Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › DVD-A and SACD may not be audibly distinguishable from 16/44.1
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

DVD-A and SACD may not be audibly distinguishable from 16/44.1

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
Some discussions about a Boston Audio Society paper published in JAES. Blind tests of high res material played back either with or without a secondary 16/44.1 downsampling revealed that no subjects at all out of 500+ tests could detect the absence or presence of the second (degrading) stage at normal listening levels playing back music to beyond chance levels. A noise floor difference could be detected at *very* high levels with no music signal and an extremely quiet source disc. T

he authors conclude that some High res recordings do sound better than CD , but only because of better mastering not the bit-depth or sample rate

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/...howtopic=57406

http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/vt.mp...ophead&m=36592
post #2 of 66
This is a little bit of what I suspected. That mastering matters more than format. I'm kind of have the belief that the higher res formats could possibly convey more depth/res than cd in the best mastered stuff but I recognize that that might be a spurious belief... still that paper from posts @ hydrogen might be not altogether convincing.

"
The paper is rather light on details of the setup. They don't list the speakers they use, or the DAC/ADC they use, or the analog gain stage they use to match levels. That's pretty disconcerting, but I'm unsure exactly how much that matters, given how many people were involved in testing. (They also tested at several different venues.) I'd suspect that nobody would be placated if they were more detailed in their equipment descriptions. They used an ABX CS-5 for switching. They tested the quantization level of 16/44 by ABXing the system with no music playing at +14db above the normal listening volume. When playing real music at that level, they described it as "unpleasantly (often unbearably) loud".

The paper concludes with the note that the high res releases sounded much, much better than the same music on CD, for well-known mastering reasons. So it ends on a surprisingly pro-high-res note. I'm actually more psyched up to buy SACD and DVD-A now compared to before I read it. I certainly haven't given much attention to high res releases, partly due to the copy restrictions, but partly because I always figured it was all bollocks and I might as well stick with CD."

Lack of system details/set up details is pretty whack.
post #3 of 66
It's my belief that output sections haven't caught up to the inherent potential of the high-res formats. I'd buy the discs for improved mastering alone - most SACDs are close to regular CDs in pricing, at least in my area.
post #4 of 66
I've played with lots of different "stuff" and have found that (to me) HDCD is the true "sweet spot" for best overall bang-for-the-buck sound quality.
Differences I can HEAR.
I've changed my big rigs to HDCD now.
Players, recorders, all of it.
post #5 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarium View Post
Lack of system details/set up details is pretty whack.
In later posts they do describe the set up in more detail. In some they used Quad ESLs.

In fact they used several different configurations as they used many "home" systems from critical individuals inc

recent Quad ESLs, Conrad Johnson preamp, commensurate player and power amps, $600 cables -- in a purpose built room that was very quiet and did not degrade the excellent imaging of the Quads...We tried a $2000 Sony player, which sounded clean, and wound up doing the great majority of our tests with a Yamaha DVD-1500.

However it wouldnt matter if they were using a $200 amp and a $150 pair of KEF Codas.

SACD and DVD-A give you such theoretically superior bandwidth and dynamic range that even a modest system would be able to convey the difference effortlessly - when the 16/44.1 is played back the dynamic range plummets by over 15db (each 3db halves the range) - i.e the sound would be massively compressed and the usable higher frequencies nosedive from 50K to 20K. This should be immediately obvious on even a modest system. It would certainly be trivially measurable using SPLs and Frequency response spectrum analysers.
post #6 of 66
This is exactly what I deduced from checking my Phillips 963sa using a Pentatone SACD/CD hybrid with the exact same mix on both layers. All the SACDs I listened to that sounded better or different had been remixed or remastered.

You can look at the specs and pretty much figure that out. Frequencies beyond the range of human hearing aren't going to make a bit of difference. All the added resolution is down at low volume levels. When you've got 70dB or more of clean dynamic range, extending that to 120dB isn't going to make anything sound better if all you can stand to listen to without reaching for the volume pot is 45dB.

See ya
Steve
post #7 of 66
Hmmm... very interesting! I would definitely like to read the whole article, though. In my own experience, I've found that well-mastered or remastered compact discs (like XRCD, Sony DSD/Mastersound, HDTT) can sound *very* good. I've just never felt compelled to get on the high-res bandwagon (in addition to it being economically prohibitive).
post #8 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverrain View Post
I've played with lots of different "stuff" and have found that (to me) HDCD is the true "sweet spot" for best overall bang-for-the-buck sound quality.
Differences I can HEAR.
I've changed my big rigs to HDCD now.
Players, recorders, all of it.
That is because HDCD changes the sound over the normal CD. The ADC used is also a very good one. There are multiple features in the encoding, but the most useful is the peak extension where the dynamics are expanded.

If you want a software decoder, use hdcd.exe.
post #9 of 66
It's all about the mastering.


With that said, I do believe SACD's can add some depth and resolution to cheaper systems using 1-bit DAC's. Instead of the oversampling and noise shaping done on the cheap CD player, the SACD's has a native stream that cheap 1-bit systems can benefit from. It will get hacked up in the analogue stage still, but there will be a benefit.

However, when you start to have entry mid-fi level equipment or better, the 16/44.1 opens up huge and the SACD resolution means basically nothing anymore. Then it becomes about the mastering 100%
post #10 of 66
Even if it is only the mastering and not the bitrate. I still appriciate how much I prefer the sound of my DVD-A of some albums comapred to the redbook.

Then again theres Redbooks I prefer to the DVD-A and theres vinyls I prefer to both. Its all about the individual case. Not a rule based on the format.
post #11 of 66
Like yage, I find XRCDs, Mobile Fidelity cds, etc., to sound as good or better than SACDs, and I had the $3k Sony SACD player back six years or so. It would seem to be all in the mastering.

And yes, mid-range cd players on up really seem to open up cd sound.
post #12 of 66
I find that when comparing my SACD's to the same disc in Redbook, there is a huge difference. If it is mastering then so be it.
Listening to the original Abraxas CD and then going to the DVD-A is apples and oranges.
Another issue that might be making a diffence is the fact that I am listening to 5.1 using Emm Labs gear.

Another example is Roxy Music's "Avalon" and then there's "Brothers in Arms'.
5.1 allows the music not to step on itself, so it's probably not a fair comparison.

Remember that the only 2 players that output in true DSD are the EMM labs and Reimyo. The Esoteric DV-50 reads in DSD but unfortunately outputs in PCM.
post #13 of 66
Indeed, 5.1 SACD/DVD-A on properly set-up 5.1 speaker system is amazing. It's how I prefer to enjoy the media.

Taken as whole, for strictly 2CH/Headphone systems, I don't hear an advantage. TBO.
post #14 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by tot View Post
If you want a software decoder, use hdcd.exe.

Wow, I have never seen this before. Is there any description what this HDCD software decoder actually does? Can you verify its operation with some test bit streams? Does it leave unencoded streams alone?



Cheers

Thomas
post #15 of 66
One possible test flaw

Quote:
Originally Posted by hciman77 View Post
We...wound up doing the great majority of our tests with a Yamaha DVD-1500.
Yamaha's newest universal model (DVD-S1700) has been reviewed as severely lacking in its SACD playback:

quote from The Absolute Sound, Sept '07:
"...both micro and macro-dynamic information were slightly crimped, and this added a bit of staging squeeze. The S1700 flattens out low-level transient cues and micro-dynamic information is a bit too much..."


One could infer that the previous model (DVD-1500) was no better. Not the best source to be using to benchmark an entire format.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › DVD-A and SACD may not be audibly distinguishable from 16/44.1