Direct Stream Digital Audio

Is DSD Poised to have a comeback? We think so!

Is DSD Poised to have a comeback? We think so!


With the announcement that Apple is going to offer streaming FLAC and Atmos, we believe DSD is going to benefit from the chaos that will ensue. Apple has no idea what they've just committed to.... killing off great sound except for the few who are committed to DSD.

One of the first articles DSD-Guide published was in 2012 - an interview with Ed Meitner and Mike Pappas about why DSD was the superior format from Positive-Feedback. We've gone to the archives for you to read this wonderful piece written in 2004.

Back then, we didn't have DSD256... we didn't have DACs to listen to DSD. We only had SACDs -- which was a confusing format for many reasons. People wanted surround sound and would convert their PCM recordings to DSD in order to have surround sound on a disc. It took 10 years for the first DSD releases to hit the public and a few years later, we had escalated from DSD64 (on the SACD) to DSD256 which is what most people record or listen to these days who are involved with DSD.

While all the chatter is about HD streaming, we think the move by Apple will further drive the nail in the coffin for those truly interested in high quality listening and here's why. By Apple making the decision to not raise the price for the higher listening experience, they are inviting ignorant home recording enthusiasts to convert files from any low res format to higher resolution without making the efforts to actually recording in HD. We've already seen Amazon lower the price to compete and others may follow. Here's why it's a problem.....

The bottom has already dropped out for musicians to earn enough money from streaming to afford engineers and studios with HD recording capabilities. Managing data is hard... and the additional expense to manage a recording in HD will be over the top for most recording at home. It's much easier to record at lower sampling rates and upsample.

Some people think that metering systems are enough to prove "true HD" recording - but it's not. These meters can't tell when an EQ filter was used in mastering to pull a certain frequency or shape the output to make a better sounding conversion. How will we authenticate the recording process? How hard is it going to get to listen to a great piece of music? At this point does it matter it all prevents us from listening at all? Tired yet? I am...

And what about the "data streaming costs" for bigger files? Are you really ready to pay for your phone or computer to stream bigger files? What about the various services and how they filter the music differently? And at the end of the day when the musician is charged MORE by the streaming service for hosting a bigger file (yes, that's is already in most contracts... artists are paid less for supplying a bigger file) will the musician stop providing HD?

There are a lot of unknowns. With video, HD came into the home, we had a choice.. pay more or get standard video. Until someone decided that all video streaming would be HD and paying more. Music didn't choose that route.. Apple decided to devalue higher quality.

Maybe this is for the best. Internet services are getting worse and worse.. interruptions, inconsistent power, you name it for stuttering sound. Maybe there will be reversion back to downloads, vinyl and CDs.... medium where you can separate your selves from the Comcasts of the world. And the final nail to the coffin of streaming will be the labels getting smart and not delivering all the tracks to Spotify and the others.

Not everyone is going to care, but if you're reading this, you have an opinion by now. Tell us what you think and let's check back in 5 years - when everyone is buying NFT albums.

Enjoy your music,
Cookie Marenco
Founder Blue Coast Records and Music