Audiophile Inventory on Facebook Audiophile Inventory on Twitter Audiophile Inventory on Instagramm Audiophile Inventory on Pinterest Audiophile Inventory on Telegram Audiophile Inventory on Telegram Audiophile Inventory on YouTube

DSD vs FLAC | Сomparing, Infographic, Read Easy Explanation >

Audio Basis - educational articles

DSD and FLAC (PCM implementation) are alternative audio formats at first glance. But difference between the formats is lesser than it is commonly believed (read about sound quality comparison DSD vs PCM here). Watch video about key features and comparison DSD vs FLAC at this page.

What is DSD and FLAC >Modulation >Bit depth >Sample rate >Useful audio band >Size compression >DAC inner work >Text metadata >Artwork metadata >DSD vs FLAC sound difference >Read also >DSD download sites >

Watch and share: DSD vs FLAC [Format Comparison]

Watch and share: How to split CUE FLAC


DSD vs FLAC comparison


1. What is DSD and FLAC

DSD (Direct Stream Digital) is audio recording or stream format by Sony, Philips.

DSD may be stored as DoP (DSD over PCM) into lossless PCM container (FLAC, WAV, AIFF, etc.).

DSD have implementations: DSF, DFF, SACD optical disk, SACD ISO file (image of SACD optical disk), DoP.

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is audio file-container format and compression method of recording or stream.

FLAC is one of lossless PCM implementations.


• DSF, DFF, ISO (1-bit audio) is supported in maximal PROduce-RD and configurable Modula-R
• For ISO tracks, DSF, DFF with length more 3 minutes FREE demo mute 2 second silence in the output middle
• DVD ISO is NOT supported


2. Modulation

Main difference between FLAC and DSD is kind of musical signal modulation. Or kind of analog signal coding to digital form. Further we consider difference of the modulations.


3. Bit depth

Bit depth of DSD is reduced to 1 bit. But it cause huge quantization error noise and low signal-noise ratio. To improve the ratio, noise energy is pushed out the audible frequency range.


4. Sample rate

Bit depth reducing demands frequency range reserve for noise energy pushing. The range reserve may be added by higher sample rate.

DSD sample rates: DSD 64, DSD 128, ...

FLAC sample rates: up to 384 kHz.


5. Useful audio band

The range reserve cause useful DSD audio band reduction, comparing [sample rate]/2 band of PCM.

DSD is intended for audible range transmission. DSD64, as rule, have almost flat noise in band below 20 ... 24 kHz. Above this band noise level grow with frequency. Aforementioned figures depend on implementation.


6. Size compression

DST (Direct Stream Transfer) is size compression method for DSD audio stuff. It is implemented in DFF and SACD ISO files. DSF have no size compression ability.

FLAC format is intended for size compression primarily. But there is opinion (without objective evidence, known for author), that computing for FLAC uncompressing cause additional interference, that degrade sound. To avoid unpacking, uncompressed FLAC is used. The FLAC is used because it contains metadata standard way.

FLAC file-container also can contains MQA-compressed audio stuff. Such FLAC may be played back without MQA-decoding.


7. DAC inner work

As rule, PCM DAC, intended for FLAC playback, is based on sigma-delta modulator and demodulator. The demodulator is low frequency filter.

DSD DAC can contains the filter only.

Read details >


8. Text metadata

Text metadata (album and track names, performer, etc.) contains in SACD ISO, DSF, FLAC files standard way. DFF have no standard metadata support.


9. Artwork metadata

SACD ISO and DFF don't support artwork metadata standard way. FLAC and DSF both can contains multiple artworks (album cover, band photo, etc.)


10. DSD vs FLAC sound difference

DSD and FLAC (PCM) sound quality comparison is complex matter. Because there are many variables: record, playback software and hardware. And all these variables are defined by implementation. Thus it is impossibly to say exactly what is sound better DSD or FLAC - it is need to learn each case.


(Audiophile Inventory's founder), 2018

DSD vs FLAC comparison

Read also:

  1. DSD vs PCM. Sound quality here >
  2. 32 bit FLAC Audio Converter >
  3. Uncompressed FLAC >
  4. FLAC to DSF Audio Converter >
  5. What is FLAC >
  6. FLAC converter audio >
  7. FLAC CUE Splitter >



Read other site parts

  1. DFF File Format Audio. DFF File Extension >
  2. DSF File Format Audio. DSF File Extension >
  3. Audio converter >
  4. DSF DFF WAV FLAC AIFF mp3 ... converter >
  5. ISO converter [1-bit audio] >
  6. CD ripper audio >
  7. Metadata editor >
  8. Tutorials >
  9. Educational Audio Basis program >

Read the articles

Copyright © Yuri Korzunov
["Audiophile Inventory" (since 2011), "AudiVentory", "Audiophile Inventory by".
Также "Audiophile Inventory by" (прежде "Audiophile Inventory") охраняемое коммерческое обозначение],
2010-2019. All Rights Reserved.

Site map      Terms and Conditions