Why upsampling with HQPlayer give you better music. Is It?

I have a lina stack and use Roon . I see HQplayer and upsampling talked about a lot. How does DCS feel about this with Lina?

Typically by people who don’t own dCS kit and have no way to compare it againt dCS’ superior (IMHO) upsampling. I don’t expect dCS is going to comment about a competing product.

In any case, since you have the Lina stack, why not give HQPlayer a spin and tell us which you prefer and why?

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Thanks, didn’t really look at it as a competing product, more like a Roon setting… Ill stick with DCS as they seem zeroed in on HP performance and always update there products making it I think one of the best audio investments

My personal feeling was that dCS (and the Chord M Scaler for that matter) did a better job of upsampling.

I also found that the more complex upsampling on HQPlayer delayed the signal by significantly more than a second, which made the pause button pretty unusable (as there is not only a delay between the music starting, but a delay before it paused the music too).

Others may gain more from this and I haven’t ruled out returning to experiment again in the future.

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IMHO the only good use of external sampling software w dCS is presently DOWN-sampling DSD256 and 512 (and 1024, if you have it) to DSD128 so your dCS product can process it…

Hopefully this need is also soon obviated… ; )


This can be improved by using a workstation class PC with an NVIDIA graphics board. HQPlayer can use the Cuda cores for acceleration. Downside is that no one would want a workstation anywhere near their hifi!

Fortunately for us the dCS code running on the big FGPAs in our dacs can do the upsampling and or transcoding in realtime!


Water cooling, dead silent!

The techno geek in me loves what you have done, I think any gamer would agree! A fine creation. Indeed the water cooling will keep your build quiet and cool. And if you are using HQPlayer for upsampling and or transcoding, your GeForce will make quick work of it (although I’d argue the FGPA in our dCS DACs will do it more efficiently). For one downsampling higher res DSD to 128 to work with a dCS DAC with HQ player - I doubt you could do any better!

Off topic but as for Roon core, does it run the database stuff in parallel on on a single core? In other words does it rely on the processor clock or the cores?

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Sorry, I have no idea. Most of the Roon stuff runs directly from RAM (it uses about 3 GB), and sometimes I notice a 0,3% CPU involvement. After a fresh install of Roon all cores are used to index my library into its object database.

To add: Roon uses about 63 threads, so they run in parallel on multiple cores:

  • Cores are physical processing units.
  • Threads are virtual sequences of instructions given to a CPU.
  • Multithreading allows for better utilization of available system resources by dividing tasks into separate threads and running them in parallel.
  • Hyperthreading further increases performance by allowing processors to execute two threads concurrently.

BTW, Roon Core is part of the old Roon architecture. Now it is integrated in the new Roon Server, that is always up and running (unless you kill the process from the task bar).

HQ Player is not targeted to be used with a DAC like dCS.
HQ Player is a suite of modulators that generate DSD Streams from PCM files (and the other way around). It’s main raison d’être is to create DSD Streams with very low distortion. These DSD streams are then meant to be converted to analogue directly, without involving any other modulators.
As dCS DACs always have their own (also excellent) modulators in the signal path, it defeats the purpose to put the dCS modulators in series with the HQ Player modulators.
There are only a few DACs that have a Direct DSD conversion path. For example most AKM chipsets and the Burr Brown DSD1793 have that feature. Then there exist a number of bespoke solutions, such as the T+A true 1bit converter or the Holo DACs.
There is a controversy about whether all of the AKM DACs support direct DSD conversion (without re-modulating the signal). There is an in depth thread on the roon forum where Jussi Laako, the brain behind HQ player often writes.
Some DACs that are considered as true direct DSD converters are:

  • ifi DACs (iFi use the BB DSD1793 chipset which can only convert DSD directly, so no doubt about that one)
  • Holo R2R DACs have a direct DSD conversion stage. The recent Cyan2 seems to be a favorite if you would like to explore HQ player
  • SMSL D-6 (depending on the FW revision)
  • T+A DAC 200
  • Sygnalist DSC2 (by Jussi Laako)
  • TEAC UD701N
  • Gustard A26 (after FW update)

There may be some I missed. I recommend those interested to leaf through the roon forum thread.