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What is DSF audio file format?


Audio Basis - educational articles

DSF (.dsf file extension) is lossless audio file format, containing 1-bit audio stream (audio data) in delta sigma modulation. The format of audio data used in modern audiophile 1-bit DSD DACs.

Look below details about format abilities, conversion, editing, playback and other issues.

General description              Editing DSF              Playback DSF              Conversion DSF

Audio Converter DSF

Download HD audio converter AuI ConverteR 48x44 FREE for high resolution music

WARNING: Input DSF, DFF, ISO supported in Audiophil-E, PROduce-R and configurable Modula-R
Output DSF supported in maximal PROduce-RD and configurable Modula-R


General description

DSF format support sample rates:

2.8 MHz (CD sample rate 44100 Hz x 64, DSD64, D64),
5.6 MHz (DSD128, D128),
11.2 MHz (DSD256, D256),
22.5 MHz (DSD512, D512).
45.2 MHz
(DSD1024, D1024),

Bit depth is 1 bit always.

DSF format use sigma-delta modulation (a.k.a. DSD) for coding audio.

DSD format may be multibit. Main aim there is lower noise level in audible band or lower sample rate. I.e. it is balance between bit-depth and sample rate for defined noise level.


Read below about DSD headroom -6 dB and how to fix it.

Also read how to edit, convert and playback DSF.


Sigma-delta modulator is sensitive to overloads. After overloading it may go out stable condition and don't return to stable state until restarting. Read more below.

For avoiding overload DSF records may have 6 dB headroom for guaranteed avoiding of overload. For demodulator (DAC) it have no sense. So signal may be increased up to several dB. Such function, as example, in audio converter AuI ConverteR called as Auto Level Normalization.

Auto level normalization

Auto level normalization of DSF audio file


DSF format support multichannel configuration.

Some portable audio players have limited disk space for songs. So may have sense downmix multichannel DSF to stereo for saving portable player's disk space.

DSF audio files able to contains metadata (song name, artist name, artwork, etc.) as standard feature.

Alternative format is DFF audio file. In current time it don't support metatags standard way. So for playback software may have display metadata issues.


1-bit audio have simpler implementation ADC and DAC comparing PCM (multibit - 16, 24, etc. - audio) ones. Many modern PCM DACs contains sigma-delta modulator.



Read articles about hi-end audio converters



Read also:

What Inside DSD Converter of Audio Files >

DSD Decoder for Audio >

What is Audio Formats DSD 2.8 DSD64 DSD5.6 DSD128 DSD256 DSD512 DSD1024 >



Editing DSF

Currently no information (patents, publications), what DSF file may be edited "natively" (straight in 1-bit format) without conversion to PCM format and back to DSF. Here PCM has more wide meaning than WAV file in 24 or 32 bit / 352 kHz.

Editing DSF audio file

Editing DSF file audio


As example, DSF format may be:

- converted to PCM 352 or 705 kHz, 32-/64-bit float point with AuI ConverteR PROduce-RD or configurable Modula-R,

- edited in usual audio editor, and

- converted back to DSF with AuI ConverteR PROduce-RD or Modula-R.

If cut DSF file in arbitrary place, into cutted file DC issue may be caused.


Read below how to convert and playback DSF.



Read also:

DSF to PCM converter >

What Inside DSD Converter of Audio Files >

DSD Decoder for Audio >

How Impact to Audio Quality of PCM to DSF Conversion. 1-bit DSF vs. PCM >




Conversion DSF

Conversion may be applied for adoptation of resolution and file format to used software (audio player or editor) or hardware (music server, computer, DAC, portable player, mobile phone, etc.).

Converter DSF audio files for audio devices variety

Converter DSF audio files for audio devices variety

Conversion DSF to PCM and PCM to DSF applied with quality loss.

Conversion of audio file's formats don't improve quality of the audio file as itself.

But some playback modes/resolutions for an audio devices (sample rate + bit depth) may cause lesser distortions during playback. Thus conversion of files to such resolutions (sample rate + bit depth) can improve playback sound quality (lesser noise/distortions).

As rule, non-real-time conversion (via audio file converter) is not restricted by real-time performance of software / hardware and there possible applying more exact digital signal processing.

With one time offline conversion of DSF audio file before playback, we can save electric energy, that consumed for "heavy" conversion processing during each playback seance.



Read articles by links below.

Also watch educational video about DSD converter.



Read also:

DSF to FLAC converter >

Audio Converter ISO to DSF >

Audio converter DFF to DSF >

DSF to PCM converter >

FLAC to DSF Audio Converter >

How Convert ISO to DSF, WAV without Clicks >

How convert DFF to DSF under Mac OS X, Windows, Linux read here >.


Watch educational video: How to work DSD converter



Playback DSF

DSF may be played back at:

  • computer (software player),
  • music server,
  • portable audio player,
  • mobile phone (software audio player),
  • car audio.


DSF and DFF files can playback with:


For "native" playback DSF need DSD DAC. 

For playback DSF at PCM DAC need conversion DSF to PCM.

Playback DSF audio file

Playback DSF audio file


How open DSF with software audio players described here.


Read also:

DSF to FLAC converter for PCM DAC >

Audio Converter ISO to DSF for portable players and music servers >

FLAC to DSF Audio Converter for 1-bit DAC >

How Convert ISO to DSF, WAV, FLAC without Clicks >

DSD and PCM. Real Competitors? >



Read also:

What is DSF >

You can learn more details of this format here, here, here.

What Inside DSD Converter of Audio Files >



Read articles about hi-end audio converters

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