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What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Hi all,

The majority of all DAC are delta-sigma DACs. As I know - please correct me if I'm wrong - the process of the delta-sigma DAC is technically the same as "native DSD".
The "PCM to DSD" convertion is done in the DAC to fs 64, 128 or 256 anyway.
So, what's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD in software?
.halverhahn

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #1
Hi all,

The majority of all DAC are delta-sigma DACs.

True.

Quote
As I know - please correct me if I'm wrong - the process of the delta-sigma DAC is technically the same as "native DSD".

False.

Native DSD is a special case of Delta-Sigma, more properly called Single Bit Delta Sigma.  This special case has a number of built in severe technical problems that are described here: Free copy of Vanderkooy-Lipshitz paper explaining difference between Delta Sigma and DSD

The background behind this is that real world Delta Sigma converters are not all the same. One way that they differ among themselves is the number of bits in the DAC that is at their core.  As the reference points out, the Single Bit Delta-Sigma is inherently and seriously flawed in a number of serious ways, but the multi-bit versions of it avoid these problems.

Shortly after the publication of paper referenced above it was revealed that in fact the some or all of the allegedly Native DSD converters used in certain professional DSD products were strictly speaking not Naive DSD but were actually multi-bit devices.

To me the most important take away is that allegations of superior sound quality due to DSD have to be false, because if you believe some sources Native DSD is the same as Single Bit Delta-Sigma which is inherently flawed, or actual implementations of it are actually the same as multi-bit Sigma Delta which is what it is supposed to be superior to.

Logic says that for A to be superior to B it must be different from B which in the case of DSD,  it is not.

I am unaware that there have ever been any DBTs that compared Sigma-Delta and DSD DACs with similar performance in the normal audible range and found any audible differences.


Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #2
I bet some people that upsample think to bypass the evil PCM reconstruction filter when it becomes dsd while in reality this very conversation applies one.
Others argue the offline reconstruction filter is better as the internal DAC one so they skip that and use the DSD part of the DAC chip.
Self proclaimed golden ears claim it sounds better or muddens the sound in a way it sounds better to them.
I did read forums over several years now. It is the same species "bellieving" in this pretty new audiophile fashion while in reality they are unable to do stand the most simple abx test.
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #3
I bet some people that upsample think to bypass the evil PCM reconstruction filter when it becomes DSDwhile in reality this very conversation applies one.

No doubt.

It all starts out with the naive audiophile false belief that their current DAC is the major barrier to obtaining good sound from their audio system.

Quote
Others argue the offline reconstruction filter is better as the internal DAC one so they skip that and use the DSD part of the DAC chip.

Ditto.

Quote
Self proclaimed golden ears claim it sounds better or muddens the sound in a way it sounds better to them.

If you watch these guys on the audiophlie forums, that phase may only last for a little while, and then the siren song of the new improved DAC they don't have becomes the dominant force in their decision making process.

Quote
I did read forums over several years now. It is the same species "bellieving" in this pretty new audiophile fashion while in reality they are unable to do stand the most simple abx test.

Interesting how these self-proclaimed eggspurts lack the expertise to download and proprely use FOOBAR2000 and the ABX plug-in. ]

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #4
Interesting how these self-proclaimed eggspurts lack the expertise to download and proprely use FOOBAR2000 and the ABX plug-in. ]
It looks like there are at least a couple forum members who've at least figured out how to download foobar2000 (to be stylized in all lowercase).
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #5
Native DSD is a special case of Delta-Sigma, more properly called Single Bit Delta Sigma.
[...]
The background behind this is that real world Delta Sigma converters are not all the same. [...] the Single Bit Delta-Sigma is inherently and seriously flawed in a number of serious ways, but the multi-bit versions of it avoid these problems.

Shortly after the publication of paper referenced above it was revealed that in fact the some or all of the allegedly Native DSD converters used in certain professional DSD products were strictly speaking not Naive DSD but were actually multi-bit devices.

Thanks for pointing me to the multi-bit delta-sigma DACs.

My Conclusion: DSD/SACD is a hype. It's inferior to PCM, need more bandwith/storage. In addition any editing, sound manipulation etc. is not possible. DSD is a pain.

.halverhahn

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #6
It's inferior to PCM, need more bandwith/storage.
I say the same thing about samplerates >48kHz and/or resolution >16-bits (especially for noisy media or content) but it doesn't seem to be very persuasive.  Storage is cheap, they say.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #7
Storage is cheap, yes but when i see people meanwhile use 5GB for a dsd128 vinyl rip i feel a bit baffled and wonder where this nonsense ends.
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #8
The question is where does the nonsense start. Queue up the arbitrary and not based on sound quality hand waving in 3, 2, 1. . .
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #9
I use 16/44.1 for everything. I buy higher bitrates when i know it is better sounding as some other version, less compressed or mostly the same price. Even then i dither 24/44.1 and high samplerates to 16/44.1 for use on my server and for portability. The originals go to backup drives. In all these years i have never found anyone convincing me it needs more. Seems that i am a default mortal. Recent AES papers don't really convince me. I could believe if someone with the caliber of a Guruboolez and his detailed private listening tests evidently finds some tiny advantages here and there but that never happened...
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #10
The quantization adds lots of noise. This noise needs to go somewhere. Ironically, it is pushed to higher frequencies.

If you look at music (what DSD is used for) then you will notice that the energy of the signal drops especially beyond 20 kHz. So up there what's left of the signal (deliberately not calling it "music") is very low level and mostly noise.
Now audiophiles should want to reproduce that accurately but DSD's quantization noise will more and more drown this part of the signal with increasing frequency.

That's why it's also funny when these people use plots that show how impulses look "better" with DSD.  Such an impulse will contain energy up to several hundred kHz, theoretically MHz... You don't see that in music.


I have no idea why anyone would use DSD unless he/she is forced to.  :P
"I hear it when I see it."

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #11
I use 16/44.1 for everything. I buy higher bitrates when i know it is better sounding as some other version, less compressed or mostly the same price. Even then i dither 24/44.1 and high samplerates to 16/44.1 for use on my server and for portability. The originals go to backup drives. In all these years i have never found anyone convincing me it needs more. Seems that i am a default mortal. Recent AES papers don't really convince me. I could believe if someone with the caliber of a Guruboolez and his detailed private listening tests evidently finds some tiny advantages here and there but that never happened...

Because I was raising issues with 24 bit here in the past, I would like to add to this valuable experience also the fact that during this summer I have digitized/recorded some audio at home with good DACs (ALC 898 and CS 4398) and passed them to my friends in both 24 bit and 16 bit FLAC. Unfortunately nobody of them was able to hear/claim the difference on playback (I chose either TPDF dither or very low noise shaped dither). I personally still keep some albums/tracks in 24 bit even for playback, but I have to admit I did not get objective evidence for that practice. To be honest, I still have some "good feelings" about 24 bit tracks (without dither), but I cannot prove them.

The only new hypothesis I was thinking about with 24 bit playback recently is if the oversampling/upsampling done in some DACs does not work better (theoretically or empirically) in case the DAC is being fed with 24 bit "original" content instead of 16 bit "dithered". But it may be a nonsense.


Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #12
I personally still keep some albums/tracks in 24 bit even for playback, but I have to admit I did not get objective evidence for that practice. To be honest, I still have some "good feelings" about 24 bit tracks (without dither), but I cannot prove them.
Easy to prove. Use very silent music and play them at unrealistic loud levels. The music will be the same but with noise. Reality could be it is pretty hard to find anything recorded with such a low noisefloor while music plays.
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #13
The question is where does the nonsense start. Queue up the arbitrary and not based on sound quality hand waving in 3, 2, 1. . .
"good feelings" about 24 bit tracks

...I swear it's like a placebophile dog whistle, and some fool comes running.

I cannot prove them.
Of course you can't and TOS8 is in place to spare the rest of us from your delusions, but you just can't help yourself.

Unfortunately nobody of them was able to hear/claim the difference on playback
Unfortunately?!? Being aware of your limitations should be a good thing.

(without dither)
So all this wanking in other discussions over optimal noise shaping was nothing but hot air?

new hypothesis I was thinking about
Will you ever be done grasping at straws?

(theoretically or empirically)
More hand waving.  Try neither.

But it may be a nonsense.
Bingo.

You should wait to tell us about it when you're in a position to demonstrate what you have to offer isn't nonsense.

8. All members that put forth a statement concerning subjective sound quality, must -- to the best of their ability -- provide objective support for their claims.  Acceptable means of support are double blind listening tests (ABX or ABC/HR) demonstrating that the member can discern a difference perceptually, together with a test sample to allow others to reproduce their findings.  Graphs, non-blind listening tests, waveform difference comparisons, and so on, are not acceptable means of providing support.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #14
It's inferior to PCM, need more bandwith/storage.
I say the same thing about samplerates >48kHz and/or resolution >16-bits (especially for noisy media or content) but it doesn't seem to be very persuasive.  Storage is cheap, they say.

Yes it thankfully is and it could/should be used for storing the content the user can make use of. But when we agree/know that >48 kHz is complete overkill and >16 bit is practically irrelevant for playback, then I fully support that we should not waste the space we have, e.g. for common playback or mobile use. The argument that storage is cheap is relevant only when we store something that has some value for us - it only says that the cost of storage is so low that we do not have to judge what we will store and what not as it was in the days of 128,192,256 and 320 MP3s.

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #15
the days of 128,192,256 and 320 MP3s.
When my main portable media player is capped at 16 or 32 GB, lossy compression is still a very beautiful thing.

~170kbps mp3 delivers near if not full transparency; even lower with aac and vorbis; and here you are "craving" several times that amount in order to satisfy your placebo.  I'm happy being satisfied in wearing more sensible shoes.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #16
To the previous reaction: I really do not think that I am on the "placebophile" side now and my posts are not meant in "pushing" those things anymore. The hypothesis I mentioned was just a thought, I have no problems with it being claimed as false.

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #17
the days of 128,192,256 and 320 MP3s.
When my main portable media player is capped at 16 or 32 GB, lossy compression is still a very beautiful thing.

~170kbps mp3 delivers near if not full transparency; even lower with aac and vorbis; and here you are "craving" several times that amount in order to satisfy your placebo.  I'm happy to be satisfied in my sensible shoes.

No problem with that, as lossy compression works nicely with practical limits of human hearing and still may satisfy it in many situations. I also recently made some 320 kbps MP3 for my friend, whose minitower does not support FLAC on USB playback and received no complaints from him.

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #18
I really do not think that I am on the "placebophile" side now
Your previous post about "unfortunate" results tells an entirely different tale.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #19
I really do not think that I am on the "placebophile" side now
Your previous post about "unfortunate" results tells an entirely different tale.

Yes I have to admit that in the summer I when I was giving those home recorded tracks to my friends was kind of unhappy that they judged 24 bit and 16 bit as equal when listening. But it is a fact, so I have accepted it.

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #20
320 kbps MP3
Did you try to find your friend's threshold of transparency?  What about your own?
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #21
But it is a fact, so I have accepted it.
Why do you judge it today as unfortunate?
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #22
But it is a fact, so I have accepted it.
Why do you judge it today as unfortunate?

When I wrote that post I remembered that experience I described form the past. And still if somebody could demonstrate (e.g. by ABX) the benefit of 24 bit on some real common track, it would positively surprise me. Nothing wrong about it, I think.

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #23
Nothing wrong about it at all!  That's why I have a difficult time seeing an increase in self-awareness being assessed as "unfortunate".
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: What's the point of "upsampling" PCM to DSD?

Reply #24
...but hey, I want to make the most of my 384kHz fucktard DAC because that's what it can do and it's hopefully better than super-human hearing even though I know fuck all about what that means.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

 
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