Audirvana Plays DSD without DSD compatible DAC

I've just been investigating some of the DSD features of Audirvana.

The one nice feature it has - if you don't own a DSD ready DAC, you can use Aurdivana to...

1. Play the DSD file and convert as it is being played
- in this case you use Audirvana without iTunes

2. import the file into the iTunes Library using Audirvana
- you can then play it using iTunes + Audirvana
- but Audirvana creates a "proxy file"
- which allows it to locate the actual DSD file
- it then converts on the fly while playing (as above)

3. It will also play the DSD track (unaltered) if you have a DSD compatible DAC - of course :-)

You can also set a conversion upper limit e.g. 24/96 if that is the max resolution your DAC can process and all files will be converted up to that limit

A really nice feature :-)

So, go out and buy some DSD tracks.

I'm sure other software offers the same features

I find the whole DSD thing very confusing. I don't mean to hi-jack your thread, but maybe someone can explain the benefits. I got more confused when I read this thread on the Linn forums:
Why pay the extra money for DSD files if you are going to down convert them to PCM. You lose any benefits of the DSD encoding unless you are thinking that in the future you will get a DSD dac. I do the opposite. I buy the cheapest PCM recording and then let Jriver convert on the fly to DSD and decode with several DSD dacs I have. Personally I prefer redbook on my Audio Note gear
Alan - personally, I'm going to wait for the dust to settle before splurging on a DSD DAC, but I like the fact I'm not restricted in my choices of album, some of which may only be available in DSD.

This option of Audirvana allows me to take advantage of any format with my existing setup.

I'm sure many others feel the same

Mateored - I view DSD as just another high resolution format.

Granted, there may be some "technical benefits" of DSD, but at this level of performance I certainly won't be looking to compare it to other hi-res formats - just as I have stopped comparing my digital components to my analogue components - I just prefer to enjoy the music they both produce.

Like you, I have read articles pro DSD and pro PCM, but to me, it does not matter if one is better than the other - it does matter if an album I would like to purchase has only been released in a format my equipment cannot play.

The nice thing with Audirvana - it's flexibility - it plays most popular digital formats and I'm sure Damien will extend its capabilities as new formats emerge.

For those out there that are able to provide a technical comparison/evaluation/benefit analysis - please do so - I also would also be interested.

Back to the music :-)
In my original post I cited an example of an upper limit of 24/96.

However, Audirvana actually converts DSD to 24bit and the highest sample rate multiple of 44.1kHz (e.g. 352.8, 176.4, 88.2, or 44.1kHz) - which is dependent on the upper limit of the DAC being used

The upper limit my DAC can process in the above multiple list is actually 176.4 kHz

The DSD64 file I downloaded was converted to 24/176.4 by Audirvana

Perhaps one of our resident digital music gurus can explain the issue better. In the meantime, I agree that Audivarna is a nice piece of software.
Make sure you pick DSD over PCM Standard 1 in the Audivarna settings. This will allow you to play DSD direct without converting it to 24/192 or 352.8