DSD first try poor sound


I just downloaded a DSD 256 file from HD tracks. I am using a MacBook Air and Ifi Neo DAC. Once I dropped this folder into Audirvana and tried it out, the sound was muted, there was an odd background pop, and on certain tracks it kept skipping. Overall, sound was much worse than PCM downloads. Perhaps I need to make certain settings adjustments?

Audio MIDI shows format as custom. The DAC is showing DSD. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Antonio

Did you try to play this file using different player like Jriver Media Centre or Foobar 2000 or Neutron Player ?
I had trouble to play DSD 128 with Audirvana Studio on Mac Mini
It played ok using different players
Are you using Audirvana 3.5 or Studio ?
Windows or Mac OS ?

You can download free samples from this website and try to play them using your Audirvana version
Please let community members know, how Audirvana handled this files ?
Among them there are also DSD 256 samples

From this website linked above I downloaded DSD 256 stereo file by Jan Gunnar Hoff titled Innocence.
It played OK on old Windows 10 PC with Audirvana 3.5.46

Audirvana Studio 1.6.4 (10604)
It played OK on late 2014 Mac Mini with Big Sur installed on WD 1TB M2 drive
File is stored on mechanical hard drive on the same mac mini

With previous version of AS I had problems to play DSD big files.
So it looks that we have improvement with latest version ! Very Good ! Very Nice ! Thank you !

But still no Radios , No Podcasts, No GOOOOD !
Just very few !
Please give us back our promised month ago radios !
Best Regards !

Hi Derek,

Thanks for responding. I am using a new MacBook Air, Audirvana Studio trial. I have not tried to play downloaded DSD files on another player yet.

So, I went to the website you suggested and downloaded “Polarity” by Hoff Ensemble in DSD 64 128 and 256. Saved them in their own folder and imported into local folders in Audirvana. They each played without any problem. I could not tell any difference in sound quality between the three files. Overall, it was also OK. It sounded about half as loud as other PCM downloads and not nearly as engaging. Almost as if somewhat muted. However, no skipping issues.

I then tried to play the DSD file I downloaded from HD tracks in DSD 256. I hit play on one track and got “loading song” and waited. After 2-3 minutes just canceled it. It did not play.

I need to try another player because so far I have not heard any great DSD play back.

My Audio Midi Setup on the Mac is showing clock source as my IFi Neo Dac and format as custom. On the DAC each correct DSD rate is showing when the file is played.

Would be interested in other experiences.

Which other player do you have to play these DSD tracks?

Hello Antonio !
I tried my best and I downloaded same tracks as you in DSD 256 and Flac 24/352

If this is your first time experience to play DSD files than you have to know that for some kind of reason DSD files play with much lower volume than PCM files like Flac
DSD or SACD ISO are always being played with low volume so you have to crank up or use application volume level normalization if that app has it.
DSD by nature sounds less aggressive and more like analog sounding with great dynamics but less harsh .
Some people like it ( like Me and our Member Doudou ) some people don’t.

I don’t know if you can download same file from HD tracks again ?
Maybe file is corrupted during download ?
I have so many DSD files and they play ok.
Me and Doudou, we are using also I fi Dacs.
I am using entry level I fi Zen Dac ver.1

I am sure that Doudou can explain here more about nature of DSD files, and give you more light on this subject.

I think it depends on the individual recording process of authoring DSD recordings etc.
Some of them sound fantastic some of them not so much.

If you like better PCM files than next time you will download from HD Tracks highest quality PCM file.
I totally understand your point of view.

When I was younger I always liked sharp sounding music and I cranked treble knob on the amp to almost max level.

Now I have my treble and bass in mid position on stereo amplifier and I am finding listening hi res files like 24/192 for long time to fatiguing.

I would prefer same recording in relaxed DSD

I think Doudou has similar opinion about DSD recordings.

You can download free Jriver Media Centre 28 and in view tab change to audio mode for convenience.

Maybe Jriver will play that particular file ok ?

Who knows , in this field anything is possible.

Jriver is working free for one month.

Derek and Doudou,

Thanks so much for the great suggestions and YouTube video about DSD. I decided to try some different DSD files from NativeDSD. I downloaded two albums in DSD256. Imported to Audivarna and they sounded fantastic. I also enjoy a more analogue sound, balanced speaker setting, like a live performance, some warmth. The super detailed MQA or other format I think is great for electronic music, but not my personal favorite for the majority of other music, especially, jazz, male and female vocals, classical, world music, etc. that I tend to listen to.

I did try to re download the track from HD tracks and the second time it no longer skipped. However I believe that is simply not a great recording, it is live, lots of background noise, etc and maybe was simply not the best first DSD file to try.

The Ifi Neo seems to be doing a great job with the DSD in either 256, 128, 64. You are both right I have listened to CDs, and ripped music in PCM and now DSD and I have heard great quality recording in each format, and others really not so good.

It was good to be patient and try more downloads. What are your favorite sites for DSD files?

Thanks again for the feedback.

There are various websites and services on the web that selling or sharing DSD music.

Download Free DSD Music and Delight Now

This website above I think has best links to most official DSD sites plus all kind of guides how to create own DSD files

You may try increasing your buffer settings for playback… Also try putting your library drive on a different USB bus than your DAC (i.e. if your library drive is USB 3.0 make sure it is connected with a USB 3.0 cable)… the DAC should live all by itself at the top of your USB 3.0 bus hierarchy… If you are using a USB 3.0 hub for both your DAC and library drive, try getting your drive on the USB 3.1 bus and connect the DAC directly to your computer… Proper noise mitigation on your cabling and power will serve to reduce or eliminate USB controller jitter and power anemia… It is best to have a “one-way” flow to your DAC on the USB 3.0 bus by removing your library drive from that bus and have the drive live on any other bus architecture. Attention to the quality of your data-flows and the reduction of controller interrupts and requests will serve you well.

Also pay attention to your FIR settings on your DAC if it employs DSD filtering…

Regarding the sound-quality of a DSD production… The source “master” will always be the limiting factor… If the original master is sourced from analog tape it will have a relatively limited bandwidth, especially if it was originally produced for vinyl playback… Analog tape fundamentally has bandwidth limitations in the high-frequencies which of course, is production and historical time period-centric… in some cases, the low-end of these masters will be bandwidth limited to play well on vinyl… There are some very good transfers from analog-tape (2xHD is one label) NativeDSD has many natively recorded DSD recordings and high-end transfers from analog tape to DSD and DXD including some very well produced native DSD Binaural recordings: https://www.nativedsd.com

Some digital recordings originated in 16/44.14/48kHz and then up-converted, and some older PCM 16/44.1/48k recordings were transferred to analog-tape and then digitally remastered… You must do your homework/research to actually know from which master the DSD product is produced. Then there is the issue of remixed digital masters from the original multi-tracks that sound different from the original CD or vinyl masters…

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