Anyone using a USB DSD DAC?

Is anyone using a USB DSD DAC?
I only know of 3 ways for someone who might want to playback DSD files from there PC.
- Mytek Stereo192-DSD-DAC with USB
- "USB-Dual-Audio" PCB from ElectArt
- USBPAL PCB from RigiSystems

The New Mytek Stereo192-DSD-DAC is capable of playback of DSD 64fs 2.82Mhz files over USB, I believe with a ASIO 2.1 driver, possibly being the first device to support this new standard. 1/2 Rack Mount, XLR I/O, SPDIF and USB. Price is $1500USD. This is the first real device available to play DSD files from your home computer for under $10k.

The "USB-Dual Audio" is an assembled PCB from ElectrArt, a small japanese hobbyist company. It consists of a assembled and tested PCB with an FPGA programmed to record and playback PCM and DSD (64fs/2.82mhz or 128fs/5.6mhz) over USB, USB; SPDIF; and DSD bitstream and wordclock i/o connections, and a proprietary driver and software for recording and playback. Price is $384USD Shipped for an assembled and tested "USB-Dual Audio" PCB and unassembled DSD-1794a DAC PCB, recording meter PCB, and PCM4202 ADC PCB. If you dont want to solder pcb's, you can find other options for the ADC and DAC.

The USBPAL from RigiSystems, a swiss company, is also just a pcb. Yet it appears more refined, and is designed to be used in commercial DAC's, while the "USB-Dual Audio" is geared to the hobbyist. It has a driver to send DSD and PCM over usb. I don't know what software is used for playback. Price is around $400USD for a development kit, no DAC included, gotta find/make your own.

Is anyone playing DSD, either recorded with a device like the Korg or Tascam recorders, or files purchased from a 'Audiophile' recording company selling either DSD-Discs or DSD Downloads?

I sense a coming wave of DSD products possibly. Korg is apparently working on a DSD DAW and 8 channel DSD ADC and DAC. The Rigisystems PCB can be licensed and allows any developer to incorperate DSD into there device. The ElectArt board lets the hobbyiest develop there own DAC and ADC. There was an article showing a working USB-DAC prototype shown at a convention in japan from the DSD consortium.

Maybe the time of playing (and recording) DSD as easily as PCM with our computers is coming. I know software needs development, and there are certain limitation inherent in the format (simple manipulation can be difficult or mathematically problematic). Still I know some have a real desire for very high quality digital audio.
God love this thread if it comes true. I'm sorry I don't have anything substantive to provide, but I wanted to be attached so I could follow along as people comment. I have over 100 SACDs, and they're not all hybrids, and I still don't have a viable solution for getting them into my computer.
>> I have over 100 SACDs, and they're not all hybrids, and I still don't have a viable solution for getting them into my computer.

You can record them via PCM at hi-rez -- sounds great. I've done this with my Korg MR1000. Not DSD, but still better than CD, and you'll have it on the 'puter.
Recording with a Korg MR1000, you can create DSD disks with Korg AudioGate software that will play back on the Sony 5400es and PlayStation.
I heard that it was only an older model of the Sony PlayStation that can play a DSD disc. I just received my Korg MR-1000, so I am counting on future developments to exploit the format. For now, I want to be able to record vinyl through my preamp. It only has unbalanced outputs and the Korg has balanced inputs. What is the best way to adapt? I have seen cables (auction from Silnote for their Morpheus LE RCA/XLR cable) but is this the best solution? I will also be using this unit with a mic, but that is already XLR terminated cable. I know I can play files directly from the Korg. It offers RCA and XLR outputs. Is one better than the other? Is it better to use the XLR to RCA again or straight RCA to RCA? I won't get to play until this weekend, so I am just reading the manual for now.
There are already people in japan using both the Usb-Audio PCB from electrart and the USBPAL from Rigisystems to record and playback DSD from Windows based PC's. After reading through every Japanese forum (using google translate) talking about this I could find, I was convinced they had this working for more than 1 year, and still NO talk about it in English except 1 single post on diyaudio from member 'Bunpei', the guy behind the sdtrans192 project!!
Needless to say I ordered the USB-Audio PCB as soon as I could contact them, and now I am waiting on receiving the Buffalo-II DAC to finish wiring it up. I also ordered a TI PCM4202EVM ADC evaluation module, so I could test recording immediately.
As soon as the Buffalo-II comes I will post updates. The only other hardware required was a few power supplies, 2 Bipolar supplies for the analog stage I/O, 2 5v supplies for the logic on the ADC and DAC. I have made tested my supplies, so as soon as the Buffalo-II arrives (already assembled and tested) I will be up and running.
I have been researching(aka reading on the internet) DSD downloads over the holidays. I figured out how to download the iso image and burn it on a DVD-R using the Audiogate software. I downloaded several free samples and it worked very well. I then purchased Blue Coast Collection from Blue Coast records, downloaded the DSD iso image and burned it to a DVD-R. I can now take these DSD discs I've created and play them on my Sony XA5400es. I must say they sound wonderful, exceeded my expectations. If you have a XA5400es or any other DSD machine you owe to yourself to try this.
I assume they are using custom drivers? Standard USB Audio would entail converting the DSD to PCM, then back to DSD, which defeats the purpose.
The ElectrArt has 2 modes, a usb 1.0 generic driver mode, that works on os x and windows 24bit/96khz without dsd support, and USB 2.0 asynchronous mode, with a proprietary driver that only supports DSD 2.8mhz and 5.6mhz on windows so far. Playback and recording also only with proprietary very basic software, with no English documentation.

I have received the last part I needed, the Buffalo-II DAC. After wiring up all power supplies and boards I got DSD playback working. another hour figuring out jumper settings and I got recording working. Testa so far are preliminary, with only a few records and some radio recorded. I am impressed so far with the sound quality, the buffalo-II certifiably blows away my previous DAC even with 16/44.1 cd's.

The DIY part of my project is just starting, but this proof of concept is working. I am excited to have access to this format on my computers, arguments aside about dsd/pcm debates....
I am planning a few custom analog stages, both for the DAC and ADC. First tests with the buffalo are with the Legato I/V stage, impressed so far.

My plans are to experiment with other discrete class a stages and definitely going to try SET tubes at some point, maybe some 2a3 single plates....

On the digital side adding SDIF-3 I/O, possibly also DSD over optical cable via the meitner spec. Modding a sacd player with SDIF-3 is also on the horizon. I am a firm believer we need real standards here for greater acceptance of the format, many people want a pure connection for feeding DSD to there DAC without downsampling, but the only options now are VERY expensive. (ie. boutique audiophile or high end professional gear) SDIF-3 is found on more gear AFAIK (Neve DSD ADC, Tascam dsd recorders, DAD, Prism, Meitner.) Also looking into a method of sending DSD over HDMI, probably not ever for compatibility with modern recievers or other DAC's, but only for a high quality cable...

If anyone else wants to follow in my footsteps all the parts are available to anyone, and there are many options for ADC and DAC, depending on whether dsd 128fs is needed. the AKM chips are very interesting, but i could only find ones suporting 64fs, and I wanted 128fs for my first tests.
If you have the cash the ESS9018 Evaluation Kit is $666 with powersupply and I/V stage, not sure if it sounds better than a Buffalo-II, but it is a plug and play solution for those not wanting to build a buffalo kit and all of its associated powersupplies/analog boards. The ADC was a evaluation kit ordered from TI, chosen because it's internal logic is 1-bit DSD, making the dsd files very much like a "raw" format. The pcm 4222 has better specifications, but is internally 5-bit Delta sigma, though it is possible to capture that 5-bit delta sigma signal for custom mathematical models, which I believe is what DAD is doing....
there is both 5bit AND 6bit delta sigma output on the pcm4222
Novice question about DSD. I have several DSD Disks, and a few DVD-Audio High Resolution Multi-Channel MLP Disks. I have even heard same Dianna Krall releases on both, DVD-Audio MLP Downmixed wins hands down. It sounds more like Analog, it has a much wider/deeper Soundstage, way more decay in the HF, and I would say sounds about 90% as good as a Record. Concidering Blue-Ray Audio is on the horizon,
is it wise to invest alot of money in a DSD Format that will soon be 2 Generations behind? Especially since many are currently using DVD Audio Extractor to Rip Multi-Channel High Resolution DVD-Audio MLP to their Hard Drives.
If Blue-Ray Audio ever takes off, DSD is going to end up a
Dinosaur Format. Should anyone be investing tons of their
hard earned money into it now?
Well, the source/quality of a lot of DSD material is heavily debated, whether up-sampled from 16/44.1 at the worst, or simply made without proper considerations. I really can't say (personally) one way or the other is superior, as I haven't tested them side by side using real high end converters with all other variables controlled, and there are MANY variables. Honestly I think fair comparison is hard to come by. I am always open to try out new gear...
Also for those who have invested in DSD materials, having the option of using high quality DAC's is a fair use right of the consumer, why buy the same record as vinyl, than tape, than cd, than sacd, than bluray, enough already, we should work to improve the formats we have, they ALL are capable of at least decent quality paired with a well built converter/analog stage
i wish audiophile DAC's could accomodate DSD, as i just saw the Korg MR2000s which will A>D in DSD...and my buddy has a gazillion records i could record with the Korg, then keep on my hard drive (as i've no room for vinyl).

shame there's no DSD input dacs out there, or is there?
I've been eval'ing the new M2tech Young DAC, which is capable of up to 32/384 via USB. I've been listening to DXD stuff from 2L's test bench download area (24/352) and it's very nice. The DAC is somehwat in its early stages and a little unstable with its firmware and drivers, but M2Tech is all over it.

I also heard the new Playback Designs MPS-3 DAC at CES (THE Show at Flamingo to be precise) and it was doing some 24/252 that was sublime. Jonathan purports that it will do 5.6Mhz via USB when released in the Spring
There are many DAC ic's that support DSD, but few production DAC's. Meitner comes to mind, expensive and rare, Playback systems is coming out with one (MPS-3) as mentioned in the post above, and maybe had something before, EMM labs has some, The new Mytek announced a year ago though still no word on availability or software for DSD. BTW most of these have a proprietary link for the given brands SACD transport... There are definitely some I forgot to mention, but none except for combined with a profesional workstaion (re $8k+) offer playback directly from a computer at the full 128fs rate the Korg mr-1/2000 offer.

As far as DIY options it takes some hacking, but there are many people using the Buffalo-II, ES9018 and DSD1794 based and other DAC's for DSD mostly fed out of modified SACD players.
The trick (for anyone making large collections) is getting DSD out of your computer. IF you can afford the Pyramid or Sonoma workstation hardware, you have quite a few options all pretty expensive. SonicStudio made a card with sdif-3(DSD) i/o and sony oxford dsp's which worked with g5 pcix mac's and had software, but is sadly no longer available or supported.

If you have $500-1000 you can work out a DSD DAC diy if you put some time in, otherwise expect to spend more. Also not recommended for anyone inexperienced in basic soldering/wiring techniques. The USB-Dual-Audio from ElectrArt in Japan or the USBPAL from Rigisystems in Switzerland are both options to get DSD in and out via USB provided you add a DAC and ADC supporting it and all associated power supplies.

I like the idea of a DAC that accepts all formats. Do you know if either the Rigi or ElectrArt are galvanically isolated from the computer?

Thanks in advance,

I came across thread by chance looking for information on the Tascam DV-RA1000-HD Mastering Recorder w/60GB Hard Drive. I assume that this unit records in the 64fs/2.82mhz, not 128fs/5.6mhz - yes?
I have been waiting for a decent digital format to transfer my LPs and the DSD looks like a goer, and the Tascam unit is relatively cheap. However, what do I do when the 80gb internal hard drive fills? Can I just store the DSD files in an external hard drive and transfer them across as I need them? I read further back in this thread that the Tascam will not play directly from an external hard drive. So, how can I work this? I don't really want to let reduce the sound quality by sticking in my Macbook Pro into the the audio chain.
Has anyone else out there used the Tascam to convert LPs to DSD? Anyone using the Tascam at all??
We use the Tascam and Korg MR2000s units all the time. The advantage that the Tascam has over the Korg is that you can use outboard converters (ie. Grimm, Meitner) if you don't like the sound of the onboard converters.
The advantage that the Korg has over the Tascam is that it can do DSD128fs.
They both shine at DSD rates... They are the best recorders we've heard under 10k. When the internal drives fill up, you just connect a USB cable to your laptop/desktop and transfer the files over. To play DSD files, just drag the files to the players. Your computer sees the players as an external HD.