What is DSD Master?

DSD Master is a professional-grade tool for producing PCM versions of music files encoded in the DSD format.

What is DSD?

In the world of computer audio, almost all music stored in computer files is represented using a format called Pulse Code Modulation (PCM for short).  Most people have at least a basic concept of how PCM works, and can be forgiven for supposing that all music is treated this way in the digital domain.  In fact this is not true.  The SACD format, which was intended to supplant the CD format, but never really caught on, represents music in a digital format called DSD.  DSD is radically different to PCM, but many audiophiles have come to the opinion that DSD sounds better than PCM.  In the recent years, advances in computer storage capacity and Internet download bandwidth have spurred the high-end audio industry to develop computer file formats which enable DSD music to be downloaded and stored, and DAC technology to allow those files to be replayed.  For a discussion on how DSD and PCM technology compare and contrast, read here and here.

Why convert it to PCM?

Good question.  Today, downloadable DSD files can be obtained from a limited number of sources, including Blue Coast Records, Channel Classics, and 2L.  These are generally more expensive than even high-rez PCM versions, and cannot be played unless you have a DSD-compatible DAC, and DSD-compatible playback software.  Most audiophiles who have adopted a computer-centric music model - and that will soon be all of us - generally have more than one audio system that they use, and those who have purchased a DSD-compatible DAC usually have only one of them, and it is usually the DAC in their main system.  So it is highly desirable to be able to make a high-quality PCM version of your DSD music files that can you can play over equipment that does not support DSD playback.

Why use DSD Master?

Unlike conversions within the PCM format (WAV to FLAC, etc), conversions from DSD to PCM - or the other way round - cannot be done losslessly.  This is a mathematical fact, even though some otherwise well-informed individuals can be heard to assert otherwise.  In other words, if I convert a DSD file to PCM, and then convert the result back to DSD, the resultant file will in general be different from the DSD original.  This means that the conversion process is not lossless.  Therefore the sound quality of the PCM version will be dependent on the conversion algorithm used to prepare it.  At the time of writing, there are two other products on the market which can produce DSD-to-PCM conversions.  One is free, and one is eye-wateringly expensive.  BitPerfect Sound is pleased to offer you the possibility to download some free, high-quality DSD files, together with PCM conversions produced by DSD Master as well as by those competing products.  We invite you to download, listen, and compare.

BitPerfect Introduces the Hybrid-DSD File

DSD Master introduces, for the first time, a new file format which we term "Hybrid DSD".  This is a file format which looks to the world exactly like an Apple Lossless (ALAC) PCM file, and functions exactly like one.  "Hybrid-DSD" files can be loaded into iTunes, or into any other player which supports the Apple Lossless format and will play music like normal.  It contains a PCM copy of the DSD original.  However, it also contains the original DSD data, tucked away inside the file in a place which iTunes and other players won't look.  If BitPerfect is asked to play this file, it is able to read both the PCM and the DSD versions.  If your DAC supports DSD, then BitPerfect will automatically play the DSD version, otherwise it will automatically play the PCM version.  BitPerfect 2.0 and later is required to support this feature.  All other playback software will only ever play the PCM version.  Read more about it here.