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Article: At Long Last! Listen To Your (Physical) SACDs Through an Outboard DAC


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20 hours ago, firedog said:

Hi George-

AFAIR, all ESS chips convert DSD to PCM internally, they don't do one-bit conversion direct to analog. There are AKM chips that convert DSD directly to analog, without internal conversion as an intermediate step.

Maybe that's why you don't like the sound of the Oppo.

 However, Oppo 205's audio setting menu allows it to convert DSD directly to analog.  

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5 hours ago, rando said:

@gmgraves

 

The Sony BDP-BX37 was unique SKU US/CA model, only available in a set of retail stores owned by a very rich Southern family 🤠, designed to hit what was at that time the lowest available price point for those desiring to try Blu-Ray.  For comparison on a supposed audiophile site you picked a highly amusing device.  Certainly amusing to me since I bought one used a year or two ago to do basically the same test(s).  Admittedly I didn't get CC to monetize purchase of a dongle and moved directly on to watching a 99¢ BD after determining this device was not an unrecognized jewel missing some key hardware mod/firmware adjustment.    

 

Absolved of provenance.  I think your article missed a key element by failing to mention the Burr-Brown (Texas Instruments) PCM1738 DAC chip in the Sony which ultimately provoked you to explore the OPPO's capabilities further.  Some mention of why one/both of us chose this exact model wouldn't have gone astray either.  Though probably beyond the scope of this article.  I'd also liked to have seen a few lines, or HINT HINT get the boss to clean up and promote his previous article, on mShuttle file transfer as a second reference point to depict how broadly it and the OPPO varied in function as transports.      

 

As always, you prove a very interesting character under any pen name.   

 

Edit: While digging up that pdf I came across this Audio Circle link which delves fairly deeply into the questions at hand.

I must be missing something because I fail to get your point. Irrespective of the provenance of the BDP-BX37, or its price point (bought mine used on E-bay incredibly cheap - less than 50 bucks), I included it to show that the HDMI to I2S converter will work with any Blu-ray player that will play SACDs and has an HDMI output and that the extent to which the playback quality through the Denefrips DACs is more than a little influenced by the quality of the transport used to read the SACD and parse the DSD from the disc.

I also fail to see the relevance of mentioning the Burr-Brown DAC which is, ostensibly, not even used when employing the BDP-BX37 as an SACD transport only.

George

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3 hours ago, soundboy said:

 However, Oppo 205's audio setting menu allows it to convert DSD directly to analog.  

Yes, that’s already been pointed out by someone else. But, thank you for reiterating it.
The fact remains, however that the ESS PRO’s decoding of the DSD file on an SACD is sonically inferior of the same SACD played via I2S through the Denefrips DAC.

George

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4 hours ago, blue2 said:

however it only accepts DSD over USB - probably a very common problem.

 

Kal rightly arrived at using a passive preamplifier-processor many years ago. 

 

14 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

I must be missing something because I fail to get your point.

 

Establishing said BDP actually has capability to playback DSD and, based on the level of technical awareness being exhibited in the comments, making clear what you are comparing.  Let me remind you that DAC used in the Oppo was mentioned and listening tests through both DAC chips were performed.  In brief you skipped right over the rather large potential issue of whether the Sony device actually passes on untouched data.

 

Provenance in this case would've elicited a few sharp intakes of breath.  Since you were remiss in providing any clue why or how the Sony was chosen.  I promoted some background information.  

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6 hours ago, rando said:

 

Kal rightly arrived at using a passive preamplifier-processor many years ago. 

 

 

Establishing said BDP actually has capability to playback DSD and, based on the level of technical awareness being exhibited in the comments, making clear what you are comparing.  Let me remind you that DAC used in the Oppo was mentioned and listening tests through both DAC chips were performed.  In brief you skipped right over the rather large potential issue of whether the Sony device actually passes on untouched data.

 

Provenance in this case would've elicited a few sharp intakes of breath.  Since you were remiss in providing any clue why or how the Sony was chosen.  I promoted some background information.  

Can’t you just read an article for what it is instead of comment cryptically on all possibilities a writer didn’t cover to your liking?

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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46 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Can’t you just read an article for what it is instead of comment cryptically on all possibilities a writer didn’t cover to your liking?

 

Have you lost all cognitive memory of participating in the comments section of every single article he's written?  Beyond pointing out you are dropping the bar impossibly low here.  Should not articles provoke conversation and further expansion upon the ideas portrayed.   You've all but managed to avoid angry rhetoric in the comments by some stroke.  Why seed them.

 

What I saw was a string of responses highlighting nearly every corner of research indirectly touched on.  Forgive me for the sin of asking "Why was none of this included?"

 

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14 minutes ago, rando said:

 

Have you lost all cognitive memory of participating in the comments section of every single article he's written?  Beyond pointing out you are dropping the bar impossibly low here.  Should not articles provoke conversation and further expansion upon the ideas portrayed.   You've all but managed to avoid angry rhetoric in the comments by some stroke.  Why seed them.

 

What I saw was a string of responses highlighting nearly every corner of research indirectly touched on.  Forgive me for the sin of asking "Why was none of this included?"

 

That’s quite a high horse your on. 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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19 minutes ago, Kal Rubinson said:

I do not understand this or why it is relevant.

 

I'm attempting to eat dinner which limits ability to dive into the full archive "Music in the Round" and forum posts.  Would it be incorrect to say in the 5 year period surrounding this Sony device's release you never used a preamp-processor to feed a dac from HDMI source?  I believed otherwise.
 

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Passive and processor is an oxymoron - Kal is spot on!

Current:  JRiver 26 on Win 10 PC (AMD Ryzen 5 2600 with 32 GB RAM) or Daphile on an AMD A10-5700 with 8 GB RAM

DAC - TEAC UD-501 DAC 

Amplification - Bow Technologies Wazoo Integrated (great amp - silly name)

Speakers: Wharfedale Linton Heritage - KEF LS50 - ELAC unifi UB5's - Linn Tukans - others......

Cables: Tara Labs RCS Reference speaker cables and DiMarzio Interconnects

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12 minutes ago, barrows said:

I would suggest that this is not quite accurate, at least not IMO, but some of this depends on what one calls PCM and DSD.  Typically, most DACs which one would say covert DSD to PCM, would end up converting a DSD data stream to a known PCM format, like 176.4 24 bit, or 352.8 24 bit, or perhaps 32 bit.  The ESS chips do not do this, indeed they do not reduce the sample rate at all for DSD 64 input.  The ESS chip does create a multi bit format out of DSD, at 5, 6, or 7 bits according to the settings of the chip: this is the bit rate the actual chip conversion stage runs at: this process is a re-modulation and does pass through the ESS SDM, but in the 9038 Pro, the SDM is actually very good and should not be of much concern, if at all.  On the other hand, if the manufacturer configures the ESS chip with a non synchronous clocking approach (which is the common way the chip is implemented) the sample rate will be entirely asynchronously re-sampled, and IMO, this really messes with the sound.  If the DAC manufacturer configures the ESS 9038 with a synchronous clock though, all is good and any oversampling is at integer values and sounds very good indeed with DSD 64 input.  DACs such as Ayre use the ESS chip this way, and it can be accomplished with DIY ESS 9038Pro based DACs as well.

Thanks for the clarification. As I wrote, that was from memory. If I understand you correctly, in actuality most implementations do resample the DSD stream. So if you are concerned about this it would be something to clarify before buying an ESS based DAC.

I personally have zero problem with "multi-bit DSD", others might want a DAC that does conversion to analog directly from the one bit stream.

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 .

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All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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:)

 

The 2000s called. They want their SACD players back.

 

I realize this article is geared towards people who still like to play physical discs (how quaint!), but just in case this is being read by someone who didn't know that an easy ripping option existed... it does! We have all the expertise right here on AS:

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/28569-sacd-ripping-using-an-oppo-or-pioneer-yes-its-true/

 

 

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled DSDs yearning to breathe free...

 

:)

 

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7 hours ago, austinpop said:

:)

 

The 2000s called. They want their SACD players back.

 

I realize this article is geared towards people who still like to play physical discs (how quaint!), but just in case this is being read by someone who didn't know that an easy ripping option existed... it does! We have all the expertise right here on AS:

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/28569-sacd-ripping-using-an-oppo-or-pioneer-yes-its-true/

 

 

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled DSDs yearning to breathe free...

 

:)

 

If you happen to have (or can find) an Oppo 103 or 105. Don’t try it with a 203 or a 205. It won’t work...

George

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@gmgraves wow what a great article! It peaked my interest to go back and re-listen to some of my SACDs and DVD-As. I have a Yamaha c750 combo changer and IT still works but I now only have a 2 channel system(Legacy Audio Studio HD monitors) and have the Yamaha connected only via RCAs to my Schiit Ragnarok amp(no way to connect multiple speakers nor does it have any digital inputs). So I really don't know if I am truly getting a multi channel sound BUT on the changer SACD and MultiChannel signals lights up as well as Progressive and Downmix light up. Am listening to ABKCO's the Rolling Stones remastered series sampler that came with the changer (4-243-687-01)/ Time Out-Dave Brubeck(CS 65122)/ More Hot Rocks(made in Germany 18771-9626-2) and Dylan's Another Side...( CH 90327). They all sound awesome(as do my DVD-As especially American Beauty and Working Mans's Dead and just plain old Red Book CDs)-better as I have said elsewhere than anything I stream via TIDAL/Qobuz or through ROON or Audirvana +3.5. BUT who wants to dig discs out and have to put them away anymore as alluded to above ("how quaint..."- I would add "how quaint and a quaint PIA").

So @gmgravesFWIW/FYI I took the liberty  of looking up my changer(2005 version) for sale and it is for sale well under 100$ in some cases as a substitute for your dead SONY if you are interested.

Thanks again for the article and for making a mess of my listening area(LOL).

bobbmd

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1 hour ago, bobbmd said:

@gmgraves wow what a great article! It peaked my interest to go back and re-listen to some of my SACDs and DVD-As. I have a Yamaha c750 combo changer and IT still works but I now only have a 2 channel system(Legacy Audio Studio HD monitors) and have the Yamaha connected only via RCAs to my Schiit Ragnarok amp(no way to connect multiple speakers nor does it have any digital inputs). So I really don't know if I am truly getting a multi channel sound BUT on the changer SACD and MultiChannel signals lights up as well as Progressive and Downmix light up. Am listening to ABKCO's the Rolling Stones remastered series sampler that came with the changer (4-243-687-01)/ Time Out-Dave Brubeck(CS 65122)/ More Hot Rocks(made in Germany 18771-9626-2) and Dylan's Another Side...( CH 90327). They all sound awesome(as do my DVD-As especially American Beauty and Working Mans's Dead and just plain old Red Book CDs)-better as I have said elsewhere than anything I stream via TIDAL/Qobuz or through ROON or Audirvana +3.5. BUT who wants to dig discs out and have to put them away anymore as alluded to above ("how quaint..."- I would add "how quaint and a quaint PIA").

So @gmgravesFWIW/FYI I took the liberty  of looking up my changer(2005 version) for sale and it is for sale well under 100$ in some cases as a substitute for your dead SONY if you are interested.

Thanks again for the article and for making a mess of my listening area(LOL).

bobbmd

Thanks for offering, but I can’t imagine a stand-alone SACD player sounding as good as my Oppo UDP-205 through the Denafrips Pontus. I’ve been listening, almost non-stop, since just before Christmas to all of my . I can’t imagine the many of the best ones sound any thing but almost identical to the capture tapes from which said albums were originally derived. I have several streaming MQA versions on Tidal, of titles of which I also have SACDs. Through the Denafrips the SACDs always sound head and shoulders above the streaming MQA versions from Tidal (through the same Denafrips DAC).

George

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@gmgraves You are welcome and I have no way to compare what you are listening to and what I am using but I don't disagree that regardless of the device all physical hard discs sound better -I do notice though that all Stones recordings ie remastered/sacd/red book/vinyl going back to the '60s have always sounded harsh brittle to me on many songs but not on ballads blues songs ie sweet virginia/far away eyes etc what you/others think? At the same time listening to More Hot Rocks disc 2 (above) Mick's voice is clear/centered with Keith's bass coming from right speaker and Charlie's drums clear and distinct from the left( just as it was when I had 5.1/7.1 system) so I guess I am getting DSD/Multichannel with my new downsized system. Again thanks for getting me interested in my discs again and I am glad my original SACD/DVD-A changer still functions, BTW I also have a Harman/Kardon HDCD changer that still recognizes my DEAD HDCD discs and I play it through same amp as above via a Schiit YGGY GS(which probably cancels the HDCD DAC in the HK, eh)?

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On 1/6/2021 at 8:22 AM, botrytis said:

There are other Universal players that have this I2S type of format, one is a Pioneer Elite DV-79AVi/AVi-s which calls it i.link connector. There are more out there also.

 

Ouch. I sold my DV-79AVi-s because I thought i.Link was somehow encrypted for just Pioneer's use -- and the internet had scant details on it at the time. (And seemingly still does). Do you know of a way to convert i.Link data to something less specialized like SPDIF or USB audio?

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i'Link is basically the same as IBM's Thunderport.

 

Not sure. One would have to have to deal with the encryption on the port for the data stream.

Current:  JRiver 26 on Win 10 PC (AMD Ryzen 5 2600 with 32 GB RAM) or Daphile on an AMD A10-5700 with 8 GB RAM

DAC - TEAC UD-501 DAC 

Amplification - Bow Technologies Wazoo Integrated (great amp - silly name)

Speakers: Wharfedale Linton Heritage - KEF LS50 - ELAC unifi UB5's - Linn Tukans - others......

Cables: Tara Labs RCS Reference speaker cables and DiMarzio Interconnects

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26 minutes ago, bobbmd said:

@gmgraves You are welcome and I have no way to compare what you are listening to and what I am using but I don't disagree that regardless of the device all physical hard discs sound better -I do notice though that all Stones recordings ie remastered/sacd/red book/vinyl going back to the '60s have always sounded harsh brittle to me on many songs but not on ballads blues songs ie sweet virginia/far away eyes etc what you/others think? At the same time listening to More Hot Rocks disc 2 (above) Mick's voice is clear/centered with Keith's bass coming from right speaker and Charlie's drums clear and distinct from the left( just as it was when I had 5.1/7.1 system) so I guess I am getting DSD/Multichannel with my new downsized system. Again thanks for getting me interested in my discs again and I am glad my original SACD/DVD-A changer still functions, BTW I also have a Harman/Kardon HDCD changer that still recognizes my DEAD HDCD discs and I play it through same amp as above via a Schiit YGGY GS(which probably cancels the HDCD DAC in the HK, eh)?

You are, unfortunately, barking up the wrong tree, here. I wouldn’t know the “Stones” from Adam. I certainly wouldn’t know them (or mostly any other rock or pop group, for that matter) when I heard them as I neither listen to nor generally appreciate this genre of music. Not knocking it, understand, it’s simply not my cup of tea. My musical tastes run mostly to classical, movie scores and jazz. Light listening will extend to folk, big band from the 30’s and 40’s, and from my misspent youth, the likes of Sinatra and even the Beach Boys!

George

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1 hour ago, bobbmd said:

@gmgraves You are welcome and I have no way to compare what you are listening to and what I am using but I don't disagree that regardless of the device all physical hard discs sound better -I do notice though that all Stones recordings ie remastered/sacd/red book/vinyl going back to the '60s have always sounded harsh brittle to me on many songs but not on ballads blues songs ie sweet virginia/far away eyes etc what you/others think? At the same time listening to More Hot Rocks disc 2 (above) Mick's voice is clear/centered with Keith's bass coming from right speaker and Charlie's drums clear and distinct from the left( just as it was when I had 5.1/7.1 system) so I guess I am getting DSD/Multichannel with my new downsized system. Again thanks for getting me interested in my discs again and I am glad my original SACD/DVD-A changer still functions, BTW I also have a Harman/Kardon HDCD changer that still recognizes my DEAD HDCD discs and I play it through same amp as above via a Schiit YGGY GS(which probably cancels the HDCD DAC in the HK, eh)?

 

Stones' recordings can be good test disks for easy appraisal of where a system is at. The very first album they did is very roughly recorded, and the slightest misbehaviour of the playback is obvious; but sonically something like Let It Bleed should be a piece of cake, 🤣 - some tracks on Exile on Main Street are heavy going on a sub-par setup; Ventilator Blues I found to be an excellent means of checking replay status, because of the 'sludgy' mix.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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