Request for DSD256 playback

All dCS DACs can play back DXD, it’s just another name for PCM 24/352.8.

If editing of this DSD data is done in DXD it seems to somewhat defeat the purpose of recording in DSD in the first place.

In my experience the best use case for DSD is digitizing old analog master tapes that were already mixed in the analog domain. This gives you unmolested DSD and can have some great results, such as the Esoteric SACD remasters.

1 Like

But not 32 bit 352.8 files? - my DAC does and DSD 1024.

So if DSD has to be converted to DXD for editing what are the benefits and uses cases for DSD?

  • Pure digital transfers from analogue
  • A recording engineers preference for capturing a live mic feed
  • Multi channel playback (thousands of classical multi channel recordings exists)
  • A filter playback choice for material DSD captured → DXD edited → Converted to DSD for consumption

Anything else?

That rarified air in Boulder. Less oxygen to the thinking parts, but somehow more to the talking parts. (Said with humor and affection. I am a longtime PS Audio fan and customer; and also like Boulder, too.)


I don’t know the answer to that @Anupc, but would like to!

Related: Why are multiple studios choosing this path (DSD->mix in DXD->reconvert to DSD) instead of just increasing the sample rate and bit depth in DXD and staying there?

There must be a reason…

All of those have some merit I’m sure. The technical issues aside though, I think the sonically, many people just prefer the sonic signature of DSD regardless of the editing/mixing format (which perhaps was the original premise of SACD’s benefits to begin with).

That or he’s smoking something interesting :rofl:

Well, out of the thousands of Studios around, it would seem like only a handful of boutique ones are seriously touting DSD256. Do you know of more than a handful?

IMHO, it’s probably mainly for commercial reasons. Just like PS Audio who’ve “hitched their wagon” on DSD so to speak, I think DSD256 is the only way for some of these boutique Studios to differentiate themselves. Spec’manship :grin:


It seems to me that using DSD (expect for the archiving of analog material use case) is purely marketing. It is pointing to a holy grail and all the effort one has to go through to get to this holy grail (so it must be exceptionally good).
All “mainstream” mastering platforms I know of are PCM / DXD based. I see absolutely no advantage to record in DSD (would have to be at least DSD128 to get around the high frequency noise issues) and then doing a LOSSY conversion to DXD for mastering.
I usually buy the format that the album was mastered in and I suggested to TRPTK (dutch label) to specify not only the recording format and samplerate, but also the mastering parameters. Their seemed to agree:

I really appreciate your tip on specifying the mastering resolution, and will have our web team implement that at their earliest convenience.

1 Like

Well… even Esoteric SACD maybe a remastered from a red book master…. Taken from the inlet.

Ah, yes, you’re right. Not much they can do for titles that were mastered in digital in the first place.
I do believe that at least in some of the earlier releases they sourced analog masters.

This is what I suspect but, admittedly, haven’t investigated: That the recording frequency at DSD256+ is so high, that any losses by bringing the original into DXD for mastering, and the return trip, still result in an outstanding recording.

Your point about just recording in 352.8 DXD is noted and I cannot say which would be superior, I guess I’ll just have to compare… Oh wait, dCS won’t (yet!?) play DSD256 so comparison not possible! : /

Not to stir up the bag of hornets, but should MoFi actually make the 4xDSD files they used to transcribe the original master tapes on many of their products available for sale somehow, it would be another great reason for dCS to support the direct playback of DSD256.

1 Like

Here’s an example of a recording in DSD256 which was subsequently mastered in DXD:
PSO_B6Stucky_CD_BOOKLET_Web.pdf (3.1 MB)
See second last page of booklet in the soundmirror box.
Even though I started this thread, I understand why dCS does not see DSD256 as a priority. Its still a niche format and most recordings that have DSD256 in their DNA go through a PCM mastering stage, rendering the DSD heritage irrelevant

Your point about shifting to DXD for mastering is noted, however, I’m not so sure about the last clause in this statement:

It would seem to me that if a higher capture input format were used, there would be a lot more material to work with, and any losses could still result in a “better” than DSD128 final product.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the technical chops to debate this point but maybe @Anupc does? : )

The point I am making is that a PCM (DXD) file coming out of the mastering process can only lose fidelity when converting it back to DSD (at whatever samplerate) as the conversion is lossy (as was the initial conversion from the DSD recording to DXD for mastering).
It is best to leave the PCM master files in the DXD mastering format, avoiding a second lossy conversion.


Noted. Now I understand. Good point and thank you!