What Is Your Opinion of Upsampling?

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What Is Your Opinion of Upsampling?
« on: 10 Sep 2017, 04:37 pm »
I see there is a lot of debate here on codecs (MQA, DSD, PCM).
I own two devices that will upsample music files. My Parasound ZDac upsamples to 422/24 and my Sony UHPH1 uses a proprietary system called Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE HX). They both seem to offer great sound but I haven't boethered to study the issue in detail. I see Marantz and Teac offer Dacs that convert eberything into DSD.
In your opinion does upsampling offer any benefits?

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: What Is Your Opinion of Upsampling?
« Reply #1 on: 10 Sep 2017, 06:12 pm »
I use the program Bug Head Infinity Blade and its upsampling is fantastic most of the time.  It will upsample to 384khz.

HQ player does a pretty good job as well but not as good as BH.


Re: What Is Your Opinion of Upsampling?
« Reply #2 on: 10 Sep 2017, 06:24 pm »
I don't see much advantage in upsampling.  Increasing the bit depth and sampling rate just makes a larger file without really creating any more information or frequency response than is already there.

When I've compared (not in great length) native resolution versus upsampling in both hardware and software I seemed to prefer native resolution.

If the hardware or software allows it, it certainly makes more technical sense to upsample in whole multiples, i.e. upsampling Redbook 16/44.1 to 24/88.2 or 24/176.4 rather than 24/96 or 24/192.  I would imagine the majority of hardware won't give you that granularity, but software such as JRiver Media Center will allow you to set upsampling (or no upsampling) for each file resolution.



Re: What Is Your Opinion of Upsampling?
« Reply #3 on: 10 Sep 2017, 07:45 pm »
In my present set up I up sample everything to 256 DSD and it sounds great. What I really notice is that rebook files never sounded so good, there are albums that I had stop listening to because they didn't sound as good as my hi res, now some actually sound better.


Re: What Is Your Opinion of Upsampling?
« Reply #4 on: 10 Sep 2017, 08:03 pm »
I love upsampling to DSD.  Here's a great guide on how to set up Foobar to accomplish it best:




Re: What Is Your Opinion of Upsampling?
« Reply #5 on: 10 Sep 2017, 08:25 pm »


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Re: What Is Your Opinion of Upsampling?
« Reply #6 on: 10 Sep 2017, 08:33 pm »
I don't see much advantage in upsampling.


Upsampling advantages have to do with competent and powerful cpu-based programs doing a better job of getting files to a certain sample or bit rate that your dac loves (rather than relying on the typical $5 chip inside a dac, since the dac will do it if you don't, or will do it more so).  All dacs have sweetspots, so its best to get your files there competently.  Some dacs, mine included, can be set to NOS (non-oversampling) so it is incumbent on the computer or source to do the heavy lifting.  I use HQPlayer (the best IMHO as it allows the user a plethora of filter and modulator choices) to upsample PCM to 768 (for one of my dacs, for example) and DSD to DSD512.  This lets the dac do its thing without needlessly spending any cycles (and noise, and filters and lopping off bad and good music samples, etc etc).  YMMV.  :)

brother love

Re: What Is Your Opinion of Upsampling?
« Reply #7 on: 10 Sep 2017, 09:17 pm »
Another HQPlayer convert here upsampling everything to DSD256 (max for my Gustard x20u DAC). PCM 24 bit/ 384kHz upsampling sounds really good too, but I prefer DSD (for example, cymbals have uber detail, body & depth w/ DSD).

I utilize an intel i5 3.4 gHz quad core PC as a music server to do the heavy lifting, & a Mini PC 1.92 gHz quad core for the Network Audio Adapter (NAA). Linux Ubuntu 16.04 is OS (both PC's are dual boot w/ Win 10, but I get better performance w/ Ubuntu for my set-up).


Re: What Is Your Opinion of Upsampling?
« Reply #8 on: 11 Sep 2017, 01:45 am »
Aside from such issues as native DAC sampling rates, etc., realize that upsampling is a means of enabling the use of better reconstruction filters.  The Redbook sampling rate of 44.1 kHz means that your Nyquist frequency is 22.05 kHz, only 2 kHz above the commonly referenced 20 kHz upper limit to human hearing (though that's quite optimistic for most adults).  That means that your reconstruction filter needs to be very steep indeed (high order) if you want to avoid rolling off any part of the audio band, which is essentially impossible to do without introducing ripple/ringing into the audio band, phase shift, or one of several other artifacts.  By upsampling to a higher sampling rate, designers have far more room to maneuver in designing reconstruction filters that are steeper (to better remove HF artifacts), yet still introduce fewer deleterious side effects.  (That barely scratches the surface of sampling theory and implementation, by the way, but Google is your friend...)

So as a takeaway - don't dismiss upsampling in it's entirety without understanding what reconstruction filter was engaged when you evaluated it.  It may be that your NOS DAC threaded the needle in its reconstruction filter design and its compromises align with your preferences perfectly.  But it may very well be that what you didn't like about a particular upsampling DAC was actually the reconstruction filter in use at the time, and thus not the enabling capability that is upsampling itself.  Many DACs offer a small number of reconstruction filters with which you can experiment, but if you pursue computer audio, then you have the option of dozens of filters through applications like HQPlayer, etc..  But be warned - like speakers, or amps, or cables, or couple caps, or solder, it's yet another pile of never-ending choice to navigate.  I've met computer audio aficionados that change their filter selection with the genre of music they are enjoying...

(Although automating this may not be far off, as I can imagine the day where Roon tells HQPlayer or it's own DSP engine what filter to use based on the genre to which a song belongs, or perhaps even the instrument mix.)


Re: What Is Your Opinion of Upsampling?
« Reply #9 on: 11 Sep 2017, 01:03 pm »
A lot of interesting points, the takeaway is that it seems upsampling can be a plus if you use the right filters. FWIW if you ever consider a Sony product their DSEE HX filters works very well to my ears:


Mike in NC

Re: What Is Your Opinion of Upsampling?
« Reply #10 on: 11 Sep 2017, 05:41 pm »
I had an Auralic Vega, which upsamples everything to a very high rate. The manufacturer's claim was that they were able to make better filters at that high frequency. Makes sense to me, and the unit had fine, transparent sound. Based on that, I believe upsampling can be great if it's done well. Like most things in audio, the key is excellence of execution, not the technique or chip used.