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Thread: McIntosh C48, Internal DAC, and External DSD Digital Source

  1. #1

    McIntosh C48, Internal DAC, and External DSD Digital Source

    I have my C48 connected to a Sony HAP-Z1 and outputting DSD (DOP) over a USB connection. When I try to play a DSD 64 or 128 file the C48 goes silent. It works fine when I play wav and FLAC files.

    I have had my Sony HAP connected to an Auralic Vega and had no problems with any DSD file. Of course I use the balanced outputs to the C48.

    My question is McIntosh's website only discusses processing DSD files using a Mac/PC via Jriver, is this the only way I can use the internal DAC on the C48 for DSD files? Is anyone else streaming DSD files via USB to the C48 using a device other than a Mac or PC?

    The C48 is on firmware 2.10

    Thanks in advance for any assistance

  2. #2
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! Elberoth's Avatar
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    This preamp's built in DAC can only play PCM files, up to 24bit/192kHz. Anything over that, including DSD files, has to be downconverted for playback.

    For native DSD playback you need to get C52.
    Adam

    Speakers: Magico M3
    Amp: MSB M202
    Digital: Lampi Golden Gate DSD only + Lampi DSD Komputer server
    Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Elberoth View Post
    This preamp's built in DAC can only play PCM files, up to 24bit/192kHz. Anything over that, including DSD files, has to be downconverted for playback.

    For native DSD playback you need to get C52.
    According to this excerpt from a document on McIntosh's website to help setup your PC/Apple computer running JRiver software the C48 can process DSD-DXD files.

    " Purpose of this Document: To add the capability of playing DSD-DXD file types over McIntosh 32/192 USB 2.0 DACs as used in C48, C50, C2500, D100, MHA100, MXA70, MA5200, MAC6700, MA6700, MA7900, MA800..."

  4. #4
    As has been pointed out, the C48 cannot handle DSD at all and any DSD files need to be converted (either in bulk or on-the-fly) to PCM at no more than 24/192. PCs/Macs using JRiver or other music programs can do this. I do not know if the Sony HAP-Z1 can be configured to do this.
    _____________________________
    Kal Rubinson
    "Music in the Round"
    Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
    http://forum.stereophile.com/category/music-round/

  5. #5
    The C48 can absolutely handle DSD, but I guess it depends on the source and whether the C48 is USB2 compliant. Jriver outputs DSD to the C48 which means the C48 can process a DSD stream as McIntosh states. My assumption is the C48 isn't USB2 compliant which means it could accept a DSD stream from any device via the USB port. My understanding is if the C48 isn't USB2 compliant than it can only accept a DSD stream from a MAC/PC/LINUX as they have the proper drivers.

  6. #6
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! Elberoth's Avatar
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    C48 DOES NOT accept native DSD and neither does C50, C2500, D100, MHA100, MXA70, MA5200, MAC6700, MA6700, MA7900, MA8000.

    The aftermentioned components can 'play' DSD files ONLY AFTER the DSD is externally decoded to PCM 24/192kHz (max) stream. This is not native DSD playback and will not work with components that lack DSD to PCM processing feature.
    Adam

    Speakers: Magico M3
    Amp: MSB M202
    Digital: Lampi Golden Gate DSD only + Lampi DSD Komputer server
    Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

  7. #7
    Thanks for the clarification. I obviously was wrong. The documentation on McIntosh's website confused me. I didn't realize that the JRiver application was converting the DSD to PCM. I understand now. I currently have an Auralic Vega between the SONY HAP and the C48 and I was hoping to sell the Vega and recoup some money by going straight from the Sony HAP to the C48. I have a few hundred DSD files so I guess I will have to keep the Auralic for the time being or think about converting my DSD files to .flac.

    Again, thanks for having the patience to put up with my ignorance. I wished I would have done more research before buying the C48. Thank goodness I bought it used for a pretty good price.

  8. #8
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! Elberoth's Avatar
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    You may sell the C48 and Vega, and get the C52 instead.
    Adam

    Speakers: Magico M3
    Amp: MSB M202
    Digital: Lampi Golden Gate DSD only + Lampi DSD Komputer server
    Cables: AudioQuest WEL Signature IC / Shunyata Anaconda Z-Tron SC

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Elberoth View Post
    You may sell the C48 and Vega, and get the C52 instead.
    A little out of my budget. Probably consider the C47 instead since it has the same DAC as the C52

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