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SACD/DVD-A: why didn't they just market vanilla DVDs as multi-channel audio discs?

Discussion in 'Music' started by andrew markworthy, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. joe goswami

    joe goswami Well-Known Member

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    Very true comment on the obvious. I bought ELP's Brain Salad Surgery 8 years ago when I had my "lowly" S-VIDEO Toshiba DVD Player. Listening to Dolby Digital mix gave me what I thought would be just a taste of what these mixes would sound like the day I got my hands on a real DVD-Audio player. Turns out the Dolby Digital & DTS mixes are encoded (usually) at a higher bitrate per channel compared to your average DVD movie which in order to save space, can have a DTS & a DD mix.

    Well I tried out my Creative Soundblaster card thru my home theater a few years later. Yes it was a more open mix as compared to the DD (and in some cases DTS mixes) mix, but you really had to listen for it. Same held true for Hotel Cali, Fragile, Rumours, Tommy, & Harvest. I avoided SACD due to its price compared to rival DVD-A releases (plus I'd be stuck with the stereo only layer as well).

    Then I got my hand on a Pioneer DV-578A player on Black Friday in '04 ($50 and still works perfectly to this day!!). It too gave you an entry level taste of SACD & DVD-A. Now I was hooked. Going back & forth with comparisons of the DD, DTS mixes compared to SACD/DVD-A was like night & day. Even a cheap machine like the Pioneer could show you a better way of listening to music.

    The death knell to all this is my gripe with the long awaited Genesis DVD-A's. The SACD's are not available in North America (unless as a import $$) and the DVD-A is not a true DVD-A (its DTS 96/24 which both my Pioneer can't do through its analog outputs not can my ancient (yet still great sounding) Denon AVR-1802 decode. There was no DTS 96/24 back then and its merits from what I've read are not as good as the Meridian Lossless Packeting System long ago adopted for multi-channel DVD-A surround system.

    Thee's no argueing on these pages the merits/disadvantages of mp3/compressed AAC audio files. I AGREE that we should have not adopted DVD-A & SACD as consumers had we known they would kill them both off within 5 years of their introduction.

    During this recession, how the hell can we justify buying another format (read BLU-RAY) only to risk having it killed off due to lack of sales because people like myself have been content with picture & sound of DVD for over 10 years?
     
  2. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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    Alon,

    This is an odd comparison. DVDA on a good player is significantly better than CD. You are comparing the format on two players with two very different price points. If you hear good DVDA then you will hear the extra resolution.

    Lee

     
  3. Alon Goldberg

    Alon Goldberg Well-Known Member

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    Hi Lee, the point I was making is that more resolution does not always meen better musicality. A good CD player or turntable can more than hold its own against DVD-Audio or SACD, which is probably one the main reasons that audiophiles didn't convert over to this new format in huge numbers. I'd be hard pressed to spend $3,500 or more on an SACD player that could outperform my CD player, especially with such a limited catalog available.

    Cheers,
    Alon
     
  4. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Well-Known Member

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    Possible. One of my first BDs was David Gilmour's Remember That Night live at the Royal Albert Hall. It was simply jaw-dropping.
     
  5. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm not holding my breath waiting for music only BluRay discs (though it would be nice) but from a technology standpoint, how does DolbyTruHD and DTS-MA compare to DVD-A and SACD? Is it basically DVD-A or is it a completely new format?
     
  6. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Well-Known Member

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    It is basically DVD-A but can be higher resolution due to greater capacity, in fact Dolby TrueHD is MLP, the same compression method as DVD-A uses. Blu-ray can do 192kHz/24-bit 5.1 channel while DVD-A is limited to 96kHz/24bit for 5.1. A 96kHz/24-bit 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, or DTS-HD MA, or lossless uncompressed PCM on Blu-ray should be absolutely identical to a 96kHz/24-bit DVD-A.

    SACD is not PCM so opinions vary wildly as to whether it sounds better or worse or the same as the PCM variants.

    Chris
     
  7. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info Chris. I've always been curious about it but never researched it.

    So, if I'm understanding this correctly then Sony and Philips BR players are built to DVD-A spec but not SACD? Interesting.
     
  8. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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    I politely differ. In my experience, you can have more resolution and more musicality. In my experience the two go hand in hand.

    I also disagree on the price point. Even an entry level SACD player should sound better than an equivalent CD player. I have had shootouts at the $500 and $1,000 price points. And I have heard even the dcs stack, the ultimate CD player at around $55K, but even it can't compete on 16/44 with the SACD playback it offers.

    CD is sounding better these days but it is still far from good Super Audio quality.
     
  9. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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    In my recording experience, 24/176 or 24/192 (our recording sampling rate typically) is close but not quite as good as a good DSD recorder. And DSD is not as good as analog tapes can do. Much DTS, and some DVDA, is less than 96K like 24/48K which I don't like at all.

    So I would say: Analog tape (Listen to the Tape Projects reels) >> DSD >> 24/192 or 24/176 >> 24/48 >> 16/44 >> Empty3s.
     
  10. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Well-Known Member

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    No Sony player of any type plays DVD-A although I believe the Blu-ray hardware is probably capable if firmware was developed with that goal. I also expect the players could be made to play SACD but the demand doesn't justify the expense including licensing fees to make the players capable of SACD. Sony spent a lot of money on SACD, the market rejected the product and Sony has moved on and is now hoping to make Blu-ray reach mainstream status. I really think the market would be better served if SACD and DVD-A are laid to rest just as HD DVD has been. One format, Blu-ray for all better than CD and better than DVD quality releases would be our best chance in my opinion. Several tiny niche formats just means a bunch of products that can't result in any profits and ultimately means no new software.

    I don't have a several thousand dollar CD player to compare to my inexpensive DVD-A and SACD players but I am not buying the subjective claims here that CD will sound better than the high resolution formats. I would have to see an objective analysis of that claim.

    Chris
     
  11. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    Appologies for not putting "basically" before "built to DVD-A spec" [​IMG] . I new it wasn't exactly DVD-A, just thought it was ironic the Sony/Philips had to use something closer to DVD-A for BluRay rather than a variation of SACD. Was SACD ever championed as the hi-res format for BluRay? Maybe they won the war but lost a little battle in the middle? In any event, I think I'm pushing this thread a little too far off track.
     
  12. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Well-Known Member

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    SONY has some new "Blu-Spec" discs-possibly nothing more than an ambush for UMGs SHD-Super High Density discs-Huge catalog of SHD discs.
    Very few BS discs, so far, in Japan.

    BTW, Lee, if Astral Weeks is one of your favorite albums-while Warner USA has done nothing, WEA Japan has just released a remastered version of it.
    Nothing fancy-just relief from those 1987 Master tapes.

    To learn more of the above: []www.cdjapan.com]
     
  13. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Well-Known Member

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    Funny you mention this Mark. I just picked this up today on the new remastered vinyl and listened to Side 1. Sounds great. Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray did the mastering and they always do a good job.
     

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