Author Topic: Cataloging and playing DSD files  (Read 53484 times)

jrlx

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Is there any way to catalog and directly play DSD files in MB? Perhaps by means of a plug-in?

Thanks in advance

Steven

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only if you can find a winamp input plugin for that format

jrlx

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I didn't find any. I'm only aware of a DSD plug-in for foobar2000.

ma_t14

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After some research i came to the conclusion that DSD is a less popular alternative to PCM which the standard form for digital audio in computer and is used mainly in SACD's (super audio cd).

It is highly unlikely to find a plugin for this (I could't find anything as well) so the best way to get around this is to find cd ripper that supports this (assuming that we are talking about a physical source) or a converter and convert it to a format that is more popular and space conserving e.g FLAC. I can see no reason why would you want store the DSD file on your computer (correct me if I'm wrong, I am not very knowledgeable in this area)   :-\

kstuart

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Quick Background:

Around 30 years ago, CD was invented as a digital (PCM) format of 16 bits at 44.1 khz which at the time was thought to be "perfect sound forever".   However, it turned out that theory did not work in practice, and 16/44.1 was found to be audibly inferior to higher resolution (24 bit) that made the sound smoother and less harsh sounding, and higher bitrate (96 khz or even 192 khz) that made it sound clearer and more transparent.

At the same time (1990s), Sony developed a different system with 1-bit resolution, but at a very high bitrate (2822.4 khz) that had certain advantages in creating cheap chips and using software to manipulate audio.   They called this DSD, and all of the top albums on Sony-owned labels were released in DSD format (aka "SuperAudio CD", aka "SACD").   For, example, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones albums were all released on SACD.    SACD sounds perfectly transparent - I have heard master tapes in studios, and SACD sounds the same as the original master tape.    (24/96 sounds great and you cannot notice the same problems as 16/44.1, but it just doesn't sound quite as transparent as SACD.)

But, in the end "earlier Sony" beat out "new Sony" - in other words, Sony's original CD specification of 16 bit and 44 khz of PCM, established PCM as a standard that could not be removed by the superior DSD.

So, now 24 bit and 96 khz is the standard for "high resolution audio" and is used on the audio of movies on Blu-Ray disc.

However, there are SACDs out there, and people want to play the better quality version when they listen to Miles or Dylan, and they want to have all their music on hard drive now.    So, there are DSD ripping programs out there and foobar has a plugin to play them.   There is more interest in this recently, because all the SACDs are out-of-print.

It occurred to me that a valuable - yet simple - MusicBee input plugin would be one that:

a) supports the file extension as an audio file that is part of the music library database,

and then

b) starts an external player to play those files (in this case, foobar2000).

This might be ideal for some of these more obscure audiophile formats...
Last Edit: November 20, 2011, 08:32:47 PM by kstuart

jrlx

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Thanks kstuart for the helpful background.

For those of us who listen to classical music there are lots of SACDs available and many new releases every month.

On the other hand there is a method for ripping SACDs based on a firmware modified Playstation 3. Only older PS3, capable of playing SACDs and older firmware versions can be used. Details on this can be found in the Computer Audiophile Forum:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/SACD-ripping-using-your-PS3-part-2

Please note that normal CD/DVD drives and CD rippers cannot rip the DSD layer of SACDs due to the encryption techniques used by the SACD system. If you try to rip a SACD with the usual methods you'll only be able to rip the CD layer of the disc (if it is an hybrid disc, with both a CD and SACD layer).

For those who are following the PS3 ripping method, and getting the DSD files out of the SACDs, there are some options to play them:

- use foobar2000 with the DSD plug-in, to play DSD directly
- play the DSD files with specialised hardware (e.g.: Korg recorders)
- convert DSD to PCM 24/88.2 or 24/176.4 using a conversor (e.g.: Korg Audiogate)

However, it would be at least useful if MB could recognise DSD files and send them to an external player, as suggested.

The ultimate objective would be to send the DSD data unaltered directly to an AV receiver or DAC capable of decoding the native DSD data

cartman005

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That is very interesting. So is DSD considered to be higher quality than lossless formats?

ma_t14

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That is very interesting. So is DSD considered to be higher quality than lossless formats?

Most people cannot distinguish between 128k encoded MP3s and FLACs expecially without the use of audiophile-grade equipment. I would imagine the difference between PCM and DSD to be virtually non-existent to any human ear...

kstuart

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That is very interesting. So is DSD considered to be higher quality than lossless formats?
"Lossless" means that there is no loss of sound quality due to compression - the word literally means "without loss".

"Lossey" compression is where there is loss of sound quality due to compression.   A good lossey method (called a "codec") will lose the least important parts of the file, when compressing to a smaller file size.   But, the more compression, the more audible the loss.

Lossey compression includes:

- MP3 and WMA and AAC audio formats as used by portable players
- MPEG1 and MPEG2 video formats as used by VCD, DVD and Blu-Ray and TV
- MPEG4 video formats as used by Blu-Ray and TV and portable players

Lossless compressions includes FLAC, APE, DSD and ALAC audio formats as well as WAV as found on audio CDs.

Note:   All digital video is lossey, there is no lossless digital video, as the filesizes would be too large.   So, the common myth "Don't ruin a lossless DVD by converting it to MPEG4" is wrong, as DVD is lossey.

kstuart

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That is very interesting. So is DSD considered to be higher quality than lossless formats?

Most people cannot distinguish between 128k encoded MP3s and FLACs expecially without the use of audiophile-grade equipment.
That is certainly true, just as most people cannot tell the difference between Chateau Lafite Rotshchild and Two Buck Chuck, and most people cannot really tell the difference between a Corvette and the latest Ferrari.

But, your sentence can be reduced to "Most people cannot distinguish low-quality and audiophile-quality, especially without the use of audiophile-grade equipment" is also true because of the equipment aspect.   This is the same as saying that no one can tell the difference between a Ford Escort and a Ferrari when stuck in a 10 mph traffic jam, which is also true.

cartman005

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"Lossless" means that there is no loss of sound quality due to compression - the word literally means "without loss".

"Lossey" compression is where there is loss of sound quality due to compression.   A good lossey method (called a "codec") will lose the least important parts of the file, when compressing to a smaller file size.   But, the more compression, the more audible the loss.

Yeah, you got me there, haha. I guess that was worded stupidly. But then why can't you convert the files to FLAC?

kstuart

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"Lossless" means that there is no loss of sound quality due to compression - the word literally means "without loss".

"Lossey" compression is where there is loss of sound quality due to compression.   A good lossey method (called a "codec") will lose the least important parts of the file, when compressing to a smaller file size.   But, the more compression, the more audible the loss.

Yeah, you got me there, haha. I guess that was worded stupidly. But then why can't you convert the files to FLAC?

You can convert them to flac.    As jrix said earlier in this thread:
Quote
convert DSD to PCM 24/88.2 or 24/176.4 using a conversor (e.g.: Korg Audiogate)
All FLAC files use the PCM technique "Pulse Code Modulation" (as do APE and WAV files).

Since DSD is slightly better quality than existing PCM files, then there is a slight quality loss, but since 24/88.2 is really outstanding quality already, doing the conversion could be a practical way to go.

But at the moment, all DSD related software is rare.

Talos

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I'll start a new thread if my response here does not cause it to percolate up to the top for a while...

Since this thread was last responded to a couple of years ago, some significant advances have taken place in the field of DSD playback.  First of all, a general consensus has emerged among those at the bleeding edge of the high end that DSD does indeed sound better than even the highest resolution PCM.  However, the reasons for this remain subject to ongoing discussion.  Nonetheless, the fact is that DAC manufacturers are today falling over themselves to introduce DSD capability to their DACs.  Channel Classics, who record everything in DSD, has taken the plunge and is now selling huge chunks of their (classical) catalog in downloadable DSD format.  The end-game here seems to be multi-channel.

Anyway, the OP's original questions needs to be addressed in the light of today's technological State-of-the-Union.  Head on over to ComputerAudiophile.com which is humming with DSD activity.  I for one have over 50 DSD albums already, and would like to import them into MusicBee if for no other reason than that I use MusicBee to manage the metadata of my 30,000+ song catalog.

MusicBee has an absolutely killer reference-standard metadata editing and managing capability.  Even if playback were to remain problematic (and today, it needn't be), the ability to edit DSD metadata would be both desirable, and, as best as I can tell, quite unique.

kstuart

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MusicBee is great software, but it is designed for the best possible visual experience foremost, and then the best possible audio with those visuals.  The web site you mentioned has discussions of other players used by audiophiles that have sophisticated DSD support (not foobar, whose designer is anti-audiophile).

Out of respect for MusicBee's designer, I won't talk about any competing players, just read that site if you are interested in players with DSD support.

Steven

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The BASS. library now supports a DSD plugin which i have added to musicbee.
The DSD rate is displayed in the Now Playing panel. As far as tags go, MB reads ID3v2 tags (i especially would like some feedback this is OK), but for now doesnt support writing tags.
I have tested this on some freely downloadable DSD files bit I would appreciate any confirmation its working OK so i can report back to the bass developer

http://musicbee.niblseed.com/V2_5/MusicBee_Exe_Patched.zip

unzip and replace the existing files where MB is installed