Digital idiot wants to KNOW: upsampling?

In my quest for "perfect sound forever" I see that the big rage is upsampling. So how does this work. (The Sine wave graphs in the mags look so pretty) I see D/A converters that accept 96/ ??? Does this mean some CD players put out this? and what if you have an output of 96/??? and you D/A is an old outdated one... does the 96 get downconverted to ??48 (So it seems in my Acdom GDA700?).
I want to gain some sort of understanding how these multiple rates mesh together. Or just point me to a site that helps? Also it seems some D/A's do the upsampling and some just 'accept' upsampled data. I am comfused. Help me (so I can spend another $3000 on a MSB Platinum and not get burned.)
CDs, redbook standard, put out 44.1kHz at 16 bits. The DVD on the video standard is 24 bits 96 kHz and DVD-A will put out 24 bits 192 kHz. There are a number of devices (digital to digital--that go between the transport and DAC) that will upconvert the CDs and output a digital signal at 24 bits 96 kHz, but as you pointed out you have to have a DAC that is capable of receiving this information. Many DVD players have the option of putting out either 44.1 kHz 16 bits or 24 bits 96 kHz. It is user selectable. The latter is desired if you have a DAC capable of handling it, if not then you must use the 44.1 / 16 option. I am not aware of any older DACs that downsample the 24/96 signal.
Upsampling is a marketing term and the mathematical manipulation of the music signal is the same as standard oversampling techniques. The purpose of these resampling techniques is to allow the designer to use a gentler low-pass filter for attenuating the high band digital "mirror image" signal. There is also a process called word lenght interpolation which is usually done in conjunction with up/oversampling that changes the Red Book output 16 bit word up to a 24 bit format. It is important to note that no new musical information is added in this process, yet it does seem to slightly improve sound quality. There is no generally accepted explanation that explains this phonomena. The dCS website is a good reference on these issues.

As a practical matter, don't worry whether you equipment up, over and even no samples the digital signal. Well designed implementations of each design all sound excellent.

BTW, the MSB Platinum is a marvelous sounding unit. I use the Sony 333ES as a transport. When playing SACDs I feed the analog output of the Sony directly to an integrated amp. SACDs sound better than the Sony/MSB combo.
Hi Elizabeth; I suggest you look up the threads 1) "Up and Oversampling", 2) "What the Heck is Resolution Audio" and 3) Take the Pepsi Challenge".

These were long rambling threads that contained a lot of heated rhetoric and insults, but the threads were essentially on what you are asking about and there is good info. in them too-- if you perservere, eg comments were obtained from some of the best digital designers such as Jeff Kalt of RA, and Kevin Halvorsen of Muse Electronics, and Madrigal Audio also has a position paper on this subject that was quoted.

These are interesting threads from last summer. I'd go into the subject here if you have a few days:>) Good Luck, and Cheers. Craig
Elizabeth: I asked this same question in the "Bel Canto - Convice Me" thread and received a nice reply in a nut shell if you are interested.
Thanks, I'll search the posta mentioned.
Elizabeth; just some search tips: look under 1) over sampling, 2) Pepsi 3) What the heck is resolution Audio. It took me awhile to find a couple of these. Good Luck. Craig