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DSD Files [Downloads, Comparison 2024]

DSD Files: How to Love Stunning Hi-Res Audio
Do you love music and want to hear it in the best possible way? If so, you need to know about DSD files. DSD stands for Direct Stream Digital, and it is a file format that delivers the highest audio quality. But how does it compare to other audio formats, such as DXD, PCM, and FLAC? And where can you get DSD files for free or buy them?
This article covers the following topics:
 - What are DSD files and why are they important?
 - What is the best DSD file format?
 - How to choose the best iso format among DSF, DFF, and SACD ISO?
 - How to play, convert, and edit DSD files with ease?
Read on and discover the amazing secrets of DSD files.

Author: Yuri Korzunov,
Audiophile Inventory's developer with 25+ year experience in digital signal processing,
author of the articles that make audio easy for beginners




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What is DSD file format

DSD files are a kind of computer audio or music files that sound very good. Check out why it is so. These files save audio information in a special way called Direct Stream Digital. This format uses very little data for each sound piece (1 bit), but takes many sound pieces very quickly (high sampling rate).

SACD (Super Audio CD) is a kind of CD that saves sound in this way. You need a special device to listen to SACD discs. You can't listen to them on a computer, usually.

But, you can listen to DSD files on many other devices, like smartphones, music players, streamers, servers, computers, and more.


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Is DSD the best audio format?

DSD is a type of audio or music file that has very high sound quality. It stores sonic information in a special way that makes the sound smooth and clear.

Some people say that DSD is better than PCM, which is another type of sound or music file. PCM supports Hi-Res audio. The format includes WAVs, FLACs, CDs, MP3s, and others.

But it is not easy to say which one is better. There are many factors that affect the sound quality, such as the recording, the device, and the listener's preference. Learn more...

One thing we can say for sure is that DSD files take up more space than PCM ones. However, for mobile devices with limited disk space, you can convert DSD to mp3 or FLAC.


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DSD computer file types

  • DSF (.dsf) is a kind of DSD file made by SONY,
  • DFF (.dff) is another kind of DSD file made by Philips,
  • SACD ISO (.iso) audio file has the same sound as Super Audio CD disc. You can make it by ripping the disc.

SACD (Super Audio CD) is a physical disc that you can play on a special device. SACD is not a file that you can play on a computer.


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DSD sound file comparison

DFF vs DSF vs SACD ISO comparison
DFF vs DSF vs SACD ISO comparison


The colored rings in the picture show different features of each file type.

Read more:


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Audio quality

Different DSD audio file formats sound the same. All these kinds of audio files (.dsf, .dff, SACD .iso) sound very good. They keep all the sound information when they are smaller via data compression. Except .dsf which can't be compressed. You can switch these files from one kind to another and the sound will not change.


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How big are DSD music files?

Look at how much space a DSD file takes. The space comparison for different sound quality levels.

The size comparison for different sound quality levels
  DFF size (MBytes/min) DSF size (MBytes/min) SACD size (MBytes/min)
DSD64 stereo 20.5 20.5 20.5
DSD64 multichannel (5.1) 61.6 61.6 -
DSD128 stereo 41.1 41.1 -
DSD128 multichannel (5.1) 123.2 123.2 -
DSD256 stereo 82.1 82.1 -
DSD256 multichannel (5.1) 246.3 246.3 -
DSD512 stereo 164.2 164.2 -
DSD512 multichannel (5.1) 492.7 492.7 -
DSD1024 stereo 328.5 328.5 -
DSD1024 multichannel (5.1) 985.4 985.4 -

Some kinds of sound or music files can be smaller and still sound identically (true lossless compression). This is only for DFF and SACD ISO files, using a special way called DST (Direct Stream Transfer). This is good for playing music with high quality. You can get free sound or music files with different quality levels: DSD 64, DSD 128, DSD 256, DSD 512, DSD 1024. The higher the number, the better the sound should be. However, higher rates don't ensure better quality.


How many kbps is Direct Stream Digital?

Bitrate is a measure of how much data is used to represent one second of sound. It is usually expressed in kilobits per second (kbps). The higher the bitrate promises the more detailed and accurate sound. But also the larger file size and the more bandwidth required for streaming. Find out how fast DSD files transfer sound data.

Bitrates for DSD files
DSD sample rate Stereo bitrate, kbps
DSD64 5644.8
DSD128 11289.6
DSD256 22579.2
DSD512 45158,4
DSD1024 90316,8


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How Direct Stream Digital works

DSD is a way of storing music that has very high sound quality. It has a special way of storing sound information that uses one bit for each sound piece, but takes many sound pieces very quickly.

However, this method also creates a lot of noise that can interfere with the sound quality. To fix this problem, noise shaping is used. This is a technique that moves the noise from the range of frequencies that we can hear to the frequencies that are beyond our hearing.

To do this, the sound information needs to have some extra space in the higher frequencies that we can’t hear. This is achieved by using a higher sampling rate. It means taking more sound samples per second.
The noise shaping technique also uses feedback, which means using the previous output to adjust the next input. However, this can sometimes cause instability if the input is too large.

Study details on how it works...


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Where can I download DSD for free or buy?

Hi-fi audio samples, free DSD music and test signal downloads:

  1. Music and test sample files...
  2. More free downloads...
  3. Where to buy DSD recordings...



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How do I play DSD music files?

Some programs can play 1-bit DSD audio in different ways:
change it to another format while playing;
keep it in the original format;
or do both.

The sound quality also depends on the speakers, amplifiers and headphones you use. But some DSD and DXD recordings may cause audible noise.

Watch and share: How to remove audible noise of high resolution recordings
video guide how to remove audible noise


Can iPhone play Direct Stream Digital files?

Yes. You can use some apps to play one-bit files on an iPhone.

Read details and see the player list here...


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How to convert to/from DSD file?

Hi-fi format conversion means changing the quality of the sound file you bought to match your device. A converter software can do this in different ways, with different features and results.

Read details:


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How do I edit DSD audio files?

The author is unaware of any papers on “native DSD editing”. There is no way to do math with two 1-bit values and get a 1-bit answer. So, the 1-bit data has to be changed in multi-bit math only. Then, it should be changed back to 1-bit data.

Multibit DXD files are made from DXD without removing noise. In fact, DXD files are the same as high-quality PCM.

Editing does not affect the sound much. It is like re-sampling. You can hardly notice it. An editor software can do different things, with different features and results.

Read details: how to edit Direct Stream Digital audio >


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Streaming service

DSD streaming is playing very clear and detailed music from the internet. The author is not aware of any websites that offer this kind of music now.

DSD audio files (DSF, DFF, SACD ISO)


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Frequently Asked Questions



Yes. SACD optical disk contains Direct Stream Digital audio.


Is DSD better than FLAC?

DSD and FLAC are both very clear and detailed sound formats. But they may sound slightly different.

Read details...


Is DSD better than CD?

As a concept, onebit formats gives great sound quality advantages comparing CD.

However, a practical implementation may change the balance between these technologies in both directions.



Is MQA better than DSD?

MQA is a type of HD sound that sometimes loses a bit of detail. DSD is a type of very clear sound that keeps all the detail of digital data. DSD should sound better in theory, but it’s not that simple. MQA doesn’t lose much detail.

Study details...


What is the highest-quality audio file?

Lossless audio files keep all the details of the sound. We can consider it as the best format. Read more...


How do I get DSD on my computer?

You need special software and a device to play DSD on your computer. You can find some software options here. You also need a digital-to-analog converter that can handle DSD, like this one.


How big is a 5-minute FLAC file?

A stereo 5-minute FLAC file is a file that takes up about 31,752 Mbytes of space. You can calculate the space by multiplying these numbers: 44100Hz * 16bit / 8 * 2channels * 5minutes * 60 * 0.6compression_ratio.


How do I open a DSD file?

You can open DSF, DFF, SACD ISO with the software:

Read the editing guide...


How do I create a DSD file?

To create a Direct Stream Digital file, you can:

  • record analog audio signal in the onebit format with special anlog-to-digital converter device and recorder;
  • convert a PCM audio file to DSD.


Can Windows 10/11 play DSD?

Windows 10 and 11 are capable of such playback.

Learn the details...


Can you play DSD without a DAC?

You can play such music without a dedicated DSD DAC, with an ordinary PCM DAC built-in into your device or an external one.

For it you have 2 options:

  1. use player software  with inline conversion 1-bit to multibit, or
  2. before playback, convert Direct Stream Digital music files to PCM...


What is DSD converter?

DSD converter is software to convert Direct Stream Digital data  to/from DSD or PCM files.


How do I convert MP3 to DSD?

Read how to convert mp3, WAV, FLAC and other PCM to DSF and DFF files...


How do I convert DSF to FLAC?

Read how to convert DSF to FLAC...


Can VLC play DSD files?

As the author knows, VLC can't play DSF, DFF, SACD ISO. You can convert DSF/DFF to FLAC or WAV. Follow the current state here...


Can VLC play SACD?

VLC can't play SACD optical disk. Because special hardware are required.

However, technically, SACD may be ripped to SACD ISO file and converted to FLAC.


Does Tidal have Direct Stream Digital?

Tidal doesn't support onebit audio. Read more about such streaming...


Does Spotify have hi-fi music?

Spotify provides hi-fi music. However, it's not lossless.


Does Qobuz have DSD?

Quobuz does not stream onebit audio. Read more about such type of streaming...




Related articles

DSF (DSD) audio files for download

  1. DSD 64
  2. DSD 128
  3. DSD 256
  4. DSD 512
  5. DSD 1024


Audio Basis - articles about audio


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