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DSD64 DSD128 DSD256 DSD512 DSD1024 | Read What Better? >

Audio Basis - educational articles

yuri korzunovDSD format audio with DSD64 (DSD 2.8 MHz), DSD128 (DSD 5.6 MHz), DSD256, DSD512, DSD1024 sample rates is one of high resolution digital audio formats, intended for audiophiles. Read audio software developer Yuri Korzunov's article about sound quality difference between DSD sample rates.

DSD (Direct Stream Digital) 1-bit audio format. It may be packed to audio files with extensions .DFF, .DSF, .ISO (a.k.a. SACD ISO - image of SACD audio disk).

Watch and share: DSD versus FLAC comparison

Watch and share: What is DSD audio? Video explanation

Look video about DSD converter.

DSD sample rates

DSD is one of kind of sigma delta modulation.

Its sample rates are multiple 44100 Hz:

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



As rule DSD have bit depth 1 bit. Multibit DSD may be used (read below).


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


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How DSD works

DSD assigned for transmitting audio signal in lowest part of frequency range. Rest part of audio spectrum used for modulation noise.

Initially 1-bit signal have high level of noise, comparing transmitted audio signal. Used noise shaping procedure for pushing noise energy to high frequency range. Therefore lowest frequecy range have minimal noise floor.

"Intensive" noise pusing to high frequency range can cause lesses stability of sigma delta modulator.


Watch video how DSD converter works >


Bit depth increasing allow to decrease noise level in audio signal band. Hence need "lower intencity" of noise pushing to high frequencies. Hence need lower reserve for noise band at high frequencies. Hence sample rate (total DSD signal band) may be decreased.

Read more details >


DSD sound quality issues

DSD have range of sample rates based on 44100 Hz in most cases. Here features of professional sigma-delta modulators, that generate 1-bit audio from multibit one, will considered. These figures depend on the modulator implementation.

Sound quality is noise distortions (artefacts) level in audible range.

DSD 64 vs DSD 128 vs DSD 256 vs DSD 512 vs DSD 1024

Sample rate DSD Noise level, dB Remark
DSD 64 about -125 ... -145 dB about PCM 24 bit (-144 dB)
DSD 128 about -160 ... -165 dB between PCM 24 bit and PCM 32 bit
DSD 256 about -170 ... -200 dB about PCM 32 bit
DSD 1024 about -170 ... -200 dB in 100 kHz band about PCM 32 bit

The modulator have noise level limitations due input overload tolerance. Overload at input of the modulator can cause broken stability: silence or an oscillations at output. In some DSD records 6 dB headroom (level reserve for maximal level) is present. Read more here >

Higher sample rate give additional technical abilities for decreasing noise in audible band with keeping stability.




DSD and PCM both are digital signals with same nature.

DSD have minimal bit depth (1-bit). It cause high level of quantization noise.

But DSD have wider band, that decrease noise in audible frequency range (0 ... 20 kHz). However it is not enough.

Read how DSD noise issue is solved here >



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