Author Topic: Native DSD Playback & DSD DACs Discussion Thread  (Read 95374 times)

Offline valenroy

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Native DSD Playback & DSD DACs Discussion Thread
« on: February 15, 2012, 19:53 »
Dear DSD music lovers,

This thread will serve as a local Singapore resource for current or potential owners of DSD-capable DACs to refer to for all matters relating to DSD and the hardware itself.

If you don't have a PS3 to rip your precious SACDs and you know your ways around bit-torrenting, drop me an PM with your email address to get yourself sorted out.

Besides the usual high-end suspects from EMM Labs, Playback Designs, Meitner Audio and MSB, here is an update on the current crop of available DSD DACs for potential owners to consider (17/05/2013):



Mytek 192-DSD DAC - S$2,000 (liveacoustics - http://www.liveacoustics.com.sg/)
(DAC/HPA/PRE | PCM: 24/192 | DSD: DSD128 via DoP v1.1 & Windows ASIO | 10ps Master Clock | ESS ES9016 DAC)

http://mytekdigital.com/hifi

Reviews

Audiostream Part I : http://www.audiostream.com/content/mytek-stereo-192-dsd-dac-0
Audiostream Part II: http://www.audiostream.com/content/mytek-digital-stereo192-dsd-dac-follow
Positive Feedback Online: http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue66/mytek_dsd.htm
hifi-advice: http://www.hifi-advice.com/mytek-192DSD-review.html



TEAC UD-501 Dual Mono DAC - S$999 (Absolute Sound - http://www.absolutesound.com.sg/, Musiclink AV - http://www.musiclinkav.com/)
(DAC/HPA | PCM: 32/384 | DSD: DSD128 via DoP v1.1 & Windows ASIO Native | BurrBrown PCM1795 x 02 - Dual Mono DAC)

http://audio.teac.com/product/ud-501/

Reviews

Audiostream: http://www.audiostream.com/content/teac-ud-501-dual-monarual-pcmdsd-usb-digital-analog-converter

Positive Feedback Online: http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue67/teac.htm

Archimago Review: Part 1 (Initial Impressions): http://archimago.blogspot.ca/2013/05/initial-impressions-teac-ud-501-usb-dac.html
                           Part 2 (Measurements - PCM): http://archimago.blogspot.ca/2013/05/measurements-teac-ud-501-pcm-performance.html
                           Part 3 (Measurements - DSD): http://archimago.blogspot.ca/2013/05/measurements-teac-ud-501-dsd-performance.html



MATRIX X-SABRE DXD/DSD DAC - S$1,399 ( Whizzy Audio - http://whizzyaudio.com)
(DAC only | PCM: 32/384 | DSD: DSD128 via DoP v1.1 only | ESS ES9018 DAC - 8 mono to 2 stereo configuration)

http://www.matrix-digi.com/en/products/49/index.html



Yulong DA8 32bit 384kHz DSD DAC - S$1,599 ( Qubes Audio - http://www.xtremeplace.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=139027.0 )
(DAC/HPA/PRE | PCM: 32/384 | DSD: DSD128 via DoP v1.1 & Windows ASIO Native | ESS ES9018 DAC)
*note that firmware for DSD256/DSD512 is still under development and is available through Windows ASIO Native mode only

http://www.yulongaudio.com/en/product_detail.asp?pid=30



Fostex HP-A8 - 100,000 (Jaben Network - S$2,500 > Way Overpriced!)
(DAC/HPA/PRE | PCM: 24/192 | DSD: DSD64 via DoP v1.0 only | SDHC interface | Asahi Kasei AKM4399 DAC - hardware restricted to DSD64 only)
*for non-Japanese owners, DoP has already been enabled via the Japanese website - http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fostex.jp%2Fnews%2Fversion_up%2F307&act=url

http://www.fostexinternational.com/docs/products/HP-A8C.shtml

Reviews

Audiostream: http://www.audiostream.com/content/fostex-hp-a8c-32-bit-dac-headphone-amp



Benchmark DAC2 HGC - S$2,800 (Horizon Acoustics/CD Acoustics - http://www.horizonacoustics.com/)
(DAC/HPA | PCM: 24/192 | DSD: DSD64 via DoP v1.0 only | ESS ES9018 DAC)
*please note that Benchmark DACs are not firmware upgradeable by the user so future DSD128 implementation may be an issue

http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac/dac2-hgc



Resonessence Labs Invicta DAC - S$5,500 (Horizon Acoustics - http://www.horizonacoustics.com/)
(DAC/HPA/PRE | PCM: 24/192 | DSD: DSD64/DSD128 via DoP 1.1 & Windows ASIO | SDXC interface | Main: ESS ES9018 DAC , HPA: ESS ES9016 DAC - Dual DAC implementation)

http://resonessencelabs.com/invicta/



Sonore/exD DAC - USD 1,295
(DAC only | PCM: 24/192 | DSD: DSD128 via DoP v1.1 only | 3ps Master Clock | Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC)

http://www.sonore.us/index2.html



AURALiC VEGA - USD3,499
(DAC/PRE | PCM: 32/384 | DSD: DSD128 via DoP v1.1 only | 0.082ps Femto Master Clock | ESS ES9018 DAC )

http://www.auralic.com/en/

Reviews

Audiostream: http://www.audiostream.com/content/auralic-vega-digital-audio-processor-0



exaSound e20 mkII - USD2,499
(DAC/PRE/HPA | PCM: 32/384 | DSD: DSD256 via DoP v1.1 & Windows ASIO | 0.13ps Femto Master Clock | ESS ES9018 DAC)
* DSD256 is currently limited to Windows ASIO only

http://www.exasound.com/e20DAC/e20DACOverview.aspx

Reviews

The Absolute Sound: http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/exasound-audio-design-e20-digital-to-analog-converter/



Chord MX Series QX DAC - 990 (approximate)
(DAC only | PCM: 32/384 | DSD: DSD64 via DoP v1.0 only | Chord Proprietary Pulse Array DAC)

http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/products-info.asp?id=85



Chord Chordette QuteHD (DSD) DAC - 990
(DAC only | PCM: 32/384 | DSD: DSD64 via DoP v1.0 only | Chord Proprietary Pulse Array DAC)

http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/products-info.asp?id=78

Reviews

Audiostream: http://www.audiostream.com/content/chord-electronics-chordette-qutehd-dsd-dac



Chord QBD76 HDSD DAC - 3,600
(DAC only | PCM: 24/192 | DSD: DSD64 via DoP v1.0 only | Chord Proprietary Pulse Array DAC)

http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/products-info.asp?id=74



Korg DS-DAC-10 - 49,800
(DAC/HPA | PCM: 24/192 | DSD: DSD128 via Windows ASIO only | Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC)

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.korg.co.jp%2FProduct%2FAudio%2FDS-DAC-10%2F&act=url



RATOC Audio Lab RAL-DSDHA1 - 72,000
(DAC/HPA | PCM: 24/192 | DSD: DSD64 via DoP 1.0 only | Wolfson WM8742 DAC)

http://www.ratocaudiolab.com/product/ral/ral_dsdha1/



RATOC Audio Lab RAL-DSDHA2 - 120,000
(DAC/HPA-BAL/SE | PCM: 24/192 | DSD: DSD64 via DoP 1.0 only | Wolfson WM8741 DAC)

http://www.ratocaudiolab.com/product/ral/ral_dsdha2/



* This list does not include network players like the Onkyo CR-N755 or Pioneer N30 & N50 (may eventually), etc... that allow DSD streaming over a network.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 13:26 by valenroy »

Offline valenroy

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Re: Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Owners Thread
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2012, 16:12 »
Just an update for you guys who have the Mytek DAC, native DSD playback through foobar2000's SACD plugin will finally be made possible through v.0.4.8 that will be published soon. I had gotten in touch with the author, Max, and he has successfully incorporated dCS's 0xAA markers into the DSD stream. He has even made provisions for other encoding schemes as well such as DSD Native, dCS v1.0 and eXD -  that is left for the respective group of users to test out. I only helped him out in the testing phase with the dCS 0xAA markers. So if all goes smoothly, the release of v0.4.8 should be imminent.

So why the SACD plugin? Firstly, you will be able to play SACD ISO images (native DSD64,DST64) directly without having to go the extra step of extracting DSD64 or decompressing DST64 tracks individually. It even allows tagging of tracks within the ISO image by using the SACD metabase! Lastly, it's free...

Offline valenroy

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Re: Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Owners Thread
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2012, 16:34 »
Anyway, there is a healthy Mytek community over at computer audiophile with 4 long pages of reading material:-

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Mytek-Stereo-192
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 13:25 by valenroy »

Offline francis wu

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Re: Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Owners Thread
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2012, 17:27 »
Here's a recent review!......hmmm, interesting hor.. :)
http://www.hifi-advice.com/mytek-192DSD-review.html

Offline valenroy

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Re: Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Owners Thread
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2012, 17:30 »
Perhaps I can share my findings with the 2 software players for DSD playback in a Mac Environment. Namely Puremusic (PM) and Audirvana+ (A+). Personally, a clear cut preference would be for the Audirvana+ with it's fast and elegant way of importing DSD files into iTunes. Puremusic's implementation of importing DSD bookmarks into iTunes are just plain tiresome - takes a few minutes to import 1 track! - my goodness... whereas Audirvana imports my entire extracted DSF library of around 20 albums in less than 30 secs. The way files are tagged in iTunes (A+) is done better as well with the proper tagging of individual tracks, appended with [DSD64] in the track title to indicate that it is a DSD file - not so for PM, that just indicate that it is a DSD bookmark. Lastly, A+ is more straightforward when it comes to setting up native DSD playback through the Mytek with lesser complicated options and menus to navigate through, that should be more manageable for a novice user of computer audio as well. However, both of them come with a price, USD$100+ for PM and USD50 for A+. Personally I prefer Audirvana+, even though it is the cheaper alternative. With it's user-friendly implementation and seamless iTunes integration as compared to the cumbersome offering by Puremusic, it is quite an easy choice. By the way, both USB and Firewire drivers are working for Audirvana+.

Under the Windows environment, we are no longer bounded by HQPlayer - the only possible method of bit-streaming DSD audio to the Mytek so far. With the premise of the free foobar2000 & it's new SACD plugin for native DSD playback, we are no longer held at ransom by HQPlayer to cough up USD150 for a player that is so basic and sparse in functionalities and library management when compared to foobar.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2012, 17:50 by valenroy »

Offline valenroy

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Re: Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Owners Thread
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2012, 17:40 »
Francis, I read that review last week and the only thing that I strongly disagree on with the review is the the woolly bass on DSD... I did a A/B with it's PCM equivalent and DSD bass is not inferior at all. There was a post in the computer audiophile forum about 2XL DSD tracks that was mastered using Pyramix that somehow mellows the bass, which could be the cause for Christian Punter's observation. As for the grainy treble produced by Mytek on high sample rate files, honestly I can't find fault with it at all, at least not to my ears.

Offline francis wu

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Re: Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Discussion Thread
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 18:09 »
Pity that your unit is still running in or else it would be interesting to compare it with the likes of Calyx, EE mini plus, etc. etc.... :)

Well, next time.... ;)

Offline valenroy

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Re: Native DSD Playback & Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Discussion Thread
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 18:16 »
Recent updates on the DSD playback community > They have finally agreed on a version 1.0 standard for DSD via USB.

http://www.audiostream.com/content/usb-link-dsd-audio-pcm-frames-andres-koch

Offline valenroy

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Re: Native DSD Playback & Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Discussion Thread
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 23:05 »
I'm glad to report that Foobar2000 SACD Plugin v0.4.8 with the implementation of dCS 0xAA markers are working! However, I am going to repost my findings from computer audiophile in here... too lazy to type again...

Foobar2000 SACD Plugin v0.4.8 - DSD-only Playback - Success!

Hi all, I was crash-testing the program before I came in for the update. I have reported my findings to Max and I am going to replicate my email to him here.

>>> " Anyway, I was trying all means to crash the program. When everything is playing in DSD, track skipping and searching was flawless! Stable as a rock! This is the case if all the files resides within the computer itself. If the ISO images of DFF files are streamed over a network, it could induce intermittent stuttering while the server is assessed concurrently while the track is playing. This doesn't deter it from recovering from playback though. It just stutters and pauses for a while before it resumes normally again.

However, I did discover a way to recreate a scenario that I encountered when I was using your test files in the morning. When playing a playlist with a mixture of PCM and DSD files, the DSD file would produce excessive noise when it was switched over from a PCM file. The DSD track will be playing, accompanied by an excessive amount of noise. Is this the "aura" of noise you were referring to earlier whereby the bit ordering got mixed up when switching sample rates? However, when switched to a PCM file, everything will be playing fine for the PCM file again, until I switch back to DSD where the noise would return. This noise is persistent and there is no way of getting rid of it even if I restart foobar. The only way to get rid of the noise is to power cycle the DAC. I think that is the only issue we need to address - to ensure bit ordering is correct after switching from a PCM file of a different sample rate. If not, v0.4.8 is perfect for DSD only playback!

As for what you had suggested for the implementation of the installation of the ASIO proxy, perhaps I can gather some feedback from the forum to check what would be the most intuitive way of handling the seemingly confusing process of installing the ASIO proxy."

This is what Maxim is proposing for the ASIO proxy installation. Do let me know if there is a more elegant of handling it so it can be more accessible to novices of foobar.

>>>"I'm thinking of a kind of unattended ASIO proxy install like this: user selects DSD (Autodetect) playback mode and ASIO proxy installs automatically. Yes, playing DSF is a good idea indeed."



Also this:-

DICE Mytek Firewire Cliches

I would like to report my findings on the DICE firewire driver. This is consistent with HQPlayer and the SACD Plugin when using the dCS 00xA markers. There will be intermittent pauses while a DSD track is playing and playing around with the DICE buffer settings did not rectify the issue. However I did not encounter these issues with the Firewire drivers in Mac OS X Lion 10.7.3 where Audirvana+ was the software player.

Oh as a side note, do you guys think that native DSD playback sounds better in a Windows environment than OS X? I personally find it sounds more robust in Windows than Mac. It could be just me but it seems to me that it is consistent with what I had experienced when I was playing DSD files (converted to PCM) when the SACD plugin hasn't yet have the ability to bitstream.

Offline valenroy

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Re: Native DSD Playback & Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Discussion Thread
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2012, 14:52 »
Francis >>> Don't be too hopeful when you head down to the computer music center at Eaton Hotel in HK to take a look at the Mytek, the place is quite a wreck with no provisions for auditioning of the DAC at all. It was a pack and go transaction for me. All you are able to do for auditioning is through their music workstation in their computer music room - all filled with professional gear - by the way the Mytek would be considered a pro-sumer product. Anyway, they should be all out of stock at the moment, better to write in to Kenny to check. That place is actually a music learning center by the way!

Anyway, bit-streaming DSD - Journey's Greatest Hits SACD ISO though foobar at the moment. It really doesn't sound digital at all, with a non-fatiguing presentation with great sound-staging and depth.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 14:59 by valenroy »

Offline francis wu

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Re: Native DSD Playback & Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Discussion Thread
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2012, 15:17 »
i will drop by anyway to satisfy my curiosity..... :D

Maybe this wlll help...http://www.empiricalaudio.com/computer-audio/

Offline lkypeter

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Re: Native DSD Playback & Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Discussion Thread
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2012, 17:44 »
Valenroy,
I heard that DSD software is limited mainly to classical genre like channel classics. Is this true? I listen to classical almost 90% of the time and this is why I went to SACDs and PCM high res but have not tasted DSD yet. Read the SACD to DSD rip using Sony Playstation but it was too complicated for me and I gave up. I have about 200-300 classical SACDs and if I can find a way to convert them to DSD. it would be great.

I have a Wyred4Souund DAC2 and am happy with it but the Mytek sounds so poisonous that I am really tempted. How much it is in HK$. Can PM me.

Cheers,,,, Pete
Gradient Revolution MarkIV Active Speakers,Marantz SA11S2,Wyred4SoundSTP-SE,Kimber Kable AGDL,NanoTech Golden Strada#201interconnects&#301powercables@Strada#79speakercables,Synology1512+NAS,MacMiniCore2DUO8GB,YamahaRVX3067,SonyBDPS790

Offline valenroy

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Re: Native DSD Playback & Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Discussion Thread
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2012, 18:36 »
Pete>>> There are currently around 7200+ releases in the SACD disc format. It contains a diverse mix of genres but recently, the classical genre dominates the number of new releases - this should be good news to you. However, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs and Analogue Productions have been pretty consistent in releasing remastered classic titles of rock, blues and jazz. And not to mention what SHM-SACDs have done to contribute to the recent SACD revival in Japan. Actually, if you are resourceful enough, you don't even need to rip your own SACDs as you can easily find them online for download. That is if and only if you are familiar with bit-torrents or usenet services. Majority of them are available as torrents though. PM if you need some hints. I have managed more than 500 albums so far in additional to the other 50 that I rip on my own PS3. That number of ISO images available is not even inclusive of the numerous classical titles I did not download.

As for legit commercial DSD downloads, there are currently 3 sources that I know of - 2L, Channel Classics and Cybele. Mostly classical works but Cybele has a weird mix of genres.

Currently the agent in HK is offering to ship to Singapore at a charge provided that have stock and warranty is through them only - you will have to write to the manager, Kenny. It's retailing for HKD12,700 for the Pre-amp version and HKD12,000 for the mastering version. Prices are comparable to Mytek's online store. However, due to the over demand for this DAC, Mytek online will only be able to fulfill orders 2 months after you place them.

Let me know fi you require more information. :)

- Ivan
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 18:50 by valenroy »

Offline francis wu

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Re: Native DSD Playback & Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Discussion Thread
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2012, 20:20 »
Pete, you want me to order for you?  silver or black? ;D

Online bigtree

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Re: Native DSD Playback & Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Discussion Thread
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2012, 22:24 »
Normal version


Mastering Version


wow~ @ this price with all these features... :P Hoot ah~