Hi I'd really like to know if anyone is successfully and enjoyably using either a PS Audio or dCS SACD transport into a high end DAC such as the Mola Mola. I'm not interested in hearing about CHI-FI DACs.

I am specicically interested in pure DSD across I2s which has not been converted in any way and any issues with high end DACs handling the signal.

If you can enlighten me on alternative I2s, DSD transports and servers or even possible USB to I2s converters, it would be highly appreciated. Thanking you in advance. My server is an Aurender N20.


I reached out to Mola-Mola and GTT Audio essentially asking if there could be a path to add at least I2S to the Makua DAC module, like the Tambaqui,  along with dip switches or App programming to configure I2S compatibility for use with various I2S disc transports, including SACD such as PS Audio PST.  I thought it probably a remote possibility with too few potential buyers but thought best to get direct answer.

I received a negative response from both plus opinion from both that transmitting SACD layer unencrypted violates Sony patent and opens up possibility of litigation. Additionally response indicated that not only must "have priority encryption to work ONLY within the same brand transport/dac" or open to large risk.

They are aware that some companies have done so, but does not appear, for now, that Mola-Mola will do so.

I believe Sony patent is near expiration on SACD, but there may be amplifying related protections on this and/or various expiration periods worldwide.

In the world of litigation exposure, I can appreciate their conservative position on this isssue.  I do not have a PST, nor have I posed the question to PS Audio.

I will follow this thread to see what you and others further contribute on this.


@aswill thank you for a great reply, looks like we're on the same mission. Seems that you confirmed my suspicions that the PS Audio SACD transport will not "handshake" with other DACs, and other high end DACs are not allowing it. Which really is a shame.

Is it the case that patent rights etc are still hindering development and employment of DSD? If so, very sad. We are soon in 2022.


I believe PS Audio PST is handshakable with some other DACs such as Holo May and, I believe, Denafrips, and PS Audio's DirectStream DAC.  There may be others I am not aware of yet.   I only contacted Mola-Mola, and my posting above reflects their position on this currently.  I think it is the case that other high end DAC manufacturers with I2S inputs would need to be individually contacted and/or tested with PST SACD for knowing their compatibility.


DSD is not restricted and there are multiple sources where you can download DSD music and play through USB and depending on DAC and DSD resolution, through other digital transmission means, including I2S.  DSD layer contained within SACD though is different.   There have been prior SACD capable players in the past that could be "hacked" to transmit DSD from the SACD over non-restrictive digital means, and there are people who sell service to extract DSD from SACDs.   I have not pursued either of these.   My SACD collection is modest, with most being hybrid SACDs with both SACD layer and CD quality PCM layer.   Mola-Mola DAC is not a non-oversampling (NOS) DAC and instead  all incoming digital audio is upsampled to 3.125MHz/32 bits and converted to noise shaped PWM and from PWM to analog.  PS Audio DirectStream DAC upsamples as to several DAC manufacturers.

I have yet to come to my own opinion how much influence, if any, I can perceive for DSD source via high resolution PCM for playback from the Mola-Mola.  I believe I can perceive some difference in higher rate resolution PCM vs CD quality resolution with the Mola-Mola.   However, remastered past recordings to higher rate PCM does not guarantee a better recording.  

In the past, I have tried to download music at the resolution of the original recorded.  If DSD is edited in the studio, my understanding is it is converted to DXD for editing and then converted to DSD again.  Some DACs offer NOS as well as conversion upsampling.   Roon offerrs conversion sampling options as well as software like HQPlayer, for example.  

More and more I am less interested in the format than how it sounds to me and how much effort and expense for me to have different format and resolution and how much improvement, if any, to get there.  Audio evolves and through the years I have found myself boxed in at times with equipment and formats that do not endure.   

I have recorded my best LPs to DSD for many years, with the Tascam DA-3000 as the best recorder, so far. I mainly listen to these recordings on holiday, travel etc, played back by a little DAP (Fiio x3ii). I like it, with vinyl clicks and all, but maybe I am conditioned to ’vinyl’ sound. I do notice, over the years, that the gap between my DSD recordings and good quality streaming, is getting smaller. On the other  hand, DSD is not static, either - changing from single speed DSD (on Korg MR1) to double speed (Tascam) was a clear improvement.

I have a few hundred SACDs.  My Oppo players output  the DSD layer over HDMI.  My Bryston DAC3 has HDMI inputs.  It sounds amazing and so far Sony hasn't sent a SWAT team to haul me off to a Penitentiary.

  It's amazing that the Mola Mola people would make such an ignorant statement.  I was wondering if I should spend a work bonus on a Tambiqui but if they are that stupid it's giving me cause for pause



@mahler123 I have been doing plenty of research and I found that native DSD is possible when fed into a Linux DAC, either from a compatible server/streamer or PC/Mac over USB.

Now I have Teac DAC that I'm going to test that I believe is compatible but I undertand that the Mola Mola Tambiqui fits the bill.

The Tambiqui sounds like it could be a great DAC.  I know that you can get DSD as you described, and there are other ways as well.  I choose to do it by the method described above in my two channel system and then I use the SACDs in my multi channel system as well.  I was just reacting to the inaccuracies that another poster related came from someone associated with MM.

  The disc to DAC works well for me but would require either IS2 or HDMI, both of which MM doesn't offer, so let us know how you fare

I have a few hundred SACDs.  My Oppo players output  the DSD layer over HDMI.  My Bryston DAC3 has HDMI inputs.  It sounds amazing and so far Sony hasn't sent a SWAT team to haul me off to a Penitentiary.

HDMI is probably encrypted (HDCP) which could be why you've not attracted law enforcement so far.

I have a RPi with a Pi2aes HAT outputting I2S via Hdmi to the I2S input on my PS audio DSJr.  I'm using the Moode OS  to send Internet Radio and Qobuz sourced music to the DAC, but haven't tried any DSD.  Sounds great, to me, better than usb aes or Spdif.

The Sonore will, it seems will send a converted USB DSD signal directly into a I2s DAC, without DOP being involved.


But you need another product, such as a DDC yo convert the usb output to I2S , right?

@doni The Sonore is a Digital to Digital converter, so if your USB from your streamer or whatever can carry native DSD you can convert it to I2s using the Sonore Ultra Digital. Some DACs will not process native DSD over USB without converting it to PCM and many streamers don't have an I2s out connection. It's just another option.

My understanding (no first hand experience though) is if your SACD transport has I2S using HDMI type of connector, it will only work with the same branded DSD capable DAC that also has I2S using HDMI ...e.g. PS Audio SACD transport to PSAudio DAC UNLESS the pinout of the I2S using HDMI is adjustable (like Denafrips). I haven’t tried it as it seems so troublesome.

There’s a ’Chinese Black-Box’ available from a couple of eBay sellers that takes an HDMI input from a SACD player (like an OPPO) and strips the video signal, passing the DSD audio layer to a variety of output types, including i2s. I bought one but I haven’t used it yet. It took weeks to get here from China even though I paid for expedited shipping and came sans wall-wart and any instructions. (Though a standard wall-wart will work and operation is pretty self-explanatory since it’s just a simple pass-through device.)

PS -  The HDMI output from a SACD player is not i2s compatible in any way. SACD players use the 'true' HDMI format which carries the audio and the video signal. I2S is not HDMI, it just happens to use the same plug type, in some instances. So for example, my Denafrips supports i2s, but it won't recognize or decode a signal coming from the HDMI output on my OPPO SACD player, it needs to be converted (in my case, via the Chinese BB). I know most of you know this, but there are some who possibly do not.


If you want to get I2s from your Oppo you need to get an I2s board from Oppomod.com  https://www.oppomod.com/index.html

The Chinese black box will only separate audio from video afaik, no I2s.

There is no cable standard for I2s at present so either stick with the same manufacturer or get Chinese cables that allow you to swap conductors, but their SQ maybe not so good.

The Oppomod I2S board works really well with my Oppo 103D player into my Denafrips Pontus II