23 January 2023

Pros and cons of Direct Stream Digital

DSD stands for direct stream digital(DSD), which is an extension of PCM that enhances audio quality by introducing a greater sample rate and a better signal-to-noise ratio(SNR). DSD enhances sound quality while also allowing for lower bit rates than PCM, which allows for more data to fit into the same volume and fewer compression artifacts. 

Related article: Advantages and disadvantages of DWDM

Pros of Direct stream digital:

  • It can be played on any audio player or computer with digital input and output.
  • It has the highest resolution of any digital audio format.
  • It also provides low jitter and noise.
  • It can record uncompressed PCM at the native sample rate.
  • It can be played on PCs. Macs, and consoles that can play DSD files.
  • It provides a higher resolution and quality than CD or SACD. This is due to the fact that the data rate is more than double when compared to PCM bit streams.
  • DSD format has a wide volume range of 120db which means that it can go significantly louder compared to CD quality audio which has a range volume of 96 DB.

Cons of direct stream signal:

  • The main disadvantage of DSD is that it is not supported by all devices and players, such as non-DSD players or DACs. This is due to the extra processing required to convert between the two formats. Some players out there still don't support DSD, but they are slowly becoming obsolete as new ones are released every year.
  • Has a large file size, unlike PCM.
  • DSD has a high volume hence the high level of noise.
  • In order to use DSD, you need to convert it to PCM.
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