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What is DSF audio file format?

Educational stuff

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

HD audio converter for DSF file format AuI ConverteR 48x44
input DSF/DFF/ISO supported in Audiophil-E and configurable Modula-R,
output DSF supported in maximal PROduce-RD and configurable Modula-R

adjust sample rate and gain DSF


What is DSF audio file format

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.

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

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

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 partable player's disk space.

DSF audio files stores 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 be display metadata issues.


1-bit audio have simpler implementation ADC and DAC comparing PCM (multibit - 16, 24, etc. - audio) ones.


Editing DSF

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

As example, DSF format may be converted to PCM 352 or 705 kHz, 32-/64-bit float point with AuI ConverteR PROduce-RD or 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, in cutted files may rise DC issue.




How open DSF with audio players described here.

DSF and DFF files can playback with software as directly at 1-bit DSD DAC or with real-time conversion ("inline") at PCM DAC.


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

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.


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

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

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