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Regarding DOWNMIXING with a SACD

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
Hi!

I think that in the SACD Playback "2ch Area" and "Multi-channel Area" yield
the same DOWNMIXED sound while using "2 channel Audio Output" mode.
Am I right?

I am using Pioneer DV-578A-S dvd player with a SACD ("Dark Side of the Moon", 5.1 remastered version). Here is the audio setup:

Initial Settings ==>Speakers==>Audio Output Mode: 2 Channel

then:

Initial Settings==>Options==>SACD Playback==>2-ch Area
or
Initial Settings==>Options==>SACD Playback==>Multi-ch Area

I am connecting a simple Cambridge SoundWorks STEREO receiver to the L-R audio output in the back of DV-578A-S and through its HEADPHONE jack connecting Sony's headphones.
The only DIFFERENCE, in my opinion, is that when choosing "Multi-ch Area" option the display shows "D.MIX".

(Of course the "Multi-ch Area" option would make sense when connecting to a 5.1 system and setting the Audio Output Mode to "5.1".)

Thanks,

Adam
post #2 of 68
If a SACD has a multi-channel mix, then the 2 channel DSD mix is a separate mix altogether. There is no downmixing on SACD and very few SACDs have no distinct 2 channel stereo (or mono) mix.
post #3 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundboy
If a SACD has a multi-channel mix, then the 2 channel DSD mix is a separate mix altogether. There is no downmixing on SACD and very few SACDs have no distinct 2 channel stereo (or mono) mix.
The Denon 3910 mixes 5.1 down to 2.0 when you listen from the dedicated 2-ch outputs. It soes this for DVD-A and SACD as well.
post #4 of 68
Thread Starter 

"D.MIX"

Thanks, but as I said, when I choose:

Options==>SACD Playback==>Multi-ch Area
with
Audio Output Mode: 2 channel

the display shows "D.MIX". So is it DOWNMIXING or just using
"2 ch Area" option, because the SACD has a "stereo layer" anyway?

Adam
post #5 of 68
Perhaps that's just your player. Sounds like the settings are used to set the default playback mode.

Here's how a hybrid SACD looks like when dissected....



So there's really no downmixing with SACD. You can choose either to play the 2 channel or the multi-channel section of the DSD layer. And if you choose to play the multi-channel section through 2 speakers, then you will be missing the rest of the information.
post #6 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundboy
Perhaps that's just your player. Sounds like the settings are used to set the default playback mode.

Here's how a hybrid SACD looks like when dissected....



So there's really no downmixing with SACD. You can choose either to play the 2 channel or the multi-channel section of the DSD layer. And if you choose to play the multi-channel section through 2 speakers, then you will be missing the rest of the information.
What about a 2 channel SACD player like the Maverick or Classe SACD2. Aren't they downmixing single layer SACDs. Can't you also choose to listen to the SACD layer on those players? Perhaps you are just referring to the setup in question... or I'm confused?
post #7 of 68
I think you are a bit confused guys,Soundboy is correct.Almost all SACD's have a dedicated stereo track,with the exception of a rare few.So all players will revert to the stereo track if they are two channel only players,even if it's a single layer disc(which means it only contains SACD layer).If it's a multi-channel player,it's also a two channel player as well.Meaninig it will always have a dedcated track to choose from,get it.Gary.

P.S.Single layer means SACD only,Hybrid means SACD+Redbook
post #8 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guss2
I think you are a bit confused guys,Soundboy is correct.Almost all SACD's have a dedicated stereo track,with the exception of a rare few.So all players will revert to the stereo track if they are two channel only players,even if it's a single layer disc(which means it only contains SACD layer).If it's a multi-channel player,it's also a two channel player as well.Meaninig it will always have a dedcated track to choose from,get it.Gary.

P.S.Single layer means SACD only,Hybrid means SACD+Redbook

What about those SACDs that don't have a Redbook layer. I have several of them. Are you saying that they also contain a stereo track? If not, what is a player like the SACD2 doing if it isn't downmixing?
post #9 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleestack
What about those SACDs that don't have a Redbook layer. I have several of them. Are you saying that they also contain a stereo track? If not, what is a player like the SACD2 doing if it isn't downmixing?
The SACD player is playing the 2-channel stereo SACD layer.

I have a player which will "downmix" the SACD multichannel layer/section into 2 channels. I preferred the SACD stereo, or the mutilchannel 5.1 playback, and never really tested the downmix option after the initial trial.
post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamCalifornia
Thanks, but as I said, when I choose:

Options==>SACD Playback==>Multi-ch Area
with
Audio Output Mode: 2 channel

the display shows "D.MIX". So is it DOWNMIXING or just using
"2 ch Area" option, because the SACD has a "stereo layer" anyway?

Adam
I'm no expert and I don't know your unit, but it sounds like the player is indeed downmixing from the multi-channel area when you have it set up that way - hence, the D.MIX display.

Unless you get more informed advice, I would use the "Initial Settings==>Options==>SACD Playback==>2-ch Area" setting. This should insure that you're always playing back the stereo track from the disk - which is what you want with a 2-channel setup.

I think some of the confusion in this thread stems from the fact that the SACD standard, unlike DVD-A, specifies that the stereo track ON THE DISK not be downmixed from multi-channel. But this is a separate issue from whether or not a PLAYER is capable of downmixing the multi-channel track to 2-channel, which could come in handy with the couple of SACDS out there that don't have a 2-channel area.

Best,
Beau
post #11 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beauregard
I think some of the confusion in this thread stems from the fact that the SACD standard, unlike DVD-A, specifies that the stereo track ON THE DISK not be downmixed from multi-channel. But this is a separate issue from whether or not a PLAYER is capable of downmixing the multi-channel track to 2-channel, which could come in handy with the couple of SACDS out there that don't have a 2-channel area.
The number of SACD with no 2 channel stereo areas can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand.

How unusual....I didn't know the multi-channel tracks of a SACD can be downmixed.
post #12 of 68
The "downmix" option, if your player offers it, is an Lt/Rt (Pro-logic) downmix. People who have older multichannel receivers that only support Pro-logic (these receivers were popular in the early and mid-90s, before the advent of DVD) can use this option to listen to a multichannel recording in multichannel on their Pro-logic receiver.

Here's how it works:
SACD multichannel -> downmix -> two channels with hidden (matrixed) multichannel information -> Pro-logic receiver -> 4 speakers

You can't do this with the 2-channel SACD layer. If you send the regular 2-channel SACD layer to a Pro-logic receiver, you just get two channels.

Now, here's the key point: if you don't have a Pro-logic receiver, you should not use the downmix option. Just listen to the 2-channel SACD layer. If you don't know how to do this, consult your owner's manual. The downmix option, even though it sounds generally okay with regular (non-Prologic) equipment, has embedded phase distortion (in order to hide the extra multichannel information). Some people can hear this distortion, other people can't, but it doesn't make sense to listen to a supposedly high-res format like SACD with added distortion!

Incidentally, there are similar issues when setting up the downmix options for DVD playback on a DVD player. All DVD players are required to offer an Lt/Rt (Prologic) downmix, but many players also let you switch to an Lo/Ro downmix, which is a "straight stereo" downmix without all the Pro-logic junk. Note that neither an Lt/Rt nor Lo/Ro downmix includes the LFE channel. (To get a downmix that includes LFE, you need to have a DVD player with multichannel outputs, and set the options to L/R=large, sub=no, center=no, rear=no and use the L/R multichannel outputs to listen in stereo.)
post #13 of 68
Thread Starter 

Responding to BeauRegard.

I like your explanation what is downmixing for.
In the event a SACD does NOT have a 2-channel layer/section) then
DOWNMIXING is the ONLY way to get stereo.

On the other hand, the manual for the Pioneer DV-570A-S mentions that:
"Some DVD-Audio do NOT allow DOWNMIXING" which is contrary to some
of you say that SACD does NOT allow downmixing.
So at this point, at least we have to agree that downmixing takes place
from a 5.1- multi channel portion of SACD to 2-channel stereo.

Adam
post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamCalifornia
Thanks, but as I said, when I choose:

Options==>SACD Playback==>Multi-ch Area
with
Audio Output Mode: 2 channel

the display shows "D.MIX". So is it DOWNMIXING or just using
"2 ch Area" option, because the SACD has a "stereo layer" anyway?

Adam
It is downmixing the 5.1 > 2.0, it is not reading the stereo layer to do this.
post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamCalifornia

On the other hand, the manual for the Pioneer DV-570A-S mentions that:
"Some DVD-Audio do NOT allow DOWNMIXING" which is contrary to some
of you say that SACD does NOT allow downmixing.
So at this point, at least we have to agree that downmixing takes place
from a 5.1- multi channel portion of SACD to 2-channel stereo.

Adam
True. The Pio 578a does downmix multichannel SACDs, at least for all the multichannel SACDs I own.

For DVD-A I have run across some that the Pio could not downmix (prohibited?) and so I only got the L, R channels of the 5.1
Interestingly, the same discs downmixed OK on my Denon 3910. So either the 3910 or the Pio 578a is not following the rules properly.
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