• QuadraphonicQuad welcomes you and encourages your participation! Treat all members with respect. Please keep all discussions civil, even when you have a strong opinion on a particular topic.

    Do not offer for free, offer for sale, offer for trade, or request copies or files of copyrighted material - no matter how rare or unavailable to the public they might be. We do not condone the illegal sharing of music. There are many places on the internet where you can participate in such transactions, but QuadraphonicQuad is not one of them. We are here to encourage and support new multichannel releases from those companies that still provide them and as such the distribution of illegal copies of recordings is counter-productive to that effort. Any posts of this sort will be deleted without notification.

    Please try to avoid discussions that pit one format against another. Hint for new users: make liberal use of the search facilities here at QuadraphonicQuad. Our message base is an incredibly rich resource of detailed information on virtually all topics pertaining to surround-sound. You will be surprised at what you can find with a little digging!

Converting DSD Files to FLAC

Help Support QuadraphonicQuad:

atrocity

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Jun 14, 2002
Messages
1,522
Location
Sacramento, California
I hate to get mired in any of these discussions, but anyone who says that different FLAC encoders produce different sounding files is selling you audiophile snake oil. It's a lossless 1:1 codec, so what you put in is exactly what you get out, bit for bit. It's like suggesting if you compressed and uncompressed some pictures with WinRAR that the people in them would be better looking than if you did the same thing with WinZIP or something.
This is true. The one thing to look out for is that some of the unofficial encoders produce files that sometimes don't work everywhere. I've personally been bit by that a time or two.
 

Ninecats

701 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Jun 23, 2015
Messages
760
Location
Sweden
Hmm, I can recall posting the first message in an on going thread but here it looks like I created it??
 

hirez

Well-known Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2013
Messages
179
Location
St Augustine, Fl USA
I hate to get mired in any of these discussions, but anyone who says that different FLAC encoders produce different sounding files is selling you audiophile snake oil. It's a lossless 1:1 codec, so what you put in is exactly what you get out, bit for bit. It's like suggesting if you compressed and uncompressed some pictures with WinRAR that the people in them would be better looking than if you did the same thing with WinZIP or something.

Don't be fooled by the analog mindset that better or more expensive components mean better digital transport. Bits are bits, 1's and 0's, they either get transmitted to their destination or they don't - running them through an expensive cable, or storing them on a disc made out of magical "super" materials, or (presuming they're doing a proper 1:1 encode) using different lossless encoders isn't going to make those 1's or 0's any more or less robust than they were before the process started.
Haven't heard much from you lately so I am glad you are still around and at least reading.

BTW YES 1's are 1's and 0's are 0's and all the rest is snake oil.
 

hirez

Well-known Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2013
Messages
179
Location
St Augustine, Fl USA
Long time ago I believed in the snake oil but then one day when I played a particular disc of which I had 2, one snaked and one not, and then played the non, thinking it was the snaked oiled disc, and heard differences I decided it was all mental preconceptions and not the snake oil.
 

J. PUPSTER

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
QQ Supporter
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
4,204
Location
CALIFORNIA (CENTRAL)
Long time ago I believed in the snake oil but then one day when I played a particular disc of which I had 2, one snaked and one not, and then played the non, thinking it was the snaked oiled disc, and heard differences I decided it was all mental preconceptions and not the snake oil.
That's what I'm curious about. The truth is out there, but do we really want to know?👽 🖖
 

HomerJAU

Moderator: MCH Media Players
Staff member
Joined
Jun 13, 2013
Messages
2,957
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Some would argue that if applying snake oil causes perceived improvement, even if only a mental preconception, said snake oil actually works!
 

MrSmithers

800 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
868
Location
UK 🇬🇧
Hey peeps,

Does anyone have a definitive set up when converting DSD to PCM (flac)?

I've read that 88.2 kHz should be the default sample rate but I decided to do a test and the 176.4 sounded a tiny tiny bit better. It's quite possible my mind was playing tricks on me - looking for a sonic improvement knowing it was a larger file! I'd prefer just to nail the best audio really... A-B-ing is really tough to tackle unless you have 2 identically set up systems to switch between.

I'm using XLD Converter (Mac based) and there are couple of different settings for converting from DSD -

Samplerate Conversion - Drop down menu starting from 192, 176.2, 96, 88.2 kHz etc...

SRC Algorithm - Drop down menu with SoX MQ, SoX HQ, SoX VHQ Linear Phase, SoX VHQ Intermediate Phase, SoX VHQ Minimum Phase

39017

Does anyone know what the SRC Algorithm is and what's the best one to use?! 🤯

I do have to say that I can actually hear the difference on my system when playing DSD. There's just a very subtle nuance especially when it's well mastered like the DV's. I have a really modest system but it can handle multichannel DSD. The problem I have is that it has to be through DLNA and the interface is really bad (think boot up screen). And it also doesn't support gapless.

Because of that I decided to opt for an Intel NUC with Kodi. It's really great and perfect with PCM however Kodi can't handle DSD (so far) through HDMI and converts to PCM on the fly at 192kHz. You'd think technically it could be able to bitstream as my £65 blu ray player can send DSD files over HDMI?

I'm hoping at some point I'll be able to get DSD going through the NUC. But in the meantime I'm thinking of doing some conversions - so just wondered if I should stick to 88.2?
 
Last edited:

jimfisheye

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
1,334
First, I use Sonore iso2dsd (a free Javascript app) to rip a SACD iso image to DSD files.
(I feel like there should be a better way to do this... A Java app? ... But it appears to work and it's simple.)

I'll use XLD to convert to PCM and I save that in FLAC in the end.
Settings here are important!
You want 32:1 decimation to convert the DSD losslessly to PCM. This results in a sample rate of 88.2k.
Anything else gives a lossy conversion and the lossiness goes way beyond normal PCM to PCM sample rate conversion!

The levels on DSD program can end up anywhere from 6db low to 6db over zero after conversion to PCM.
If you have a hot example and convert it straight to FLAC (or any format in 24 bit), you will clip! Conversely, a lower level example will lose precision (even if only 1 bit). So it is critical to convert to floating point first!

Convert the DSD to 32 bit floating point wav using 32:1 decimation.
Open the wav files in your favorite DAW app.
Normalize the levels to just below zero.
Now render those files to 24 bit fixed and convert to FLAC.

Re: 176.4k sample rate sounding better than 88.2k.
You may have hardware converters that perform better as ultra HD sample rates vs. HD sample rates. (In the same way that most consumer converters found in AVRs run better at HD than SD.)
You could convert some program in 88.2k to 176.4k and A/B listen to try to confirm that. There's no actual meaningful audio content captured above 20kHz. HD sample rates are all about the machines we build (AD & DA converters in this case) running better. I'll assume you were being critical and this wasn't a red hearing chasing a different volume level. (You must match levels within 0.1db or you will pick the louder program as sounding better.)
 

MrSmithers

800 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
868
Location
UK 🇬🇧
First, I use Sonore iso2dsd (a free Javascript app) to rip a SACD iso image to DSD files.
(I feel like there should be a better way to do this... A Java app? ... But it appears to work and it's simple.)

I'll use XLD to convert to PCM and I save that in FLAC in the end.
Settings here are important!
You want 32:1 decimation to convert the DSD losslessly to PCM. This results in a sample rate of 88.2k.
Anything else gives a lossy conversion and the lossiness goes way beyond normal PCM to PCM sample rate conversion!

The levels on DSD program can end up anywhere from 6db low to 6db over zero after conversion to PCM.
If you have a hot example and convert it straight to FLAC (or any format in 24 bit), you will clip! Conversely, a lower level example will lose precision (even if only 1 bit). So it is critical to convert to floating point first!

Convert the DSD to 32 bit floating point wav using 32:1 decimation.
Open the wav files in your favorite DAW app.
Normalize the levels to just below zero.
Now render those files to 24 bit fixed and convert to FLAC.

Re: 176.4k sample rate sounding better than 88.2k.
You may have hardware converters that perform better as ultra HD sample rates vs. HD sample rates. (In the same way that most consumer converters found in AVRs run better at HD than SD.)
You could convert some program in 88.2k to 176.4k and A/B listen to try to confirm that. There's no actual meaningful audio content captured above 20kHz. HD sample rates are all about the machines we build (AD & DA converters in this case) running better. I'll assume you were being critical and this wasn't a red hearing chasing a different volume level. (You must match levels within 0.1db or you will pick the louder program as sounding better.)
Thanks Jim,

That's really great info!! Yes I'll use the 32:1 option now with 32 bit floating point and then I should be pukka to go on from there. I originally went for 8:1 as I'd read those numbers somewhere? But it resulted in 500mb files - even bigger then the original dsf files! So I kinda gave up on that option... When you select from the ratio box it blanks out the other options...

Regarding the 176.4 I think I really was just trying to kid myself!

Woohoo I'm excited now to give this a whirl... :SB
 

bmoura

Super Moderator
Staff member
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
9,470
Location
Redwood City, CA
I do have to say that I can actually hear the difference on my system when playing DSD. There's just a very subtle nuance especially when it's well mastered like the DV's. I have a really modest system but it can handle multichannel DSD. The problem I have is that it has to be through DLNA and the interface is really bad (think boot up screen). And it also doesn't support gapless.

Because of that I decided to opt for an Intel NUC with Kodi. It's really great and perfect with PCM however Kodi can't handle DSD (so far) through HDMI and converts to PCM on the fly at 192kHz. You'd think technically it could be able to bitstream as my £65 blu ray player can send DSD files over HDMI?

I'm hoping at some point I'll be able to get DSD going through the NUC. But in the meantime I'm thinking of doing some conversions - so just wondered if I should stick to 88.2?
You can try a different music player program like JRiver Media Center with the NUC.
JRiver isn't very CPU intensive and if you set it to the DSD/Bitstream setting it plays Stereo and Multichannel DSD files quite well.
 

MrSmithers

800 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
868
Location
UK 🇬🇧
You can try a different music player program like JRiver Media Center with the NUC.
JRiver isn't very CPU intensive and if you set it to the DSD/Bitstream setting it plays Stereo and Multichannel DSD files quite well.
Thanks Brian, I did upgrade to a MC 25 master version before I got the NUC so I’m covering all bases. I just wasn’t sure it could do it over HDMI because even on the ID I’d read people not being able to do it? It may be down to the receiver perhaps? Or you need to run it through an oppo that has HDMI in, HDMI out? If so that’s out of my ballpark for the mo...

Anyway it’s cool to have all these options... Hopefully now that lossless multichannel music can be played from a hard drive interest will step up! And they’ll be more releases?!
 

bmoura

Super Moderator
Staff member
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
9,470
Location
Redwood City, CA
Thanks Brian, I did upgrade to a MC 25 master version before I got the NUC so I’m covering all bases. I just wasn’t sure it could do it over HDMI because even on the ID I’d read people not being able to do it? It may be down to the receiver perhaps? Or you need to run it through an oppo that has HDMI in, HDMI out? If so that’s out of my ballpark for the mo...

Anyway it’s cool to have all these options... Hopefully now that lossless multichannel music can be played from a hard drive interest will step up! And they’ll be more releases?!
In that case, be sure to try JRiver. I've found that the CPU requirements of the various music play programs varies quite a bit.

Many people find Signalyst's HQ Player to be the best sounding music program. But that one is very CPU intensive, especially when it is used for upsampling.
JRiver has been around for a long time and is widely used. As one DAC maker told me at an audio show (where he was supposed to be demoing a competing product), JRiver - "It just works".

On more Multichannel DSD music releases, they are continuing. New ones are being released almost every week at NativeDSD. In many cases albums that are not available on SACD disc.
Keep an eye on that site.
 

filper

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
1,342
Location
Wasaga Beach, ON
I have read this thread through twice and I am confused. Is the whole process of DSD to FLAC simply to save hard disc space ? .dsf files are very conveniently tagged right off the disc (or download), why go to the effort ? A TB of storage is well under $50.
 

bmoura

Super Moderator
Staff member
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
9,470
Location
Redwood City, CA
I have read this thread through twice and I am confused. Is the whole process of DSD to FLAC simply to save hard disc space ? .dsf files are very conveniently tagged right off the disc (or download), why go to the effort ? A TB of storage is well under $50.
It's a matter of personal choice. I keep the DSD files in .dsf format for playback here.
Works great. :)
 

MrSmithers

800 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
868
Location
UK 🇬🇧
I have read this thread through twice and I am confused. Is the whole process of DSD to FLAC simply to save hard disc space ? .dsf files are very conveniently tagged right off the disc (or download), why go to the effort ? A TB of storage is well under $50.
I think it's more to do with playback functionality as apposed to storage? DSD (especially multichannel) requires certain specs from the DAC that can be tricky to get universal playback.
 

bmoura

Super Moderator
Staff member
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
9,470
Location
Redwood City, CA
I think it's more to do with playback functionality as apposed to storage? DSD (especially multichannel) requires certain specs from the DAC that can be tricky to get universal playback.
My experience is that if a DAC has DSD Stereo or DSD Multichannel playback, it also provides playback of FLAC and WAV PCM files.
So I wouldn't say it is a tricky issue.
 

MrSmithers

800 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
868
Location
UK 🇬🇧
My experience is that if a DAC has DSD Stereo or DSD Multichannel playback, it also provides playback of FLAC and WAV PCM files.
So I wouldn't say it is a tricky issue.
Yep I'd just heard of a few A/V receivers and streamers that could only do stereo dsd versus multichannel. My Amp can do multichannel dsd but I thought there was then a bit of a jump to a Denon or you had to then play through an Oppo to get multichannel dsd? The specs on these things are sometimes vague - just specifying that they play dsd - only to hear reports that it's stereo only...

When I first started to look into it - I thought "I'm saving up so one day I can get an exasound" but feared that may be a while off yet! Then I came across the native dsd database that led me to get my Sony STR DN-1080...

I wish the manufacturers would just tick all the boxes. It seems rather inexpensive to do but a lot of them just do stereo dsd and that's when you have to think about converting to flac to try and get playback. I'm in a slightly different boat because I wanted gapless playback and a better interface then the Sony, which I think I've found now getting an Intel NUC...
 
Last edited:

Kal Rubinson

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Jul 22, 2004
Messages
1,839
Location
NYC/CT
Yep I'd just heard of a few A/V receivers and streamers that could only do stereo dsd versus multichannel. My Amp can do multichannel dsd but I thought there was then a bit of a jump to a Denon or you had to then play though an Oppo to get multichannel dsd? The specs on these things are sometimes vague - just specifying that they play dsd - only to hear reports that it's stereo only...
but that is a personal problem with particular hardware and you always have to deal with it. However, in principle, there is no issue. I can play anything through the exaSound but, in my other house, I can play anything through the Marantz because I set it up to do so. No reason to convert the files as the player makes the conversion as it plays.

When I first started to look into it - I thought "I'm saving up so one day I can get an exasound" but feared that may be a while off yet! Then I came across the native dsd database that led me to get my Sony STR DN-1080...
Cheaper option on the way. 🆒
 
Last edited:

ssully

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
Messages
2,684
Location
in your face
Hey peeps,

Does anyone have a definitive set up when converting DSD to PCM (flac)?

DSD was originally meant to be an archiving format for record companies.. The idea was to have the master digital version be DSD, and it would be rendered to PCM for consumer products. It's why DSD rates were/are integral multiples of CD rate (44.1) . 88.2 and 44.1 are sample rates that DSD was 'designed' to render to in PCM.

That doesn't mean you'll necessarily hear any difference if you use 96Khz or even 192kHz. But you will be including more ultrasonic noise in the file, compared to 44.1 and 88.2.

Your playback system may or may not filter ultrasonics out (typically SACD players had analog low-pass filtering as a last output step ...IIRC it was 50khz filtering, or 100Khz)

Arguably if you want to eliminate ultrasonic noise completely, stick to 44.1. Also gives you the smallest files, if that's a concern.

Then again, some (many?) of our modern AVRs convert sample rates anyway, whenever DSP is used. IIRC if you use Audyssey room eq, everything is converted to 48/24.

FWIW, I use 88.2 'just because'.

NB 'Subtle nuances' are hard to distinguish from 'totally placebo'.



tl;dr: prolly doesn't matter.
 

bmoura

Super Moderator
Staff member
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
9,470
Location
Redwood City, CA
Yep I'd just heard of a few A/V receivers and streamers that could only do stereo dsd versus multichannel. My Amp can do multichannel dsd but I thought there was then a bit of a jump to a Denon or you had to then play through an Oppo to get multichannel dsd? The specs on these things are sometimes vague - just specifying that they play dsd - only to hear reports that it's stereo only...

When I first started to look into it - I thought "I'm saving up so one day I can get an exasound" but feared that may be a while off yet! Then I came across the native dsd database that led me to get my Sony STR DN-1080...

I wish the manufacturers would just tick all the boxes. It seems rather inexpensive to do but a lot of them just do stereo dsd and that's when you have to think about converting to flac to try and get playback. I'm in a slightly different boat because I wanted gapless playback and a better interface then the Sony, which I think I've found now getting an Intel NUC...
The Sony STR DN-1080 is a nice option for Multichannel playback.
On exaSound, yes that would be the next move up.



https://positive-feedback.com/audio-discourse/new-sony-receiver-5-1-multichannel-dsd-5-6-mhz-playback/
 
2
Group builder
Top