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Let's say I want to try DSD? What are the minimum requirements?


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Correct me if I'm wrong. I have a Mac Mini server. I need a DSD DAC like Schiit Loki which I can hang off the end of my regular DAC, and I need some kind of software like JRiver and of course the DSD music?

 

That's it? Can iTunes play any implementation of DSD? Clementine?

 

What is the least expensive DAC to play around with this? Can you convert lossless to DSD or best to purchase from Hi-Res stores?

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Besides the Loki, the other low cost DSD DAC is the ifi Nano.

 

iTunes won't play it alone. You need additional software.

 

You CAN convert lossless to DSD. Offline with an app like Korg Audiogate version 2. Or online with JRiver.I'm not sure what other MAC programs are available for PCM to DSD conversion.

 

Purchasing DSD from download sites that sell DSD is the best way to listen to it.

 

 

 

Correct me if I'm wrong. I have a Mac Mini server. I need a DSD DAC like Schiit Loki which I can hang off the end of my regular DAC, and I need some kind of software like JRiver and of course the DSD music?

 

That's it? Can iTunes play any implementation of DSD? Clementine?

 

What is the least expensive DAC to play around with this? Can you convert lossless to DSD or best to purchase from Hi-Res stores?

Main listening (small home office):

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Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

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Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Besides the Loki, the other low cost DSD DAC is the ifi Nano.

 

iTunes won't play it alone. You need additional software.

 

You CAN convert lossless to DSD. Offline with an app like Korg Audiogate version 2. Or online with JRiver.I'm not sure what other MAC programs are available for PCM to DSD conversion.

 

Purchasing DSD from download sites that sell DSD is the best way to listen to it.

 

Thanks. Pretty much along the lines with what I thought and herein lies the rub. I for years was a streamer. Then I get into this high res world and ripped a bunch of my CD's to FLAC. Ok. Then I bought modified iPods (4th and 5th Generation) for my portable headphone amps. Whoops that won't work without Rockbox. So then I rip some CD's to Apple Lossless because I decided to settle on a Mac Mini as my computer music server. Now there's this DSD thing. At this point I don't know if I want to go all Apple for ease, all FLAC for home listening (Clementine, DeaDBeef) or go full on DSD. Probably should finish ripping to FLAC, convert to AIFF or ALAC and kinda sorta have it all.

 

That's always the thing with this high end stuff is you never know where it's best to sink your money and time.

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You can do on the fly PCM to DSD conversion for free in Foobar2000 with ASIO proxy / SACD plugin. So you can use a DSD-only DAC like those two mentioned above with all your recordings, no matter if they are PCM or DSD. Foobar2000 supports all current audio formats and has also some nice plugin for iTunes related playback, if that's important for you (I don't use iTunes).

 

So the only cost is iFi iDSD Nano or Schiit Loki and you can try it.

 

As an alternative to Foobar2000 you can use HQPlayer or JRiver.

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You can do on the fly PCM to DSD conversion for free in Foobar2000 with ASIO proxy / SACD plugin. So you can use a DSD-only DAC like those two mentioned above with all your recordings, no matter if they are PCM or DSD. Foobar2000 supports all current audio formats and has also some nice plugin for iTunes related playback, if that's important for you (I don't use iTunes).

 

So the only cost is iFi iDSD Nano or Schiit Loki and you can try it.

 

As an alternative to Foobar2000 you can use HQPlayer or JRiver.

 

Actually iFi's iDSD Nano plays DSD, PCM and even DXD music files natively. So there's no need for conversion to DSD with that DAC. Unless you want to experiment with format conversion and upsampling.

 

Nano – iDSD

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Purchasing DSD from download sites that sell DSD is the best way to listen to it.

 

Or you could download some Free DSD music files from a number of web sites including Oppo, DSD File and NativeDSD.Com ("Just Listen" section).

 

If you like the music, you can always buy the full albums in DSD later on.... :)

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Actually iFi's iDSD Nano plays DSD, PCM and even DXD music files natively. So there's no need for conversion to DSD with that DAC. Unless you want to experiment with format conversion and upsampling.

 

Nano – iDSD

 

Thanks for correction. Then Schiit Loki is an example of DSD only DAC, for which it is true what I wrote.

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If the Modi is any indication of the Loki, I'd get the iFi iDSD nano. I sent the Modi back, but kept the nano.

Thanks for correction. Then Schiit Loki is an example of DSD only DAC, for which it is true what I wrote.

Forrest:

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What is the least expensive DAC to play around with this? Can you convert lossless to DSD or best to purchase from Hi-Res stores?

 

I have a very bare bones rig...I use a Toshiba laptop running J-River, a few score DSD files from a variety of sources, an iFi iDSD Dac that I got as a demo ($150) and it all works well. My limiting device is my powered speakers (old Monsoons). I suspect the rig would sound much better as a front end if the playback bit was capable of playing the nuances a DSD source opens.

I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you any understanding – Samuel Johnson

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Or you could download some Free DSD music files from a number of web sites including Oppo, DSD File and NativeDSD.Com ("Just Listen" section).

 

If you like the music, you can always buy the full albums in DSD later on.... :)

 

Just a note here. While I am sure folk know this, I didn't, though I suspected. When one goes to a DSD site and listens to the samples, you are not listening to the DSD file but instead a very good MP3 version. When you buy the file and download it, that is when you can hear the file in DSD.

I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you any understanding – Samuel Johnson

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I'd think the iFi iDSD (currently Nano, future Micro, perhaps) would be the way to go. JRiver on the Mac would be nice...

 

John

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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I'd think the iFi iDSD (currently Nano, future Micro, perhaps) would be the way to go. JRiver on the Mac would be nice...

 

John

 

I downloaded JRiver for Mac a while back and found it totally unusable. I opted to go with Clementine which I really enjoy and Clementine has Linux support as well but of course this is a DSD discussion and Clementine doesn't do that I don't believe.

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I downloaded JRiver for Mac a while back and found it totally unusable. I opted to go with Clementine which I really enjoy and Clementine has Linux support as well but of course this is a DSD discussion and Clementine doesn't do that I don't believe.

 

Just curious - what about JRiver Media Center did you find unusable? It works great here (but then again, all of my players work just fine except for Amarra, which I've never gotten to work acceptably).

 

JRiver is kind of my "go to" software, "don't have to think about it" software; i.e., it just works, no need to mess with settings / filters, etc., just hit "Play" ;)

John Walker - IT Executive

Headphone - MacMini running Roon Server > Netgear Orbi > Blue Jeans Cable Ethernet > mRendu Roon endpoint > Topping D90 > Topping A90 > Dan Clark Aeon 2 Closed / Focal Elegia

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I downloaded JRiver for Mac a while back and found it totally unusable. I opted to go with Clementine which I really enjoy and Clementine has Linux support as well but of course this is a DSD discussion and Clementine doesn't do that I don't believe.

 

You might try Decibel 1.3 on the Mac. It supports up to Quad Rate DSD (DSD256) and even ASIO playback of DSD with the exaSound drivers and DAC.

 

Decibel 1.3 - The First Audiophile Player with Mac OS X ASIO Support > exaSound Audio Design

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Two channel only, I presume.

 

No, Decibel supports multichannel to a multichannel-capable device, along with most of the others these days (I haven't tested all the players, but I've used JRiver, Audirvana, and Decibel for multichannel playback).

John Walker - IT Executive

Headphone - MacMini running Roon Server > Netgear Orbi > Blue Jeans Cable Ethernet > mRendu Roon endpoint > Topping D90 > Topping A90 > Dan Clark Aeon 2 Closed / Focal Elegia

Home Theater - Mac Mini running Roon Server / AppleTV > Blue Jeans Cable HDMI > Denon X3700h > Anthem Amp for front channels > Revel F208-based 5.2.4 Atmos speaker system

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Just curious - what about JRiver Media Center did you find unusable? It works great here (but then again, all of my players work just fine except for Amarra, which I've never gotten to work acceptably).

 

JRiver is kind of my "go to" software, "don't have to think about it" software; i.e., it just works, no need to mess with settings / filters, etc., just hit "Play" ;)

 

Dabbled with a couple months ago on Mac and I had pretty frequent crashes with it. I just noticed there is a new download which I just grabbed. If I don't do DSD I'll probably stick with Clementine.

 

I don't like the JRiver interface and there is no Spotify plugin which perplexes me because Clementine has one, LogitechMediaServer has one, etc.

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I like the sound of DSD so much that I left PCM decoding behind altogether. I use JRiver to upsample all of my content to DSD128 with excellent results.

 

I tried the free combination of foobar and its DSD-plug and while others prefer that combination, I had some minor stability issues with it and I didn't find it to sound as good as JRiver.

 

JRiver has a huge feature set and its interface can be a lot to take in at first, but it becomes intuitive after a short time.

Roon Server: Core i7-3770S, WS2012 + AO => HQP Server: Core, i7-9700K, HQPlayer OS => NAA: Celeron NUC, HQP NAA => ISO Regen with UltraCap LPS 1.2 => Mapleshade USB Cable => Lampizator L4 DSD-Only Balanced DAC Preamp => Blue Jeans Belden Balanced Cables => Mivera PurePower SE Amp => Magnepan 3.7i

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You might try Decibel 1.3 on the Mac. It supports up to Quad Rate DSD (DSD256) and even ASIO playback of DSD with the exaSound drivers and DAC.

 

Decibel 1.3 - The First Audiophile Player with Mac OS X ASIO Support > exaSound Audio Design

 

Side note: thank you for commenting on Decibel...I hadn't opened it in a while because of a lack of DSD support. I just opened it and it automatically updated to the new 1.3 version for free! Much appreciated...

 

John

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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No, Decibel supports multichannel to a multichannel-capable device, along with most of the others these days (I haven't tested all the players, but I've used JRiver, Audirvana, and Decibel for multichannel playback).

Thanks. I found no info on their website about multichannel. As for JRMC, I have not been able to get more than 24/96 with it so far and I have not tried Decibel or Audirvana, yet.

 

No, it supports Multichannel DSD - up to QuadRate DSD (DSD256) as well if you have an exaSound e28 and the driver.
I know this but, actually, I am going to use HDMI output from the Mac. Perhaps that is the problem.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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I suggest all Multichannel (and stereo) DSD streaming enthusiast read "Think like a freak" By the Freakonomics duo: particularly the last chapter entitled "the upside of quitting".. :)

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