SACD mastering software.
I'm considering recording audio in the DSD format and would like to know how I transfer the recorded files to files that are put on an SACD. My searches on the internet have not revealed much software that do this (whatever the reason for that?)
I'm interested in what may be called minimalist software that transfers the files without changing them. And preferably low cost software....
Any of you have experiences and suggestions you can share?
Mine could not be the up to date information since I haven't heard KORG stuff until now but ;
DSD 1 bit data cannot be handled by normal CPU in your PC as opposed to multi-bit PCM data. That's why DSD system hold exclusive DSP card(s) and DSD converter use dedicated chipset to read/write 1 bit data. That's why we cannot handle SACD master cheap and easy.
In a simplest DSD system you can cut, copy, paste but you cannot EQ or compress DSD signal directly.
Pyramix DXD system is a clever way to handle DSD signal more easily by temporarily converts DSD signal to 384kHz 32bit PCM signal to edit and process then back to DSD again.
I'm afraid there is no such thing as low cost and DSD mastering software.
Your recording, editing and mastering options for DSD are as follows:
Sonoma (probably the most popular but quite expensive)
Pyramix (doesn't actually edit in DSD - only in DXD)
All of the above systems are expensive and proprietary. There are some Philips Pro DSD/SACD authoring tools - these are also expensive.
Then you get to the point where you realize that you must have the converters which can handle DSD/DXD (for the Pyramix) and you add another $7K to $30K.
I'm afraid there is no cheap solution.
On the other hand, I've been doing a LOT of research and experimentation on the matter and started to come to the conclusion that not only is it more convenient and cost-effective to start at High Rez PCM and then upconvert as a final product to DSD/SACD, but it's also beneficial in some areas (especially noise figures and shaping.)
Appreciate (and don't :-)) your answer. I had the impression that it could be so. It's a bit surprising to me that noone has written code that can be used for SACD mastering - given that - as far as I know - Sony and others are interested in making this format viable.
When you write about your research and experimentations I get interested: Can you tell a bit about what you have done and how you have done it (particularly what equipment you have used - including speakers)?
I know that DSD code is not convenient for editing but I believe in the simplicity of sampling and also in reproduction. Basically a bit-code that just needs a low-pass filter and then the sound is there...
Do you BTW know if there is a web-page for the one-bit audio consortium? I can't find it by googling... I will post a thread about here, as well.
Thanks again for your comments, Jeremy!
There is a web page for the 1-bit consortium, but I don't recall it right now and am away from the studio...
The research I've been doing has been focused primarily on the effects of the noise (outside the audible band) on electronics and any (potential) impact on the audible band due to the operation of audio systems on this portion of the acoustic spectrum.
What I've found (due mostly to paper research - including some documentation on single-bit utilization for signal transmission of tactical radio systems encapsulated in multi-bit transmission including digital signatures and transmission protocols) has indicated that there is in fact an impact on the system as a whole.
I've found specifically, that LPF's must be utilized as early in the process after the initial encoding of the single bit stream as possible to maintain any level of fidelity at normal operating conditions.
I have NOT found what many suggest to be a problem in that with a "cascading" of multiple tracks of excessive out-of-band noise, that systems have "fried." I have found no actual (and only minor anecdotal) evidence to suggest that claims to this nature are founded.
Obviously, the stumbling blocks that I run into with subjective testing between recorded signals used to determine the inherent audible advantages or disadvantages of single-bit versus multi-bit systems are largely focused around using the same converter to record at the various different sample rates/bit depths and considering this more than just an anomaly of the operation of that particular chipset or implementation of the analog circuitry.
Regarding the simple code -
I've been working on that using the free software that comes with the Korg MR1000 as a model. However, I've had only limited (and unfortunatly not-usable) success with that. The idea was simple -
Perform basic splice and cross fade editing on the DSD signal but output the following during editing:
Visual - use the PCM wave file as the source for the visual editing
Audible - use the PCM wave file as the source for the reproduction of the edits imposed upon the DSD file.
This equates to a very lengthy editing process for a single crossfade and isn't worth it. The advantages are, you have a visual gui and you don't need special converters other than those used to gather the sound in the first place.
Anyway...that's about the extent of my limited knowledge on the subject.
SACDs are available commercially in Single Layer SACD, Dual Layer SACD, and Hybrid (SACD Layer + Red Book CD Layer). The format is supportive of 2 channel stereo and 5.1 Surround playback. Sonicstudio and Pyramix are the only vendors currently offering SACD Mastering software. This technology is expensive. But progress has been made. Korg offers 2 channel recorders with Audiogate software. That combination allows anyone on a small budget to master a DSD Disc (not to be confused with SACD). DSD Discs can be played back on Sony Vaio Computers, Sony Playstation 3s, and universal players that will support that format. DSD Discs cannot support 5.1 Surround playback, however, but in the future, there is a possibility, according to Gus Skinas at Super Audio Center. My gripe with DSD Disc playback is that most all players down-convert the audio to lower sample rate PCM Digital. I'm not sure what the point is in playing a DSD audio recording on a 192kHz or 96 kHz PCM DAC, unless it is the only type available at the time...but to force playback using those DACs is beyond us who love the DSD Audio format and all its advantages.
SACD is not something that the average person is going to be able to listen to easily and thanks to the manufactures it is not something that is easy or inexpensive to encode in the home studio.
If you look around here and elsewhere on the WWW you will find that the average consumer is more interested in MP3s than SACD. They want music that is portable and SACD does not fit their needs.
I know companies like TELARC are doing SACD albums but most of then have to be dual CDs so that the average consumer can play them without a SACD decoder.
I think that the days of anyone sitting down and really listening to music are pretty much past and that the only time you can get a consumer to sit for long periods of time in their living rooms is if they are watching a movie.
Personally I think that the SACD and DVD-A formats are going to go the way of the DODO bird and will be extinct very soon.