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Setting Up a DSD Download Playback System

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marpow

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I thought I would ask for help here, and if there is a more appropriate forum you can let me know. I seem to have hit a mental snag in my next musical pleasure. I want to start adding DSD Downloads to my library. I own the McIntosh D150 which can handle any DSD downloads via a USB connection. I think I would like to purchase a designated laptop for buying and storing DSD downloads. Input of to suggestion for laptop and also software would be great. I have read that some DSD downloads depending on software covert to PCM, I would not like that. Currently I only use HDTracks for FLAC downloads that are stored on my Bluesound Vault and played through the D150 via optical out. The Bluesound however does not have DSD capabilities.
Do company's like Acoustic Sounds that sell DSD have a "downloader" like HDTracks? I probably have little side questions that will come up. I would assume any moderately priced laptop would be OK, it is more about the software and ease of use?
Thank you, your own experience would be great.
 

bmoura

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I thought I would ask for help here, and if there is a more appropriate forum you can let me know. I seem to have hit a mental snag in my next musical pleasure. I want to start adding DSD Downloads to my library. I own the McIntosh D150 which can handle any DSD downloads via a USB connection. I think I would like to purchase a designated laptop for buying and storing DSD downloads. Input of to suggestion for laptop and also software would be great.
Using a laptop with music file/downloads works well. I have an HP Spectre x360 with an Intel i5 CPU running Windows 10 connected to the DAC in my listening room.
Works fine.

On music playback software, there are over 20 playback programs that play DSD music files. See the DSD Playback Software tab in the DSD Database at http://nativedsd.com/database

I'm using JRiver Media Center 22 for Stereo & Multichannel music file playback. Sells for $70 and has a 30 day Free Trial so you can try before buying.
You can also get the companion JRemote software if you want to control music selection and playback from your Android or Apple tablet or smartphone.
http://jriver.com/purchase.html
http://www.jremote.net/

I have read that some DSD downloads depending on software covert to PCM, I would not like that. Currently I only use HDTracks for FLAC downloads that are stored on my Bluesound Vault and played through the D150 via optical out. The Bluesound however does not have DSD capabilities.
No, DSD Downloads can be played with a Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) or Player that supports DSD without a conversion to PCM.
You will get the best sound quality if you play the DSD music files that way.

You can store DSD music files - and all music files - on the SSD or Hard Disk of your laptop, an external Hard Disk or a network attached storage (NAS) device. The storage needs will depend on how many music files you have and their size. Multichannel music files are larger than Stereo files.

Do company's like Acoustic Sounds that sell DSD have a "downloader" like HDTracks?
It varies by Music Download site. Some use a downloader licensed from JRiver, like Acoustic Sounds and HDTracks.
Others make the music files available using ZIP files. For ZIP files, a download helper program for your web browser can improve the download process.

I probably have little side questions that will come up. I would assume any moderately priced laptop would be OK, it is more about the software and ease of use?
A moderately priced laptop will work fine. I'd recommend one with an Intel i5 CPU or above.
The one exception is if you plan to upsample your music files. In that case, having a powerful laptop or computer may be needed.
 

marpow

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Thank you Brian, I think I have what I needed, just needed a little push.

Last question: I assume that ripping my existing SACD collection to the JRiver Media Center 22 for instance only gets ripped at the CD layer? And therefore my existing SACD collection continues to be played via the SACD player? I am not willing to rip via PlayStation.
 

bmoura

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Thank you Brian, I think I have what I needed, just needed a little push.
Glad to help. :)

Last question: I assume that ripping my existing SACD collection to the JRiver Media Center 22 for instance only gets ripped at the CD layer? And therefore my existing SACD collection continues to be played via the SACD player? I am not willing to rip via PlayStation.
If you are ripping your SACD collection with a program that rips the CD layer (like dBpoweramp or Bluesound Vault), that is correct.
Only the CD layer is ripped.

On the other hand, if you use a PlayStation or the Oppo/Pioneer method, these techniques are designed to rip the DSD layer which contains the DSD Stereo and DSD Multichannel tracks on the SACD.

It's also worth noting that the sound quality of the DAC in your McIntosh D150 is probably better than the DAC in your disc player. So ripping the DSD audio from the SACD and playing the Stereo tracks on the D150 is worth experimenting with. You will probably be pleased with the results. :)
 

marpow

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I currently have the McIntosh MVP891 disc player but does not have the capability to play through the D150 and I am thinking about purchasing the McIntosh MCT450 which has a DIN connection out that would go through the D150, which I have heard is superior sound, but will see how my budget is. I, like others, still love reading the liner notes, so I think at least at this point the hard disc format is still attractive.

Sorry, off track, I believe I am on my way to my DSD download capabilities.

It's also worth noting that the sound quality of the DAC in your McIntosh D150 is probably better than the DAC in your disc player. So ripping the DSD audio from the SACD and playing the Stereo tracks on the D150 is worth experimenting with. You will probably be pleased with the results. :)
 

bmoura

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I currently have the McIntosh MVP891 disc player but does not have the capability to play through the D150 and I am thinking about purchasing the McIntosh MCT450 which has a DIN connection out that would go through the D150, which I have heard is superior sound, but will see how my budget is. I, like others, still love reading the liner notes, so I think at least at this point the hard disc format is still attractive.

Sorry, off track, I believe I am on my way to my DSD download capabilities.
I haven't priced your options. But you may find that getting a PlayStation or Oppo 103 for SACD rips to DSD files may be cheaper than getting a new McIntosh Disc Player. That would also let you play the ripped DSD files from the SACDs via the D150 DAC and enjoy the D150s sound quality in Stereo.

Also worth noting the Oppo 103 (and 105) can be used for Stereo and Multichannel DSD 64fs (single rate DSD) file playback.
https://www.quadraphonicquad.com/forums/showthread.php?20071-Playing-Multichannel-DSD-Downloads-on-Oppo-103-and-105-Players
https://www.quadraphonicquad.com/forums/showthread.php?22388-SACD-to-ISO-with-Oppo-amp-Pioneer-BD-players!
 

bmoura

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Two other things to look at:

Free DSD Downloads from sites like Blue Coast, DSD File/Opus 3 and Native DSD Music, among others, will let you test out Stereo and Multichannel DSD files at multiple bit rates (DSD 64, DSD 128, DSD 256) at no cost if you provide your email address on these sites. See message # 1 linked below:
https://www.quadraphonicquad.com/forums/showthread.php?20478-DSD-Discounts-amp-Free-DSD-Downloads

A Metadata Editor like Tag and Rename ($29.95) can be handy to review and edit the metadata (cover art, genre, artist, song title, etc. info) and change it as needed
http://www.softpointer.com/tr.htm
 

marpow

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Joined
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Messages
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Well I have the birth of my DSD playback. Surely a beginners model. I took my current laptop, had to download the McIntosh driver to sync with the McIntosh D150, then downloaded the free trial of JRiver 22 software. I am still trying to figure out the playback, looking for the auto feature but can't seem to find. I am able to do it manually and listened to my very first DSD download, Johnny Winter, The Best Of. Stereo only. What an incredible listening experience. This could get expensive. I used a AudioQuest USB type a to type b connector. I will certainly purchase the JRiver software. When I get this dialed in I think I'll purchase a designated lap top.
 

bmoura

Super Moderator
Staff member
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2003
Messages
9,470
Location
Redwood City, CA
Well I have the birth of my DSD playback. Surely a beginners model. I took my current laptop, had to download the McIntosh driver to sync with the McIntosh D150, then downloaded the free trial of JRiver 22 software. I am still trying to figure out the playback, looking for the auto feature but can't seem to find. I am able to do it manually and listened to my very first DSD download, Johnny Winter, The Best Of. Stereo only.

What an incredible listening experience. This could get expensive. I used a AudioQuest USB type a to type b connector. I will certainly purchase the JRiver software. When I get this dialed in I think I'll purchase a designated lap top.
Congratulations.

Be sure to check some of the free DSD Downloads to beef up your collection without spending more $.
https://www.quadraphonicquad.com/forums/showthread.php?20478-DSD-Discounts-amp-Free-DSD-Downloads

If you stay with JRiver 22, you'll want to try JRemote with your tablet. Works well and really increases the enjoyment of playing DSD Downloads wirelessly.
http://www.jremote.net/
 
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