It may or may not be RIP, but it sure has not been given much chance to live.
To this day, we still get full page ads in major AV publications for DVD-A and SACD, but what do you see about DD? Nada. The big release day for the format was met with microscopic listings in the BB and CC Sunday flyers. And one of the two mentioned titles gets recalled within days! This makes the SACD and DVD-A marketing teams look like geniuses in comparison.
And the list of releases was totally lame....nothing their to get ANYONE excited.
While these hardware warnings are not helpful, besides HTF geeks, who see's them? And if Joe Sixpack did happen to stumble upon one, he would probably say "Dual Disc? What the hell is a Dual Disc?" Oh....better stay away from these.
File DD under "How NOT to launch a format".
Having said that, I would still buy one if their were content that interested me, AND it had MC Hi-Rez on the DVD-A side.
No way I would stick one in my car stereo, but I would not be too concerned about compatibility with my single slot DVD or CD players.
It's not the answer anyway. Not for those of us who'd like to see a ubiquitous hi-res format that's acceptable to audiophiles and mainstream, casual listeners alike.
The latest issue of Stereophile's "As We See It" editorial by Jim Austin has given me alot to chew on over the last few days. Unfortunately, it's not published on-line, but if you get a chance to read it, I think you'll find it convincing. Jim's idea is nothing we haven't discussed before, but I never truly realized its absolute necessity: any format lacking a digital output allowing for music to be easily transferred to hard drives and portable players will not survive. And we're looking squarely at you SACD and DVD-A.
If we want such a ubiquitous hi-res medium, it will have to allow for downloads and complete portability. Mp3, Napster, iPod, iTunes, and all the associated medias and services are the future of music... hell, they are the present of music! It's been said many times, but until I read Austin's editorial, it never quite hit home, and I'm really not doing his argument justice here. All this messing around with hybrid redbook layers and glued-on redbook discs will only continue to establish the primacy of a medium that can contain WAV, MP3, AITT-whatever files. Like the CD and the portable hard drive players like the iPod. BTW, the latest iPod generation holds vastly more data than the last generation of iPods, so we should be envisioning a world of total portability without concern for lossy compression formats... but of course all formats are welcome. And that should include DSD, 24/192 PCM, DTS-HD, and whatever other higher resolution formats come down the pike.
Right... but CD is already well established and we've been ripping, sharing, downloading, and making portable those WAV files for years. All you're proving is the supremacy of the CD medium over SACD and DVD-A in this regard.
What I'm talking about (or rather what Jim Austin writes about) is making DSD and MLP tracks rippable, portable, downloadable, etceter-able.
All of the different cd/dvd/etc formats and not one company makes a DECENT changer to accomodate the variety in one megachanger! Players to handle, decode and playback PROPERLY the discs made are what the consumer wants. As the owner of almost 1200 CD/SACD/DVD-A, close to 500 dvd discs, I am the owner of 2 Sony CD and 1 Sony DVD megachangers and a Pioneer player for SACD/DVD-A. Now, another format almost dead out-of-the-gate! Where will it end???
Well the problem there lies in your reliance on Sony machines.
Downloadable content and file sharing isn't going to happen with high rez music, get used to it. Just like the industry is trying their best to cap HD content with HDCP, you're going to see the same thing with high resolution audio. Personally I don't blame them. Since there is so much abuse in the system one would only expect that this kind of content would come out with higher encyrption standards.
Besides, the masses who use ipods, MP3 and the like aren't thinking about high resolution audio anyways, at least most of them aren't.
At the end of the day most people don't hear enough difference in their setups with high rez compared to CD quality audio. It isn't like DVD vs VHS. But there is a big difference between stereo and MC playback and if anything that would be the big draw to these new formats when it comes to the masses. This is where I've repeatedly said that DVD-A and DualDisc have a clear advantage over SA-CD. When any DVD player out there can playback true 5.1 audio off of any DVD-A or DD release that gives a lot of people access. Unfortunately that is not the case with SA-CD. 99% of the consumers out there get no benefit AT ALL from SA-CD so why should they be interested in it?? Just look at the dearth of low cost SA-CD solutions out there. In fact, just look at the quality of the low cost SA-CD solutions or universal transports! I can't think of a single player that does SA-CD under $500 that I would recommend to a friend. The closest contender would probably be the Pioneer 563, but it has so many issues on top of mediocre video playback that it woudl be a really hard sell. Once you get past the $500 mark there are more DVD-A exclusive players then SA-CD exclusive or they are all universal and handle DVD-A far better then SA-CD. But since the average consumer wants to spend less then $200 on a player the only benefit they are going to get out of any of these new formats is the Dolby 5.1 tracks they'll find on DVD-A or DualDisc.
While DualDisc may be useless to those that have already bought most of the initial release titles on DVD-A or SA-CD already, you have to realize that 99.9% of consumers don't have those discs in their collection, so this is all new to them.
Let's look at another example I was thinking about today. Universal is releasing Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral next week on both SA-CD and DualDisc simultaneously. But the SA-CD cost almost $30 where the DualDisc cost about $13. Both have high resolution audio stereo and surround tracks. The SA-CD features a second disc that is full of rare B-sides and demos that are only in 2 channel stereo. The Dual Disc features the entire albulm in Dolby Digital 5.1 and stereo and has three videos including a new 5.1 version of Closer. Now looking at the two, why in the world is the SA-CD $30!!!!! That is insane. And don't give the whole, "well the DualDisc is only 48/24 so its not true high rez!!" because if you don't think the SA-CD is mastered from the exact same PCM track, I have a bridge I'll sell you REAL cheap. Me being a Nine Inch Nails fanatic, I am buying both. I have to give my support to Trent. But $30 for a disc that doesn't give a consumer anything more then what they are already getting from their other Nine Inch Nails CDs unless they happen to have a true SA-CD player is insane.
Kris, you should have a listen to the Sony 2000ES ($399 list) changer. I bought it for the basement system (I have a Modwright XA-777ES in the main system) and before I even brought it home I dropped it at a friends house who had no hi-rez but a high end system with a CD only player that lists for almost $4k. By the end of the week, he told me while there were positives and negatives, he preferred the Sony for CD playback.
The problems for audiophiles and most universal or DVD players for CD playback is that many comprises are made to get the unit out to market at its price point. Most use the 48k DVD-V bitstream for transmission of PCM for CDs. One of the reasons the Linn Unidisk 1.1 costs $11k is that it employs separate clocks for each format(e.g. CD, SACD, DVD-A, etc.).
On the other side as you noted many people who are into home theater prefer multi-channel and that is a selling point to them (not to audiophile which is a small % of the market, especially vs. HT). I also have friends who work at high end shops and I have been involved in over 200 installs and set-ups of various things over the yrs. Most of the people into home theater and enjoy 5.1 surround, and they're entitled to enjoy it as they see fit, have systems that sound horrible period no matter what format they play. I've had to politely sit (and listen) to dozens of things that they thought was the best thing since sliced bread that were just totally awful. So I do agree that multi-channel will be a big selling factor on any format. I personally don't really get it as with modern surround sound capabilities of any decent HT rec'r today one can take a CD and use PLII or Neo 6 and have create a much more realistic surround field from a better sounding source than with a DD 5.1 DVD. I guess the attraction is that it is easier to connect the digital cable and let the rec'r decode DD or DTS without the neurotic audiophile tweaking to get it to sound better.
I am passing on the current Mark Knopfler disc on any format. I don't have any of his solo stuff and always have more software on hand or on my to buy list I can listen to but might not mind springing $30 for Sailing to Philadelphia on SACD. I spend that on the XRCD2 of Brothers in Arms and it was well worth it to me. The $30 is because it is not released in the US and audiophiles do pay about that much for XRCDs or MoFis or other things. It is not going to be a mass market product that will have huge US sale obviously.
As to DualDiscs, you already know how I feel about that from the other thread. I don't need some bastardized thing they call 48/24 hi-rez as with the stuff (multiple things) I have on hand a good mastered CD will sound about the same (and likely better) w/o all the unwanted baggage. To the avg. HT enthusiast with a DVD player that does not have really audiophile CD playback capability it is likely to sound much better. So if DualDisc can pass the test the manuf. are now conducting and not have too many incompatibility problems, it has potential is the mass market if they can keep the prices the same as current CDs. It is not something that is going to generate lots of interest in the audiophile market. So I think that's where a lot of people have different opinions about liking the format . I have no problems with anyone buying it and it is their choice if the manuf. of the machine has issued warnings and they do have a problem. It does not impact me at all.
Why Not?? Are the audiophiles too stuck up to appreciate high resolution stereo and multi-channel software coupled with standard CD audio at a reasonable price? This is a win-win situation!?! Is it the fact that it is priced too reasonably given what you get?? Don't get me wrong, I would much rather see a 2 disc approach like Warner has done with a few titles like The Flaming Lips, but if it takes DualDisc to create a proliferation of high resolution stereo and MC software, so be it!! I am definately not going to turn up my nose just because a few of them are mastered at 48/24. So far the Warner releases have been at least 88/24 and most others have been 96/24. Universal is the only exception but this was the case with a lot of their DVD-A releases as well. And don't think for a second that the SA-CD releases they've done were not mastered from the exact same PCM mix at the same resolution. But on the right equipment those PCM mixes should be far better then their CD counterpart in terms of dynamics.
Personally I don't like the DualDisc idea as I hate flippers and personally like the 2-disc approach. But high resolution recordings that I enjoy are in short supply. That may not be the case for classical music lovers or jazz enthuasists but that isn't really my scene. If DualDisc is what it takes to get the studios to finally start putting out advanced resolution material then I'll gladly take it until the next format comes around. Don't think for a second that there isn't one already in the back of their heads for the upcoming Blu-Ray or HD-DVD formats.
Anyone notice that in the Sunday circulars today, there were two or three titles listed as being available as CD's w/DVD's? Probably the most noteable is the new U2 which can be had in three flavors; plain CD, CD + DVD, and a deluxe collectors box w/book.
And the CD + DVD is listed at BB as being $16, IIRC.
I am quite sure that the DVD's are not high-rez in any way shape or form, but it does speak to the idea of "value". And BTW, the plaine-jane U2 CD is lsted as $10 at BB, and $9 at one of the other stores.
And unless I missed it, no mention anywhere of any DD titles.
There are plenty of CDs being released with DVDs lately as an extra.
The only DualDiscs arriving this week are from Universal, but there are some very good entries including Diana Krall, Nine Inch Nails, and Keane. Best Buy just didn't run anything in their circular about it like they did with the Warner titles.
Obviously public awareness and advertising need to pick up or else this format will go the way of SA-CD and DVD-A in terms of customer awareness. While the niche market is well aware of it, the mass public isn't.
Kris, I was talking about a system properly set-up to play music vs. one set-up as strictly a HT. I'd agree a large portion of the people on a board like this may have their systems set-up in a manner where a 5.1 mix may sound better. On a system that is optimized to play music and not just movies, where one takes the time to properly adjust something with modern surround modes available, again not as easy as connecting a digital cable and listen to some low-rex 5.1 mix, the difference is sound quality and realism with a good CD source to anyone with the slightest experience is like comparing an upper end MP3 to a higher resolution source. The large portion of audiophiles are not at all interested in DVD-A as it is (just look at audioasylum.com) as they have 2-channel music systems and this post by Charles Hansen of Ayre on how his new channel machine selects the stereo only track, pretty much sums up the problems most audiophiles have with the format: http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/hi...es/194146.html
"As you know, DVD-A was not a well thought out format. The newer discs are authored in a more sensible fashion, but there are still problems navigating both older discs and some newer discs."
If you look at places like audioasylum.com it's fairly obvious many audiophiles don't care for multi-channel. I'm probably in the minority liking 15% or so of the multi-channel mixes I have. I played Layla for several friends (I like the multi-channel mix even though I felt they could have tamed the rears a hair on some thigns) and they all hated it vs. the 2-channel. As I noted multi-channel is more appealing to the masses and since audiophile are such a small % anyway, the success of DualDisc will be on avoiding problems with players and have the manuf. verify this via testing. All the audiophiles I know either at this point do not have DVD-A capability at all and don't care to, or have something like a Samsung universal upconverting video player (used mainly for DVD-V) and several I know who have it don't even own a single DVD-A and the ones that do literally have less than a handful of titles. It is clear at this point that SACD has marketed itself to baby-boomer audiophile and is a niche market and does not look like it will go mainstream. DVD-A lost in this regard and the main proponent Warner has made a decision that the audiophile market they lost is too small and won't go anywhere and are giving DualDisc a shot to sell to the masses.
Okay sure. I have a system setup optimally for music and the difference is still staggering. Enough so that I would venture to say that the "audiophiles" saying the opposite must be out of their minds.
I would agree that 2-channel music in its native form can give phenominal imaging and presence in the right setup. But applying a DSP mode to a 2-channel track to create a MC experience doesn't hold a candle to a true MC mix. Sorry, you will never convert me on that one.
Sony was wise with their marketing of SA-CD. They went right after one of the most gullible markets there is, audiophiles. They started with the purist 2-channel stance, which of course would entice the "purists" and spoke wonders on how SA-CD sounded so analog! Planting the placebo right in there. Never mind all the distortion they planted as well. Then they saw that DVD-A would not only offer BETTER two channel capabilities but MC also. But poor SA-CD SUCKS for MC because DSD SUCKS when it comes to Time alignment and bass management which are necessities for good MC playback. The only thing keeping the SA-CD market on its toes is classical and Jazz, which are the two largest markets for guess who! AUDIOPHILES!!! SA-CD is weak at best with anything else. DVD-A was geared more toward the mainstream market offering rock, classic rock, pop, and just about everything else. It was MEANT TO BE a mainstream format and was launched as one.
DualDisc is not meant to be a high resolution savior, it is meant to be a CD market savior. High resolution markets don't come near the volume that the CD market has garnished and now that is starting to fade. DualDisc is trying to offer more bang for the CD buck, not the DVD-A buck. Problem is, we enthuasists (as I like to call us) are very selfish in thinking that these formats are for us directly when that is anything but the case. If you think any of these companies are hoping to god that the forum members like this one then you are kidding yourself. They are looking at the Best Buy and Wal-Mart crowd, not that specialty shop down the street.
By the way, none of this was directed at you personally Phil, I have enjoyed your insights on all this, I just don't agree with them. But I find that I don't agree with most people on most boards.