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DVD-A Specifications


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#1 of 32 OFFLINE   DavidAMallett

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Posted May 19 2003 - 03:24 AM

I am going to be posting a number of questions regarding DVD-A specifications, and may elect to send some of you test discs in the future. I may be issuing a DVD-A audiophile recording, my first, and need expert help. I am a mom and pop operation, so am blocked by funds from the kind of information I really need. I've made good contacts that have helped put the picture together to some degree, but issues still remain. BTW, these discs will at most have a token video track (perhaps stills) to satisfy the DVD-Video players. However, they are mostly about the music.

Let's start with a simple one:

I've gathered that some DVD-A discs are issued with both a 24/96 surround track and 24/196 stereo tracks as separate burns.

1. Do the DVD Universal players recognize both or do you have to duplicate the information?

2. Does the mere presence of the hi-res info create issues for DVD-Video only players?

3. Do all DVD Video (not universal) players read up to 24/96 or is there significant numbers that can only handle 24/48?

Dave
Why only two mics?
Well, I only have two ears.

#2 of 32 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted May 19 2003 - 03:57 AM

David,

Quote:
I've gathered that some DVD-A discs are issued with both a 24/96 surround track and 24/196 stereo tracks as separate burns.

Do you mean 24/96K Surround and 24/192K Stereo when you type this?

They aren't seperate burns, they are either seperate program groups (v1.0 type authoring) or seperate datastreams (v1.1 type authoring). You can distinguish v1.0 v1.1 with the method of toggling between presentations. V1.0 uses the GROUP (or MENU) button, V1.1 uses the AUDIO button.

OTOH, if you are asking about 24/96K Surround and 24/96K Stereo accessible by DVD-Video players that's a different story. Still it isn't a seperate burn -- there are seperate directory structures. AUDIO_TS contains the DVD-Audio content, VIDEO_TS contains the DVD-Video content.


Quote:
1. Do the DVD Universal players recognize both or do you have to duplicate the information?

Assuming you're talking about a 24/96K stereo track, you can include the material once in the VIDEO_TS and link to it within AUDIO_TS.


Quote:
2. Does the mere presence of the hi-res info create issues for DVD-Video only players?

Not if the firmware is properly written. The operating firmware should only look at VIDEO_TS, and ignore everything else. In practice, I haven't found a DVD-Video player which failed to recognize the VIDEO_TS from a DVD-Audio disc yet, but there is almost certainly going to be one out there somewhere.

Quote:
3. Do all DVD Video (not universal) players read up to 24/96 or is there significant numbers that can only handle 24/48?

I haven't seen a DVD player since late 1998 that lacked the ability to natively decode 24bit/96k data. I suspect that some very early DVD players might have issues with 24/96K stereo material but I have no means to test this.

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
Opinions are my own, not representative of the publication I write for.

#3 of 32 OFFLINE   DavidAMallett

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Posted May 19 2003 - 04:18 AM

Thanks. Again, the picture gets a little more clear.

The two authoring specs you mentioned, 1 and 1.1. I know nothing about this.

1. Is one or the other preferable from a cost or compatibility standpoint?

2. At the moment, I am surveying production and encoding packages. I've looked at Vegas 4, which produces material up to 24/192, but DVD Architect doesn't encode it. I've looked at Minnetonka, but their lowest price package that will handle video is 2500.00. Do you know of anything that works and is a bit more affordable to us shoestring operation types?

3. My calculations indicated I will not need MLP, which is a Godsend since the software is so bleeding expensive. My material is an all-acoustic band so a .1 track nor center channel will not be necessary. Does the lack of a center channel create any issues for DVD-Video players?

Like I said, so many questions!

Dave
Why only two mics?
Well, I only have two ears.

#4 of 32 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted May 19 2003 - 06:03 AM

David,

With respect to v1.1 vs. v1.0 specs, you will be best served by using v1.0 specs. I have seen a few DVD-A capable players that don't recognize the AUDIO button as a datastream toggle.

As far as the different specs, you'll need to look into that from the DVD Forum aspects. This is a link to some of their DVD Audio information pages.

http://www.dvdforum....en-dvdaudio.htm

While I prefer v1.1 authoring as an end user, the pragmatic approach is to use v1.0 for greatest compatibility.

Oddly enough, it was a few of the prototype units I played with at CES which were the ones that failed the v1.1 test. Fortunately, of the manufacturers I tested this with, all of them passed it along to their appropriate staff.

It remains to be seen whether this will be addressed in their production units.

Quote:
At the moment, I am surveying production and encoding packages. I've looked at Vegas 4, which produces material up to 24/192, but DVD Architect doesn't encode it. I've looked at Minnetonka, but their lowest price package that will handle video is 2500.00. Do you know of anything that works and is a bit more affordable to us shoestring operation types?


I think without MLP capability you can get Discwelder from Minnetonka which would author DVD-A content for about US$500. I am not certain if DiscWelder handles DVD-Video authoring too. Keep in mind my familiarity is mostly on the other side of the equation, after the authoring is done (CE and Software).

Quote:
My calculations indicated I will not need MLP, which is a Godsend since the software is so bleeding expensive. My material is an all-acoustic band so a .1 track nor center channel will not be necessary. Does the lack of a center channel create any issues for DVD-Video players?

Here, you are at the mercy of the decoders at the consumers end. Any properly implemented DD or DTS decoder will handle this without any issue whatsoever. I don't recall ever seeing the decoders fail in this fashion before.

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
Opinions are my own, not representative of the publication I write for.

#5 of 32 OFFLINE   DavidAMallett

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Posted May 19 2003 - 07:13 AM

>I am not certain if DiscWelder handles DVD-Video authoring too.

Aye, there's the rub.

If I understand it correctly so far, DVD-Video players MUST have some sort of video or they just say "No" to audio.

2000.00 more bucks just to through in a few slides for compatibility. Sheesh.

Dave
Why only two mics?
Well, I only have two ears.

#6 of 32 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted May 19 2003 - 09:42 AM

David,

Likely so. But that video can be a single still image per track/chapter. I've seen them delivered with just that and work dandy.

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
Opinions are my own, not representative of the publication I write for.

#7 of 32 OFFLINE   DavidAMallett

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Posted May 20 2003 - 04:45 AM

Crikey, wound up posting this over at AVS. It was intended for here...

Mr. Kotches and all:

Let me just spill the plan here, and see what I need to do.

Through a bit of extraordinary luck, and a dab of "what the heck, just ask," I've been given permission to record a live performance of the Asylum Street Spankers. Rather than detail the group here, go to http://www.asylumstreetspankers.com to read about them and espcially listen to their "St. James Infirmary."

They have a very good following here, and an exceptional following in Japan, Scandinavia, and Britain. They are all acoustic, and don't even use mics for vocals in performance.

The session is set for 6 June at Poor David's Pub in Dallas. I've not recced the site yet, so I may bit a bit surprised there. I intend to do this soon.
My goal is to produce a very natural, "you are there" audiophile recording. I'll be using two Oktava ML-52 ribbon mics on the band with their back lobes over the audience, and two Beyer MC-130N ribbons mics on the audience with their back lobes over the band.

These will be fed to a Radius 10 vacuum tube mic preamp and directly to a WaMIRack 192X running at 24/192. There will also be a loop out of the WaMI (analog) to another computer with a Card Deluxe sampling at 24/88.2 for possible CD use. This will, of course, obviate dithering downsampling from the 24/192.

The goal is a DVD release as follows:

1. 4 channel 24/96 with chatter between songs
2. 4 channel 24/96 as above music only
3. 2 channel 24/192 as 2. above.
4. Space permitting, 2 channel 24/192 as 1. above.

The target audience will be audiophiles, of course. One of the critical issues I've not been to resolve as to whether the with and without chatter sequences require separate tracks for the music. Obviously, this should not be the case, but the DVD specs are pretty strange in some regards. Having to duplicate tracks will be rather tough on space. If you are wondering about a .1 track, I do not plan one both due to trying to avoid MLP encoding as well as due to the acoustic nature of the band. The one CD I heard was over EQ'd (IMHO) on the bass anyway.

Beyond that, I'd like someone to write me a "track plan" detailing exactly what would be on the disc technically. I understand a few video stills will be necessary for the DVD-Video compatibility, but I don't want to waste a lot of space for video as this is primariliy about sound.

Well, that's about enough for the moment. If you are as confused as I am, as me for clarification!

BTW, those providing useful help can expect a freebie disk if they wish.

Best regards, and thanks to all,
Dave
Why only two mics?
Well, I only have two ears.

#8 of 32 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted May 20 2003 - 05:39 AM

David,

Without MLP, you are going to chew up your big budget in a big hurry.


4 Channel 24/96K and 24/192K chew up 9.2Mb/sec, which is about 70 minutes of aggregate playback time for single layer media.

You would get about 130 minutes on dual layer media, but you would have to watch where you place the layer break.

Unless you are willing to keep recording length for each track down to about 35 minutes, I don't think you'll be able to get this done.

Further, you've made no provision for a 2-track or DD track compatible with DVD-V players which is technically speaking in violation of DVD-A specifications.

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
Opinions are my own, not representative of the publication I write for.

#9 of 32 OFFLINE   DavidAMallett

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Posted May 20 2003 - 06:33 AM

>Without MLP, you are going to chew up your big budget in a big hurry.

LOL. This is coming out of grocery money!

>Further, you've made no provision for a 2-track or DD track compatible with DVD-V players which is technically speaking in violation of DVD-A specifications.

I had no idea that DVD-V required 2 track versions. Is that what you are saying?

While I am quite capable of puzzling out technical standards, FINDING exactly what one needs to know is the thief of time. What I'd like to see is an exact description of a DVD-A disc's TOC. Is there such a thing?

As always, many thanks...

Dave
Why only two mics?
Well, I only have two ears.

#10 of 32 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 20 2003 - 06:42 AM

Maybe these people can help too:

Warner Advanced Media Operations/Multi-Media Center

Their e-mail and phone number for dvd-audio assistance is provided.

LJ

#11 of 32 OFFLINE   DavidAMallett

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Posted May 20 2003 - 07:01 AM

Thanks, Lance. I may give the email a try.

Generally, I feel like I am leaning towards issueing as DVD-A only as a start. After all, it is audiophiles I am aiming at...if you define a target, doesn't seem to make much sense to fire in other directions.

Further, as I must learn the technical end of DVD to start, I suspect staying with one format to be the better part of valor. If the demand is there, then I could produce a DVD-V version.

Anyway, that's sort of where my head is now.

Best regards,
Dave
Why only two mics?
Well, I only have two ears.

#12 of 32 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted May 20 2003 - 08:21 AM

Dave,

Oops... Earlier, I meant to type bit budget not big budget -- wrong row on the keyboard, sorry :b

The standards for DVD-A require a backwards compatible path for DVD-V only players. That path consists of one of these:
Dolby Digital track (1.0 to 5.1, author's choice)
Stereo PCM (up to 24bit/96k)

Anything beyond that is author's discretion, but not required.

I know of nothing that is stopping you from releasing a non-conforming disc, but I don't know that you could call it a DVD-Audio disc.

I will send you contact info for a couple of fellows that might be able to give you pointers on authoring via e-mail.

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
Opinions are my own, not representative of the publication I write for.

#13 of 32 OFFLINE   DavidAMallett

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Posted May 20 2003 - 09:34 AM

>Stereo PCM (up to 24bit/96k)
I am assuming this must be stereo only, as it is my assumption that the heads only provide a two channel feed to the decoder. I.E., the 5.1 or whatever is extracted from NMT two data streams. Is this close enough to correct?

>I know of nothing that is stopping you from releasing a non-conforming disc, but I don't know that you could call it a DVD-Audio disc.

Now, that's interesting. My main goal is compatibility, not DVD-V/Universal, just with the most devices of the target type I can get. I had originally intended to burn each disc, at least until I could determine demand. That meant tracking down the most compatible DVD-R blanks I could find. I've since researched and found that just doesn't make good economic sense, as duplicators are now below the price of DVD-R discs of any quality.

So if I encode for Universal only, then I should have no problem? If it's a legal issue, I can call it DaViD-Audio :-)

Dave
Why only two mics?
Well, I only have two ears.

#14 of 32 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted May 20 2003 - 09:52 AM

David asked:

Quote:
I am assuming this must be stereo only, as it is my assumption that the heads only provide a two channel feed to the decoder. I.E., the 5.1 or whatever is extracted from NMT two data streams. Is this close enough to correct?

Not really, no.

What happens is an audio datastream is allowed a maximum number of sectors per block, and the sectors are reassembled at the end of each block to create the audio stream that correlates to the video datastream that was just read.

That bitstream (DD, DTS or PCM) is than passed to decoders and/or DACs as required.

Consider picking up two books that might be of tremendous value to you on this topic.

1) DVD Demystified, by Jim Taylor

2) DVD Authoring and Production by Ralph LaBarge

Both of these were immensely helpful in furthering my understanding of DVD.

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
Opinions are my own, not representative of the publication I write for.

#15 of 32 OFFLINE   DavidAMallett

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Posted May 20 2003 - 09:56 AM

Now the books are a great idea. Haven't checked the prices yet. If they are pricey, which is the better choice?

Dave
Why only two mics?
Well, I only have two ears.

#16 of 32 OFFLINE   DavidAMallett

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Posted May 20 2003 - 10:13 AM

Forget it. I just ordered both of them.

Dave
Why only two mics?
Well, I only have two ears.

#17 of 32 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 20 2003 - 10:57 AM

This label doesn't use any lossy compressed formats on their dvd-audios (at least from what their website doesn't say).

edit: Oops--just clicked on "Professional Services" and in gargantuan letters it says "FORWARD COMPATIBLE ONLY". :b

LJ

#18 of 32 OFFLINE   DavidAMallett

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Posted May 20 2003 - 11:12 AM

Kewl. I took a look, and my first impression was why would one do 5.1 surround for a string quartet?

Looking at that release, it is not apparent just how many channels are involved, but the contents are pretty much in line with what I want to do.

Think I will order a copy and check it out, both artistically and technically.

THANKS!

Dave
Why only two mics?
Well, I only have two ears.

#19 of 32 OFFLINE   DavidAMallett

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Posted May 20 2003 - 11:16 AM

Tried to purchase, but the link to the vendor said "This title no longer available."

I wonder how long I will last...

Dave
Why only two mics?
Well, I only have two ears.

#20 of 32 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 20 2003 - 11:44 AM

The Elv1s dvd-audio has no video for anything:

Highfidelityreview.com news item (third paragraph down)

Same with a new disc from a classical label called MGD: Review of MDG dvd-audio (3rd paragraph down, last sentence)

LJ


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