Bryston BDA-3 Direct DSD


I have a Bryston BDA-3 connected via USB to a rasberry pi 2b running the latest Volumio image.

DSD over PCM (DoP) seems to work great. Since the BDA-3 also supports native DSD, I was trying to get that to work, but have not been successful. I am wondering if anybody out there has gotten native DSD to work between Volumio and a BDA-3 and what you might have done to get that going.

I understand DoP is still “native” DSD as far as the DAC is eventually concerned, I am just curious and searching for that seemingly elusive amber light : )

The linux kernel and version of ALSA used in the latest version of Volumio definitely seems to support native DSD. If I use DoP it works great, but when trying native, the pi seemingly just resamples it to 352Khz PCM. I would love to be able to use this direct DSD feature.

Thank You!

The person at Bryston responsible for their implementation got back to me. He says that there are 3 components to make this work: compatible MPD, compatible ALSA, and a kernel compiled with the USB/Product ID of your USB DAC with the correct native DSD version specified. It is his opinion that while Volumio seems to have the first two things down, it may be the USB Product ID that is missing for this DAC.

Is there a developer that is able and willing to comment?

Great job on the new version also! The UI looks great and seems to be working well for me.


Based on the (lack of) reactions, I don’t think anyone has field experience (including me).

And as no developer has reacted on this, it might not be as easy and obvious as one might think.

Hope you enjoy the DSD over DoP for now :slight_smile:

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Hi Joey,
I have the patch for Bryston BDA3 support, but we do not compile the RPI kernels ourselves.
For other boards this would not be so much of an issue.
Is there a way for you to find out, using your contact at Bryston, which exact PI kernel version supports it out-of-the-box?

– Gé –

I can try to email him and ask. So I understand are you saying there are 2 potential solutions here?

  • Patch the existing kernel with the BDA3 support
  • Find another kernel that supports the BDA3 out of the box

At the moment, DoP is working for me, but there are weird artifacts in the sound. When I use the most current build of Runeaudio, I don’t have this problem. I’d love to switch permanently to Volumio. I like the interface and I like that it is continually supported while Runeaudio has not released anything in years now. However, if the DSD playback on Volumio has these artifacts I will have to switch back to something that was working.

Any idea on things I could try to alleviate that issue as well?

Have you tried overclocking your Pi?

USB on the Pi will be shared with networking etc, so if you’re using USB for your music library (over networking) or on a USB drive then the Pi may have issues. Also try playing a DSD file directly from the SD card to the USB Dac, so that it’s the only USB device connected. If it plays ok, then there’s your issue.

No. My setup is fairly basic. My music library lives on a NAS that I mount in Volumio. Pi has hard wired Gb Ethernet to the NAS then USB into the DAC. This works fine for everything up to about 24/192 PCM and 2x DSD. I rarely get a dropout.

However, the DSD sound artifacts only seem to happen on Volumio.

Well, perhaps I was not clear enough. We do not compile our RPI kernels, so patching is not an option.
As for another kernel, the patch must be in the official supported one, not just someone elses kernel.

Edit: In other words, Bryston will need to get it into the RPI kernel otherwise we’re stuck.

Just FYI, I solved my smsl m8a dsd artifact problems in RasPi3 by using usb wifi instead of built in wifi. Havent tried above x1 though. Downside was that Airplay and volumio.local resolution became unreliable. Have to try what happens with another wifi adapter, I guess.

EDIT: Interestingly avahi-daemon restart restores Airplay, now, if I just repurpose one button somewhere…
EDIT2: Network->Save was another workarond, documented elsewhere in this forum

Thanks, but I was using a hard wired connection.

So the smsl m8a can play dsd 512 correctly now?

Want to buy one.