Foobar 2000 for Dummies (Part 3) – Playing DSD – Old SACD plugin (0.8.x and 0.7.x series)
August 11th 2016 – This part of the tutorial has been moved to the end of the PC Software section as the plugin and the proxy versions it describes have now become deprecated in favor of the new 0.9.x and 1.x.x versions with different interface and characteristics. Please check HERE the new Part 2 of the guide for the most up to date information.
SACD plugin configuration ASIO Driver Mode: Options are PCM or DSD. WARNING: DO NOT use DSD if you don’t have a DSD capable DAC, you might break something!.
PCM Volume: Compensates for the lower volume of most SACDs, Can be configured to any desired value from +0 to +6dB. Choose by personal preference unless you get distortion, recommended value is +0dB because it leaves more headroom but it may make DSD tracks sound quieter and can be annoying in a mixed PCM/DSD playlist. If only SACD ISOs or SACD-R is used, there is a replay gain database file that can be used to normalize volume levels.
Log Overloads: Registers in a file DSD-PCM over 0dB errors, interesting to know if PCM Volume sttings over deafult +0dB is producing errors even if not hearable.
PCM Sample Rate: Options are 44100, 82000, 176400 and 352800Hz. Recommended value is at least 88200 but the higher the less processing involved (ie better) so try going as far as your soundcard/DAC allows. Solutions capable of 352.8KHz are starting to become available at affordable prices both as ready built commercial products or as DIY kits.
DSD2PCM Mode: Options are: – Multistage (32fp) and (64fp): Being SSE coded it doens’t demand much from the CPU, 32fp means 32 bit floting point and 64 well, you guessed it, the same but using 64 bit precission for calculations – Direct (32fp, 30KHz LF) and (64fp, 30KHz LF): The name says it so no extra description needed this one is also SSE optimized. Being 30KHz low pass filtered means all DSD noise above that frequency is removed and does not reach the amp. A very good balance between SQ and CPU usage. Since version 0.6.0 two new modes have become available (32fp & 64fp), these allow for custom filters in the DSD->PCM conversion. Some sample FIR filters with different Freq cut points are provided along with the plugin in the “Filters” folder inside the zip. Those with the required knowledge can write their own filters.
If any of the options inside the red rectangle is chosen the “load” becomes active and a filter can be loaded, the sample ones look like this:
Preferable Area: Options are: – None: it will show all available tracks on the SACD – Stereo: only stereo tracks are displayed – Multi channel: limits shown tracks to multi channel ones
Editable tags: Yes/No
Edited Master Playback: Yes/No
Store Tags With ISO: Yes/No (it actually doesn’t write to the ISO, it stores tag info in the plugin folder) Linked 2CH/MCH Tags: When selected, tag editing of ISO files will apply to both stereo and multi channel versions of the track/tracks saving time.
Foobar stable SACD plugin release log:
Version 0.8.4 – “dynamic range” tag unlinked.
Version 0.8.3 – Replaygain info for linked stereo/multichannel tags fixed.
Version 0.8.2 – Intel IPP in DSD to PCM converter, linked stereo/multichannel tags.
Version 0.8.1 – Experimental: Multithreaded DSD to PCM converter.
Version 0.7.8 – Log overloads in DSD to PCM converter.
Version 0.7.7 – DSDIFF CRC chunk reading fixed.
Version 0.7.6 – SACD metabase creation fixed.
Version 0.7.5 – DSD samplerate fix for DSD USB DACs.
Version 0.7.4 – New foobar2000 SDK, some fixes.
Version 0.7.3 – DSDIFF odd chunk length bug fixed, Windows XP compatibility.
Version 0.7.2 – Experimental: DSDIFF DST-compressed file playback with non-standart frame rates added.
Version 0.7.1 – Experimental: DSD to DSD converter, DSD path redesigned.
PLAYING NATIVE DSD IN FOOBAR – ASIO Proxy: For those who have a DAC capable of native DSD decoding these are the steps required to send the uncoverted stream to your DAC:
If you have ASIO compatible drivers
1) run the ASIOProxyInstall.exe included in the plugin zip
2) Once installed, a new ASIO device named “foo_dsd_asio” should appear on the ASIO drivers list:
3) Double click the foo_dsd_asio to open the configuration dialogue window. It may open minimized so look at the bottom of the screen if it doesn’t come up on top, it should look like this:
4) In the “ASIO driver” drop down list look for and select your DSD capable DAC.
5) From the options available in the “DSD Playback Method” choose the one that the manufacturer of your DAC recommends.
What if your DAC doesn’t have ASIO drivers? Then you need to take an additional step by installing ASIO4All (ASIO wrapper for KS, DOWNLOAD ) and setting up foo_dsd_asio to use it as the output device. Needless to say that ASIO4All should also be set up to use your DSD capable DAC as output device. If all is set up correctly, when playing DSD in Foobar ASIO4ALL should report 176400 Hz incomming sample rate (DSD64) or 352800Hz (DSD128).
Real-time conversion from PCM to DSD:
This is a feature introduced in version 0.6.1 of the SACD plugin. It allows the user to convert PCM from WAV. FLAC, etc. to be converted to DSD as the music is played (the played file is NOT altered in any way) and sent to a DSD compatible DAC. All modern Sigma Delta DACs convert PCM to a format very similar to DSD before converting to analogue, this plugin lets the user do this process in software offering a choice of filters with a higher sampling rate (DSD128) instead of relying on the fixed algorithm present in the DAC. This feature is enabled by changing from “none” to any of the eight options provided under “PCM to DSD method” in the foo_dsd_asio configuration window, first four use 32bit floating point precission (FP32) and the other four use 64bit (FP64).
Differences between A through D modes (ignore the compression column):
Available DSD output sampling rates:
– 2.822 MHz (DSD64@44.1KHz)
– 3.072 MHz (DSD64@48KHz)
– 5.644 MHz (DSD128@44.1KHz)
– 6.144 MHz (DSD128@48KHz)
– 11.289 MHz (DSD256@44.1KHz)
– 12.288MHz (DSD256@48KHz)
– 22.579 MHz (DSD512@44.1KHz)
– 24.576 MHz (DSD512@48KHz)
NOTE: ASIO Proxy (aka foo_dsd_asio) included in the SACD plugin zip file upsamples both 44.1Khz based PCM (44.1K, 88.2K, 176.4K & 352.8K) and 48KHz based PCM family sampling rates (48K, 96, 192K & 384K) though not all DACs support 48K based DSD.
DSD to DSD upsampling:
First introduced in version 07.1, this setting allows to upsample from any DSD rate to any DSD rate but it involves an intermediate decimation (PCM) conversion step so it cannot be considered end to end DSD (or better said, Sigma Delta). It is configured teh same way as PCM to DSD conversion.
Version 0.6.5 of the plugin introudced an option to help reduce clicks and pops when changing from PCM to DSD and vice versa, it consists of a drop down list with delay values ranging from 10ms to 5 seconds (5,000ms), see the following screen capture:
Also, as you can see in the picture above, there is the “Trace to Fil” option should you be having upconversion problems and want to record in a file events related to the upsampling process.
Our warmest and most heartfelt thanks to Mr. M. Anisiutkin, incredibly generous and talented creator of Foobar’s DVD-A and SACD plugins among many other things.
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