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Who here has heard the new formats?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Just wondering who here has actually had a good listen to the new formats? A quick listen doesn't count (unless you feel confident you were able to form a solid impression). I mean, a good listen.
post #2 of 16
Yeah, here you are with a Max, super-duper SACD player, while I'm here contemplating whether to encode my favorite CDs in VBR Lame Mp3 or with Ogg Vorbis out of convenience of having them on my work/notebook without hauling around my rig.
post #3 of 16
What happened to this poll/post? It blew up!
post #4 of 16
LOL, Neil!

Looks like DVD-A is dead here. Good riddance
post #5 of 16
So i wonder why everyonr here has declared SACD to be superior to DVD-A when no one has heard it...
post #6 of 16
Well, I seem to be one of the most vocal proponents of SACD, even though I have, admittedly, only heard SACD. However, I support SACD because it seems to be technically superior to DVD-A, which is more of a brute-force approach to increasing resolution of sound.
post #7 of 16
I'm with DanG on this one. I have only heard DVD-A in a chain store's demo room, so I consider myself to be in the "not heard it" crowd But from everything I've read about DVD-A, it's significantly inferior to SACD (both technically and musically).
post #8 of 16
I think most of the stuff about SACD being "technically superior" is being spread by Sony and audiophile publications.

First of all, SACD is dedicated to audio, and all but one player on the market is audio only. So audiophile magazines may prefer it simply becuase as a format it is exclusive to audiophiles. In contrast, DVD-A is simply being bolted onto existing DVD-video players, and is available at most mass market stores, and even an average dumb-ass may pick one up just because they look fancy.

Also, because SACD is audio-only, it will probably outperform DVD-A at every price point simply because more of the parts costs is being spent on the audio componants. In DVD-A, money must also be spent on a high quality video playback unit.

So for an audiophile that is only intersted in audio, implementations of SACD are better... but that has nothing to do with the formats, or the technology behind it.

We've argued over this many times in this forum, just look back at previous posts. Linear PCM is not inferior to DSD at equal bitrates, and since DVD-A uses much more data than SACD, it is capable of recording more info. Even Stereophile admits in its review that SACD does not equal 192/24PCM in terms of resolution...
post #9 of 16
Well, Thomas, there are actually two units (so far that I know of) that play both DVD-V and SACD -- those two are the Sony DVP-S9000ES and the Philips SACD-1000.

Second, whether or not Sony and Philips spread propaganda, whether they say their technology is the best or the worst does not have any influence over the truth of the matter. Bringing this up does not really show whether or not DSD is or isn't better than the best PCM available today.

Third, you have not yet shown that it is true that linear PCM is equal to DSD at equal bitrates. If this were so, why is it that DSD is being used at all? The reason is that bitrates, while quite indicative of quality within the same format, are not the final word in sound reproduction across formats. For example, ATRAC3-encoded sound at 96 kbps is often said to sound better than 128-kbps MP3 files.

DSD uses a completely different algorithm than PCM to represent sound. Comparing bitrates to decide upon the sound quality of the two formats is like comparing the volume of two different kinds of fruits to determine their respective densities. You need the mass of the two fruits as well as the volume to find the density -- similarly, you need to find the substance behind each audio format as well as the bitrate to decide which is better.
post #10 of 16
Both DSD and PCM are UNCOMPRESSED, so they don't use ANY algorithms to process the audio...

Your ATRAC VS MP3 example is Totally wrong, because it has nothing to do with uncompressed digital audio. MP3 and ATRAC are LOSSY forms of data compression, which take raw digital data (in the form of PCM or DSD), and process it to remove frequencies that humans can not hear. The effectiveness of the algorithm depends on how effectively it models human psycoacoustics. DSD vs PCM are both methods of sampling an analog waveform, and don't use any algorithms to remove data.

DSD uses noise shapingto increase resolution at lower frequencies at the expense of higher frequencies, but noise shaping by itself is not enough for it to equal PCM at almost twice the bitrate. And Keep in mind that all current DVD-A players convert the linear PCM to DSD at HIGHER bitrates than SACD AND USES THE SAME NOISE SHAPING in their DACs. And the only time that it matters which format the digital data is in is when it is converted into analog at the DAC stage.

As soon as DACs come out that keep PCM audio as PCM throughout the signal path are released (ie R2R DACs), they will blow away SACD...Look at all the high end redbook DACs- they are all PCM based. Look at all the low end mass market DACs. they are all DSD.
post #11 of 16
Thomas, while it is true that the analogy of ATRAC3:MP3 :: SACDVD-A is not perfectly valid in every way, it does demonstrate one thing -- (file) size isn't everything. This is because DSD and PCM are, in themselves are different methods for representing the sound, not for processing the sound. Granted, though, much of the problem with DVD-A is the longer chain it has to go through during decoding.

I agree that algorithm was a poor choice of words. PCM and DSD really aren't algorithms because an algorithm is a method of solving a mathematical problem. But you understand what I mean -- if you're approaching the problem of representing the sound in different ways, even using only 61% of the memory that 24/192 PCM audio does, SACD's DSD can still in principle be as good as DVD-A.

First, while the noise shaping can be bad for frequencies above 30 kHz, we can't hear that high anyway, so it's not really an issue. Some super-tweeters, as I understand, can reach up to about 30 kHz, but none are even only in the 20-kHz-and-over range.

Second, the issue of converting PCM to DSD is not a non-issue -- DVD-A is made that way, and this unfortunate chain of processing is a downside of DVD-A.

Ugh, I've got to go. I'll finish this message soon.
post #12 of 16

Remind me of this 2 years from now

My prediction is that both SACD AND DVD Audio will fail in the marketplace. They're solutions in search of a problem! Nobody but the high end community thinks anything more than the quality of today's cds is necessary. And the high end community is tiny in comparison to the size of the home theater market.

It seems that the only possibility of PROVING to average folks that DVD A or SACD are superior to 16 bit 44.1khz cds is with MULTI-CHANNEL demos. With the same number of channels (2 for stereo), and with conditions in the average dealer's showroom, I just don't think most people will hear a difference worth paying another nickel for. But even in a noisy showroom a MULTI-CHANNEL demo can be impressive, and will certainly seem to have more "depth" than stereo.

But there's a problem with multi-channel audio. It is practical ONLY for dedicated high end systems, and home theaters AT HOME! Multi-channel is simply silly on portables, boom boxes, and for radio...all of which are TWO CHANNEL STEREO...not to mention car audio systems (where multi-channel actually could have some advantages over stereo, but at a BIG cost premium...too big for most to pay). And portables, boom boxes, car stereos, and radio are where MOST music listening is done. CD was obviously crisper, clearer, less noisy, with better pitch stability, and better stereo than what was listened to in these environments previously (cassette tape in the case of portables and boom boxes, endless loop tape cartridges in the case of radio).

Look...this is a forum of audiophiles...people who probably spend MUCH more of their disposable income on music and equipment, and most people here haven't heard either format. The clock is ticking! The American economy is weak. Most people are simply not dissatisfied enough with cd to go out and buy their entire music library AGAIN in a new format! These formats WILL die...probably not this year, but they'll be much less talked about next year, and gone the year after. See if I'm not right!
post #13 of 16
Mike, as much as I would hate to see SACD die, I think your points make a lot of sense
post #14 of 16
I feel that DVD-A will get a foothold instead of SACD, but I feel it will eventually fail as well. Everyone and their brother is buying DVD players. And more and more DVD players are coming with the DVD-A option. Most folks won't go out and read about the difference between SACD and DVD-A, they'll just look at the fact that they already have a DVD-A player. Of course, if both sides don't start releasing more "trendy" albums, they're in for a rough time.
post #15 of 16
In contrast, DVD-A is simply being bolted onto existing DVD-video players, and is available at most mass market stores, and even an average dumb-ass may pick one up just because they look fancy
And I'm STILL looking for DVD-A compatible DVD players outside of the ones advertised in high-end audio mags. I scan the flyers weekly and they simply don't exist, at least not in my vicinity. And the clerks don't know anything about them.

Yet the DVD-A discs are in all the music shops.

Yeah, these people really know how to work the new formats...
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