Let’s start with a few things I read online concerning DSD and DXD (which an alias for PCM):
“With a resolution up to 256 times better than CD, your ears will immediately realize the full potential of your playback system. DSD 256 is the highest audio resolution format available today.”
“Direct Stream Digital (DSD) actually has been around for a while already, but it has been so married to a physical media, SACD, that it has yet to receive the attention from audiophiles that it deserves. It is only recently with the growing interest in downloading high resolution audio via the Internet that DSD surged to the surface of news coverage. What were compelling reasons to use this encoding scheme for SACD over 10 years ago are now becoming convenient truths for the new era of high resolution internet audio.”
“A digital recording at 352.8 kHz sounds closer to “real analog,” which needs no anti-aliasing filters at all, and the listener is better able to capture full ambient information of sonic events with a 352.8 kHz sampling rate. Even though, higher resolution, higher sampling rates sound better than lower resolution, lower sampling rates, 192 kHz, 96 kHz and 44.1 kHz/24 bit all sound more “digital” than 352.8 kHz sampling because of the pronounced effects of anti-aliasing filters in the lower sampling rate systems.”
These particular marketing messages came from a site that sells digital transfers of old third generation analog tapes so it is perhaps surprising he’s pitching digital standards that far outstrip the fidelity of his analog tape masters.
Does a quad rate DSD recording have “up to 256” times the resolution of a Redbook CD? Of course not! Is it the “highest audio resolution format available”? Also not true. And anyone that would write and post such ridiculous claims makes me want to run for the exit door as quickly as possible.
The stuff about recordings sounding closer to “real analog” and lower sampling rates sounding more “digital” than higher sample rates are also meaningless statements. A duplicated consumer quarter track analog tape or a 2-track stereo “flat” master doesn’t benefit from moving to Ultra HD-Audio sample rates or quad DSD rates. Analog tape isn’t a high-resolution audio fidelity format to start so why transfer tapes to gigantic bit buckets?
Posting these messages are meant to attract uninformed customers who are being regularly pounded with DSD hyped articles and papers. They continue to confuse and confound intelligent audio enthusiasts. DSD is hot because panels of advocates and company representatives have grabbed headlines but they only present half the story.
How about reading an article written by a couple of very well respected designers and makes of equipment…including some of the best DSD converters?
I received an article from an audiophile associate based in Spain. Juan makes the incredible “aria” music server and other wonderful pieces of hardware and software. The article is called “DSD Myth” and was authored by the two principals at Grimm Audio, Eelco Grimm and Peter van Willenswaard (retired).
Here’s what they wrote as an introduction to the paper:
“In recent years the DSD audio format of SACD has seen a big revival in the form of high res downloads. We noticed there’s a lot of confusion about the 1 bit DSD format. Debates about the virtues of ‘128fs’ and ‘256fs’ DSD often lack background knowledge of what is really going on inside the AD and DA converters. Eelco Grimm and Peter van Willenswaard wrote a ‘DSD Myth’ white paper to offer clarity in the discussion.”
Read “DSD Myth“. It cuts through a lot of the nonsense that you find in other white papers, on websites, spouted by panelists at audio shows, and by vested equipment manufacturers. Bravo to these two engineers on writing a thoughtful and accurate paper about the DSD format…and its myths.
Enjoy the sound of DSD if you want…but please stop denying the myths associated with the DSD the format.