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Thread: DSD DACS: Why SUBLIME with DSD recordigs but MEDIOCRE with PCM; Too Smooth & No Jump?

  1. #1

    DSD DACS: Why SUBLIME with DSD recordigs but MEDIOCRE with PCM; Too Smooth & No Jump?

    I am not a format warrior. I like it all. DSD recordings by Chad Dawson are amazing, but most are mediocre. Yet playing PCM recordings on DSD Dacs, such as Playback and Directsream, doesn't sound quite right when compared to top PCM dacs. The music sounds too smoothed over, like a cheap vinyl setup and lacks dynamics and jump factor.

    Anyone know why that is or if there is a DSD Dac that have overcome these hurdles?

  2. #2
    All depends on the sigma-delta modulation engine. Hence HQ Player with the software approach assumes you use a powerful PC and crunches the math properly. When you use a hardware approach like with PBD and DStream, you use limited computing power compared to a modern i7 platform, and so you get an inferior result. Much better to use an outboard modulator compared to the relatively feeble FPGAs those Dacs use.

    Not all DSD Dacs are made the same either. The Lampi DSD only plays back a DSD signal and uses no Dac chip, just an elaborate filtration scheme. Furthermore, its PCM engine is nearly totally separate from the DSD engine, so you have 2 Dacs in one box with the respective pathways optimised for the format.

    In summary, for DSD, you have the FPGA guys like the PBD/EMM/DSTREAM converting all input to DSD often via multibit DSD which has similarities to PCM, you have the Chords converting DSD input to high rate PCM, you have the Chip Dacs doing DSD - some converting to PCM, some doing DSP/Multi-bit and some doing DSD low filter bypass, and finally you have the elaborate filter box approach for "pure DSD' with no extra processing (so called chip less).

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by wisnon View Post
    All depends on the sigma-delta modulation engine. Hence HQ Player with the software approach assumes you use a powerful PC and crunches the math properly. When you use a hardware approach like with PBD and DStream, you use limited computing power compared to a modern i7 platform, and so you get an inferior result. Much better to use an outboard modulator compared to the relatively feeble FPGAs those Dacs use.

    Not all DSD Dacs are made the same either. The Lampi DSD only plays back a DSD signal and uses no Dac chip, just an elaborate filtration scheme. Furthermore, its PCM engine is nearly totally separate from the DSD engine, so you have 2 Dacs in one box with the respective pathways optimised for the format.

    In summary, for DSD, you have the FPGA guys like the PBD/EMM/DSTREAM converting all input to DSD often via multibit DSD which has similarities to PCM, you have the Chords converting DSD input to high rate PCM, you have the Chip Dacs doing DSD - some converting to PCM, some doing DSP/Multi-bit and some doing DSD low filter bypass, and finally you have the elaborate filter box approach for "pure DSD' with no extra processing (so called chip less).

    +1.... great answer!
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    Quote Originally Posted by caesar View Post
    I am not a format warrior. I like it all. DSD recordings by Chad Dawson are amazing, but most are mediocre. Yet playing PCM recordings on DSD Dacs, such as Playback and Directsream, doesn't sound quite right when compared to top PCM dacs. The music sounds too smoothed over, like a cheap vinyl setup and lacks dynamics and jump factor.

    Anyone know why that is or if there is a DSD Dac that have overcome these hurdles?
    Just get the Lampi B7

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    [WBF Founding Member] Addicted to Best! JackD201's Avatar
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    My Da Vinci Dual uses separate PCM and DSD. My CH C1 AFAIK does not. That said, I do not have many of the same titles on both HR-PCM and DSD just RB and others. As such I haven't made any serious comparisons. Both play DSD and PCM satisfactorily for me. Do I have a general preference? Yes and it would be DSD in general if I have it. If I don't I'll play what I have happily in the hopes that I can secure a DSD sometime in the future.

    LH has just announced an upgrade. I might send my Dual in for it but have to decide on the Femto clock options first.
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    I know of a couple designers like Mike Moffat and the guys at DaVinci believe that having the same DAC share circuitry for both PCM and DSD compromises both. So perhaps a two box solution or completely separate circuitry in the same box is the way to go as is the case with the DaVinci. Perhaps that would solve the issue noted by the OP.

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    In Lampi PCM and dsd flow through different circuit in the same box

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Whip View Post
    I know of a couple designers like Mike Moffat and the guys at DaVinci believe that having the same DAC share circuitry for both PCM and DSD compromises both. So perhaps a two box solution or completely separate circuitry in the same box is the way to go as is the case with the DaVinci. Perhaps that would solve the issue noted by the OP.
    Joe, when you hear the Lam[pi B7 playing DSD, it will hit you like a tone of bricks. DSD done right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wisnon View Post
    Joe, when you hear the Lam[pi B7 playing DSD, it will hit you like a tone of bricks. DSD done right.
    Agreed but when I want a real slam then I switch to pcm and La Fontaine, try "Keep the Faith" of Michael Jackson and tell me if your can sit still. Pcm in Big 7 does no have this punch imho.
    Last edited by marslo; 06-06-2015 at 01:24 AM.
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    Hi Mariusz different tubes will give you different punch

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