How to get DSD working in a networked (Roon) setup?


Dear,

I recently received a few DSD albums and would love to play these.

In the manual of the T+A MP 3100 HV, I read
"The MP 3100 HV can be used as a high-quality D/A converter for other devices such as computers, streamer, digital  radios etc. which are fitted with poor-quality converters or no converter at all. The MP 3100 HV features two optical and two electrical S/P-DIF digital inputs on the back panel to allow this usage.

A USB-DAC input on the back panel permits to use the MP 3100 HV as D/A
converter for computers.

At the USB DAC IN input the MP 3100 HV accepts digital PCM-encoded stereo
signals with sampling rates of 44.1 to 384 kHz (32-bit) and DSD data with
sampling rates of DSD64, DSD128, DSD256* and DSD512*."

To use the T+A MP 3100 HV to play DSD files, I have to connect it to a PC using a USB cable? Is my understanding correct?

I have all my music on a NAS in the basement. I use Roon to play (flac) files on my stereo. Is there no other way to get DSD to play?

Ideally, I would prefer to add a device in my network to play DSD. 

This "USB DAC" truly puzzles me. 

Thank you for your advice.

koenvingerhoets

When you say DSD albums do you mean SACDs?

You can connect a USB stick or Portable USB Drive to the USB input and play your DSD files.

I don't know anything about ROON, not my thing.

Roon supports playing of DSD files.

If your DSD material is in the form of downloads, and those downloads are stored on the NAS that you currently use with Roon, then they should be available in your Roon library.  Just select the album, and the format should should show something like DSF DSD64 or some such.

On the other hand, if your DSD material is in the form of SACD disks, then it is a different story.  

 

I ripped all of my SACDs and stored as .dsf files on my hard drive and they are recognized and play via Roon as DSD.  Works like a charm.

the thread below (and buying a cheap pioneer player)  is was got the ball rolling for me several years ago.

best of luck 

 

Thank you for your reactions

@lordmelton : a DSD album on a usb stick, not SACD

The MP doesn't see DSD (*.dsf) files, so I can't plug in and play. That's exactly the issue.

@jazzman7 : They are on my NAS, but Roon transforms it into PCM and downsamples it. No purpose in DSD128 or DSD256 files if they're downsampled.

@bhoage : When you follow the signal path, is Roon downsampling? I have the *.dsf files, but it's brought to my speakers as PCM and downsampled. Thanks for sharing that link!

koenvingerhoets

Very often DSD files are played using DOP (DSD over PCM).

Might it be possible for you to provide a screen print of the Roon signal path for your DSD file. 

Out of curiosity I viewed the MP 3100 HV specifications and user manual.  I now realize that it's a combination CD/SACD disc player and DAC, but that only the USB input is DSD capable.  I also viewed your very impressive rig.  So it seems that what you really need is a DSD capable Roon ready (or at least Roon tested) USB network bridge, and that for the moment you are utilizing a PC in that role. 

 

 

 

 

@koenvingerhoets 

The MP doesn't see DSD (*.dsf) files, so I can't plug in and play. That's exactly the issue.

Have you tried the front and back USB sockets with files in WAV or FLAC?

If they don't work format a USB drive in FAT not exFAT or NTFS. Also there maybe a restriction on the size of USB drive, so use a small one.

If you can play files in FLAC and WAV try a DSD 64 file and see if that works.

Your machine should definitely play native DSD.

Thanks for getting back to me.

@jazzman7 : It's afaik what happens - Roon downsamples as I'm now relying on a network infrastructure rather than a USB connection with a PC. I'll take a screenshot this evening. 

Indeed - only through the "USB DAC" DSD files can be played. Furthermore, depending on the USB receiver used, there might be a limitation on the quality as well. 

I really new to DSD. But indeed - having done more research and with the answers received I started to look for a PS Audio DirectStream with Bridge II (new model of the DS is out so sharp prices second hand) or a Lumin Mini U2. Over time, I hope to migrate to the T+A PSD 3100 HV (it's delayed) as it will also support DSD256 over LAN. We'll see :) 
Your summary thus seems correct: DSD capable, Roon capable, USB bridge. Would you happen to know such a device?

@lordmelton : the unit plays flac without an issue. I have the same album in flac/DSD to compare, the flac was visible, the DSD simply wasn't. It only plays native DSD through the "USB DAC", and then it functions like a sound card. So yes - it does native, but only through the USB DAC receiver.

@koenvingerhoets  There must be an issue with the way you've downloaded the file onto the USB stick. I assume you downloaded it from a DSD website.

It could be that your file tags are in a different order that unit cannot read.

However you are correct, you have a SACD player so it cannot output DSD beyond the unit due to SACD licensing.

koenvingerhoets

In my system I have a Bricasti M5 functioning as a network bridge and Roon endpoint.  I am very happy with it and can highly recommend it.  Via spdif or AES/EBU can handle DSD 64 as DoP.  Via USB can handle DSD 64 or 128 as DoP.   Ethernet connection, no wi-fi accept via USB wi-fi adapter, which of course would tie up the USB port.

 

No, Roon is not down sampling.  The signal path shows DSF DSD 64 on Roon.

The ability to play natively vs via DoP and/or down sampled is dependent on the DAC and also the port used.

I'm using a Moon 280d with Roon via Ethernet.  A supported config for native DSD up to DSD 256.  Straight SACD rips are DSD64 but up sampling to DSD256 works fine as well.

I looked at the technical specs. I think they are organized in confusing manner.  The specs for streaming is for local files via PnP media servers and is probably incomplete.

Try streaming DSD via Roon directly without conversion.

I don't use Roon and don't own the 3100 HV, but here's a possible clue from Stereophile:

 

But to get that to work—to get native DSD data into the box—you'll need to use the USB connection and a data source that can run a Windows 10 driver—at a minimum, a Windows-based computer running Roon Bridge and that driver.

 

Did you install the T+A driver onto your Windows PC?

So I plunged the deep end and turned my (work) laptop into a audio player. Installed the T+A USB driver, installed Foobar2000, installed the AISO & DSD components, etc. I found the right USB cable, connected my laptop and after some fiddling was able to play DSD files on a USB stick. As the T+A still kept showing PCM as output, I really start to wonder what I'm overlooking :)

Anyway

@yage : I did indeed, it was the part I wanted to avoid as my (gaming) rig is literally on the other side of the house and the only laptop is from work.

@erik_squires : The streaming works, I uploaded a DSD album to Roon and it plays, but with downsampling (Roon literally says "downsampling", so I assume that's what it does).

@bhoage : I'm trying to play DSD256 / DSD128 files so I assume it's downsampling if Roon only plays DSD64 and (ii) literally says "downsampling" in the signal path. I'll remember to make a screenshot from it next time.

@jazzman7 Thank you for your input, going to take a look at such a setup. 

@lordmelton The SACD and DAC part are separated in the unit. It can play up to DSD512 but I didn't manage that yet. Coming close now connecting my laptop to it, but it still moves to DoP.

If you’re using foobar2000, check on the following setting. Go to Preferences -> Tools -> SACD. Under ’Type’ does it show ’DSD’? If not, click on the ’Type’ dropdown and change it.

 

You can also follow these instructions to output native DSD instead of DoP if the DAC supports that.

Just noticed that in my foobar2000 setup in the Tools -> SACD section, there's a checkbox labeled 'DoP for Converter'. You might also want to try unchecking that to see if you get native DSD output without having to install DSD Transcoder.

Thanks @yage - I'm like 80% convinced I've changed that 10 times to DSD but that it jumps back. I'll pay more attention to it. The "DoP for Converter" is unchecked.

@koenvingerhoets 

In Roon, right clikc on the device, then Device Settings, and look at DSD playback strategy.  Set it to Native and see if it works. :)

I just tried unchecking the 'DoP for Converter" option and it doesn't seem to do anything. I've got a DAC that only accepts DoP and with that unchecked it still showed DSD64 output.

 

Maybe with foobar, the T+A detects the PCM container. If the sampling rate shows 176.4 (DSD64) or 352.8 (DSD128) then it's most likely DoP. Perhaps you should try the DSD Transcoder foobar component and send native DSD through ASIO.

 

A random thought - if you're trying to play DSD256 with DoP (705.6 kHz PCM container), your DAC may not be able to handle it, which could be the reason you see Roon indicating downsampling.

 

Anyway, maybe it's best to contact T+A as well and ask how they would setup DSD256 / DSD512 playback with a Windows PC and Roon.

Roon is able to play whatever your dac is capable of receiving / decoding.  If you have a DSD256 file and your dac is able to take it Roon will pass it on.  Roon is not the limiter.  You dac and what it is able to process (or how it it is configured in Roon) would be the limiter.  All I was meaning with DSD64 in my post is that a standard sacd rip is DSD64.

As I mentioned, my dac can handle up to DSD256 so if I play a sacd rip with no upsampling it will play at DSD64.  If I have a DSD256 download it’ll play at DSD256.  If I have a DSD 512 download it will downsample to DSD256 as that is the highest bit rate my dac is set up to use in Roon.

If you click on advanced under you dac setup in Roon, all of those configs for max PCM and DSD sampling rates should be there.  That is what is limiting things and those settings should align with your dac’s capabilities.

Hope that helps… or at least clarifies my last post.  Best of luck.

Dear all, just an update. I got it working but you'll never guess how.

I ran into the guide below, explaining how to install a music streamer on a Raspberry Pi4B. I had one laying around by accident. So I installed Volumio on it, bought a higher end 2m USB cable and it plays bit perfect DSD256 to my T+A MP 3100 HV. It's a bit weird to see a 150 USD solution dangling behind the T+A, but it works. 

To make it clear: with this Pi based solution, I can play (at least up to) DSD256 from a USB stick plugged in the Pi, over USB to the "USB DAC" port on my T+A MP 3100 HV. Config was too easy to be true, certainly compared to Foobar2000. 

 

Very odd it is Roon capable but can’t play directly.

I happen to use a Pi as a Roon endpoint, connected to my Mytek Brooklyn and never had a problem playing DSD at any resolution.

If you like Roon, may be worth getting a second micro SD card, installing Ubuntu on it and then Roon for Ubuntu/ARM.  Works peachy.

Thanks for your feedback @erik_squires . I've a NUC for Roon (the ROCK setup), doesn't it require more power than a Pi4B can deliver?

The challenge here is that my DSD collection is very limited and kept on a USB stick. Would Roon see the stick and be able to push DSD to the "USB DAC" gate?

I ordered a 4-pack of micro SD cards so could give it a go :)

Ah, I see the confusion.

I specifically mentioned it was an endpoint. My Roon server is another box with more cpu capabilities. The Pi is just for the Mytek. All my audio library is on a separate PC which runs the Roon core server.

 

You should just get a better roon endpoint, like a DAP that will play those DSD files without issue. Something like an Astell Kern Sr25 should do the trick and not expensive for what it offers sonically speaking.