How to use the Squeezebox Touch to play DSD files on a DoP compatible DAC

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Russtafarian

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DSD files can be played by a Squeezebox Touch (SBT)!  For those (like me) who love their SBT but left it behind to get into DSD playback, this is awesome news. 

The key to making this work is to reformat DSD files (DSF or DFF) as DoP (Digital over PCM) FLAC files.  Once this is done, Logitech Media Server (LMS) thinks the DSD file is a 24/176 PCM file and sends it to the DAC like usual.  The DSD DAC recognizes it as a DoP formatted file and decodes it as native DSD.  Pretty cool!  This method is not limited to the SBT/LMS platform.  It will work with any media platform that will stream 24/176 FLAC files to a USB or SPDIF digital interface.

Important Note (9/9/13): In order for DoP files to play back properly with a compatible DAC, the files must be streamed as bit-perfect PCM.  This is true for SBT/LMS or PC via USB playback.  This means that the software volume control (SBT or otherwise) must be at 100% and there should be no DSP plug-ins in the PCM streaming path.

The hardware setup is pretty easy.  The downside is this requires creating a duplicate set of DSD files that are formatted as DoP encoded 24/176 FLAC files.  BTW, always keep your original DSF and DFF files, even if you create DoP encoded copies of them.  This means you will need additional disk space for the new reformatted DSD files.  The DoP encoded FLAC files are the same size as the original DSF or DFF files.  It’s up to the SBT user to determine if the time, effort, and cost to reformat files and add more storage capacity is worth it to play back DSD from the SBT.

I have verified that this process works with my SBT and Benchmark DAC2 using both USB and SPDIF connections.  Though I haven’t tried it, I’m pretty sure this process will not work for double DSD due to the sample rate limitations of the SBT.  What I’ve done here is piece together information from various audio bulletin board sources to document the steps to make this work. 


1. DAC Compatibility

First determine if your DSD DAC will play DSD files using the DoP protocol.  The DSD Database maintained by Jesus R and Ted B is the go-to resource for this.  Check the DoP Input column for your DAC to find out what inputs are DoP compatible.  For most DACs it will be the USB input.  Some DACs (like my Benchmark) also have DoP compatible SPDIF inputs.  Link to the DSD Database:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AgVhKcl_3lHfdFVyenBBNjNpQ2lieG81WGpqQTNfVUE#gid=0

Compatibility Notes:
  • Russtafarian's Benchmark DAC2 works with both USB and SPDIF inputs (8/27/13)
  • bprice2 reports SBT EDO works with the DoP USB input of Teac UD-501 when used with a USB 2.0 hub. (9/9/13)
      
 
2. Enhanced Digital Output for the Squeezebox Touch

The stock SBT is limited to streaming sample rates up to 24/96.  DoP requires 24/176 streaming capability to work.  EDO to the rescue! 

The "Enhanced Digital Output" (EDO) app allows the Squeezebox Touch to stream sample rates up to 24/192 to a compatible DAC.  EDO is found in the main 3rd party apps list and can be installed with the following steps:

1) Ensure your Squeezebox Touch is running 7.7.x or later firmware
2) Go to Apps Gallery -> 3rd Party Apps on the touch screen
3) Deselect the "recommended applets only" option, so that you see a longer list of apps
4) Select "Enhanced Digital Output" and select it for installation
5) Your touch should download the app, reboot, then download a new custom linux kernel and reboot again
6) You should now get a list of possible output devices - this should include "Digital Output" and your USB Dac if it is plugged in, select the appropriate output
7) Touch should reboot again and then be ready to start playing with the selected output

If you want to change the output go to Setting > Audio Settings > Digital Output; if you want to change some of the advanced options go to Settings > Advanced > Digital Output.

Update 9/13/13: AC member holzohr has provided us with a link to the EDO compatibility list.  Thank you!  This is a great resource for determining if a DAC will work with EDO.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqiK6WHnz5FHdEtlalVRb29pX3N2WXhfMlAzNmFMZnc#gid=0

Please note that if you perform a firmware update, then the app and kernel will need to be reinstalled, this should be automated just requiring you to install the app again or to have the "reinstall after update" option selected from the 3rd party apps list.


3. Use Foobar As A DSF to DoP File Converter

For this step, Foobar is used as a file converter, not a media player.  These instructions are for a Windows PC since that’s what I use.  You may already have Foobar and FLAC installed on your PC. 

1.   Install Foobar2000: http://www.foobar2000.org/

2.   Install FLAC Frontend: http://download.cnet.com/windows/seek-s-encoder-frontends/3260-20_4-10055779.html?tag=rb_content;contentBody

3.   Download the "foo_input_packeddsd.dll" file and place it in the C:\Program Files\foobar2000\components folder: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4jZ4NDGECzEczBjYVByNUdjdDg/edit

4.   Start Foobar and go to "File->Preferences ->Components" to make sure "foo_input_packeddsd.dll" shows up in the installed components box.

5.   Go to "File->Preferences ->Tools->SACD" and set the following configuration:
  • ASIO Driver Mode: DSD
  • PCM Sample Rate: 176400
  • DSD2PCM mode: DSD over PCM
  • Click on "Enable Tags"
Note: Foobar may need to be restarted for these setting to load for conversion.

6.   Use "File->Open” to load DSF or DFF files for conversion into a Foobar playlist.  Highlight all the files in the playlist, right click and select "Convert".  Choose the “…“ option and set FLAC as the output format.  Set other conversion options (output folder, file name pattern, etc.) here.  My preference is to set the sub-folder name to “artist - album” and file name to “nn. title”.

7.   Hit the “Convert” button to begin the batch conversion process.  The first time you run conversion you will be prompted for the location of FLAC.exe.  Most likely it’s in C:\Program Files\FLAC Frontend\tools.

8.   Some DSF metadata will carry over to the DoP encoded FLAC file but cover art will need to be reattached.  Cover art and metadata in the DoP FLAC file can be edited just like any other FLAC file.  I add “(DSD DoP)” to the end each folder name and album title to differentiate it from the same album in other formats.

9.   Before batch converting a bunch of files, convert a few test files, index them in LMS, and play them to make sure they decode as native DSD. 

10.   If the files don’t play back correctly, Check the following:
  • Verify that all four parameters on the "File->Preferences ->Tools->SACD" Foobar screen are configured as documented above.
  • Verify that the EDO app is installed and configured correctly on the SBT.  Every time the SBT’s firmware is updated, EDO must be reinstalled and configured. 
  • Verify that the PCM stream from the playback software to the DAC is PCM bit-perfect.

That’s it.  Once the files are converted by Foobar and indexed in LMS, you’re ready to enjoy your DSD music through the Squeezebox Touch.
« Last Edit: 13 Sep 2013, 06:02 pm by Russtafarian »

ted_b

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Russ,
this is a great primer!  Thanks!   If you don't mind may I use this (with full disclosure to you, the author)  in my revised SACD Ripping Guide?  I need to do major revisions (mostly to the after-ripping-now-what portions) and this would be a great addition.  I will wait until it "fleshes out" with any opinions, changes, adjustments or feedback. 
Ted

sts9fan

Very cool!

Phil A

Thanks so much, I have a Teac on order for the secondary basement system and had some of the stuff but not in one place.  I dragged out the Touch waiting for the DAC

Russtafarian

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Go for it Ted.

coverto

Any comment on what kind of sound improvement you get through the SBT doing this versus the non-DSD-converted files? And how the SBT playing DSD compares soundwise to Windows-based servers and such?

bprice2

Russtafarian,

Many thanks for posting this up.  I've seen the idea of DoP via the Touch teased several times at the Squeezebox forum and have been waiting for someone to show us how to do it.

That being said, I'm having problems following your directions.   :oops:  I can't seem to get past the file conversion process and have no idea what I'm doing wrong. 

Here's the "converter status report" telling me my conversion failed:

Quote
8 out of 8 tracks converted with major problems.

Source: "F:\My Music\...DSD\Black Sabbath\Black Sabbath - Paranoid\01 - Black Sabbath - War Pigs.dsf"
  An error occurred while writing to file (The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters) : "F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\War Pigs.flac"
  Additional information:
  Encoder stream format: 176400Hz / 2ch / 24bps
  Command line: "C:\Windows\system32\flac.exe" -s --ignore-chunk-sizes -5 - -o "War Pigs.flac"
  Working folder: F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\
 
  Conversion failed: The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters
Source: "F:\My Music\...DSD\Black Sabbath\Black Sabbath - Paranoid\02 - Black Sabbath - Paranoid.dsf"
  An error occurred while writing to file (The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters) : "F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\Paranoid.flac"
  Additional information:
  Encoder stream format: 176400Hz / 2ch / 24bps
  Command line: "C:\Windows\system32\flac.exe" -s --ignore-chunk-sizes -5 - -o "Paranoid.flac"
  Working folder: F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\
 
  Conversion failed: The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters
Source: "F:\My Music\...DSD\Black Sabbath\Black Sabbath - Paranoid\03 - Black Sabbath - Planet Caravan.dsf"
  An error occurred while writing to file (The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters) : "F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\Planet Caravan.flac"
  Additional information:
  Encoder stream format: 176400Hz / 2ch / 24bps
  Command line: "C:\Windows\system32\flac.exe" -s --ignore-chunk-sizes -5 - -o "Planet Caravan.flac"
  Working folder: F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\
 
  Conversion failed: The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters
Source: "F:\My Music\...DSD\Black Sabbath\Black Sabbath - Paranoid\04 - Black Sabbath - Iron Man.dsf"
  An error occurred while writing to file (The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters) : "F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\Iron Man.flac"
  Additional information:
  Encoder stream format: 176400Hz / 2ch / 24bps
  Command line: "C:\Windows\system32\flac.exe" -s --ignore-chunk-sizes -5 - -o "Iron Man.flac"
  Working folder: F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\
 
  Conversion failed: The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters
Source: "F:\My Music\...DSD\Black Sabbath\Black Sabbath - Paranoid\05 - Black Sabbath - Electric Funeral.dsf"
  An error occurred while writing to file (The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters) : "F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\Electric Funeral.flac"
  Additional information:
  Encoder stream format: 176400Hz / 2ch / 24bps
  Command line: "C:\Windows\system32\flac.exe" -s --ignore-chunk-sizes -5 - -o "Electric Funeral.flac"
  Working folder: F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\
 
  Conversion failed: The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters
Source: "F:\My Music\...DSD\Black Sabbath\Black Sabbath - Paranoid\06 - Black Sabbath - Hand Of Doom.dsf"
  An error occurred while writing to file (The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters) : "F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\Hand Of Doom.flac"
  Additional information:
  Encoder stream format: 176400Hz / 2ch / 24bps
  Command line: "C:\Windows\system32\flac.exe" -s --ignore-chunk-sizes -5 - -o "Hand Of Doom.flac"
  Working folder: F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\
 
  Conversion failed: The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters
Source: "F:\My Music\...DSD\Black Sabbath\Black Sabbath - Paranoid\07 - Black Sabbath - Rat Salad.dsf"
  An error occurred while writing to file (The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters) : "F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\Rat Salad.flac"
  Additional information:
  Encoder stream format: 176400Hz / 2ch / 24bps
  Command line: "C:\Windows\system32\flac.exe" -s --ignore-chunk-sizes -5 - -o "Rat Salad.flac"
  Working folder: F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\
 
  Conversion failed: The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters
Source: "F:\My Music\...DSD\Black Sabbath\Black Sabbath - Paranoid\08 - Black Sabbath - Fairies Wear Boots.dsf"
  An error occurred while writing to file (The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters) : "F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\Fairies Wear Boots.flac"
  Additional information:
  Encoder stream format: 176400Hz / 2ch / 24bps
  Command line: "C:\Windows\system32\flac.exe" -s --ignore-chunk-sizes -5 - -o "Fairies Wear Boots.flac"
  Working folder: F:\My Music\Black Sabbath\Paranoid (DSD)\
 
  Conversion failed: The encoder has terminated prematurely with code 1 (0x00000001); please re-check parameters

Maybe you can see what I did wrong? 

Thanks,

Brett

Russtafarian

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Quote
I can't seem to get past the file conversion process and have no idea what I'm doing wrong. 

O.K., I'm in trouble now because I'm no software troubleshooter guy.  All I can say is that I've set up and successfully run the Foobar conversion process on two different computers. 

I got the message you posted one time when a big conversion batch crashed because the drive ran out of space.

Here are screen shots from a Foobar setup that I know works:


















Russ

bprice2

Hmm...my setup looks like yours.  :scratch:

One thing I did notice was this
Quote
7.   Hit the “Convert” button to begin the batch conversion process.  The first time you run conversion you will be prompted for the location of FLAC.exe.  Most likely it’s in C:\Program Files\FLAC Frontend\tools.
never happened. 

Maybe I have flac.exe setup incorrectly. 

Thanks for you help.  Hopefully, I'll figure this out.

ted_b

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Let us know when you do, or when the next hiccup hits.  This is valuable stuff.

Russtafarian

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Quote
Any comment on what kind of sound improvement you get through the SBT doing this versus the non-DSD-converted files? And how the SBT playing DSD compares soundwise to Windows-based servers and such?

Last night I did some brief comparisons between DSD DoP via Squeezebox Touch and DSD DSF via Win7/Jriver.  The SBT sounds really good, but Jriver sounds better.  The difference is consistent across all resolutions and formats which leads me to the initial conclusion that Win7/Jriver is superior to LMS/SBT as a music streaming platform.  I want to convert some of my best sounding and favorite DSF files to DoP and do the comparison again before I draw any firm conclusions.

Within the LMS/SBT/DAC2 setup, USB is more resolving and open sounding than SPDIF.  I use a Wywires 2 meter USB cable and a 15 ft Markertek 75ohm pro video cable for SPDIF.  My SBT uses the stock wallwart PS so that may have an impact on its performance. 

Keep in mind this is based on my listening impressions on my system via my beat-up ears.  Hopefully others can make similar comparisons and share their impressions.  I can say that if the SBT was still available (no thanks to Logitech), it would still be the go-to solution for an economical hi-rez streaming system. 

Russ
« Last Edit: 29 Aug 2013, 04:34 pm by Russtafarian »

Russtafarian

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Quote
Hopefully, I'll figure this out.

Maybe try a clean Foobar and FLAC install with just the foo_input_packeddsd.dll added?  I'm reaching for answers here, but this worked on one of my PCs that didn't have any music server software on it.

Russ

bprice2

I believe I got the conversion to flac done, but I still don't know why I was having problems.  My fix was to simply move to another computer.  My suspicion about being unable to convert to flac on the 1st computer is that the problem had something to do with flac.exe and not foobar2000. 

With that being said, I still cannot get DSD through my DAC.  I believe the problem is with the DAC itself.  If I understand correctly, the TEAC UD-501 only does DSD through the USB input and the TEAC's USB input will not work with EDO.  So, there you have.  I'm screwed.  What I'm getting now utilizing the coax out on the Touch shows up on the DAC as 176.4 PCM

If anyone knows of a way to get the UD-501's USB input to play with EDO, I'd love to hear about it.

Russtafarian

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That's a drag about the Teac's USB not working with EDO.  Did you try turning off the upconverter in the DAC menu?

agentsmith

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I have been using this plugin to convert all my DSD files to play through a Squeezebox Touch to a dCS Debussy with great success.

What I do find is when converting DSF or DFF, the tags are sometimes not retained.  The best way to do it is to convert from ISO image files directly, which usually retains all the tags and saves an extra step of editing the tags afterwards.

audiogoober

Thanks Russtafarian!! WooHoo!!!

I have the bolder modified squeezebox touch and power supply along with the Meitner MA-1 DAC and thought I needed to get the c.a.p.s. / jriver to play all my dsd and dsf files. I'll convert some per your instructions (and keep the original format as well) to compare a few tracks and post comments.

I'll still probably want to get the c.a.p.s. down the road if it ends up sounding better than the LMS for DSD but this may get me playing some sooner than I thought.

Thanks again!!

Geardaddy

awesome news.  I have been waiting for something like this.  I wonder if something similar can be obtained for MAC.  Its a shame the Duet is no longer made.

Russtafarian

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Quote
I have been using this plugin to convert all my DSD files to play through a Squeezebox Touch to a dCS Debussy with great success.

Yes!  Your posts on CA helped me figure this out.  Thank you!

Quote
What I do find is when converting DSF or DFF, the tags are sometimes not retained.  The best way to do it is to convert from ISO image files directly, which usually retains all the tags and saves an extra step of editing the tags afterwards.

I haven't tried converting from ISO files since I have all my DSD files extracted to DSF and retagged by Jriver.   All the DSF metadata carried over to the DoP FLAC container except cover art.  I personally found the embedded metadata in SACD ISO files to be so inconsistently formatted and categorized that it drove me batty.  It was a relief to get the DSF files properly tagged so they would index properly for playback software.

Russ
« Last Edit: 3 Sep 2013, 09:52 pm by Russtafarian »

Gopher

I have the bolder modified squeezebox touch and power supply along with the Meitner MA-1 DAC and thought I needed to get the c.a.p.s. / jriver to play all my dsd and dsf files. I'll convert some per your instructions (and keep the original format as well) to compare a few tracks and post comments.

Funny, I JUST listed my Bolder Touch and Deluxe PSU today...   If I didn't commit to a 16bit DAC I would probably pull it from the market to experiment with DSD. 

I bet those modifications close the gap and equal/surpass Russ' Windows 7 computer!

Guidof

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Russtafarian, thanks so much for posting this primer. I had no idea the SBT could play DSD files through a DoP compliant DAC until I read a post by John Swenson on the Slim Devices Forum, and Google took me to your post. If and when I get the appropriate DAC, I'll be sure to try your method. Great work on your part!

Guido F.