SACD Player and DSD Format

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by johnot, Jan 24, 2023.

  1. johnot

    johnot Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Toronto Ontario
    My understanding is that unless you have a DAC with HDMI or a devise between DAC and SACD Player that allows you to access the DSD Format, you don't actually get the DSD Format when playing SACDs. Is my understanding correct? If I am correct, what's the point in having an SACD Player, if you can't have access to the DSD Format? Am I missing something here? And if you don't have access to DSD Format, what do you get instead? Am super curious about this.
  2. Faust3D

    Faust3D Forum Resident

    Yeah, you need a DAC with HDMI that can decoded DSD like PS Audio DirectStream DAC. However your SACD player can output perfectly finn 2ch and multi-chanel analog signal to your amp(s).
  3. Dino Villani

    Dino Villani Well-Known Member

    Destin, Fl
    Yes, and sacd is dsd 64. If you move up the chain dsd 128, 256, 512 they are hirez downloads (nothing to do with the physical media of an sacd) in which you will need a dac that will decode dsd files. With all the copyright protections with sacds, it take a ridiculous process to rip them. Think of them as two different things. With regard to the sacd player, it like a cd player has its own dac that will play sacds and cds., not vice-a versa. Remember that when buying sacds. Some are straight sacd and some are hybrids that will also include the 44.1k cd version. Hope this helps.
  4. telemike

    telemike Forum Resident

    Greensboro, NC
    The players DAC decodes DSD to analog
    fje99 and Galley like this.
  5. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    The Seattle area
    SACD players suffer from no such problem when you listen to the analog outputs from the SACD player. The only time that the above issue comes into play is when you want to listen to SACDs stream from your SACD player through your (hopefully) superior external DAC.
  6. Morbius

    Morbius Forum Resident

    Brookline, MA
    Like another poster mentioned it has to do with Sony's copyright protection and I think anything that comes over HDMI is DoP which is DSD over PCM. My McIntosh transport has a work around approved by Sony where they use a proprietary DIN cable from the transport to the McIntosh DAC in my receiver which decodes the SACD output in native DSD 64 format.
    Faust3D likes this.
  7. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident

    My Oppo players convert DSD direct to analog with no PCM conversion.
  8. shug4476

    shug4476 Nullius In Verba

    The internal DAC in your player will usually decode DSD directly. You can't usually transport the DSD signal over a digital cable, like you can with PCM, unless it has been encrypted. In that regard, it is no different to the encryption on DVD-Audio discs.

    I have found it easiest to extract the DSD layer from my discs onto my MacBook, and then play the DSD file over JRiver to my Chord Mojo DAC.
  9. zed

    zed Well-Known Member

    My Oppo does the same. I'm on my fourth one.
    Bill Mac likes this.
  10. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    SACD players had analog outputs. That was the only way you were intended to access "high resolution". Digital outputs would be downsampled to 44.1, or simply be blocked.

    HDMI with DSD is only a thing dreamed up much later, only supporting original DSD rate (equivalent to 4x the data rate of CD - 176kHz), example:

    The CXU will accept Dolby Digital and DTS, PCM and DSD audio (2.8MHz, 64FS) via the HDMI and digital inputs.
    Please Note:
    5.6MHz, 128FS DSD is not supported.
    Dolby Tru HD and DTS Master Audio HD is not supported via digital/HDMI inputs.

    A universal player where you are supposed to use their awesome internal DAC, not the other way around.

    A different specification is over USB, called DSD-over-PCM, since USB did not come with any method to transmit DSD.

    (BTW: Dolby TrueHD mentioned above: Meridian lossless packing, renamed and re-licensed expired patents, shills that insert their fee extraction where they aren't wanted. One bonus of SACD over HD-DVD is at least Meridian doesn't see any money.)

    You are left to your own devices to obtain copy-protection-free DSD audio, when you could have just had 96/24 with better specs and less data, not encumbered in 1-bittyness and obsolete. About 500 new SACD database entries per year have been added recently, but with some of those being old titles identified, like scraping up old Hong Kong music.
  11. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    HDMI is not a necessity. DoP is the necessity. You can stream DSD via DoP over USB. What will determine your connection is the output of your streaming device and the inputs to reach the DAC. HDMI will also stream DoP. So you have choices. The reason you need to uses DoP is because DSD was not initially meant to be streamed through a cable. You were to only be able to transmit DSD within a single device. The transport within the SACD player could only sent the stream directly to the internal DAC. DoP was figured out after software like Foobar 2000 add-ons were developed specifically for DSD files DST, DSF, and ISO.
  12. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    Ancient history. Many rip SACDs daily with trivial effort.
  13. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    HDMI with DSD came in V1.2 back in August 2005. Also the players only supported the original DSD rate (DSD64) because, even today, that's the limit of what comes on a disc.
  14. Pata

    Pata Forum Resident

    Santiago, Chile
    DoP is still native dsd, it’s just transported in packages to the dac, one package transports 16 dsd samples for example
    TarnishedEars likes this.
  15. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    If your SACD player has analog outputs.
  16. zed

    zed Well-Known Member

    I have stacks ripped music of pretty much every SACD and DVD-A pre 2009. There was a hey day at one point. They’re all saved on a HD and I have em all on disc.

    I still have a Denon 2910 as that was what I know plays them easily. I need to pull em out one day.
  17. robusa

    robusa Well-Known Member

    I guess the question is whether your SACD player outputs DSD thru its analog outputs. I thought most did, but read on here the other day that some don't.
    Does anyone know if my Onkyo DV-SP502 does?
  18. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek I’m a ray of sunshine & bastion of positivity

    It took a bit of trial and error to get my SACD rip project started, but once I did it’s literally plopping a disc in the player and clicking execute…rinse and repeat.
    Kyhl likes this.
  19. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    Now try to find the player or DAC that first supported it. Funny thing, you go to audio-only players, you get no HDMI anyway.

    New 2006, with HDMI, nope, v1.1: Marantz DV9600 DVD Player

    $9000 on a newer Krell got you no HDMI:


    Spend $10000 today on an Esoteric K-03XD - what do you get on the digital outs? ("Linear PCM (IEC60958) 44.1kHz,16-bit(CD)")

    And 2009, SACD getting its last rites read to it. It was DRMed to fail. How many still have a Sony Sonoma or Merging Mykerinos on Windows XP to master natively? And why would you take that analog step when everything's in ProTools PCM anyway?

    Analog outputs are for audio signals, not digital data. Audio you can plug into any RCA audio input.

    The player uses a TI PCM1742 DAC, which only plays PCM audio. SACD is digitally converted to PCM internally in order to reproduce it. No worries - you can also play DVD-Audio.

    Like above, you are denied any digital access to SACD (which has no compatible digital output format at manufacture time), and DVD-Audio is also muted if copy-protected.

    Here's testing a similar MediaTek MT1389-based player, also without a DSD-capable DAC chip.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2023
    robusa likes this.
  20. robusa

    robusa Well-Known Member

    Part of me wants to get a player that will do DSD easily, like an Oppo, but I don’t think my system and ears are good enough to matter.

    Do I think SACDs (without DSD) sound better than CDs? Yes. But that’s as far as I think I need to go
  21. Cherrycherry

    Cherrycherry Forum Resident

    I cannot understand what this means: SACD’s without DSD??
    Do you mean SACD’s,the hybrid style which are SACD/CD?
    Tone? likes this.
  22. robusa

    robusa Well-Known Member

    I just meant not having the equipment to be able to play them without them first getting converted to PCM
  23. Linger63

    Linger63 Forum Resident

    Your Onkyo's DAC will properly read the DSD information on single layer, dual layer and hybrid stereo and multi channel SACD's. (see User Manual Page 9)
    It will then output the sound via the analog RCA jacks only (see User Manual Page 46) with no prior PCM conversion.
    You must ensure correct SACD playback settings via your players setup menu though (see User Manual Page 48). :)
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023
    robusa and c-eling like this.
  24. Peter Allison

    Peter Allison Well-Known Member

    Being a very simple person that does not know/understands the ins and outs of PCM/DSD, all I know is that my Sony Blu Ray player shows the format DSD on screen when playing one, and the Matrix Audio SPDIF I have connected inbetween the PC and PS Dac/Pre, changes colour from green (PCM) to Blue (DSD) when playing a Flac file of a SACD,DSD recording... eg, the latest DSD download from Octave records PS Audio's own recording studio)
  25. shug4476

    shug4476 Nullius In Verba

    I found it quite difficult to set up my SACD ripping 'rig' but, once set up, it is fairly simple.
    Craig likes this.

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