DVD-A vs SACD?
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andrzejpw

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Quote:

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


SACDs? No, never. Sony's too afraid of making SACD compatible cd-roms. But you CAN play the hybrid layer, which is good enough for me, since that lets me make copies, etc.
 
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Dusty Chalk

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Quote:

Originally posted by andrzejpw
Because there's no need for both. Why have two formats if they both do the same thing?


That's like saying there's no need for both CD and vinyl records, so one should have to go. I completely disagree with this, on a fundamental pseudo-democracy "more-choice-is-good" perspective.

Look at that problem that kelly mentioned in another thread about not having a care for DVD-A, so he won't get the Queen A Night at the Opera DVD-A (which, BTW, contains one of the first DTS24/96 tracks on the DVD-V side). As far as I'm concerned, he's screwing himself. Some day in the not too distant future, he's not going to care. He'll get a high-res version which will sound an order of magnitude closer to analog than current "Redbook", and whether or not it's DVD-A or SACD, he won't care.

BTW, I just read last night that the 4C Entity has pulled the plug on watermarking. I think that means that it is no longer mandatory, but I have no idea if it will go away. But it does mean that there will always exist the ability to record it in the analog realm. Why this didn't get more hoopla, I do not know. The blurb mentioned (I think it was in either the September or October 2002 ish of Hi-Fi Choice) that there was no fanfare, no press release, and that it's buried deep in some .pdf file somewhere on the site.
 
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Dusty Chalk

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Quote:

Originally posted by kerelybonto
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.


Actually, that's not true. Maybe if you listen exclusively to Steve Albini productions, but most current releases have been run through Pro Tools at least once. Even the Pink Floyd Echoes release was remastered in (glory!) 24/96, even the boxset of the record version.
 
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markl

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Mike Walker said:
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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!


As I've said before in other threads, who CARES what the motivation was for the introduction of formats superior to Redbook CD???? I, for one, couldn't care less (unless it was set up to fund terrorist activities
)!
It's better than the CD!!! Who wants to be stuck with the CD for the next 20 years? Not me. Actually, my hope is that the superior copy protection offered by the new formats actually work to wake up the record companies and spur them to pursue the new formats more aggressively than they have so far, as the potential solution to their current woes. If that's the bottom line motivating factor for switching us over from the 20-year old CD to the new formats-- GREAT! Again, I'm speaking as someone who's never downloaded a single MP3 in his life.

Quote:

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?!


So where's the cut off for being able to detect a difference? Are we just as well off with 12-bit media sampled at 24KHz? 8-bit media sampled at 16KHz?

Look-- either new format offers substantially more data than the 16-bit Redbook CD, thereby more closely replicating the uninterrupted analog signal contained on the master tape. This makes the new formats much closer to analog than old Redbook CD. This difference is not just hypothetical-- it's clearly audible.

I've compared a few modern CDs with their SACD/DVD-A versions and there's no comparison, IMO. The new formats are obviously better, *based on the relatively small sample size I've heard, granted*. You can also easily switch between CD and SACD layers on today's hybrid SACDs and easily discern the difference. If you want to argue that they've deliberately "crippled" the Redbook layer on these SACDs, I'll refer you to Bob Ludwig. Did they bribe Ludwig to make his Redbook re-masters on the Rolling Stones re-issues "suck" just so the SACD layer would sound better? I don't think so...

Quote:

Audiophiles are not only a tiny niche, whch they always have been, but they're (sadly) a rapidly shrinking one!


What is it about us music/audio-lovers that makes us so utterly pessimistic? We seem unable to accept something good when it comes along and prefer to think instead that it must be "doomed". If we want it and it's good, it must have no future. Humbug! Can people tell the difference between a DVD and VHS tape of the same movie? Yes they can. DVD has been a huge success. Why should hi-rez music be any different? I choose to believe that once exposed to the new formats, "ordinary perople" willl want them.

And don't discount the growing number of people with surround Home Theater systems. This demographic has a lot of disposable income and has already bought into the idea of multi-channel. They are primed and ready for the new multi-channel music releases. This demo helps drive DVD sales and that's a thriving industry. They will help drive the acceptance of the new formats, so it matters little in the end to us headphone freaks if they are buying it for the better 2-channel sound they provide or for the multi-channel feature. Either way, we end up with superior quality multi-channel and/or 2-channel music reproduction.

Mark
 
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post-209306
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kerelybonto

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Okay, apparently you guys know more about the recording process than I do -- I won't say I'm surprised about that. Just surprised about how things are done.

Not to derail the thread, but why is the mastering done digitally when it requires downmixing (is that the right word?) from 24/96 that is not optimal for the 16/44.1 Redbook format? Is it just because the digital tools are so much easier to use? It just seems like doing it in analog would give you a much more usable remaster, one that could be utilized in any format, be it an analog vinyl pressing, SACD, DVD-A, Redbook CD, or 8-track. ...

kerely
 
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post-209372
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kelly

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dusty
I'm afraid I may have been taken out of context. I may have spoken out of context too, so no blame placed here. I'm anti- DVD-A for one very clear and consistent reason: they don't offer hybrid format. So, even if A Night At The Opera is wonderful in DVD-A, buying it won't help me listen to it in the car, at work, in a portable or at a friend's house. The second component is that I don't presently care for the surround mixes I've heard and I'm not encouraged to want to try more surround mixes of recordings that were originally 2-channel, including Queen's library. The review I read of A Night At The Opera made it sound as if the disc was merely an experiment gone wrong in multi-channel remixing. Is your view of this different? If so, perhaps I can be persuaded to make an exception if and when I end up with a soundcard at work or a DVD player at home that happens to support DVD-A. Still, I'll want for a hybrid SACD release regardless.
 
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dhwilkin

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Quote:

markl said...

As I've said before in other threads, who CARES what the motivation was for the introduction of formats superior to Redbook CD????


We all should care. If the primary motivation remains protecting the content, less attention will be given to actually making use of all that extra data and recording it so we get the maximum sonic benefits.
 
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post-209449
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Zin_Ramu

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Quote:

Originally posted by Dusty Chalk
Well, for one thing -- catalog. If you like the Stones, you pretty much have to get an SACD player to listen to the higher res versions of their albums. OTOH, if you're a Queen fan (for example) you owe it to yourself to get a DVD-A player. If you're not sure yet (e.g. Pink Floyd fan), or if you're a fan of a lot of different types of music, you should probably either get a universal player (which will be par for the course in a year or two if things keep going the way they're going).


Just a little note on the Pink Floyd hi-res releases ... here is a quote from www.thedigitalbits.com ...

Quote:

We've got some GOOD news for you Pink Floyd fans. Roger Waters' manager, Mark Fenwick, had confirmed that Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii - The Director's Cut is being prepped for DVD release in March 2003. Not only that, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon is going to be released on DVD-Audio on 3/3/03 in honor of its 30th anniversary! We're still waiting for an update on Pulse, so we'll let you know if we hear anything.


This and the "rumors" about Beatles being released on DVD-A, could put a dent in what I percieve to be a SACD lead atm.

Zin
 
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Zin_Ramu

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Quote:

Originally posted by markl
I've compared a few modern CDs with their SACD/DVD-A versions and there's no comparison, IMO. The new formats are obviously better, *based on the relatively small sample size I've heard, granted*. You can also easily switch between CD and SACD layers on today's hybrid SACDs and easily discern the difference. If you want to argue that they've deliberately "crippled" the Redbook layer on these SACDs, I'll refer you to Bob Ludwig. Did they bribe Ludwig to make his Redbook re-masters on the Rolling Stones re-issues "suck" just so the SACD layer would sound better? I don't think so...


I have read (sorry I can remember where I read it, to provide a link), that the PCM layer on the Rolling Stones hybrids, was just downmixed from DSD layer.

I'll leave this to experts on mastering, to draw definitive conclusions from this. But the above information may suggest that there was no intentional crippling, but simply that the remastering was taylored to one format (SACD), thereby reducing the potential quality of other from what could have been achieved. This all suggests that simply comparing the two layers on this hybrid disk may be unfair.

Zin
 
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post-209482
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kelly

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Zin
I expected someone to make that argument, but there are countless DSD masterings of non-SACD releases and they tend to receive the highest of praise. And, as much as we'd like to pretend it is, SACD is not really the same thing as a DSD master.
 
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post-209496
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Dusty Chalk

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Quote:

Originally posted by kelly
Is your view of this different?


Actually, I haven't heard it either. I was basing my impression on a (different, obviously) review. It actually said something to the effect of "this is what a DVD-A release should be". I believe there's also a high-res stereo track on both the DVD-V and DVD-A layers.

Don't quote me, though.
 
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kelly

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Quote:

Originally posted by Dusty Chalk
Actually, I haven't heard it either. I was basing my impression on a (different, obviously) review. It actually said something to the effect of "this is what a DVD-A release should be". I believe there's also a high-res stereo track on both the DVD-V and DVD-A layers.

Don't quote me, though.


There is a high res stereo track but it was panned in the review I read.
 
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Pepzhez

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Guess I'll jump back into this debate again. Yes, the redbook layers of the Stones remasters are downsampled from the DSD masters. In fact, this was a requirement from Sony, i,e, all hybrid discs' redbook layers could only be downsampled and only by Sony engineers. This is no longer a requirement, as Sony was forced to capitulate to the understandable howls of protest from engineers and producers. Sony still retains the edge here, however, as they offer to downsample for free, and just how many record companies are going to bother paying for a decent 16/44 master when Sony will downsample at no cost?

I've stated several times on the other hi-rez thread at this forum that I am not convinced about the "superiority" of these hi-rez formats based on what I have heard. I suppose it has potential, but at the moment that is all it has. And who knows where that will lead (if anywhere). Whether or not one has ever downloaded an MP3 file or ripped a CD, the fact of the matter is that the public at large not only likes this degree of flexibility, but they are also quite used to exercising it as well. As it currently stands, they may very well be indifferent or entirely ignorant about the hi-rez formats, but, believe me, once they are made aware of how crippled it is - that it will not allow them to make use of their collections in the manner in which they now take for granted - they will reject it out of hand and rightfully so. If SACD and/or DVD-A will not play on computer drives, then you can just forget about it altogether. Consumers just aren't going to want to know then. Simple as that.

Once again, markl, doing an A/B comparison of the SACD and redbook layers of a hybrid disc on the same machine is in no way a valid comparison on any conceivable level. As I delineated in detail on the previous thread, there are 16/44 DACs that easily blow away the Sony XA777ES's PCM DAC, but that should not come as a surprise either.

Oh, and why all this continuing talk about DSD being so superior to all else? I seriously doubt anyone on this thread has ever heard an unadulterated DSD signal. You know damn well that no purely-DSD studio equipment exists at the present (at least not outside of Sony's R&D labs). Everything you are hearing on your SACD layer has been bounced back and forth from PCM to DSD. There is absolutely no other way to edit right now, period.

For the record, Bob Ludwig freely admits that DSD is no better than (hi-rez) PCM. He himself can detect no audible sonic differences between DSD and hi-bit PCM. The "differences", as he sees it, lay entirely in the economic realm: Sony aims to make "decent" SACD decoder chips relatively cheap, as compared to the cost of a good quality PCM decoder. Yet one also must consider the logistic and economic factors of outfitting studios with DSD consoles (which are, at the present moment, vaporware anyway).
 
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Mike Walker

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kerelybonto writes "Not to derail the thread, but why is the mastering done digitally when it requires downmixing (is that the right word?) from 24/96 that is not optimal for the 16/44.1 Redbook format? Is it just because the digital tools are so much easier to use?"

Well Kerelybonto, it's a digital world. DVD-A, SACD, and redbook cd are all digital! I think most people misunderstand what "mastering" entails. It's about as far from a purist persuit as possible. The desire of the average mastering engineer IS NOT to produce the most natural, or accurate sounding recording. It's to produce the subjectively best sounding, most impressive, and (too often), LOUDEST recording...one that stands out in comparison with other material.

In 2002 the most versatile tools for doing this, those which allow the maximum amount of "tweaking" with the minimum amount of added noise and distortion are DIGITAL. The purist argument of analog sounding "purer" simply doesn't matter here. The end product, regardless of how it began, WILL BE DIGITAL! No matter what you may believe the subjective charms of analog to be, it is FAR from a loss free process. EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF ANALOG GEAR IN A CHAIN adds noise, distortion, and it's own particular set of unintended colorations (in addition to the intended ones which led the mastering engineer to use them in the first place). Strap four or five pieces of analog gear together, and unintended artifacts WILL rear their ugly head. It's the nature of the beast. But apply four or five digital processes during mastering (compression, limiting, equalization, harmonic generation, and many others...these are the most common) and if done properly there are no audible artifacts.

Most matering engineers believe that mastering digitally for release on digital media IS the purist approach, or the closest thing to a purist approach that exists in the world of "mastering". Mastering is like making sausage. If you like it (a recording, or a sausage), better not to ask too many questions about how it was made!

Remember when the first cds came out how many people only bought discs which said "DDD"? While I believe that my line of work allows me to know more about exactly what happens during recording, I probably care alot less than most. If a recording sounds good, it sounds good, and I don't particularly care why! I'm very "pro digital". It ELIMINATES or greatly reduces the analog artifacts which most bother ME...wow/flutter, incorrect pitch, hiss, high frequency "self erasure", harmonic distortion, random scrambling of phase/time relationships, etc. Plus digital media have NO INNER GROOVE DISTORTION! I absolutely despise the fact that lps ARE INCAPABLE of sounding as good on the last song on a side as the first...because linear velocity drops steadily as the stylus travels toward disc center. This ALWAYS results in increased, extremely audible (to me) distortion. Imagine an analog tape recording in which the recorder ran at 30ips at the first of the recording, and steadily dropped to 3 3/4 ips at the end. Would an "audiphile" accept such a recording? Of course not! Well friends, this is exactly what happens when playing an lp.

Off topic I know, but I can't point out what's wrong with analog (and there is plenty!) without mentioning it.

But while there are many things wrong with analog, digital certainly isn't perfect either. BOTH are capable of stunningly good, and horribly bad results. I repeat, if a recording sounds good (if a sausage tastes good), it IS good!

Someone (sorry I forget who) asked if we wanted to still be listening to cds in 20 years. I don't. But I certainly don't want to replace my cds with discs which look identical to them, and still are subject to wear, mistracking, skipping, etc. I still believe that the (distant) future is solid state! The less distant future is hard-drive based storage. While they may not offer the ultimate in sound quality (although it's far better at optimum settings than any "purist" will admit), portable devices such as the IPOD (to name the favorite, although not MY favorite) allow us to carry our entire music collection (or at least a huge portion of it) in a shirt pocket.

As storage becomes cheaper, the necessity of using ANY data compression on music stored on such devices will disappear. Then these shirt pocket sized devices will be able not only to store an entire music library, but store it in all it's 24/96, or dsd glory! In the future these devices will not only store more music at lower levels of compression, and eventually without compression, but they'll also offer sound quality as good as ANYTHING else available. While all solid state storage of a huge music library is in the distant future, hard drive storage in uncompressed form at very high resolution of a large library is in the very NEAR future. At least if we don't all go ga-ga over devices which wouldn't even allow transfer of our music to such devices!!!!
 
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post-209582
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kelly

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Pephez
I must disagree just a little bit. I agree that many average joe consmers are using CDRs and mp3s--enough to make up a significant chunk of the market. This strikes me as an equivolency to the portion of the VHS market that recorded with their VCR. Some people did use their VCRs to copy videos, timeshift programs, archive Knot's Landing, etc. Those people fall into that "prosumer" group, though. The larger portion of the audience only wanted theri VCRs to rent the newest movies from Blockbuster and own their favorites out of the priced-to-own movies at Walmart.

DVD, then, caught on because it gave consumers the basics of what they wanted (the ability to watch, not record) and added to that other FEATURES that the customer wanted (behind the scenes, commentary, random access, no rewinding, no wearing out).

SACD/DVD-A are, in my view, not failing as a direct cause of them not being recordable and not allowing people to make mp3s. As much as you or I may wish they'd leave this in, the bulk of their audience I'm convinced doesn't care so much about this. Part of Napster's success was that people were so unwilling to make mp3s from their own recordings that they'd rather search for even songs they already owned when they wanted mp3s.

However, I maintain that SACD and DVD-A do not represent useful new features in the eyes of the average consumer. Since there are no exclusive software titles, the prices are equal or higher and the number of hits released are few, the only perceived reason to buy into the formats is multi-channel music and I'm not convinced even many home theater enthusiasts really want this right now. Maybe it is simply unproven and people will want it eventually, but there aren't many people crying out for it.

If they want the formats to succeed, they need to make hits, create exclusive software (even if it's just in the form of live cuts, B-sides and singles), lower prices and increase the perception of value. Even in this scenario, the formats are not likely to attract the bulk of the audience still content with their CD players that they were already told sound as good as a recording could possibly sound.
 
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