Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions (Pure DSD)

Charlie Natzke, Chris Kee, David Elias

Original Recording Format: DSD 64
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Known worldwide as one of the purest acoustic direct DSD recordings the acoustic trio session began and ended on the same morning in the La Honda Hills above Hwy 1 (San Gregorio). This 4 hour session captured the sounds of 2 acoustic guitars and voices and an upright bass being played and sang within arm’s length of the 3 musicians standing in a close circle.

The trademark minimal microphone approach taken by Elias in his previous SACDs was repeated here with microphones for each instrument and vocal. In addition, microphones in the ceiling and back walls were, as with “The Window” and “Crossing” used to capture the natural reverberation and ambient characteristics of the recording space. Only these tracks were used in the Pure DSD mix on the Sonoma workstation, avoiding all compression and outboard or digital effects. There are no overdubs or edits in these mixes.

This collection of original material from the independent acoustic singer-songwriter David Elias is a special organic, natural sounding set of pure DSD recordings created at the Slipperworld Studios in La Honda, California ( These 14 tracks feature David Elias (acoustic/vocal/harmonica), Charlie Natzke (acoustic/vocal) and Chris Kee (upright bass, Blue Coast Records).

This Acoustic Trio session release was captured in the studio on a single day as a series of live takes without any edits or overdubs. It was recorded by Charlie Natzke to no more than 8 tracks directly to a Sonoma DSD Workstation using Meitner converters.

The essence of the performance is the ambient and acoustic nature of all the instruments and vocals including natural resonance, harmonics, decay, and microphone bleed and decay using minimal micing without any artificial or digital effects.

Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions was recorded on a sunny day among the redwoods with the windows open. The musicians recorded standing roughly arms length from each other in a small circle with no isolation. A pair of microphones were positioned overhead to capture a stereophonic image of “the room”. This was used as the only source of natural reverb in the mix.

The songs were mixed as DSD using a Sony mixer card in the Sonoma workstation. These tracks have never left the original DSD format, even as analog conversions for mixing!

As a result, what you hear from these pure DSD master recordings are the natural live performances of the trio, as if you were standing or sitting with them in the studio during the session.

David Elias is a DSD and SACD pioneer. He self-produced the world’s first hybrid 5.1 SACD “The Window” in 2002 and released it in 2003. It was a final nominee in the Surround Music Awards in Beverly Hills that year. His next stereo and 5.1 surround sound acoustic live session production “Crossing” had 3 final nominations at SMA in Beverly Hills including “Listener’s Choice” and “Best Non-Orchestral Surround Mix”. Stereophile magazine called this one “Extraordinary”.

The songs on the “Acoustic Trio: DSD Sessions” disc are just as extraordinary. Perhaps more so since they are the live session tracks of a very simple trio consisting of 2 acoustic guitars, 2 voices and an upright bass. The beauty of acoustic is revealed in this elemental setting where the musicians just played and were recorded by the industry’s state-of-the-art high resolution DSD workstation (Sonoma). The way to listen to honest music is with an honest recording. This is it…

David Elias – Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Charlie Natzke – Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Chris Kee – Upright Bass


If I Had My Way
Ohlone Dream
Above The Creek
Changing Down
Take Me Down The Road
The Riddle Song
Rodeo On The Ridge
Summer Wind
One More Savior
Good Old Days
Vision Of Her
Transcendental Deprivation Part II Straw Dream
Morning Light - Western Town

Total time: 01:06:20

Additional information





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Digital Converters

EMM Labs ADC 8

Mastering Engineer

Gus Skinas, Super Audio Center (DSD 64), Tom Caulfield, NativeDSD Mastering Lab (DSD 128, DSD 256, DSD 512 created with the HQ Player Pro 4 Mastering Tools)

Mastering Equipment

Sonoma DSD Workstation


The Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions were recorded live in the studio with minimal micing, no effects, no edits and no overdubs. Musicians were arranged in a tight circle facing each other at roughly arms lengths. The songs are presented in the original order as recorded to the Sonoma DSD Workstation using less than 8 tracks in less than 4 hours. The room was captured to 2 tracks and used as the natural reverb in the mix.


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Original Recording Format


David Elias and Charlie Natzke

Recording Engineer

Charlie Natzke

Recording Location

Recorded Live to DSD at, La Honda, California on December 14, 2004

Recording Software

Sonoma DSD Workstation

Recording Type & Bit Rate


Release DateJanuary 9, 2014

Press reviews

NativeDSD Listener

“I’ve been an audiophile since before they even called it that. My love for music led me into things that allowed me to be involved with the industry in many other ways besides actually being a musician.

First let me say you are one very talented musician. Aside from the recording the two downloads [Crossing, and Acoustic Trio] I bought were outstanding just thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. I love the soulful way you play the guitar and your lyrics are incredibly powerful.

The unique thing is that there wasn’t one song I didn’t enjoy as much as the other. That’s never happened to me before. I’ve always had 2 or 3 songs I like as opposed to everything else on the recordings I bought or listened to. I was really blown away! Every track had its own unique journey.

I use the word journey because that’s what it felt like. Each track seemed to take you on a journey ultimately yielding to an experience of its very own. The lyrics expressed through the music combined left me in a place of awe. Seriously each taking a hold of me leading on to a fulfilling emotional experience. Each unique and distinct from the other but always creating a hunger for more.

I got to tell you I’ve been an audiophile for 40 years (I’m 65). Never have I enjoyed nor experienced from music what you were able to do and communicate through your heartfelt expressions. Well done! Congratulations.

NativeDSD Listener

“This was my first purchase of David’s work [Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions] and there’s not a track I don’t love.. The lack of that PCM ‘compressed’ sound with the DSD recording and the ‘Live’ feel he manages to achieve make this an outstanding album. Outstanding! :)”

NativeDSD Listener

“Truly fantastic master, [Acoustic Trio] hints of the typical audiophile presence bump but nonetheless free of grain and exaggeration. After scouring hundreds of famous recordings these are one of the five albums I find truly worthy as a reference. Beautiful composition, effortless vocals, keep up the great work!”

Positive Feedback 10 out of 5

What excellent compositions…exceptional performances…and rich, harmonic, organic sound, as natural and mellow via DSD as one could wish…10 stars…Love it, big time.


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