DSD playback options

Probably a dumb question from the non-digital one here..... :)

The OPPO BDP93 I have plays SACDs. What I take from your post, though, is that it will not RIP them?
Hi, I just bought a 93 and I’ve tried to listen to sacd’s and all I get is silence. How do you have it set up? The Oppo says sacd. The setup says sacd stereo and noda. I can hear only when it’s set on cd, but that’s not sacd.

Thanks.

JD
 

TubeHiFiNut

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Hi, I just bought a 93 and I’ve tried to listen to sacd’s and all I get is silence. How do you have it set up? The Oppo says sacd. The setup says sacd stereo and noda. I can hear only when it’s set on cd, but that’s not sacd.

Thanks.

JD
I'll have to check.

Took it out of the box, set it from 5.1 to stereo and it plays all of my discs - including SACD only discs.
 
Using Raspberry Pi 3B+ with Allo Boss using Moode 4.4 to play .dsf files. The Boss' TI DAC supports 32/384. Sounds great. Recently discovered SoX upsampling of 16/44.1 to 32/352.8, which sounds incredible, and close to DSD quality.
 
@curious jim are you coming out of the analog (rca) outputs of the Oppo. It probably only sends the digital info on stereo and the SA layer silences the coax and optical digital outs. I have a Yamaha disc player that does this. The only way to get the multi channel output is through the rca s, and HDMI
 
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Thanks Mikey for starting this thread; I was looking for a place to discuss DSD …

Most of my DSD content is stored as ISOs on my music server and playback is via DSF files -> ASIO Drivers -> Roon then distributed over wireless and USB to DAC/Amps followed by headphone or speakers. I also purchased music as DSF files.

Software: My DSF encoding/extraction software is xrecode3 (XRECODE3 ), it uses the SoX resampler libraries and very reasonable in price. Windows only I believe.

DSF playback: Until recently, I was quite happy playing DSFs, until I obtained a new DAC that has selectable filters, so I hear noise in DSFs played through it (unless I filter it). I want to see if different methods of extracting/encoding the DSF files results in less noise. I use 2 approaches:
1. Extract/encode the DSF files such that just the noise is found.
2. Use a different format - not a bad option as described below - but I prefer not to do conversions - see below.

Other formats I've tried sound excellent. The files are produced by xrecode from ISOs and rendered by Roon - some examples:

13417View attachment 1341813415
 

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MikeyFresh

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I was looking for a place to discuss DSD …
I guess my initial question is what kind of noise are you hearing?

I have several systems and even more DACs, none make any discernable noise on DSF playback, nor is there any known flaw or phenomenon specific to DSF files that causes audible noise.

DSD as a format does require aggressive noise shaping, due to the quantization noise produced with 1-bit processing, however in practice it works very well and parks the noise well into the ultrasonic region.

I suspect what you are hearing is an artifact of DSD -> PCM conversion, but even there it should be completely doable with no actual noise or perceptible loss.

Are you are transcoding to PCM on the fly in Roon in order to make the DSF files playable in all rooms, regardless of whether or not that room has a DSD capable DAC I presume? Or do you take each DSF file and convert it to PCM, more or less leaving you with only that PCM file to playback?
 
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I guess my initial question is what kind of noise are you hearing?

I have several systems and even more DACs, none make any discernable noise on DSF playback, nor is there any known flaw or phenomenon specific to DSF files that causes audible noise.

DSD as a format does require aggressive noise shaping, due to the quantization noise produced with 1-bit processing, however in practice it works very well and parks the noise well into the ultrasonic region.

I suspect what you are hearing is an artifact of DSD -> PCM conversion, but even there it should be completely doable with no actual noise or perceptible loss.

Are you are transcoding to PCM on the fly in Roon in order to make the DSF files playable in all rooms, regardless of whether or not that room has a DSD capable DAC I presume? Or do you take each DSF file and convert it to PCM, more or less leaving you with only that PCM file to playback?
[Note: My DAC is a combo DAC/amp (Chord Hugo 2)]

  • The noise sounds like a poorly tuned AM radio station; some hissing and "squelching".
  • Your experiences with DSF playback are the same as mine - several DACs and no audible noise, hence the surprise.
  • Transcoding on the fly - I play the DSFs directly and Roon delivers them intact to the DAC. I plug my headphones into the DAC.

Roon does not process the data if there is no need; an example is the leftmost image below vs the one on the right where DSP processing is occurring, 2 indications are that the signal path is "Enhanced" and the DSP "processing speed" is shown. Here's where it gets interesting I hear noise with the left image (lossless) but not the right (enhanced), for this reason I am considering moving away from DSD to PCM.

13443

A few minutes ago, I spoke with the person (sales engineer?) who sold me the DAC:
I have another DAC/amp made by the same company, a Chord Mojo, and like other DACs we have experience with, the Mojo does not have this issue. It was explained that, on the Mojo the designer picked a single noise filter and that determined how the Mojo sounds. However, on the Hugo 2 they did not pick one, but 4 user selectable filters.

So, as it was explained to me, all DACs have noise - most just have filters selected for you to filter out the noise.
I asked why I hear noise in DSF, but not PCM - the response was - noise is in everything, you may just not hear it as clearly.

That is where I am...
 

MikeyFresh

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Staff member
[Note: My DAC is a combo DAC/amp (Chord Hugo 2)]

  • The noise sounds like a poorly tuned AM radio station; some hissing and "squelching".
  • Your experiences with DSF playback are the same as mine - several DACs and no audible noise, hence the surprise.
  • Transcoding on the fly - I play the DSFs directly and Roon delivers them intact to the DAC. I plug my headphones into the DAC.
Roon does not process the data if there is no need; an example is the leftmost image below vs the one on the right where DSP processing is occurring, 2 indications are that the signal path is "Enhanced" and the DSP "processing speed" is shown. Here's where it gets interesting I hear noise with the left image (lossless) but not the right (enhanced), for this reason I am considering moving away from DSD to PCM.

View attachment 13443

A few minutes ago, I spoke with the person (sales engineer?) who sold me the DAC:
I have another DAC/amp made by the same company, a Chord Mojo, and like other DACs we have experience with, the Mojo does not have this issue. It was explained that, on the Mojo the designer picked a single noise filter and that determined how the Mojo sounds. However, on the Hugo 2 they did not pick one, but 4 user selectable filters.

So, as it was explained to me, all DACs have noise - most just have filters selected for you to filter out the noise.
I asked why I hear noise in DSF, but not PCM - the response was - noise is in everything, you may just not hear it as clearly.

That is where I am...
I'm not a Roon user so I'm the wrong person to have this discussion with, but that definitely makes no sense and there are lots of both Roon and Chord DAC users that do not report any problem with noise. There is something wrong with that chain if you hear clearly audible distortion, and it is not inherent to DSF files. Do you hear it with all filter settings?

Can you try to feed that DAC a DSF file from a different source, for instance a different computer, or a different program such a a trial of JRiver, Audirvana+, or even an Android device using a USB on-the-go cable?

What about DoP vs. native DSD, does one or the other produce a better result?

I'm not at all suggesting that you'd ditch Roon, just saying there has to be a way of isolating exactly where that noise is coming from or what exactly is causing it and I don't buy the explanation the representative gave you at all.
 
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Can you try to feed that DAC a DSF file from a different source, for instance a different computer, or a different program such a a trial of JRiver, Audirvana+, or even an Android device using a USB on-the-go cable?

I'm not at all suggesting that you'd ditch Roon, just saying there has to be a way of isolating exactly where that noise is coming from or what exactly is causing it and I don't buy the explanation the representative gave you at all.
Thanks Mikey - yes I can - different computer + with Jriver give me a few minutes to set it up.
 
I'm not a Roon user so I'm the wrong person to have this discussion with, but that definitely makes no sense and there are lots of both Roon and Chord DAC users that do not report any problem with noise. There is something wrong with that chain if you hear clearly audible distortion, and it is not inherent to DSF files, you hear it with all filter settings?

Can you try to feed that DAC a DSF file from a different source, for instance a different computer, or a different program such a a trial of JRiver, Audirvana+, or even an Android device using a USB on-the-go cable?

What about DoP vs. native DSD, does one or the other produce a better result?

I'm not at all suggesting that you'd ditch Roon, just saying there has to be a way of isolating exactly where that noise is coming from or what exactly is causing it and I don't buy the explanation the representative gave you at all.
[Sorry - that was a very long "few minutes"]

Mikey - You were absolutely correct and gave me the proper course of action. I installed JRiver and did some testing - dead quiet! I had the same result using Roon as a client talking to the Roon server on my music server - this was bothersome, so I did the final test, reconnected the DAC back to the music server as it was and I played a DSF - No Noise! I am not sure what happened - but now I am pleased with my DAC and DSF's, no more looking around for alternative file formats.

Thanks ever so much Mikey.

My effort is documented below - if it has value, let me know else, I will remove it this weekend in the spirit of keeping the forum clean.

The tests and results are below. There are 2 questions about JRiver's DSF stream in the 2 pp's below - I am not familiar with the way the signal path is worded.

JRiver:
It looks JRiver is playing the DSFs playing w/out modification (the necessary condition), however, the on their signal path window during playback looks odd; for DSF files, it shows the input as 352.8kHz/64bit or is that just an interpretation 1xN DSD format - see the first image below?

On the same image, at the bottom it states "not enough bits to output the input directly", which is confusing. The rest of the looks like there is no transcoding. (An example of the "direct" output is in the second image below using a FLAC file) - would that be accurate?

J-DSF.png

The "Direct" example below - highlighted:


J-Flac.png

Roon:
Next, I downloaded and installed a copy of Roon, started it up as a client to my Roon server, but with the DAC still on my test machine. Playback was clean, even with the network connection between the two machines. Roon verified direct path w/out source modification - the same as when the DAC is direct attached:
13461

Prior to doing this, I tested remote vs local files using Jriver to see if there was a difference there was not.

Then, just for grins I plugged it back in to my server - the way it was to start with, played a DSF and - no noise whatsoever.... ARGH!
 

MikeyFresh

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Staff member
G
Mikey - You were absolutely correct and gave me the proper course of action. I installed JRiver and did some testing - dead quiet! I had the same result using Roon as a client talking to the Roon server on my music server - this was bothersome, so I did the final test, reconnected the DAC back to the music server as it was and I played a DSF - No Noise! I am not sure what happened - but now I am pleased with my DAC and DSF's, no more looking around for alternative file formats.

Thanks ever so much Mikey.

My effort is documented below - if it has value, let me know else, I will remove it this weekend in the spirit of keeping the forum clean.
Good news, by all means leave it as is here in this thread, it could aid someone else down the road with their own troubleshooting.

On the same image, at the bottom it states "not enough bits to output the input directly", which is confusing. The rest of the looks like there is no transcoding.
Actually it is still transcoding, as 352.8 KHz is a PCM sample rate. Here is where we diverge, I use Mac and Linux computers at home, both of which are driverless for USB Audio Class 2, however they don't do native DSD with no driver, all DSD playback is via DoP.

So while I can post a screenshot of what DSD playback should look like in JRiver, it won't look exactly the same with Windows using an ASIO driver, but it would be similar to this (note the 2.8 MHz sample rate):

13466

So either your JRiver settings need changing, or both that and a visit to whatever driver control panel there is for the Chord ASIO driver settings. I'm thinking that might be why there is transcoding, perhaps the driver is set to do so?

Not all Windows drivers have an actual control panel, so I'm not certain about the above, however it's worth checking out as well as the JRiver settings themselves.

Lastly, in JRiver, do you have the option of using more than one driver? Is there for instance the option of WASAPI, or for that matter if you are using Windows 10, there could be a conflict with a Windows 10 driver as one of the upgrades Windows 10 provided over Windows 7 was native USB Audio Class 2 support. So it's possible you don't want to use the Chord driver at all, though in some cases the DAC's firmware will still demand it, and it wouldn't surprise me if Chord is one of those cases.
 
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MikeyFresh

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On the same image, at the bottom it states "not enough bits to output the input directly", which is confusing.
I bet that's due to not having disabled the software volume control.

Any use of a software volume control entails conversion to PCM by default, there is no such thing as software volume control in the DSD domain. So the "not enough bits" part suggests the software volume control was enabled and also not at the 100% (0dB) setting.

If you disable the software volume control, that will go a long way here. But there are also other JRiver settings that govern DSD playback, and as stated in the previous post, possibly also ASIO driver settings if indeed there is a control panel for that.

With either Roon, or JRiver, you'd always get the best sound quality with use of the Hugo's own hardware volume control, never use any software volume control, always disable that or in cases it isn't fully defeat-able, then pin it to 100%.
 
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Actually it is still transcoding, as 352.8 KHz is a PCM sample rate. Here is where we diverge, I use Mac and Linux computers at home, both of which are driverless for USB Audio Class 2, however they don't do native DSD with no driver, all DSD playback is via DoP.

So while I can post a screenshot of what DSD playback should look like in JRiver, it won't look exactly the same with Windows using an ASIO driver, but it would be similar to this (note the 2.8 MHz sample rate):

View attachment 13466

So either your JRiver settings need changing, or both that and a visit to whatever driver control panel there is for the Chord ASIO driver settings. I'm thinking that might be why there is transcoding, perhaps the driver is set to do so?

Not all Windows drivers have an actual control panel, so I'm not certain about the above, however it's worth checking out as well as the JRiver settings themselves.

Lastly, in JRiver, do you have the option of using more than one driver? Is there for instance the option of WASAPI, or for that matter if you are using Windows 10, there could be a conflict with a Windows driver as one of the upgrades Windows 10 provided over Windows 7 was native USB Audio Class 2 support, driverless. So it's possible you don't want to use the Chord driver at all, though in some cases the DAC's firmware will still demand it, and it wouldn't surprise me if Chord is one of those cases.
There is an ASIO and a WASAPI driver for the DAC. JRiver also has its builtin JRiver Chord kernel streaming driver. Thanks to your explanations, I successfully used ASIO for native playback :
J-DSD Playback.png


and used WASAPI for DoP:

J-DOP-PB.png


As you suggested, I used the Hugo's volume control and works superbly: DSD processing was not affected. Sorting out how to do tooks some digging around; I configured JRiver using both the Chord ASIO and WASAPI drivers, the latter for the volume control as shown below:



J-PB-DeviceSetup.png
In the last PP above (starts with "ASIO device name" note that the ASIO driver may have a different name in Windows - it does - below is the audio path - "ASIO" to refers to the WASAPI driver configured above. A nuance like knowing the device names is important:
J-OutputASIO.png



I should note that it was not necessary to mess with any of the Output settings in DSP Studio - it was tempting, so I tried some to see if I could coerce the output I wanted, but I just wasted time. Setting up the ASIO driver and related settings above were all that needed to be done - it took a bit to get the new settings to show up on the audio path.

Nothing was check (activated) as shown below:

J-DSP_OutputSettings.png



Finally - Roon playback is native DSD - it shows up in the configuration as below - set by Roon. And the volume is fixed - which matches what you said about non-device software volume control.
Roon.png
 

MikeyFresh

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Staff member
There is an ASIO and a WASAPI driver for the DAC. JRiver also has its builtin JRiver Chord kernel streaming driver. Thanks to your explanations, I successfully used ASIO for native playback :
View attachment 13486


and used WASAPI for DoP:

View attachment 13488


As you suggested, I used the Hugo's volume control and works superbly: DSD processing was not affected. Sorting out how to do tooks some digging around; I configured JRiver using both the Chord ASIO and WASAPI drivers, the latter for the volume control as shown below:



View attachment 13484
In the last PP above (starts with "ASIO device name" note that the ASIO driver may have a different name in Windows - it does - below is the audio path - "ASIO" to refers to the WASAPI driver configured above. A nuance like knowing the device names is important:
View attachment 13489



I should note that it was not necessary to mess with any of the Output settings in DSP Studio - it was tempting, so I tried some to see if I could coerce the output I wanted, but I just wasted time. Setting up the ASIO driver and related settings above were all that needed to be done - it took a bit to get the new settings to show up on the audio path.

Nothing was check (activated) as shown below:

View attachment 13490



Finally - Roon playback is native DSD - it shows up in the configuration as below - set by Roon. And the volume is fixed - which matches what you said about non-device software volume control.
View attachment 13492

Good deal!

Thats a VERY fine DAC you have, don't let any dumb-ass Windows driver nonsense, nor any software volume control BS have it's way.
With proper setup that Chord DAC is very much state-of-the-art in terms of sound quality, absolutely no audible distortion.

I'm sure by now you can tell just how little love I have for Windows in terms of USB audio, however it is not an insurmountable thing.
 
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You know, I did the research and thought it was a solid purchase, until I listened to it. With your help that's history now... And I agree with you - they are fantastic. I rarely listen to anything else - even with the noise. I'm looking forward to my next conversation with the sales guy... that should be fun.

Regarding windows: The older windows gets it improves ever so slightly. I still enjoy *nix's when I have the chance, I have a few pi's with dac's on their backs that are fun to tinker with and use.

How can I send a PM to you?
 

MikeyFresh

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Staff member
I'm looking forward to my next conversation with the sales guy... that should be fun.
He ought to be ashamed of the non-support he provided. Good paying customers deserve more, and this is partly what gives computer audio a bad name in some circles. I managed more than he did without having Roon, or a Chord DAC, nor Windows.

It need not be an enormous burden to just set and forget, and now you are on to the real deal, listening to music. :smoke

How can I send a PM to you?
Just hover over my screen name and click "Start conversation". There is also a little envelope icon near your username in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, you can use that too.
 
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I set up the BX 59 under the teewee to watch disks with (our DVD player had been trying to die and doesn't have HDMI which the teewee does)
and it sees my laptop by wifi even though I have not reconnected it to the network by ethernet cable. I think this is going to be lots of fun.
Now I have to gin up some kind of NAS. I am very open to suggestions. I will most likely go with jriver and maybe foobar.
 
I just now discovered this thread, after having spent several hours over the course of a couple days exploring file playback options in JRiver 24. My hours were not wasted, as I played around with different settings (so many levels and options to examine and optimize) I sort of figured out what works and what doesn't. The biggest discovery I made was switching bitstreaming ON for playback of dsf files was a big improvement in sound and it fixed that signal path anomaly that Srx reported ("not enough bits..."). There is still a whole lot I don't understand and there are quite possibly fine tunings that should be done to optimize my playback in terms of sound quality, but I'm happy with the way it is sounding and working now.

My setup is a Windows PC running JRiver 24 with a Rega DAC-R as my primary DAC (for playing all PCM files; it does not support DSD) and my OPPO UDP-205 doing duty as a DAC for my DSD and surround files. I don't have a surround system, it's just stereo, and so JRiver is set to downmix anything that is surround to stereo (as does the OPPO for surround discs). I really love the zone and zone switching feature that JRiver has so I can tweak optimal playback settings depending on the file type and channel content. I still have to remember to physically switch the input on my Rega amp when switching playback zones to avoid dead air.

I don't even have that many surround audio files that I listen to, except for a few DVD rips I made. I love that Steven Wilson did new stereo mixes of all those King Crimson albums as well as his surround versions, but I wish he'd done the same for the Roxy Music surround mix he did. But I have to reconvert those surround files to stereo if I'm going to add them to my Astell&Kern library, which does play DSD files but cannot playback surround files.

But I am still quite confused about ASIO, Wasapi, kernel audio and other USB device configurations. I just tried the different ones and found the ones that worked. But as for DSD, I may run into a need to make further adjustments if I ever acquire any 2X or 4X or 8X DSD files. My Rega has a 192 sampling frequency limit, I'm not sure about the OPPO in terms of DSD rates.

I confess I am still kind of a dummy in these deep waters of digital audio high tech, but I've come a long way since I was listening to 320 kbps MP3s on iTunes via my Dell computer's soundcard a year ago...
 
But I am still quite confused about ASIO, Wasapi, kernel audio and other USB device configurations. I just tried the different ones and found the ones that worked. But as for DSD, I may run into a need to make further adjustments if I ever acquire any 2X or 4X or 8X DSD files. My Rega has a 192 sampling frequency limit, I'm not sure about the OPPO in terms of DSD rates.

I confess I am still kind of a dummy in these deep waters of digital audio high tech, but I've come a long way since I was listening to 320 kbps MP3s on iTunes via my Dell computer's soundcard a year ago...
I had the same difficulty only I use Roon. The "issue" is about sound quality and specifically latency - well written ASIO drivers have less latency as they are talking directly to the device and do not share it; WASAP is less direct and can share the device if needed.

If ASIO has trouble or the device needs to be shared (e.g., I have two USB connected speakers), then use WASAPI as ASIO can't be shared. Here are a couple of references that should help:

Jriver - Matt (the dog pic) has the link to a wiki. - there is also a good discussion of kernel mode on the page and the wiki.

Another source, wonderfully concise but full of terminology:

To answer your DSD question - your vendor is the best source of information for the Rega - the Oppo should be able to handle any DSD, err, .DSF file.
 
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