DVD-A vs SACD?
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DarkWolf

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As an average Joe consummer trying to break into audiophilia, I agree strongly with that last statement. If they want to give us higher rez mediums and higher sound quality, great, let them. But I don't want the recording industry turning into big brother and tieing one arm behind my back so I can't possibly do anything they don't want. Who cares if the music sounds great if you can't enjoy it they way you want, when you want, where you want. The magic isn't in the numbers, it's in the feeling, and I think our greatest effort shouldn't be in fighting a format war, it should be in seeing that this isn't forgotten by an industry in a world that would happily sell us dog **** in a flaimming bag if they thought they could get us to buy enough of it.

One thing mark said that I agree with, is that CDs have improved quite a lot in their life time, and SACD should too. I don't see it as a big new thing, just an evolutionary step. Nothing more and nothing less. As long as they don't adopt a philosiphy of "hurt the consummer to protect the industry" I'm ok. Unfortunately, that's the way the world is trying to work and we need to try to keep it in check. It's our world, our industries being run by us. To hell with the numbers.
 
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markl

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Quote:

Sorry MarkL, but have you been to a store lately? "Where is this hypothetical solid state media"? It's inside my PDA, mp3 player, digital camera, etc. Not just mine, but the digital devices of millions of people worldwide. It ALREADY exists.


Right, but the only thing you can play back on this medium is lossy versions of the CDs they were ripped from. This in no way constitutes an improvement over the Redbook CD. Once you can download songs/albums in DVD-Audio or SACD-level sound quality in less than 10 hours per song, sign me up! How long will it take before:
1. The majority of the U.S. has broad-band access, and is willing to pay for it
2. The record companies get their act together and are actually able to sell you hi-rez versions of their music
3. There actually exists devices that can play back these downloaded files in all their hi-rez glory

Are we 5 years away? 10 years away? SACD/DVD-A are here now and they sound damn good.
Quote:

As arrogant as this may sound, those who have never worked in a studio, and never attended (let alone conducted) a "mastering" session probably aren't best equipped to comment on which tools are best, or most often used, for the tasks!


Mike's probably right here. I certainly can't compare my knowledge to his in this area.

But, despite all Mike has said, and I may not be able to technically explain the reasons for it, but every single SACD/DVD-A version of a Redbook CD that I've played in my system has sounded vastly superior to the Redbook version, even recent re-masters. It's just obvious. I've actually heard the difference with my own ears in my system on my own time. Quote:

"High res" may even turn out to have some benefits in consumer formats, as well. I belive the jury is still WAY out on that.


Unless I've missed it, I don't think Mike Walker has listened to SACD/DVD-A in his own environment on material he knows well? Am I wrong about that? All I can say to the doubters is that "hearing is believing". I have nothing to gain by championing the new formats-- no one pays me a "kick-back" for recommending them to you. The only reason I do it is out of enthusiasm based on what I've heard. I'm really fired up about the new formats, and think that the folks on this site, as music and audio-lovers would have pretty much the same reaction.

If you're willing to spend $300 on a cable upgrade, $400 on a headphone upgrade, $700 on an amp upgrade, why object to a more fundamental upgrade at the origin of the audio signal itself?

Mark
 
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post-218565
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Mike Walker

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Markl says that all that can be played on solid state medium is lossy formats such as mp3. WRONG! The media doesn't give a damn whether what you play from it is compressed or not. MANY mp3 players are just as happy playing uncompressed .wav files...bit for bit clones of the cd original.

And I'll repeat, OF COURSE the redbook portion of an sacd sounds "vastly superior" to the dsd layer. Duh! I belive this is the result of the use of different mastering techniques being applied to the two layers, so that when the comparison is done in the store, you will say "WOW", that sounds better! You're relying on those who have the most to gain financially (the record companies) to supply the software for comparison! LOL! Does the phrase "wolf guarding the henhouse" have any meaning to you?

I'll admit (hell, I'm proud of the fact!) that I don't yet own an sacd or dvd-a player. I might in the future. But I DO have the ability to record 24 bit word lengths at up to 192khz in my studio. And when recording sources with which I am intimately familiar, I don't hear a dramatic difference! I submit that this is a more meaningful comparison (than comparing layers of an sacd or dvd-a), because I control EVERYTHING! I think I hear a little difference, but since I've never done the test double-blind, I can't swear to it. Tests which are not double-blind have NO scientific merit! They prove NOTHING! And if you're comparing a multichannel dsd layer with a two channel redbook layer, need I point out that this has no meaning either??? Perhaps the bigggest problem with subjective compaisons is avoiding "apples to orange syndrome". Make sure you're comparing the same number of channels, level matched, with identically prepared masters. Of course that leaves another variable which we have no control over...the d/a converters! Are the converters used for the redbook layer of the highest possible quality???

These issues can't be merely glossed over if one is interested in determining if the improvements of the new "high rez" formats ARE audibly significant.
 
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JaZZ

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SACD vs. DVD-A... it's a very unnecessary war and maybe finally a deadly one. I would very much regret it if it would come so far. Because only the high-rez formats are the real improvement compared to the black disc, the CD couldn't live up to expectations. But for Joe average with his low-fi setup the improvement isn't that obvious, if perceivable at all: the absence of noise and crackling and an impressively clean, clear and dynamic sound are already provided by the CD, so what!

I second Mark: just listen with your own ears! The difference between SACD and CD is of a characteristic kind: a significantly better, finer resolution of overtones, which are more accurate and defined. While the CD track on the hybrid CD has those well-known slightly «glassy», smeared overtones... I don't know DVD-Audio, but I guess it's more or less the same.

Of course I respect the objection concerning the assumed low-rez digital origin or processing of some recordings. It's far beyond my knowledge to judge that. Nevertheless that doesn't derogate the potential of the format: it's not carved out of stone that such a processing will remain standard in perpetuity – it's rather likely that the recording studios will have high-rez equipment once the high-rez format(s) is/are established. So: no reason to break the momentum of a really better source format which could very well be satisfactory for every demand and even refined hearing abilities. It's certainly no accident that most if not all analog fans are about to reconcile themselves with digital because of the high-rez formats.

Could it be that the upsampling process – in case of a low-rez recording/mastering – lifts even those up to a (approximated) high-rez quality as it's told from available upsampling DACs? To avoid, if possible, the CD's poor transient response? No other device of the hi-fi equipment would be accepted if it was limited to such a narrow bandwidth in such a radical way with such incising (measurable) side effects.

Many of us pay a lot of attention to good interconnect cables. Like me, too. They do contribute to sound quality – or, the other way around – can affect the sound. I'm quite sure that throughout the whole chain from the microphones through the mixing console and the recorder onto the (SA)CD/DVD-A there are a lot of sonically harmful or by all means not audiophile conductors. Nevertheless our own cables at the end of the chain have such a great effect that you think it's decisive to have a good interconnection. It may be the same with the CD Player's low-pass filter: All 16/44 recordings are previously 20-kHz-low-pass filtered to prevent aliasing. Thus there's already a certain amount of ringing/transients corruption/phase shifting on the CD itself, before D/A conversion. But the DAC's filter section affects the sound anyway (additionally...).

I'm with andrzejpw: we don't need two equal new formats. And I disagree with markl in this matter: according to all reviews I've read so far there isn't one universal player that passably reaches the potential of the new format. Highly refined CD players in the same price range seem to provide even better sound. (I can't judge it myself).

The most annoying thing: the poor music catalogue. I guess I wouldn't buy one single title if it was a normal CD, except for the justification of the hardware purchase or to experience the new sonic dimension. For this reason I am waiting until there's a really wide musical bandwidth before buying an SACD player (or, if necessary, a DVD-Audio player). That said, the new formats actually are what I've ever longed for...

JaZZ
 
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post-218649
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kelly

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Quote:

Originally posted by JaZZ
The most annoying thing: the poor music catalogue. I guess I wouldn't buy one single title if it was a normal CD, except for the justification of the hardware purchase or to experience the new sonic dimension. For this reason I am waiting until there's a really wide musical bandwidth before buying an SACD player (or, if necessary, a DVD-Audio player). That said, the new formats actually are what I've ever longed for...


This has been where I thought most people would be standing right now. Of course, I have to worry about your taste in music to have not found a *single* SACD you like. What life must be like for someone who hasn't an appreciation for Rolling Stones, Stravinsky, Mahler, Miles, Louis... no accounting for taste I guess.
 
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post-218673
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scrypt

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In fact, I *am* about to purchase an SACD player: the Philips 963A. I'll be picking one up from a Euro source, not J&R, because I hate most Hollywood films (Spielberg being perhaps the most sentimental, driveling, derivative hack in the history of film, his adaptation of Philip K. Dick notwithstanding). With the added benefit of anamorphic PAL conversion, disabled macrovision and multi-region functionality, the feature-set of the 963A is too tailor-made to ignore: it plays DVDs, it even upsamples CDs to 24/192. The lassez-faire attitude of Philips toward copy protection means their machine is far more hackable than many. It's also the first audiophile DVD/SACD for the budget market that Philips has produced. I'll be bringing a few test CDs into J&R when the Philips finally shows up there and, if all goes according to plan, will be snatching a machine soon enough.

To add to the discussion:

Re the various comments on SACD, 5.1 and DVD-A involving too many speakers:
In theory, this might be true, but I tend to reject theory in favor of quaintness.
I already own two recordings that were specially composed for surround sound: Jake Mandell's _Silther_ and Autechre's _Ganz Graf_ DVD. In fact, I have the software (if not the pro surround setup) to mix in 5.1 should the need arise. On the composition level, I'm never really concerned if a format is overkill, redundant, etc., if it suggests creative possibilities. Some of the most amusing works ever composed were created to showcase failed technologies.

The biggest regret of a producer friend was that he refused to produce a binaural album when Lou Reed asked him to do it. Sure, the method didn't make sense logically. But that isn't taking into account what the artist might do with the technique. Another example: composers who wrote for the piano roll (despite its limitations) and succeeded in devising music so wilfully mechanical it would have frightened Marinetti.
 
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post-218754
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Calanctus

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Quote:

Originally posted by JaZZ

Highly refined CD players in the same price range seem to provide even better sound. (I can't judge it myself).


JaZZ, since this is not based on your own experience, what is it based on--reviews? (and from which magazines/sites?)

The reviews I have read mostly say the opposite--that hi-rez players costing less than good CD players can give sound that is superior to CD, given a well-produced hi-rez disc.
 
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JaZZ

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Quote:

Originally posted by kelly
What life must be like for someone who hasn't an appreciation for Rolling Stones, Stravinsky, Mahler, Miles, Louis... no accounting for taste I guess.


I just hope you don't feel personally offended by my very special musical preferences...
I like Stravinsky, Miles Davis and the Stones, but all not enough to want them to own and constantly listen (I have a few CDs, though). In fact I don't even listen to the Beatles, the greatest rockband in history to me. But I think I would, again, if they came out on SACD or DVD-A... that's what I meant.

But I'm happy with my musical life so far and have my CD collection with most of my favorites. Which are, among many others: Dead Can Dance, Christy Doran, The Foo Fighters, Christoph Schweizer, Mark Nauseef, Wendy Carlos, Henri Dutilleux, Frank Martin, Joe Jackson, Antonio Bibalo, Cocteau Twins, The Electric Prunes, Fartein Valen, Joonas Kokkonen, John Harbison, Jimi Hendrix, Hans Werner Henze, Allan Holdsworth, Jacques Ibert, Jeff Buckley, King Crimson, The Legendary Pink Dots, Pink Floyd (with Syd), Michael Mantler, The Nits, Orbital, Ololiuqui, Public Image Limited, Plasticland, Alban Berg, Roland Orzabal... How about the hi-rez formats? Is any of that music available? I doubt it, but I would be glad it it was – though, to be honest, one or two virtual albums are not enough to justify the purchase of a player.

«...no accounting for taste I guess.» Sorry, I don't quite understand that... I'm not sure. My command of englisch just isn't adequate.

JaZZ
 
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JaZZ

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Quote:

Originally posted by Calanctus
JaZZ, since this is not based on your own experience, what is it based on--reviews? (and from which magazines/sites?)

The reviews I have read mostly say the opposite--that hi-rez players costing less than good CD players can give sound that is superior to CD, given a well-produced hi-rez disc.


It's a surprise to me to read this. I'm very German oriented in this regard, so my sources are «Stereo» and «Stereoplay», which unanimously say that. Myself I have no experience at all to judge this.
 
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kelly

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Jazz
I like most of the stuff on your list and lots and lots of other bands who aren't out on SACD or DVD-A either. The point that got me was that you said there wasn't a single high res disc out you'd want. Are you sure that's true? If your current player just happened to play SACDs, there aren't ANY that you'd go ahead and pick up?

(Hrmm.. Dead Can Dance on SACD is something I'd look forward to.)
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by JaZZ
«...no accounting for taste I guess.» Sorry, I don't quite understand that... I'm not sure. My command of englisch just isn't adequate.

JaZZ


Über Geschmack lässt sich nicht streiten.

At least I think that's the corresponding idiom, I think some German idioms are sooo messed up in what their English equivalents are suppose to be.
 
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JaZZ

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Quote:

Originally posted by kelly
Jazz
The point that got me was that you said there wasn't a single high res disc out you'd want. Are you sure that's true?


No, not quite... I just didn't care that much, knowing that there were only a few hundred titles, and never saw anything reviewed that I imperatively must have.

Quote:

If your current player just happened to play SACDs, there aren't ANY that you'd go ahead and pick up?


Yes, of course – as I said: at least to justify the purchase and to experience the better sound. But probably I wouldnt buy the available titles if they just were CDs.

Quote:

(Hrmm.. Dead Can Dance on SACD is something I'd look forward to.)


That's one of my absolutely favored music, too... and even could be the cause to immediately by an SACD player.

Quote:

Originally posted by Born2bwire
Über Geschmack lässt sich nicht streiten.


That's indeed a very customary german phrase. Thanks a lot!


JaZZ
 
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Mike Walker

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This is too easy. We're all confirmed audio NUTS, we live and breathe this stuff. We care enough about sound reproduction to visit a site like this regularly. And yet, here we are debating about whether WE are going to support either of the new formats. I submit that if WE are arguing, and the general public is CLUELESS (come on guys, nobody other than audio "nerds" like us even knows these formats exist!), the future doesn't look that bright for either!
 
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JaZZ

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Quote:

Originally posted by Mike Walker

My point about the health of these formats

...here we are debating about whether WE are going to support either of the new formats. I submit that if WE are arguing, and the general public is CLUELESS..., the future doesn't look that bright for either!


Unfortunately that's true. But it isn't our fault. If there are just new (rivaling) formats, a lot of uncertainty about which one finally will establish, if at all, and a handful of music titles at last: where to get the motivation from to support... which one...?

It's not the lack of sonic improvement (though it's subtle), but the lack of interest from the potential buying public on a better resolution for their music, which in a great measure isn't reliant on this better resolution. Hi-rez is by nature an niche product for audio freaks – and can only be marketed by inplying some sort of lifestyle element: surround sound – because audio freaks aren't a really great buyers segment anymore. So let's be pessimistic in view of a great musical epiphany from the record companies' side...
 
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markl

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Quote:

Duh! I belive this is the result of the use of different mastering techniques being applied to the two layers, so that when the comparison is done in the store, you will say "WOW", that sounds better! You're relying on those who have the most to gain financially (the record companies) to supply the software for comparison! LOL! Does the phrase "wolf guarding the henhouse" have any meaning to you?


I'm sorry, I just don't buy this argument. Take the Rolling Stones re-masters as an example. They spent lots of money and time hunting down the scattered master tapes (read about this process, it's pretty impressive the lengths they went to). They then hired the best in the business Bob Ludwig to re-master the tapes.
Are you suggesting they twisted Ludwig's arm to deliberately make the Redbook layer sound "crappy" just to show the superiority of SACD? Did they throw away all their money on re-mastering this series just so they release new versions that aren't any better than the old ones?
All you need to do is look at the reviews in the audio and music mags to see how favorable the reaction to the Redbook layers has been.

Or... of course, you could just listen for yourself...

Quote:

I'm with andrzejpw: we don't need two equal new formats. And I disagree with markl in this matter: according to all reviews I've read so far there isn't one universal player that passably reaches the potential of the new format.


I bet neither of us can answer this definitively as I doubt we've actually heard all, three or even one universal player in our own system.
How many universal players are there on the market? Only a handful from mainstream, non-audiophile manufacturers at lower price points. Over time, as more come out, this situation will change. I still don't believe there's a "format war" when all future players will support all formats.

Mark
 
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