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DSD files [Where Are Free Downloads, Comparison 2023]

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If you are music lover and look for audiophile sound quality, you you've probably heard about DSD format. In this article, we'll explain what is DSD, compare it with other digital formats (CD and others). Keep reading.



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

Audio Basis - articles about audio

📀📁 DSD files are computer files, that contain audio or music data in Direct Stream Digital (DSD) format.

SACD is an optical disk format for a laser player.

DSD computer-file types:

  • DSF (.dsf) is an audio format by SONY.
  • DFF (.dff) is an audio format by Philips.
  • SACD ISO is an audio file with a copy of content of SACD optical disk. It may be made via ripping.


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DSD file comparison

Read the main article about DSD vs DSF vs DFF comparison >

DFF vs DSF vs SACD ISO comparison

DSD files - DFF vs DSF vs SACD ISO


Radial bands in the format sector of a DSD file show its functionality.

DSD was designed as sound-quality imrovement of compact disk.

CD audio is multibit format with 16-bit resolution and 44100 Hz sampling rate. DSD is 1-bit audio sifnal with sample rate 2.8 MHz and higher. High sampling rate allows solving issue of "super-low" bit depth. It give audiophile abilities to Direct Stream Digital sound.

Here you can read more about difference between DSD and multibit PCM formats...


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Sound quality

The sound quality of different DSD audio file formats is the same. All these formats are lossless. I.e. they store an audio stream without losses.


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How big is DSD file?

See how large is a DSD file. The size comparison for different sampling rates.

  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 -

Size compression is implemented in DFF and SACD ISO format only (DST [Direct Stream Transfer] compression method). The compression quality is lossless.


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How DSD works

DSD is a format based on 1-bit sigma-delta modulation.

In short, DSD is the same PCM with bit depth reduced to 1.

But it causes a high level of quantization noise.

To reduce the level, noise shaping is used. It "pushes" the noise energy from the audible frequency range to ultrasound.

To "pushing ability" the total frequency band should provide reserve at the ultrasound frequency range. It is achieved via a higher sample rate.

The noise shaper has feedback inside, which can cause broken stability of DSD modulator due to input overload.

Read details on how DSD works...


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Free DSD downloads

Audio samples, free DSD music and test signal downloads:

  1. Music and test sample files
  2. Demo tracks #1
  3. Demo tracks #2
  4. More DSD file downloads



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How do I play DSD?

Various DSD audio player software can playback 1-bit audio 3 ways:

  • convert to PCM ("on fly");
  • native DSD playback;
  • both.

Can iPhone play DSD files?

Yes. There is iPhone software to play DSD files.

Read details and see the player list here >


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How do I convert DSD?

A converter software can support different formats, functionality and have various DSD processing qualities.

Read details:


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How do I edit DSD?

The author never knows about so-called "native DSD editing". There is no math base, that allows summarizing or multiplying with two 1-bit values and putting the result in 1-bit value. Thus, DSD altering may be provided in multi-bit math only. After the editing, DSD re-modulation is applied to return to 1-bit domain.

Losses by proper DSD editing are comparable with qualitative re-sampling. I.e. almost transparent for a user.

An editor software may support various formats, functionality and have different qualities of DSD processing.

Read details:


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DSD streaming service

DSD streaming is online playback of 1-bit high-resolution music. Unfortunatelly, the author doesn't know about such services that are available now.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is DSD format file?

DSD file format is a sound file format with digital audio in 1-bit sigma-delta modulation (called DSD or Direct Stream Digital).

Read details...


What is a DSD file?

DSD file (.dsf, .dff, .iso [SACD ISO]) is a file that contains audio, including music, in DSD format.




What does DSD mean in audio?

DSD (Direct Stream Digital) is a kind of digital signal.

Read details...



What is DSD file format?

DSD file format is a high-resolution audio format based on 1-bit sigma-delta modulation.




SACD is an optical disk format. Such disk contains tracks in DSD audio format.


Where can I download DSD music for free?

You can download free DSD files for listening here...

Also, check out these links...


Where can I download hi-res music for free?

You can download free high-resolution samples here...

Also, check these links to free hi-res files...


Is DSD the best audio format?

DSD is one of high-resolution audio formats that are intended to bring the best sound quality.

Theoretically, DSD gives technical abilities to improve sound quality comparing PCM.

It's not that simple.


Is DSD better than FLAC?

DSD and FLAC both provide high sound quality. However, a sound difference may be there.

Read details...


Is DSD better than CD?

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

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



Is MQA better than DSD?

MQA is a lossy PCM format. DSD is a lossless (in "bit-perfect" meaning) format.

Thus, DSD is a better format for sound quality technically. However, it is a complex matter. Because the MQA losses are very small.

Read details...


What is the highest-quality audio file?

Lossless audio files provide the highest sound quality.






How do I get DSD on my computer?

To get DSD listening on your computer, you need to install a DSD player. The computer should have an audio interface.

Read details...


What can play DSD files?

DSD files may be played back with a compatible audio player...


How many kbps is DSD?

See 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

Download free samples in DSD files...


How big is a 5-minute FLAC file?

Stereo 5-minute FLAC file 44.1 kHz / 16 bit is about 31,752 Mbytes = 44100Hz * 16bit / 8 * 2channels * 5minutes * 60 * 0.6compression_ratio.


How do I open a DSD file?

You can open DSD file with software:

Read guide: DSD editing...


Where DSD file software downloads?

Look at DSD software downloads to:

See how to edit DSD...


How do I create a DSD file?

To create a DSD file, you can:


How do I play a DSD file?

You can listen to DSD files via audio players...


Can Windows 10/11 play DSD?

Windows 10 and 11 are capable of DSD playback.

Read details...


Can you play DSD without a DAC?

You can play DSD 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 DSD player software  with inline conversion DSD to PCM or
  2. before playback, convert DSD music files to PCM...


What is DSD converter?

DSD converter is software to convert DSD to DSD or PCM files.


How do I convert MP3 to DSD?

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


How do I convert a DSD file?

Read how to convert DSD files to:


How do I convert DSF to FLAC?

Read how to convert DSF to FLAC...


Can I convert CD to DSD?

You can convert CD to DSD files according to the guide...


Where are DSD file software/utility downloads?

See DSD file software/utility downloads:


Can VLC play DSD files?

As the author knows, VLC can't play DSF. 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 DSD?

Tidal doesn't support DSD. Read more about DSD 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 DSD audio. Read more about DSD streaming...



DSD audio files (DSF, DFF, SACD ISO)


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