Recording Music, Analog Tape & LPs to DSD May 13 by Brian Moura in Brian's Corner, Hardware Updates


DACs and ADCs

When many listeners think of listening to music in Direct Stream Digital (DSD), the first question that comes to mind is what audio gear and software will be needed. The answer to that question will be an audio component (digital player, portable or converter) that includes a Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) that converts DSD music to analog for your musical enjoyment. But then, there is this other great thing, recording!

Recording to DSD

There is another piece of the puzzle that is drawing more and more attention these days. This is the audio gear that enables recording professionals and listeners to record music and even your collection of Analog Tapes and Vinyl LPs to DSD. To transfer live music and other music sources to DSD requires the use of another type of converter – an Analog to Digital Converter or ADC.


ADCs for Recording Studios & Pro Use

The initial Analog to Digital Converters (ADC) for recording studio and professional use appeared in the early days of DSD and the Super Audio CD (SACD) disc from companies like dCS, EMM Labs, Mytek, Merging Technologies, Prism, Ayre Acoustics and Digital Audio Denmark. They offered Stereo and Multichannel (up to 8 channels per converter) analog to DSD conversion at the standard DSD 64fs (64 times the CD bit rate).


EMM Labs ADC 8 Mk IV

EMM Labs ADC 8 Mk IV – 8 Channel ADC for DSD Recording

As interest grew in higher bit rate DSD recording, the recording industry saw the development of ADCs that provided a choice of standard DSD 64fs bit rate recording as well as double DSD (DSD 128fs) and quad rate DSD (DSD 256fs) recording from the pro equipment makers.

Today these higher DSD bit rate ADCs have proven quite popular. For example, Merging Technologies recently reported sales of over 1,000 of their Horus and Hapi model ADCs with 8 channels of up to DSD 256fs recording capability.




2 - Horus and Hapi

Horus (Left) and Hapi (Right) ADCs from Merging Technologies


Recording Small Bands & Music Venues

The next phase of ADC development responded to the need to provide high quality yet affordable DSD recording capability for recording small bands, music venues and even speeches and lectures. Products from companies including Korg, Sony and Tascam brought ADCs and portable DSD recorders that sell for as little as $999 and yet offer true DSD stereo recording to the market.


3 - Tascam DA 3000

Tascam DA-3000 DSD Recorder


Converting Your Analog Tapes & LPs to DSD

In the last year, this technology has started to reach the home audio market. Several products have been introduced that provide easy to use recording software and ADCs to transfer your Analog Tapes and LPs to DSD. This provides a new way to enjoy your music and expand your music library.


Products in the home audio ADC category include:

  • Astell & Kern’s new AK Recorder ($899) which records music played on one of the company’s 300 series portable players to DSD
  • Korg’s DS-DAC-10R which offers a Stereo DSD DAC and ADC in one box for DSD music playback, recording and conversion ($599)
  • Sony’s new PS-HX500 Turntable and ADC which can operate as a regular turntable to play LPs or as a turntable that converts your LPs to single or double rate DSD music files through a USB connection to your computer or laptop ($599)
  • Playback Designs OpBox ($1,895) which is a replacement card that fits into an Oppo BDP-103 Blu Ray & SACD player that allows SACDs to be played through the Playback Designs Merlot DSD DAC ($6,500) as well as recorded to DSD
  • Playback Designs Pinot ADC which is designed to convert Analog Tapes and LPs to DSD bit rates up to DSD 256fs ($6,500)
  • PS Audio’s NuWave Phono Converter which is designed to convert LPs to DSD ($999)


Sony PS-HX500 Turntable and DSD Converter

Sony PS-HX500 Turntable and DSD Converter

More Information in our Database

5 - DSD Record and Transfer Tab - Native DSD Database

DSD Record & Transfer Tab – Native DSD Database

So, where do you find more information on all of these products and options to record and add to your collection of DSD music? A good place to start is the Native DSD Database.

We have expanded the database to include information and web links to 15 different products that can record and transfer music, tape and LPs to DSD. They cover the range from top of the line professional audio gear to very affordable DSD recording and transfer options for use at home.

All you need to do to access this information is click on the link below and select the “DSD Record & Transfer” tab. It will open the door to a whole new option in DSD listening.





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 he is a Technical Advisor.

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