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DSD Converter Software: How It Works? [Read Easy Explanation]

Audio Basis - articles about audio

DSD converter is software to convert Direct Sstream Digital audio files to other formats and back. DSD audio files have extensions DSF, DFF,  ISO (SACD ISO). PCM multibit formats (WAV, FLAC, AIFF, mp3, etc. files and CD-audio disks) can be used as source or target. Also, such converter can resample DSD files. Read below how the converter works.

Watch and share: How DSD converter works
Watch and share: What is DSD audio? Definitive guide


Format DSD is implementation of sigma-delta modulation. There used sample rates that multiple 44100 Hz:

  • 2.8 MHz = 2 822 400 Hz = 44100 Hz x 64 times;
  • 5.6 MHz = 5 644 800 Hz = 44100 Hz x 128 times;
  • 11.2 MHz = 11 289 600 Hz = 44100 Hz x 256 times;
  • 22.6 MHz = 22 579 200 Hz = 44100 Hz x 512 times;
  • 45.2 MHz = 45 158 400 Hz = 44100 Hz x 1024 times;
  • etc.

Bit depth is 1 bit.

Read details...


How DSD converter works


Software DSD converter can contain inside:

1. PCM (multibit) modulator to delta-sigma modulation (1-bit), or

2. Sigma-delta demodulator (1-bit) to PCM (multibit), or

3. Both: modulator and demodulator.

4. Resampler and other processing.

DSD converter structure

Structure of DSD converter


DSD modulator provides a decreasing of bit number. It leads to increased noise level (error).

The most useful part of an audio signal is placed in range 0 ... 20 kHz. The modulator "pushes" the noise energy to range above 20 kHz (called as noise shaping).

Demodulator provides filtering of this noise. After the filtering, the most useful audio signal remains only. Practically, some artefacts are in demodulated signal.



DSD modulator (sigma-delta modulator, convert to DSD)


Sigma-delta modulator (PCM to DSD) is sophisticated audio processing. It is system with feedback. Hence it can lose stability. If sigma-delta modulator (DSD modulator) lose stability, need restart it. As rule it can't return to stable mode without external impact.

DSD modulator

DSD modulator


In general, desing of sigma delta modulator is compromise between stability and noise level. More significant pushing of noise energy out of audible range, may lead to lose stability. DSD modulator can lose stability due overload.

For achieving better signal/noise ratio inside audible range and keeping stability, frequency band out of audible range must have reserve by width. It may be achieved via increasing sample rate.

Sample rate increasing is easier way to have wider band with lower noise.

Unfortunatelly, I don't know exactly history of creating DSD, but, looks like, sample rate D64 was designed for transmitting 20 kHz band. As rule, DSD demodulator is easier, comparing PCM one (read more). So replacing 44 kHz/16 bit to DSD64 may give some technical advantages for implementation.

For transfering of  100 kHz-band signal with keeping or decreasing noise floor, easiest way is sample rate increasing.

Read more about sigma-delta modulator >



DSD demodulator (convert from DSD)


Sigma-delta demodulator (DSD to PCM) or DSD demodulator is low frequency filter, that remove modulation noise, located above audible range.

DSD demodulator

DSD demodulator


This filter have 3 features:

  • pass band (minimum 0 ... 20 kHz);
  • stop band (band where DSD modulator noise is suppressed);
  • transient band (band between pass and stop bands).

Wider transient band allow decrease ringing audio, but pass more energy of noise of DSD modulator.

If expand pass band, DSD's noise energy also increased, pass band become narrower, ringing increased.

So DSD demodulator is balanced technical decision.

Read more about DSD decoder >



DSD resampling


Resampling DSD is digital audio processing. Performed via multiple upsampling/downsampling with digital filtering.

Before resampling file DSD converted without loses to multibit audio stream suitable for processing . After it processed and converted back to DSD via modulator.

Resampling 1-bit audio cause little losses, comparable with losses for PCM resampling. There losses defined by distortions of used implementation of processing.

However, playback apparatus may have different distortion level for different sample rates. Hence resampling may give benefits, if DSD converted to sample rate that works with minimal distortions on used DAC.

Resampling DSD audio file
for sample rate that works with minimal distortions on used DAC

DSD resampler


Frequently Asked Questions


How do I convert MP3 to DSD?

Read guide how to convert mp3 to DSD files...


How do I convert a DSD file?

Read guide how to convert:

  1. SACD ISO files...
  2. DSD to WAV, FLAC, mp3 and other PCM files...
  3. WAV, FLAC, mp3 and other PCM files to DSD ...
  4. DSD to DSD files...


Can I convert FLAC to DSD?

Read guide how to convert FLAC to DSD files...



Can you convert DSD to FLAC?

Read guide how to convert DSD to FLAC files...


Where can I download DSD music for free?

Look at website list where you can download DSD music...




DSD converter is software may contains:

  • DSD demodulator,
  • DSD modulator,
  • Resampler.

Playback hardware may have different distortions for different modes (sample rate, bit depth, PCM/DSD).
Resampling DSD or conversion PCM to DSD and DSD to PCM may give benefits, if target format suitable for DAC mode, that cause minimal distortions.



Articles about sigma-delta modulation

Arash Loloee. Understanding Delta-Sigma Modulators

Principles of Sigma-Delta Modulation for Analog-to-Digital Converters




Read more about DSD

  1. What is DSD audio >
  2. DSD vs PCM. Real competitors? >
  3. DSD Decoder Audio >
  4. How work sigma delta modulation in audio >
  5. What is Audio Formats DSD 2.8 DSD64 DSD5.6 DSD128 DSD256 DSD512 DSD1024 >
  6. DSD vs DSF vs DFF Files Audio. What is difference >

DSD converter: What inside



Read the articles
How to Improve Sound Quality
Where is the Limit of Audio Quality?
How to Choose the Best CD Ripping Software (Mac OS, Windows)
How to Convert ISO to FLAC on Mac OSX, Windows [Step-by-step Guide]
Audio Converter List | Read Comparison
How to Choose the Best Audio Converter Software [Article]

October 01, 2021 updated  | since April 06, 2017


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