Cookie Marenco and DSD Featured on NPR

photo credit: Cindy Carpien/NPR

What Does A Song That Costs $5 Sound Like? by Laura Sydell tells the story of Cookie's experience with SACD and DSD as well as Cookie's Blue Coast Records.

One day she invited a dozen engineers and artists to do a blind test of three different audio formats. Analog tape recording, high-resolution digital (better than CD) and DSD. "Tape was still everyone's choice in a blindfold test," says Marenco, but they all agreed "that DSD was the closest thing to tape."
You can hear the entire interview on the NPR website and check out our Q&A with Cookie Marenco of Blue Coast Records.

Steven Plaskin's picture

I heard the NPR program about Cookie this AM while driving to work. I think the moderator stated that DSD was invented in the 60's. I could have heard it wrong.

Otherwise, it was nice hearing this on the radio. 

labjr's picture

Maybe they meant Sigma Delta modulation was conceived in the 60's.

I notice Mark Waldrep posted a comment which nicely slammed DSD as sounding analog but not as lifelike as his 24-96 recordings. Evidently higher PCM sample rates don't sound good to him either.

jim tavegia's picture

If NPR can keep it up over the next few months with additional stories, the word will get out.  The next one needs to talk about affordable usb DACs that can make this happen. Maybe that interview should be Mr. Lavorgna.

UpTone Audio's picture

I have written many letters to NPR over the past 4 years begging them to offer their music podcasts ("Live in Concert.." and "Tiny Desk Concerts" being my favorites) in something better that 128kbps.  Still nothing.  Once I actually got a reply back saying they "just don't have the storage space for greater than 128kbps streams."  Really?! Compared to the storage requirements of all the HD video they offer?!

UpTone Audio's picture


hotsoup's picture

..everyone's fine with $5 a song???

anomaly7's picture

Yes, I'm fine with $5 a song, if the alternative is 99 cents a song at some low rez bit rate.

I would however be much happier at $4 a song. I'd probably be 20 percent happier, to be exact. I'm not sure why the cost needs to be so much higher for higher rez files? Granted, there's more storage space required to hold the files and longer download times to get them, but there is a price point beyond which I'm not interested in downloading something I haven't had a chance to hear, or that I don't know the pedigree of. There are the labels out there who will just upsample a lower rez file so they can sell it at a higher price. Cookie isn't one of those people- and I must say I love most of Cookies recordings that I've heard, but I don't think every recording sounds markedly better (to my ears) in DSD vs 24/96 or some other respectable sample rate that might be half as much money to buy.