Is DSD download already an extinct format?

I recently purchased a Benchmark DAC 2 which supports DSD decoding following an article from Robert Hartley indicating that Sony would release all of its music catalog in DSD download format. As of today, there are only 358 DSD downloads available from Acoustic Sounds. On average the DSD downloads is music that is 30-45 years know the same stuff you already own in CD, DVD-audio, SACD. Just getting tired of purchasing Getz/Gilberto in all formats.

Record companies, please give us the new music in Hi-rez format rigth off the bat and stop giving us the better resolution years later!

I would be happy to buy a few DSD downloads, and there is plenty in the Sony catalogue that appeals to me. All I need is for them to make available something I actually want of recent vintage.

Also, something under $20 / album would be nice. If they want the format to fly, the price is going to need to be more reasonable. Many, many titles are available in CD for less than $15 shipped.

At the least, Sony should release a timeline for further releases. Sony historically has made some good strategic decisions that they kill with horrible tactical moves. This is starting to look like deja vu all over again.

Sony, I'm retired now. Maybe you would like to bring me on part time to run your show. I could do better with 4 hours a day, a dart board, and my magic 8 ball.
Dagogo just reviewed the Teac PD-501. The unit plays regular CD's + DSD downloads without the need for a computer when playing the discs. The review was very positive, especially when the unit was playing DSD. If I did do digital, this would be an interesting option.

The problem here is not DSD hardware availability, it's the content. I'm so tired to receive e-mails from HDTracks and Acoustic Sounds wanting me to purchase the same music in a plethora of digital formats. There is a limit in abusing the music consumer. The music Industry dictates what we should buy, by changing the music playback formats to suck every penny from the music lovers. Remember that vinyl basically disappeared in the 80's?

This is when I decided to sell my JA Mitchell Gyrodeck/Zeta tonearm and Koestsu Rosewood signature. I am an avid music lover/buyer and could not get my vinyls from my favorite artists no more. I started to listen to CD's which audio quality really sucked bad when they came out. I have collected of over 1,200 CDs and you know what? Record companies came out with DVD-A (which failed miserably), SACD, Blue-Ray audio disc and DSD which looks so promising on paper.

Now when I go to my local record store, vinyls are returning and cannot afford to purchase back my vinyl playing gear anymore with the stratospheric pricing of TT/tonearms/cartridge. Should have never sold that gear :-(

I have always been honest with the artists by paying 100% of all music content I have in my library. Artists, get together and get rid of the middle man (record companies) which is killing the Music Industry.

Major Label Record Companies, I do not like you!!!
Tape isn't hi Rez
Stuck with vinyl, for the most part skipped CDs. But what I had bought, I ripped to a music server and sold back to a used cd store. Down load now. Wait for sales, 10, 15 sometimes 20% off. Mostly HD tracks. Tried DSD heard no real advantage. Don't be mad at the music industry. Nobody held a gun to your head. Just think before you buy. Buy a used tt set up or just stick to on sale downloads. Music soothes the soul. So listen, enjoy, be happy.
Dasign, I don't know what Sony is thinking either. We've been promised high-res downloads for many years now and finally about a year ago Sony tells us, "Here comes the big push! We're going to have servers and tons of downloads everywhere!" And then...nothing!

As you said, same old albums but priced even higher, when all they have to do is electronically send files to the resellers. They won't even tell us what the source for the file is.

What are they thinking? That they're going to get the free Mp3 crowd to buy into high-res downloads, not even a physical product, at $25 an album?

I haven't given up all hope yet, but I'm not buying in until the server and download situation improves significantly. I have enough music so that I can listen to a variety of great music if I never buy another Lp, Cd, Sacd or download again and I'm sure that there are a lot of other people in the same position.

I think that this is their last chance to get it right or the major music groups are going to be sitting on huge worthless catalogs of music for a long time.
You might want to drop by NativeDSD and PentaTone. Between them they have over 500 Multichannel & Stereo DSD Downloads, all natively recorded in DSD.
Bmoura, thanks for the tip. I was not aware of the Pentatone DSD offerings. I will monitor this site in the future. I do like much of the Pentatone catalogue. As it turns out, have already purchased SACD versions of almost everything they had to offer that interests me. Titles that I have not yet purchased were for the most part not available as DSD files. A couple that perked my interest were available for 26.5 Euro. Ouch!

The labels have to understand they are competing against themselves. Because of access to their titles at a deep discount, I suspect the DSD download initiative is going to fail. I will certainly pay a premium for DSD over physical media, but I will not pay 3,4, or 5x the cost of a CD except under very rare circumstances.

I guess we have to hope that the music industry executives aren't all a bunch of dolts, and that ultimately they will price their offerings at what the market will bear. This buyer won't pay 26.5 e or even 25 USD.

You have missed out on tons of great music with your buying choices, but ignorance is bliss, as the old saying goes.
What is genuine irony is the often beaten down and berated Redbook CD has much to offer. If you have a very good quality CD player/Transport/DAC in a well devised system, the sound quality and music reproduction is exceptionally satisfying. There are a multitude of CDs available for very reasonable cost, one can build a vast library of wonderful music. This approach has worked successfully for me. Redbook quality is very under appreciated in my opinion. People are finding that the newer formats are over hyped in many cases, or certainly over priced for what's actually delivered.
Charles, What I am hearing with a very limited sampling of DSD files on my HAPZ1 as compared to redbook through the HAPZ1 is a close parallel to the distinction between the hifi and WE 101Ds. You could be happy forever, until you hear the difference. But there is certainly a difference between DSD master files and redbook PCM recordings via flac or wav. Where the analogy fails is that there is no earthly reason that I can see for charging substantially more for a DSD download than a redbook download. Looks like the usual practice of attempting to place the entire burden of set up costs on the early adapters.

You are absolutely right, redbook done well can be very good, and the cost is quite reasonable and in some cases downright cheap. I bought a used CD today for $0.98. 26.5 euro? Really?
It's sad day when trying to listen to music leads to angst!
Rja, its not the listening that leads to angst, its parting with the greenbacks that is a problem for some of us.
Bill (Brownsfan) well put response to Rja.
Charles1dad,I'm with you. We're the lucky ones.
The lucky one are those who have a foot in all camps.

CompAudio is the future, but its also nice to throw on a spinning disk every now and then. Properly set up CompAudio sounds better though and when done with full DSP like with Spatial computing, its game over.
I won't claim that Redbook is better, only that it can be "very, very" good.I don't know how many times the latest format has been declared "game over".Time will tell, if DSD is really superior then that's good news. Its just that promises and hype are so easy to do.I just want good music reproduction.The cost of the music(DSD files) has to be market sensible or it's doomed to be merely another niche audiophile product with zero mass market appeal/sucess.I can buy used CDs for 4-6 dollars(or less) and they sound quite pleasing in my system.Even many new CDs are very reasonably priced.I'll buy into DSD(eventually) if the companies do things right and demostrate some foresight.
Really do not know what you are talking about. I have about 3000 vinyl records and 5000 + ripped CDs and down loads. 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 2000's and through today. I have missed nothing. When I say skipped CDs did not mean music meant CD players. Never bought an expensive or "high end" one. I am about the music unlike many. But I will say for my taste there is almost NO native DSD to listen to. Not into,
Classical Crossover
Independent Acoustic
Traditional Chinese
Listen to some jazz not sure what independent acoustic is, but other then that,
Nothing there for me. If that is what you mean, well to each their own.

I agree that some recent CD recordings sound great and could live with their sound quality which is very satisfying (especially jazz records). Also true that newer formats like DSD are promising on paper but could also be somewhat disappointing. I recently purchased Santana's Abraxas in DSD, while it is the best sounding version of this album I have, it is still lacking the audio recording quality of more recent CD's (of the better recording quality variety). We have to remember that Abraxas was recorded in 1970 and it all comes back to the master recording quality.

My main point here is why would an artist agree to sign a record deal which presents a sub-par recording quality of his music? Also, music downloads represent the future model of music distribution. Why record companies cannot systematically provide Hi-Rez downloads for any new recording baffles me.

Neil Young has started a nice initiative with its Pono Music Player. I just hope that artists will embark in his project to provide quality recordings that music lovers want and at a price they want to pay.
Hi Dasign,
It could be that my viewpoint is influenced by the genre I listen to. As you noted jazz on CD is most often very well done and other formats aren't really much(if any) better. For those into Pop, Rock,Hip hop etc. the situation may be different.With jazz the sound engineers(with a few exceptions) seem to keep the tonality and overall sound quite natural.
Hey guys, that's what meant by "trying" to listen to music. I was referring to buying music and the equipment used to listen to it. The whole scene is kind of a mess right now, definitely not as simple as it used to be.

Should I get a DAC (and a separate transport) or a CDP? How about HDCD, SACD, BluRay, DVDAudio? Are CD's dead? Are SACD'S Dead? Is BluRay the future? Is DSD dead or dying? Should I skip physical formats entirely and go strictly with computer? Should I go with downloads and/or rip my entire collection? Is USB the way to go? What software should I use? What computer should I use? Should I mod the computer? How long will some of these formats even last? Will I have to do this all over again if I don't make the right decision now? Do wires make a difference no matter which way I go? On and on, that's causing me a bit of angst.

Perhaps I should have been clearer. I certainly wasn't attempting to make a negative remark toward anyone.

BTW: Just bought a new CDP, skipped DSD although I can add it later if necessary. With the number of CDs I own I'll wait while this all shakes out a bit. What future have we wrought where the Luddite would be sticking with CD's? 8^)
I agree with you that the high-res situation is a real mess at present. I hope they manage to get easy to use servers in a variety of configurations available (server only, server and dac, all-in-one, etc.) along with reasonably priced high-res downloads that actually sound clearly better than cds. If things keep going as they are now, I see high-res downloads becoming another fumbled opportunity by Sony. I can't understand why a company with their resources can't get it together on a huge moneymaking opportunity.
Pkoegz, I'm not sure I understand your response to Tomcy6. There seems to be a real disconnect between what he said and your post. Are you angry about something?

As far as Sony and DSD, perhaps they made a premature announcement or changed their direction as they definitely seem to have fallen short. Maybe that's why the OP wondered about the viability of DSD.
I'm not up on the latest and greatest digital, but understand how this can all be frustrating. That's why I concentrate on vinyl.... Not only does it sound great, but it has stood the test of time.

The Teac 501 player looked interesting though. It could be a painless entry back in to digital. Well built, well reviewed, and selling on some dealer websites for $799 US. I have a few hundred CD's, and am just looking for a way to play them. I don't plan on diving back in to it. Just a relatively inexpensive player that has a nice tonality.
Not angry in the least. Just pointing out that I chose not to spend on a first class cd set up because I saw its demise coming for some time. Sold all my cd's because what's the point once ripped and backed up. Also I did not miss out on music but was very much involved in its listening and collecting. As far as the balance of my statement I was making the point that Native DSD's issue for me, is it's content. As far as music servers go, I did invest in the state of the art for around $3200 plus the dac. I am not a computer geek just do my research. The server is easy to use. The highest quality of digital sound possible with unbelievable access. Those who argue not ready for prime time aren't doing their home work. A good server, set up properly, with a good dac, can not be beat. My opinion. So if you wish to sit on the side line waiting for that all in one box, which in my opinion, will neither give you the best sound nor the most flexibility, their out there. In my opinion in the end you will be disgruntled which will reinforce your view of CA for all the wrong reasons. If you are interested in my findings email me and I will gladly respond. Either way I hold no grudge or animosity against anyone on these boards. To each their own. p.kogan
Until DSD recordings in every genre are widely available, I believe the whole point is moot. If there is no music, why would anyone need a DSD capable player? SACD had great promise, but there wasn't enough music. If the overwhelming majority of the music I like isn't available on DSD, there is no point in getting a player for the format. I'd love to get going with DSD, but until they get the music on DSD, I'm happy with cd and vinyl.
Pkoegz, It's great that you've found a solution that works for you. I was never judging your decision or saying it was wrong.

For now I'm sticking with CD's but I must add, my new CDP has various digital inputs, DSD capability can be added later and the built in DAC has high rez capability so I'm not closing the door entirely. So I can still do DSD if it doesn't whither on the vine. Plus, and I hate to even mention this because I may have been obsessive, I have around 6,000 CD's (possibly more).
All of this may be a moot point with the advent of DACs like the PS Audio DS DAC that play PCM like DSD. Which means Redbook CD is very much alive and well.
Hey Rja,

You've got a long way to go before you can be considered obsessive by these guys standards:

The Obsessive Lp Collector

The World's Number One Audiophile

So enjoy those cds and don't feel guilty!
Sabai, I have a ModWright Sony HAPZ1, which like the PS audio DS converts everything to DSD. I have roughly 850 albums loaded to the hard drive, including some that are old recordings, some that are early digital, and many that were originally recoded in DSD. They are all of course, transferred to the HAPZ1 hard drive as redbook PCM files, mostly in AIFF format.
Everything I have played back with conversion to DSD has been very high quality. With the HAPZ1, one can turn off the DSD conversion and listen to the native PCM. Where I have A/B'ed the DSD against the redbook PCM, the DSD has been better by a wide margin. So what you say has some merit.

The HAPZ1 comes shipped with a few DSD tracks. One of those tracks is from Yo Yo Ma's Appalachian Journey, and is a particularly beautiful recording of fairly recent vintage. I have ordered the CD so that I can compare a native DSD file to a redbook PCM file that goes through the real time PCM to DSD conversion process. If I cannot discern a difference between the two, then for me, purchase of native DSD master files does indeed become moot.

I expect there will be a difference, but I am uncertain what the magnitude of the difference will be. However, in any case, I agree completely that redbook is alive and well. I have no desire to replace 1500 cds with HiRez files, no matter what. I am very much open to purchase of new music as HiRez downloads, especially native DSD, for new music, but the value proposition has to be more favorable than it is currently. $25 a title isn't going to happen on a regular basis, and as more equipment like the sony and the PS audio becomes available, the window of opportunity for the record companies to make HiRez download more than a niche may close.

I think this is the death knell for HiRes. Between their outta sight pricing and the advent of new DAC technology their days are numbered. IMO, it is only a matter of time.
It is all just a "niche". Most just get their music off their phones. MP3 is all they know. Moderately priced to high end has always been just a niche but even more so today with so many cheap, awful sounding, easy options. As for converting all to DSD, that can not improve the quality of your sound. You are just moving the bits around from one place to another. Example a round bucked filled with water poured into a square bucket. No gain. Possible some loss. Definitely not improved. Native DSD, that is different animal. Possibly an improvement. I have heard some but content not to my listening interests. I will stick to HDtracks. Largest selection of HD music. Buy on the sales. Now CDs, another story. I use to buy CDs used, rip, then sell back. Some times forced to buy new, rip and sell back. Find for digital recordings, HD down loads sound the best. One reason is you take the drive out of the equation. A second is that 24 bit is quieter. A third obviously the extra info. I have compared them all. For the most part HDtracks sounds the best. Native DSD still up in the air. Have two recordings by David Elias. Sound very good. Do not have any other format recordings to compare to. Oh, I use flac not that it matters. My views anyway.
I've done reading about the Sony HAPZ1 & the DirectStream DAC but haven't seen an explanation, at least one clear enough for a layman like me, as to why converting non-DSD files into DSD as part of the playback would improve the sound. Why is 1-bit DSD so beneficial to playback?

You might want to ask the experts on the PS Audio forum this very question.
It's curious how audiophiles devote so much time and energy toward their gear
to get higher resolution and better sound, but complain about the introduction
of new formats that enable better resolution and sound. No problem spending a
bunch of silly money replacing and upgrading gear, but scoff at upgrading to a
new media format that will sound better on any non-source gear. It can be
frustrating when a new format turns out to be a flash-in-the-pan, such as DVD-
A, but if enough people buy-in instead of resist (and gain the benefit of the
better sound), these formats may gain more traction... It's not like the content
providers aren't trying; they're offering the new formats; you're just not biting. Of
course they won't offer a full catalog right of the bat; there's too much
investment and risk in doing so until they determine there will be a market. Lot's
of DSD-capable DACs and content out now; seems to be hitting a critical mass in
a short time.

More power to the web sites offering DSD downloads.
Bigamp, get the music companies to put out a lot more music in the new format and not charge $25 and up for an album.

I never got on the SACD bandwagon because the music catalogs didn't have enough of the music that I liked in order to invest in the format. The music was and still is readily available on cd. I am not going to invest in DSD player so I can only play a dozen or so albums in DSD. I can't justify that kind of cash outlay for such a limited amount of music. Until the new music formats make a serious commitment to reissue the bulk of their catalogs in the new format...the new formats will be slow going and probably a slow death.
Sony especially needs to show a big and continued commitment to the format after what they did with Sacd and other formats like Dat. They have to prove to us that they're committed to making the format a success.

We don't owe it to them to buy albums we already have or don't want at prices that I find hard to explain.

I'd be happy to buy in to high-res downloads and will when they offer products I want at a reasonable price and I know that they aren't going to discontinue the format in a year or so because it's not replicating the success of the Cd.
Bigamp, I see your point. I have about 1600 CDs. At $25 each, a comparable library would be about 40K. I do spend some money on equipment. However, I'm really not a gotta have the latest and best kind of guy. I am a slow, deliberate, what is the best bang for the buck kind of guy.

I will buy a few DSD downloads at $25 each, but the reality is, it will likely be the exception not the rule. And I won't be buying DSD remasters of 40 year old performances at that price. Sony already has a large library of DSD masters. I'm not seeing that this requires a huge investment on their part to release the master files to Accoustic Sounds so that they can be purchased.

If they are able to convince enough people to buy at those prices, more power to them. To me, it appears that they are about to screw it up again by failing to read the market.
Sony was showing DSD Multichannel recording and DSD Download systems at last weekend's California Audio Show.

The show report from Enjoy the Music is at
Mitch4t, Tomcy6 and Brownsfan offer very well reasoned reponses to Bigamp's comment. I also feel that it's up to the record companies to present the new formats in a manner that appeals to the buying public. This means prices that the consumer finds palatable and attractive. It means offering a variety of title choices and not simply regurgitation of the same old recycled titles again and again. The lessons from the SACD experience apparently haven't been learned and absorbed. DSD may catch on and become widely available and successful. It if isn't presented/managed properly it will be just another flash in the pan format failure and remain a tiny niche market. I hope they get it right.
The record companies became overly greedy...for years cds were $15-20 by the time they made it to an independent record store...which is close to 2 X what an lp was back in the day...when the mp3 generation hit...the big wigs decided it was time yet again to repackage the digital age...again touting superior fidelity...I was born at night...but not last night...pass
+1 Phasecorrect
Extinct, dead, die, end of the road, adios amigos, sayonara, dasvidaniya, ciao ciao, au revoir Mr Duck! Nah, DSD is the new white bread!
I think you guys are being unfair. Digital has come a long way since 44/16 was released. High definition is definitely superior. Sony with 40% of all existing master tapes has a real issue namely all the tapes are deteriorating and their solution is to put them into digital. Apparently, their choice is quad DSD, I am told.

So in reality, soon you will be able, I hope, to get master tapes for your personal use. Unfortunately, they are, I'm told, using a device that converts analog into quad DSD that has many opamps in it thus harming the quality of the recording. Probably they just could not wait any longer.

These files will be very large which is okay as I have 4 terabyte drives, but it does probably mean that only high speed internet downloads will allow your getting these. I have heard double DSD recordings and they are definitely superior.

Melbguy, what does the "new white bread" mean? Good or bad?
Tbg, I think most of us think or at least hope that DSD downloads along with user friendly servers will be a worthwhile upgrade. We have a problem with the low number of titles available, the fact that we've already been sold most of them a couple of times and the price of said downloads.

Also, Sony has burned us before (e.g. SACD), so a wait and see attitude is appropriate. The HAP-Z1ES looks like a pretty nice server but it's not really what I want (no dac and digital ins and outs).

So I'm hoping that one of the guys making the big bucks will have a moment of inspiration and say, "Hey! Let's build a variety of servers so that people can get the features they want, and while were at it, let's get thousands of titles into the marketplace and sell them at prices too good to pass up! After all we have to digitize our old tapes anyway and our new stuff is already being recorded digitally." But that guy would probably be fired immediately. So I'm being cautious for now.
Tomcy6, I'm glad to read what you say, but I think now SONY and every corporation is concerned only with the bottom line. But I do hope like you that the SONY Quad DSDs will see public availability or at least double DSD will be available. I should say that I have many of my SACDs in DSD on my music server and can play them as double DSD. They are clearly better than the SACDs played on a universal player.
Ditto Tomcy6
08-25-14: Tbg
Melbguy, what does the "new white bread" mean? Good or bad?
That was just tongue in cheek Tbg ;) You know me, i'm in for a penny, in for a pound! Actually i'm delaying ordering my next cdp until they finish a new DSD USB board.
Sony's problem is not that they are greedy, it is that they are tactically stupid. The beauty of capitalism, done right, is that it is a win-win proposition. The company, its employees, its stockholders, and its customers all benefit. So much for the economic viewpoints of Brownsfan.

I received the CD corollary of the native DSD Appalachian Journey album, and uploaded wav, ALAC, AIFF, and MP3 files of the Cloverfoot Reel track (redbook) for comparison with the native DSD file supplied with the HAPZ1. As I expected, the native DSD file was better (across the board) than the redbook CD files uploaded in the 4 formats, then converted on the fly to 2x DSD by the Sony. But--- the difference was not profound. There was more sweetness in the violin, more edge in Ma's cello, better depth in the double bass, but it was not an overwhelming difference. I've heard far more difference from redbook cd to redbook cd. I paid $7 for the CD shipped, vs $25 for the DSD download.

Now, if I didn't have a machine that converted to DSD on the fly, what would the difference be, and would it warrant 3.5 x the cost of a CD? Tomorrow, I will compare the 4 transferred files with the DSD engine turned off, and see what that reveals.

Sony music is again not paying careful attention to what the Sony ES division is doing. Come on, guys, we are not idiots. Release your native DSD files, make a couple bucks over what you make on CDs, and we will all be happy. I'm pretty sure you will net more based on volume than what you are doing now. Forget trying to save your ancient treasures and focus on your current offerings, some of which are excellent.

Or, you can kill one more strategic initiative that deserves to succeed with a business plan that won't fly.

Just glad the ES guys have their act together.
Sony is coming off a colossal failure in terms of mainstream acceptance...SACD...even when they attempted a hybrid CD layer...point being...Sony will probably drag its feet in terms of hi rez again....the real market is the non dsd Downloads...most non audiophiles are happy with "a" download...and I don't see the advantage...of Quad DSD if that is the case...that seems like an odd choice...but Sony does some odd decisions