OPPO players and the fabled DSD format

Over the past year or two, high resolution audio downloads have become increasingly popular, with sites such as HDTracks, AIX Records, and Acoustic Sounds’ Super HiRez offering downloads in high resolution DSD and PCM formats.

When it comes to high resolution audio, there are two main formats: DSD and PCM. The good news is that the OPPO BDP-10xAU players support both.

DSD stands for Direct Stream Digital. It was originally developed for the purpose of archiving analogue master tapes. It generally has a bit-depth of 1-bit, and a sampling rate of 2.8224 MHz, which is 64 times the sampling rate of CD Audio at 44.1 kHz, and as such is often referred to as DSD64. DSD64 is the most common variant of the format, but there are also DSD128 and DSD256 variants available, in which the sample rate is either doubled or quadrupled, respectively. When Super Audio CD (SACD) was introduced, DSD became widely available to consumers as it was chosen to be the encoding format for SACD.

Hybrid SACDs contain PCM audio on a CD layer compatible with standard CD players, as well as an SACD layer, which may contain a stereo mix, multi-channel mix, or both.

PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) is uncompressed digital audio that is found in CDs, DVD-Audio discs, and digital audio file formats such as WAV and FLAC. Popular high resolution audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decode into PCM as well. For consumer purposes, PCM bit-depth generally ranges from 16 to 24 bits, with sample rates up to 192 kHz, and it has multi-channel audio capabilities, as well.

File sizes will vary greatly between the different formats, with 24/192 PCM, DSD128 and DSD256 generally requiring more hard drive space.

The nice thing about owning a player that supports a wide variety of formats is that you are able to decide for yourself whether you prefer DSD or PCM audio... Or if you hear a difference between the two at all!

The easiest way to play the files is to simply copy them to a USB hard drive or thumb drive, plug the drive into one of the USB ports on your BDP-103AU, BDP-103D, BDP-105AU or BDP-105D, and browse for the file from the Music entry on the player’s Home Menu.

Configuring your OPPO Player for DSF playback and DSD output

Native DSD files in DSF and DFF formats are supported by the BDP-10xAU series players (BDP-103AU, BDP-103D, BDP-105AU and BDP-103D) with firmware version BDP10XAU-50-0422. Customers who purchased the players prior to mid-2013 may need to perform a free firmware update before the player can recognise DSF and DFF music files. For the latest firmware available, please visit our support centre.

DSD is not yet universally supported by all audio devices. Native DSD output can be obtained in two ways:

DSD Output via HDMI:

If your A/V receiver or audio processor supports native DSD, your OPPO player can send DSD signal over HDMI to the A/V receiver or audio processor. You should connect the HDMI 2 port of the player to your A/V receiver or audio processor since the HDMI 1 port does not transmit DSD signal. The following settings in the player's setup menu should be used:

  • Playback Setup - SACD Priority: set to Multi-Channel or Stereo based on your preference
  • Audio Format Setup - SACD Output: set to DSD or Auto (Auto is available for firmware version BDP10XAU-67-1120B or later)

The OPPO player will automatically convert DSD into PCM if it determines that a connected device does not support DSD. Usually your A/V receiver or audio processor will have an indication on its front panel showing whether the device is getting DSD signal.

DSD to Analogue Output:

The internal DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter) inside the OPPO player supports native DSD. You can connect the analogue audio output of the OPPO player to your A/V receiver, audio processor or amplifer to get native DSD audio.

Please note that in DSD mode, the BDP-103AU and BDP-103D do not offer volume control or variable output level. In this case you must provide a preamp/processor or A/V receiver to control volume before sending the signal to an amplifier. Only the BDP-105AU and BDP-105D players can adjust the volume of native DSD signal. The following settings in the player's setup menu should be used:

  • Playback Setup - SACD Priority: set to Multi-Channel or Stereo based on your preference
  • Audio Format Setup - HDMI Audio: set to Off (This ensures that any connected HDMI device will not cause the player to convert DSD to PCM.)
  • Audio Format Setup - SACD Output: set to DSD
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