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Do the rich guys like DSD or PCM?


PCM OR DSD  

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I am "pretty convinced" that all things the same that DSD will sound better than PCM ...that said I know many of the mid-fi people haven't bought into DSD for one of a few reasons...

A) They can't afford 2 dacs

B) They have little to no dsd material

C) They don't want to spend any time to upsample offline

D) They have seen enough battles about which is better, so they aren't going to bite until clear winner

E) Too lazy to sell their PCM DAC and buy DSD Dac that will upsample

F) Just happy drinking and listening and content with what they have

etc..etc...

 

But for those that do have deep pockets I am sure you have a lampizator or vega or some 3K+ dac, but my question is for those that can afford the best, and have listened to both DSD and PCM which mode sounds better to you? I am not asking what mode you use the most (you may have a lot more redbook than anything), but what do you actually think sounds better?

 

Only curious of those that have deep pockets and have time.

 

Assume professional recording of the same track made from major company.

Redbook or 192K hires PCM vs 256M DSD

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You seem to want a simple one word answer, and there isn't one.

 

But certainly there is no connection at this point between "rich" and DSD. There are several moderately priced DACs (under $500) that do DSD, even multiple X DSD - iFi, the Herus, and Teac models, to name a few (and there are others).

 

I don't have the "best" - but it doesn't matter. What you think sounds better is DAC dependent and also personal taste dependent. Some people like the sound of DSD, some don't. Same for PCM. Some DACs sound better in one or the other. Generally ESS based DACs are thought to sound better in DSD, and even fed PCM upsampled to DSD. But even on that you won't get full agreement. I don't see any connection between that state of affairs and whether you have an expensive DAC or a more modest one.

 

As with all things audiophile, my personal opinion is that the differences are small, and audiophiles like to describe them as earth shakingly large.

 

Right now I'm listening to everything upsampled to DSD. I'm sure if I had a DAC that did great PCM I'd be perfectly happy listening to everything converted to hi-res PCM.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

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

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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IMO, the quality of the original recording and mastering is a lot more important than the digital format. Both PCM and DSD are capable of producing excellent sound. However, in my system with my DAC, I would have to day that my best sounding albums are in the DSD format. My music server doesn't have the computing power to convert PCM to DSD on the fly. If I had that capability, I expect that I would probably upsample everything to DSD128. While the best DACs are expensive, DACs under 2K are available today that are capable of producing very good or better sound quality from both DSD and PCM.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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You don't have to be rich to be able to listen to DSD.

 

Take for example, the Teac UD-503 DAC, the Lumin D-1, Sony PHA-03 are all less than US$2K but offer good native DSD support.

 

Nothing to do with being rich or poor, DSD does sound better than PCM.

 

(Audio)

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To clarify, i have been listening to dsd for quite awhile on inexpensive dacs.

To me, on the inexpensive dacs, the best sounding music is DSD...but there still seems to be quite a few people that say either there is no difference or an expensive PCM dac will sound better than an inexpensive DSD dac.

 

I would think if i had deep pockets that i would want the best dac and that i would try both PCM and DSD on the best dacs, and would be able to say the best music they have heard is on either PCM or DSD.

 

I know the recordings make a difference too...that is obvious....but i still can say the majority of the best sounding music that i have heard is DSD....but yes, i have heard some excellent recorded PCM files and some so-so DSD recordings, but the best DSD recordings will sound better than the best PCM recordings.

 

I guess my point is, why would someone buy a new dac today, and limit themselves do a DAC that doesn't do DSD??

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I guess my point is, why would someone buy a new dac today, and limit themselves do a DAC that doesn't do DSD??

 

I would. Everything I have is audio CDs and very few 24/96 vinyl rips.

 

Heck... I'd even limit my DAC to having only digital (specifically Toslink) inputs and no USB.

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world - Martin Luther

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I guess my point is, why would someone buy a new dac today, and limit themselves do a DAC that doesn't do DSD??

 

a) because they don't have any DSD recordings and don't care - and have never upsampled PCM to DSD to compare how it sounds.

b) because they think DSD is a fad that won't be around in a few years;

c) because they have a great PCM DAC and like it better than DSD capable DACs they've heard

d) because like the people at Berkeley, they think converting DSD to 176 sounds just as good or better than DSD;

e) because they DON'T like the sound of DSD and prefer PCM

 

I have a slight preference for DSD in my current setup. If you told me I could only listen to everything in PCM it really wouldn't bother me. If I had a DAC that did really superior PCM playback I also wouldn't care.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

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

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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.

 

I guess my point is, why would someone buy a new dac today, and limit themselves do a DAC that doesn't do DSD??

 

Because some of the best DACS there are do not play DSD, Totaldac, Metrum, Schiit, phasure nos dac etc.

[br]

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Silly question. There are no rich audiophiles.

 

 

Ah, or you could say that there are audiophiles who used to be rich.

 

I have two DACS currently. The Soulution 560 and the Lampizator Big7 SE. Earlier this year I owned the Berk Ref DAC but sold it because it only does PCM and does it very well.

 

I have a growing collection of DSD albums numbering in the hundreds. I can tell you that not all DSD files are created equally. There are many PCM files that sound better than DSD. I have learned the hard way.

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Ah, or you could say that there are audiophiles who used to be rich.

 

I have two DACS currently. The Soulution 560 and the Lampizator Big7 SE. Earlier this year I owned the Berk Ref DAC but sold it because it only does PCM and does it very well.

 

I have a growing collection of DSD albums numbering in the hundreds. I can tell you that not all DSD files are created equally. There are many PCM files that sound better than DSD. I have learned the hard way.

 

You can say anything you want. But audiophiles and wealth are mutually exclusive.

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You can say anything you want. But audiophiles and wealth are mutually exclusive.
I do not know if I agree with you or not. Can you define, for the purposes of this proposition, "audiophile" and "wealth?"

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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I do not know if I agree with you or not. Can you define, for the purposes of this proposition, "audiophile" and "wealth?"

 

Good question. With a certain definition of audiophile, the existence of $24,000 DACs, etc., implies the existence of wealthy (or formerly wealthy) audiophiles.

 

--David

Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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I do not know if I agree with you or not. Can you define, for the purposes of this proposition, "audiophile" and "wealth?"

 

Exactly. When you can get DSD 256 playback for $189 with the iFi iDSD Nano, wealth isn't a requirement for music enjoyment - WAV, FLAC or DSD. :)

 

nano – iDSD

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I do not know if I agree with you or not. Can you define, for the purposes of this proposition, "audiophile" and "wealth?"

 

As a reviewer for Stereophile, I can understand that you don't know what an audiophile is, but wealth? An audiophile is someone who strives to get better quality sound playback of music, than whatever the norm is. Each audiophile sets their own goals (hopefully) as to what constitutes a higher level of playback for them. Wealth is an accumulation of ones assets that can be traded in some form to acquire other items of wealth, such as goods and services.

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Well I just came in from polishing the Lambo and thought I might be qualified to throw in my .02 (or $2k cause, you know...) These days I'm just about finding an excellent DAC in and of itself. Example, I'm not going to turn down the Yggy because its PCM, its a great DAC with an awesome filter and I'd use it for how it sounds overall in my system. I think its all about implementation and not just a superior format.

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As a reviewer for Stereophile, I can understand that you don't know what an audiophile is, but wealth? An audiophile is someone who strives to get better quality sound playback of music, than whatever the norm is. Each audiophile sets their own goals (hopefully) as to what constitutes a higher level of playback for them. Wealth is an accumulation of ones assets that can be traded in some form to acquire other items of wealth, such as goods and services.
Wealth is totally irrelevant to this discussion.
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As a reviewer for Stereophile, I can understand that you don't know what an audiophile is, but wealth? An audiophile is someone who strives to get better quality sound playback of music, than whatever the norm is. Each audiophile sets their own goals (hopefully) as to what constitutes a higher level of playback for them. Wealth is an accumulation of ones assets that can be traded in some form to acquire other items of wealth, such as goods and services.

 

So how does that make "audiophile" and "wealth" mutually exclusive?

 

Also, is it necessary to make gratuitous ad hominem remarks about other posters? Please wait until someone's insulted your cables.

 

--David

Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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As a reviewer for Stereophile, I can understand that you don't know what an audiophile is, but wealth? An audiophile is someone who strives to get better quality sound playback of music, than whatever the norm is. Each audiophile sets their own goals (hopefully) as to what constitutes a higher level of playback for them. Wealth is an accumulation of ones assets that can be traded in some form to acquire other items of wealth, such as goods and services.
Almost every one has some wealth but your use of the term in your proposition implies "great wealth." How great?

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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I would. Everything I have is audio CDs and very few 24/96 vinyl rips.

 

Heck... I'd even limit my DAC to having only digital (specifically Toslink) inputs and no USB.

 

that is understandable, if you never have any intention of owning music that is better than a cd....but if that is the case, i heavily doubt you fall into the "rich category'....and also why wealth is relevant to the topic.

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Almost every one has some wealth but your use of the term in your proposition implies "great wealth." How great?

 

 

I agree, wealth is certainly a subjective word.

I use it in the context of someone who wouldn't think twice about spending 5K for a dac instead of 1K for a dac if they thought they heard even a miniscule improvement...

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Clariication of wealth as it relates to the topic.

 

I used to buy and sell baseball cards. Some people have such deep pockets that they don't care if they can get a jackie robinson rookie card graded an 8 for 20K, they would rather spend 200K for one graded a 9. (totally arbitrary numbers).

 

Budget relates in the sense that I want to know what people think where money is not a factor, or very small factor in their listening and buying.

 

No matter what, i will never buy a 10K DAC, no mattter how good it sounds, even if it sounds 10 times better.

I might buy a 2K DAC if it sounded 10% better than a 1K DAC.

Some people would spend 100K if it sounded only 1% better.

 

Wealth is relative.

 

I am curious as to the opinions of those that money doesn't matter so much, and I am gauging it on someone that would not think twice about spending 2K on a dac, or even 5K on a dac, if they thought it sounded even marginally better.

 

Many people here can only dream to buy even a $500 DAC.

 

My question is for those that can afford the best, that in their systems, do they believe that the best DSD material is capable of sounding better than the best PCM material.

 

I have been to a couple CES shows in vegas, and have heard some of the best sounding systems, and every time i thought i heard something that sounded truly extraordinaire, it was DSD.

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