DSD over PCM and DAC max sampling frequency

On https://audirvana.com/audio-file-formats/ it says that DSD over PCM “halves the DAC’s maximum usable sampling frequency.”

Does this mean that if my DAC is rated up to DSD256 Audirvana can only send it DSD128? What happens if I try to play a DSD256 file?

Also can anyone explain why DSD over PCM does halve the maximum usable sampling frequency?

to enable dsd256 on a mac you have to select DSD over PCM 1.1 in preferences…
1.0 stop at DSD128.

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My DAC stop at DSD128… so when i play a DSD256 file,
it converts it to PCM max of my DAC… 352

I’ve changed the category because I think the original one (USB DAC) was incorrect.

It will play at DSD256. This just means that the amount of data transferred will double when compared to NativeDSD, as there’s the packaging and tagging overhead.

Thank you both for your responses.
What I’m really wondering is whether the DoP decoding will affect the DAC’s maximum usable sampling frequency. I think the answer must be no. The decoding is a relatively simple process which should be easily possible at a much higher sampling frequency than any actual digital to analogue conversion.

No, the DAC should support the max resolution you see in the specs.

That’s what I thought but it doesn’t appear to in Audirvana. The DAC is a Quad Artera Play+ rated to DSD256 but it’s only showing up to DSD128 in Audirvana. See the attached screenshot. It makes no difference whether the native DSD streaming method is set to DSD over PCM 1.0 or 1.1.


The Quad Artera has a DSD Bandwidth setting which can be Normal, 50K, 60K or 70K but this also makes no difference.

Have you tried playing DSD256 file?

Looks like it converts it to 24/352.8kHz PCM, as RunHomeSlow found.


But the issue is perhaps that the Quad Artera is not seen as being able to handle DSD256. I’ll take this up with Quad tomorrow, Monday.

Check with Quad if they support DSD256 over DoP. Maybe it’s just NativeDSD.

Have you installed their DSD driver?

I downloaded it but it’s just for Windows.

Even in the manual there is an install with audirvana preferences and we never see dsd256 there it stop at dsd128, maybe they need a new driver

Or enjoy DSD128 :grinning:

I’ll check with Quad tomorrow but it looks as if the Artera Play+ doesn’t support DoP at all.

I’ve tried DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 files with Native DSD streaming method set to DSD over PCM 1.1,

Audirvana shows DSD256 going out as 24/352.8kHz, the Artera display shows PCM 352.8kHz coming in and the file plays.

For DSD128 Audirvana shows it going out as DSD128 but the Artera display still shows PCM 352,8kHz coming in and the file does not play - there’s just silence. It’s the same for DSD64 except that the Artera shows it as PCM 176.4kHz.

With Native DSD streaming method set to None: Convert to PCM, all files play as 24/352.8kHz, including DSD64.

Quad (or IAG) confirm the Artera Play+ doesn’t support DoP, only native DSD.

In a way this is understandable as DoP, though it does allow the native DSD to be fully reconstructed, is a hack to get around the missing support for native DSD in macOS.

The DAC in the Artera Play+ is the ESS ES9018. It doesn’t itself support DoP but a later DAC from ESS, the ES9028PRO, does. So equipment using it should get DoP for nothing.

It seems the only way I will be able to play native DSD is to get a Windows equivalent of a cheap Mac mini, install Audirvana and a driver that supports native DSD, and control it from an iPhone with Audirvana Remote.

It is what it is, but every DAC supporting DSD should also support DoP. At least up to DSD256 or whatever is the max sampling rate if lower than DSD256.