What is DSD Audio?
Direct Stream Digital is a high-resolution format that differs from the PCM system in how it creates high-resolution signals that can be transferred as WAV, FLAC, ALAC, or AIFF. A “24 bit 96 kHz” file, a frequently used high resolution sample rate, comprises a stream of data that is 24 bits long. The 96kHz portion of this information stream is then sampled 96,000 times per second to create a signal, which is subsequently transformed into an analogue signal by a DAC. It has been in use since since the invention of CD, which operates on a 16/44.1 kHz signal, and it serves as the foundation for our ATF upsampling method.
An alternative method for producing high resolution audio signals is DSD. DSD utilises a single bit of information in the signal as opposed to several bits. To create the audio signal, this single bit samples 2.8 million times per second as opposed to sampling the data a few thousand times per second. Even though the signal was produced in a somewhat different manner, the end result is still great resolution.
DSD was created for slightly different reasons than the majority of other formats as well. Sony and Philips collaborated to create the CD’s replacement in the 1990s. The outcome was Super Audio CD, a format that our CXU Universal Blu-Ray Player is capable of playing. DSD is used to encrypt the high-resolution content on SACD discs (many discs also have a CD layer so they will also work on a conventional CD player). Although SACD didn’t eventually replace CD and is still a niche format, the world of digital music has expanded beyond physical discs.
DSD was left without a medium, however due to the “character” that many believe DSD adds to music, it has been brought back as a downloadable format that may be used via UPnP Streaming or USB. So who or what is this person? DSD is easier and more forgiving to listen to than more traditional formats, according to many enthusiasts of the format, who also claim that it has a naturalness and tonal sweetness that are absent from more traditional formats. Although it’s challenging to establish with certainty, our philosophy has always been to try and let individuals make their own decisions, which is why both our CXN and 851N network audio players support DSD.
Digital audio is now a little more complicated than it was a few years ago. There are several different digital file formats available for listening, and we’ve previously written blog pieces about these as well as the distinctions between compressed, lossless, and high resolution files. However, there is one format that some of our products support that is distinct from all other digital media. We’re going to try to dispel some myths and misconceptions concerning this format, which goes by the name DSD.
Is DSD Audio a scam?
The differences between a FLAC file and a DSD file, there are several crucial elements to be aware of. The first is that DSD is not inherently superior to its competitors. An approximate equivalent sampling rate for a “typical” DSD file—often abbreviated as DSD64—is 24/88.2kHz. The “Double DSD” or DSD128 format samples that one bit of data 5.6 million times per second to produce a signal that is equal to 24/176.2 kHz. Once more, formats other than DSD can reproduce this sample rate. Higher rates do exist, but they are incredibly uncommon. The statistics don’t necessarily prove that DSD is “better” than other formats, despite what some people may claim.