Giving up on DVD-A?

Discussion in 'Music' started by Mike Broadman, Jun 7, 2004.

  1. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    These are just personal feelings and experience, not a "format war" thing, but, here's my story...

    Moving in with the folks for a while means I don't get a surround sound setup. I still use my SACD player (w/ headphones) and am enjoying the SACDs still and still buying more. Sure, I dont' get the surround sound stuff, but that's fine. I buy for the music and enjoy the stereo layers.

    DVD-A is more about the surround sound and now that I've been living without it, I find I don't really miss surround sound. My current situation renders DVD-A discs pretty much useless but I've been keeping them for when I do get my own place.

    Thing is, when confronted with surround sound, I can't really tell that much of a difference between DVD-A and DTS. I know there is one with DVD-A and DD, though.

    This weekend I got a Playstation 2. Except for DVD-A, it has all the same features, or at least the ones I care about, as my Panasonic RP-91. So the only reason I would even still keep the RP-91 is for DVD-A, and it got me thinking about how much I still value the format.

    Here's a list of titles I have:

    The Band- Music From Big Pink
    Billy Cobhamn- Spectrum
    Daniel Barenboim- Beethoven symphonies (6 discs)
    Miles Davis- Tutu
    Deep Purple- Machine Head
    Disturbed- Believe
    The Doors- LA Woman
    Dvorak's 9th Symph, Harnoncourt
    ELP- Brain Salad Surgery
    Donald Fagen- The Nightfly
    Bela Fleck- Bluegrass Sessions
    Bach: Organ Spectacular- Koopman
    Megadeth- Peace Sells
    Natalie Merchant- Tigerlily
    Metallica- s/t
    Pat Metheny- Imaginary Day
    Joni Mitchell- Both Sides Now
    Elv1s
    Holst: Planets
    Queen- A Night at the Opera
    Queensryche- Empire
    Paul Simon- You're the One
    Bach: Organ Works, Stamm
    Steely Dan- 2 Against Nature
    Steely Dan- Everything Must Go
    Stone Temple Pilots- Core
    Strauss- Harnoncourt "in Berlin"
    Yes- Fragile
    Yes- Magnification
    Neil Young- Harvest
    Frank Zappa- Halloween


    AIX:
    Beethoven- Symph #6 / Resphigi- Pines of Rome
    Peppino D'Agostino- Acoustic Guitar
    Latin Jazz Trio
    Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
    Patrice Rushen
    Paul Smith Trio
    Brahms- piano quintet
    Zephyr- Voices Unbound

    Tacet:
    Chopin- Four Ballads
    Chopin- Romantic Piano Trios
    Mendelssohn- Octet, quartet
    Bach- Motets
    Schubert- Trout
    Schubert- String Quartet
    Mozart: flute quartets
    Bach: Brandenburg Concerti
    Bach: violin concertos 2

    Some of these I don't want to keep anyway. The Back organ discs, for example, I feel have very bland performances and for some reason I just don't like organ music like I used to.
    The Queen disc has a DTS track that's as good as if not better than the DVD-A track (and it's my favorite rock DVD-A).
    The Paul Simon disc isn't so hot (not my favorite album), I don't think Tigerlily, Harvest and LA Woman benefis much from surround tracks.
    The Tacet discs I think only come with DVD-A tracks, so they would be useless without my RP-91. The best of those titles are the Bach, and while the surround sound is awesome, I've definitely heard better performances.

    AIX has made the best titles, but those discs have DTS and DD tracks (and video)- they offer so much even without the DVD-A, I don't feel as if I'd be missing much without it. Anyway, as great as most of them are, two of them no longer interest me- the Brahms suffers from a mediocre performance and the Zephyr was mostly gimmick for me (not into vocal music) which has worn out.

    Of course there are a few DVD-A discs that mean little without the DVD-A part. Metallica, Steely Dan, Queensryche, Yes- I haven't listened to the DD tracks but I'm sure they're not as good as the DVD-A. To anyone who has heard both, what are the differences in your mind? Is it worth it without the DVD-A part?

    If I sell the RP-91 and a good portion of these discs that no longer hold my interest, I'd recoup the money spent on the Playstation, so I've effectively be trading DVD-A for video games at no cost (and maybe even a profit). I think I'm comfortable with that. The lack of both backwards compatability and, more importantly, good titles(!), as well as my declining interest in surround sound are making the format less and less interesting.

    (Though oddly enough, I'm dying to hear the Porcupine Tree DVD-A, which I believe has a DTS track. These DTS tracks are so good, they seem to make the DVD-A tracks superfluous.)
     
  2. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    Why would you give up on a format if you have already invested in a player for the format?

    Yes, the release schedule is not great for DVD-A at this point, but it is still the best presentation available now (or ever) of many recordings. The DVD-A that I purchase all have Hi-res stereo tracks as well. Unless you are buying all Silverline discs, I am not sure why you feel DVD-A is surround only, other than the fact that most discs contain surround tracks.

    You could also ask yourself if you are going to move out of your parents and set-up a surround setup in the future. You may want to keep DVD-A playback, or you may not. Both DVD-A and SACD may almost become standard features on most half decent players in the next couple years if current trends continue. This means if you sell the RP-91 and decide to step up from the PS2, you will probably end up with DVD-A playback once again.

    Having seen the PS2 in action as a DVD player, I would still stick with a standalone player, from a user friendly standpoint, as well as a playback standpoint (though PS2 has gotten better with the addition of progressive scan capability).

    It's your call though. I am not sure if you are looking for convincing to stay or leave the format, but if it no longer floats your boat sell the discs and player and try to recoup some money.

    J
     
  3. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    i listen to my dvdas in 2-channel often, anyway. does that player have a way to set up a 2-channel mode? is that not an option for you?

    and i could never give it up just because of some of the fine stuff that's available, like (as you know) nightfly, kamikiriad (why is IT not on your list?!?!?!?!), 2vN, and everything must go (there are others, but i'm particularly fond of the sound of these dan/fagan dvdas). of course, i've only been in this hirez thing for a few months now, so.............it's still a novelty for me.
     
  4. AricB

    AricB Second Unit

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    I think the DD or DTS tracks are hit or miss, some sound very good and some not so good. I too, have a dvd-a player but do not have it hooked up currently and still listen to the DD or DTS tracks and find them satisfying enough. But dont most DVD-A discs include an uncompressed stereo mix? how is that any different from the stereo sacd's your listening too?

    And do PS2's do dts? I cant imagine the PS2 can really compare to the RP91, for dvd playback, but I could be wrong. But I have read posts about RP91 crapping out after a few years, so might be lucky to unload it now?

    The Porcupine Tree disc is very good by the way. Also recommend, Geoff Tate's solo disc(of Queensryche), and you might like the Flaming Lips disc, also heard the Midnight Oil DTS disc is very good too. Steve Stevens Flamenco a go-go, also DTS has been well reviewed.
     
  5. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Neither, both, whatever, just sparking some discussion based on what I'm going through musically.

    If I do get rid of DVD-A, there are definitely a bunch of titles I'd keep for the surround tracks. I'd have to figure out which are worth it.

    Oh, and yes, I know I need to get Fagen's other album, at least on CD. [​IMG]
     
  6. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I wouldn't give up on the format, but you might be well off to sell your RP91? I have an RP91 and it's a fine video player and a mediocre DVD-A player. My 91 won't even play my favourite DVD-A, Boz Scaggs' DIG. It had issues with several other discs too. You can pickup a better DVD-A player or uni later if there's any reason to.

    DVD-A can be about bitchin' stair-e-oh 2...[​IMG]
     
  7. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

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    Queen's ANATO is one of the 2 DVD-eh? titles that I own. I do not have a standalone DVD-A player, only DVD-V.

    ANATO contains a glorious dts track and a non copy-protected 96/24 PCM track playable on most digital HT equipment (at least mine) without a DVD-A player. I have yet to find or hear of another DVD-A disc with this feature.

    I also own the REM 'best of' which has an entertaining dts track (with a least 3 dropouts I've found on 2 separate copies), but a stereo DD track ???

    I prefer a well-imaged stereo mix for focused listening (personal preference) over surround especially since I am stuck in 60's & 70's classics...

    Unless I can find discs with ANATO's features 96/24 playable through a digital connection, I may have purchased my last DVD-A.
     
  8. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I'm holding on to my DVDA players in the slim hope of the new Warner Music releasing my beloved Van Morrison albums...
     
  9. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Mike, I've definitely not given up on DVD-A, and have been enjoying many such titles lately. So, I disagree with you there.

    But I completely agree with you on the surround thing. It was super neat-o at first, and there are some amazing surround mixes that truly add to the musical presentation--no doubt about that and I'm not knocking it. But, on balance and if I had it to do all over again, I'd concentrate more on putting together a tip-top two-channel setup. Most of the music I listen to is two-channel (duh), and I prefer the two-channel mix on many of those releases that come with a multichannel remix.

    After two years of the hi-res surround thing and over 100 titles, I've come to this conclusion: if my music system didn't also double as my home theater surround system, I'd certainly feel that I wasted a ton of money on the multichannel setup. Had I sunk that same money into a two-channel setup (and home theater wasn't an issue), my system would be much superior to what it is today.
     
  10. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    So Rich, you mostly listen to stereo channels on DVD-A? Interesting. I guess I just need to determine if the stereo tracks on the DVD-As are worth it for me.

    I remember not being overly impressed with Metallica's s/t, for example, yet oddly enough I am with the DCC gold of Master of Puppets which is lower resolution. Then again, it was mastered really, really well.

    Philboy, yeah, ANATO is my favorite rock DVD-A for that reason (as well as the awesome mix on The Prophet Song). If all of them were like that, I wouldn't even consider keeping the DVD-A player.
     
  11. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    The Band, Natalie Merchant, Joni Mitchell, Bach, and Megadeth.

    Quite an eclectic collection[​IMG]
     
  12. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Heh, you should see my CD collection. [​IMG]
     
  13. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I agree Rich. There always seems to be a 600 pound elephant sitting in on these discussions...[​IMG] The elephant's name is cost. I think many people are just not going to spend the extra dollars for a 5.1 setup. While done well, and I hope the Mercury discs coming up prove that with 3 channels, most won't be able to enjoy anything but a 2 speaker system. Also, two speakers done well can be exceptional. I would estimate that some 70-80% of surround mixes are too overdone for my taste. The ones that do work can be amazing though.

    As Rich implies saving the money on the two surrounds and the center channel will often pay for an upgrade in the main 2 speakers. I believe that if you had an all Maggie system for 5.1 with 1.6s on the Left and Right, you could likely forgo three speakers and a sub and get the 3.6s, one of the best 2 channel setups around. Let along saving the costs on the interconnect and speaker cables. [​IMG]
     
  14. Michael St. Clair

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    Since some of the SACD fans seem to hate surround, maybe they should start focusing their energy that is wasted here and concentrate it on convincing Sony to focus SACD on stereo-only audio, and dropping surround.

    This wouldn't just free up production resources to concentrate on an even higher number of SACD releases, it would also reduce the royalty rates (only two versions of each album on the discs instead of three)...Sony's other excuse for not releasing more SACD.

    As for me, I certainly won't drop DVD-A, as I guess I am a heathen and surround is definitely a selling point for me. And more of the best, exclusive surround mixes are on DVD-A...Porcupine Tree, Donald Fagen, Flaming Lips...

    I also love my surround SACDs, but the best of them seem to be available on DVD-A as well...thanks to companies like Universal, and engineers like Scheiner...

    If I gave up surround to focus on stereo, I could give up SACD as well. The largest improvement comes from proper mastering, not from the format. If I had to give up surround, I could give up DVD-A and SACD, and just focus on getting the best possible mono/stereo masters on CDs and Redbook layers. If I were stereo-only, I'd shift my emphasis to collecting the best CD, and to a degree, vinyl, masterings of the music I love...
     
  15. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    yeah, i wasn't sure if you were trying to be heroic or wanted some pity. or both.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Mike, I'm with ya. I'm going to sell off all my DTS CDs, SACDs, and DVD-A discs because I just don't listen to them. I don't have the surround capability any more either since I ditched the separates and went back to a low end receiver.
     
  17. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I listen to stereo more than surround for music. I still don't like about 85% of the surround mixes. When surround is done well though it sure sounds good. It does take a big investment to get similar quality as one has for the left and right if one wants to do it to some level close to the stereo channels. I find these days that I'm just enjoying the software, regardless of format. I would think hard before abandoning something though. At least see what you have and like in stereo and decide if you really want to let it go.
     
  18. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I could not disagree more. Three things drive sonics: (1) the original recording quality, (2) the sampling rate and form if digital,and (3) the mastering on the back end.

    I think you have been hanging out on Steve Hoffman's board perhaps too much and have drunk the Koolade. [​IMG] The man does great work but it's not all about the mastering. That's a part of the process. [​IMG]
     
  19. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Woa.
    See, no matter what I would keep my hybrid SACDs because at least I can use them as CDs.
    Anyway, I'm not giving up my Sony 555 ES. While I can't notice any difference and don't care much about the comparative video quality of the RP-91 and Play Station, I certainly would about audio. The 555 ES is a great CD player, so I might as well enjoy the additional functionality of the SACD stuff.
    Now, ignoring single layer releases is something I already do. Not worth it if I can't use it as I wish.

    PhilA,
    85%? That seems high. IMO, I would say a small percentage are really bad (Alice in Chains, Headhunters), a small are really awesome (Queen, Peter Gabriel), and most are good but not amazing (Doors, LA Woman). Most of the DVD-As I have are in the latter. The really awesome ones are the ones from AIX, Queen, and Yes- Fragile, with Queenryche and couple others being real good. And Porcupine Tree is supposed to be awesome (which doesn't surprise me since Wilson was involved). It's the only album that came out on DVD-A and not on SACD that I'm really interested in the past year.
     
  20. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

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    Mike,

    FYI: Queen Greatest Video Hits Vol. 1, DVD Video has all the 'best' in a dts 5.1 mix and a PCM 48/24 Stereo track that is superb.

    I haven't watched the video part, but it makes one hell of an audio DVD..
     

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