Output DSD from Your Universal Disc Player to Your DAC
Mass market universal disc players typically use cheap, mass market DACs. Consequently, their output stages aren't good enough to satisfy an audiophile who wants the best possible sound from SACD. SACD-licensing rules don't allow you to stream the unencrypted digital output from DSD tracks to an external DAC via S/PDIF outputs, even if your player internally converts the DSD to PCM.
Make the most out of the DSD data stream from your universal disc player by decoding and processing the signal with the DAC of your choice. The GeerFab Audio D.BOB (Digital BreakOut Box) extracts DSD from SACDs and PCM up to 24/192 and Blu-ray Audio discs and outputs the data to an external DAC. And it does this legally, of course, keeping HDCP fully intact.
Comparing DSD tracks with Redbook CD tracks, using an Oppo UDP-105 player and a high-end DAC, Kalman Rubinson notes in Stereophile, "I consistently felt that DSD via the D.Bob had more generous ambience and smoother treble," reports . "That's a sighted comparison leading to a subtle, subjective distinction, so I prefer the conclusion that DSD via the D.Bob was at least as good as direct CD playback and probably better."
"With this box in your system," Rubinson concludes, "You'll probably also be using it to play audio from your CDs, DVDs, DVD-As and Blu-rays, too. I unearthed a few 24/96 and 24/192 stereo DVD-As, as well as a couple of CDs, and through the D.BOB, all of those PCM sources sounded fine."
Why You Need the D.BOB
Why do you need the D.BOB? As Bruce Kinch notes in his positive-feedback.com review, "Most audiophile DACs could do the DSD data stream full justice if only they could access it, but a SACD player will not output DSD over S/PDIF, Toslink, or USB. By design."
Kinch goes on to explain, "As the better AV receivers sprouted multiple channels, the HDMI cable was introduced to transfer everything via a single cable in the digital realm (including DSD). And that is the backdoor through which Eric Geer figured out how to extract the DSD data stream and output it via S/PDIF coaxial or Toslink optical to the DAC of your choice, and still be fully HDCP compliant."
Using the D.BOB with Chord's Qutest DAC, Bruce Kinch notes, "With the D.BOB, the Qutest renders SACDs with a purity that makes one immediately aware of what even good CDs can lack."
How the D.BOB Works with Your Gear
For your universal disc player to work with the D.BOB, your player must output DSD64 and up to 24/192 PCM via HDMI. If there is only one HDMI output, the D.BOB includes an HDMI pass-through for player menu settings and other video uses. Use the HDMI OUT on the D.BOB to send video to a monitor or TV.
For your external DAC to work with the D.BOB, the DAC must accept DSD via the DoP protocol through S/PDIF Coax (preferable) or Toslink inputs. The D.BOB does not have a USB output. The mini-USB on the D.BOB is for firmware updates only.
Note: Early runs of the D.BOB included a wall wart power supply. Future shipments will not include this unnecessary accessory. The 12V DC input is intended for use with a linear power supply or external battery power provided by the user. The packaging sleeves and manuals may continue to refer to its inclusion, but please ignore. The same goes for the "International Power Cable Adapters" mentioned on the sleeve and in the manual, which were never included in the package. This was a mix-up by GeerFab that went uncorrected until now. Our apologies for any inconvenience.