Explain to me dsd

Ok so I understand dsd was a way for sacd to be computer storage friendly...

But I have a dac (Emm Labs Dac2x) that somehow uses dsd (I'm confused as to whether it up samples to dsd)...

Can someone explain to me what this is about and whether I would benefit from a streamer like auralic Aries that is able to output dsd vs a bluesound node 2 that outputs only pcm?
Hi Joey,

DSD is a different way to try to digitally encode data than PCM. They both result in digital files, but DSD tends to be much larger than PCM.  SACD is a disk which contains DSD data. Unfortunately there is no easy way to rip  SACD, but there are many ways to rip CD's.

You can stream to several DSD capable DAC's over USB or using a hybrid approach called DoP (DSD over PCM) which allows some resolutions of DSD to be sent over a standard SPDIF connection. I'm not sure what the limits are. I think you need USB 2.0 to stream the highest resolution DSD files, like the highest resolution PCM.

Things get complicated though as some SACD players like Oppo will only send DSD over HDMI. Ugh.

For these reasons I never buy SACD disks, but will purchase music files to download.


I guess my question is that if my files are all flac, would I gain anything by buying an Aries to stream since it is capable of dsd streaming into my Emm dac2x that upsamples to dsd (if I understand correctly).
From what I can gather, it seems to me that the DAC 2X is doing what  DSP engineers call 'interpolation'. In practical terms, this means that the sampling frequencies for all your digital inputs are converted to ~5.6 MHz (or the equivalent of DSD128).

The Aries streamer appears to output DSD data according to the DSD-over-PCM (DoP) specification, v 1.1. This means that it's actually using the PCM format to send DSD data to a DoP-capable DAC (the DAC2X). This is probably ideal for your DSD music files. 

On the other hand, if all you have is music already in a PCM format, it makes sense to simply send that as-is to the DAC 2X and let it do the conversion to the DSD sample rate.

Of course, you'll probably get the best information if you contact EMM Labs directly. 
Yage I think your response is spot on

While all this tech is fun, I wouldn't say upsampling, or converstion from PCM guarantees one or the other is better. Your ears make a better arbiter than white papers. :)


Seems as though HDMI may soon become obsolete, never liked them  anyway. Some audio products like Lyngdorf provide for HDMI input.
These cable changes are sure beginning to looking like a ripoff.
Why would you not want HDMI? I am trying to understand your point.
I would want HDMI to improve for the reason that I can connect a SACD player with HDMI "out" to a DSD DAC with HDMI "in".
milpai, I think we have a misunderstanding: it's not about want, but dissatisfaction with the product unto itself. By all means use what is necessary.
I was following this thread with interest but I'm now a little lost. So all this technical stuff aside and monthly fees notwithstanding, why wouldn't most people just subscribe to some lossless streaming service like Tidal and forego all this file format type concerns. Bluesound Node 2 was mentioned earlier but I'm sure there are fancier components out there. I have yet to look for an artist title or music title and not see it listed in Tidal and my CD player (and 2000+ CD collection) are just collecting dust. Just wondering...

I think most people use a variety of ways to get music. The biggest reason for buying in addition to subscribing, which I do, is to have the highest quality possible.

Most streaming services provide heavy compression. Tidal's best resolution is only CD quality.  So if you want better than that, you have to buy. Also, if you are a firm believer in DSD there's no streaming service I'm aware of.  MQA was going to solve this, but it's so far proven snake oil, and Tidal doesn't seem to be supporting it anymore.

By the way, I've ripped all my CD's and never play directly.

There are of course issues with what do you do if your streaming service goes belly up, or if you've "purchased" Amazon or iTunes music and that disappears or you are no longer a subscriber. And of course, there's what do you do when the Internet is down. The whole streaming industry has yet to figure itself out really, which is why Tidal is still struggling to make money.

Make yourself happy, but the highest resolution formats are not streamed.


@erik_squires,  I realize a late reply to this thread. Just wanted to say that I have been waiting for DSD streaming service. I am sure there are quite a few out there with deep pockets to pay for downloads plus streaming services. 

I am very excited about MQA streaming, I think the format is ready to go mainstream. From what I hear, MQA streaming was the talk of the town at CES 2017. 

At a press conference, the Digital Entertainment Group announced that several other streaming services would offer “hi-res” streaming (including Pandora, HDtracks, Napster/Rhapsody). High-level executives from major record labels also stated their support for hi-res streaming, all these services will offer MQA streaming later this year. 

@joey_v ....Personally, I wouldn't delve into DSD playback at this point. Let's wait and compare the sound bits once Tidal brings MQA to mobile or embedded apps. I can hardly wait :-)