The playback of DSD files in native file mode using dCS equipment

Hi, I have been buying DSD music files for some time from High Definition Tape Transfers and Native DSD Music. I also record using a Korg MR2000S stereo DSD recorder - mainly from vinyl records that don’t have a digital component and there a quite a few in my collection. Playback of these DSD files seems problematic and there seems confusion between playback in DoP - SDSl over pcm - and the native playback of DSD files. Many companies offer the former, even over the dreaded USB, but few seem to offer the latter.

So how does dCS do this playback please?

Has anyone been able to compare the two playback methods of DSD files?

Thank you

The information on the Korg website appears indicate that files made by the recorder can only be replayed using Korg Audio Gate player. There is no mention anywhere of their system creating the usual DSD file formats .dsf or .dff. There is no DoP support.

AFAIK all dCS components handle DSD either using DoP or a proprietary encrypted interface when the DSD source is SACD.

DoP is now the de facto standard format for the transmission of DSD files ( .dsf or .dff) and was a DCS invention. They also worked closely with Sony from the early days of DSD ( a Sony patent) and the packing of DSD data on SACD. Given the history I don’t think that dCS are likely be confused over the subject:

You will see that native DSD data remains native, DoP only concerns the way that the data are packed for transmission .

Once the DSD via DoP data is unpacked by the dCS component then it is handled natively, unlike the majority of DSD “compatible” DACs which have to convert DSD to PCM in order to process it.

Thanks Pete.
My Korg DSD recorder creates DSD 64 or 128 fits in .dsf or .dff file formats. I have played them back via DoP through USB with no problems via my bridge/streamer.
What I am interested in is how to play .dsf files say from a NAS or external hdd at the best possible quality via dCS hardware.
I have played them back directly from the Korg MR2000S DSD recorder but only via its analogue outputs. Its internal hard drive is very small at 80GB and its controls are all manual with no remote and a tiny LCD screen.

More or less nice and straightforward to answer. I have done both for years. However to help me it would be useful if I knew exactly what dCS components you are talking about. You mention your bridge/streamer earlier - is this a dCS Network Bridge? Is this connected to a dCS DAC or to one from another manufacturer ( if so which)? Your answer will narrow the range of possible answers. Otherwise it won’t be straightforward as I will have to try to deal with possible permutations of a number of unknowns.

Thanks for the Korg information. Their website is not very informative.

You’re absolutely wrong Pete in interpreting the Korg website; Audiogate can MOST DEFINITELY export files in all the usual formats (DSF, AIFF, ETC).

In fact, it can convert between the various formats.

I know so because I have Audiogate. It’s not the most user-friendly piece of software I’ve encountered, but it does work.

Paul, I am not saying that the Korg device cannot export in those formats, both you and Alan have now told me that it can. I am saying that Korg do not reveal this information anywhere on their website. I cannot be wrong in interpreting information that is not provided. I know that I have limited eyesight but cannot see any reference to standard DSD files ( i.e. .dsf, .dff) by Korg. Here is the spec from their website and there is no reference to the Korg device supporting either of those formats:

Further the information that Korg provides about replay mentions using AudioGate exclusively for this.

Thanks Pete.
I am using a Lindemann Limetree Bridge mk1 which allows playback of DSD files, in my case .dsf of 64 and 128 varieties, via a memory stick into its USB input. They reach my dCS Elgar+ DAC via coax SPDIF input.

I find that the Korg website does specify what file formats the Audiogate software supports (after mild digging):

Essentially all the ones you’d ever need.
What you might need the Audiogate software for though is playing DSD-format natively (i.e., without encapsulating DSD in PCM: DOP), without a device driver and through a KORG device. Never tried that, I just place my DSD files on my NAS and let Roon sort it out. Of the DSD file formats, I choose DSF because of the ID3 meta-data tags handling.

I am afraid that you cannot replay DSD files with that combination.

The LIndemann does not support DSD at all as far as I can see from either MKI or Mk.II specifications . It is an entirely PCM device.

However, irrespective of the above, dCS Elgar+ processes DSD via an IEEE 1394 interface (Firewire) but also requires a 44.1kHz wordclock source as the IEEE1394 interface does not support a clock signal. You do not have either of these .

Sorry but there it is.

Maybe in the FAQs but not in the main specifications. Whilst appreciating your desire to defend what you have bought it remains a poorly designed website.

According to the Limetree Bridge Mk1 User Manual, it supports DSD, but it coverts it to PCM - I assume transcode, not DoP encapsulation - when you use it’s digital output. It’s stated in the “Product Description” section in User manual;

When sent over the digital outs, the DSD data are automatically converted into high-resolution PCM data so that owners of oder DACs can also enjoy high-res media of all kinds.

So, if you continue to use the Lindemann Limetree, theres no way to get native DSD into your Elgar+ DAC.

In order to get DSD natively into your Elgar+, you’d need to use FireWire (IEEEE 1394) as Pete explained - which I believe necessitates a legacy dCS Transport - or more practically, a dCS Network Bridge or Vivaldi Upsampler, and use their SDIF-2 output into the Elgar+

One other 3rd party option is an exD USB-to-SDIF-2 converter - made by an outfit in Hong Kong - but they’re hard to come by these days.

Good luck! :slight_smile:

However that will not get native DSD to the Elgar. It has to be converted to PCM which is what the dCS Network Bridge does as it acts as a downsampler and sample rate converter to allow access to Elgar ( which is what it was designed for).

When Elgar+ was current there was no replay of DSD from files, no.dsf and no .dff. DSD had only two origins; DSD64 from SACD or PCM files sample rate converted using dCS Purcell+. As patent restrictions meant that DSD from SACD had to be encrypted those IEEE1394 inputs on Elgar+ are configured to receive the proprietary dCS encrypted DSD input. So even if one could meet the physical connectivity requirements an unencrypted DSD file will not be recognised. Even if encrypted it will not work without a wordclock signal from the the source. So it has to be converted to PCM. Even then I am unsure if S/Pdif will work as that interface of that era was limited to 24/96. You would need to use dual AES as the closest DSD/PCM conversion without downsampling would result in 24/176.4.

Pete, in fact, the Elgar+ supports native DSD on it’s SDIF-2 interface (from the User Manual);

Elgar Plus offers many improvements over standard Elgar, the most important being the ability to handle DSD from IEEE 1394 or SDIF-2 interfaces.

Likewise, the dCS Network Bridge (and Vivaldi Upsampler) both support DSD out of their SDIF-2. For example, from the Network Bridge Manual (page 8);

Connecting the SDIF-2 interface

Check that your DAC is capable of SDIF-2 PCM or DSD operation. This interface can output to 96kS/s or DSD/64.

I don’t have an Elgar+ at home, but since I had time on my hands this morning, I just verified that my [dCS] Network Bridge can indeed stream DSD (.dsf from my MinimServer) to my Vivaldi DAC over SDIF-2. No encryption issues to tangle with :grin:

By the way, I also happened to have an exD USB-to-SDIF-2 converter which supports the same thing (though I haven’t used it in years).


Yes, but professional equipment existed that supported DSD over SDIF-2. I guess primarily from dCS themselves :grin:

Thanks as always Anup. I still live and learn. I admit that I tend to have SDIF locked in a compartment in my brain labelled " That’s what they do in Japan" ( where it is more commonly used in home audio settings) and overlook it :grinning:. Incidentally does your USB /SDIF-2 converter provide the wordclock signal?

BTW, dCS Network Bridge manual indicates that settings to choose with Elgar+ in its compatibility chart should have DSD downsampling set to “On” which helped form my thinking.

Unfortunately it doesn’t help @melomane33 because, as you also mention, he doesn’t have the connectivity with that equipment combination. Had he then the answer to his question about how to use a NAS for native DSD would simply be that such files are handled ( served) in the same way as any other given suitable UPnP server software. Maybe he could find a used dCS Network Bridge but they are selling for top dollar currently.

Yes it does, both Word-Clock In & Out for selectable internal or external clocking. You can see the unit → here. Unfortunately they’re no longer made, and so very hard to come by. This is the company’s only presence on the ‘net -

Quite a versatile little box (built on an FPGA), supporting dCS compatible Dual-AES out (PCM), as well as SDIF-2, and SDIF-3 (mostly used on Sony, Yamaha, TASCAM, and the old dCS 9xx family).

Yeah, that table only refers to PCM and DoP compatibility, not raw DSD on SDIF-2; Page 8 seems to be the only place that talks about raw DSD over SDIF-2 and the required configuration.

Or the Vivaldi Upsampler :wink:

Sorry Pete to have to correct you. The mk1 Lindemann Limetree Bridge does support DSD playback - dsf files that is - via its USB input. When they brought out the mk2 they dropped the DSD support. Of course the mk1 only does DoP and converts to 44.1khz which is fed to my Elgar+ DAC.


I am afraid that is not DoP. As I explained earlier DoP is not a conversion from DSD to PCM, the data remains as DSD. What you have is a device that accepts DSD input but then converts it to PCM as Anup both explained and quoted from the Limetree Bridge Mk1 user manual:

This is similar to the majority of DSD “compatible” DACS - they don’t handle DSD natively but convert it to PCM. Incidentally a 44.1kHz sample rate would be inadequate to contain DSD information.

Sadly though even if the Limetree did handle DSD natively it does not have any connectivity that is compatible with a dCS Elgar + for DSD. As Anup kindly pointed out to me the Elgar can accept DSD via its SDIF-2 interface. However the Limetree does not have this ( it has SPDIF which should not be confused with SDIF).

To do what you want to do unfortunately requires different hardware to your existing setup.