DVD-A sound formats question

Discussion in 'Music' started by Aaron Reynolds, May 16, 2006.

  1. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    I picked up the DVD-A of Stage, by David Bowie. It has three sound options:

    5.1 DTS 24/48
    2.0 PCM 24/48
    5.1 DVD-A 24/48

    Now, my music listening is two-channel. It's a choice I made a couple of years back when I got weary of 5.1 "showy" mixes and decided to simplify my life.

    Here's my question -- is there any audio quality difference, aside from the multiple channels, between the DVD-A track and the PCM track?

    I wouldn't even ask, except I have a DVD-A of On The Beach by Neil Young that has a stereo 48/192 track that appears as DVD-A rather than PCM in the little readout thingy on my DVD player. Does PCM as a format not support 48/192? Is this just some bugaboo of my player? Am I losing something (aside from the multiple channels) by selecting the PCM track?
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer
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    You mean 24/192 - correct? DVD-A is PCM based so PCM can have higher resolutions - a CD is 16/44.1 - that is the CD spec. Neil Young's 'Greatest Hits' deluxe ed., includes a CD and a DVD-V with audio only content at 24/96 PCM. DVD-A uses MLP (meridian lossless packing) so that it can fit more stuff on a disc. I am not familiar with the particular disc but some could offer Dolby Digital 2.0 which is compressed and not the same as 24/48 PCM. I prefer stereo most the time as well. If you use the multi-channel DVD-A track and just play the 2 front channels then you may not get the same mix.
     
  3. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    The player has a downmix option, which I've tried, but the mixes are decidedly different and the downmix sounds slightly wrong, probably because it's a downmix.

    Thanks for the MLP info -- that's probably the difference. I stuck the disc into a non DVD-A player and it offers up the DTS 5.1 and the PCM 2.0 24/48, so that must be why it's PCM instead of DVD-A -- for compatibility. Otherwise they'd have to put a DD track on it to conform to DVD spec, right?
     
  4. Phil A

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    24/48 PCM is a good thing instead of DVD-A mainly since DVD-V players not equiped with DVD-A can play back the higher resolution. That's why the Neil Young "Greatest Hits" on the (audio only) DVD-V offers the higher resolutions. Several audiophile labels offered this type of thing before DVD-A, called DADs (audio only DVDs). I have about a dozen of them, mostly from Classic Records and a couple from Chesky records and then sound great. On an old DVD-V player, I was able to choose the audio output at either 48kHz (std. DVD) and 96kHz. I ran them thru an old DAC (that will do 48kHz and they sounded great in my old set-up (with my current set-up - run 96kHz). That's the other advantage of PCM 24/48 - can run it thru an outboard DAC (that typically has a better analog output stage than yourHT rec'r or perhaps even preamp) via the digital out of the player. You can't take DVD-A out of the digital output (with the exception of proprietary stuff like Meridian gear). So you also can listen to the PCM via a digital output and decide what you like best in your system.
     

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