Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › SACD vs. DVD-A
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

SACD vs. DVD-A

post #1 of 174
Thread Starter 
What's the concensus as to which is the superior format. I know that there aren't a lot of titles available in either format, but does either one seem to have superior sound quality over the other? Just curious.
post #2 of 174
Oh no!! There it goes again....
post #3 of 174
Thread Starter 
Uh oh. That can't be a good sign.
post #4 of 174
I think this has been discussed ad nauseum already, and the only consensus is either "Whichever you like the sound of better" or "Whichever has more music you like".

From what I understand, SACD is a more elegant approach to solving the digital sound problem. The technology is different and supposedly better. DVD-Audio, on the other hand, is simply the application of MORE to the existing method to provide better quality. If a CD was a standard 4-banger car engine, the SACD people have said "Maybe if we take a rotary engine instead and tune it a bit or add a turbocharger, we can get better performance" while the DVD-A group simply said "More power is easy, add another 4 cylinders, you've got a V8, we're done". It's not quite that simple, but it captures the general situation.

I've only heard DVD-Audio, so I can't speak about how the sound of the two formats compare. Based on what I've seen, SACD has more and better titles available and, so far, has been the only one to offer hybrid CDs with a standard redbook layer along with the hi-res content (I believe this is coming soon to DVD-A but SACD has had it for a long time). The winner will probably be decided by commercial factors and not sound quality, sadly enough.
post #5 of 174
Thread Starter 
I read somewhere that DSD (Sony's solution for doing away with PCM) is actually inferior to PCM. I don't remember why exactly, but I think it had something to do with distortion at certain frequencies or something to that effect. I've also heard that Sony's method requires conversion to PCM in one of the final steps as well, which makes DSD seem pointless. I know I'm probably getting my info mixed up here, but nonetheless.
post #6 of 174
Quote:
Originally posted by Jigglybootch
I read somewhere that DSD (Sony's solution for doing away with PCM) is actually inferior to PCM. I don't remember why exactly, but I think it had something to do with distortion at certain frequencies or something to that effect. I've also heard that Sony's method requires conversion to PCM in one of the final steps as well, which makes DSD seem pointless. I know I'm probably getting my info mixed up here, but nonetheless.
Not quite -- but PCM has theoretically better resolution than DSD in certain circumstances (actually the opposite is true in some other cases) -- but it is not clear that the difference is audible (certainly it is beyond the range of contemporary recording equipment.

Most devices do convert DSD to PCM but Sony claims to be developing a DSD-only receiver. We'll see ....
post #7 of 174
Quote:
Originally posted by Music Fanatic
Sony claims to be developing a DSD-only receiver. We'll see ....
Sharp and dCS already did. Got one from sharp. Love it.
post #8 of 174
will any dvd player play dvd-a?.....and is there a way to connect headphones directly to a dvda/sacd player?
post #9 of 174
1. yes
2. that depends on whether the player has a headphone out doesn't it? If not you can connect a headphone amp to it just like any other player.
post #10 of 174
DVD-A has a potential for better sound. Do the math 2.2 mhz x 2 bits, compared to 24 bit x 192Khz. The real problem is that the production standards have been crappy.

There has not been one DVD-A title that takes advantage of the Stereo @ 24/192 resolution. So there has not been one DVD-A title that was produced specifically for better sound quality. Where as there have been any number of SACD's produced where the emphasis has been "sound quality".

The other issue is that DSD is very simple to implement, and PCM is by comparison extremely difficult. It then comes down to cost. A cost no object player, playing the best software that could possibly be produced would give the advantage to DVD-A. That is a what if scenario. In the real world SACD wins.

All DVD-A discs will play on all DVD players, but not in DVD-A. Part of the DVD-A standard is that all discs will also have a Dolby Digital track as well.
post #11 of 174
Quote:
Originally posted by Yikes
There has not been one DVD-A title that takes advantage of the Stereo @ 24/192 resolution. So there has not been one DVD-A title that was produced specifically for better sound quality. Where as there have been any number of SACD's produced where the emphasis has been "sound quality".
What about The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds or Steely Dan's Everything Must Go? Are these not 24bit / 192KHz? Mine are.
post #12 of 174
Very good post, Yikes!

I fully agree. Well, as it seems there are at least a handful of 24/192 recordings available, but they are a vanishingly small minority.

post #13 of 174
Quote:
Originally posted by Yikes

The other issue is that DSD is very simple to implement, and PCM is by comparison extremely difficult. It then comes down to cost. A cost no object player, playing the best software that could possibly be produced would give the advantage to DVD-A. That is a what if scenario. In the real world SACD wins.
if you have "cost no object" players for each format, you will end up with a stalemate, which player will be more expensive will be anyone's guess and all the theoretical arguments for and against each format remaining intact.
post #14 of 174
Quote:
Originally posted by JaZZ
Very good post, Yikes!

I fully agree. Well, as it seems there are at least a handful of 24/192 recordings available, but they are a vanishingly small minority.

I think DVD-A recordings in general are a vanishingly small minority. Like tall other format wars, this too will be won by the one with the most titles and not necessarily the most resolution. That said, I'm pleased as punch with DSD/SACD and see no rationale to switch to DVD-A. Which IMHO is an acronym for "Dump Video Disc for Audio".
post #15 of 174
Well, I have at least 4 24/192 DVD-As (and I only have about a dozen DVD-As), so I'm not sure what you are referring to.

As to which is better, the important thing is that they *both* sound better than plain vanilla CD (HOWEVER, it should be noted that a well-mastered Redbook CD version can actually sound better than a poorly mastered hi-rez version). There are powerful forces behind each format, as well as fanatics (no really, *fanatics*) on either side who will insist one is inherently better than the other. Fanatics will argue that the other format is fundamentally flawed in some way, these arguments can be refuted, and new arguments made. There are people with impeccable technical credentials in the audio arts (gear manufacturers, recording engineers, mastering engineers, artists) on both sides of the fence who will insist one or the other is superior. Bottom line, no two people will agree which is inherently better due purely to its specifications or by listening.

There are differences in the formats however:

1. DVD-A is not a fixed standard. "DVD-A" titles can be 24/48, 24/96 or 24/192, you have no guarantee that each title you buy will be at the maximum resolution DVD-A allows. There is only one flavor of SACD and it's in full-rez all the time.

2. SACD has tons more titles available currently that sell a heck of a lot more than DVD-A. DVD-A however, has tons more machines installed in people's homes (of course most of these people just bought a DVD player and have no idea that it also supports DVD-A, or even that there is a new format called DVD-A).

3. DVD-A currently forces you to attach your player to a monitor so you can visually select which track you want to hear (stereo hi-rez, surround hi-rez, Dolby Digital, etc.). With SACD, it works just like a CD, pop it in and hit play.

4. SACD has hybrid discs available that will play in any CD player, not just SACDPs. These discs contain a standard CD layer as well as a hi-rez stereo and occasionally, hi-rez multi-channel layers as well. These are sold as regular CDs in the regular section for the artist, most people are none the wiser they have a hybrid SACD as they are simply buying a "normal" CD for their collection. DVD-A is coming out with a flip-able version that will have a CD layer on one side and the hi-rez DVD layer on the other. Probably near the end of this year they will start to turn up.

Mark
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › SACD vs. DVD-A