DSD-Guide.com

Direct Stream Digital Audio

DSD Music, Information, Equipment, News and Answers

A list of websites where you can find Direct Stream Digital (DSD) and other High Resolution music to download. If you are a DSD distributor of downloads and would like to be added to this list, please contact support@dsd-guide.com

Meghan Andrews

This is a question that has perplexed many of us who record in high resolution audio.  Sure, our focus is on DSD / one bit recording...  but why are most audio engineers recording at 44.1 or 48?  You think it would be easy to move to PCM 9624 or 192.  Heaven forbid anyone should move to recording in DSD!

It's not a simple answer.

Recently the subject has come up as to why downloads and streaming services play back differently?  This article begins to explore why that happens and welcomes comments about your experiences.

H-Res Audio

Have you listened to the same song playing from Tidal? Qobuz? Applemusic?  Youtube?  Do you notice subtle differences?  We're going to explore this concept and welcome your explorations comparing these services.  Where do these companies get their files from?

Setting up a listening test to compare various types of files is not easy.  You need a base of equipment and a trusted set of files to start.  Set aside several hours and have a few people involved.  We rarely do a test with fewer than 3 people. Here we'll explore some of the basics steps to compare files.

math vs ears

In a recent discussion at computeraudiophile.com I was asked to participate on a thread about a math experiment that led to this conclusion... "The math says there's no difference between the FLAC and the WAV file".   We do listening tests.. regardless of math.  If we hear a difference... even the slightest difference and it can be duplicated several times, then something is wrong and needs investigation.

San Francisco Symphony

Recently some prominent audiophile reviewers have voiced their opinion on what they believe an audiophile recording is.  Opinions vary greatly and seem to depend on the favorite genre or listening style of the reviewer.  Written by Cookie Marenco, Blue Coast Records

The discussion of the Loudness Wars has finally reached a few ears in the pro audio community.  We are grateful to Tape Op for presenting this article written by Aaron Mullan.

Blue Coast Collection

More and more people want to get involved with DSD audio but don't know where to start.  What do you suggest to friends who have an interest in better quality sound but don't have the inclination to spend a lot of time or money setting it up?  Send us your best ideas and we'll post here!

Send your ideas to support@DSD-Guide.com

JRiver Media Center is running a poll on the importance of DSD for your listening.  Now is the time to vote!  JRiver was one of the first media programs that helped catalog, playback and convert DSD files.  It is considered one of the finest when it comes to sound.  They promise to continue their excellent service to audiophiles and TV viewers.

Andrew Jones, ELAC

Andrew Jones, legendary speaker designer now with ELAC, explains to John Darko of Darko.Audio web magazine that Direct Stream Digital (DSD) master recording tracks usually transfer into another format such as Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) for mixing, mastering and other processing.  Enjoy the entire 14 minute interview about DSD, new ELAC products and topics discussed at the Munich Audio Show.

SEA comparison for WAV files

The Loudness Wars...  you may have heard about it ...  or maybe not.  What it means is the 'relative' volume of playback for any given song.

Relative Playback?  what does that mean?

Doug Fearn is no stranger to the recording studio. One of his first recordings was in 1968 captured on a 4 track Scully tape machine. His fondness for higher quality led him to launch his company, D.W. Fearn in the early 1990's specializing in vacuum tube products for professional audio engineers. In association with Tommy Mcintyre (guitarist) and support musicians (Hazelrigg Brothers) Doug demonstrates his technique for recording direct to DSD on the Tascam DA-3000.

Jenna Mammina - Close Your Eyes

What is mastering?  Mastering is what we call the 3rd part of the production process (recording is part one and mixing is part two) that has the potential to change with improvements or degrade the sound.   As we talked about in Part One of our series, the final stage 6 is the listening environment in the home.

Blue Coast Collection 3

Why doees my vinyl sound so much better than the PCM 192 files of the same music?

There isn't a simple answer.  Mastering is only the 3rd of 6 stages of degradation that audio has to deal with... the final stage being the home listening system.  Let's start at your listening systems..the 6th Stage.

Story of Ghosts -- Fiona Joy Hawkins
For Immediate Press Release: Fiona Joy Hawkins and Cookie Marenco Re-Team to Share a High-Fidelity STORY 

True to the haunting title of her extraordinary new solo piano album Story of Ghosts, Fiona Joy Hawkins had a harrowing year in 2017 – and makes no attempts to sugarcoat the emotional upheaval. She bares it all over the course of these mostly grey-toned melancholy and vulnerable pieces, expressed in raw bursts of dark beauty that draw on her classical background and impressionistic modern yet melodic compositions. The album was produced by Cookie Marenco, who is releasing Story of Ghosts in SACD and CD format today on her label, Blue Coast Records. 
Blue Coast Collection 3 - Cover Image

It's been more than 5 years since Blue Coast Collection 2 debuted.  Blue Coast Collection 1 launched in 2007.  Blue Coast Collection 3 is destined to be another smash for Blue Coast Records.

Story of Ghosts -- Fiona Joy Hawkins

Fiona Joy Hawkins -- her name resonates in the acoustic music circles as one of this generation's top contemporary solo piano artists.  Having won many awards for her two previous albums, Fiona's new album, Story of Ghosts, is destined to do the same.

Slow Wifi

Paul Wilson writes has an interesting review of his streaming vs other playback devices for high end audio.

Eamonn Flynn

Eamonn Flynn was born into a musical family in Dublin, Ireland. His soulful mastery on piano, keys, and organ landed him on the 12 million selling movie soundtrack for "The Commitments." He’s recorded & toured worldwide with many major artists including Michael Franti & Spearhead, Elvin Bishop, Coco Montoya, Michelle Shocked, Evelyn "Champagne" King and a ten year stint with New Orleans drumming legend Zigaboo Modeliste. Eamonn's solo album "The Irish Channel" reflects a unique blend of Irish & American influences, expressing music that is rich, heart-warming and rousing...a fusion that Eamonn himself calls "Irish Soul".

During April Blue Coast Music and DSD-Guide conducted a joint survey using their readers (now numbering 32,000) to find out what and how they were listening to music.

Jenner Fox

Jenner Fox and friends were recently recording at Blue Coast Studios for their just released album, Buffalo.

Here's a sneak peek at what it's like to be in the studio with Jenner.  A brilliant combination of mixed performances and actual performance captured of rehearsals from the video camera perspective.  In one minute, you'll hear the music transform from mixed to live to mixed all locked to video captured of the musicians, engineers and others during the session.

There's been an interesting trend in music the last few years.  While hip hop and pop music still dominate the charts, artists are creating sonic calming music that can last as long as 8 hours.  It's not meant to be exciting.  It's meant to relax and sometimes put you to sleep.  Millions of people are tuning in to it.

If you'd like to voice your opinion go to Blue Coast Music's blog post.  With enough interest, you could be finding your next ambient recording in DSD!

Commentary by Cookie Marenco on Daily Dose of DSD.  Comment on how you listen.  

Alex de Grassi

Hello music lovers and welcome to the daily ramblings of Cookie Marenco, music producer, audiophile, and lover of sound.  This is her daily blog. 

Live in the studio with Meghan, Larry, and Marco

Everyone wants streaming... and why not in DSD256?  

Primeseat and Blue Coast Records have teamed up to test your interest for streaming dsd 256. In the first Live-in-the-Studio FlashJamm Meghan Andrews, Larry Mitchell and Marco Ferrero bring their talents while producer, Cookie Marenco and the Blue Coast Studios Crew records this session live to DSD256.

You might already know that the patent for the SACD is about to expire.  Not much will probably change but we thought this was an interesting document for the licensing procedure from Phillips / Sony who jointly share in the patent.  

Into the Mist

PRESS RELEASE -- BLUE COAST RECORDS; 2/16/2018; San Francisco, CA

High Fidelity Recording Artist - Fiona Joy Hawkins - Nominated for Best New Age Album in the IMAs

The Independent Music Awards (IMA) announced their nominees this week for Best New Age Album. Included in the nominations was Into The Mist by Fiona Joy (Hawkins), on the Blue Coast Records label.

NAMM in Anaheim 2018

Positive Feedback is publishing a series of articles written by Blue Coast Music founder, Cookie Marenco, on the various audio shows.  Part 1 in this series provides the difference between the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 (CES held in January) and the National Association of Music Merchants 2018 (NAMM held two weeks after CES in January).

Need a daily newsletter of information, opinions, activities and musings from those most passionate about DSD?  Get ready for a daily dose of hifi in a short email.  

Jenna Mammina's album is the #2 seller in 2017 at Blue Coast Music

Looks like a great year for DSD recordings!  Nine out of 10 of the top selling albums on Blue Coast Music were mixed to DSD.  Seven out of 10 albums were recorded to DSD or analog tape.  Four albums are led by women musicians, three by men and three are compilations. Three albums are first artist albums (Smolder - Coco Scott, Run With Me - Derek Jones, Just Let Go - Meghan Andrews)

In its 10th year of release, Blue Coast Collection from Blue Coast Records, continues to top the chart at Number 1.  Wow!

Story of Ghosts - Fiona Joy - Blue Coast Records

Cookie Marenco of Blue Coast Records does a comparison test using a $700 Ethernet cable and a regular cat5 Ethernet cable.  Read the article to find out the results.

Blue Coast Music is ready to test a new concept of creating music for fans of DSD256 called FlashJamm.  The concept is 3 songs performed live in the studio, unrehearsed and under artistic guidance of the producer.  Raw, inspired and recorded at DSD256 live in the studio.  Easy to do, you think?  "Not so", says producer, Cookie Marenco from Blue Coast.

Free Downloads from Blue Coast Music

Blue Coast Music is offering free downloads to test your playback system for DSD, FLAC and WAV files.  Did you recently upgrade and want to know if your system will play DSD 256?  Does your iTunes play FLAC?  Is there really a difference between DSD, FLAC and WAV that you can hear?  Now is your chance to test and optimize your music system.

NARAS Recommendations for High Resolution Recording

The complete pdf Recommendations for High Resolution Audio Production. Issued in 2017 for the purposes of providing professional audio engineers guidelines for how producing music on a high resolution format.

Garett Brennan

Garett Brennan is a recording artist for Blue Coast Records based out of the Portland, Oregon. This is an article of the recording session with Cookie Marenco at her studio in 2014.  For those interested in being a "producer" Blue Coast Records has released a 35 minute rehearsal of Garett and friends as they prepare the song "I Will Walk" for eventual release.  

Behind the Scenes

Are you the kind of passionate music lover that wants to know more about the behind the scenes action that happens for a high end recording?  Blue Coast Music and DSD-Guide are teaming up to bring you something very special in the upcoming months.  Find out how you can contribute to this exciting new effort. Follow the link to read more.

Inside the Sony Sponsored Magic Bus -- Troyce Walls Photographer

Los Angeles Sheraton was filled with audiophiles for the 1st annual LAAS Event.  Fiona Joy took the opportunity to try something new with her album release on Blue Coast Records... she gave a release party at the Sony Sponsored Magic Bus!

There is the 'digital' camp and the 'analog' camp and the 'just give me the best of it' camp.  Everyone has an opinion but the truth is... "the best" is expensive to record, mix, master, convert and preserve.  Compromises are made for greatness to provide a supply of new music to the audiophile that is 'affordable'. Sadly, most audio engineers compromise the audio at the first stage of recording.. the multitrack. This is an opinionated article by Blue Coast founder, Cookie Marenco.

Like many passionate audiophiles, there is a desire to understand more about the music they love and why.  In this article, David Slattery tells us the results of his Dynamic Range (DR) testing.  He also supplies the "how to" of setting up your own test at home.  Recommended for the more computer savvy audiophiles.

Blue Coast Music has been at the forefront of high resolution audio with its efforts recording music, developing an audience and addressing the requirements for large audio file distribution since its debut.  Behind closed doors they have been developing a new website to address the needs of the audiophile music lover.  Blue Coast Music is now looking for beta testers around the world to test the site.  If you would like to be a beta-tester, signup for the newsletter on this page and send a note to support@bluecoastmusic.com with "BETA-TESTER" in the subject line.

There has been a lot of controversy over the years about whether WAV conversions to FLAC are exact duplicates and sound exactly the same.  It's Ears vs Math.  Which do you subscribe to?  The Crew at Blue Coast Records believes there is a difference after doing dozens of blindfold listening tests over the last decade.  Why is this important to DSD listeners?  Understanding how to do a blindfold listening test is complicated.  Included in this article are methods how you can have a blindfold listening party to test for your own ears.

Sony DSD players in car and portable

Sony unvailed their new Walkman and car media reciever, RSX-GS9 at the 38th Bangkok International Motor Show. With this setup you can play native DSD 11.2MHz in your car. 

Andreas Koch

"What would it take to launch a new format today, and what problems could it possibly solve?" Andreas Koch and Positive-Feedback try to answer this and other questions about digital audio formats.  Andreas Koch led a team of engineers designing the world's first multitrack DSD recorder and editor.  He has been a pioneer in all things DSD.

How to play DSD

Playing back DSD files requires a bit more effort than most other formats, such as WAV or MP3 files. Most computers these days aren’t capable of converting DSD into audio because their audio hardware is limited to PCM files, so you have to use something else. 

Simply put, open source is when the source code for a piece of software is free and open to the public. This means that people who use the software are not required to pay a licensing fee because it is not owned by one person or company. DSD (.dsf) is an example of an open source digital audio format, FLAC (.flac) is another.

Music lover and audiophile, David Slattery, took time out of his busy day to do a comparison of DSD128 to DSD64.  Many people wonder if it's possible to hear the difference between a FLAC, WAV or DSD file.  David gives a wonderful assessment of what he hears.

The music tested was Meghan Andrews from Blue Coast Records Special Event 43. Blue Coast Records offers music recorded in DSD and without overdubs and effects making the comparisons easier than overly processed music.  

Here's what David has to say...

The Future of DSD Audio and Music

Excerpt from Positive-Feedback and written by Brian Moura. One packed seminar featured a discussion of The Future of DSD hosted by Cookie Marenco, owner of Blue Coast Music along with Gus Skinas, chief of the Super Audio Center and Marc Sheforgen, Chief Operating Officer for Acoustic Sounds. DSD Audio is predicted to be the format of choice for high resolution audio and music.

Why High Resolution Audio? FLAC or DSD

High resolution audio is becoming more and more common these days. Although there’s no standard quality the audio should reach in order to be classified as high resolution audio, we can easily assume that a file with a quality of at least 44.1 khz/16 bit is a high resolution audio file. But why would you listen to high quality audio material instead of MP3?

Keith Greeninger Performing Live and Heard Streaming on DSD at Primeseat

On January 26, 2016, Alex de Grassi and Keith Greeninger became the first two artists to have their music available for on demand streaming at DSD128. The new technology comes from Primeseat, a company from Japan that boasts some of the top technolgists from Sony, Korg and IIJ.

Audiophile Labels Agree to Use RIAA Hi Res Logo on their Websites... What is Hi Res Anyway?

November 24, 2015 - 11:03 -- Anonymous (not verified)

Blue Coast Music, HD Tracks, IsoMike and many other digital music retailers have agreed to use the RIAA's Hi-Res Logo to point out Hi Resolution Audio. David Huges from the RIAA, attempts to explain what defines "hi res" by these standards.

Don't confuse "Quad" with the surround system recordings of yester year - this Quad is Direct Stream Digital at a sampling rate of 11.2 Million samples per second in one bit.  These downloads are huge!  An Album can be 8-10 gigabytes in size.  Another name for Quad DSD is DSD 256.

Today Blue Coast Records announced their foray into delivering Quad DSD downloads to music lovers worldwide.

Find information on DSD DACs, Hardware, Software, Music, etc. Direct Stream Digital -- One Bit Audio. Read more to get the link.

On April 4, 2015 at 7pm PDT, the world's first DSD128 live streaming concert event will take place. A joint project team of Sony/Korg/IIJ/Saidera Paradiso have joined to demonstrate the future of high-quality streaming with two upcoming concerts.

It has just been announced that the Pono device now supports DSD64 and DSD128.  Here is a link for the firmware update associated.

https://ponomusic.force.com/ccrz__CCPage?oId=a201500000BtI4vAAF&pageKey=product&type=Update

On Saturday, January 24, 2015, at 1pm, Cookie Marenco will do a presentation at the annual NAMM show held at the Anaheim Convention Center.  Ms Marenco will discuss High Resolution Audio with musicians, equipment manufacturers, professional audio engineers, and instrument builders who go to hear the latest developments in the world of audio.  The presentation is geared towards the entry level and more sophisticated music listeners as well as interested companies who want to take advantage of this small yet growing trend.

Writer, Vade Forrester, offers a very good guide to backing up your precious music files. This is a portion of the article from the December 2014 issue of The Absolute Sound.

"If you’re a computer-audio enthusiast, no matter how expensive your equipment may be, your largest investment will be your collection of music files. Downloads cost money, and the higher their resolution, the more money they cost. Even if most of your music files come from your ripped CD collection, you’ve still invested a lot of time ripping them to your hard drive."

Read more to get the link to the site!

Paul McGowan's company, PS Audio, is well known in audiophile circles for being some of the highest quality gear available on the market. We've included a partial list of titles that we happen to also enjoy. For the complete list, visit here http://www.psaudio.com/pauls-posts/pauls-picks or read more!

John La Grou is no stranger to pro audio and the advancement of audio technology. A long time friend of DSD recording with many of the top producers using his Millennia's professional grade preamps, John now takes us on a journey of the future of sound. A great read!

On stage at the Europe’s largest electronics trade show, IFA in Berlin, charismatic Sony chief executive Kazuo Hirai declared that Hi-Res audio as crucial to the success of its audio products.

Paul McGowan of PS Audio provides a thorough description of how you can turn your Mac Mini into a music server for your DSD, WAV, FLAC and other files.

Laura Sydell interviews Cookie Marenco (founder Blue Coast Records) about DSD and the high resolution audio movement.

"...Sony Corporation announced a new line of high-end audio components that promise to deliver a better online audio experience. The announcement comes amid growing evidence that music fans are tired of the crappy sound they hear on their portable music players."

Read more here.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2013/09/11/219727031/what-does-a-song...

If you've ever wanted a rough guide as to the size of a DSD file compared to a WAV or mp3, here is a chart created by Romain Delbos and Quentin Brard.

Music lovers tell it best when it comes to DSD Audio!  Tips for free conversion using Korg's Audiogate, links to video interviews, thoughts on ripping Redbook CDs to DSD Audio.

The 30th floor of the Venetian Hotel was buzzing with activity and one of a kind DSD listening experiences over the 4 days of CES 2013.  From January 8 through 11, Gus Skinas (Super Audio Center) and Cookie Marenco (Blue Coast Records) were giving Carte Blanche to play any music they pleased.

DSD-Guide would like to congratulate JRiver Media. JRiver was recently chosen as a "Best of 2012" product by HomeTheaterReview.com and "Writers' Choice Awards for 2012" by Positive Feedback Online. You can find the complete list of reviews here: http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Reviews JRiver Media Version 18 is an excellent choice for a DSD audio song manager

Sony and Blue Coast Records have collaborated on a 3 song DSD sampler of favorite selections used for demoing their highly acclaimed AR 1 Speakers. The songs include "Looking For A Home", "Romance" and "Mutineer". You can hear these songs and buy them as a bundle at

http://bluecoastrecords.com/sony

Paul McGowen, of PS Audio, wrote a wonderful short explanation of what DSD audio is and how it differs from PCM audio. Here is an excerpt from his post on DSD audio or 1-bit audio and why it sounds closer to analog sound than PCM.

October 22, 2012, Benchmark announces a 2-Channel DAC that plays DSD natively.  Here is the spec sheet: http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac/dac2-hgc

If you've tried the unit, let us know!  support@dsd-guide.com

Blue Coast Records and Sony Home Electronics hosted 6 artists from whose performances were recorded to Direct Stream Digital (DSD) at the California Audio Show....

Early June was the gathering of audiophiles at T.H.E. Show at Newport Beach.  In the Sony AR1 room, Michael Bishop (FiveFour Productions) and Cookie Marenco (Blue Coast Records) were asked to offer their thoughts on DSD (Direct Stream Digital) recording --  "Super Resolution" Audio.  Thank you Nicho Mageras of AudioLuxuries.com for capturing this on video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFRG6IMLRV4

From Blue Coast Records - one of the most critically acclaimed acoustic record companies of the last 5 years.  Used by manufacturers and industry professionals to test their equipment, Blue Coast Records became one of the first to offer native DSD masters distributed to the public as DSD audio.   

We are delighted to report that our first few weeks since launch has driven a huge amount of traffic. To our surprise, most of the visitors are coming from Japan followed by the USA, Canada, Germany and the UK. The main source of the drive from Japan has been from a blog that is new to us called Music To Go. We would like to thank Yoshihiro Sasaki for writing about us.

First presented at Positive Feedback, Issue #11, Mike Pappas interviews master engineer Ed Meitner about the originations of DSD audio.  We have highlighted one section below that describes the differences between DSD and PCM digital audio.  You can read the entire article at Positive Feedback.

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