Tag Archives: DSD

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Format wars

Whatever happened to the format wars? We lost sleep over FLAC , WAV, DSD vs. PCM, MQA in competition with everything else.

Did our playback equipment suddenly get so good that these various formats now perform with varying degrees of excellence rather than acceptability?

I can tell you that playback of 44.1kHz through DirectStream is so close to higher resolution formats that one has to question the need to purchase higher resolution media. But that’s just us in a sea of other DACs.

Have we, as an industry, elevated playback quality to such a degree that the wars are over? Is there a white flag flying that I missed?

It’s hard to know if the most vocal among us got tired of the battle, or found peace in the improved performance.

I do appreciate a lull in the battles.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

VHS (panasonic)  or Beta (Sony)? Beta was better, but VHS won.

DSD (SACD and Sony) vs PCM (Everybody else). DSD is better, but PCM has been winning, but its not over……From Paul..

Forgetting DSD

Our excitement and interest levels in new technology ebb and flow over time, yet the formats and innovations that sparked our interests remain, long after the fires of our focus die down. We keep looking for the magic bullet hoping for a major breakthrough, when the truth is, every round of ammunition is actually a stepping stone in the quest for better sound.

A couple of years ago DSD was locked and loaded into our thoughts and there was little talk of anything else. We bought DACs based on its analog qualities, we waited for the flood of newly mastered media but then lost interest when it never came.

But we seem to forget that it takes time for the new to become the standard. Look how long CDs have been around. Newer discoveries and innovative engineering are just now improving its reproduction in ways few would have imagined just a few years ago and we’re preparing for its 35th year in service of music. 35 years! And we are just now releasing a player that does the format justice. That’s a long time.

DSD is not new. The technology for the format was known when PCM became the de facto standard for digital audio, though it mostly lay dormant in the engineer’s arsenal of tricks.

Had I a time machine and could go back and change things, I would have insisted that we use DSD instead of PCM. Had this happened, our systems would be light years better sounding today. But, alas, time machines and DeLoreans have fallen out of favor too.

Here’s the good news in this observation. DSD is here. It hasn’t gone anywhere. It is the core of PS Audio DirectStream DACs. It will soon be released into our DACs for the first time since the SACD was introduced, in 1999.

DSD should not be forgotten or ignored. It certainly is alive and well at PS Audio.