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(Not) a review of the Schiit Loki DSD DAC

  • This week I’ve been filling my boots with a) Arcade Fire’s new double-disc’d Reflektor b) the Suede vinyl box set and and c) some of Lou Reed’s back catalogue, of which Magic And Loss and New York are my favs. Not an atypical week in this hi-fi reviewer’s music-loving life. Last week it was Boards Of Canada vinyl reissues, The Waterboys’ 6CD Fisherman’s Box and a Howe Gelb solo album getting the nod.

    Do you see anything approaching the likes of Holly Cole or Dave Brubeck in that list? No you do not. I don’t really dig (what some might call) ‘audiophile music’. It doesn’t speak to me in the same way that Bowie or Eno or Waits or Young or Dylan do; hardly niche artists themselves. I’m an audiophile with more contemporary music tastes. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones? I dig them too. Obscure they ain’t.

    And yet this kind of music goes largely under-represented inside the audiophile bubble.


    DSD DSD DSD. Everybody be talking ‘bout Direct Stream Digital. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the man in the street is hungry like a wolf for this new (old) high-resolution format. New DSD-capable DACs keep coming on thick and fast. I’m told it was the number one conversation at this year’s RMAF.

    Enter the Loki. California’s Schiit Audio offer the lowest-priced point of entry to date into this super-high-resolution audio world. The casework is similar to that of Schiit’s super-budget Modi DAC and Magni headphone amplifier. Utilitarian, made in the USA. US$149 squeaks you under the door.

    The catch? The Loki DAC decodes only DSD. Schiit want you to continue to use your existing DAC for PCM; there’s a front-panelled, switchable pass-through on the Loki should you wish to daisy-chain the two. With PCM and DSD requiring different reconstruction filtering, this seems an eminently sensible approach: two DACs for TWO data types rather than the hitherto more traditional approach of one DAC handling both.

    From Stoddard’s September email announcing the the Loki: “This is real DSD, transmitted via DoP and reconstructed with proprietary Schiit code running on a 32-bit PIC microcontroller. Because Loki is a DSD-dedicated design, we were able to optimize the output stage and filtering to the unique requirements of DSD. This means that Loki can sound better than DSD-capable DACs that cost many, many times more.”

    Despite an abundance of DSD chatter on the web, not everyone’s backing the DSD horse. Linn aren’t fansNeither is Charles Hansen at Ayre Acoustics.  It seems even the benefits of hi-res PCM are up for debate. I favour Steve Guttenberg’s viewpoint: that the end result’s sound quality rests more heavily on the master (and recording) than the delivery format. A nicely mastered album delivered as Redbook FLAC will easily best a shitty (re)master committed to DSD.

    Technical to and fro notwithstanding, there’s one DSD roadblock that’s pretty much unassailable: the lack of music. I’m not talking about how much DSD has been promised – I’m talking about what you can download today.

    If the history of media delivery formats has taught us anything it’s that you can’t bank on the future, only the here and now. How much DSD is out there, ready to be plucked from the download tree? At time of writing, there are 135 DSD releases available at Acoustic Sounds spin-off How many at Blue Coast? How many at 2L? Naim? Check out’s summary page for a comprehensive take on the current state of play. The sum total of ALL official DSD releases doing the rounds must surely be less than 5000 titles*?


    To restate the obvious: familiar tunes are fundamental to gear evaluation. I’m sure many readers have their favourites burnt to CD or committed to USB thumb drive for when they drop into their local store. The audition CD that I took the recent Australian Audio and AV Show contained the following:

    • David Bowie – Sound and Vision (2013 version)
    • AtomTM – Pop HD
    • David Byrne & St Vincent – The Forest Awakes
    • Brian Eno – 2 Forms of Anger
    • Desolate – Cathartic
    • Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise
    • El Perror Del Mar – God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get)

    These were culled from a selection of alternative audiophile demo music cuts that I’m compiling in a Spotify playlist: Enough With The Diana Krall Already [HiFi demo music for the rest of us].

    There’s not a single DSD release available that contains music with which I am in the least bit familiar. gets closest with Counting Crows’ August And Everything After. However, as much as I loved “Mr Jones” back in the 90s, I can hardly bring myself to tolerate it now. I might be able to get part way through “Omaha” but it’s a song I’ve not heard for years; no basis from which to properly judge the DSD playback prowess of the Loki. I could line up the DSD release against the CD rip but what’s the point? It’s one song in a library of tens of thousands. Ocean, meet drop.


    The DSD ecosystem of 2013 underscores the musical disconnect between the audiophile world and that of your average rock n roll or electronic music fan; the guy that reads Rolling Stone, Mojo, Pitchfork, XLR8R or The Wire. DSD is a niche that speaks to fans of jazz, classical and pretty girls with their pianos and acoustic guitars. Beautifully sounding it might be but it’s hardly Revolver, Nevermind or OK Computer. Not everyone that cares about sound quality listens to John Coltrane (and not every John Coltrane fan cares about sound quality). Ditto Norah Jones and John Lee Hooker.

    “Cool your warm jets, Brian Eno.”, barks Eddie Argos on Art Brut’s “Slap Dash For No Cash”. Damn straight. Let us not become drunk on hype or promises.

    How are things at home? How many albums in your digital library? How many of those are DSD? I’ll wager it’s considerably less than 5% of your library. My hi-res PCM collection barely breaks 1%. My main diet is resolutely Redbook.


    DSD has modern music fanciers all dressed up with nowhere to go. Thankfully Schiit’s offering is cheap and cheerful, off the shelf rather than a multi-thousand dollar bespoke fit. DSD’s benefits remain theory-only to audiophiles with left-of-audiophile-centre tastes. There’s no Neil Young or Tom Waits or Bob Dylan or Kraftwerk or….the glass is 99.9% empty. Sorry about that.

    We might look to HDTracks’ catalogue of Talking Heads, R.E.M., Nirvana and Joy Division for a taste of what’s to come in the DSD space…but holding one’s breath will only lead to dizziness. Later, unconsciouness.

    And then there’s the issue of where you live affecting your access to downloadable content when it arrives. Territorial licensing conundrums are not insignificant hurdles to overcome. is currently US-only. The same regional fence-in** affects HDTracks.

    It might not always be this way but this is the state of DSD content in the here and now.

    My Schiit Loki remains Laura Palmered in plastic. It sits and it waits…it paper-weights.


    One final thought: DSD might be seen as the ideal format with which to archive needle drops. PSAudio’s NuWave Phono Converter can digitize vinyl playback to PCM and/or DSD. However, even its designer Paul McGowan openly admits that 24bit/96kHz PCM is more than sufficient to capture the wholesomeness of needle tearing through groove. “But truth is, 96kHz not only sounds better when playing vinyl LP’s, it makes no sense to go higher. “, he says.


    *Not everyone has access to SACD rips.

    **Not everyone has the inclination or tech-smarts to get proxied up.


    Associated Equipment

    None. Zilch. Nada.


    Audition Music

    You’re kidding, right?


    Further Information

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


      • Yes but only with a friend’s SACD rips to which I no longer have access. Besides, I tended to focus on their performance with PCM material of which there is PLENTY.

    1. Totally agree. I was at an audiophila show and I couldn’t run away from Allison Krauss and Diana Krall if I wanted to. I need music that speaks to my heart not just my ears.

    2. The tendency to choose what to put on base on what sounds better, as opposed to what really moves us, is the insidious dark side of this hobby . I don’t go near high rez with a proverbial barge pole.

      • “The tendency to choose what to put on base on what sounds better, as opposed to what really moves us, is the insidious dark side of this hobby”.


    3. This hits the nail on the head. DSD is a non-event. If I wanted an old DSD recording I’d buy the SACD.

    4. Ha, probably the first “review” that I’ve read where the equipment was not even removed from its packaging. Nice one.

    5. So disappointing… Format wars, really? You’re just being a difficult and conventional curmudgeon luddite Darko!

      I have a LOT of ripped SACDs and DSD files – it’s a huge 5%… You couldn’t find a single title to review? Sigh… Or a single title with music that you are familiar enough to do a single DAC review; to compare to high-res; or to compare to redbook?

      How about the Pixies?

      Dylan in DSD can easily – well not easily – be ripped from the SACDs with the right ‘fatboy’ PS3. Have ’em, love ’em…
      17 SACDs of the Stones:

      Hey you could even try up sampling your circe 1984 redbook CD rips to DSD128, and have something to enlighten up with. Come on man, we love your hardware reviews and would love you to give the format and hardware a fair shake.

      I’m going to force you to listen to my DSD from a Geek to a Pass INT-30A over Vandersteens when you are for Newport mate!

      • Sorry Josh but as good as some are, SACD rips aren’t available to most listeners.

        No doubt the Loki will get a run in due course but with everyone talking about DSD – *incessantly* in some quarters – I’m asking “where is the music?”. My approach is strictly pragmatic.

        Looking forward to seeing you in Newport next year. 🙂

        • Yeah, you are right… I put a lot of work into compiling a library of it so it is a pretty big deal in my library and my perspective may be askew. You’re a real mans reviewer so I have to give your position some credence I suppose, regretfully.

          Listening to some PCM Tom Waits getting ready for that DSD Carnie show… 😉

    6. You’re right as far as it goes. However, for those of us who ALSO like classical and jazz, the hi-res and DSD download sites have A LOT of worthwhile music. I’d say about 30% of my collection is now hi-res, and of that about a third is DSD.

      There is a lot of classic rock and jazz available in hi-res, even the Rolling Stones.

      There is starting to be some modern stuff released in hi-res (e.g., Wilco recent releases). A lot of Indie bands also are now making material available in hi-res. You are going to see a lot more of this in the coming year or two – the market is growing and the labels will want that extra income stream.

      BTW, for something not 40-50 years old, try the 24\96 remaster of Green Day’s “American Idiot” – it sounds way better than the CD, and isn’t volume compressed like the CD. It’s at least from the last decade….

      • Agreed – there’s a LOT of good hi-res PCM out there. A LOT.

        Although I do wish HDTracks would sort out Talking Heads ‘Remain In Light’ and The Flaming Lips ‘Yoshimi…’ – both are 5.1 mixdowns. Both sound dreadful.

    7. A very perceptive and well written article exposing the inherent hysteria and hype that the DSD format inculcates among `audiophiles’. Regardless whether DSD sounds great or not, access to material is severely restricted and prohibitively expensive, which is hardly a recipe for wider dissemination or commercial success.

      • I’m sure in the majority of cases DSD releases will sound stunning…but one cannot gorge with an empty plate.

    8. Thanks for the Spotify playlist. The biggest reason I read audio reviews is to get ideas on music to try. Your list is a treasure trove. I look forward to digging into the associated albums.
      P.S. I do like Diana Krall a lot. I first heard her on Pandora at 128kbps – certainly not demo quality – and I was drawn in by the way she makes the music happen, a strong leader with both her voice and keys. Especially with swing tunes. And the sound is very good too (except, IMHO, Glad Rag Doll.) But I can understand how too much could be more than enough. Let’s hear it for diversity!

      • I don’t deny that Krall is talented. Not am I poo-poo-ing her music. I’m simply stating there is a vast ocean of music to be plundered and the audiophile world tends to keep to a narrow stream.

    9. By not reviewing the Schiit Loki, I realize you’re making a valid point about the current paucity of DSD recordings and the uncertain future of the format. However, it appears that Schiit Audio agrees with you, and is making essentially the same point with the $149 Loki. It wouldn’t have killed you to at least listen to it.

      • I could’ve listened to it, yes. But with what? Besides, opening the packaging would’ve have robbed my point(s) of some sharpness.

    10. Reading this reminds me of how much I hate audiophile muzak. Your DSD choices above are mostly decent, so kudos to you. It’s all those “greatest audiophile voices” compilations, geezer-jazz from 600 B.C, Gregorian chanting and all that Chesky drivel that I’m sick of. Most of the music I listen to probably won’t ever get DSD releases. DSD (afaik) is not an open format like FLAC, anyway, so I don’t really care for it all that much at this point in time.

      On a more serious note;
      My workspace is limited with regards to power-points, so it’s usually one socket to power the computer and another for the amp, so I tend to rely on USB-powered DACs or Amp/DAC combo (ala Burson Conductor) types. I’m actually pretty happy with my current Bladelius – it sounds organic enough, is Linux/MPD compatible (bless you, XMOS) and doesn’t clutter up the desk too much.

      Having said that, I realize that DAC tech moves quick – a decent USB-powered DAC from this year can rival some higher-end wall-powered DAC from say, 2 or 3 years ago, in some cases. With that in mind, I’m looking forward to your review of this Schiit.


    11. I don’t care about DSD, but 8.6% of my PCM lossless files are hi-rez and the percentage is growing.

      As far as “August And Everything After” goes, “Perfect Blue Buildings” was always my favorite track…

    12. No shortage of material if you can rip SACDs to DSD files via PS3. You can also upsample all, PCM and DSD64 to DSD128 and if that is the sweetspot of your Dac, it will sound WONDERFUL.

      DSD128 carries waaay more info than 24/192, because of the way DSD works. Think of the film on celluloid where each frame caries the past image plus a small incremental change to depict motion, etc. THAT is PCM. DSD64 even with a lower bit-rate carries MORE info as DSD ONLY carries the change in each package, as past info is regarded as redundant. Thus, info density is higher in DSD.

      Get one of the TRUE DSD128 players (not the ready chip, quasi PCM converters doings loads of DSP manipulations) and you will hear the music as it was meant to sound.

      In practical terms, between up sampling PCM, Vinyl transfers, SACD rips and DSD download sites, you can gets ANYTHING you want to play back in DSD128.

      • “No shortage of material if you can rip SACDs to DSD files via PS3”.

        Agreed, but that’s a rather large IF.

        If Sony step up to the plate with some of their catalogue we could be looking at a very different ball game. Until then though, no dice.

    13. John,

      There are circles where they will rip for fellow forumites, using existing machines. Furthermore, its now possible to hardware rollback suitable phat PS3 to firmware version 3.55 for $100, and if the you have a YLOD, for $120 your motherboard can be recalled!

      If you have discs and a lot of patience, there is a ripping service near you…

      Besides that with a Great DSD128 Dac, you can upsample everything to that rate and it sounds GREAT.

    14. “But truth is, 96kHz not only sounds better when playing vinyl LP’s, it makes no sense to go higher. “ –

      I couldnt disagree more – sorry dont know how to shut off the italic font! – IMO and experience 24/192 sounds SIGNIFICANTLY better than 24/96. Not sure about higher than that because that is the max of my current kit. Now this upsample I did BEFORE the DAC. In software, with good algorithms and filters. In DAC up sampling is kind of hit and miss IMO. I’m all ears about DSD. Dont care if its native or not. I’d like to try it.

    15. Looks like it was announced in v18.0.63 (10/25/2012):

      1. NEW: Added DSD encoder with support for 1x and 2x DSD stored in a DSF file (encoding uses 64-bit data path, JRiver’s audiophile-grade upsampler, and 7th order noise shaping + dither).

    16. I find myself comparing the music industry with home video. They are GREAT at convincing us all – this sucker included – that we need to move up to the latest format, DVD to Blu-ray (on my TV I can’t see a difference) and I’m sure they’ll do the same with 4K eventually. Whereas the music industry has been going backwards in quality. The music companies need to be convinced of the financial benefits to repurposing ALL their content as hires downloads, sod DSD I’d declare victory at 24bit/96kHz FLAC. Personally I believe this would be a bigger boost to the hi-fi business and musical enjoyment, than chasing another irrelevant format.

      Best part of this article, John’s Spotify playlist! Now who’s going to get Sean Casey to do one?

    17. John, I hope 24/96 becomes the standard download for everything. Having read last weeks NME with their list of the best 500 albums of all time, I spent a few days working through the albums on their list I own. Of course I don’t agree with their list 😉 but it’s a pleasant way to re-engage with some of the albums I haven’t played in a while.
      Of course it’s also about how you remaster, but if the big record companies put some effort into the process and put up their content up on their own site at a reasonable price, they cut out the middle man and potentially make some good money. I was musing how many of the 207 albums on the NME list I’d re-buy, plus the ones I don’t own? They’d make a fair bit of money out of me personally. How come I feel I’m being naive.

    18. I understand your decision not to follow audiophile trends in listening and choosing listening material… I recently went from being a classic rock fan with a mild interest and history in playing punk/new wave in bands, and flipped headlong into modern alternative from 1990 forward (and we’re not talking Nirvana/Coldplay/Radiohead). The move was liberating, to say the least. I’m 55, with a hipper taste in music than my 19-year-old.

    19. The real point here that almost all of the replies so far seemed to have missed is that to have a great sounding recording it has to be mastered well, and that can happen at 16/44 too. The overriding message from replies seems to be that DSD is great and that’s the end of story ( I know some of the replies speak only of 24/192, and I am not referring to you). I don’t wish to argue personal musical choices because that’s what they are : personal .

      Yep I agree with Mr Darko!

    20. I agree with all that has been said above. I would no way in hell, re-buy my music every time it gets “reintroduced” in a higher res. “re-sample” etc. Thats insane! – what I think can be useful and yield better sonic results is higher res. “re-sampling” with associated filters etc. Its flat crazy to think that a 24/96 master doesn’t sound as good as a 24/192. Its not comparable IMO. What I do believe is that a properly done 24/192 up-sample can and does sound better than a 24/96. –

    21. Even though I largely agree with comments about improving other parts of the chain rather than focussing on DSD, I would like to make one point…

      I got onto the SACD bandwagon fairly early on in 2002. For years I (and I’m sure others) have dreamed of being able to purchase, download, and play DSD music the way you would with iTunes. DSD is just bits and many DAC chips already have support for it. There were two pieces of the puzzle remaining: publisher’s that would release recordings as DSD (note that without the copy protection of SACD this was a risk), and the ability to transfer a DSD stream from a computer to a DAC.

      The first piece of the puzzle gradually happened over time although much to go as mentioned in this article. The second piece of the puzzle was solved with DSD over PCM.

      This is something people like me have dreamed of for years! It will only take about 12 months for most manufacturers to support DSD and then we can move onto other parts of the chain. But stop wingeing, this is significant!

    22. Audiophiles own two kinds of music, recordings they purchased because they like the music and recordings they purchased because it’s hi-res. Overlap is unicorn territory.

    23. We can’t even really talk about one format sounding better and/or different at this point – or mastering or GIGO at this point – since we are as to yet unable to compare DSD64/SACD to: 24/192 PCM, 24/96 PCM, 16/44.1 PCM, and lossy MP3/AAC 320 kbps – Darko is one of the few people I could trust with such a comparison. Hopefully, we’ll see such a showdown one day… Then, and only then, this discussion could get very interesting….

      • Didn’t Michael Lavorgna already do this at Audiostream? I’m waiting for some good music (that I like) to arrive in DSD before I get onto it.

    24. ‘Audiophile music’? What on earth is that?
      Sounds like more ‘industry snobbery’ to me…

    25. I certainly agree on being 99% Redbook. I have probably 3000, acquire 5 to 10 titles a week, and still can’t get to all the music I want. After all these years, digital finally sounds musical.

      On that front, are you going to “re-audition” and compare Bifrost original USB to Gen 2? I went for the Uber Analog upgrade and like it, but held off Gen 2. Got a great buy on a Bel Canto mLink and prefer that (texture & timbre wise) to original Bifrost USB. I’ll be interested in your impressions (also vs. Concero).

      Keep up the fun and informative stuff!!!

    26. We are at the chicken and egg stage of DSD. If you wait a couple of months you can do a big comparison article with ifi, Resonessence, Geek and Shiit for low cost DSD capable DACs!

    27. What is this – reverse psychology? I just ordered a Loki and hope to have it tomorrow. I’ll post up a review! The USB and RCA cables will be worth 10x this little DSD64 purebred!

    28. I have about 20 years worth of my vinyl recordings transfered to DSD . To stream the music it had to be converted to PCM via the audiogate s/w application to be “portable”.

      At the time I acquired my DSD ADC there wasn’t a PCM ADC that sounded anywhere near as good, at that (modest) price point.

      Now I can play the native format with a DSD DAC device small enough to throw in my laptop bag. It’s nice to have that option at a price less than my portable headphone amp. Mike Moffet is one smart dude.

      Once you get your hands on PSAudio’s NuWave Phono Converter (run, don’t walk), rip some of your vinyl and unwrap your Loki. Prepare to smile.

    29. Hi all,
      For a month I have been delighted by John Darko attitude towards the Loki DSD DAC non review. In a journalistic context it means that ‘you have balls’ as there’s still the risk of being black listed by some narrow minded manufacturers.
      And a true point is that much of the music that we do like doesn’t exist in DSD.
      So overall I agree with 90% of what had been said in that post but …
      … but my position is a bit different than most of you guys as I’m often at both ends of the process while the majority of you is only at one end. I explain.
      You and me are listening to our ‘favorite things’, which don’t exist in DSD, this is the end that we have in common, the end after the DAC, being DSD or PCM.
      On the other end I am lucky enough to be there at the recording stage as I have been a hobbyist sound engineer for the last 20 years (by hobbyist I mean that despite I’ve got a diploma in audio engineering, that I have worked and still work here and there with pro gear and pro people, that I have produced (recorded, edited, mixed, mastered) more than 500 CDs, 90% of it being classical music I don’t make a living of it that’s why I’m not considering myself as a professional). Most of you are not in the position of being there, where it all starts ie at the recording stage and therefore to be in the position of comparing the ‘live’ act against the ‘processed’ act.
      Recently I had had the opportunity to use a DSD recorder. The fact is that I prefer by far listening to the concert I have just recorded through this recorder using its own DSD only internal DAC because it gives me direct access to the DSD file without the intermediate stage of PCM conversion. Please note that I’ve written ‘I prefer’ and not ‘it’s better’. But to me, with my ears, my brain, my system and within my room, it makes an audible difference which I prefer.
      Because I do recordings in DSD I have access to DSD files and, on top of that, I’ve recorded them therefore I was there when the performers were performing allowing me to make comparisons. So I do have the use of a DSD DAC which I don’t own (the DSD recorder I was talking about is lent to me as a concert-to-concert basis).
      Therefore, as John Darko is not using the Loki DSD DAC for now, I’m asking him if he can lend it to me (with the Schiit company authorization) until he’s got enough material in DSD to do his review of the product.

        • I’m looking forward to your report on the DSD vinyl rip testing. Any details on test setup and format?

          I used a Korg MR-1000 to rip my collection. Dragging the files off my file server to the Korg internal disk to play them is a real chore. More work than playing the vinyl original. The Loki now allows me to have my DSD recordings in streaming mode with all my FLAC and AIFF rips.

          I have not A/B tested playback through the Loki and the Korg direct. Not sure I want to in case there is a big difference. I hope you will do the comparision between DSD DACs on playback and report your findings.

          • My setup will comprise PS Audio NuWave phono converter (a phono stage AND DAC in one box) and Alpine Soft’s Vinyl Studio running on OS X. Carrying the digital signal into the Mac Mini will be the Light Harmonic Lightspeed USB cable.

    30. Hi John,

      Your article is a bit cheeky and I say that because I believe you’re missing the point of this DAC: It’s targeted for the computer audiophile/music lover and it comes from a company which caters a lot to headphone enthusiasts (who are generally speaking quite computer-capable). Let’s ponder that and also remember that this DAC’s only digital input is via USB. So beating the horse to death, we’ve established that that this is a DAC that is well and truely for computer audiophiles righto?

      So instead of spending so much of the article poking fun at how few downloadable recordings are natively available in DSD, you missed the opportunity to tell your readers that ANY of their favourite recordings in their computer can be DSD in a few seconds or minutes.

      JRiver Media Centre 19 (which is a very well known software among computer audiophiles) can not only convert all your computer-based music into DSD, it can even do it on-the-fly, therefore removing the need to re-sample or re-organise your music collection. It costs $50, but I’m willing to bet that anyone who buys a $150 dedicated-DSD DAC would also like to pay $50 more to have all their PCM/FLAC/MP3 or whatever music converted to DSD or played back as DSD. So to counter your point about how little music is downloadable in DSD form; well you’ve missed the point entirely! In fact, practically speaking, for the target market, ANY music in your computer is in DSD form!

      There’s also the professional market. Korg is a company that championed (relatively) cheap DSD recording devices and even offers its Audiogate software for downloading for free. With Audiogate, you can convert your PCMs to DSD as well. You need only have purchased one of their MR series recorders (which I have) or have a twitter account to enable Audiogate’s fuctions. So if you don’t want to pay $50 for JRiver for its DSD conversion ability, you can get Audiogate for free, though it lacks the ability to convert to DSD on the fly.

      I believe Foobar can also convert files to DSD and there are quite a few other programmes that can also convert files to DSD.

      So you see, in light of the above, this DAC is small money and little trouble for the DSD lover. Outboard DSD DACs are therefore far from irrelevant and discussing how little DSD downloadable music there is, is equally irrelevant! Convert your existing music that you know and love and let’s get down to reviewing this DAC already!

      • I’m not poking fun. My non-review of the Loki was a way of stating (with a nod and a wink) that broad enthusiasm for DSD seems to be waaaay out of step with available music. I have 5000+ albums on my server. You know how many of those are available to purchase as a DSD download? That’s right: NONE.

        In financial markets, DSD might be considered an overvalued asset, its bubble set to burst. The context of available content is VERY much relevant to DSD’s broader ‘market’ value. I have zero issue with anyone wanting to do as you do with JMC. Michael Lavorgna has already covered this in his Audiostream piece but I *highly* doubt the chaps at Schiit intended re-sampling PCM to DSD as a use of the Loki, but if that works for you then great.

        However, if I wanted a super cheap DAC for PCM, I’d run a Modi instead of on-the-fly re-sampling with the Loki. Or even better, I’d use a Bifrost (which is in fact what I do). There is NO WAY I’m converting my PCM files to DSD – and I wouldn’t recommend anyone else do it either. The file sizes are prohibitively large.

        On a personally practical level, the 2TB internal storage of my music server is already 90Gb short of being full to the brim with FLAC.

    31. Well, John, it’s your loss…that’s all I can say. I’ve had my Loki for three months now, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I have a fair amount of native, or ripped from SACD DSD content, and streaming it via Audirvana, all I can say is that Loki is one helluva good-sounding DAC.

      I don’t what your definition of audiophile-y content is, but to my mind, Illinois Jacquet tearing it up on Swing’s the Thing, or Kenny Burrell showing his guitar prowess on Midnight Blue is not audioplhile-y content, it’s just great music, period.

      I think you should get off your high-horse and get down and boogie.

      • It’s not about high-horsing, it’s about pragmatism. I’m glad you’ve found music *you* like in DSD. Me, I haven’t. That doesn’t mean it won’t come but I’m not gonna get down with DSD rave until it does.

    Onkyo HF Player + Resonessence Labs Herus = iOS DSD

    Essence Hi-Def DAC w/ HDMI input for $699