Audio Basis - articles about audio

Music lovers compare various digital audio formats by sound quality. Probably, you already heard explainations how DSD audio (Direct Stream Digital) works. But it maybe is not as simple to understand why 1-bit DSD may successfully compete with traditional multi-bit PCM.
Read an easy explanation of what is DSD, how it works, why 1-bit provides hi-fi sound quality, what is better DSD or PCM, myth debunking, and other interesting things.

August 13, 2023 updated | since December 25, 2017

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

What is DSD audio?

What is DSD audio explained
Watch and share: What is DSD audio? Video explanation

DSD (Direct Stream Digital) is an audiophile high-resolution audio format. It is a representation method of acoustic waveform as digital data. The format is based on 1-bit sigma-delta modulation. Each sample of this signal type contains 1 bit per channel.

Initially, DSD format was designed as an alternative to PCM (Pulse Code Modulaion), which is used in CD-audio, WAV, FLAC, mp3 and other formats. Direct Stream Digital is distributed in SACD optical disk, .dsf, .dff and SACD ISO stereo, and multichannel computer files.

DSD was originally intended for archiving analog recordings. Now, this audio format is popular among music lovers and can bring master studio quality.

DSD may be played back with computer software or digital-player devices.

Also, Direct Stream Digital (DSD) is a registered trademark by SONY and Philips.


Essential tech

An audio signal is an air oscillation (sound) converted to electrical oscillations via a microphone.

Digital form of an electrical audio signal is a number sequence that is converted in analog-to-digital converter (ADC).

The sequence allows the creation of electrical oscillations back via digital-to-analog converter (DAC).

An audio signal (the electrical oscillations) may be presented as DSD or PCM.

It’s like we can assemble the same mosaic from small squares or circles.

Below we’ll return to the metaphor.


What is the difference between DSD and PCM?
DSD and PCM difference

Both DSD and PCM are a sequence of measured values (samples) of an audio signal's oscillation.

Sound/air oscillation each moment has a certain position (instant pressure level). The pressure level after the microphone is converted to an electrical oscillation.

The electrical oscillation at each moment has a certain position that refers to the air pressure level.
PCM consists of samples.  The sample is a measurement (number value) of an instant position of the electrical oscillation (voltage) at the moment of the measurement.


1 sample = 1 instant measurement of the voltage.


The voltage level at the microphone input is measured over equal time.

In sigma-delta modulation (a.k.a. DSD) each 1-bit sample shows a positive [1] or negative [0] change of the pressure level relatively to its previous value.

And, as rule, DSD is explained as a saw (level grows or falls) between samples. But, it does not give an easy understanding of the basic DSD principle.



Below we'll consider the easier explanation. Keep reading.




  1. How DSD works...
  2. About sound quality comparison with PCM...
  3. DSD and PCM DAC.


DSD history

Audio CD optical disk (PCM modulation / PCM format) was one of the first digital formats. It was a source with low distortion and noise level comparing analog ones. I think, now many people forgot what is "real analog noise".

From CD (PCM) to SACD (DSD)

From CD (PCM) to SACD (DSD)


After CD, demands to sound quality improvements could be implemented by increasing sample rate or bit depth.


Audio quality (sound quality) is a level of noise and distortions, that cause format/software/equipment. The level may be normalized by psychoacoustic criteria.


However, Sony and Phillips decided to use another kind of modulation - 1-bit sigma-delta modulation. At the first glance, using 1-bit is impossible, because such bit depth (resolution) causes a huge noise level. But, if high sample rates are used, noise energy may be pushed out of the audible frequency range (to ultrasound). That action is called "noise shaping".

Practically, 1-bit conception may be easier, than multi-bit, in a DAC implementation (read below).

When DSD music is converted to analog, ultrasound noise is filtered.

Medium, which contains 1-bit DSD audio stream was called SACD (Super Audio CD).

Look at DSD file infographic >


DSD specification

DSD features
Abbreviation of:  Direct Stream Digital
Audio data coding method: sigma-delta modulation (details and video)
Bit depth: 1 bit or more (details about sound quality)
Sample rate: DSD64 (2.8 MHz), DSD128 (5.6 MHz, double), DSD256 (11.2 MHz, quad), etc. (details)
Channel number: Stereo or multichannel
Medium: SACD optical disk, including hybrid SACD (with CD layer), computer files [SACD ISO (ripped albums from SACD) and DSF, DFF, CUE+DSF/DFF] (details)
Specification: "Scarlet book" (1999)
Applications: Music production, home hi-fi/hi-end audio

Direct Stream Digital is one of high-resolution audio formats to improve CD-audio dynamic range in the audible band.

Read below about sound quality issues (noise, bit depth, band, sample rate, DSD versus PCM).


How DSD works?


DSD encoding

Multibit signal is like to a computer display. It consists of several pixels along both X and Y axis.



DSD looks like a 1-pixel screen.


And we can't understand: how a 1-pixel display can show a qualitative picture?

Imagine that, this one pixel is put on a truck. And the truck moves the pixel sequentially through all locations of multiple pixels of the first display. The movement is cyclic.

X .  .  .  .
.   .  .  .  .
.   .  .  .  .


.  X .  .  .
.   .  .  .  .
.   .  .  .  .


.  . X .  .
.  .  .  .  .
.  .  .  .  .

And it moves very-very quickly. And so rapid movement allows us to see high qualitative picture.





As rule, DSD has been explained in the time domain: positive samples increase level, and, negative sample decreases. After it, analog filter smooths "saw" form of signal.

DSD and PCM | Time domain



In DSD analog-to-digital converter (ADC), measuring the "saw" signal is compared with the input analog signal.

DSD and PCM difference
How DSD ADC works

At the ADC output "1" is present. And measuring-signal level grows until it exceeds the current level of the input analog signal.
It causes the output signal to switch to "0". And measuring signal begins to reduce level.

When the measuring signal level is a lesser input signal of the ADC, its output is switched to "1". And measuring signal grows until the exceeding the input signal.

Read how to sigma-delta modulator works...


Above we discussed DSD vs PCM like a mosaic from squares and circles.

These figures may be significantly smaller than the assembled image. If our eye can't resolve the figures, there is no difference between the squares or circles we use.

So, qualitative DSD and PCM systems can bring us the same final result.


Such an explanation causes difficulties in understanding what is the actual difference between PCM and DSD and how to process DSD. Probably, it creates the myth about "native" DSD processing. About the processing read below in "DSD editing software" part.

Instead of the explanation, in the author's opinion, the easiest way to understand how DSD works is its spectrum consideration.

To estimate DSD and PCM sound quality, the quantization-noise level is the main criterion.

There is an explanation, that DSD has a super high sample rate and, thus, super low bit depth 1-bit does not matter for noise.

But DSD 64 sampling rate (2,8 MHz = 44.1 kHz * 64) is not enough to be better CD audio (see details).

To decrease noise level, noise shaping is used.

1-bit quantization-error (noise) energy has a significant level.

However, there is, so-called noise shaping of the spectrum is used. And quantization-error energy is re-distributed.


Noise shaping (NS) of 1-bit signal (spectrum)

Noise shaping of 1-bit signal


Noise shaping in the simple words

Let's imagine noise energy as water in a pool.

If we blow strongly to the water surface at one poolside, water level of this side is decreased (noise is decreased in audible range).
It is the same adding more bits of audio resolution.

The water will be displaced to the other poolside (inaudible ultrasound range). And level there grow.

The quantization-noise spectrum (at the left of the picture) has a level comparable with a musical signal. The sigma-delta modulator pushes a significant part of the energy from the low- to high-frequency range, out of the audible band (0 ... 20 kHz).

Noise shaping is implemented in a sigma-delta modulator (a.k.a. DSD modulator).


What is DSD decoding?

When the 1-bit record is played back, a low-frequency filter into a sigma-delta demodulator (a.k.a. DSD demodulator, DSD decoder) cut the noise.


DSD decoder (demodulator)



Spectrum error is noise level.

Therefore, DSD error into the audible range is comparable with the error of multi-bit pulse code modulation.

Also, sigma-delta modulation may have a multi-bit resolution. Read the details below and watch the video on this page.



Sample rates

The format uses standard range of sample rates based on 44100 Hz:

  • DSD64     = 44100 *   64   =   2'822'400 Hz =   2.8 MHz
  • DSD128   = 44100 *  128  =   5'644'800 Hz =   5.6 MHz
  • DSD256   = 44100 *  256  = 11'289'600 Hz = 11.3 MHz
  • DSD512   = 44100 *  512  = 22'579'200 Hz = 22.6 MHz
  • DSD1024 = 44100 * 1024 = 45'158'400 Hz = 45.2 MHz
  • Etc.

Also, 48000-kHz base is possible. There are no technical limitations to the sample rate value. But hardware/software compatibility issues are very probable.


DSD and Nyquist Theorem

For the Nyquist theorem no difference between DSD and PCM:

the spectrum above [sample rate]/2 is
the same as the spectrum below [sample rate]/2
that flipped along the frequency axis.


Noise, Maximal Level and Overload Stability

When a sigma-delta modulator is designed, the engineers pay attention to two main parameters:

  • the noise level in the audible range and
  • tolerance to overload.

To solve these issues the engineers use:

  • bit-depth,
  • sample rate,
  • noise shaping,
  • set default output level -6 dB for the modulator.

All these parameters should be considered comprehensively.


Bit depth

Bit depth reduces the quantization error level itself.


Noise shaping

NS "pushes" a significant part of the quantization error energy out of the audible range.

We can suggest that more energy may be pushed out of the range in the sigma-delta modulator. But it requires a steeper noise shaper.

Steeper NS can cause a higher probability of glitch (broken stability) of a sigma-delta modulator when input overload happens.
After the glitch, silence or some oscillations are generated at the output of the sigma-delta modulator.
After broken stability, the modulator should be forcibly reset.

Overload tolerance of sigma-delta modulator
Overload tolerance of sigma-delta modulator


Sample rate

We remember that quantization error is noise spectrum level.

A higher sample rate distributes the same noise energy into a wider band.

It reduces noise level or "quantization error" of DSD.

Also, a wider band allows using sloper noise shaping.

Energy is a square of the figure, concluded between the spectrum line and horizontal axis into band 0 ... [sample rate]/2.


Sample rate and quantization-error spectrum level
Sample rate and quantization noise level


In the left and right pictures, the squares of the noise energy figures are the same. But the figure, which is more expanded in the horizontal axis, gives a lesser noise level.

A higher sample rate allows for reducing the noise level in the audible frequency range. It allows for reducing noise shaping's steepness, which increases the overload tolerance of the modulator.



We can see that lower noise and higher stability to overload can be achieved in different ways.

As an example, better quality is noise shaping implementation matter for the same bit depth and sample rate. But, on the other hand, we can increase the sample rate and/or bit depth to decrease the error level for the same NS method. It allows for the improvement of the audio quality.



DSD in figures

Pro audio modulators have noise levels in the audible frequency range for sample rates (read details):

  • D64 about -125 ... -145 dB (comparable with PCM 24-bit)
  • D128 about -165 dB (better than pulse code modulation 24-bit)
  • D256 and higher about -170 ... -200 dB (comparable with PCM 32-bit)

Noise level in the audible frequency band almost doesn't depend on demodulator. But the noise should be maximally suppressed out of the band. Ultrasound noise can cause audible intermodulation distortions.


Read more about DSD vs DSF vs DFF >


DSD myths

Myth 1. DSD is better PCM and vice versa

No. Both format quality is defined by implementation in a device and software.

Also played back record is a matter.


Myth 2. DSD has low noise level due to high sample rate

DSD's low noise level is a result of noise shaping.


Myth 3. Multi-bit DSD may be edited natively

DSD bit depth defines noise level abilities. After DSD editing sigma-delta re-modulation is needed.

Read more about DSD editing...


Myth 4. DSD editing with decimation dramatically degrades sound

The editing with decimation is implemented with a low-frequency filter. The filter causes ringing audio.

However, the author knows no serious researche, that is studied the real impact of ringing on the listening perception.

Also, the ringing depends on filter implementation.

So, currently, we don't know the exact answer to the question.

Read about ringing audio...



DSD vs FLAC, WAV, PCM comparison


Ability comparison


Watch and share: DSD versus FLAC comparison


What is DSD? Quick explanation
What is DSD [Quick explanation]


Bit depth defines audible noise. More bit depth is lesser noise.

In the picture, we can see that bit-depth decreasing is achieved by using only part of the full signal frequency band. In other words, if we want to reduce bit depth, we must increase the sample rate to keep the audible noise level.

Read details of the format comparison in the table: DSD vs WAV vs PCM vs FLAC vs DXD

Coding sigma-delta modulation pulse code modulation pulse code modulation pulse code modulation pulse code modulation
Sample rate 44100 x 64 x N up to 384'000 Hz up to 2'147'483'648 Hz no limit 352 / 705 kHz
Bit depth

1 bit,
sometimes multibit

16 ... 24 bit,
32 bit some applications
integer only

16 ... 64 bit integer,
32/64 float point

multibit 24/32 bit
Band for audio signal Low part of the band Full band Full band Full band Low part of the band
Medium file, optical disk: SACD file file file, digital tape, optical disk: CD, DVD  

Note: WAV and FLAC are PCM implementations.

Read which is better DSD or FLAC (Infographic) >

Read more about audio file formats >

Direct Stream Digital (sigma-delta modulation) is like to pulse code modulation, but quantization error spectrum is shaped for decreasing noise into the audible range.

We can apply NS for usual PCM. But the difference here is band reserve for pushed noise out of audible frequency range.


DSD versus PCM


PCM has a lesser band reserve (above audible range) than sigma-delta modulation format, but pulse code modulation has higher bit depth.

Noise shaping for pulse-code modulation is an implementation matter too, like sigma-delta modulation.

Therefore, no format advantages as itself. But implementation makes a difference.

Sigma-delta-modulation decoder (demodulator) is 2-position (1 / -1) voltage generator and low-frequency filter. It is simpler than pulse-code-modulation hardware demodulator. Because pulse-code demodulator contains multi-voltage matrix or 1-bit decoder(s). So we have more abilities to make cheaper 1-bit DAC better than multi-bit one.


Read details here >

Also, look at infographic DSD versus FLAC >



PCM vs DSD  sound quality

There is no univocal answer. There are several reasons:

  • Quality of a record
  • Mixing/re-mixing of the record (including quality of the processing)
  • Playback software/hardware implementation
  • DAC implementation.

These reasons trigger infinite discussions about "what is better PCM or DSD".

Technically, DSD and PCM are incomparable. Even as single DSD/PCM compatible DAC is used for the test, the difference may be caused by different mixing/post-production of records, and the DAC uses different circuits (see here).

General answer: "Each case is individual and depends on playback system implementation and listened to record".


DSD sound quality and other [brief F.A.Q.]

Are DSD downloads worth it? Are DSD files better?

There is no unambiguous answer to the question. It depends on record quality, your software and equipment.

Is DSD better than FLAC?

There is no answer. Theoretically, DSD has better potential than FLAC and other PCM formats. Recording, certain equipment makes sound quality. Read details...


How big are dsd files?

1 minute of DSD64 stereo is about 40 Mbytes.

See more...

Are all SACD DSD?

Yes. Hybrid SACD also may contain CD layer compatible with usual CD player.

What are DSD music files?

.dsf, .dff, .iso (sacd iso), flac/wav (DoP). Read details...

Why is DSD sounds better than PCM?

Sound is defined by record quality, your playback program and apparatus.

Why upsample to DSD?

Upsampling can optimize audio file resolution to optimal (minimal playback distortions) for your equipment. Read details >

Where to buy dsd music downloads?

Read DSD store site list here >

Where to download DSD music free?

Look at:

Also read: DSD player F.A.Q., DSD converter F.A.Q., Myths


Where can I listen to DSD audio?

You can listen to .dsf (DSD audio files) here:


How do I listen to DSD files?

To listen to DSD files, you can download them for free or buy special audio player software or hardware.

Read details...



PCM versus DSD ADC

PCM vs DSD analog-to-digital converter


Both kinds of DAC contain sigma-delta modulator. It converts the analog voltage to digital samples in a format like Direct Stream Digital.

Analog filter ["DSD" sample rate]/2 is applied before the modulator. Looks details here...

PCM ADC is more sophisticated and contains a multibit modulator.

To reduce the sample rate, the "multibit-DSD" signal should be filtered (low-frequency filter) and decimated (removing part of samples). The filter also eliminates the shaped noise of the "DSD signal".

Read more about PCM and DSD difference...



PCM versus DSD DAC

PCM vs DSD digital-to-analog converter


To easier providing of PCM DAC precision/linearity in this kind of DAC, a digital sigma-delta modulator is used. After it, sigma-delta de-modulator converts digital "DSD" to an analog signal.

In the general case, DSD DAC is simpler. It contains sigma-delta de-modulator only.

It is technically impossible to compare PCM and DSD DACs, because they use different processing / electrical circuits.

Read more what is DSD and PCM DACs and their comparison >


Is native DSD editing possible?

DSD editing is cutting, merging, gain altering, equalizing, etc. of file(s).

"Native editing" (without conversion to multibit and DSD re-modulation) is possible for cutting and merging DSD records only.

All other kinds of editing demand conversion to multi-bit values and re-modulation. In this case, losses of the editing are comparable with PCM resampling.

Read details here >



File formats and compression method

  1. Sigma-delta modulation is applied on optical disks SACD (Super Audio CD).
  2. The modulation is supported by files DSF, DFF, SACD ISO (SACD disk image).
  3. WAV, FLAC as DoP (DSD over PCM) container.

SACD disc may be losslessly converted to SACD ISO [1], [2], [3].

SACD ISO image may be extracted to DSF and DFF files. Lossless extraction may be applied.

Read more about DSF and DFF.

1-bit audio files (DSF, DFF, SACD ISO) and disks may be either uncompressed or compressed with DST method.

DoP is an open protocol that allows packing 1-bit audio as multibit data for compatibility with software and hardware [4]. DoP cannot be played as usual pulse-code modulation.


Also, 1-bit audio may be streamed via a network.

Uncompressed DSD64 demands capacity 2.7 Mbit/sec = 44100 Hz * 64 / 1024 / 1024.


Direct Stream Digital sources
DSD sources, mediums


Also, index file CUE + DSF/DFF audio files may contain 1-bit album.

Look at "DSD files" infographic >


How to play DSD files?

DSD may be played on a mobile phone, portable players, music servers, SACD-players, and other devices.

Some devices can support native DSD feed of DSD DACs. Other ones demand pre-conversion to PCM or make conversion "on fly".

Sound quality is a complex matter. Read details about the resolution of audio files and sound quality.

Read details on how to open, play DSD on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux: player list >

Read how to download DSD music and how to get free DSD files here >


DSD audio players (hardware and software) can playback all or some of the 1-bit file formats.

1-bit files may be played back directly on DSD DAC/player or converted to PCM "on fly" to playback to PCM DAC/player. About SACD conversion read more here

1-bit playback may be performed via special ASIO driver under Windows, including DoP (DSD over PCM) digital audio packing format (example).

SACD optical disks may be played back at hardware player. The author knows nothing about available SACD drives for consumer computers to playback/record SACD optical disks.

A stereo player may downmix multichannel to stereo. As alternative multichannel files may be pre-converted to stereo. It allows for saving space on the hard disk of an audio player. Downmix is lossy audio processing. Its quality is defined by an implementation.

Read more about the players here > and here >

Read DSD player software list >


DSD player [brief F.A.Q.]

How do you play DSD audio?

To play DSD audio, use DSD audio players...


Can iTunes play DSD files?

Yes with additional software. Read details here

Can foobar2000 play DSD?

Yes. Read details here...

Can VLC play DSD files?

As the author knows, not. Read details...

Can Jriver play DSD files?

Yes. Look at the player list...

Can Vox play DSD?

As the author knows, Vox convert .dsf and .dff files to PCM on fly without native DSD playback.

Can Plex play DSD?

As far as the author knows, Plex can playback DSF. Details

Can Musicbee play DSD?

As the author knows, yes. Details

Can Amarra play DSD?


Can Audirvana play DSD?


Can iPhone play DSD files?

Yes. Look at the player list

Can iPod play DSD?

As the author knows, there is conversion to PCM files is necessary.

Can Mac play DSD?

Yes, Mac can play DSD...


Also read: DSD converter F.A.Q., DSD F.A.Q., Myths



How to convert DSD?

Read details on how to convert DSD on Mac, Windows and other platforms: converter list >

How to create, edit DSD files read here >

How to rip DSD from SACD (to SACD ISO) read here

Watch and share: how to convert ISO to DSF, DFF


DSD converter is software that can perform (depend on implementation):

  • conversion DSD to PCM,
  • conversion PCM to DSD,
  • extracting SACD ISO to DSD,
  • extracting SACD ISO to PCM,
  • resampling 1-bit audio,
  • altering volume,
  • volume normalization,
  • click suppressing on track borders,
  • other processing.

Read how the converters work...


Converter list (convert some or all of DSD files [DSF, DFF, SACD ISO])


DSD converter [brief F.A.Q.]

How to convert to playback at iTunes?

Convert DSF/DFF/SACD ISO to *m4a (ALAC, Apple Lossless). Read also (conversion DSF/DFF/SACD ISO to ALAC(m4a) is same) DSF to FLAC, DFF to FLAC, ISO to FLAC.

Does conversion DSD to PCM degrade sound?

Conversion with processing audio (including DSD to PCM) adds distortions. But final distortions is a matter of used playback distortions. Read details here

Is conversion DSF to DFF and back lossless?

It may be lossless when audio converter doesn't process audio stuff (resampling and other) in conversion.

Do various DSD converters have different sound quality?

Yes. There is noise level, frequency/phase distortions and tolerance to overload are estimated. Read details here.


Also read: DSD player F.A.Q., DSD F.A.Q., Myths


DSD editing software

Read main article about DSD editing >

DSD editing is sophisticated issue due modulation noise. Non-linear processing can cause audible intermodulation distortions by ultrasound noise.

Currently no information, that is known for the author, about "native" 1-bit processing (example: gain altering, resampling, etc.) without conversion 1-bit to multibit and back. Except, merging/dividing the audio file.


Read the article about DSD versus DSF versus DFF >


DSD editing
DSD editing


PCM here may be considered as "multibit DSD". Pulse code modulation is not obligatory to mean "24 bit / 352 kHz" or so on. Author recommends use 32- or 64-bit float point bit depth. This PCM contains high frequency modulation noise. But for conversion, this "multibit DSD" to 1-bit need re-modulation with NS.

Losses of editing with 1-bit/multibit conversion are comparable with resampling.

Recording studios may distribute 1-bit records without editing.


What is DXD?

DXD  is PCM (as rule "24 bit / 352 kHz" or so on) with high sample rate and bit depth and legacy DSD noise. However, the noise can cause audible intermodulation distortions. Before non-linear processing, the high frequency noise cutting is recommended.

Watch and share: Experiment with cutting ultrasound noise


Is DXD better than DSD?

DXD is PCM with noise hump in high frequencies. DSD DAC is simpler than PCM one in theory. From DAC point of view, DSD is ideal format. But, actual result is refer to digital-to-analog converter model. Read details here...


What is DoP (DSD over PCM)?

There are compatibility and other issues of tranfer 1-bit and multibit audio data from computer to PCM or DSD DAC.

All audio interfaces (USB, in instance) are designed for multibit data. And 1-bit data packing into ordinary multibit value was suggested.

DoP (DSD over PCM) is a format providing compatibility with some DSD hardware (USB DAC, for example). The format allows packing 1-bit DSD data in usual multi-bit words (like PCM).

These multi-bit words are transferred as usual PCM. Upper bits of the multi-bit word contain special "DSD over PCM" marker code.

DoP receiver should recognize the marker code and interpret lower part of the multi-bit word as raw DSD bits.

DoP format may be stored into usual lossless PCM file: WAV, FLAC, AIFF.

DoP coding may be chosen in audio player settings.


DoP specification


DSD audio samples

Audio samples may be downloaded here:

  1. Demo tracks #1
  2. Demo tracks #2
  3. Test simple signals

Check more DSD downloading resources >



What Is DSD Audio? [Quick explanation]
  1. DSD (SACD) appear as improvement of CD-audio.
  2. Sound quality is not DSD/PCM format matter, but depend on implementation and quality of a musical record.
  3. "Native" DSD editing is possible for limited cases. For other cases, the own editing loses is comparable with PCM resampling.

DSD is 1-bit audio data (sigma-delta modulation) format for hi-fi audio.

For the same sample rate and bit depth, the format may have different quality, that depends on implementation.

DSD digital-to-analog converter is simpler than the PCM one. It allows getting the better quality simpler way.

DSD may be edited via 1-bit to multibit and back conversion. The edition is lossy, except merging/dividing.

Read more about 1-bit format

  1. DSD vs. PCM. Real competitors? What is common base? >
  2. DSD Decoder Audio >
  3. How work sigma delta modulation in audio >
  4. DSD Converter of Audio Files: What Inside? >

Frequently Asked Questions [general]


What means DSD?

DSD has multiple meanings. In audio, DSD means Direct Stream Digital format. Read details...


What is DSD audio format?

DSD audio format is way to store sound recordings into computer files. This format is intenged for music lovers.



Is DSD the same as SACD?

SACD is optical disk that contains digital audio data in DSD format. Read more...


What is DSD in DoP format?

DoP format is protocol for audio unit interaction. The protocol contains DSD audio data. Read details...


How common is DSD?

DSD is well known audiophile format. It allows achieving high sound quality and often used for classic and jazz music recording.




What is the best audio quality?

The best audio quality has 2 definitions:

  • most low distortions, or
  • most"nice" sound.

When correct scientific approach is applied, both definitions may be used.




Which is better PCM or DSD?

Both DSD and PCM have advantages and disadvantages. Its discussing is theoretical rather. Read details here...


Is DSD the best audio format?

No. DSD is alternative audio format to PCM one. Read more information here...


What is the highest quality audio file?

DSD and PCM lossless files are the highest-quality audio files. Read details here...


Is DSD better than 24 bit?

DSD and PCM bit depth may be compared by quantization noise level in the audible band. However, equipment and software play big role there. See approximate comparison DSD and PCM bit depth...


Is CD better than FLAC?

FLAC format supports high-resolution audio. It give technical abilities to better sound quality.

Read details here...


Can you stream DSD?

DSD streaming service you can find here...


What is DSD and FLAC? What is DSD vs FLAC?

DSD is family of high-resolution audio formats. FLAC is one of PCM audio formats.

Read details...


Is DSD better than mp3?

DSD is lossless audiophile format. mp3 is lossy PCM format. Also, mp3 is hi-fi format at high bitrates.

Technically, DSD is better than mp3.



How do I play a DSD file?

You can play DSD files with special hardware and/or software.

Read details...


How can I play DSD on my computer?

DSD music can be played on a computer via DSD player software...


What do you need to play DSD?

To play DSD you can use DSD audio player or iOS/Android mobile phone.

Also, you can play DSD on computer with ordinary PCM audio card.

It's possible either:

  • use playback software capable to inline DSD to PCM conversion, or
  • convert DSD to PCM audio file with high sound quality.

If you have external DAC (DSD or PCM), you can connect it to the computer or player device.

Read details...


Can you play DSD without a DAC?

DAC is required thing to playback music. However, you can play DSD at traditional PCM DAC.

You can:

  • use player, that is capable to convert DSD to PCM inline, or
  • preconvert DSD to PCM with high sound quality.


What is DSD over PCM?

DSD over PCM is packing method of 1-bit audio to ordinary PCM format.

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Can Windows play DSD?

You can play DSD music under Windows.


Does VLC play DSD?

As the author know, VLC player software can't play DSD files. Read the discussion...


Does Spotify have DSD?

Spotify doesn't support DSD audio. Read about DSD streaming service...


Does Qobuz stream DSD?

Qobuz does not providing DSD streaming. Check out DSD streaming service...


Where can I get DSD music files?

Here you can look for DSD music files: