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Mark Waldrep/Sound Liaison/DSD vs PCM part 2,(Mark answers computer audiophile.)

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Mark Waldrep/Sound Liaison/DSD vs PCM part 2


A few quotes from part one;

From the recordings that I’ve heard from Sound Liaison, they’re doing excellent work. I can only guess that the “buzz” around DSD enticed them into that market with their PCM conversions.I don’t mean to single out Sound Liaison with regards to the pricing of DSD conversions of their high-resolution 96/24 PCM masters. Their recordings are actually spectacular (maybe because they make them at 96 kHz/24-bitPCM?)

I wrote back to Frans and thanked him for his response and I invited him to make his wonderful tracks available through iTrax.com. Mark Waldrep

I've spent a lot of time with Mark Waldrep, and indeed he is vehemently against DSD (In fact, you don't want to be in the same room with Waldrep and Cookie Marenco of Blue Coast Records. It's like a matter/antimatter reaction!)

What I don't hear is any real sonic advantage to 24/192 over 24/96 gmgraves2

DSD is a superior representation of an inherently analog signal than LPCM is. LPCM was developed pretty much as a space saving technique,Paul

Would you rather have the conversion to DSDdone by a chip in your DAC, or with care by Sound Liaison with all the equipment available to them? (Sound Liaison fully discloses the DSD recordings are conversions from the original PCM versions, so no one buys without knowing that.) Jud

Except for the most recent Sound Liaison recording - Improptu - which was recorded in both PCM and DSD. On that DSD download, there is no PCM to DSD conversion. IMPROMPTU Bmoura


And if he does not like DSD, then be happy that the PCM recordings from Sound Liaison are relatively cheap. 11$ / 10€ for a sampler with that kind of SQ is very cheap and Mark himself calls the Sound Liaison recordings spectacular, so ???PAP

Blue Coast Records records 99% of it's projects on DSD to the Sonoma a.nd 1% to analog tape. Editing in the Sonoma does not go to a PCM stage the way we use it. We don't mix in the Sonoma. We mix out through an analog console to add effects and levels changes as we hear it. We mix back to DSD128. Cookie


why is it OK to record multitrack to tape and then transfer to DSD but

not OK to record multitrack to PCM and then transfer DSD? oso

Perhaps only direct-to-disc vinyl or direct-to-reel recording will provide this purity some are looking for


Mark's answer;


What's going on over at Computer Audiophile? I know many of you are active readers of my site and Chris' CA site. I try to stop by there every so often and see what's brewing. In general, I've found the heat a little high for my sensibilities…and some of the "facts" expressed are more personal opinion than bona fide information. But what could possible prompt the CA community to post 530 comments on my assertion that 96 kHz/24-bit PCM surpasses DSD 64? A sophomore member of CA titled his thread "Mark Waldrep is claiming that PCM 24/96 is superior to DSD" and then went on to copy my entire post from April 11, 2105...the one that took issue with Sound Liaison for upcharging its customers for DSD version of their source 96/24 PCM recordings.


He asks a simple question, "Mark Waldrep is claiming that PCM 24/96 is THE format and that DSD should be cheaper than PCM. Comments? Is he right or just promoting his Itraxx pcm recordings?"


The simple answer is yes, if you consider the technical specifications between the two formats (never mind that you can't actually produce most recordings in DSD because of the lack of tools). PCM recordings made at 96 kHz/24-bits have greater frequency response and dynamic range than DSD 64 tracks. The noise shaping required to increase the dynamic range beyond 6 dB (the result of 1-bit encoding) in the "audio band" is deposited just above the top of our hearing range. Look at the spectra of a typical DSD 64 track below:


Figure 1 - A spectrograph of an "audiophile" DSD 64 recording. [Click to enlarge]


The purple "haze" in the high frequency area of the left hand spectral displays are the ultrasonic noise...put there by the noise shifting. It's supposed to be out of the "audio band" but there is no "audio band" for your playback equipment. Imagine how your electronics and tweeters feel when this type of recording comes along...all analog sounding and warm. You bet. The graph on the right is a big side letter "V". At a point just above 23 kHz, the line steadily rises almost back to where it started. Welcome to DSD 64. Any resemblance to high-end audio is purely coincidental.


What about dynamic range? DSD can actually eclipse a CD in dynamics AFTER the noise is plowed out of the way. But it doesn't come close to the theoretical 144 dB that 24-bit PCM can achieve. Those specs are great for recording engineers like me but the fidelity of your system will never benefit from 24-bit DACs or fidelity. There simply are no recordings being released that have that much dynamics and your room couldn't handle it if they were.


The answer to the question posed back in April at CA is quite straightforward. How is it possible for Chris' reader to spin out 530 comments arguing about a true statement? I haven't read all of the comments. The ones that I did read focus on the personal preferences of readers for the "warmth and analog sound" erroneously attributed to the DSD format (remember the study that determined that no one could tell the difference between mics split to a PCM rig AND a DSD rig).


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As a music teacher, I can only repeat what has been said many time before, hearing is very different from person to person thus subjective.

Of the various hi-res formats discussed which is the best is probably also subjective.

I have great sounding recordings from

2L recorded in DXD

Reference Recordings 24/176

Sound Liaison 24/96

Blue Coast flac 24/96

Naim 24/96

Linn 24/192


The 2L is maybe the most clear but lacks the warmth that especially the

Sound Liaison and Reference Recordings has.

For placement, ''visual image'' and depth, I also put Sound Liaison on top with Reference Recordings close behind.

Linn, Bluecoast and Naim are all good but does not engage me as much.

I think the engineer and thus microphone placement is the most important.

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  • 3 weeks later...
That's a very good point.


In my system, I do prefer DSD256 for the whole chain. Next to that, PCM, from RedBook to higher rates up-converted to DSD128 offline sound great too.


Got them. Very cool set of free DSD files (with the other formats). My preference is DSD in my system.

Did you upsample the files to DSD256?

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[ATTACH=CONFIG]19762[/ATTACH]link;Sound Liaison Music Shop

These are interesting files for this discussion;


Got them. Very cool set of free DSD files (with the other formats). My preference is DSD in my system.


Hi YashN

I see you have the nano, are you considering upgrading to the idac2 or do you find the nano sufficient for DSD playback?

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