On the heels of a fresh HD-quality certification plan backed by the RIAA, high-quality audio store HDtracks is now layering DSD (Direct Stream Digital) into its menu of available formats. DSD, originally developed for the largely-defunct Super Audio CD (SACD), employs pulse-density modulation encoding and was originally marketed by Phillips and Sony during the audio disc heyday.
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The 1-bit oversampled format beats the CD, even though it isn’t necessarily fixed to a disc experience. HDtracks, a DMN partner, has been courting digital HD buyers for some time, especially as the disc has lost its critical place in the delivery equation. Accordingly, the audiophile can enjoy the DSD experience within a digitally-based, HD-pumping home music server, or through software players like Foobar 2000, Amarra, Korg Audiogate, Jriver, Audirvana, and Pure Music.
One app that can’t play DSD files is iTunes, at least for now. That certainly limits market potential, especially since iTunes is far more developed and portable then HD-tuned apps listed above. Then again, DSD targets a high-end, audiophile audience, one that may be willing to sacrifice convenience for quality.