Where can I get some basic DVD-Audio and SACD information?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Angelo.M, Feb 14, 2003.

  1. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Is there a great FAQ or website out there to introduce someone who is just getting into hi-rez stuff? Something that details the nature of the formats and their differences?

    Also, dumb question: will DVD-Audio titles play on a standard DVD player?

    Thanks... [​IMG]
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Angelo, for more on SACD, try these sites:

    * http://www.sonymusic.com/sacd/
    * http://interprod5.imgusa.com/son-637/home.asp (redirect from www.sony.com/sacd)

    For more on DVD-Audio, try these sites:

    * http://www.dvdaudiopreview.com/main.html
    * http://www.digitalaudioguide.com/

    Also, www.highfidelityreview.com has good information on label affiliations to the two formats and available titles.

    As for your second question, high-resolution DVD-Audio tracks cannot be played on a DVD-Video player. However, most DVD-Audio discs have a Dolby Digital and/or DTS track for playback on a DVD-Video player.
     
  3. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Keith:

    Thanks, I'll start doing my research. So, just to reiterate and to get this into my (dense, at the moment) head, even though I don't yet have a DVD-audio player, I can still listen to the multi-channel DD/DTS tracks on DVD-A releases. I ask because Music from Big Pink is calling my name, and I don't yet have a DVD-A player; looks like I'll have SACD capability before I have DVD-A capability.

    Thanks...
     
  4. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

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    Beware! Finding information on either of these formats on the internet is a whole lot more difficult than just stumbling across piles of steaming misinformation. I don't know the rational behind it, but many many people have some very strong opinions about why one is better than the other, and will go to great lengths to attempt to "expose" the "inferior" format. It is sickening.

    Here's what you need to know:

    - Both SACD and DVD-Audio can sound absolutely spectacular. In almost all cases, the weakest links in the audio chain that remain are the quality of the recording and mastering and the deficiencies of your speakers (and the rest of your system).

    - Bass management is still almost non-existent. Even the earliest and the most inexpensive Dolby Digital decoders have had flexible and useful bass management. Most DVD-A and SACD products do not.

    - related to the above, there is an even greater lack of time-alignment capabilities in SACD and DVD-A products (i.e. correcting for unequal speaker distances by adding delay).

    - No digital interconnects (with a few expensive exceptions). You will need to use the 6 analog outputs of the players. If you want both SACD and DVD-A, you will need to get a universal player or have some way to connect two sets of 6 RCAs into your receiver/pre-pro


    Frankly, I don't give a $%^& which is better. I bought bjork on DVD-A, because that's the format it is available in, and I bought Diana Krall on SACD, because she's on SACD. I wish that there was only one format, and that that format was SACD, but that's just me. I often like to listen to multi-channel music, and SACD treats multi-channel equally to 2-channel; DVD-A limits mutli-channel to 96/24 (not a sufficiently superior sampling rate compared to CD, IMHO).

    Note that all DVD-Audio titles, without exception, play on DVD-video players, but that they are limited to DVD-video technology, i.e. Dolby Digital or dts for surround or at best, 2-channel PCM at 48 kHz.

    Many, but certainly not all SACD titles will play on a normal CD player. You will get little benefit from this though... it is still stereo 16 bit 44.1 kHz, just like any other CD. This CD layer is created from the DSD bit-stream (the SACD format) using Sony's Super Bit Mapping technology, which is by far the most superior way to create a PCM stream. So, in many cases, the CD layer of a SACD release will be the best sounding CD release of a particular recording. The benefits however are small at best. To make things as difficult as possible for the consumer, not all SACD packages are labelled as being CD compatible even if the disc inside is. And most online retailers do not correctly indicate this information, instead warning that all of their SACD titles play only on a SACD player (not always true).
     
  5. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    Aaron about this statement "not all SACD packages are labelled as being CD compatible even if the disc inside is." Can you give me some examples? I know about the ones that appear to be CD only (like the Stones) but are bybird discs. I don't know of any that claim SACD but are CD compatable without stating hybrid on the package.
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Angelo, you've got it. As long as a DVD-Audio disc has a Dolby Digital or DTS track, you can play the disc on your DVD-Video player. You just will not be able to play the high-resolution DVD-Audio tracks.

    Aaron makes some good points that you may not find on the web sites I mentioned. Check out the sites I mentioned, and if you have questions, just ask us.

    An important point is that there are some strong biases towards one format or the other out there. Aaron is absolutely correct in that both formats can sound outstanding (easily better than CD). The technology is there in both formats, however, the implementation is sometimes lacking. In other words, some discs are not mixed optimally and do not in any way represent the potential of these formats.

    If you search the Music Area board here, you are bound to find comments about discs that are and are not well regarded from a sound standpoint. In fact, many folks new to the formats have started threads asking for recommendations about top-notch discs in terms of audio quality. Those threads should prove helpful to you.
     
  7. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    All of this information has been terrific, thanks to all. I'm willing to jump right on into DVD-A simply because of Big Pink, and will jump right into SACD as well with Dark Side of the Moon. I don't care which is better, I want both.
     
  8. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Keith:

    One more question, although perhaps more appropriate for the Music board. I checked out your list of SACDs and DVD-As, and noticed several titles by Billy Joel. I'm not a huge fan of his music, but I do think that Turnstiles is his best, and among his most overlooked, stuff. Is this available in a high-rez format? I have the remastered CD, which sounds fine, but would add it to my DVD-A or SACD shopping list as well.
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Angelo, I have had both formats and am loving life! There is a lot of on-going bickering about one format's superiority over the other, but it's not worth giving airtime to it. In the end, go with what you like and don't look back. I bought into SACD in October 2000 and DVD-Audio in February 2001 and have simply enjoyed both formats. Why expend a lot of energy taking a stand for one format over the other and why deny yourself of some great music? Go with both! [​IMG]

    On the hardware, are you aware that there are some players out there that play both DVD-Audio discs and SACDs? These are called "univeral players". So, you needn't buy separate players for the two formats. This is not to say that buying separate components is a bad thing to do. There is merit to going with separates. First off, what would your budget be for buying into both formats, regardless if we are talking about a universal player or separates?

    Note that the cheapest universal player currently available is the Pioneer Elite DV-45A at $500 retail. This player has been discussed here extensively, so do a search. If you are interested in spending less, Pioneer will be releasing the DV-563A universal player for $270 retail later this year. Zenith will also be releasing the $200 DV-318 universal player this year as well. I would expect there to be sacrifices in audio quality as you go down in price, but that remains to be seen. Also note that there are more expensive universal players on the market. Several units retail for $1000-1500.

    If you would like to discuss the more expensive universal players further, let me know. Likewise, if you desire more information on the separates route, we can discuss that too. Knowing your budget would be a good place to start.
     
  10. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Budget isn't much of an issue. I was planning on starting with a Sony SACD player, something from the ES line if I can find it. I've been very happy with every ES piece I've owned or used, so I'm predisposed to it. I was thinking of buying that for now, and listening to DVD-A (multitrack only) on my current DVD player (I have the 300-DVD changer from, yes, Sony). At some point down the road, I'll explore a dedicated DVD-A player. My neighbor just bought Onkyo's 'universal' player, and likes it quite a bit. I haven't heard much about it (saw it in Crutchfield's catalog, but I wasn't aware that it was available yet; I guess it is).

    I'd rather stay away from a lower-end Pioneer or Philips player. I'd consider a Pioneer Elite, however, and will check out that option as well.

    Any word on Turnstiles?
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Angelo, O.K. Well, if you can spend in the neighborhood of $2000 for an SACD player, take a good look at the Sony SCD-XA777ES single-disc model (no DVD playback). It retails for $3000, but authorized mail-order dealers like Oade Bros. (1-229-228-0093 or 1-229-228-4480), J&R Music World (1-800-221-8180), and OneCall (1-800-340-4770) sell it for around $2000. On a first pass, Oade Bros. will probably quote you the lowest price, but OneCall and J&R will probably match their price. For more on the 'XA777ES, go to www.crutchfield.com .

    The 'XA777ES is an excellent machine. Build quality is first-rate (it weighs 35 lbs.), and the CD and SACD replay are excellent. If you can swing $2000, you won't be disappointed.

    If $2000 is more than you would like to spend, the options with Sony ES are limited. The SCD-C555ES carousel changer is very difficult to find now, as Sony discontinued it a few months ago. It retailed for $1700 when first released in April 2001, but it was selling for around $600 by mail and $800 at brick-and-mortar stores a few months ago. If you can track one down, the 'C555ES is an outstanding value. It is not as good as the 'XA777ES, but it is still a high-quality component. Build quality and sound quality are excellent.

    Below the 'C555ES is the 'C222ES changer, which is still available. The 'C222ES retails for $500, but you should be able to get it for around $350 by mail. The build and sound quality are very solid for the money. The 'C222ES is a step down from the 'C555ES, but it is still a good value. For more on the 'C222ES, check out crutchfield.com.

    As for universal players, there has been some talk on this site about the Onkyo DV-SP800 and it's Integra counterpart, the DPS-8.3. Do a search here for more information. In the same price range, the Yamaha DV-S2300 has been getting high praise. Denon will also be releasing the DV-2900 universal player for around $1000 later this year. I'd be curious to see it in action.
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Angelo asked:

     
  13. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

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  14. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    "Love Scenes" on SACD? Could you be referring to a DTS disc instead?
     
  15. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Keith:

    I'll look into the players you've suggested. As far as Turnstiles, yes, I asked you about it a few posts ago, and you've answered the question. Would love to see this in hi-rez; have the remaster, which sounds pretty good. Not a huge Billy Joel fan, but this is his best IMHO.
     

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