• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

What's the deal with DSD?

Surly Sid

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2020
142
33
120
I bought a few albums in DSD64. They sound worse than redbook CD rips! They sound dull and flat. What's the deal?
 

Surly Sid

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2020
142
33
120
Holly Cole - Don't smoke in Bed
Roy Orbison - Lonely and blue
Roy Orbison - In dreams
Roy Orbison - Crying
Diana Panton - If the moon turns green
Getz Gilberto 76

I want my money back!
 

Al ears

Moderator
I bought a few albums in DSD64. They sound worse than redbook CD rips! They sound dull and flat. What's the deal?
What? All of them?
Odd what are you using to play them with?
I have two of the Orbison listed myself but use them on my digital music player with no issue
I doubt it but it maybe the CD s are overly compressed and that's the sound you are used to whilst the DSD files are not.
 

plus 1

Well-known member
Dec 5, 2019
988
172
570
What? All of them?
Odd what are you using to play them with?
I have two of the Orbison listed myself but use them on my digital music player with no issue
I doubt it but it maybe the CD s are overly compressed and that's the sound you are used to whilst the DSD files are not.
i was wondering what his cd player is too.
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
457
198
11,070
Ok here's my guess as to what's going here. Not knowing if the OP is using a stand-alone DAC a or CD player I'm going to assume that they are using the former the DAC.

If its anything like my DAC it will upscale/upsample everything to 32bits which makes it hard to tell the differences apart, and I'm going to assume the Redbook is well recorded and we have to take into consideration that DSD64 is sort of like 20-bit 96KHz PCM resolution so really there isn't a great deal of difference if the redbook file is well recorded. Hence part of the reason for the failure of the SACD format using the DSD64 resoltion. And just because its DSD doesn't mean that file/recording being used is the best one. We see it all the time with records and CD's most of them in favour of record due to the more "delicate" nature of the format requiring a different touch.

So rather than saying anything is at fault I'm going to say the equipment is doing a really good job with standard Redbook and the differences aren't so well defined
Op you have to remember the DSD is using more dynamic range so the quiet passages will sound well quieter and so on.

My guess take it or leave it.
 

Surly Sid

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2020
142
33
120
What? All of them?
Odd what are you using to play them with?
I have two of the Orbison listed myself but use them on my digital music player with no issue
I doubt it but it maybe the CD s are overly compressed and that's the sound you are used to whilst the DSD files are not.
I have stored files (CD quality and Hi RES plus the DSD albums) on a Mac Mini, that I use as a NAS for storage. My source is a Naim NDX 2 network player. I also have a Tidal Hifi account.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
655
101
19,070
Surly quite the system you have there. Is this the first time you've purchased/listened to DSD in any form i.e. including SACD? Well recorded DSD apparently sounds more analogue than other formats, it could be your ears just need more time listening.

Also, investigate the recordings you bought.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Surly Sid

Al ears

Moderator
I have stored files (CD quality and Hi RES plus the DSD albums) on a Mac Mini, that I use as a NAS for storage. My source is a Naim NDX 2 network player. I also have a Tidal Hifi account.
I see, nice set-up that.
It's certainly odd because the Orbison I have sounds great, admittedly I think it's DSD128 but that shouldn't make any discernable difference, not to the extent that you're noticing anyway.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Surly Sid

EricLeRouge

Well-known member
Jan 15, 2020
33
10
45
I bought a few albums in DSD64. They sound worse than redbook CD rips! They sound dull and flat. What's the deal?
Hi there — A few points that may help in your question:

- DSD is typically mastered -2dB below the equivalent PCM title (this is a recommendation on all DSD material). It would be too long to discuss the reasoning and theories behind this, but the short story is that you have to increase volume by 2dB (+25%) when listening to DSD / SACDs. You will then realize that DSD has a much wider dynamic range, so typically those records have to be cranked up to really bloom.

- The Holy Cole DSD remaster is probably the one made by Analogue Productions. I am not entirely convinced by this version (I have the SACD, not the DSD file, but I assume this is the same), for some reason it sounds flat compared to the Classic Records LP (single LP) that I own. I don't have the original CD to compare it to.

- Finally if you use a Mac Mini for your storage, I would recommend trying to play both files (DSD and PCM) in Audirvana, a bit-perfects player that in my experience works wonders, ideally with a headphone, to check the differences at the source — before it is converted by your DAC / streamer. If (after adjusting the level for DSD) you find that both files sound good, then the issue is downstream.

Hope this helps.
 

Surly Sid

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2020
142
33
120
Hi there — A few points that may help in your question:

- DSD is typically mastered -2dB below the equivalent PCM title (this is a recommendation on all DSD material). It would be too long to discuss the reasoning and theories behind this, but the short story is that you have to increase volume by 2dB (+25%) when listening to DSD / SACDs. You will then realize that DSD has a much wider dynamic range, so typically those records have to be cranked up to really bloom.

- The Holy Cole DSD remaster is probably the one made by Analogue Productions. I am not entirely convinced by this version (I have the SACD, not the DSD file, but I assume this is the same), for some reason it sounds flat compared to the Classic Records LP (single LP) that I own. I don't have the original CD to compare it to.

- Finally if you use a Mac Mini for your storage, I would recommend trying to play both files (DSD and PCM) in Audirvana, a bit-perfects player that in my experience works wonders, ideally with a headphone, to check the differences at the source — before it is converted by your DAC / streamer. If (after adjusting the level for DSD) you find that both files sound good, then the issue is downstream.

Hope this helps.
I had noticed that the DSD versions don't play as loud. I will try them again but much louder.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EricLeRouge

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS