DVD-A vs SACD?
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kerelybonto

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DVD burners should be able to burn SACD eventually, if they can't already. DVD-A will never be burnable because of the watermarking.

kerely
 
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andrzejpw

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Jeez, I had to get out of my chair to do this one. . .

Anyway, I was curious: can the redbook layer on SACDs be copied? The answer is yes. For this reason alone, I will support SACD. I like to listen to cds in the car. What I don't want to do, is take the original cds into the car with me. Too much of a hassle, and if they get stolen. . .

Personally, I will continue buying hybrid SACDs, if I can.
 
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Mike Walker

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As I said more than a year ago, the answer to which format will survive is NEITHER! They're both solutions in search of a problem!

The comments about "competitive gen xers" needing to have one to stay "competitive" are TRULY off the mark. At the two year point (yes we are at the two year point with these formats!) EVERYONE knew what cd was. They may not have heard one yet, and most hadn't bought one, but EVERY music lover was aware of the format, and many were drooling over it.

At the two year point DVD-Video was well on it's way to becoming the fastest selling consumer electronics technology in history.

Fact: the vast majority of Americans aren't even aware that DVD-A and SACD EXIST! Imagine they had a war and nobody showed up? No need to imagine any longer! We see the result before our eyes!

One other FACT: the introduction of dvd-a and SACD had NOTHING, and I repeat NOTHING to do with a desire to provide better sounding recordings to the consumer. It had to do with introducing what the record companies believed to be "copy-proof" formats! If the record companies REALLY wanted us to all hear better sound, they would have begun encoding their standard cds with SBM (Super Bit Mapping) some time ago! A dramatic difference that can actually be heard, and demonstrated on EVERY cd player (I'd love to demonstrate SBM to you in my studio, using my Sony DTC-A6 vintage 1997 dat recorder. Recording digital "silence" without SBM results in a very rough, rugged sounding background...when listening at a ridiculously high level! With SBM switched on, the noise drops away, and what little is left takes on a smooth, velvety quality. And again, ALL the horsepower with this technology is on the encoding end. The improvement translates to EVERY cd player!)

Finally: it still remains to be shown scientifically that DVD-A or SACD sound not only better, but DIFFERENT from top quality 16 bit 44.1khz cds in scientifically valid, double-blind testing. It makes no damn difference that the newly remastered recording of your favorite album sounds "so imuch better" on dvd-a or sacd...especially if the new disc is multi-channel. Surely it's occured to you that you're comparing apples to oranges, right?!

Only with an identically prepared master, at an identical level, with TWO channels of audio (and no more because standard cds can't hold any more), under double-blind conditions, can it be shown that there really is an audible difference, much less superiority of one format over the others. And even if such tests do indicate that one format IS audibly, and repeatedly better, is the difference great enough to give up the flexibility of standard cd? (including compatibility with legacy devices, the ability to "rip" tracks for playback on mp3 portables, etc?)

As time goes on I believe more and more that it is LAWYERS rather than engineers or audiophiles behind the pressure to accept one, or both of the new formats. Do we really want lawyers (from the RIAA, etc) telling us that it's time to adopt a new format? Do we really believe that we've gotten all the quality out of 16 bit 44.1khz cds that the format is capable of?

Again I'm from Missouri (ok, I'm from North Carolina!) You've gotta' show me! Again, we're at the two year point. The clock is ticking. The public is still almost completely ignorant of the existence of these formats. And we're in a deep recession. How much longer do you believe it will be before the plug is pulled on one, or both of the new formats? My guess is we're closer to the end than the beginning!

Hedging my bets, I'd say that IF one of the formats survives, or even deserves to, it'll be SACD because the technology is truly different (the 24 bit, 96khz signals on dvd-a re still pulse code modulation...the same technology as cd...just "more of it". But DSD...direct stream digital is TRULY "something different").
 
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post-208483
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kelly

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Just a side note. If you hit a person's profile at the bottom of the message, there's an option on his or her profile that says "add this user to your ignore list." I just employed this wonderfully useful feature for the first time.
 
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post-208517
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Mike Walker

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That's the spirit, Kelly. Much easier to simply ignore those with whom we disagree than actually discuss the points of disagreement!

Exactly which part of my post is incorrect? Which of my facts isn't, in fact, factual?

Unable to logically dispute my positions? Then perhaps clicking on "ignore" is your best move.

But, as I pointed out, we're at the two year point on both dvd-a and sacd. The general public has no idea the formats exist, and certainly isn't looking for anything "better" than cd (I put "better" in quotes, because "cd quality" is what most people judge to be the best possible! Don't believe it? ASK a non-audiophile!)

Audiophiles are not only a tiny niche, whch they always have been, but they're (sadly) a rapidly shrinking one! EVERY high end audio publication is suffering from circulation difficulties. This is a problem I don't know how to solve...but it must be solved. Young people who in previous generations would have been spending their disposable income on audio gear now spend it on computers, pdas, and Ipods. Go on, call me names. Click on "ignore". Hide your head in the sand. Do anything but admit that the patient (high end audio) is critically ill, probably too small to financially support ANY new format regardless of it's merits, and SHRINKING! And above all, don't admit that outside of the critically (terminally?) ill audiophile market, there IS NO DEMAND for a new supposedly "better" format which doesn't allow America's (and now the world's!) favorite indoor sport...RIPPING!

Just because the above saddens you (it certainly does me!) doesn't make it any less valid, or true!
 
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Mike Walker

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Unfortunately andrzejpw from what I've read, quite a few SACDs don't have a "red book layer".

Also, with the record company banking heavily on acceptance of a new format, do you really trust the red book layer of an SACD to sound as good as "red book" audio possibly can??? Is it not in their (the record company's) financial interest to deliberately restrict the sound quality of the "red book layer"???
 
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post-208543
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TravelLite

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Although written in 1997 about 16- versus 20-bit A/D conversion, the following statement is an example of why I'm personally looking forward to the introduction of high bit-depth formats.
Quote:

With 20-bit high-resolution conversion, low signal-level detail is preserved. The improvement in fine detail shows up most noticeably by reducing the quantization errors of low-level signals. Under certain conditions, these course data steps can create audio passband harmonics not related to the input signal. Audibility of this quantizing noise is much higher than in normal analog distortion, and is also known as granulation noise. 20-bits virtually eliminates granulation noise. Commonly heard examples are musical fades, like reverb tails and cymbal decay. With only 16-bits to work with, they don't so much fade, as collapse in noisy chunks.


RaneNote 137 - Digital Dharma of Audio A/D Converters, Life After 16 -- A Little Bit Sweeter:
http://www.rane.com/note137.html



New hardware like the relatively inexpensive PHILIPS DVD963SA DVD/SACD Player mentioned by Tuberoller, which also happen to offer Red Book CD interpolated upsampling, will be almost too attractive to resist.

Hence, if there is to be a contest between formats, the first to market with products like the above are IMO likely to gain a real foothold.

TravelLite
 
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andrzejpw

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Quote:

Originally posted by Mike Walker
Unfortunately andrzejpw from what I've read, quite a few SACDs don't have a "red book layer".

Also, with the record company banking heavily on acceptance of a new format, do you really trust the red book layer of an SACD to sound as good as "red book" audio possibly can??? Is it not in their (the record company's) financial interest to deliberately restrict the sound quality of the "red book layer"???


No, I realize that the redbook layer will not sound as good as it possibly can. My primary reason for buying hybrids if possible is that one day, when I do get an SACD player, be it 2,3,5 or 10 years down the road, I will already have a head start on my library.

Also, I do realize Sony really doesn't care if we listen to hi-rez formats. Sony cares about money. Isn't it funny that just as Sony's patents on cds are about to expire, there's a big push for sacd?
 
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post-208603
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kerelybonto

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Actually, the Redbook layer on hybrid SACDs is generally about as good as Redbook gets. The SACD track has to come from a new remaster of the original master, so they usually take the Redbook from this new remaster, too. See the new Stones hybrids for what I mean -- very good Redbook along with the SACD.

kerely
 
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post-208620
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Mike Walker

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First of all, my point EXACTLY andrzejpw about the motives for the new formats being financial rather than technical.

As for musical fades and high res formats, I'm sorry but if you listen to rock, pop, country, or any format where most of the instruments are electrical and/or electronic, then the argument about the wonderfully smooth "reverb tails" with high res formats are just silly. Why? Because these reverb tails occur at -96db!!!! There isn't a rock recording on Earth with a 96db dynamic range! Rip a favorite recording to your computer's hard drive as an uncompressed .wav file, and look at it! It's probably "normalized" to 0dbfs...or all bits exercised on peaks. And look at how often that 0dbfs level is hit! Over and over and OVER! Look at the VU meter (on Cool Edit 2000, or your favorite digital editing program). The dynamic range is likely on the order of 10-15db, with a RARE dip to -20db. In other words, most recordings don't come anywhere close to taxing 16 bit "red book cds". SCREW the impact of "high res" on music such as this! (the music that most of us listen to!)

My example of what SBM (Super Bit Mapping) can do IS quite audible...but only if you turn your volume control up so loud that any actual music would result in completely blowing out your speakers! In order to hear the improvements in low level "res" with Super Bit Mapping, one must turn the volume control to a level AT LEAST 40-50db higher than would ever be used for music listening...even with wide dynamic range classical material!

FACT: There isn't a single recording available with anywhere near 24 bit resolution! Why? Because no recording studio on Earth is that quiet!

FACT: NO SACD and/or DVD-A players are linear below about the 20th bit anyway! Remember, linear pcm has a potential of 6db of dynamic range per bit...which is why the dynamic range of "red book" cd is 96db (16 x 6). Keeping this in mind, find for me the digital player (SACD or DVD-A) with a dynamic range of greater than -120db. Hell, find one with a dynamic range that great! -120db is 20 bit resolution, NOT 24 bit! Not that it matters. There isn't a recording in existance where the noise level is lower than -100db. That's 15 bit resolution...and certainly in the range of today's cd!

The mere idea that any technology available today, or which will be available tomorrow achieves, or will achieve anything approaching 24 bit resolution is RIDICULOUS! It's specsmanship for it's own sake!

Far better, in my opinion, to try and improve the performance of red book cd! Just sitting at my 'puter today it took me about 20 seconds to think of a way to improve red book cd's dynamic range by 16db without compromising anything audible on the vast majority of today's players. How? Digitally compress at a 2:1 ratio the dynamic range of everything from -80 to -96db. Then expand it at a 1:2 ratio during playback. This will increase the dynamic range of cd from 96db to 112db, while maintaining compatibility with today's players. Hell, discs processed this way will probably sound better on today's players because those wonderful "reverb tails" that audiophiles rave about will play back at a higher level than they would have otherwise, just as they do in lp playback!

Face it, few of the devices used to play cds have a noise level lower than -80db...which means that all of the "expanded" audio will be masked by noise on the vast majority of players. But on high end gear, it can be digitally expanded back to it's full, "high res" glory...giving nearly 20 bits of real resolution (more still if a technique such as SBM is applied in addition to the compression/expansion). In other words, the dynamic range of redbook cd can be expanded to exceed that of even the quietest, most dynamic recordings ever made.

Go ahead, use my idea! It's kind of like a digital dbx system, only it only works at extreme low levels, where pcm digital audio is at it's weakest.

Ok, that I came up with in just a few minutes. Imagine what a really smart engineer could come up with to improve rec book cd if he/she actually tried!

Isn't there more to be gained, and for more people, by maximizing the quality of the format that everyone already has???
 
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post-208621
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Mike Walker

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kerelybonto, since you don't have access to the new master, only what the record company wants you to hear, you really don't have any idea if either the SACD layer, or red book layer approach the potential of either!

And remember, a master made on DSD may well not sound as good when converted to PCM (for the redbook layer) as a master made in PCM format would have! DSD is a completely different recording technology, and a (potentially quality compromising) format conversion MUST take place!

A strong argument can be made that masters for 16 bit cd should ALWAYS be made in a pcm format!
 
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post-208627
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kerelybonto

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The remastering generally takes place in the analog realm. Almost all high-quality discs these days are AAD. The digital conversion after the main mixing and mastering can be either DSD or PCM.

Regardless, if you want to think the labels are purposefully handicapping Redbook to push SACD -- well, okay.


kerely
 
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Mike Walker

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Sorry kerelybonto, but when you talk about mixing and mastering you're on MY turf. As a studio owner and producer, I deal with issues of mastering every day. And the fact is that, although many (though certainly not most, and less with each passing month!) of the recordings we hear begin life on an analog multitrack recorder, most MASTERING takes place once the conversion to digital has taken place using either standalone devices such as the TC Electronics Finalizer, or it's software equivalent.

"AAD" tells you nothing about how a recording was mastered! The first "A" means that the original multitrack recording was analog. The second "A" means that it was mixed to an analog recorder. MIXED, not mastered. The third letter is ALWAYS D, because cd is a digital medium. The most common next step in mastering is to align the stereo analog playback machine at the mastering house as carefully as possible, digitize the recording at as high a resolution as possible, THEN apply whatever processing is necessary to maximize sound quality. This last step, applying the final processing (dynamics, equalization, harmonic synthesis, etc.) is the essence of "mastering".

Yes I know that some engineers still use analog gear such as tube compressors and equalizers in mastering. But even they use these devices on the way to the digital domain, and apply the finishing touches DIGITALLY!

Yes SOME mastering involves analog gear, but MOST mastering is DIGITAL, even if the multitrack and mixdown machines were analog.

By the way, want evidence that analog recording is finally on it's way out? Look at a pro audio website and try to find a new analog multitrack recorder! Analog multitracks co-existed for more than two decades with their newer digital cousins. But analog multitracks are like Edsels. They ain't making any more! For better or worse, analog recording is on it's way out. Don't take my word for it, talk to an engineer who records mostly on analog. He/she will tell you how increasingly difficult it is to keep analog machines going, and that their eventual conversion to digital is inevitable!
 
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TravelLite

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Mike Walker, you've made some interesting points regarding dynamic range and music genres, e.g., Rock.

Personally, I haven't yet had the opportunity to critically listen to any upsampled Red Book CDs, much less any SACD or DVD-A discs.

Suffice to say though, if I couldn't notice an improvement with high bit-depth recorded music, I'd freely acknowledge that fact. "The Emperors's New Clothes", no thank you.

OTOH, I am intrigued by it and with costs becoming relatively low, I certainly wouldn't mind experimenting.

TravelLite
 
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SumB

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From the present perspective the future doesn't bode well for either format.

That said, Panasonic made a brilliant move (or was it the other way around?) approaching Creative to make its next soundcard DVD-A compatible. This is the best marketing move anyone could hope of, with nearly a 1/1 ratio for PC's in middle class North American households. The current generation will be aware of the format at the very least.

You cannot, nor will you ever be able to play an SACD disc in a PC.
 
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