When 1-bit gets you more than the $1-bill
The highway to great sounding recorded audio playback got much wider since the advent of higher sample rates for DSD. Now DSD128, 256 and 512 are new options offered as the Higher Rate Program (HRP) from NativeDSD.com in the Netherlands.
For that reason I say the 1-bit DSD recording format has only increased in value to happy music lovers compared with the the value of the US dollar over roughly the same past 20 years in the market.
If you have been buying DSD downloads or SACDs in the past, you might be happy to know that NativeDSD just began releasing some its top titles in higher resolution in the native DSD format. They call it HRP. What does that mean?
I listen to my records in NativeDSD’s HRP (“The Window”, “Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions”, “Crossing”) in the higher resolutions as native DSD studio masters and am truly blown away.
People have been saying and writing great things for some time about Double, Quad and now Octo DSD (read: DSD128, 256 and 512). For you Speed Racer types, those are the sample rates of 5.6mHz, 11.2mHz and 22.6mHz. If you are curious about what bitrate is compared to sample rate, remember that stereo has 2 channels (left and right) so the bitrate of DSD128 is 11.2mHz (5.6mbps x 2) and the others double for bit rates as well. If you get to multichannel (5.1 is 6 channels) then the multiplication x6 follows.
I like math these decades more than I used to, but what all these numbers really mean to me is that DSD can now better represent what I might see in an oscilloscope of the source recording sessions directly from the microphones and analog mixing boards as if they were being recorded to a nice fat analog tape. That’s exactly what it sounds like to my ears after hearing it being played back through my DSD DAC. Some call that transparency. I know it just sounds natural and acoustically correct.
It has never been as easy as today to find and buy both the gear required to play these sonic beauties (DACs), nor the titles of released material in formats as high as DSD512 which (here’s my Indy 500 voice…) sports no less than 512x times the resolution of the ubiquitously hated CD.
Please note: Your hardware and music player software must support these higher bit rates to work at all!
To me even that is not as important as the distinct differences between CD’s audio format (PCM) and DSD’s format (PDM). But that is a subject for another treatise. You can read about HRP and DSD’s higher resolutions according to Brian Moura on NativeDSD’s website…
When the resolution (aka sample rate) is increased it means a finer grade of detail is applied to the digital representation of a completely non-digital (i.e., analog) requirement for human hearing otherwise known as sound waves.
Better representation means better reproduction which means better playback through your speakers and headphones. No I won’t start talking about the election or Democratic debates here. All I’m saying is the better described the analog sound wave is to a computer’s digital version of storage of that sound wave, the better a smartphone or computer or online Spotify/TIDAL/Apple Music server app can reconstruct that nice easy movement of air that lets us hear what was played in natural, uncompressed, non-edgy ways.
If you believe in all of that which I do, then higher resolution usually means better sounding music to your ears.
Why do I even care about all this? Because I’ve always wanted my records to sound good. Better than what CD could offer. That’s why I started with DSD at the very beginning of the 21st century. I like good sounding music in general, I always have.
What Was I Just Saying…
Onwards with this email announcement probably the second last for 2019…
LET ME WISH ALL OF YOU THIS: Have a very very Happy Holiday Season and New Year Celebration. Be Well Stay Well Be Well Stay Well on all continents and hemispheres.
copyright David Elias, 2019
All photos copyright David Elias