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


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#21 of 33 joe goswami

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Posted December 25 2008 - 07:18 AM

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?

#22 of 33 Lee Scoggins

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Posted December 25 2008 - 10:27 AM

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

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alon Goldberg
Actually on the topic of the Beatles, I recently did an A-B comparison of the Beatles Love CD on my Naim CD5x vs DVD-Audio in my Oppo 983, both using analogue connections to my two-channel stereo system. Needless to say, I could only handle a few minutes with the Oppo, it sounded thin and weak, very tinny, lacked musicality, no presence or soul... I heard absolutely no added detail with DVD-Audio.

I know this is hardly a fair comparison as the Naim CD Player costs over 10x the Oppo... But no question in my mind that a quality CD player can hold its own against a mass-market DVD-Audio player, and beat it handily via analogue.

But even though I see no merit in SACD or DVD-Audio, I agree with the OP that they should have just stuck with DVD as a high resolution medium, allowing consumers to use existing players which are good enough on most systems. But its too late now as mp3 has won the audio war. Thankfully some artists (Nine Inch Nails for instance) are releasing 24/96 lossless downloads, so we can stream high resolution audio to our hifi systems, rendering the player obsolete.

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#23 of 33 Alon Goldberg

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Posted December 25 2008 - 10:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Scoggins
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
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

#24 of 33 Yee-Ming

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Posted December 25 2008 - 02:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Scoggins
I think with Blu-Ray catching on, that may be the best bet for niche but wider hirez audio format as the audio can ride the video improvement wave.

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

#25 of 33 gene c

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Posted December 26 2008 - 04:34 AM

Quote:
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.
Given the cost of your components I can see your point. But for those of us replacing a $200 cd player with a $300 DVD-A/SACD player there was enough of a difference to add a hi-res player. Even with so few titles available. In fact, my main reason for going with hi-res players wasn't the increase in sound quality but surround sound. This is the main reason I enjoy concert dvd's as much as I do. Of course, a hi-res player isn't needed for 5.1 playback but since most all music discs that have DD or DTS 5.1 tracks (except for DTS cd's) also have DVD-A or SACD on them I bought a hi-res player. But if it had looked as though music would make the switch to 5.1 dvd I "might" not have bought a hi-res player.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Scoggins
I think with Blu-Ray catching on, that may be the best bet for niche but wider hirez audio format as the audio can ride the video improvement wave.
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?
"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#26 of 33 Chris Gerhard

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Posted December 26 2008 - 12:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gene c
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?

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

#27 of 33 gene c

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Posted December 26 2008 - 12:24 PM

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.
"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#28 of 33 Lee Scoggins

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Posted December 26 2008 - 04:03 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alon Goldberg
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

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.
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#29 of 33 Lee Scoggins

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Posted December 26 2008 - 04:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gene c
But if it had looked as though music would make the switch to 5.1 dvd I "might" not have bought a hi-res player. 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?

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.
Viewing: Sony KDSXBR150, Sony Bluray S570, ATT Uverse
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#30 of 33 Chris Gerhard

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Posted December 26 2008 - 10:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gene c
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.

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

#31 of 33 gene c

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Posted December 27 2008 - 09:19 AM

Quote:
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.
Thanks for the info. It answered a few questions but created a few more Posted Image . But I'm not sure they are appropriet for this thread or the music forum.
Quote:
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.
Appologies for not putting "basically" before "built to DVD-A spec" Posted Image . 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.
"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#32 of 33 Mark_TS

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Posted December 30 2008 - 02:13 PM

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]
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#33 of 33 Lee Scoggins

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Posted December 31 2008 - 12:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_TS
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]

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.
Viewing: Sony KDSXBR150, Sony Bluray S570, ATT Uverse
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