Educate me about DSD

So I don't know very much about DSD audio and files. I keep hearing it's good. I am a digital guy, streaming Tidal, Quobuz and still playing cds.

But I bought a streamer capable of DSD 512, therefore I want yo lean more. Can these files be streamed? Say on Tidal or another streaming service? Do I need to buy DSD discs? What does the audio qualities sound like? I assume much better than CD.

What can you tell me about DSD?



Good read, thanks for the link. I wonder if HDTracks and Native DSD are the only bigger sites for streaming/download of these kinds of files in 2023?

You say you have a streamer capable of DSD but do you have a DAC capable of it? If so, what rate, i.e., 256, 512, 1024, etc.?

I am not aware of any cloud based streaming service that stream DSD resolution, atleast not yet. I suggest you download a $4.49 sampler in 256DSD from and decide if it makes sense for you to spend $$ on future DSD downloads.



Native DSD is a great place to start experiencing hi res digital, and as Lalit mentioned you can buy/download the starter pack if you’re not sure about purchasing titles immediately.

What devices are you currently using for playback? Do you plan to playback from a server or laptop? Which DAC are you using?

Is there any transport other than USB to feed a dac a dsd file?

I just have never seen any other.

well, ethernet from a NAS..


I only use USB as that offers the highest allowable sample rates for playback in my system. I typically buy the “native” sample rate file the music was recorded at and store on my MacBook Pro. I use Tascam’s Hi Res Editor to resample the files to the format supported by my server and/or dac.

I like the presentation DSD offers but honestly I usually stick with purchasing CD’s. I would get into it more if the cost to purchase was lower and there was a larger selection within the genres I listen to.

“Is there any transport other than USB to feed a dac a dsd file?”


Any Aurender Transport (streamer) is capable of streaming Native DSD files over Ethernet as long as your DAC supports Ethernet protocol. 

Some DSD sounds good. Some doesn’t.

From a page online:

The problem with DSD is that it is noisier and offers a more limited frequency range than comparable 24-bit PCM of a sampling rate >88.2kHz.

As a 1-bit format, there isn’t enough space in DSD for it to be dithered properly. As a result, you end up with an elevated noise floor.

The same issue applies to the DAC designs that originally inspired the format.

✔ I agree 100% with the above.

NCH software - express rip - it’s bit perfect for ripping CD-Rs. Much better than DSD imo.


Regarding SACD/CD Players:

SACD is DSD format

However, many/most SACD players convert DSD to PCM internally before sending out to _____.

Some, like the xa5400ES I chose, retain DSD and Send DSD out to ____

two steps of DSD advantages:

1. during recording

2. during playback

SO, if converted to PCM in the player, the advantage during recording is retained.

This may be helpful,

Generally DSD files are more error-prone than compared PCM files. If you create an MP3 or WAV file from a DSD file, it will be more likely to have problems like clipping or distortion.

Best is to play each format on its dedicated dac.

@elliottbnewcombjr Sony did it right even on their first SACD player the SCD-1.


I think DSD is fine, but I've not heard it be an exceptional improvement over high resolution PCM in a very long time.

IMHO, the legend of DSD being superior to PCM was both a combination of being better a long time ago plus some sweetening magic in DSD releases.

If you like DSD though I stronly encourage you to check out Blue Coast Records:



SACD, the primary difference I become aware of (not hear), is a lower noise floor, very nice for most, however that can be un-naturally quiet on sparse piano for instance.

bhvf and designsfx

I bought a HiFi Rose RS250 and it has an internal dac and my understanding is that it can play DSD 64, DSD 128, DSD 246 and DSD 512. I just don’t know how I would configure the player to do this?  Streaming via a site like tidal (but not tidal)? Local files via HDD or Network? possibly on USB drive?

Hey psyop...

I don';t know of any streaming sites, just sites where you can buy DSD files.

Tools like Roon let you convert from PCM to DSD, but it seems like you are just playing around with the hardware rather than getting the full DSD experience.


Your RS250 is capable of playing DSD512 files natively. I am assuming you are playing DSD files or CD rips stored on your NAS. Your NAS can be connected to RS250 via USB or over your Network. Here is what manual says,

- Select the transmission format(Native, DOP, PCM) of Audio Samples to be delivered to the DAC when playing DSD music files.
- In Native mode, Analog Output (RCA out to your preamp or amp) supports up to DSD512 when playing DSD.


I am getting the picture....thanks guys for the help. Have not taken possession of the player yet, it's due here very soon. At this time I don't have any DSD files.... gonna be starting from scratch to try out DSD files and see if my ears like it.

Use HQPlayer on a separate computer to upsample all your music to DSD and send to a Network Audio Adaptor (NAA), which in turn is USB out to your DAC. It sounds fantastic doing this if you have a good DSD DAC...which you will. Let me know if you want a better explanation. I'm somewhat new to it but have an ok grasp of it.


As others have stated you’ll need to purchase/download your DSD files and store onto a local drive for playback through your Rose (USB/NAS). I haven’t seen the Rose but if it’s similar to my Lumin streamer you can set it up for native playback or convert down if needed (should you decide to go out to an external dac). It’s pretty straightforward- Enjoy!


For the relatively small number of native DSD recordings out there, is it really worth worrying about? I’m streaming thousands of hi-res PCM songs through my R2R NOS DAC without all the filters, noise, etc. and enjoying the crap out of the quality of sound I’m getting. Is doing backflips to try to optimize DSD processing for a relatively few recordings for negligible, if any, sonic benefit really worth it? Maybe someone can explain this to me, but currently I just don’t get it when hi-res PCM is so damn good and so much more accessible.  To me, SACD/DSD is Sony’s next-generation Betamax as an effort to create a proprietary format they can selfishly monetize as all their own but is ultimately and likewise doomed to fail.  Could be wrong, but it seems eerily similar in many respects.

Another user of Native DSD and I have to tell you, that I can’t hear the difference 99% of the time between 256 and 512 DSD.  Maybe it’s my equipment or maybe it’s my ears. At least I know their music isn’t remastered from 1960’s analog tapes.

All the best.


While I think it’s cool to have access to I agree with your point here. I’ve done a few listening experiments with files purchased from Native DSD and although the artists and recordings were excellent the results weren’t appreciably better than well produced Redbook titles.


In my listening tests the differences were small but they were audible (on my equipment). But to my point above- I did not have the same title available on CD for comparison at the time nor did I bother to take the DSD 512 file and downsample down to 16-44.1 for direct comparison. I did downsample the file to 24/192 for playback from my server and the quality was still very good although the file sizes were still extremely bloated compared to a ripped CD.


The possible reason you can’t tell the difference because majority of DSD512 filed are upsampled. I said it few times, the upsampling adds nothing but noise to the original file.


The good thing is, we have a choice. We can choose to be content with what we getting through Qobuz / Tidal or buy DSD downloads. I always appreciated the option to buy the music, one is philosophical and other reason being able to hear the music as intended by artist or studio engineer.

In my system, native DSD files do sound much superior to their streaming counterparts. They aren’t cheap but man, the dynamics and realism is off the charts.

In my system, native DSD files do sound much superior to their streaming counterparts. They aren’t cheap but man, the dynamics and realism is off the charts.

@lalitk Thanks for the good info. I’m now interested but need to check how my DAC handles DSD. If it handles native DSD and I have the right connections I’m definitely going to give it a try. Do you have any particular tracks you’d recommend and where did you get them from? I don’t mind paying up for some tracks if they offer superior sound.


I recommend downloading a sampler of your choice from They have quite a few options.


Which streamer are you currently using? I can send you files if there is a way of communicating where w/o site mods stripping the info away.

I have downloaded some great sounding DSD format music from High Definition Tape Transfers:  I send to my streamer/DAC via Ethernet with JRiver.

" un-natural.....noise floor..."

I’m not so sure I’ve Ever experienced up to today is in the middle of N.D., camped in the middle of nowhere, quiet enough you could hear your heart beat..

Next level down would be ’the one yet to be experienced’, which I’m in no hurry to experience, and ’noise’ would become irrelevant.

...more interested in the Art of Noise v. ’noise’ per se, frankly.. ;)


Always people mention the limited amount of SACDS/DSD files, but they make up the majority of my listening.

Rolling Stones Complete Catalogue, just about

Steely Dan Complete Catalogue, just about


Peter Gabriel


Eric Clapton

Bob Dylan

Pink Floyd

Simon & Garfunkel


The Buggles


The Who

Warren Zevon

The Eagles


Spend your time finding new well-recorded music instead. Nothing wrong with the red book format done right.


Blue Coast has FREE DSD samples (at various rates) and even PCM that you can compare in your own system to see what you think. I like the idea of DSD becoming more prevalent in a few years, but right now, mixing it is a bear and most labels aren’t ready to move to it from PCM after all their investment and having a source of engineers well versed in PCM, but not so many who know how to work with DSD.

Originally DSD was thought of as a great ARCHIVAL medium, not one necessarily for consumer listening, but with the better technology available today, some have thought to push its use.

Octave Records (PS Audio) and Blue Coast are two of those among others.

Paul McGowan (PS Audio) is an evangelist for it.

Another thing about SACD/DSD was the fact that it offers multichannel audio. If used properly this could add a lot to the music experience in theory, but it seemed most studios didn't have a clue what to do with them other than add some "ambience" noise or sound effects.  I'm a 2-channel guy myself so that attribute never appealed all that much to me. 

+1@gosta, I love everything @lordmelton listed (not sure about the Buggles though:) )  And I have many DSD titles by most of them.  Yet I am continually blown away by new standard resolution recordings like LIberty by Anette Askvik, Birds by Dominique Fils-Aime, So Handsome Hello by Woodkid etc.  So fun to explore and find new gems.  Still love the DSD stuff though not everything sounds amazing.

I joined in to learn a bit more about DSD. Somewhere along the way I tried some… DSD files, they sounded fine (on a previous system). I fiddled with buying downloads… of different resolution, my ripped CDs,… all my vinyl… etc. since buying downloads and storing them was a phase of technological progress that only lasted a few years and mostly disappeared with the advent of streaming I did not follow it.

I have done a lot of upgrades of my system over the last seven years. What has struck me is that the overall quality of your basic components is +99% of what you get sound quality wise. My ripped CDs, CDs, and streamed with the same mastere d albums sound exactly the same on my system. High resolution streamed albums sound a little better… but, it depends on the recording… late 50’s - early 60’s recordings are just jaw droppingingly good on CD, ripped CD, high resolution digital or vinyl. Basically, the format of a great sounding system is far less important than the recording and system that it is reproduced with. Basically you system is the most important aspect.

So, my point is that, if your goal is great sound quality, the order of optimizing your system is (assuming all digital) speakers, preamp, DAC, streamer, amp, cables, room treatments, power cords, then the digital formats.

Please do not misinterpret what I am trying to say. If you want to play around with comparing different digital formats… I am not discouraging it. But if you are still trying to build a fantastic system… this is something to discuss, once you have one… not a means to this end.

So enjoy 256 vs 512 or whatever. Great conversation.


‘If a title was actually recorded in DSD, then it’s DSD but if it was converted to DSD, then it’s only a shell’, so a recording engineer told me. He also explained that a DSD recording must play straight through from the beginning to end because you cannot have a DSD recording stop during recording. All that being said, I prefer DSD files to anything else where it pertains to sound quality. The only issue is that a DSD 64 cycle recording is twice as large as a PCM file. And, a DSD 128 cycle file is twice as large as a DSD 64 cycle and so on. So if you want to download a lot of DSD files, you better own a large hard drive! But yeah, DSD is my favorite.

+1@fastfrieght haha. Actually there's a fine and fun video of Buggles doing Video killed the Radio Star (Live 2004) on YouTube. Maybe all you need...

For anyone wanting some help in finding well-recorded (mostly acoustic) music I recommend the Tidal playlists Audiophile Really Really Good. There are 85 of them times about 100 songs.

Yesterday we had only a few supergroups to keep track on. Today we have millions of artists out there doing fine and well-recorded music.

David Chesky is offering a FREE album, HiFi Collective, at his Audiophile Society page via Steve Guttenberg. It has mixes that are specifically done for headphones or speakers in 24-bit/192KHz PCM in ALAC, and the one for speakers also in DSF (DSD).

Regardless of format, this is an entertaining album. Link here:

Welcome Audiophiliac Listeners! | The Audiophile Society


I'm unapologetic for liking the Buggles, they also collaborated with Yes on the Magnification album and tour. They are also credited with forming the worst ever Yes lineup...LOL...nevermind still a few gems in there.


All SACDs known to man are listed here

There are links on the same page for Hi-Rez recordings, not necessary to sign in....enjoy has been superseded by

and not even has every SACD ever released.

@soundboy has been superseded by

Doesn't it say that on the front page? Or are you just trying to be a dick?

We are talking SACD only not other Hi-Rez