Author Topic: SACD vs PCM vs FLAC, WAV, etc  (Read 346 times)

Offline AlleyCat

SACD vs PCM vs FLAC, WAV, etc
« on: August 13, 2019, 03:48:12 PM »
I am currently deciding whether I should consider upgrading my DAC to at least have some DSD compatibility and the more I read, ask, etc, the more confusing it becomes.

Example : 'most DSD is upsampled PCM' and that very little pure DSD recordings exist?

I have a good few SACDs and still use my computer/JRiver/ older PS Audio dac to play my FLAC files. How relevant is getting a DSD DAC today ?

What about software to convert the SACD, another minefield?

Besides FranZar on the forum, whom has helped 'decode' some of mysteries, I found this article a little useful :

https://www.hifi-advice.com/blog/audiophile-insights/digital-info/sacd-and-dsd/

Any thoughts, opinions, comments, etc, gladly appreciated.
"Not everything meaningful is measurable, and not everything measurable is meaningful" - Floyd Toole

Offline fredeb

Re: SACD vs PCM vs FLAC, WAV, etc
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2019, 04:35:26 PM »
Check out some of these productions , if you register there are some free samples to download , amazing production in mp3 , flac , dsd and sacd .
https://www.spiritofturtle.com

These tracks are recorded and produced by turtle .

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

...evolution is the gradual development and stratification of progressive series of wholes, stretching from the inorganic beginnings to the highest level of spiritual creation.
Jan Smuts

Offline GoodEnoughGear

Re: SACD vs PCM vs FLAC, WAV, etc
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2019, 06:05:32 PM »
I like having at least the ability to play DSD, whether it is converted to PCM or whatever. Just in case.

That said I have no content in DSD that is important to me, so I'd be happy to resort to my GO2A portable DAC for DSD if I move the Soekris off when Yggy arrives.
Mobile: LG V30, CA Andromeda
Portable: LH Labs GO2A SE, KEF M500
Home: Soekris DAC1541, Genelec 8030+7050, Eddie Current Black Widow II, HD600

Offline capetownwatches

Re: SACD vs PCM vs FLAC, WAV, etc
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 06:37:55 PM »
If memory serves you have a very good DAC.
DSD capable DACs are ten a penny nowadays
If you are curious consider a uDSD (circa 2.5 kiloZARS new) which will allow you to hear what it's all about.

I have a pretty extensive DSD collection, and listen to them often.
Some of them are the best versions available (to my ears) of many great albums.
There is a dynamism and energy (hate the term but some call it PRaT) to certain DSD recordings when compared to their redbook versions.

Come take a listen next time you're in the City Bowl.

PS many seem to think that DSD recordings are simply another way of screwing audiophools out of their loot.
     I concur that it might well seem that way, having researched the subject a bit.
     That said, my ears enjoy many of them, and that's good enough for me.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 06:42:30 PM by capetownwatches »

Offline GoodEnoughGear

Re: SACD vs PCM vs FLAC, WAV, etc
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 08:51:43 PM »
Another consideration, rather more fringe, is DSD upsampling with HQPlayer. That ideally requires a good native DSD DAC and some serious computing power. iDSD Pro does something similar.
Mobile: LG V30, CA Andromeda
Portable: LH Labs GO2A SE, KEF M500
Home: Soekris DAC1541, Genelec 8030+7050, Eddie Current Black Widow II, HD600

Offline Shonver

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Re: SACD vs PCM vs FLAC, WAV, etc
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 09:09:56 PM »
What is the purpose of "DSD upsampling"?
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Offline AlleyCat

Re: SACD vs PCM vs FLAC, WAV, etc
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2019, 10:10:51 PM »
And one can add JVC's XRCD24 and SHM-CD (?) to this growing list of formats. Granted XRCD has been around for a while.

Here's an article fromHigh Fidelity Magazine, Poland where the KRAKOW SONIC SOCIETY performed a shootout between Compact Disc | SHM-CD | Platinum SHM-CD | FLAC 24/96 (SACD?) on Diana Krall albums.

http://highfidelity.pl/@main-612&lang=en

It was interesting reading the individual comments and it also highlighted how little consensus their was among each listener to the best formats.
"Not everything meaningful is measurable, and not everything measurable is meaningful" - Floyd Toole

Offline DACMan1

Re: SACD vs PCM vs FLAC, WAV, etc
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2019, 07:29:55 AM »
In principle, DSD is upsampled PCM. It is essentially the input you would give to a 1-bit oversampling DAC, that got caught in a marketer's wet dream. It is a very inefficient format for storage, and offers no advantage. In many cases it only sounds different because it gets handled differently in the DAC - because it is not always feasible to implement the entire pipeline on it.

Offline GoodEnoughGear

Re: SACD vs PCM vs FLAC, WAV, etc
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2019, 09:30:10 AM »
What is the purpose of "DSD upsampling"?

Using something like HQPlayer gives you much more control over the digital aspects of the playback - essentially moving the up/oversampling and filter processing to the PC from the DAC so you can run whatever sampling rate and filters you want. You then feed that to the DAC at its highest/native rate where it doesn't do any of its own processing. There are people who swear they can hear improvement in doing this. For the geeky people out there it can be interesting to be able to mess with these parameters.

But again, you're looking at a 12 core/24 thread processor to be able to run HQPlayer with the 'better' configurations, so this is not for the casual listener IMO. Also HQPlayer leaves a lot to be desired as an audio front end, though you can plump it into Foobar2000 IIRC.
Mobile: LG V30, CA Andromeda
Portable: LH Labs GO2A SE, KEF M500
Home: Soekris DAC1541, Genelec 8030+7050, Eddie Current Black Widow II, HD600

Offline gavinbirss

Re: SACD vs PCM vs FLAC, WAV, etc
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2019, 10:56:35 AM »
One needs to be mindful of differentiating between hardware and software solutions.

A typical DSD capable USB to i2s chipset when DSD is enabled will output the 2nd DSD channel (in the case of stereo) on the one of the output pins used for I2s.

Knowing this a USB to I2S chipset with low pass filtering can be made a DSD "DAC". Add some output transformers and up the low output signal.

Quote
An incoming DSD stream is indicated by an asserted signal in a specific DSD ON pin of the output comb connector and the I2S DATA and I2S FSCLK pins become the DSD Left/Right output pins. The module works in Master Mode Only. [Amanero]

Up-sampling in software will need CPU (for real-time playback), yes and there may even be some commercial solutions secretly using HQPlayer.