PCM vs. DSD on Select II

pleroma

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I'm consistently finding little contest between PCM and DSD on my system, and was interested in other MSB owners' opinions. I've tried the Optimized DSD setting, which I understand is essentially an on-demand PCM conversion, and preferred the Native setting. That said, most of the DSD in my library is ripped SACD (64), and I have not done extensive comparison with 128 and 256, though I have a several of the former and a few of the latter.

A recent case in point is the famous '65 Horowitz Carnegie Hall Recital where the 24/192:

https://www.prestomusic.com/classic...ie-hall-concert-may-9-1965-an-historic-return

wins handily over the most recent DSD release (ripped SACD):

https://www.hraudio.net/showmusic.php?title=11202

A friend with the dCS Vivaldi has reported precisely the opposite preference. I used to own the Vivaldi, and I generally understand the architectural differences between the two platforms, and that explains it to my satisfaction, but I thought it would be a fun discussion in the specific context of the MSB.
 

asiufy

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It's always hard to compare PCM to DSD, as they'll generally come from two different masters/transfers, likely handled by two different mastering engineers, with two different goals in mind.
Some times I do prefer the DSD versions, but it's clearly because the transfer was done from a different generation tape and/or the mastering was done more carefully, with less compression and/or fiddling.
 
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pleroma

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It's always hard to compare PCM to DSD, as they'll generally come from two different masters/transfers, likely handled by two different mastering engineers, with two different goals in mind.
Some times I do prefer the DSD versions, but it's clearly because the transfer was done from a different generation tape and/or the mastering was done more carefully, with less compression and/or fiddling.

I can say that the two sources with which I am most familiar, Deutsche Grammophon legacy classics from Emil Berliner Studios, and many of the offerings from Native DSD, produce both PCM and DSD from the same master. In the DG case, tonmeister Rainer Maillard creates a 24/192 master from the original tapes first, and then everything else comes from that. Similarly Tom Caulfield at Channel Classics receives a DXD master from which he produces the various DSD offerings. Of course the PCM on that site is limited to DXD.
 

asiufy

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And you still prefer the PCM offering of those recordings?
I'll look into it, I believe I have some Channel Classics, got to check the resolution/format...
 

Mike Lavigne

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And you still prefer the PCM offering of those recordings?
I'll look into it, I believe I have some Channel Classics, got to check the resolution/format...

i likely have 15 to 20 Challenge Classics in both DXD and Quad dsd, and 100% prefer the DXD. i have another 30 or so Challenge Classics just in DXD as i stopped buying the Challenge Classics DXD sourced Quad dsd files. i have plenty of other label native Quad dsd files which i like too.

go native or go home, assuming you use a bit perfect dac. i always seek out the PCM source file for any file i want to buy. it's rare-rare for a source file to be dsd except for very specific labels. the dCS approach is a crap shoot since it up-samples so maybe a different outcome and native not as significant.

but honestly since i went big time into streaming about a year ago when i got Quboz, i've not bought many new files.
 
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Audiocrack

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i likely have 15 to 20 Channel Classics in both DXD and Quad dsd, and 100% prefer the DXD. i have another 30 or so Channel Classics just in DXD as i stopped buying the Channel Classics DXD sourced Quad dsd files. i have plenty of other label native Quad dsd files which i like too.

go native or go home, assuming you use a bit perfect dac. the dCS is a crap shoot since it up-samples so maybe a different outcome.

Might it be - and just to be sure, Mike, - that you mean Challenge Classics (original recordings are in dxd) in stead of Channel Classics (original recordings are in dsd). I also prefer the dxd Challenge Classics recordings to their dsd version : the latter sound clearly more dynamic than the dsd version
 
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Mike Lavigne

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Might it be - and just to be sure, Mike, - that you mean Challenge Classics (original recordings are in dxd) in stead of Channel Classics (original recordings are in dsd). I also prefer the dxd Challenge Classics recordings to their dsd version : the latter sound clearly more dynamic than the dsd version

yes.....'Challenge Classics' not Channel Classics. i will change my post.
 

microstrip

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I can say that the two sources with which I am most familiar, Deutsche Grammophon legacy classics from Emil Berliner Studios, and many of the offerings from Native DSD, produce both PCM and DSD from the same master. In the DG case, tonmeister Rainer Maillard creates a 24/192 master from the original tapes first, and then everything else comes from that. Similarly Tom Caulfield at Channel Classics receives a DXD master from which he produces the various DSD offerings. Of course the PCM on that site is limited to DXD.

I would love to get my hands (or my mouse...) on these 24/192 masters ... As far as I know, Rainer Maillard is the man behind the direct cuts Deutsche Grammophon is currently issuing and some WBF members are eagerly waiting ...
 

pleroma

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I would love to get my hands (or my mouse...) on these 24/192 masters ... As far as I know, Rainer Maillard is the man behind the direct cuts Deutsche Grammophon is currently issuing and some WBF members are eagerly waiting ...

In my experience, more often than not the DG 24/192 releases were only available on Japanese sites (e-onkyo, mora), which as you probably know are not so easy to use these days, though recently I was able to register my card on Rakuten for use on mora.jp. A few years ago I asked Rainer Maillard if there was an easier way to get his PCM products, for not only are they difficult to access, but really overpriced on the Japanese sites. Of course he only referred me to an executive at the label, who apparently has done nothing to make these more accessible outside Japan in the two years since I asked. Her only response was that is was difficult (for the top executive at DG!), and that she had more pressing matters. All that said, I've noticed the 24/192 seem to have dried up in the past year (pre-COVID). A friend has speculated this is due to lack of demand for PCM in the Asian market (in contrast to what he calls the "Asian DSD craze").
 
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pleroma

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i likely have 15 to 20 Challenge Classics in both DXD and Quad dsd, and 100% prefer the DXD. i have another 30 or so Challenge Classics just in DXD as i stopped buying the Challenge Classics DXD sourced Quad dsd files. i have plenty of other label native Quad dsd files which i like too.

go native or go home, assuming you use a bit perfect dac. i always seek out the PCM source file for any file i want to buy. it's rare-rare for a source file to be dsd except for very specific labels. the dCS approach is a crap shoot since it up-samples so maybe a different outcome and native not as significant.

but honestly since i went big time into streaming about a year ago when i got Quboz, i've not bought many new files.

Hi Mike, which DSD setting to you use on the MSB?
 

Mike Lavigne

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Hi Mike, which DSD setting to you use on the MSB?

Emile did the settings. it was about 2 months ago he changed away from Jplay to something else. not sure exactly the settings. right now i'm into my vinyl big time so patiently waiting for Emile to upgrade to the new server software.
 
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Steve Williams

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DXD is my favorite format as well.

AFAIK the new TAS does not use JPlay but I could be wrong
 
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pleroma

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Emile did the settings. it was about 2 months ago he changed away from Jplay to something else. not sure exactly the settings. right now i'm into my vinyl big time so patiently waiting for Emile to upgrade to the new server software.

I meant on the MSB: Native or Optimized (which actually does a PCM conversion on the fly).
 

Mike Lavigne

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I meant on the MSB: Native or Optimized (which actually does a PCM conversion on the fly).

the MSB setting is 'dsd optimized'. i did clearly prefer it the last time i compared.
 

pleroma

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the MSB setting is 'dsd optimized'. i did clearly prefer it the last time i compared.

Jonathan told me there is about a 50/50 split for that preference.
 

Alpinist

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I don't think this is the case with Optimized....

The Select II manual states the DSD Optimized Mode is the DSD decimation done using a special method developed by MSB. Nowhere is it stated that it is a conversion to PCM and I’ve never heard or read anywhere else that this is the case.

Ken
 
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pleroma

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The Select II manual states the DSD Optimized Mode is the DSD decimation done using a special method developed by MSB. Nowhere is it stated that it is a conversion to PCM and I’ve never heard or read anywhere else that this is the case.

Ken

Now you guys have me doubting. A quick Google on DSD decimation reveals its connection with PCM conversion.

playbackdesigns.com - "Decimation filter: the DSD signal from the previous step is downsampled and converted to PCM."

prismsound.com - "Although the idea of transacting and storing pulse-density-modulation (PDM) signals (like DSD) directly, without down-conversion to PCM ('decimation') was not ..."

repforums.prosoundweb.com - "In the discussion linked above, one poster in particular noted that the tracks sounded closer to the original mix being recorded to DSD then decimated to PCM via software than recording directly to PCM via Lavry Gold converters. I then asked the question - do any of the modern DSD converters that output PCM do so by decimating the single bit stream in real time or are they utilizing separate audio paths for DSD and PCM? It would seem most logical to capture single bit then decimate to PCM, but I've not heard people rave about these converters being noticeably better than their PCM counterparts. Could it be that the decimation math is complicated enough that doing it 'off line' in non-real time is beneficial? Or is it simply a matter of subjective taste?"
 
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Kingsrule

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It would be good to know..the wording DSD decimation seems very cryptic....

I prefer Native at the moment
 

ferenc_k

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If you want to do a proper DSD - PCM comparison, you can use one track of our My Reel Club MRC1902 Gabor Varga Quartet recording.

I made one track, originally recorded in DSD256 and mixed live from 8 channel, including one stereo ribbon mic, no mastering , available in other DSD and PCM rates, (down)converted by Hqpayer Pro and its advanced algorithms:

https://we.tl/t-NUZsotqFSm

This is a 60+ dB dynamics recording with no dynamics processing of any kind. As pure as it gets. So it can show any difference in the PCM and DSD playback chain properly. I think :).
 
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