dvd-audio/sacd: stereo or 5.1?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by BrianEK, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. BrianEK

    BrianEK Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently recieved a pioneer elite brochure that described the advantages of high resolution dvd-audio and sacd. It said stereo tracks come 192khz,24-bit rate and 5.1 tracks are 96khz,24-bit rate. So does that mean that stereo tracks will sound better than the 5.1 tracks? I know the 5.1 gives a better effect but I noticed that some recordings like the new barenaked ladies dvd-audio disc (everything to everyone) don't really have many surround effects. So I'm wondering if playing a dvd-audio in stereo instead of 5.1 would sound better since it carries 192khz instead of just 96khz. Or would I never hear the difference anyway? I'd just test this myself but I don't have a dvd-audio player yet. I've just been playing discs in 5.1 dolby. Saving money for the Pioneer dv-563a to do SACD and DVD-audio.
     
  2. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    From what I understand of the technology a 5.1 or 6.1 discreet audio track from DVDA or SACD cannot be downmixed to 2.1. You'll actually lose the sonic information from the missing speakers.

    A SACD is recorded in 96khz, 24 bit is not going to upsample itself to 192khz if you try to play it through a stereo connection. Thats just the way it was created, and not a end result of your reciever.

    And your DVDA of the barenaked ladies being played in DD 5.1 isn't the actual DVDA 5.1 track. It is a seperate audio track, much like most SACD also have regular CD layers for use in normal CD players, DVDA disk have "normal" 5.1 digital tracks for regular DVD players.

    Or I may have just confused you further[​IMG]
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The stereo and multi channel mixes are separate tracks and the quality varies from disc to disc and recording to recording. I have found so far that I prefer the 2ch version of a large portion of SACDs I've heard, but there are a few that utilize 5.1 VERY well, such as Dark Side of the Moon.

    SACD is DSD, which is not the same thing as 96/24, AFAIK.
     
  4. BrianEK

    BrianEK Stunt Coordinator

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    I know dvd-a's have 3 layers. a 5.1 layer, 2.0 layer, and DD layer. From what this pioneer elite brochure I have says it does not sound like anything is doing any upsampling. It's simply talking about the benefits. Here is exactly what the brochure says: "Dvd-audio's high specs create a warm sound reminiscent to vintage vinyl albums. The numbers tell the real story: two channels at 192khz, 24-bit. This is about as good as reproduced sound gets. Six channels, at 96khz, 24-bit rate. Creates an audio surround-sound field that gives the impression the band is in the same room with you." I don't know much about SACD and how it differs from dvd-a but it sounds like this is strickly a dvd-a thing. I don't know. That's why I'm asking.
     
  5. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I think it ultimately comes down to your preference of stereo or multichannel listening and the quality of the respective mixes. Based strictly on the numbers the 192KHz stereo tracks are better. I only have one DVD-A with 192KHz tracks (Jonatha Brooke's "Steady Pull") and stereo is my preference when I listen. The difference in quality is subtle however and for me it tends more to be a decision between a surround experience or not.

    For a comparison between DVD-A and SACD:

    http://www.disctronics.co.uk/technol...vdaud_comp.htm

    I also have the 563a and think it's great. Be forewarned, however, that the hi-res formats tend to be subtle in their improvements if you just have a middle of the road system. Part of it is training your ear and pretty soon regular CDs will start to sound harsh, if they don't already.
     
  6. Ben LG

    Ben LG Stunt Coordinator

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    Im with Cameron, its all a matter of preference. I like 5.1 only for HT because you need to be surrounded by the effects and immersed in the atmosphere. When I listen to music/sacd, I dont sit in one spot like I would if I were watching a dvd so I prefer stereo or 2.1 rather.

    Sorry for hijacking your thread but I was also checking out specs on the Pioneer Elite players (45a) and I wanted to know if I was reading this correctly:

     
  7. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    All other things being "equal," a 192/24 track will sound better than a 96/24 track.

    This is discounting the effect of surround sound on any particular track on the barenaked ladies recording. If you especially enjoy what they do with the surround mix, then I'd imagine that would balance the incremental quality increase of the higher bandwidth on the stereo tracks.

    In any case, both formats are pretty high quality and it might be difficult to discern a quality difference between them. Also, not all receivers have DAC's capable of doing 192/24.

    Basically, DVD-A uses a format similar to standard CD's (which would be identified as 44.1/16 in this manner), but with higher sampling frequency and word length.

    With 44.1/16, 192/24, or 96/24, the first number is the times per second, in thousands, that the audio is sampled on the recording. The second number is the word-length or number of bits used to describe the audio at the moment of the sample. On standard CD, for example, that's 44.1 thousand samples per second with a 2 to the 16th power word length or about 65k possibilities. With a 24-bit word length, you obviously have a finer description of the audio as the number of gradations is 2 to the 24th power.

    SACD uses a one-bit word length which describes each sample in terms of the just-previous sample, with one number indicating audio amplitude increasing and another indicating a decrease. The increased quality comes from the sampling frequency, which is about 2.5 Mhz (million times per second).

    So, SACD is really a different critter from DVD-A. Since you're planning to get a combi player, you'll have the chance to let your ears decide which you like best.
     
  8. BrianEK

    BrianEK Stunt Coordinator

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    It seems like each DVD-audio disc has the posibility of different recording specs. Like Cameron_Y said about only having 1 disc that actually used the full 192khz. Where can I find out the specs of a specific disc? I own both Barenaked ladies releases (maroon and Everything to Everyone) and the Missy Elliott-So Addictive. Neither of the 3 discs can I find any information about the resolution of the recording. Is there anywhere I can find the technical info(resolution of recording) on a given dvd-audio disc?
     
  9. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    The disc I have that uses the higher spec actually has 176.4/24 stereo and 88.2/24 surround(Jonatha Brooke's Steady Pull). The user just selects the audio as one does with a DVD-V. Unless it's printed otherwise I assume surround tracks are 96/24. The Pioneer 563 will also display the information.
     

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