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DSD.. Opinions?
Old 3rd December 2002
  #1
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DSD.. Opinions?

Just because Sony is hard selling DSD , does that mean the industry (and more specifically engineers) have to buy it? Opinions please..
Old 4th December 2002
  #2
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imacgreg's Avatar
I'm still kinda wondering what the heck DSD is... I know it's some new form of digital audio, but how does it compare to PCM, what are the differences? I'm also interested in the answer to Geosync's questions. Anyone have answer's?

Ian
Old 4th December 2002
  #3
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nick's Avatar
 

Sony DSD pdf file

The thing I don't understand from reading that is - ok so the converter gives an 'analogue-like' output with 59 billion gigamegahertz SR or whatever, how do you store this on a conventional HD without taking up huge amounts of space compared to PCM?
Old 4th December 2002
  #4
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I went to the joint SADIE/SONY seminar. I know it's a real time codec that is
copy protected (The record companies will push this feature). Even the SADIE will not make a "one off" only output to tape for the glass house to make a "one off"

I hope we engineers aren't over burdened by more "Label Greed"

Is anybody working with DSD? Am I beeing to negative or overstating the downside of DSD? Sony wants us to buy specialized DSD consoles or buy Top end
analog mixing desks.

I like the way Sony has dropped DSD from the 2 layer SA-CDs as if they were simple CDs that sound better if you have a DSD player. I expect that in the future
the CD layer will disappear forcing the use of DSD machines.

Do we like this?
Old 4th December 2002
  #5
WOT IZIT?

A mastering engineer played me a James Taylor recording from what looked like an oversized CD player, it had gazillions of trebble / high frequency on it and a bat crashed into the studio window while it was playing..... was that a DSD?

Old 4th December 2002
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
how do you store this on a conventional HD without taking up huge amounts of space compared to PCM?
You don't - it does take huge amounts of space. Although not as much as all PCM. Theoretically, 1bit/2.8224MHz DSD maxes out at 2,822,400 bits per second - whereas 24bit/192kHz PCM should take 4,608,000 bits per second.

Why is it better?
read the pdf linked above.


Quote:
Successively higher bit rates and higher sampling rates for PCM
systems have, in fact, improved sound quality. But the improvements
are getting smaller and smaller. And the reason for these
diminishing returns is becoming clear: filtering. Every PCM system
requires steep filters at the input to absolutely block any signal at
or above half the sampling frequency. (In conventional 44.1 kHz
sampling, “brick wall” filters must pass 20 kHz audio, yet reject
22.05 kHz — a difficult task.) In addition, requantization noise is
added by the multi-stage or “cascaded” decimation (downsampling) digital filters
used in recording and the multi-stage interpolation (oversampling) digital filters used in playback. Every increase in the sampling rate eases the difficulty of the “ b r i c k wall” filter. But simply increasing the sampling rate can’t correct the
vexing problem of multi-stage decimation and interpolation.
This problem was the inspiration for Direct
Stream Digital. By using existing processes — and simply eliminating
decimation and interpolation — we developed a whole new
way of capturing digital audio. As in conventional PCM systems,
the analog signal is first converted to digital by 64x oversampling
delta-sigma modulation. The result is a 1-bit digital representation
of the audio signal. Where conventional systems immediately decimate
the 1-bit signal into a multibit PCM code, Direct Stream
Digital records the 1-bit pulses d i r e c t l y.
Well, it certainly READS like it sounds better.
Old 5th December 2002
  #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by mdbeh
I imagine it's not real appealing for manufacturers, either. Geosync, you'd know this far better than me, but switching to DSD would require you guys to basically rewrite everything, correct?
I wish it were just as simple as a format. AES or SPDIF is an open format that manufactures use to communicate. All manufacturers will have to pay royalties to SONY . It's one thing to have a CODEC change it's another thing altogether to change the digital domain from the ground floor up. Recorders, Decks DAWs etc.
And you can't make a "one-off". Only the "glass" houses can do that. Look how long it took for Minnetonka to come out with a simple 5.1 audio burner that an audio engineer could test his mix without having to be a graphics guy.

I'm all for progress and I love helping digital audio become more "realistic".
I just hope we can keep politics to a minimum. It's nice to get opinions because
all of us will be facing this in the future. Let's hope whatever is decided expands
our wonderful profession rather than restricts it.
Old 5th December 2002
  #8
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Considering than Sony music, BMG, and Universal have all announced the intention to begin releasing their first-line product as hybrid SACDs within the next three years, it's a pretty serious deal no matter what one's opinion is!

Most of the anti-SACD rants have come from the big D to A chip manufacturers because it can be decoded using a passive network without requiring any of the chip-makers patented filter designs. Sony and Phillips have patents on the encryption technology and the lossless data compression algorithm but other than that, it's a remarkably open-source technology compared to most digital products.

I have yet to hear one person whose ears I trust say that they don't like how it sounds although individual titles are obviously all over the map. The demo disk I have has one of the worst recordings I can remember alongside the very best sounding track I've ever heard on a CD. (Warren Bernhardt, Peter Erskine and Jay Anderson recorded by Tom Jung.)

This doesn't mean we all need to run out and by a DSD recorder but it does mean that high-res. PCM mixed down to analog tape could be a great format to think about using.
Old 5th December 2002
  #9
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Wasn't I reading Bob Ludwig talking about it in the new Mix magazine?
Old 5th December 2002
  #10
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nick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Knox
Wasn't I reading Bob Ludwig talking about it in the new Mix magazine?
He said he couldn't hear the difference between it (DSD) and the master tapes.

Bob Ludwig / Stones story
Old 18th December 2002
  #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Olhsson


Most of the anti-SACD rants have come from the big D to A chip manufacturers because it can be decoded using a passive network without requiring any of the chip-makers patented filter designs.

[/B]
Not so I'm afraid. The 1 bit SACD format is a re-purposing of the original delta/sigma modulation (as developed by Bob Adams in the 80's for converter designs), that was later taken up by Crystal semi converters in the 90's, because at the time it was better than the existing multi-bit analogue conversion technology. The Converter manu's have all since given the internal 1 bit modulation up (because it is flawed - read S Lip****z) and gone to multi-bit delta/sigma modulators instead - leaving Sony/Philips and the SACD well behind.

1bit SACD is therefore only an internal converter signal that existed within for convenience in the ADCs of the 90's, that required on-chip brick wall filtering to work. Sony have simply stored the brute data rather then the filtered version (in order to use up the data storage available in DVD discs). But the filter is still very much needed to get the sound back in analogue form and making a 1bit DAC is every bit as difficult (if not worse) as making a PCM DAC. Don't be fooled, the converter manu's are not happy simply because the SACD data format actually limits the quality they are already achieving from their current converter technology in the PCM versions.
Old 19th December 2002
  #12
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Jamie Tate's Avatar
 

If you've never heard DSD do yourself a favor an walk into Best Buy, look for their SACD players, buy one for $150 and treat yourself to a listen.

I've done extensive listening test between high-res (24/192) PCM and DSD versions of the same recordings at several well known mastering houses here in Nashville. No matter how good you think the PCM is, the DSD version opens up another 30%. It's simply a more revealing format.

Instead of continuing with this ever escalating sample-rate PCM bull**** we, as audio professionals, should learn more about this new format. I'm tired of everything becoming obsolete. They used to tell us 24/96 was "future proof". HA! Now it's 24/192. May I suggest that we're at the point of diminishing returns. DSD can truly get us to the next big step in audio improvement so we can stop all these PCM peeing contest.
Old 19th December 2002
  #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Smafdy


Instead of continuing with this ever escalating sample-rate PCM bull**** we, as audio professionals, should learn more about this new format. I'm tired of everything becoming obsolete. They used to tell us 24/96 was "future proof". HA! Now it's 24/192. May I suggest that we're at the point of diminishing returns. DSD can truly get us to the next big step in audio improvement so we can stop all these PCM peeing contest.
Yeah great point. We are all sick of the marketing obsolescence thing and I'll cheer to that! And theres nothing wrong with media thats 'imperfectible' either if it sounds great, tape is just that and many of my clients still prefer it. Although I do wonder at the wisdom of going back to those old limitations when they can be avoided? Anyhow the point is, seeing as how SACD is under fire and the converter manu guys are now using higher sampling rates and multibit delta/sig modulators, how long will it be before we see Mega-SACD running at 128 or 256FS or even using multibit data? If they can simply pinch the 1bit 64FS internal data signals from the converters in the 90's and make it into a CD format, what's to stop them doing it again? In fact, because the SACD format IS 'imperfectible' in essence, there is even more scope for it to be improved and replaced and even more scope for them to legitimately justify its obsolescence? Thats what worries me and makes me wary of SACD.
Old 19th December 2002
  #14
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Jamie Tate's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jessel_toby
In fact, because the SACD format IS 'imperfectible' in essence, there is even more scope for it to be improved and replaced and even more scope for them to legitimately justify its obsolescence? Thats what worries me and makes me wary of SACD.
Why did people ask for higher PCM sample rates and bit depths? Because they were dissatisfied with what they were hearing. So they gave us 20 bit, 24 bit... etc. The problem is, there comes a point of diminishing returns. DSD already, in its current version, is a more revealing and better sounding recording format. There may be people that complain about the sound but so far even picky audiophiles with loud voices like Mark Levenson, Steve Hoffman and Michael Bishop have embraced DSD as a superior format to any PCM.

Take Telarc records for example. They've used high-res PCM for years but have now taken to recording everything DSD. I hope the rest of the industry follows.
Old 19th December 2002
  #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Smafdy
Why did people ask for higher PCM sample rates and bit depths? Because they were dissatisfied with what they were hearing. So they gave us 20 bit, 24 bit... etc. The problem is, there comes a point of diminishing returns. DSD already, in its current version, is a more revealing and better sounding recording format. There may be people that complain about the sound but so far even picky audiophiles with loud voices like Mark Levenson, Steve Hoffman and Michael Bishop have embraced DSD as a superior format to any PCM.

Take Telarc records for example. They've used high-res PCM for years but have now taken to recording everything DSD. I hope the rest of the industry follows.
Another good point, but it gets me thinking, DID anyone actually ask for this stuff? I know its now firmly on the agenda, but did WE put it on or did they? Like many ideas that we take for granted, it's not always obvious where they came from is it? I mean there are a lot of guys out there who would legitimately say that they didn't actually ask for CD, digital recording or loads of other stuff. The important question we must ask ourselves is, who's callin the shots?
Old 19th December 2002
  #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by jessel_toby
Another good point, but it gets me thinking, DID anyone actually ask for this stuff?


It sure wasn't the consumers. My theory is that record companies are trying to find new ways of making some money on back catalogs. CD is now 20 years old and we've almost exhausted the remastered gimmick so they needed something new to get money out of 30-50 year old men that still love James Taylor and Steely Dan. So they started releasing 5.1 mixes on high resolution formats. With this they can stroll at their local Best Buy and see new toys they want (and will eventually buy). It's actually quite brilliant.
Old 19th December 2002
  #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Smafdy


My theory is that record companies are trying to find new ways of making some money on back catalogs. .
They could have done that with DVD-A and pleased the consumer.

Sony was caught asleep again (remember Beta ?) But since they own a record company, they can push SA-CD. I'm not saying that it's not a wonderful format. It is. It's just late, it doesn't work well with (if at all) other digital equipment and it doesn't allow a quick way for the studio or producer to do a one off for the artist or him/herself. Then there's the digital consoles, D/As , digital outboard gear. The more people use a particular format, the better business is for everyone.

As a product manager, I think the market should drive the equipment rather than the equipment drive the market. I could be wrong.. What do you think?
Old 19th December 2002
  #18
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This is the point I was making before. Why do companies continue to push gear that is "future proof"? Much digital gear is obsolete before it's even released. DVD-A isn't going to be a stopping point for audio for very long. If we want 24/96 we'll want 24/192 and then even higher. There's a trend with a very verbal audiophile masses that SACD could be a nice standard. They've never agreed on many things before like they are with this.

SACD is a great format. It's well thought out and can deliver superior audio to other new formats. The fact that a redbook layer can be included and the lack of a redbook layer on DVD-A's should make it a clear winner for consumers. (Why Sony insists on NOT producing dual layer discs is a mystery to everyone.) Consumers aren't forced to buy new hardware until they're ready. Look at the recent Stone's remasters. Consumers are already, unknowingly, buying these new SACDs. What a great incentive for curious consumers to wander into both new gear and a great listening experience.

All I'm after is getting the superior format to come out on top. Let's hope the best disc wins for once.
Old 19th December 2002
  #19
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Jamie Tate's Avatar
 

From another thread here's what Fletcher has to say...

Quote:
Originally posted by Fletcher
From what I've seen so far... I think you'll find that the SACD stuff will be the 'next big thing' unless they make it wait in line behind the 192kHz platforms... [after all 96kHz hasn't hit even an 80% proliferation yet... it'll be some time before they move on to "192 is the only way to work"...
Old 20th December 2002
  #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Smafdy


It sure wasn't the consumers. My theory is that record companies are trying to find new ways of making some money on back catalogs. CD is now 20 years old and we've almost exhausted the remastered gimmick so they needed something new to get money out of 30-50 year old men that still love James Taylor and Steely Dan. So they started releasing 5.1 mixes on high resolution formats. With this they can stroll at their local Best Buy and see new toys they want (and will eventually buy). It's actually quite brilliant.
Yeah I would agree with the back catalog thing, and I hate that stuff because its sterilizing the music industry IMO. Another notion is that it's down to royalties on PCM CDs timing out and the need for the music companies to fill up new hi tech disks thats got more data with 'album size' chunks of program. Whats better than recording crap loads of HF noise from the front half of an A/D to burn up that extra data instead of filtering it out, hey? And then claim that its new because its not PCM so they can renew the patents again. Maybe thats whats wrong with DVD-A, the patent guys know its still PCM? But SACD is noise modulated 1bit PCM anyway from what I've understood. Yeah and as if to prove it I read that they've got another format to do DSD processing which actually uses 8 bit PCM! I suppose because the 1bit thing ain't good enough, like the Lip****z guys been saying? I read this crap and I'm no techead but somethings going down for sure. I don't buy how all the tech geeks prattle about high resolution 24bits, but only 8 or 1 bit's supposed to be better? PCM means pulse code modulation and those AES papers say nothin about it being something else. Just good old 1s and 0s like any darned digital data, what else could digital data ever be anyway? It'd be great if these guys were on the level, but I'm smelling a rat, thats all I'm saying.
Old 20th December 2002
  #21
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Jamie Tate's Avatar
 

Thanks for the intelligent thoughts. I've enjoyed talking with you guys.
Old 22nd December 2002
  #22
Gear Guru
 

One thing I don't understand yet about DSD- is it just a delivery format? Would it be possible/easy/difficult to have a DSD DAW? Will it mean rewriting all the software? Plug-ins?
Old 22nd December 2002
  #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by joeq
Will it mean rewriting all the software? Plug-ins?
Yep, digital hardware too. anything with a digital plug.
And all those 1s and 0s
Old 22nd December 2002
  #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by joeq
Will it mean rewriting all the software? Plug-ins?
Yep, digital hardware too. anything with a digital plug.
And all those 1s and 0s
Old 22nd December 2002
  #25
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DSD actually has a good deal of problems that need to be solved.

Most of these is caused by the large amounts of high frequency energy (mostly non-harmonic distortion) that is output by the system. Philips engineers have been trying for years to mask this as noise.

From about 7kHz and on up the dynamic range is quite unimpressive even compared with 44/16.

If I am to continue being negative here (trying to balance all the optimists in this thread ;=)) I'd say that this high frquency noise in combination with hard-dome tweeters problably gives DSD bright foward sound in listening tests that are preferred in short sessions.

At least this is my understanding from papers I have read. I have not done any math myself so this may be completely off.

To really finish this negative post as I started it I'd guess that Sont/Philips saw the threat of losing the CD-licensing revenues and went out looking for something they could patent rather than something that would improve DVD-A (or even 44/16 in certain aspects).

My vote is for DVD-A with the lossless Meridian codec.
Old 25th December 2002
  #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by moskvitch
DSD actually has a good deal of problems that need to be solved.

Most of these is caused by the large amounts of high frequency energy (mostly non-harmonic distortion) that is output by the system. Philips engineers have been trying for years to mask this as noise.

From about 7kHz and on up the dynamic range is quite unimpressive even compared with 44/16.


My vote is for DVD-A with the lossless Meridian codec.
Yeah well if you read the AES papers some more you can suss out why. SACD is just the data that spits out of the 1bit delta mod bit of a converter before they filter it into PCM. Now everyone knows from high school that 1bit PCM signal has a SNR of 6dB, and its gotta be PCM what else can data be? So the signal must be full level delta mod noise with audio buried in the LF bit of the freq range, on account of that being what the converter guys did so they could filter it out and make PCM right? So if youve got no filter and shoved this up your amp it would fry with 100% full level crap right up to 100s of khz. So now we sussed that SACD players gotta have a filter, even though they say it ain't. Now you better stroll back to the trash can and pull out the same darned filter the original converter used to have before the big guys turned up and trashed it to make themselves a nice fat cash cow format. But hold on, that filter is digital so it will make multibit PCM, like what they say it definitely ain't either, get that! So the filters gotta be analog, but everyone knows you won't make a brickwall filter out of bits you can pick up down Radio Shack anytime this century. So unless that analog filters made of enough stuff to fill up your shoulder bag, its gotta be a bit bum right. So theres your noise mate, the stuff that the analog filter won't take out because it ain't good enough.

Right, if you read the man lip****z some more, you find out that hes sussed the 1bit noise from the delta mod ain't really noise at all. Like its got cycles in it that mess with each other and make birdy noises. And those little tweeties get shuffled around with the music to make harmonic distortion and modulated noise to boot! And if youve not already hiked off into the sunset and can bear to read some more, he reckons you need more than 1bit because the noise uses up all the levels in the data and theres really no place to put the darned signal anyway!! You gotta have more bits to stick the audio that aren't already shoving that poxy full level noise around. So you got multibit SACD, heaven save us! What's that if it ain't lo res PCM? And they're calling this SACD-fat or something and thats what the big guys have got for themselves to do their own processing because like the man says, 1bit just ain't good enough? So what in darnation are they selling me and you on the bloody SACD disks then? No I don't need to suss anymore of this stuff myself.
Old 27th December 2002
  #27
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by joeq
[B]One thing I don't understand yet about DSD- is it just a delivery format? Would it be possible/easy/difficult to have a DSD DAW?
Pyramix is already a DSD DAW as well as a PCM DAW so apparently it's quite possible . And NO DSD is not 1bit PCM . 1bit converters have to downsize the signal to make it 16 bits .
Old 29th December 2002
  #28
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Volodia
[B]
Quote:
Originally posted by joeq
One thing I don't understand yet about DSD- is it just a delivery format? Would it be possible/easy/difficult to have a DSD DAW?
Pyramix is already a DSD DAW as well as a PCM DAW so apparently it's quite possible . And NO DSD is not 1bit PCM . 1bit converters have to downsize the signal to make it 16 bits .
Thats interesting. I'd be happy to hear your take on all this stuff, do you have inside info? I told myself to give up my worrying about this stuff but you are making me wonder again.
How do yu reckon that 16 bits is downsized 1bit? And youre really sure that Pyramix is not just converting to multibit PCM before doin the processing and remodding it to 1bit again? Like anyway can you tell us how you change the level of a 1bit signal since its only 0 and 1, like theres no other resolution bits to put a lower level signal - either its the only bit youve got cranking away so it must be flat out, or its less than 1bit so nothing cranks and its silence?! If you multiply a 1bit signal by something less than exactly 1 what does it turn into? My high school level hunch is that it turns into multibit PCM at 64fs with as many bits as the mult can manage, so what is a 1bit mulitplier then? I and some others here would really like to know this stuff because we are sceptical guys. Do you reckon the lip****z guy is wrong? All info welcome!
Old 29th December 2002
  #29
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go to merging and read about DSD . there's very good information there and it's from people who apply that technology . They say that PCM 32 bits floating point at 352.8 Khz is the minimum to be close to DSD . DSD signal can be DOWSIZED to 24 bits .
Old 30th December 2002
  #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by Volodia
go to merging and read about DSD . there's very good information there and it's from people who apply that technology . They say that PCM 32 bits floating point at 352.8 Khz is the minimum to be close to DSD . DSD signal can be DOWSIZED to 24 bits .
Hey man great link crashed IE but got it now. Quote from them:

--------------
Pyramix is the first system with enough processing power and resolution to handle in real time a complete digital mixing console capable of operating in 32 bit floating point at 352.8 kHz, which is the minimum requirement to preserve all the intrinsic original quality of 1 bit 2.8MHz DSD signals.
--------------

So thats multibit PCM like I said right, its got resolution and 1bit sure cant have that can it? And thinking about it that cant be perfect SACD either because a 1bit mod cranking at 2.8mhz must stuff out noise up to 1.4mhz and they sure cant get that through a system clocking at 352khz can they now? And that diagram, whats 3us pulses got to do with rock and roll?! Any school geek will tell you thats a freq response of 333KHz and like I sure as hell dont hear that stuff not even my dog hears that stuff not even the bats outside man! And another thing, what the hells a sound signal that goes one way positive that dont ever go the other way? That sure as hell aint anything youll get out of your monitors or up your mic because thats DC in the long run right?
So like theyre now saying that we better record at 352khz float than DSD at 2.8mhz because that don't need converting to 1bit again would it?

Aw **** man this gets better each time I read something. Whats the rub and which is it? Hell you gotta be crazy to swallow this crap. So lets see, SACD is definitely 1bit and not multibit because thats whats busted about PCM right? Naw its gotta be 8 bits because theres no room for the blasted audio signal in 1bit, but that supposedly aint PCM either because PCMs still busted right? Naw its 32bit float and thats definitely 100% PCM but that aint busted apparently because its clocking at 352khz, hell my PT can go at half that already!! But the 1bit mods still clocking away at 2.8mhz, have they forgot that or are they hoping we did? So do they reckon we are morons then!

Sorry man Ive read more convincing stuff printed on timeshare brochures, them guys are lying pure and simple and you gotta be mad to believe this stuff. What worries the crap outta me is how guys like Sony and Philips can pull this kinda stunt? Like I can't believe its legal man and I get mad as hell just thinking about it! But one things for sure you better buy them DSD disks because I sure as hell dont wanna know what would go down if those guys that made this **** got laid off and shoved off to Aerospatial or Boeing!!
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