Is DSD Intrinsically Better?

To Doug Schneider,

I have read your article about MQA. In the last days, I have read several, all explaining the same: the problems are the decimation and extrapolation filters that add temporal errors. Another problem is the DAC adds more errors. MQA (almost) solves the problems, but adds more complication and increases the cost. Not good for the consumer.

But no one speaks about the advantages of DSD. No need for the decimation and extrapolation filters, so no temporal problems that need to be solved. You do not even need a DAC (not all people know), so again no problems that need to be solved (see “The Best DAC is No DAC” on

So, DSD is intrinsically better than PCM (with or without MQA), is cheaper (good for the consumer), and doesn’t allow the editing abuses that PCM allows (more good for the consumer).

Perhaps you can also write another article explaining the advantages of DSD -- your readers will probably find it interesting.


I am not so sure that DSD is intrinsically better than PCM, but I don’t have enough experience with it yet to really know or write an article about. I am also still not convinced that this so-called temporal blurring that the folks at MQA talk about is really a problem with recordings made at sampling frequencies of 96kHz or higher, since the filter effects are happening far above the audioband. A few recording engineers I’ve talked to feel the same way. Still, you are right that readers probably do want to know more about DSD, so I want to do some research on it. However, one of the issues I have with DSD right now is what I also have with MQA -- the lack of material to do a proper comparison. You can find DSD music files easily enough, but it’s really hard to find equivalent PCM files that you know were sourced from the same masters -- at least where I’ve been looking. Without having identical material to compare, it’s really hard to know which sounds better. If you have some suggestions (or others do), I’m all ears. . . . Doug Schneider