Topic: Clicks between DSD tunes

I am using HQPlayer to up-sample everything to DSD256 with ASMD7EC modulator, and using the RME ADI-2 DAC in "DSD Direct" mode (which sounds quite awesome btw). However I get 2 clicks between each tune, unless I play a record from start to finish in which case I only get clicks the first tune.

I talked to Jussi (developer of HQPlayer) and he was quite sure it had to do with changing/reinit DSD in the DAC, which is confirmed by the fact that the clicks gets louder if I increase reference level and are not tied to the volume (which is based on DSP).

Probably many ways to reproduce this, but one way is to download HQPlayer free trial, and play local files from HQPlayer when up-sampling to any DSD. Using JRiver or foobar2000 should also work but I haven't tried it.

2 (edited by ning 2021-01-09 04:45:17)

Re: Clicks between DSD tunes

I am a software developer of several widely know music players and here’s my input to you.

It’s a simple nature of DOP. The player must continuously output DOP marking and DSD silence when changing cues, pause, or seek, in order not to break the DOP pattern. This is quite anti pattern (compared to the pcm mode, where player is free to drop and restart during the above mentioned operations. ). This also increase latency of those operations. So in most cases players don’t do that, and as a result the ADI-2 will switch to PCM and back to DSD. This is the correct behavior.

To solve this issue, you either need the player do the suboptimal thing mentioned above (in most cases the developer will decline your request as it is not a good idea), or you need a DAC that supports DSD in altsetting 3. Also DSD doesn’t provides benefits and makes DSP infeasible. Better to avoid.

3

Re: Clicks between DSD tunes

JRiver, Neutron and Onkyo HF player keep DSD / DoP alive between tracks that have the same data rate, so it is not that cumbersome and seldom. Still there can be clicks for the reason mentioned in the manual - DC offset in the recording and low level noise in the beginning and the end of it. Both no problem with PCM.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Clicks between DSD tunes

MC wrote:

JRiver, Neutron and Onkyo HF player keep DSD / DoP alive between tracks that have the same data rate, so it is not that cumbersome and seldom. Still there can be clicks for the reason mentioned in the manual - DC offset in the recording and low level noise in the beginning and the end of it. Both no problem with PCM.

Sounds correct, I use Roon -> HQPlayer -> NAA and the communication between Roon and HQPlayer could be improved, for example by keeping DoP alive between tunes with same sample rate.

But I seem to recall a firmware that improved this, so I hope it can be improved further (internally mute sound during reinit phase etc).

Re: Clicks between DSD tunes

> JRiver, Neutron and Onkyo HF player keep DSD / DoP alive between tracks that have the same data rate, so it is not that cumbersome and seldom.

right, it can be done. but the side effect is there will be much longer latency when pause/seek, because the software can no longer ask the OS audio stack to drop the remaining frames. in pcm such dropping does not cause issue at all. in dop there's no way to get how many packets are dropped from the OS. And when filling the new packets after the drop, the OS may believe the stream is interrupt if it can't get enough data in the next read cycle, which causes DAC to switch to pcm.
So it's a bad solution in my opinion.

Re: Clicks between DSD tunes

In my case, I know I will only play DSD, so if the DAC had an option like "Only accept DSD" and didn't handle PCM, would that make it possible (or easier to fix) to avoid clicks?

7 (edited by ning 2021-01-09 16:42:07)

Re: Clicks between DSD tunes

MagnusH wrote:

In my case, I know I will only play DSD, so if the DAC had an option like "Only accept DSD" and didn't handle PCM, would that make it possible (or easier to fix) to avoid clicks?

The problem (dc offsets) MC mentioned is not solvable because it's the nature of the dsd.

The problem I mentioned could be partially fixed by player software. but it will cause other issues( such as latency)

in your case, if you monitor the i/o screen and see the mode jump to pcm and back to dsd suddenly during the click, switching to a DAC that supports DSD mode by USB alt setting 3 (some call it native DSD) will fix your issue entirely. because there will be no mode switch from pcm to dsd during pause.  of course, you need your player and OS to support that mode as well.
By using DSD direct mode only, you are not gaining from the rich feature set offered by ADI-2 (such as dsp) anyway. so other products (such as those cheap ChiFi products based on xmos and thesycon solutions) may work better for you. This is RME's forum so I cannot recommend those products so I'll stop here.

Re: Clicks between DSD tunes

ning wrote:

The problem (dc offsets) MC mentioned is not solvable because it's the nature of the dsd.

Some other sigma-delta DACs have solved it (from what I have read, not from personal experience)

Re: Clicks between DSD tunes

If that is true, such DAC does not perform in a bit perfect way. The input signal has that click, and the DAC altered the signal and removes it. Sounds like a bigger problem to me.

Re: Clicks between DSD tunes

ning wrote:

If that is true, such DAC does not perform in a bit perfect way. The input signal has that click, and the DAC altered the signal and removes it. Sounds like a bigger problem to me.

I think what is often done is to mute the output stage of the DAC during the transition. so no change in data just hide the clicks.

11 (edited by ning 2021-01-12 17:13:35)

Re: Clicks between DSD tunes

MagnusH wrote:
ning wrote:

If that is true, such DAC does not perform in a bit perfect way. The input signal has that click, and the DAC altered the signal and removes it. Sounds like a bigger problem to me.

I think what is often done is to mute the output stage of the DAC during the transition. so no change in data just hide the clicks.

IMHO this is an even worse solution than alternating the signal --- 1) usually an analog switch / relay is needed to mute. the analog switch may deteriorate the performance by introducing noise or distortion. the relay produce click sound which can be heard (not in the analog signal, but from the physical device) . 2) the mute period eats some part of audio signal. so beethoven 5's bang-bang-bang-bang becomes (mute)-bang-bang-bang
With that said I agree with any of those solutions just because DSD is a problematic format. I believe the ADI-2 manual states it very clearly and already elaborated on the reason behind its current implementation choice (that is, let the click be there).