DSD 512 files not playing

Hi Folks

I use both Audirvana Studio and Origin. I purchased an album in DSD 512 from NativeDSD website and although it will load onto both players the files don’t play. I’m using a 2013 Mac Mini feeding into a SMSL SU-9 MQA external dac which goes into a Leak 130 amplifier via the USB connection.

I’d be grateful if anyone could throw some light on why I’m having this issue? Cheers

Don’t worry, there is nothing wrong with your system :slight_smile: , but the maximum DSD resolution you can play is DSD256 even if your SMSL is capable of DSD512.

This is a well known ‘limitation’ of DoP (explained further in this post) and this has been discussed and answered many times on this forum and on the internet in general and also leads to lots of confusion. I will try to keep it as simple as possible.

In short: Your SMSL DAC is capable of playing DSD512, but a Mac can not play DSD natively but only via DoP (DSD over PCM) limiting it to half of the maximum DSD value of your DAC. I don’t want to go into long technical details here (just Google DSD over PCM) but it boils down to that in your case you can only play a maximum of DSD256 with your Mac to your DAC. This is not your DACs fault, but a limitation of MacOS unable to play DSD natively.
Windows can not play DSD natively either, but in Windows you can circumvent that by installing an ASIO driver. So basically the only way to play native DSD to the maximum capability of a DAC (including your SMSL) is using Windows, through an ASIO driver via USB. But I don’t think that is a practical solution in your case :wink: .

The best thing you can do is convert your DSD512 file to a DSD256 file to be able to play it. Of course keep a copy of the original DSD512 file and only buy max DSD256 in the future!

Note: A lot of people are under the impression that DoP means that the DSD signal is converted to PCM. This is not the case. The DSD is only transported to the DAC in a PCM container, but is recognized by your DAC as native DSD and played as such.

To give you a bit of background information, I made a short compilation of an article in PCMAG:

[DoP stands for DSD over PCM, which is a method for transporting DSD audio over USB ports that do not have a DSD driver]. DSD is a high-resolution audio format that uses 1-bit samples at very high sampling rates. PCM is a more common audio format that uses multiple bits per sample at lower sampling rates.

DoP works by storing each consecutive set of 16 DSD bits as PCM bits in the lower 16 bits of a 176.4/24 sampling rate. [An 8-bit DoP header is added to each sample]. This means that DoP has half of the bitrate of native DSD, because it uses only half of the PCM bits to store the DSD data.

Definition of DoP | PCMag

Here is the formal description of the DoP standard:

DoP_openStandard_1v1.pdf (dsd-guide.com)

In short:
It is not an issue with your system, your DAC or Audirvana. It is simply a technical limitation of operating systems/DoP/computers (take your pick) we have to live with :wink:



I just bought a DSD 512 album " to try" with my Lumin T2, i had some issue: Impossible to play the file with Audirvana (it crash before playing) but it works with the Lumin App and Linn Kazoo (which connect the streamer directly to the server NAS synology). With the DSD 256 and lower file, i do not have this problem.

And concerning NativeDSD i have an other problem (not concerning Audirvana): on one track i have a loud “klong Klong” like if you plug jack in a guitar on a turned on amp (it’s not an electronic/noise/experimental album, it’s classical, Haydn) always at the same place, tried to re-download the file, same issue. I send a message to the support, they are very slow to answer… and to say that they will investigate… Not very nice attitude.


From the S.M.S.L SU-9 manual:


The maximum DSD sample-rate that can be played via DoP 1.1 on your SU-9 DAC is 2.8Mhz (DSD64) per the manual specifications.

Your DAC would need to support DoP 1.1 sample-rates up to 22.4Mhz (DSD512)… The PCM carrier sample-rate will be 1411.2KHz for DoP 1.1 transmission of DSD512… not realistic, as your DAC maximum sample-rate is 768kHz and apparently does not support DSD sample-rates via DoP 1.1 beyond 2.8MHz (DSD64).

You will need to modulate (down-sample) the DSD512 to DSD64 to play the file on your Mac… All DSD512 files are modulated (up-sampled) from lower DSDxxx sample-rates anyway, nothing is recorded in native 22.4MHz DSD.

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:

Please do not refer to me without reference to what I ‘misrepresent’.
You seem to have the tendency to go off topic and misrepresent a lot of reactions of other persons out of context (including mine). Try to behave in a polite and respectful way to others without accusing them. Your self-entitlement, lack of self critique and bombastic and pompous attitude combined with a complete lack of introspection is starting to get annoying.
What you possess in technical knowledge you certainly lack in social skills. I am done reacting to you on this forum.


The only way to play these tracks at their DSD512 resolution with your Mac and your DAC is to use a streamer.


As very often, your calculations are wrong.
The equivalency of DSD512 in bandwidth is PCM 768 KHz.
If his DAC is DSD512/PCM 768 KHz capable, it should play DoP DSD256.



  • The DoP 1.1 PCM carrier sample-rate for DSD64 is 176.4kHz
  • The DoP 1.1 PCM carrier sample-rate for DSD128 is 352.8kHz
  • The DoP 1.1 PCM carrier sample-rate for DSD256 is 705.6kHz
  • The DoP 1.1 PCM carrier sample-rate for DSD512 is 1411.2kHz

The S.M.S.L SU-9 User Manual specifies DSD64 via DoP on the S/PDIF input:

Just because the DAC is capable of playing PCM sample-rates to 768kHz does not mean that it supports DoP 1.1 processing for sample-rates above DSD64… Maybe it does, however, It is not evident from the User Manual that DSD/DoP sample-rates above 2.8MHz (DSD64) are supported in the DAC architecture/topology… It certainly seems capable of playing native raw DSD sample-rates via USB, up-to DSD512.

EDIT 4/15/23:
I had to go to the ESS ES9038PRO DAC documentation to clarify what ia not explicitly described in the SU-9 manual… If in fact the SU-9 platform exploits the DoP functionality of the ES9038PRO for DSD sample rates greater than DSD64 and it does support DSD256 via DoP 1.1, then my interpretation of the SU-9 user documentation and overview documentation was incorrect…
:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:

You didn’t look closely at the manual.
This DSD64 DoP rate refers using Optical and Coaxial.
For USB there will be no problem with DSD256 DoP.

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Show me in the SU-9 User Manual where other DSDxxx sample-rates are supported in DoP

I had to go to the ESS ES9038PRO DAC documentation to clarify what ia not explicitly described in the SU-9 manual… If in fact the SU-9 platform exploits the DoP functionality of the ES9038PRO for DSD sample rates greater than DSD64 and it does support DSD256 via DoP 1.1, then my interpretation of the SU-9 user documentation and overview documentation was incorrect…
:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:

Just look carefully

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This is not definitive enough… The SU-9 manual and overview details do not explicitly describe how DSD/DoP sample-rates above DSD64 are handled via USB… However, the ES9038PRO chipset documentation does clearly define the DoP capabilities… Until this is clearly evident from the user or somebody that can corroborate the assumption that DSDxxx via DoP 1.1 is supported beyond DSD64 on the Toslink and S/PDIF inputs, I don’t know for a fact that DSD256 via DoP is supported on this particular S.M.S.L SU-9 DAC platform architecture…

For a sound engineer and audiophile you are quite outdated.

From the SU-9, just read.

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This is not a definitive description… This sentence only states that it supports DoP… it does not explicitly state support for DoP for DSD128 and DSD256…

Like I said in a previous response, the SU-9 may provide DoP support for those DSD sample-rates… The manual and product spiel, only explicitly describe DoP support for DSD64… It sounds like you are making a presumptive interpretation…So, If you know for a fact that the SU-9 DAC architecture provides DoP support for all DSDxxx to DSD256, then tell us… Otherwise, it is not a given, and it is not clearly defined, that this DAC platform provides DoP support for DSD signals up-to DSD256. The only thing that I am certain about is the ES9038PRO chipset does provide DoP support for DSD256… It may or may-not be fully exploited in the design of this DAC platform…

I am generally against making presumptions based on marketing rhetoric… Especially Chinese manufacturers that don’t provide much detail.
:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:

I don’t do rhetoric, several friends already had the SU-9 and I’m saying with certainty that it does DoP 256.
Unlike you who are only on Google and Wikipedia.

I’m going to stop here otherwise it’s going to be like the MQA discussion, you’ve never listened to a record but you know everything about the subject.

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There you go… Thank you for being more direct… :roll_eyes: No need for the ad-hominem

I only provided my insights on what I know of the MQA technology… I never made an assessment of sound-quality… You have inserted this presumption into your interpretation of my responses… Go back and read my responses.
:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:

We’ve been through this discussion on August-September 2022, Mr Engineer!
These are not the equivalencies between DSD and PCM!
You forgot everything…

The numbers that you post are simply those that you are seeing with your own system.
You use only an Audirvana player, and a given application that converts DSD to PCM (forgot its name). These two applications upsample x2 when they convert DSD64 to PCM!
These two applications that you are using are simply set to work this way.

The correct equivalency is:
DSD64 = 24-88.2
DSD128 = 24-176.4
DSD256 = 24-352.8
DSD512 = 24-705.6

A DAC that has a bandwidth of 768 Khz will play DSD512, if you use it with a Mac and a streamer. It will do it with any player, including Audirvana! When you stream with Audirvana over the LAN, it streams Native DSD. (And there are players that can be set them to stream in DoP.)
And this DAC will play DoP DSD256 with any player, if you attach it to the USB port of the Mac.
Any Mac user knows it…


This is so basic, but it seems that there are people who do not know.


@Cloclo … Don’t believe me then… Maybe you will trust this: a direct quote from the DoP 1.1 open Standard:

2. Solutions
As seen above the Windows platform basically offers a solution with the ASIO driver and the raw data format supported by USB Audio 2.0. Not as ideal as having a dedicated DSD path via USB, but this is safe and straightforward. Since the Apple OS only allows a PCM path we have to find a way to put DSD audio data into PCM frames that then get sent via the native USB driver. DSD has a sample size of 1 bit and a sample rate of 2.8224MHz. In other words the data rate is 2.8224Mbits/sec. This is equivalent to 16 bit PCM at 176.4kHz. In order to clearly identify when this PCM stream contains DSD and when it contains PCM we will need additional bits. The PCM format with the next higher bit rate is 24 bits at a sample rate of 176.4kHz. This gives us 8 bits for this marker of identifier. It seems a bit overkill if all we need is 2 states (8 bits give us 256 states), but we will see that this extra overhead comes in handy. Here is how we can use the 24 bits in each sample and for each channel:

24bit Frame

The 8 most significant bits are used for the DSD marker and alternate with each sample between 0x05 and 0xFA. Each channel within a sample contains the same marker. This has been chosen to minimize the click that might be experienced when the receiving hardware misinterpretes the data as PCM when it really is DSD. If this should happen it would create a tone around 88kHz and roughly -34db, nothing harmful and something that most D/A converters would suppress to some degree before it even reaches the loudspeaker. It should be pointed out that hardware manufacturers and software developers alike can easily use common safeguards to prevent such cases of erroneous format switching and that they may only be limited to times during development of hardware and software. It is their responsibility to prevent misinterpreted cases and to test their products thoroughly before release. Misinterpreation of PCM data as DSD may create less predictable clicks.

The remaining 16 lower bits are then used for the DSD data, first or oldest bit in slot t0. The USB Audio specification assigns each PCM Frame to a specific channel (left, right etc.) and when used for DSD streaming each PCM Frame contains only DSD data corresponding to its assigned channel.

3. Solutions for double rate DSD (128FS) and beyond
Two solutions are possible depending on whether the used PCM transmission scheme is capable of supporting the PCM rate of 352.8kHz or not:

  1. The solution described above for 64FS DSD can easily be extended for 128FS by simply
    > raising the underlying PCM sample rate from 176.4kHz to 352.8kHz. All the marker bytes
    >and bit ordering remain the same.
  2. For those conduits that do not support 352.8kHz (such as AES/EBU) an alternative
    method can be used without raising the PCM sample rate:

24bit Frame

A PCM channel pair (for instance L/R) is used to transmit 128FS DSD for a single DSD channel. The lower PCM frame number contains the 16 older DSD bits in the same order as in the 64FS case. The higher PCM frame number in the pair then contains the newer 16 DSD bits. A different marker byte is used to distinguish this method from the first one.
Solution 1 can easily be extended to support even higher DSD rates by raising the underlying PCM rate.

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes: