Audirvana Plus can play DSD formats

Discover the features of DSD files format and how Audirvana Plus handles this format

What is DSD Format ?

The DSD (Direct Stream Digital) is an audio signal coding process developed by Sony and Philips. DSD technology is based on very high-frequency sound encoding 64 times, 128 times (or even more) than the CD’s. DSD consists in encoding the variations of the analog signal in order to capture as much dynamics as possible within the analog -> digital conversion process. The code can then have only 2 values: +1 (if the signal goes up) or -1 (if the signal goes down). It is therefore these pulse delta variations that will determine the amplitude of the signal.

Audirvana Plus allows you to decode and playback all your DSD files, as well as SACD disc ISO images, unlike iTunes. MacOS does not recognize DSD natively. That’s why Audirvana Plus uses the DSD over PCM protocol. This protocol allows you to pass a native DSD signal through what macOS believes to be PCM.

The main advantages of DSD are :

  • Much faster impulse response
  • Higher frequency range
  • Improved dynamic range

The main disadvantages of DSD are :

  • Exponentially decreasing signal to noise ratio in the very high (ultrasonics) frequencies
  • Very large storage volume
  • Not editable at all. Such a change would ask for values different from 1 or -1. If an editing needs to be performed, then the DSD file must be transformed into a PCM file and the edited file therefore loses all the advantages of the DSD format.