DSD Exclusively (Never on SACD) and DSD Bit Rates Jul 17 by Brian Moura in Brian's Corner, Hardware Updates

Brian’s Corner

In the last month there have been some interesting developments, enhancements and some support questions at Native DSD. So I thought I’d take an opportunity to highlight DSD Exclusives and DSD Bit Rates in the July edition of Brian’s Corner.

DSD Exclusively – Never Available on SACD

One of the interesting features of the Native DSD Music Store is that each of the 31 record labels that sells albums in DSD can post some or all of their eligible titles in the store. By eligible I mean albums that were recorded in DSD, recorded in DXD or transferred from Analog to DSD without any PCM processing.

Now I know many of you are thinking that means albums that were originally issued as Stereo or Multichannel Super Audio CDs (SACDs) – right? Well, it is true that most of the albums on Native DSD did in fact come out on SACD disc at one time and are now still available or are out of print and only available in DSD form as downloads. Making the out of print albums available as DSD Downloads is a big plus – and a way to save some money – if you’ve ever looked at some of the prices of out of print SACDs on the web!

But there is another group of albums in DSD that Native DSD carries which have never been available on SACD. These are often original DSD recordings that were released only on Stereo CD and perhaps Vinyl LP but never on SACD. So serious music fans haven’t been able to fully enjoy these albums until now.

Klatwerk 3

Eyeopener – Klatwerk 3

You may be surprised to learn that there are 85 albums on Native DSD today that are in this category! Namely, never available on SACD but now available in the Native DSD store as DSD Downloads. This includes albums from the 2xHD, 2xHD-Naxos, Aliud, Anima, Channel Classics, Channel of China, Cobra, Crier, Etcetera, Fone, HDTT, Just Listen, Lawo Classics, Navis Classics, Ondine, Sketti Sandwich Productions (David Elias), Wilson Audio and Yarlung music labels. That’s more than half of music companies with DSD releases on Native DSD. And the number of these DSD Exclusively albums continues to grow as our music company partners bring us more of these unreleased DSD gems.

DSD exclusive search screenshot

DSD exclusive search

So, how do you find these DSD Exclusively titles? Native DSD has made that easy for you with an upgrade to the Search feature at the web store. Simply click on the “Browse All Albums” button on the home page and then check the “DSD Exclusively – Never on SACD” check box and you will see the albums in this category. You can also look for just the DSD Exclusives that are available in Stereo DSD or in Multichannel DSD and in different DSD bit rates (DSD 64, 128, 256).

It’s very handy and a great way to expand your music collection with DSD recordings you’ve never been able to hear and buy – until now. Very nice!

Finding Double DSD (DSD 128fs) and Quad DSD (DSD 256fs) Releases

As audio companies expand and enhance their DSD Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) and Music Players, we are seeing more and more DSD products that not only handle Single Rate DSD (DSD 64fs) – the same bit rate as the SACD – but also Double DSD (DSD 128fs) and even Quad Rate DSD (DSD 256fs) – DSD options never available from an SACD disc. When these higher bit rate DSD recordings are available from the music companies, we make them available to you in the Native DSD Music Store.Music Menu with Double DSD and Quad DSD Selections

Given the increased interest in Double DSD and Quad DSD, Native DSD has added some new features to make finding these titles even easier. The first enhancement is to add a menu selection for the Music section of the Native DSD music web store. Simply select Music and either Double DSD or Quad DSD and you will be taken directly to the listing of these titles. (See example below). This menu also provides lists of Multichannel DSD and Binaural DSD releases.

You can also find Double DSD and Quad DSD albums through the recently enhanced search feature mentioned earlier. Simply check the DSD 128fs box (Double DSD) or the DSD 256fs box (Quad DSD) and you will see what is available in these DSD bit rates. I should also mention that you can check the other search boxes (musical genre, artist, etc.) to zero in on the Double or Quad DSD titles you may be most interested in.

Native DSD also offers direct web links to the lists of Double and Quad DSD. (See screenshot on right.)

Double DSD List


Quad DSD List


A word of caution. Be sure to make sure your DAC or Player can play back Double or Quad DSD music before ordering and downloading it. Your Owner’s Manual and its Technical Specs section should tell you what DSD bit rates it supports.

If those documents are not available, you can also check the DSD Database. It lists over 350 DSD DACs and Players and is a very handy resource for DSD listeners. The database can be found here.

DAC database

DSD database

What Is The Story About Double DSD (and Quad DSD)?

Now that it is easier to find and download Double DSD and Quad DSD at the Native DSD web store, it’s probably not surprising that questions about these two new DSD options are coming in. One listener recently asked “What is the Story About Double DSD? Do they have 4 Channels by default (rather than 2 Channel Stereo)?” Since Native DSD also carries Quad DSD, I thought I’d expand the question a bit – and share my answer in Brian’s Corner.

Single, Double and Quad DSD refers to the bit rate used for the album. It does not refer to the number of channels (there are Single DSD Multichannel Downloads and Quad DSD Stereo Music Downloads, etc.).

Let’s talk about DSD bit rates. DSD comes in multiple bit rates today: Single (DSD 64, the same bit rate as SACD), Double (DSD 128, double the SACD bit rate) and Quad (DSD 256, 4 times the SACD bit rate). Some industry insiders have told me that Sony and Philips would have loved to have originally used Double DSD (DSD 128) for their SACD format but these files would not fit on an SACD disc. So DSD 64 is used on SACD disc releases.

Today, Double Rate DSD and in some cases even Quad Rate DSD downloads are available from several web sites including Native DSD. Most of these DSD 128 and DSD 256 downloads are in Stereo but the number of Multichannel DSD 128 and DSD 256 selections is growing.

What do these higher bit rate DSD options bring to the table? They move the noise spectrum of the DSD recordings further and further away from the audible range. In addition, some listeners and music professionals feel that DSD 128 and DSD 256 offer higher quality sound and audible benefits.

Native DSD is committed to bringing DSD titles to the listener in the formats provided by our music company partners. As more of the music labels work in DSD 128 and DSD 256, you will see more choices in these two higher bit rate DSD options.

Duo from 8 Ensembles in 1 Bit - Small

Merel Vercammen & Ketevan Roinishvili Perform on 8 Ensembles in 1 Bit

In fact, the new album 8 Ensembles in 1 Bit from Native DSD was recorded in DSD 256 Stereo and Multichannel sound. So it’s available to you today in Quad DSD – as well as Single and Double DSD – for listeners without Double and Quad DSD playback capability


Time for Some Music

And now it’s time for some real enjoyment. Listening to some Native DSD music – in your favorite DSD bit rate (or rates) and perhaps some of those DSD Exclusives, Never Available on SACD.

Enjoy and I’ll be back soon with more from Brian’s Corner.

Brian Moura

Brian Moura

Brian is Associate Editor at Positive Feedback, Senior Advisor – Finance & Executive Management at Regional Government Services Authority and Commissioner at the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA). He graduated with a BA Degree in Political Science from University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and a Masters Degree in Public Administration (MPA) at California State University East Bay (CSUEB). For NativeDSD.com he is a Technical Advisor.

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