the "multichannel" WAV files are significantly larger than the equivalent stereo WAV filesYes, more channels take more bits to encode.
which are significantly larger than the equivalent WAV files of the equivalent MFSL standard CD.Because DSD streams are not PCM (they are encoded according to different principles - DSD are more like how a "dimmer" on a light quickly switches on and off yet produces an intermediate brightness level). So in order to capture as much as possible, that sample rate, the files become enormous.
The CD could also be of a different mastering.[/quote]
One thing I did note was that FB2k kept telling me that the conversion process was not "lossless", and I did notice a somewhat smaller file size for a converted WAV file than its source DSF file.That is strange - the WAV would normally be much larger. (Are you comparing the multichannel?)
But the conversion is not lossless because the files are originally encoded according to totally different principles. DSD streams in DSF files are one bit but extremely high sample rate (again, like a dimmer) - PCM streams in WAV (or AIFF or FLAC) are a number of bits and sampled at an octave over the highest note.
I'm guessing that I am not personally going to notice any difference in audio quality.You won't. fb2k converts at 32-bit accuracy, and you wouldn't have noticed any difference at half of that. And that is only in the bit depth - also it converts octaves above the audible range.
For two channels you wouldn't notice at the file size of the CD either - SACD was a nonsense format for stereo.
You can find some recordings in various formats at http://www.2l.no/hires/ . To give you an idea of sizes, consider "Finzi: Come Away, Death", stereo only
* 11 megabytes for CD format, FLAC.
* 37 for CD format, WAV
* 55 for 96/24, FLAC
* 69 for DSD packed in WavPack
* 110 for DSD as .dsf - that is ten times as much as the CD format FLAC.
* 442 for DSD converted to WAV.
You won't hear any difference between the 11 megabytes file and one that is forty times the size.