Category Archives: DSD Listening

MESSAGE FROM DE: When a message is better than a mission. Why DSD Why MQA Why Hi-Res Why Art Of Listening

On Mar 4, 2020, at 12:01 PM, music at davidelias.com wrote:

Aloha & Welcome to the hi-res world with DSD and MQA as well as PCM above 16/44.1. I was introduced to DSD long ago and still work quite a bit at what I came to call the art of listening, a lot of which has to do with retraining my ears not to listen to music the way compressed CD was first presented in the early 80’s. In 1999 I heard DSD64 from a Sony prototype 2-track (Stereo) archive machine on some of the Sony analog masters converted to DSD and captured in the new PDM (not PCM) approach to digital audio. I finally had some relief in listening to digital audio and could relax with what I was hearing as a counterpart to the original analog recording. I’ve been working at those listening skills ever since and there are many dimensions to them.

To answer some of your questions about free DSD demos, the first page I can send you to is here:

https://www.oppodigital.com/hra/dsd-by-davidelias.aspx

I worked with OPPO for many years before they shut their doors in the US. Great company and products for value and quality. I still use the 103 here for SACD and CD mostly. My samples on this OPPO page can get you into comparing some of the basic variations in digital audio from straight PCM, to hi-res PCM, to DSD and then MQA.

In prior years I have tried to upsample my own DSD masters to DSD128 and DSD256 and never had a conclusive result as far as listening and comparing to the original DSD64. So I left that aside until NativeDSD did their conversions using more modern tools and gear. Things improved dramatically for my ears under their process of the DSD resample. In addition, I use a fantastic product from iFi Audio that has the ability to upsample/resample everything it receives streaming from MP3 (any bitrate) to CD (ie, TIDAL) to higher res (Qobuz 24/96) and first filter then resample as DSD1024 before converting to analog and preamplification through their analog tube component.

This is the iFi Audio Pro iDSD Preamp/DAC — I wrote about it on my blog (https://art-of-listening.com) and it was published at Positive Feedback Online (https://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/ifi-audio-pro-idsd-dac/).

If you take the time to download and compare some of the samples on the OPPO page, let me know if there’s a particular song that works best for you as far as comparative listening and I can send you a DSD128 of that for you to play in your OPPO.  The 205 by the way can be used as a DAC connected via to the PC and support DSD rates higher than 128.  Mac has problem going above DSD128. I use JRiver as my main computer audio player setup. The iFi Pro iDSD by the way can act as a regular USB DAC as well up to DSD512 playing downloaded audio.

The MQA approach (PCM not PDM) to higher sample rates makes the headache of the large DSD files go away for downloading as well as storage. You will see from my samples that the MQA remaster is not much larger than any 24/44.1k download (slightly larger than a CD ripped to FLAC). I measure the streaming bitrate of my MQA which unfolds to 24/352.8k at well under 1mbps. This is incredibly useful for anyone streaming, especially in places like here in East Hawaii where cell service and internet service are not fat pipes like in the big cities.

As I’ve written on my blog, MQA does an incredibly good job correcting the pre- (most important) and post-echo ringing in PCM masters. This is most effective on the Red Book CD Masters at 16/44.1k but adds sonic improvements at the higher rates as well like the popular 24/96 (ringing is not as severe on higher bitrate recorded/mastered work, nor does it exist for sonic detriment in DSD).

As you know already, hi-res is a big subject with lots of diversions to follow and things to try to get your best sound to your ears from your equipment in your rooms for listening and headphones. I’m happy to send you these samples and hope you take some time to compare them. The DSD128, DSD256 and DSD512 from NativeDSD are further improvements on what I get from my DSD masters. I wrote about this on my blog as well.

https://art-of-listening.com/2019/11/23/the-single-bit-in-dsd-goes-further-than-the-us-dollar/

Here is some summary of things I’ve been addressing in hi-res lately:
https://art-of-listening.com/2020/01/24/3-things-nothing-related-to-anything-except-everything/

If you search the web for OPPO 205 and DSD256 you can find more info on how the OPPO can play higher res DSD as a DAC from players like JRiver or Foobar2000 on the PC/Windows.

Hope all this helps.
Best Regards,

David Elias
https://davidelias.com
https://davidelias.bandcamp.com (PCM and MQA catalog)
https://youtube.com/davideliasvideo
https://art-of-listening.com

It’s Good To Be 12 or 13 Again

I’ve been playing and ripping vinyl to DSD. I don’t have this new Korg device but this article points to the huge surge in vinyl sales these past years. I have several cases of albums I’ve kept in climate controlled storage (Hawaii is very tough on lots of things threatened by heat and humidity). I retrieve these albums as desired bit by bit, or groove by groove I guess.

The vinyl I’ve been playing most is brand new vinyl releases from people around 30 yrs. old or younger. They don’t offer streaming on Spotify or TIDAL. They often don’t have a Facebook or Tumblr page. They don’t offer CDs. They usually have cassettes in limited supply as is the vinyl. Occasionally I’ve seen 1/4″ analog 4- and 8-track tapes for sale.

It’s fun to be 12 and 13 yrs old again. The press we commonly know and are confronted by continues to be fixated on perpetuating its own machine at its own pace, pick an industry. That’s why I’m averse to press. I’d rather make up my own story than read theirs.

https://www.pressreader.com/usa/sound-vision/20180401/281599535941941

This article however appears on some people’s back pages. I don’t have this DS-DAC-10R device but a Korg antecedent. Actually I have 2 different Korg antecedents which are mobile DSD recorders. This 10R device from them is new to meet the rising vinyl market that Korg measures. Drop $500 — rip DSD128 off your vinyl. Simple. Vinyl and analog in general isn’t going away. CDs and downloads are.

As a good friend who has been working since the beginning with DSD and Sony SACD said and wrote almost 20 years ago, DSD is the analog quality without the flaws. I like it too cause it lasts forever and doesn’t change with the weather, especially if you are into digital backup like I am.

The Mobile HRA Mighty Duo (Safe for Home Use Too!)

XDP-100R and HA-2

Pioneer XDP-100R and OPPO HA-2 linked via USB (DoP). Together they comprise a mighty mobile or home studio duo.

Well I’d say in these modern days of tech not enough things work well together, at least not as expected given the decades of preparation those science/art folks have had to interoperate and optimize efficiencies for best results at lowest cost.

Do I expect too much? Maybe I don’t know. But I know I have been using two perfect examples of that kind of interrelated power with these two devices.

From Pioneer last year came the XDP-100R a High Resolution Audio (HRA) player with its own storage for audio files. The “gotcha have to try that” incentive for me was that this was one of the very first (and still one of the only) portable audio players that supported native DSD (1-bit to analog via DoP, or conversion to PCM up to 192 on the player itself and PCM to 384 via USB) as well as full res MQA decoding (up to 24/384kHz).

The OPPO HA-2 (now supplanted by the HA-2SE) is a “simple” headphone amplifier (analog circuitry) as well as a supreme native DSD DAC as well as PCM — both convert to analog and presented to either a headphone jack (with amplification) or a line out jack (for home stereo/studio use). In addition it is a lithium battery pack capable of charging other devices (like a Pioneer XDP-100R or iPhone/Android smartphone).

I’m working with DSD as a recording media for my music over 15 years now and MQA as a mastering with authentication PCM encoding for over 1 year. To me these don’t compete!  I am not surrounded by people of that same persuasion but then again, I’m not sure that matters to me either.

There’s a lot more to this story of the Mighty Duo…

Given that these 2 devices work independently of each other and the XDP-100R is a standalone player with a headphone/line out jack and 161 position volume control, it is not that obvious why I might want to pair them together.

Granted the HA-2 needs a player attached as its role is to do digital to analog conversion (DAC) and amplify the resulting signal as needed.

However in addition to the fact that the XDP-100R decodes MQA as studio authenticated masters up to the maximum resolution of masters out there today (24/384kHz), it can also upsample the resulting PCM to DSD and pass it on to the HA-2 via DoP!

The result for me (MQA decoded then upsampled to DSD at 5.6mHz Real Precision and sent to HA-2 for 1-bit conversion to analog) is absolutely some of the best sound quality I have ever heard.

I typically listen to these devices using OPPO PM-1 (open planar magnetic) though also PM-3 (closed planar magnetic) as well as earbuds (typically travel with Zipbuds Pro at about $25 on Amazon – amazing!).

If I play DSD tracks on the XDP-100R they get sent as-is to the HA-2 for 1-bit conversion and off to the headphones/stereo. Again both components doing exactly what they were made to do and doing it expertly well. This is really what I consider the best sound possible: A native DSD master played from the linked XDP + HA-2, as DSD via DoP, with no conversion except to analog out the headphone jack on the HA-2.

Well made recordings as native DSD masters (not upsampled to DSD but recorded/mastered as DSD or transferred from analog tape masters) will translate perfectly well as needed to any other media format.

To me PCM with MQA  encoding is a perfect media format for today’s media environment as it delivers hi-res up to 24/384k (19mbps) in right around 1.5 mbps streams or audio files in a lossless FLAC or ALAC format at 24/48k or 24/44.1k folded MQA. That’s smaller than 1/10th the size of the hi-res file or stream it becomes when it plays! The MQA DAC unfolds the hi-res on playback after the file or stream is downloaded or received.

Dare I say that when MQA decoding can be done from a Smartphone app, the cell network bandwidth required to stream MQA masters at 24/96 to your phone will not be a problem…even if you are not on an unlimited plan. If you are on an unlimited plan most of those get restricted around 22GB anyway.

So the differences between 1.5 mbps and say 5mbps for hi-res audio streaming have big effects on what someone might do with great quality music playing anywhere they go. Remember MQA in a FLAC format is not just smaller (about 1/5th the size of a 24/96 WAV/AIF file or DSD64 file for that matter) it is time corrected as well, so it sounds much better than the original PCM master did.

The same master images can also be delivered on standard CD discs which again on playback or when ripped can be MQA decoded to full high resolution. These are then 16-bit depth with the same excellent sound quality to my ears as others. They can play on any CD player and to be honest sound very very good with no MQA decoding or unfolding at all. Pretty nifty.  These stream at well under 1mbps!

Back to the Mighty Duo…

What is unusual about this combo of devices  is that the XDP-100R as a audio player, is able to play and decode the MQA audio file and then upsample and convert it to DSD and pass it on (DoP) to a DSD DAC to be played as an analog signal.

This dual function is not possible with the typical MQA/DSD DAC such as the very capable Mytek Brooklyn.  It (the typical MQA/DSD DAC) is not an audio player, it only can decode MQA and convert to analog or it can convert DSD to analog to play. It can’t do both functions (decode MQA and then convert to DSD) in series as the XDP-100R does before handing it to a DAC to play as an audio signal.

Nor can any other strict DAC that I’m aware of (though I’m sure they could if minds were put to it).

So what I’ve found is 2 devices of very similar dimensions and weight that can inter-operate such that the resulting sound is as good or better than most pro setups out there.

By maxing out the storage support for media on the XDP-100R by buying and inserting 2 SD Micro chips at 200GB each, I arrived at a full 432GB storage that I can carry around on a device as big as a slightly fat smartphone. If I wanted to add 200GB, 400GB, … etc. I could just buy other SD Micros to swap as needed. Unlimited storage in other words with no USB drives to carry around, and certainly not a laptop.

The total package (XDP-100R and HA-2) with extra RAM, water resistant case for both devices ($10) and all cables and still easily fits with notepad in my day pack all cost me well under $1000 US, closer to $800 really. That also includes about $150 of the extra memory (400GB) which is of course optional. The XDP comes with 32GB and you could add any additional amount of storage via SD Micro chips as you wished.

Hard to believe but I found the XDP-100R for a very low price special. It was last year’s model, as the newer XDP-300R has 2 Sabre chips (left and right channel) as well as a separate balanced headphone jack. Not sure what retail prices and specials are today but suggested retail is probably somewhere in the $500-600 range which means you can find it for less.

I think the OPPO HA-2SE followup to my HA-2 is still retailing at $199. I didn’t check.

I shouldn’t go into some of the other enormous capabilities of the XDP-100R but suffice to say it is a full blown Android palm computer. It hosts and runs any Google Play app. I regularly use email (BlueMail), Dropbox, Skype, some internet browsing and a few other apps. The only thing it isn’t is a cell phone and a camera. It stores and plays (on a very nice display) pretty much any video format as well.

There is a TIDAL app for streaming MQA if you buy the account. The number of MQA (Warner and perhaps UMG now) masters released on TIDAL for streaming at this point is in the thousands including Zeppelin, Doors, Petty, Talking Heads, Costello, Black Sabbath, CSNY, Neil Young and many many other pop/rock legends.

Playing DSD and having it sound par excellence is easily achieved here.

Playing Studio Authenticated MQA on audio files or streaming is easily achieved here.

What I’ve found and written about elsewhere is that there are some huge gains to my ears in sound quality improvements when MQA Masters at the CD Red Book resolution (16/44.1) are upsampled to 2.8 or 5.6mHz DSD and played via a DSD DAC like the OPPO HA-2.  Other DACs supporting DoP (DSD over PCM) should work with the XDP’s in the same way.

The reason I think the MQA gains in reducing edgy, compressed CD-like sounding masters are greatest at this low resolution are due to the steepness of the brickwall filters used to cutoff frequencies above 20kHz. The backlash of this industry common way of filtering PCM is that it introduces large pre- and post-ringing echos on the digital signal.

This ringing also referred to as time smearing or blurring effect lessens with the increased resolution of the master recording (88.2k or 96k, 176.4k or 192k, 352.8 or 384k). DSD also measures very low in this ringing effect right out of the box.

MQA practically removes these echoes in its careful PCM technology and so the image you hear as a result is much more natural sounding and easier to listen to for longer periods of time.  Instruments and voices are much more naturally located in space (left to right, up and down) as well as less confusion in our brain as to what is going on with these echos we’re hearing before the note or pulse actually gets to us. The ear is much more sensitive to location than it is to pitch! Thank you Darwin.

What’s commonly referred to as ear fatigue then gets reduced greatly and you can continue to hear the music without having to give your ears breaks.

Upsampling to DSD is now also a common feature on audio players both software and hardware. Doing this with a decoded MQA digital signal is something I’ve found to be nothing short of magical in terms of what you end up hearing from the DSD DAC as an analog signal (ie, music).

So Mobile and Home HRA has made some mighty gains in what it can do for all listeners at prices that really most if not all listeners can afford if they are looking for audio gear to feed their music habits.

– DE

Hi-Res DSD MQA Integration To The Max…

I’ve been integrating audio components since…. …. …. never mind….. I’ve been integrating hi-res (HRA, hi-rez, high resolution) audio into my different playback systems since 2000….

I’ve never seen or heard a more advanced integrated Digital Audio Playback (DAP) device than the Pioneer XDP-100R I recently (finally) ordered.

IMG_0026.JPG

On the lower left is the Pioneer XDP-100R, last year’s model. There is now an XDP-300R. When the 100R came on market sometime over a year ago it listed and retailed for right around $699. Since then I found one for $299 new and have it with me pretty much all the time. 

I was very interested in it from the start because it was the only device I knew that play both MQA and DSD masters in a seamless fashion. 

The other device in the photo to the right is my trusted and beloved OPPO HA-2 (since replaced by the HA-2SE at OPPO, still retails for $299). The HA-2 provides the hefty headphone amp, native DSD conversion to analog playback as delivered from XDP, and lots of extra battery to run or charge the XDP from.

I can travel anywhere with *just* the XDP but there are sound reproduction results with the combination of those 2 devices that are very very very hard to beat especially (and almost exclusively today) if you want to hear and travel and hook your home system up to play both native DSD and MQA up to 384k unfolded. 

It delivers native or upsampled 5.6mHz DSD (for PCM tracks including decided MQA) with a quality of sound reproduction I believe is very hard to beat no matter what you use.

~~~~~ THE SHORT VERSION ~~~~~

I’ve written some audiophile friends about the new setup I have. It is portable, it is long term with battery twice over (really more). It perfectly delivers MQA as well as native DSD analog to any output recipient gear you have (headphones, Bluetooth, Line Out to stereo/studio). It has aeons (days, months, years?) of storage onboard for music or video.  

It doesn’t need a computer to play anything. It *is* a computer.

How does it do this? Here’s my answer:

– It’s an Android PDA (personal digital assistant) and digital player running Android 5.1.1 from Google.  This makes it a very usable and convenient multipurpose tablet that fits in your palm and can host all the Google Play apps you might throw at it. 

I’m using Bluemail and Skype mostly cause I don’t want to burden or clutter it (yet). What I’m saying is it can be your browser, email box, music (and video, hint hint), YouTube player, any media streaming or stored onboard all in one. 

It can’t be your cell phone though you can Skype with calls in and out for $6.99/mo. I’ve used Skype to call out to any cell or Skype or landline number for $2.99/mo. for a very long time when I don’t have cell service (which happens a lot on The Big Island).

By relieving my iPhone of the responsibility of being my portable music player (using the same HA-2 via DoP and the Onkyo HF player app) it freed up all the iPhone  storage (a very conservative 32GB total in comparison to XDP’s whopping 432GB) for photos and videos I take with the phone.  Good trade!

– It is an exceptional MQA decoder providing full resolution unfolding Other popular lower cost MQA DACs I’ve had and used like the Meridian Explorer2 are limited to 192k. None of these support DSD either. 

The TIDAL software player alone with no external DAC just gets you to 96K (one unfold) as will presumably other software MQA players.

– It is 100% DoP (DSD over PCM) compatible that allows it to deliver native DSD to an upstream device (in my case the OPPO HA-2) via a short USB wire (see photo).

– It upsamples PCM to DSD up to 5.6 (11.2mbps stereo) with real precision (no rounding errors) and sends this as DoP to the HA-2 as well….

– It hosts the TIDAL app for streaming MQA etc…

– It has a lot of battery depending what resolution you are playing and how much Android app you use concurrently — but — I back this up with the HA-2 which is also a battery charger good for at least 1x XDP charges.

– It has up to 432GB of storage (!) using 2 SD micro flash slots up to 200GB each on top of its internal 32GB memory for the OS, apps, and music etc.  The SD micro flash cards are of course unlimited in number if that’s not enough for you.  They fit on a thumbnail literally to carry.

– It weights about 7oz.  The HA-2 is a bit heavier (battery!).  All fit in the add-on XDP hard zippered case I got that fits anywhere with cables, Zipbuds PRO (check those out online Amazon for around $25 — and their  brand new “26” AptX wireless creation I got through Kickstarter) and other various audio detritus.

~~~~~ CONCLUSION ~~~~~

What I get from these two devices working together is unlimited headroom for amplification (HA-2 provides necessary oompff even though XDP supports up to 16-300oHm headphones) with the most sophisticated PCM sound ever experienced in my humble opinion. It plays native DSD beautifully as well!

The synergy of MQA decoding with DSD upsampling delivered through an analog 1-bit perfect conversion by OPPO’s HA-2 is a level of Sound Quality on the otherwise edgy compressed qualities of PCM I’ve never come close to experiencing. 

I’m saying MQA sounds great but MQA upsampled to DSD sounds better.

The 2 together fit in my jean jack inside pocket.

The XDP can play everything on its on however the DSD in that case is its PCM converted counterpart, the same as all non-native DSD media players and DACs including Korg’s AudioGate, JRiver and the like. These all also support DoP to connect a “real” DSD DAC to like OPPO, Mytek and many many more.

If you are asking: How can I play the full studio authenticated MQA as well as Native DSD from one setup both in my home and on the go and have all the battery and power for rock n’ roll that I need as well as the convenience of a full Android/Google tablet in my hand traveling around, then look no further…..

Onkyo has very a very similar nearly identical product in collaboration called the DP-X1.  There is also an Onkyo Music app that allows you to buy MQA and other downloads online.

Good stuff. Low Price (I got 2 x 200GB San Disk SD flashes for a total of $150 online btw). Very Amazing Sound.

Did I say it plays your videos stored as well in all the popular formats with 720p resolution. I really like its video quality too.

Aloha!

– DE

….integration….the secret sauce for MQA and all PCM is hi-res DSD upsampling. XDP can do this with HA-2 attached and the result is not like any CD you ever heard.

IMG_0027.JPG

DSD on DVD Discs – Same Masters as SACD – Plays in your SACD player

DSD Made Easy…

To avoid the 6GB+ download for multichannel DSD64 and 2GB+ for stereo, that still is a problem for many worldwide, not to mention a hassle, I now ship a DVD (Data Disc) with the same album tracks on it.

This disc plays directly from the OPPO or any other SACD/DSD disc player (which is usually the DVD/Blu-ray player too) by just selecting the “Music” option (2nd menu choice on OPPO) instead of “CD” option.

Then you just press Play and it plays the album track by track as native DSD. Exactly the same DSD masters as on the SACDs.

“The Window” SACD has been out of print for many years now and is known to sell as used copies online by others for hundreds of dollars. In addition, I have some of my best-selling DSD albums that have never been printed as SACD, only available as DSD Downloads.

All of these are now available as discs for sale. Not CDs, just DSD on a data disc. They won’t play in a CD player. Only in your SACD player.

Back to the problem for some…DSD Downloads. Not only is downloading sometimes tedious depending on your Internet speed and data limit per month (I only get 10GB/mo here for what I can afford), but you then also need the right computer media player like JRiver or Audirvana or others.  Then you also need the right DSD DAC like OPPO HA-2, or Mytek or AURALiC or others and you need to have all that feed your stereo.  Playing multichannel in this fashion can be more challenging.

Not everyone’s idea of fun in music.  Instead they like to pop a disc into their DVD/SACD player and press play.

You can do it by ordering a DSD DVD Disc here:

http://davidelias.com/dsd_on_dvd_data_discs

No one else has done this that I know of, but that shouldn’t scare you. It’s usually cheaper than buying the SACD but doesn’t come in a fancy package.

Just the highest quality DVD (verified) with a white label, hand made, hand written, signed by me and mailed to you in a solid case within a day or two.  You pay shipping which is added at PayPal checkout, depending on where you are in the world.

So far these have gone as far as from Hawaii to Ireland!

Here are the native DSD albums available as DVD Data discs:

  •  Coffeehouse Playlist #1 (sampler of other DSD albums) – Stereo ($24.95 + shipping)
  •  The Window – Stereo or Multichannel ($24.95 + shipping)
  •  Crossing – Stereo or Multichannel ($24.95 + shipping)
  •  Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions – Stereo ($24.95 + shipping)
  •  Slipper DSD Sessions – Stereo ($19.95 + shipping)

Most of these have a PDF with notes, lyrics and photos you can download from the web page where you buy it.

Another nice thing about DVD Data discs with DSD Masters is that you can back them up!  Just copy the DSD (DSF) files off the disc and save them on your computer. No can do with SACDs.

Yes and you can play those same files through your JRiver or Audirvana or whatever you have on computer to play DSD as well.  No DRM in other words.

Hope that didn’t scare you. It’s supposed to make playing “downloadable” DSD easy. You just put in a disc and press Play.

http://davidelias.com/dsd_on_dvd_data_discs

Aloha to All,

– DE

PS – if you followed all this and you have DSD Downloads already, you probably figured out you can burn your own DVD and play any of them in your SACD player if you want as well.  You don’t need me to do that!

DVD Data Discs to the Hi-Res Audio Download Rescue

More for some less for others…

If you don’t want to read this and just want to check it out:

http://davidelias.com/dsd_on_dvd_data_discs/


Many of us including me started downloading MP3 music online in the mid 90’s. It sucked then. We used 33k or then advanced 56k modems over telephone dialup lines. This means we were getting our audio file data at the rates of 4.2KB, or 7.2KB per second.

Everything about download or transfer speed today is measured in either MB/s or even GB/s.  An MB/s is 1000 times faster than a KB/s.  A GB/s is 1,000,000 times faster than a KB/s.  I feel old.

Songs in MP3 format were then and are still often 1MB data per minute of music. So a 4 minute song (4MB data) took anywhere from say 16 minutes to maybe 10 minutes top speed to download…. zzzz …. zzzz ….. zzzz ……  one song, not one album.

A CD version of that same song as a WAV or AIF off the disc took about 10 times as long to download!  Now you see why MP3 was so popular even though it didn’t sound great, and why iTunes took advantage of that when they opened their store for downloads in 2004.

(Oops I forgot to mention that by 2004 there was plenty of Cable Modem and DSL and other much much faster internet to the home, but Apple and everyone else was used to MP3 crappy lossy quality by then….so no one adapted to the fact that good quality was also pretty easy to download. Then FLAC format came along and compressed the WAV file size by around half without loss of any music info. Still no one disrupted the money machine called iTunes, even when they made their own FLAC and called it ALAC and could have delivered CD quality back then no problem and no cost.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fast Forward to 2009. I started offering DSD downloads of my SACDs to mostly the owners of Sony Playstation3’s since most of the SACD players of that day could not play what was called a DSD Disc (data disc with DSD files) as defined by Sony then.

The DSD Disc was literally a DVD data disc burned with the DSD song files (as DSF types with tags or DFF without tags) in a specific folder hierarchy that allowed players of the day to read the data files and play the music.  It broke the mold Sony had created for watermarked copy protection on SACD. You still couldn’t rip SACDs (one can today with the right gear and software).

No one came…

Well a few did, but even though Internet was overall speedy by then (cable modem download speed in Hilo in 2009 was about 650KB/s) it still was not mainstream or always easy to download the large ISO image (to burn the DVD with) for many out there.

My download then was a single 2GB image (zipped ISO file) to burn a DVD disc with to play the audio files on something, either on your computer or on the DVD Disc playing in your Playstation3 or  special Sony or Onkyo SACD players that handled DSD Disc as well as SACD.

zzzz..zzz.zzz.zzzzzz

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rapid Forward to 2017 when Hilo’s Time Warner Cable Modem in some people’s homes breaks the speed meter on speedtest.net at 20MB/s and above as high as maybe 26MB/s.

So while it is easy for some to download hi-res audio, it’s not easy for others. Lots of others. Worldwide. In fact 5 miles up the road from Hilo here in East Hawaii many people may not even be able to get cable modems from Time Warner and so use a much slower and costlier satellite confiugration. If they are in the forest blocking the satellite option and more than a few miles from the nearest telephone wire center (for DSL), forget about it.

By 2011 I moved away from the DSD Disc (ISO) format and just started offering to download the DSF files from my website. Then in 2013 a number of retailers came online to offer DSD downloads and that was great.

Nothing against large file downloads (I guess averages of my stereo DSD files are somewhere around 200MB per song and multichannel maybe 500 per song) but a lot of people around the world and in the US still have trouble with this today. Those files can be hard to retrieve and they take up a lot of space if you have a lot of music. (And they are hard to fit more than a small number into your smartphone.)

Problems often come from slow or interrupted Internet links, confusion on what to even do with files once they are downloaded, or combinations of other things like Safari browsers that insert .TXT file extensions on downloaded files because the server they got the (DSD) file from (like Dropbox) does not properly identify the MIME type for .DSF and .DFF music files.

Aren’t you sorry you asked?

It’s enough to … … … …. ………

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A few years ago I thought I’d offer to make downloads and their problems go away for those not interested in the challenge but who wanted the music. So I provided a way to purchase the music as a little USB stick I would then mail to you. You get the USB stick, put it in your computer or BDP player and get right to it.

No one came….

Today I am offering a similar thing but this time using DVD discs as data.

http://davidelias.com/dsd_on_dvd_data_discs/

These are just the same kind of good quality DVD discs anyone could burn files to off their PC/Mac for either video or just data. A blank single layer (SL), single sided disc has a 4.7 GB capacity. A double layer (DL) has twice that or 8.5GB. My multichannel SACDs require either 2 SL DVDs or 1 DL DVD.

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Why would I do that you ask?

If you don’t like downloading large files but want to listen to the excellent qualities of DSD as the native source format for the hi-res recordings I have released, you might try buying the DVD version and just getting it in the mail.

The sound files are 100% identical to what is online for download. They are the same as what is/was on the SACDs for that matter. Many of my DSD titles were never SACD. These are now all available on DVD disc as well, not just as downloads.

You just pop the DVD into your OPPO or Sony or other Blu-ray/SACD/DVD/CD player (aka BDP for Blu-ray Disc Player) and select Music from from the menu.  On my OPPO 103 this is the first icon after the disc (audio CD/video DVD) icon and is called “Music”.

The DVD will then show up on your screen as a “Data Disc” choice (as opposed to, say “USB”).  Selecting the Data Disc media then shows the album song list just as it would from a CD or SACD.

Click on a song, play and enjoy. It continues to play songs from there to the end of the list like any CD/SACD.

If you like (and highly suggested by me), just copy the original DVD data to your computer or any backup media you use. In other words, back it up when it’s brand new. No DRM – if you don’t know what that means, good on you.

You can also play the files on your computer from your software media player through your DAC as DoP like any other DSD download. Just put the disc in the computer CD/DVD drive (just a CD drive won’t work) and select those files from your media player software (JRiver, Amarra, Audirvana….).  They then play DSD through your external DSD DAC (Mytek, iFi Audio, OPPO….).

DSD on DVD Data Discs. Hope this helps.

Questions about DVD Data Discs? Post a reply and I’ll answer you best I can.

Aloha!

~ DE
http://facebook.com/davideliasmusic
http://youtube.com/davideliasvideo
http://davidelias-mqa.com


 

ONE – a year in the making

ONE – a year in the making

“Bought and listened to the album “One”. Have about 40 albums with hi-res stores (from 96 kHz to DSD128), but this sound never met. It’s incredibly clean, the background is blacker than black. Musical instruments are precise, clear, but not sharp, no porridge, no noise, no haste, no bloated confusing scenes and confusion. This album has a special, unique atmosphere. This amazing adventure. Bravo!”Online music lover

Finally, after nearly a year in the works, the limited edition PS Audio Sonoma Master Series release is shipping. A project to help musicians and further the state of the art in musical reproduction, this collection of pure DSD recorded music is nothing short of stunning, both musically and sonically.

http://www.psaudio.com/products/one-sonoma-master-series/

Hand mastered and curated by Gus Skinas, each of the 10 tracks is a sonic masterpiece you have to have in your collection. This two-disc set includes a dual-layer SACD with pure DSD as well as a uniquely mastered CD layer, playable in any CD transport (more on this in the further description), and a DVD data disc with high resolution 176kHz 24 PCM as well as DSD.

Also included is a beautiful 20 page color booklet. A true collector’s item. Get one in your hands before they’re gone. Ships worldwide.

Buy Here…

Thanks for Listening!

– DE

PS – “The Blue Planet” $1 EP download sale is good thru Friday 4/22 (Earth Day!)… If you have 3 minutes, the soundtrack to this video I created from film I shot of a partial lunar eclipse from the Big Island is “Inverness” from same EP. The synth I played is mixed with the night crickets during the eclipse…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFiXzSniF8M

How to Cure the DSD/HRA Download Blues

 

A Cure for the DSD/HRA Download Blues…

Have you had some not so Aloha experiences trying to download some of the big DSD files? 24/192 PCM files are even bigger.

Maybe your Internet connection is not-so-quick.  Maybe your provider dings you for the amount of data you download above 2GB or 4GB each month. Maybe you want more than one album worth of files and don’t have the time to babysit the downloads. Maybe you are into 5.0 surround and know how big those audio files can be (average about 400MB per song as DSD64)…

Whatever the reason you can now purchase a single USB stick with the combo of my DSD albums and mixes (2.0 stereo and 5.0 multichannel) that you want.

You can purchase this option through my web page at
http://www.davidelias.com

The DSD USB Stick offer is good ONLY in the United States!

All my online purchases go through secure PayPal which I’ve used as a merchant online since 1999. They have been a great service to rely on.

If you would like the USB stick shipped to you and do not see the album(s) or mixes combined that you prefer, please reply to this email and let me know what you are interested in.

I ship the USB Stick USPS Priority Mail with tracking and can let you know when it goes out and the tracking number.

You can copy the DSF files from the USB Stick to your PC or Mac or simply plug the stick into your media player like an OPPO and play the songs. Pretty darn simple.


One More Cup of Coffee…

With the launch of Revelation9 at the T.H.E. audio fest in Newport Beach, Calif this weekend, I created my first “curated” playlist of my native DSD songs. The curated idea is not exactly new to me though the term is. It means (to me) that some thought and expression are put into making the playlist for some focused intentions by the curator.

In this case, the curator is me. So my intentions were to create a coffeehouse playlist that reflects some of the power of recording in Direct Stream Digital (DSD) and delivering those mixes to people interested in high resolution audio. All the songs in this playlist are mine ranging in recording sessions from over 10 years ago in Boulder, CO to fairly recently in an offgrid cabin here in Hawaii.

I started my rekindled approach to Independent Acoustic in coffeehouses in the SF Bay Area in the early 90’s. I think coffee and acoustic and DSD for that matter all go together very well.

I wrote about each of the 9 songs in the playlist and more about coffeehouse karma online. You can read about that here…

The Playlist is online for download as well for $15.95. It contains selected tracks from all 3 DSD albums as well as the “Aspen Rose” single. These are stereo mixes.

 David Elias - Coffeehouse Playlist #1

Hope you are having a great weekend.

Aloha!

– DE

Go Get Some…Hi-Rez…

What’s New and How You Can Get Some…

David Elias - Independent Acoustic

David Elias – Independent Acoustic


I have been watching and listening to the way online music is changing further towards higher quality on almost a daily basis. One of the latest rockets here is that Sony is now opening their vault of master archives and letting the hi-rez bug put their titles online as downloads in the DSD format.

What’s that mean to you? I think it means a lot for anyone who has listened to vinyl, analog tapes (reel-to-reel), or other HD quality downloads from the ever increasing number of sources that give you something beyond the CD quality we’ve grown accustomed to, but not comfortable with.

You can watch the supposed 500 titles from Sony start appearing at http://SuperHiRez.com now through the end of the year. There are already a few hundred HD (FLAC and ALAC to 176.4k, 24-bit) and DSD64 downloads up there.

Click on the “Digital Downloads” menu in the left column to select specific formats. I’m still in their Top Seller 25 list with “Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions” and “The Window” so thank you if you helped with that.


As you must know by now, I care a lot about how things sound, mostly because there are ways to record and produce things that others can listen to (discs, downloads, videos, streaming mp3’s…) and cause them them say things like: “How did you make that sound so natural and real?”, and “How do you get the bass to sound like that?”, and “I never heard that on the CD!”, and “This is almost as good as my vinyl”, or “This is the best #**@#$(#$ thing I ever heard!”…

So listening to music gets fun again and more relaxed and more enjoyable as a pastime, and not necessarily as a background sound filler.  That is something I like a lot!

If you are into Classical and Rare Audiophile Recordings, try browsing High Definition Tape Transfers…They have HD and DSD for Baroque, Chamber, Orchestral, Symphonies, Jazz…You can find my DSD albums there as well. Thanks Bob!

The new release of the “Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions” recorded by Charlie Natzke at Slipperworld.net is a set of 14 songs recorded in 3.5 hrs. by me (acoustic/vocal/harmonica), Charlie (acoustic/vocal), and Chris Kee (upright bass).  We had the windows open (you can hear the redwing blackbirds on one track). We were standing about arms length from each other in a circle. We had our mics bleeding into each other…

We recorded to Sonoma DSD64 live with no overdubs. Nothing was edited.  I mixed this on Sonoma in a day and a night. The Sony mixer card allowed me to do that without ever converting the source tracks from DSD to anything else, even to analog and then back to DSD. The result is 100% pure DSD.

So it is a very live acoustic natural reproduction of a studio performance of the trio. Some people feel this is my most “authentic” recording. Their impression may be so because there are only 3 instruments to pick out and spatially they are represented in stereo in just the way they were recorded.  As I told a friend online, you have to stop thinking of “L/R” (left/right) and think of a performance of 3 guys standing in a circle and you sitting or standing there with them.

I now have the HD version of this album as an 24-bit, 88.2kHz FLAC download for those not using DSD playback hardware or software.  In addition, you get the smaller files as MP3-320 (320kHz) to use in your Smartphone or tablet.

The HD version is now online for $14.95.

The DSD (which also includes FLAC and MP3-320 copies) is also there for $24.95.

You can find these downloads at http://www.davidelias.com

If you have any questions, just reply to this email. Hardware and software for DSD playback is getting easier and cheaper to find. If you are interested in learning more about it, I can try to answer your questions. Two good sources to search for info are Positive Feedback and DSD Guide.

Thanks for Listening!
If it sounds good, it is good…


If you are interested in creating a DSD multitrack recording of your own, contact Charlie Natzke via email – He’s in La Honda, CA at Slipperworld.net.

Charlie is the studio and DSD engineer behind my “Crossing” and “Acoustic Trio” recordings. Another new DSD album release I hope to get out this year is one more project Charlie setup the studio for, recorded to DSD on Sonoma and mixed as analog. He’s da man!

My song “Silver Pen” online for download now is a single from this next DSD album release. It lets you compare different audio formats to hear the differences for yourself. It cost $4.99 for all 5 formats (DSF, FLAC 24/96, WMA Lossless 24/96, WAV 16/44.1 (CD), MP3-320).

Aloha!

– DE