CNN article critical of SACD and DVD-A

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Josh Lowe, Nov 9, 2002.

  1. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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  2. Jed M

    Jed M Cinematographer

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    I actually didn't find the article too incorrect. I think think the headline "New discs: Unfriendly but better sound" is justified, or at least I would agree. If these two formats don't get their act together I don't see either surviving very long even though I do enjoy listening to DVD-A. Time can't move fast enough for 3/3/3's release of "Dark Side of the Moon" (talk about an album made for multi channel sound).
     
  3. AustinKW

    AustinKW Stunt Coordinator

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    Have you ever noticed that when you read an article in the media about something you really know about the "information" is invariably incorrect, incomplete and over-simplified? Kinda makes you wonder why, when you read something you don't know a lot about, you tend to believe what you read. Hmmmm.

    Austin
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    I don't see anything wrong with the story. It's an essentially correct piece of reporting aimed at a non-audiophile readership. The simple fact is, most people still haven't even heard of the formats.
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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  6. DeanR

    DeanR Second Unit

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    Scott, I noticed the same thing regarding the new Rolling Stones discs. Why don't they at least have a sticker saying they have a SACD format music on them?? I don't have a player yet, so I can't take advantage of this option, but I am completely mystified why they wouldn't trumpet this capability all over the plastic packaging. Another reason why I question if this format will make it.
     
  7. greg_t

    greg_t Screenwriter

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    Scott,

    I'm not sure about your Best Buy, but my local ones have a bigger selection of DVD-Audio and SACD titles actually in the dvd department. At my local one, they are in the same area as the Music DVD's. You might want to take a look in that area the next time you're there. Mine has a few titles by the dvd players like you said, but they have many more in the actual dvd department.
     
  8. Brent_H

    Brent_H Second Unit

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    I have a couple of questions about that CNN article:

    1) I think the whole copy-protection issue is bogus on this high-end audio formats. If you are going to invest in DVD-A/SACD formats, its obviously for sound quality reasons, putting it on MP3 and playing it in your car would be...for lack of a better word, RETARDED. I am fine with the record companies copy-protecting them anyways, just for preventive reasons. Anyone who wants to turn their HIGH RESOLUTION audio discs into MP3's should be slapped. That's sac-religious.

    2) It mentioned that comapnies aren't putting digital outs on their SACD/DVD-A players right now because they want to wait for a "secure" format or whatever.....Well, how is a digital output going to improve the sound over the analog 5.1 hookups? I thought SACD sounded so good despite the analog hookups....and I figured they never planned on having digital outs. Maybe I am amiss, but please explain.....

    End.
     
  9. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Brent,

    By using a digital transfer you gain a few things.

    1) You go from 6 cables to 1, easing setup.

    2) All digital inputs have identical handling to the end user, also easing setup.

    3) The same tools for Bass Management, Time Alignment (and eventually) Room EQ will be at your disposal.

    Regards,
     
  10. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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  11. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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  12. Brent_H

    Brent_H Second Unit

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    Thomas....you make a good point, but IMO, XM is the way to go in the car [​IMG] Sound quality isn't there but it sure is fun to hear a song I haven't heard in years [​IMG]
     
  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  14. MikeSh

    MikeSh Stunt Coordinator

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    What am I missing here? The Toshiba 4800 is a DVD-A player that has the 5.1 analog outputs and it has an opticl digital output. The specs on it do say that the digital out isn't at full strength, Mhz or something, whatever. Sorry I don't remember the technical term they used. But it does have a digital out that can be used on DVD-A. So who says they don't have digital out for these?

    MikeS.
     
  15. Bill Law

    Bill Law Stunt Coordinator

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    Doesn't the Pioneer 49TXi/47Ai combo get full digital out?
    And Denon digital link?
    And Meridian?
    Any more to come?
     
  16. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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  17. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    The Pioneer, Denon and other digital connection solutions for DVD-Audio and/or SACD multi-channel support are all proprietary (i.e. you can't digitally connect a Pioneer DVD-A/SACD player to a Denon receiver).
     
  18. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    what's wrong with the article? it's pretty dead-on.
     
  19. Han

    Han Second Unit

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  20. Ian Montgomerie

    Ian Montgomerie Stunt Coordinator

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    The article is right on the mark. There are serious problems with these technologies that mean they are of little interest to the average consumer, even if the available titles were plenty (they're not... there are several hundred titles available but they are mostly typical "audiophile" stuff aimed mainly at the taste of older males). The major manufacturers are well aware that these formats are not CD replacements, they are and always will be a smaller market.

    First, the new formats only have two real attractions to the consumer. They can support uncompressed multichannel playback, and they can support higher bit depths and sampling frequencies.

    Multichannel playback is nice, but although 5.1 setups are becoming popular, most people still don't have them. Those that do, almost all just have one setup in their living room. None on their PC, the stereo in their bedroom, the headphones on their walkman, etc. So for most listening purposes, the multichannel is useless.

    The higher bit depths and sampling frequency are also not very useful. CD was reasonably well designed. It is really "just about enough" to take advantage of actual real-world musical content, recording processes, effects, and playback devices. No matter how much data you can cram onto a disc, you can get only slightly better than CD in terms of , and getting even slightly better requires you to have a really good process to minimize recording noise, to run digital effects and mixing on the music in the right way, to mix it to take advantage of the full dynamic range, etc. On SACD taking advantage of the slight improvement is even harder because very expensive, custom hardware is recommended to take "proper" advantage of the DSD stream.

    Not only are the highest bit depths and frequencies of both DVD-A and SACD about as useful as teats on a bull (except for selling to audiophiles who will conveniently believe the music is vastly better once they've noticed the "incredible stats" of the hardware), in reality most people don't perceive such very small audible differences as quality differences. (For example, 256 kilobit MP3 is audibly _different_ from MP3 at least on certain bitstreams. But a while ago a German publication ran a blind test of 256 kilobit MP3 vs. CD, asking a bunch of audiophiles to pick which sounded _better_ when played back on some very expensive systems. The audiophiles behaved as if they were flipping coins, they did not consistently rate more CD streams than MP3 streams as better quality. I expect something similar to hold for DVD-A and SACD, you can measure some differences on a scope, but as for reliably perceived quality difference, it's a dubious prospect on most content).

    Measured against the limited advantages, are huge disadvantages: analog-only outputs, copy protection schemes, and for DVD-A, the menu system.

    The analog only outputs are really nasty for the average consumer. To hear this stuff at higher-than-CD quality at all, you need a receiver with 6 channel analog inputs. These cost enough extra that I expect they're a minority of all receivers sold. Older receivers with analog inputs will often digitize them at 48 KHz so effects can be run on the input... oops. Or you could buy a HTiB system with SACD support built in, but buying a new integrated system to get SACD is not the greatest idea. Even if you have the 6 channel input on your receiver, it is a hassle of an extra connection.

    The copy protection schemes are another huge disadvantage. Basically you can't get any copy at more than CD quality. So again, this is really limiting you to just being able to play it in your living room. Even if you have 96 KHz playback on your PC, or got some hot stuff 96 KHz walkman next year, you couldn't transfer the music to hard disc or flash card to play on these other devices. You couldn't burn a copy to put in your car's new SACD player, while leaving the main one in your changer at home. Etc.

    Then on DVD-A there is the problem of the menu system. The discs use different menus to start playback, so unless you memorize the start sequences for all the different publishers, you basically have to have it hooked up to a TV to actually start the disc. So DVD-A players anywhere but hooked up to your TV are an inconvenient proposition even if you have a surround sound system away from your TV.
     

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