that’s the issue. The NUC is running fine, 1gig LAN port and the resources monitor say no more than 1MB/sec. However if I look at the buffer level status on the NDX it’s frequently dropping down.

It doesn’t help that the NDX has a small buffer, but if it’s getting a decent stream from your network, it should have no trouble playing DSD64 files. I would suspect that something in your network is slowing things down.

I have no problems whatsoever with my NDX playing DSD over Asset from my Synology NAS. It’s all ethernet via a Cisco SG110D switch & buffer is always 100%. It’s always been this way ever since Naim enabled DSD, all I can suggest is it’s something in your NUC, or as Chris says, something on your network.
And the buffer on NDX is more than enough for local streaming, it’s always 100% on mine, including when playing the many 24/192 files I have (which are bigger than DSD64). The only time I’ve seen it struggle is in the past with web radio when it’s obvious the problem was an internet connection.

Well it plays 24/192 files (flac to WAV on Asset) with zero issues and I’ve never seen the buffer at anything other than 100%. On the dsf files it often drops below 100%… they still play but it’s struggling. Does streaming a dsf file involve more work for the Asset/server?

It may well involve more work, whatever that is & whatever is doing the ‘work’.
But the data rate on DSD64 is less than 24/192.
That is not the question in my mind, my NDX plays DSD64 perfectly OK with 100% buffer with Asset on my Synology, I’m all ethernet & assume you are the same (?) (wireless will most likely be a problem)
The only difference between us both is your NUC. I know nothing about these or how they integrate but my instinct says to focus on that.
Does the NUC support DSD ?
Where is Asset actually loaded, on the NUC or on a computer.
Asset can be set to play DSD in a number of ways, on my system I have left as “as-is”, but it has “DoP” option that might be worth trying as it might remove the processing work from the NUC & move it elsewhere. (NB I did say might) Its worth a try.

The NUC is running Windows 7. Do you have to have an ‘approved’ server for DSD?

You don’t need an approved server for DSD, its only a data file. But the server software is something else. If the software does not specifically state that it supports DSD but does support PCM, then I would set Asset to play DSD as DoP & see how that goes.

Minimserver also plays DSD files. And very well. Assert was a bit slow catching up with DSD playback but the latest version (and the one before IIRC) do the job just fine. I would personally recommend either, although there is no industry recommended server. If it says it will do it, it will do it (but always read the small print).

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