Confusion about DVD-A format
Mar 12, 2008 at 4:03 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4


500+ Head-Fier
Oct 4, 2001
I upgraded my non-headphone system to all Meridian gear including AV processor and active speakers. This system specializes in multi-channel so I want to find a nice SACD/DVD-A player to take advantage of its capability.

Can anyone recommend a player?

One thing that confuses me is this ... I want the Meridian to do the DAC work, so if I were only talking about 2-channel CD's then I think I would only care about the transport. So how does this apply to the DVD-A?

I'm confused.
Mar 12, 2008 at 4:48 PM Post #2 of 4
You would do well to investigate what Meridian has to offer in that regard, because typically there is usually no way to get the digital stream from a DVD-A to an external DAC over S/PDIF, due to watermarking/copy protection schemes.
Mar 12, 2008 at 5:15 PM Post #3 of 4
Since DVD-A is PCM, most modern-day DAC's can take the digital signal just fine. Good examples are the Benchmark DAC1 and Apogee Mini-DAC, that can handle the full spectrum of a DVD-A hi-rez signal. The problems more often lie with either the specific DVD-A disc and/or your player that feeds to the DAC.

Some DVD-A discs output the full hi-rez signal digitally (up to 24-bit/192kHz if it's on the disc), some only lower resolutions (48 or 96kHz even if higher is on the disc), some only the Redbook layer (hi-rez signal is completely protected, as sejarzo mentions above). No easy way to tell, unless the manufacturer advertises as such, such as with AIX records.

The other part of the equation is your player/transport. Most cannot digitally output higher than 96kHz regardless of what the disc has or can output. There are only a few player that can do that. You have to check the owner's manual to verify, and it is usually only thru the coaxial digital-out (IIRC the TOSlink optical spec can't handle beyond 96kHz).

And of course lastly, your DAC must be able to handle the hi-rez signal.

Not an easy thing to sort out, and it is hardly consistent even when you have all the right pieces.
Mar 13, 2008 at 2:12 AM Post #4 of 4
I have not had difficulty sending DVD-a signals from a universal player to my DACs, they need to be able to handle the higher frequencies, but most can, unless they are redbook only. It is SACD that will not pass thru you DAC, and has to come out of your transport in analog only, stereo and multichannel.

You can pick one of many universal players for transport duty, including stereo SACD, you will be much more limited looking for multichannel SACD out, and of course will need amplifiers and speakers accordingly. I chose to not use more than 2 speakers in my non theatre system in my study, and use a Samsung universal player, good, but certainly no where near the best. I listen to the DVDa discs going thru my Lavry Black DA10.

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