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1. Some do. Some don't.
2. Not likely unless you find a transport with USB or ethernet output (aside from some proprietary solutions).
3. EMM, dCs, PCs and MACs.
4. Possibly. This would be on a case-by-case basis since the future cannot be guaranteed.
Good to think about both options but do not assume any given manufacturer will slip-stream an upgrade until you see it.
Thank You Kal, for the information.
From whatever information I have gathered, it looks like I need a CDP with native SACD playback and can do DSD via USB. It is not that I have any DSD files with me, but just want to make sure that "I am covered" for a foreseeable future. The current CDP is getting a bit long in the tooth and I am starting to look for replacement. I just wish the new Marantz SA-11S3 did DSD via USB.
To my knowledge, the player you're describing does not exist. There are no CD / SACD transports that output DSD over USB - not sure this would even be legal, because you cannot output DSD digitally without copyright protection protocal, which USB would not have.
So, with the exception of a universal player with native DSD output over HDMI, you cannot get DSD digital output from a transport. Such an HDMI player can be used with a Surround Sound processor, some of which can process native DSD.
The only other way to get you SACD to play in native DSD is to rip them with an old playstation 3 and play them from a computer. Not for the faint of heart.
If you want to continue to spin SACD disc AND have high resolution, your best bet is to get a Vanity93 digital output board for an Oppo 93.
This will convert DSD at 176/24 LPCM and output digitally over S/PDIF. You can then play this into a modern DAC. May be not 100% as good as native DSD streaming - but very close.
For those unwilling to go the SACD ripping route, easily the second best solution in my opinion.
You are right. I "wish" such a player existed. And that was the question - can a SACD player be upgraded through a firmware to play DSD files via the USB (computer or any new transport) that it already has. These players already have the DSD chips...so I am thinking that it is possible to "make" them DSD dacs as well.
I see that there are certain downloads like Patricia Barber's companion that are available as DSD downloads. I do have this disc. But there are many other OOP SACDs that might be re-issued as DSD and I want to make sure that I have a DAC that can handle this. Of course, when I have the option to choose between a SACD disc and DSD download of the same, I will prefer the disc, unless the DSD is higher resolution.
I did not care about downloads till now, because I did not want anything to do with computers after work. I am in that field and wanted to avoid it. But looks like that needs to change (gradually).
I thought you wanted the a CS/SACD tranport to output DSD over USB when playing a SACD. Aint gonna happen.
If instead you are interested in a DSD dac with USB input and CD/SACD transport, the Oppo 105 might be your ticket. This will give you a USB input, native DSD capabilities and ability to spin any disc you like.
I agree with Erik's recommendation of the universal player if you need to have the transport.
If you can make the investment in the equipment and the time to rip everything I think this would be a better solution. Once it's properly setup, computer audio is the very definition of ease of use, if that's what you're after. Couple this with a tablet control interface and you might find it a game changer; I did.
Since you're an IT guy like myself, you should have no trouble figuring out how to rip SACDs, it's really not difficult once you procure the hardware.
Upsampling and oversampling are optional.
A DAC that handles 24/96 means it can handle that signal natively. This is something you would get by buying high resolution music or listening to a high res station like Toronto Jazz 91, or by upsampling your own music via software such as ffmpeg or sox (Linux/MacOS).
It does not mean that all input signals are up or over sampled. It just means if your data is that dense it can still read it. Vendors make different choices and some use very closely guarded algorithms to accomplish up sampling, while some just use simple linear interpolation. For instance, some convert everything to quad rate DSD. That's their shtick. Others insist on never over or up sampling. That's Audio Note's shtick.
Lots of makers claim upgrade-ability, but never actually offer it.
Honestly from a personal perspective, I find the DSD and it's derivatives over-hyped. I've not personally not been blown away by any of those standards. The current MQA hype is in there as well. Usually any differences in sound quality are really engineering differences and not really related to the underlying technology.
What I have found that seems to matter a lot more is the quality of the output stage. I love Ayre for this reason. Whether it's a CD player, preamp or Pono, I just love love the sound, no matter the original format. Same thing for portable players. I can play normal and high def music, and the difference isn't as big a deal to my ears as the amplifier and headphones. I'd much rather listen to redbook CD via an Ayre QB-9 than high rez or SACD through a lot of other players.
I would strongly suggest you start listening with this in mind and see what you are sensitive to, and what kind of music production seems to appeal to you the most.