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Paul's Posts — 26 November 2012

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PS and DSD

Over the last few days we’ve been discussing the two main technologies in digital audio today: PCM and DSD.  In my mind there’s no doubt that DSD is superior to PCM – if for no other reason than the fact it is simply closer to analog than anything I have ever heard.  Properly implemented you’re not even aware of its presence and that’s how any piece of equipment or format in a high end audio chain should be: not there.

We’ve also learned that nearly all modern 24 bit and higher DACS are essentially PCM to DSD decoders and the final outputs of modern DACS is already DSD in nature.

So what’s the future of DACS in the PS Audio ecosystem?  DSD, of course.  We’re right in the middle of a long range, long term project to fundamentally change the nature of the DAC itself from that of a compromised PCM/DSD decoder to a purpose built DSD architecture that also accepts PCM without compromise.  It means getting away from off-the-shelf DACS and chips and heading down a brave new frontier essentially alone – but that’s ok, we kind of thrive on that.

The fruits of these labors won’t be enjoyed for quite some time but in the scheme of things it won’t be that long.  Perhaps sometime in 2014 we may see a new breed of product from some of the really great minds we have working on this now.

I am delighted to be along for the ride.

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About Author

Paul McGowan is the CEO and co-founder of PS Audio Inc. a Boulder Colorado design and manufacturing company of high-end audio products and services. McGowan has been designing and building high-end products for nearly 40 years. Hobbies include skiing, music, hiking, artisan bread baking, kick boxing and cooking. He lives in Boulder Colorado with his wife Terri and his 4 sons.

(8) Readers Comments

  1. Before PS audio making DSD products, the closest thing is PS3 from Sony to play DSD-Disc, that’s PS3 and DSD!!

    If Sony can give more support, and give a little bit relax to SACD format (e.g. ripping of SACD into machine with DRM or Secured Data, files only playable on same machine with Unique ID Chip, export and copy out of the machine will be unusable, as long as ripping of SACD already here, nothing to fear to relax the format a little bit, if the recording companies and artists agree.)

    I can almost can conclude 2012 is glorious year for DSD since SACD launch, DSD over PCM (DoP), Mytek, Korg, Playback Designs, Meitner, dCS, Fostex selling DSD capable DAC to consumer, Channel Classics and Bluecoast selling true from master DSD files and Sony Japan going to releases all Glenn Gould recordings in DSD mastered SACD and uncountable Analog to DSD transfer(Sony developed DSD for archival purpose, so most of the important titles should have a DSD copy in warehouse NOW!) done by Sony and Univerisal Music, means a lot of DSD download will be available if they’re willing to open the door.

  2. Interview with 2L Morten Lindberg: “We make our recordings in linear PCM at 24bit/352.8kHz and keep within this resolution all thru editing mix an mastering. To me this resolution is indistinguishable from our direct analogue feed straight out of our microphones.”

  3. wishing you the best on your venture. It will be just the thing digital lovers will like to get their hands on. Regards.

    • Thanks Oliver that’s very kind.

      • Hi Paul, Sounds great indeed. The question is: will the new range be capable of handling multichannel recordings? In many living rooms there is only place for one system and it has to also address video. Apart from that I have recordings (for instance from 2L and from JM Jarre) which are originally recorded in multichannel format to enhance the experience. Another question: I am a firm believer in filtering music upon reproduction as I believe every reproduction system acts as a filter (the acoustic properties of the room, the speakers etc. In my view: if you don’t apply a reverse filter, you are not a real audiophile because you willingly don’t do anything against this filter and thus want to listen to filtered music. In PCM it is rather simple to filter (in the Fourier domain for instance). I wonder how easy that is when in the DSD-format.

        • No, unfortunately not. We can’t support multi-channel audio and are just sticking with 2-channel – something we know really well.

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