DVD-A and SA-CD bass management question

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Patrick CF, Jan 13, 2004.

  1. Patrick CF

    Patrick CF Auditioning

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    Hi all. Recently bought/setup a new 5.1 system. Enjoying 5.1 surround sound from DVD's and very nice stereo/ProLogicII/Neo6 sound from CD's/records. I have always valued high quality sound from CD's and records, although I have never considered myself a hardcore "audiophile" with vacuum tube amps, separates, etc,etc.

    Now I am curious about DVD-A and SA-CD. I have read the relevant questions from the Beginners' Prime and FAQ from this excellent site, and I have read some threads in the Music section about some of the software issues. I still have some questions about bass mangement which I hope you people can clarify for me.

    1) It is my understanding that because of concern regarding piracy, current DVD-A and SA-CD players do not have a digital output. To hear uncompressed multichannel sound, one must use the 5.1 analog outputs from the player and connect them to the receiver's 5.1 analog inputs. I have also read many times that there are problems with the bass management in this type of setup, as one cannot use receiver's bass management circuits. However, is it not true that many DVD-A and SA-CD players DO PERFORM SOME BASS MANAGEMENT in that one can still specify whether you have "large" or "small" speakers within the player's setup menu? If that is true, why are there still concerns regarding bass management with current DVD-A and SA-CD players?

    2) My receiver is the Sony STR-DA1000ES. It has one set of 5.1 analog inputs for use with DVD-A or SA-CD. I am able to adjust the "level" on the subwoofer input, implying that I can boost the volume of the channel connected to the subwoofer. Is this a correct interpretation? and does this relate at all to the bass management issues when connecting a DVD-A or SA-CD player?
     
  2. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Many current players STILL don't get it right.

    As for your specific questions:

    1. Yes, most players do some amount of BM, but there are often problems with weird crossover settings (200 Hz for DVD-A in the Pioneer 563 for example). And they don't always support all possible combinations of speaker sizes (large fronts, small center and surround, for example). Lastly, for users with no subs, many players do NOT redirect the .1 channel to the mains.

    Having said that, I read reports that the Denon 2200, 2900, and 5900 have reasonable settings, and don't get anything major wrong.

    The trick is to find out what YOUR player does or does not do.

    2. It is good that you have separate trims for the 6 CH analog ins. Many users find that the .1 channel level is low compared to the mains. Having a trim on the sub channel will normally solve that. But, this is just one of several things that can be wrong with BM.

    And it is also possible that your Sony has enough gain on the sub channel to correct the issue without excessive trim.

    If you post the type of player you have, there are likely user reports on its BM.

    BGL
     
  3. Patrick CF

    Patrick CF Auditioning

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    Thanks Brian. I actually don't have a DVD-A or SA-CD player yet, but I am considering it. That's why I've been trying to figure things out to see whether it is something I really want to invest in.

    If I understand your post correctly, things should be OK as long as the player does bass management with an appropriate crossover frequency (80 - 100Hz). For me, all my satelite speakers are "small" as they are PSB Alpha Intro LR's for my main/surrounds and PSB Alpha Intro CLR for the centre. I do have a PSB Subzero i subwoofer. My current crossover frequency from my receiver is 100Hz.

    Even if I am satisfied with the hardware solutions, I am a bit hesitant to invest in this "hi-rez" audio because of the apparant lack of software. I generally like listening to pop/soft rock from the 1980's/1990's/now. In reading some of the posts from the music forum here, there doesn't seem to a large number of releases which would fit my tastes. Furthermore, it is also apparant that one format has not decisively "won" yet, further preventing multichannel music from going mainstream, although I get the impression that SA-CD seems to be ahead of DVD-A.
     
  4. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Patrick: If you are interested in surround music and don't mind if it's not hi-res, then you can play the Dolby or DTS tracks on dvd-audios--this way you can use the existing bass management in your receiver. These formats can still sound very good and give you 98% of the surround music "experience" (it's nothing like stereo)--they will just be lacking those extra fine details the hi-res formats give you.

    If you end up buying a dvd-audio-capable player, in every one I've played with somewhere in the player's set-up menu there is an option to play the dvd-audio disc as a dvd-video disc. When this is done, the dvd-audio's menus for the Dolby tracks, and/or DTS if provided, will appear instead (but certain other options like synchronised on-screen lyric pages may disappear; dvd-audios can be authored very differently from disc to disc).

    FYI: I agree the amount of stuff from the 80s and 90s on both hi-res formats is SEVERELY lacking. Though supposedly Justin Timberlake is going to be released on dvd-audio this year and the modern prog rock group Porcupine Tree is going to release their album In Absentia (sound samples from the CD version) on dvd-audio in February. Watch DTS' website because they are better IMO than most labels at trying out new bands for 5.1 music releases. And don't forget to check out their 5.1 channel DTS-CD titles (no menus or video of any kind, just music).

    The reason for the slow down of dvd-audio titles seems to be the flipper CD/dvd-audio hybrid disc--it looks like it is being tested right now. FYI: this disc can also be used for movies: the movie on one side and its soundtrack on the CD side--cool!

    LJ
     
  5. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Yup, that should be fine, as long as a given player does not change things when going from DVD-A to SCAD to Redbook.

    If you read any of the reviews in S&V they make a point of identfying of the crossover or slopes change with format.

    BGL
     

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