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How to play DSD or DSF files?! Noob question

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A while ago I bought a recording which I downloaded as FLAC files. I could easily play it, even on my Amazon Fire Tablet (with VLC Media Player).

So last night, without thinking too much about it, I bought another recording, this time a DSD file (64).

This is a complete nightmare!

On the Fire tablet, the music plays (no error message), but without sound...

So I thought, I'll download it on my Windows laptop and play them from there. 

Again, a nightmare. No ordinary player works with these files. The nativedsd.com help section list a whole list of them, but most simply don't work. Some are 'free', some must be bought.

After many hours of frustration, I got to play one or two of the files, but nine refused to give any sound at all, with AudioGate 4 (Korg).

 

So what's the deal with this freaking format?

Is it because of some DRM issue?

Is it because it is so processor intensive that they won't play?

Why do some files play, and others won't?

 

Help would be greatly appreciated.

I'm also contacting nativedsd.com about this.

 

 

 

audiogate2.JPG

audiogate1.JPG

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I don't have any dsd files, but investigated the format a couple of years ago. Just woke up and don't remember offhand, but I'll look at what I may have still have on my windows pc. My main music systen has linux mint on it, so that won't be a help.

 

Interesting that they appear to play no audio. Do you have a dedicated audio card? What is your signal path?

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I had a similar experience.  I downloaded a DSD file on accident—as Millennials say—and it would not play on any of three Pono players, despite the purported capacity to play DSD files.  I contacted the vendor and was permitted to download the intended FLAC file.  All was then good.

 

Personally, I have no experience with DSD, and do not know why the format exists.  By saying that, I’m not implying that it doesn’t have advantages, I’m just saying I don’t know what they are.  I welcome an education.

 

Since Pono support has vanished, and because I’m perfectly happy playing FLAC files in balanced mode into my class D chip amps, I’ve got no plans to implement DSD, DSF, or WTF files.

 

 

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What are the purported advantages—or disadvantages—of DSD?

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9 minutes ago, DizRotus said:

What are the purported advantages—or disadvantages—of DSD?

 

Well, in the case of nativedsd.com 's album I bought, the recordings are simply not available in other formats. 

https://www.nativedsd.com/information/about-dsd 

  • "From the worlds of jazz, blues, percussion ensembles, world music, and classical music, this is a special compilation of analog audiophile recordings at their best, with emphasis on execution and great sound. This is a must for the audiophile enthusiast.
  • Audiotapes from 2xHD guarantee that ultimate quality is preserved from the original master. Audiophile quality microphone designer and winner of "Best Sound in Show" at high-end audio equipment conventions, Rene Laflamme uses his knowledge and unfailing instinct to match various audio components to create the best all-encompassing sound experience. The exclusive 2xHD system is the fruit of Laflamme's total experience and imagination.
  • A pure analog transfer from the original master tape. The transfer is made to the best magnetic tape on the market today, recording the master to SM468 tape. 
  • They also have a free sampler recording."
  • Thanks 1

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Without following the links above yet to refresh my memory, I believe DSD ain't PCM but rather something like 1 bit toggled on/off at megaHertz frequency.  Sony came up with the notion in the '90s and it devolved into a BETA v. (whatever the other format was) type of format war with both contestants being left in the dust behind bigger / faster PCM words.  I think most DACs have the ability to "do" it, if it's been bothered-to-be-implemented.

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I believe that my download is faulty. Some songs play, some don't. Some that don't play only have one channel, some have none. Also, the zipfile was only about 413Mb in size. This morning I downloaded their free sampler dsd (64) which has the approximately the same play duration as the one I bought. Its size was 1.5GB. So I think that the dsd music I bought last night simply is faulty.

 

Edit: Just to make things clear: I can play their "Welcome to NativeDSD Sampler (DSD 64, FREE) " without any problem at all with Korg's  'AudioGate 4 Lite'

 
 
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43 minutes ago, DizRotus said:

What are the purported advantages—or disadvantages—of DSD?

 

As far as I understand, DSD (or DSF) is the format of SACD, but instead of burning it on a disc, it is available for download.

 

It makes my RP160Ms shine, and it gives my Heresy speakers really deep bass (!!!!)

 

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First replay of nativedsd.com support - since then, I have informed them about the faulty download - let's wait and see what happens next.

 

 

Hi Ivan, 

the .dsf format is widely read by many many players. But indeed you need a slightly faster computer than 'norma' since the bitrate is quite high. We do think the paid apps are worth it, especially Jriver is a great deal on windows.

Here is some general information that you'll find interesting.

Desktop .dsf playback
On desktop computers, these players will play .dsf files, we recommend these apps:

Roon: stereo & multichannel
Jriver media center: stereo & multichannel
 Audirvana: st + mch, will work in combination with iTunes. 
Signalist HQ: up- and downsampling + playback
You could also consider DSD Master in combination with the BitPerfect app, read more here on what you would need to do in this Help Article.
How to play DSD in iTunes using Audirvana
Using Audirvana plus and iTunes to play DSD Files

Jonas Sacks
Portable playback
USB Audio player for Android or iPhone and iPad DSD playback from Onkyo

All DAC's
Compare all DAC's that Play DSD files and their performances on this sheet.

Let me know if this is a good starting point or if you need more help. We're always happy to get deeper into this subject depending on your hardware configuration.
Thanks for your message and I hope to see you around our shop!

 

 

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I bought both JRiver and Audirvana. Audirvana is easier to use than JRiver but JRiver gives you many, many options. I Also use a MacBook Pro which is more difficult to work with those files as they have to be streamed as DOP which is another curveball. I stream to my McIntosh MA8900 via USB2 audio. It works very well for DSD 128 and higher bitrate PCM (384k). Could I possibly tell the difference between the two formats? Probably not. What I have learned is that the recording itself as well as the type of music really are the determining factor in HiRes audio.

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7 hours ago, ILI said:

 

 

 

So what's the deal with this freaking format?

Is it because of some DRM issue?

Is it because it is so processor intensive that they won't play?

Why do some files play, and others won't?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think foobar2000 will handle DSD files if you add the SACD decoder plugin.  I've never had the ability to rip SACDs from my PS3s and Oppo BDP103 since the manufacturers of both units prevented this ability in their firmware updates (which were then made non-reversible), but I do have the SACD decoder loaded in foobar2000 if I have the same "accident" that you had. I haven't had that accident yet.

 

SACDs (of which I own about 100 of these discs, including and most importantly multichannel SACDs) have a bit higher fidelity than Redbook 44.1/16 bit CDs, and the multichannel SACDs that I own are superb on the 5.1 setup.

 

DSD is a delta-sigma modulation format instead of the regular pulse-code modulated (PCM) of all other discs, and has been around for as long as PCM (early 1980s for audio via the Direct Stream Digital [DSD] company).  It was invented to be an archiving format, not a released disc format.  As such, has really no way to edit the tracks without first converting the tracks to PCM first, doing the edits, then converting back to DSD format (i.e., you've destroyed the reason for having DSD when the tracks are edited).  I have some SACDs that respected the DSD format and the recording/mixing/mastering chain respected that "no editing" edict of DSD, and I have to say that these discs (especially the multichannel versions) are perhaps the best that I own--because the bass line EQ hasn't been tampered with.  There are three Yellowjackets multichannel SACDs which are like listening to the original downmix tracks, and they're absolutely superb--reference quality sound--like being there.

 

Chris

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This article is coming up on 5 years old now.  I believe it's the most recent I've read on the current topic (not necessarily the newest I've read, simply the one I've read closest to "now").  I have insufficient knowledge to either confirm or dispute it, but on its face it "feels right" to me.  At any rate, it's an interesting read, and neither requires too much time nor is it too technical.

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What has disappeared is the Sonoma DSD Audio workstation, which could record and edit multitrack DSD audio. It was made by Sony, and until a few years ago being sold by a company in Colorado. Their website no longer exists.

 

1 hour ago, glens said:

but on its face it "feels right" to me. 

Sounds about right to me, too.

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DSD is a 'folded' storage format that maintains the full filter ramp. It also pushes some forms of distortion to a point above the audible range for human beings.

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Update on support from nativedsd.com: see below.

I did what they said with no positive result, so now I'm asking them to look into this and to send me a new zipfile that is up to standards...

They replied quickly, twice, on a Saturday.

 

 

Sounds like the unzip of the other file went incorrectly. 

Hi Ivan, 

Here is our unzip checklist. Please make sure that:

 If you are using a Windows system to extract the files; you tried unzipping the package using 7 zip. [ available for free here: http://www.7-zip.org/
You can also use WinRAR if you have this already.
If you use a MAC, you can have more luck with decompressing using this free app.
It may sound strange, but please make sure that:

You have enough FREE disk space on the volume on which you are decompressing the zip package.
If you have tried these things, and believe the zip package is broken, please reach out to us again.

Jonas

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Funny, sort of.  I'd think they'd say "this (whatever) is the checksum that file should have, if it doesn't, there's your/our problem, if it does, it's your problem, not ours".

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Update:

Nativedsd.com  sent me a link to a zipfile on dropbox.  Hoping  my issues would finally be solved, I unzipped the files and try to play them.

Uhm...

This is the reply I had to send them:

 

Hi Jonas,

I downloaded the zip-file you made available with dropbox, and I must say the music sounds amazing, and all files play just fine (and in stereo).
However, the files in de zip-file are .flac format. FLAC Stereo 24 Bit 352.8kHz  (see screenshot). This is not what I ordered and what I payed for - dsd(64). I'm not sure if this is intentional (to help me out and to allow me to play the music without a dedicated  DAC), or something else is going on. Afterall, your company is "nativedsd.com" so why are you sending me flac-files?
 
Kind regards
Ivan Lietaert
 
image.png

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Within the hour, Jonas replied and sent me the correct DSD64 zip file. I'm downloading it right now. I was right when I supposed that he sent me flac files to help me out. But I need those DSD files because I want to do some testing with them.

I'll be back.

 

My final message to support:

 

Jonas,

Thank you for your patience and for helping me out. All is well now. I'm new to DSD so that is why want them so badly: I want to do some tests.
BTW, thanks for the warning about track 3. It surely got my Klipsch Heresy speakers rumbling!
Also Bach's Toccata is quite a powerful piece of music.
I'd like to share this with you: I'm successfully using Korg's AudioGate 4 (lite) for playing these files on my laptop. It streams the sound to my amplifier using bluetooth. PowerGate Lite downsamples the dsf file to 48kHz (as can be seen in the screenshot). For now, I can live with this. 
 
Kind regards,
Ivan L.
 
image.thumb.png.67d23e9b7ee253cd404576d6de8359bc.png

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