Originally Posted by Jsin_N
DSD has always resulted in less bass in my system. I've never understood the need to use DSD because of it. Is there something I'm doing wrong?
Most likely you are expecting Crossover processing to steer bass from the main speaker channels to your Sub. As I posted above, no audio processing is possible when using DSD-Direct-to-Analog Conversion. This includes Crossover processing.
This is true regardless of whether that DSD is being turned into Analog in the OPPO (for its Analog outputs) or in your AVR after sending HDMI DSD to the AVR. Audio processing is done digitally on LPCM format digital audio, so can only happen if the DSD is first converted to LPCM.
So if your speakers are not "full range" -- if you NEED Crossover processing so the Sub can take over bass output for them -- you should use SACD Output PCM.
With SACD Output DSD, the only audio that will go to your Sub is what's already contained in the .1 channel of 5.1 DSD tracks.
Here's another consideration:
When setting up for multi-channel Analog, you need to arrange for the correct amount of "Sub Boost" to be applied external to the player so that the Sub output matches the other channels in level. This is done using the volume knob on the Sub itself, in conjunction with any Sub Boost automatically applied because you have passed the Sub signal through your AVR. (By default, AVRs typically add 10dB Sub Boost as a matter of course.)
Now, the required amount of Sub Boost when using the multi-channel Analog outputs is:
1) +10dB if the player is NOT set to do Crossover processing, or
2) +15dB if the player IS set to do Crossover processing. The extra +5dB is needed to provide headroom for the additional steered bass now being included in the Sub output -- to avoid clipping the input of the device at the other end of the Sub output cable.
Again, this Sub Boost is something you arrange to happen EXTERNAL to the player.
Now normally you control whether Crossover processing is happening for the multi-channel Analog outputs by how you have set the Large/Small status of the speakers for multi-channel Analog output. If ALL speakers are set to Large then no Crossover is happening. If ANY speakers are set to Small then Crossover is happening.
But when using DSD-Direct-to-Analog Conversion, no Crossover processing is happening REGARDLESS of the Large/Small settings for the multi-channel Analog outputs. So the required Sub Boost is +10dB regardless.
Since no bass steering is happening, the Sub Boost only affects reproduction of the .1 channel of 5.1 DSD tracks. Typically you won't hear a problem if you screw this up because MANY studios don't actually record any content in the .1 channel of their 5.1 SACD tracks. Instead they put all the bass in the regular speaker channels.
So even though you may have your Sub Boost set +5dB too high, you don't hear excess bass because the 5.1 tracks you are playing are actually 5.0 content.
Instead you hear DIMINSHED bass because the Crossover processing you were depending upon (since your speakers are not "full range") is not happening.
Again you can avoid all this complexity by allowing the player to "process" your DSD tracks -- by setting SACD Output to PCM.
When setting up for multi-channel Analog it is wise to confirm you are applying the correct Sub Boost (external to the player) by checking with a calibration disc and an SPL (Sound Pressure Level) meter.
For non-DSD playback, I recommend the 5.1 or 7.1 LPCM "Channel ID" tracks on AIX Audio Calibration, Blu-ray, available direct from OPPO.
For DSD playback I recommend tracks 43-48, the speaker level tracks, in the 5.1 content on "Stay in Tune With PentaTone", SACD, available from Amazon. (Do NOT use the similar sounding channel ID tracks found earlier on this SACD as they have a raised bass level built in to make it easier to hear the Sub.)
When things are set CORRECTLY, all of the speaker channels, including the Sub, will measure the SAME SPL level. Among other things this will prove you have the correct Sub Boost applied external to the player. Be sure to check your setup both ways: Normal content and DSD content. And keep in mind the change you may need to make in external Sub Boost if you like to switch between SACD Output DSD and PCM for playback of DSD content.