DSD Master is a professional-grade tool for producing PCM versions of music files encoded in the DSD format. DSD Master supports DSD files in the DSF and DFF (a.k.a. DSDIFF) file formats. It does not currently support the ISO file format, although we hope that may change in a future update.
What is DSD?
In the world of computer
audio, almost all music stored in computer files is represented using a
format called Pulse Code Modulation (PCM for short). Most people have
at least a basic concept of how PCM works, and can be forgiven for
supposing that all music is treated this way in the digital domain. In
fact this is not true. The SACD format, which was intended to supplant
the CD format, but never really caught on, represents music in a digital
format called DSD. DSD is radically different to PCM, but many
audiophiles have come to the opinion that DSD sounds better than PCM.
In the recent years, advances in computer storage capacity and Internet
download bandwidth have spurred the high-end audio industry to develop
computer file formats which enable DSD music to be downloaded and
stored, and DAC technology to allow those files to be replayed. For a
discussion on how DSD and PCM technology compare and contrast, read here and here.
Why convert it to PCM?
Good question. Today, downloadable DSD files can be obtained from a limited number of sources, including Blue Coast Records, Channel Classics, and 2L.
These are generally more expensive than even high-rez PCM versions, and
cannot be played unless you have a DSD-compatible DAC, and
DSD-compatible playback software. Most audiophiles who have adopted a
computer-centric music model - and that will soon be all of us -
generally have more than one audio system that they use, and those who
have purchased a DSD-compatible DAC usually have only one of them, and it is
usually the DAC in their main system. So it is highly desirable to be
able to make a high-quality PCM version of your DSD music files that can you can play over equipment that does not support DSD playback.
Why use DSD Master?
Unlike conversions within the PCM format (WAV to FLAC, etc),
conversions from DSD to PCM - or the other way round - cannot be done
losslessly. This is a mathematical fact, even though some otherwise
well-informed individuals can be heard to assert otherwise. In other
words, if I convert a DSD file to PCM, and then convert the result back
to DSD, the resultant file will in general be different from the DSD
original. This means that the conversion process is not lossless.
Therefore the sound quality of the PCM version will be dependent on the
conversion algorithm used to prepare it. At the time of writing, there
are two other products on the market which can produce DSD-to-PCM
conversions. One is free, and one is eye-wateringly expensive.
BitPerfect Sound is pleased to offer you the possibility to download
some free, high-quality DSD files, together with PCM conversions
produced by DSD Master as well as by those competing products. We
invite you to download, listen, and compare.
BitPerfect Introduces the Hybrid-DSD File
DSD Master introduces, for the first time, a new file format which we term
"Hybrid DSD". This is a file format which looks to the world exactly
like an Apple Lossless (ALAC) PCM file, and functions exactly like one.
"Hybrid-DSD" files can be loaded into iTunes, or into any other player
which supports the Apple Lossless format and will play music like
normal. It contains a PCM copy of the DSD original. However, it also
contains the original DSD data, tucked away inside the file in a place
which iTunes and other players won't look. If BitPerfect is asked to
play this file, it is able to read both the PCM and the DSD versions.
If your DAC supports DSD, then BitPerfect will automatically play the
DSD version, otherwise it will automatically play the PCM version.
BitPerfect 2.0 and later is required to support this feature. All
other playback software will only ever play the PCM version. Read more about it here.