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Foobar2000 | How to play DSD: DSF DFF SACD ISO?

Audio Basis - articles about audio

yuri korzunovRead the step-by-step guide on how to play DSD files (.dsf, .dff, sacd iso) via foobar2000 player software with plugins by audio software developer Yuri Korzunov. Table of content (click to show)...


How do I play DSD files [DSF, DFF, SACD ISO] on Foobar2000 - Quickstart

How to play DSF and SACD ISO

To play SACD ISO or DSF (DSD files) in foobar2000 audio player software:

  1. Install foobar2000.
  2. Download foobar SACD plugin foo_input_sacd - by link
    Warning: SSF/DSF Decoder plugin doesn't relate to DSD playback.
  3. Unpack foo_input_sacd - to a folder.
  4. Launch the playback software and open Preferences (<Ctrl+P> key combination) > Components.
  5. Click Install button. In opened Install component window select foo_input_sacd.fb2k-component file (dsf component) from the folder.
  6. Click OK button into Preferences window. Restart foobar2000.
  7. Open .iso (be sure, that it is SACD ISO) or .dsf file into the player.
  8. Push Playback button.


How to play DFF files

To playback DFF files in foobar 2000 program:

  1. Download foobar plugin DSDIFF files (.DFF) by link
  2. Launch the playback software and open Preferences (<Ctrl+P> key combination) > Components.
  3. Click Install button. In opened Install component window select downloaded foo_input_dsdiff.fb2k-component file (DFF decoding component).
  4. Click OK button into Preferences window. Restart foobar 2000.
  5. Open .dff file into the player.
  6. Push Playback button.
Watch and share: Hi Res Audio [How it works. Sound quality. 7 Myths]


Read how to play at DSD DAC >


General sound quality matters of an audio playback

In this part, we discuss general audio playback issues without referring to certain software.

Playing DSF, DFF SACD ISO (DSD files) on PCM DAC may be performed 2 ways:

  1. directly on an audio player (real-time conversion DSD to PCM), or
  2. PCM files, that pre-converted from DSD files offline.

If DSD files are played back at DSD DAC, offline or real-time resampling (at some playback software) may be applied.

When we use way #1, we no need to do something with files.

Way #2 may be preferable, if an offline conversion sound quality is better than a real-time one.
A backup of original audio files are recommended for offline conversion. Because:

  • further player and/or offline conversion software may use more advanced DSD to PCM conversion by sound quality or
  • a new equipment will be bought (read below).

Sample rate and bit depth of played back file may be a matter for a player software (except bit-perfect mode) and equipment (including DAC). Read details >

Sound quality may be compared via measurements or via hearing.

See the comparison of these ways (infographics) >


Watch and share: How to convert DSF to FLAC

Some SACD ISO files contain 2.0 and 5.1 channel variants of an album. If your audio system is stereo, you have options:

  1. extract stereo variant of the album;
  2. downmix multichannel variant to stereo.

The first option is preferable because we can suppose, that "human-mixed" stereo variant is better than an "auto-mixed" one.

But there is no guarantee, that it is so for any case.

Also, the quality of an automatical downmix depends on implementation.

Downmix may be done inline, during playback.


Watch and share: How to convert ISO to FLAC


Playback issues

Message: "Unable to open item for playback (Unsupported file format)"

Need to install foo_input_sacd plugin and restart the software.


Supported DSD sample rates

In the version 1.3.16 with the DSD input plugin v. 1.0.10 DSD512 is supported to playback at PCM DAC.


Foobar DSD playback via DSD DAC:

To play DSD on foobar 2000:

  1. Download ASIOProxyInstall.
  2. Unpack and launch ASIOProxyInstall-xxx.exe
  3. Download foobar's ASIO plugin here
  4. Launch the foobar playback software and open Preferences (<Ctrl+P> key combination) > Components.
  5. Click Install button. In opened Install component window select foo_out_asio.fb2k-component file.
  6. Click OK button into Preferences window. Restart foobar2000.
  7. Open Preferences (<Ctrl+P> key combination) > Output > ASIO.
  8. Into ASIO drivers list double click on foo_dsd_asio driver to configure according to your DSD DAC device.
  9. Go to Preferences > Output. Into Device drop-down list select DSD : ASIO : foo_dsd_asio.
  10. Push OK button into Preferences window.



Frequently Asked Questions

What is DSF file?

DSF file one of DSD file types. Read details...


What is DFF audio file?

DFF file one of DSD file types. Read details...


What is SACD ISO?

SACD ISO is one of DSD file types. It is image of SACD optical disk.

Read how to rip SACD to SACD ISO...


Does VLC play DSF files?

As the author know, VLC don't play DSF. Read about details and current state...


How do I play DSF files with foobar2000?

Read quick start guide...


How do you play DFF?



How do you play a SACD ISO file?



How do you play SACD on Foobar?

SACD may not be played on ordinary optical disk drive. As the author know, some SONY VAIO computers can to do it with special program. Only SACD ISO image file may be played on Foobar2000.



How do you play DSD music?




foobar2000 dsf playback



Read also

  1. What is DSF >
  2. How open DSF files audio [Converters, Players] >
  3. DSD vs DSF vs DFF Files Audio >
  4. DSF to FLAC converter audio >
  5. DSF to PCM converter >
  6. DSF File Converter >
  7. DSF oversampling. D64 vs. D128 >
  8. Audio Converter DSF to FLAC >
  9. How Impact to Audio Quality of PCM to DSF Conversion. 1-bit DSF vs. PCM >


Additional information

foobar2000 dsf decoder comparison



Read the articles
Check FREE DSD Music Downloads
Check FREE Hi-Res Music Downloads
How to Improve Sound Quality
Check FREE audio converters (DSD, PCM)
Check FREE DSD players
What is DSD Audio? Read ex<wbr />pert ex<wbr />pla<wbr />na<wbr />ti<wbr />on

June 07, 2021 updated | since November 01, 2018


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