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DVD-A v.s SACD and... HD-DVD v.s Blu-ray


Omar Awapara

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Why?!?!?! Damn, this media war is only affecting the consumers and delaying the massive benefits of a superior media for Audio and for Video.

 

I really Think that the Blu-ray is way superior over the HD-DVD based only on what I've read. It has 20Gb more of capacity and a faster transfer of information.

 

But in the audio platform I really don't know wich is better based only on what I've read, they seem very similar. Super Audio CD or DVD audio. I've seen in Cduniversea few titles in each media type. Metallica is remastering some titles for DVD-Audio I think, on the other side Peter Gabriel is doing the same thing but with SACD. The thing that makes me angry is that this war will create audio players that have to read both media types increasing the overall cost, plus It would suck if the better media type loses the war just because of bad marketing and bad allies, just like Betamax lost to VHS (I've read that VHS allied with the porn industry and that was the extra push over the hill to beat Betamax).

 

What do you think about it? I think I would be just fucking amazing to hear your future artist album made on a SACD or DVD-A. Imagine a 5.1 audio system, we could actually hear each instrument on a different speacker, and imagine a surround passage that goes 360 degrees instead of just bouncing form Left to Right like stereo does.

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Neither SACD or DVD-A are being supported in any major way here in the States any longer. And what little content there is will continue to decline. Both sound excellent. Best to get a player that plays both, and buy whichever album you want regardless of format. I'm sure this is all hard to get in Peru, but last year was the last time there were many new titles coming out in either. A shame really, but with consumer confusion and retailer apathy, they were doomed. But much work went into most of the available titles in both formats, and for the most part sound fantastic.
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I picked up a Sony SACD/DVD-Audio player last year & have about 15 titles.

Stuff like Captain Fantastic, Brain Salad Surgery, Dark Side Of The Moon, etc, amazing.

The Chick Corea 60th Birthday bash at the Blue Note is exquisite. I just ordered a DVD-Audio of Tchaikovsky for $12, so the prices are finally coming down, although probably because the market died before it was ever born.

Oh well, there's always Blu-ray...

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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Something will be the next big push, like the transistion from cassette to CD, but I'm not sure that SACD or DVD-Audio is it. I think these will fall somewhat by the wayside, much like the MiniDisc. Sure, MD ended up finding its niche as a recording medium, but it certainly wasn't the "next generation."

 

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter which product is better. Look at the mp3. It has taken over in the audio world, yet it's a step back in sound quality. It's all about convenience and content (as we found out in the VHS/Betamax war).

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Originally posted by Bridog6996:

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter which product is better. Look at the mp3. It has taken over in the audio world, yet it's a step back in sound quality. It's all about convenience and content (as we found out in the VHS/Betamax war).

I didn't see this before I posted. I agree and could see the same thing potentially happening with blu-ray.

Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive

- Rush

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And wasn't Sony more than a bit too demanding in what it wanted in return for other companies to use Betamax? The result was very few companies willing to manufacture Betamax and lots of companies producing VHS decks.
This post edited for speling.
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Thank you all for replying. Wow, I really didn't know all this, I thought that the market for DVD-A and SACD was just born and only taking a while to explode, but it all indicates that it's kind of dead. What a pitty that lower quality compressed formatts are becoming the NEXT massive format, but well it's true. iPods and iTunes are the next generation of music, that sucks!! It's good to have mp3's and iPods but not if that means a drawback in musical quiality. I was very enthusiastic about a next generation Format. Is there really no realistic candidate right now?? Give me Hope.
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Let's also not forget that when cassette tapes replaced vinyl, that was also a big step backwards in sound quality.

 

As for what the next big format will be, who knows? It's all about convenience, though. Digital media (mp3s, IPods, etc.) is taking over, so I would look for the next big breakthrough to come from that area.

 

SACD and DVD-Audio are great, but that improvement is lost on someone who wants to listen to their iPod. What they need to do is improve digital compression methods (a better mp3) to go along with the better physical formats. People still like buying CDs, but these days I think you have to market it in terms of digital media.

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The fact is that CD was a quantum leap--most people had poor quality record players, so the fidelity was quite a bit better--but moreover the format was convenient--it doesn't degrade with repeat playing and even quite bad scratches can be overcome (OK, so at some point the error correction system can't overcome them and interpolation is used, although that's likely to be inaudible; at worse they'll 'skip" to the point of being unplayable--but you really have to treat your discs badly for this)--and you have the advantage of instant track access, etc. It also looked suitably "high tech" and impressive.

 

The fact is that properly dithered 16-bit audio for playback is fine (it's better to work with higher resolution for mixing, processing, etc.); the limitation is most people's audio systems, and besides, how many recordings actually have a 96dB (16-bit) signal-to-noise ratio?

 

Most people don't even know what stereo imaging is, much less know how to set up surround systems properly, and AFAIK no-one's really figured a standard way to mix/pan for surround music, unlike stereo music and surround sound on movies.

 

(I'm always astonished to see pictures of enthusiasts' home theater systems posted, some of which cost 10000's, yet in almost every case the speakers are not set up properly!)

 

Anyway, the real limitation on audio quality is the instruments used and the quality of maintenance, or if synths, programming, microphones/acoustics for acoustic instruments, the processing, mixing, etc. In the CD era everyone was busy trying to "show off" the sound quality, so a lot of the best recordings for sound quality are from that time. (Not just synth-pop, though that's fine by me, but also Donald Fagen--"The Nightfly," Dire Straits--"Brothers in Arms", etc.)

 

As for the "download" era, it's early days yet. Apple upgraded the video quality of iTunes video downloads (so I suppose there's hope that improvements will occur in time) but unfortunately the music is stuck at 128kbit/s AAC which IMHO is unacceptable and I've decided that I won't buy any music from them until it's lossless.

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Originally posted by Bridog6996:

Let's also not forget that when cassette tapes replaced vinyl, that was also a big step backwards in sound quality..

Yes, but they didn't "replace" LPs...

 

BTW, while mass produced cassettes suck, a high-end cassette recorder (e.g., Nakamichi... hmm, I guess they don't make 'em anymore!... Sony with Dolby S [consumer version of SR]) properly calibrated with good tape media can give quite a remarkable performance, ...if you have 3 heads and skip between the CD and the tape'd version it's almost as good!

 

Anyway, it's quite true, Joe Sixpack only cares about "good enough" quality and expect high levels of convenience. And frankly, outside of our "pet" interests/hobbies/professions, most us do, too.

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Originally posted by Silver Dragon Sound:

Bluray has had some issues though here. Toshiba has come out publicly about these issues. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Right now I think most people are concerned with price not performance.

The good thing is that the cost of mass-produced digital electronics are so low these days that it's almost a "by default" thing that the next thing comes along. I expect sooner or later "next generation" players from China are sold for spare change prices in petrol stations, as happened with DVD a few years after its launch. They'll be standard on personal computers too.

 

I guess the question is whether it's expensive to convert DVD duplication facilities to the new formats. IIRC it's not with HD-DVD, I forget about Blu-Ray though.

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Originally posted by Griffinator:

One of the biggest reasons for the decline of SACD and DVD-A is rise of bigger capacity media.

 

Imagine uncompressed hi-rez audio in multichannel. That's what I'm ready for. Screw DD algos and DSD pseudo-science.

There is nothing "pseduoscience" about lossy compression systems, they are throughly grounded in psychoacoustics and blind testing. Call that guesswork if you like, and to an extent it is since we do not have absolute knowledge of the human perception system, and "simplified" models have to be used for any practical system, but we know enough about frequency subbands and masking etc.; they didn't pull it out of their as*. However, if the performance is inadequate, that is because it is impossible to throw away 75%-90% of the data alongside the artefacts introduced by the process, and not audibly reduce quality for at least some listeners. (i.e., us!)

 

Anyway, have you heard of Meridian Lossless Packing (also known as MLP Lossless) developed by high-end audio company Meridian and licensed by Dolby?

 

http://investor.dolby.com/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=160488

 

It has to be said, though, the performance of AC-3 or the "original" Dolby Digital (given it's now getting on for 15 years old) with a good professional encoder is really quite good. A lot of the bad name that MP3 gets is due to the total lack of quality control on the encoders.

 

As for DSD, that IS uncompressed, it's just PWM not PCM.

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Originally posted by soundscape:

Originally posted by Bridog6996:

Let's also not forget that when cassette tapes replaced vinyl, that was also a big step backwards in sound quality..

Yes, but they didn't "replace" LPs...

 

Sure, cassette tapes didn't literally banish LPs from existance, if that's what you thought I meant. By "replace," I meant that cassette tapes took over as the dominant medium. And by dominant, I mean strictly from a sales perspective. That's a fact.
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Originally posted by Bridog6996:

Originally posted by soundscape:

Originally posted by Bridog6996:

Let's also not forget that when cassette tapes replaced vinyl, that was also a big step backwards in sound quality..

Yes, but they didn't "replace" LPs...

 

Sure, cassette tapes didn't literally banish LPs from existance, if that's what you thought I meant. By "replace," I meant that cassette tapes took over as the dominant medium. And by dominant, I mean strictly from a sales perspective. That's a fact.
Well, regardless of the sales figures, at least until CD was dominant LP's were typically available and showed no signs of becoming obsolete. So it was no big deal to the "audiophile". (Except for those who somehow believed digital audio "ruined" the quality, better, even when the recording process, synths and effects, etc. used were digital. :freak: ) On the other hand, it's I think it's a legitmate fear that lossless media could give way to lossy online distribution. In fact, that's already a problem for some material (although half the time bad sample libraries of the week, nasty soft synths and sloppy engineering/mixing already makes the material painful to listen to... and I didn't even get to the music per se.) Maybe by the time CD disappears, broadband connectivity and mega storage capacity will make lossless distribution the norm.
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I'm convinced that most consumers want to have something physical when they purchase music, although downloading digital music is popular, it doesn't compare to the amount of physical CD's and DVD's that are purchased.

 

I personally cannot see a time where the only way to purchase media is online with no physical equivilant.

 

With regards to blu-ray and HD-DVD, over here the average consumer doesn't have a good enough quality tv to see enough difference to upgrade from DVD, my $0.02 anyway...

 

And with SACD and DVD-A, most consumers wouldn't sit down and listen to an entire album from start to finish, they put it on while they're doing the housework, while they have guests over, while they're driving to work etc. and thus most wouldn't notice a difference from old 16bit CDs...

 

My prediction, CD's and DVD's are here for a long while yet.

 

I do think SACD, DVD-A, HD-DVD, and Blu-Ray although superior media will suffer the same fate as MD, Laserdisc and Betamax.

 

With HD-DVD and Blu-Ray being in competition with each other, they're both doomed to fail.

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Originally posted by TinderArts:

DSD is no more pseudo-science than PCM.

Do we really have to reopen the old discussion about the physics of audio and the response range of the human ear?

 

As fascinating as the fine details are, it was tiresome when GM and Nika used to go at it for weeks on end. It'll be a lot less interesting without the heavyweights...

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Originally posted by Griffinator:

Originally posted by TinderArts:

DSD is no more pseudo-science than PCM.

Do we really have to reopen the old discussion about the physics of audio and the response range of the human ear?.
Do explain 'cause I haven't the faintest clue what you're talking about in relation to DSD.
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How bout I just link to the archives and let you make up your own mind on it.

 

http://www.musicplayer.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/005833.html

http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/002225.html#000000

 

and one granddaddy monstrosity thread that should keep you busy for several weeks over the debate that any super-high samplerate has any merit...

 

http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/000822/p/1.html

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Originally posted by Griffinator:

How bout I just link to the archives and let you make up your own mind on it.

Actually, if your point is just that higher sample rates are of little or no benefit, unless there's any original material, it hardly seems worth bothering. I'm quite familar with Nyquist, etc.

 

As I've stated above, there is nothing wrong with properly dithered 16-bit audio. I'd also add that 44.1kHz or 44kHz sample rates are fine.

 

So, if by "pseudo-science" you mean that the marketing of higher bit-rate audio carriers than CD has exaggerated or even utterly nonsensical claims that violate the Nyquist _theorem_ (that's theorem, as in proven, not theory!), sure.

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Originally posted by Omar Awapara:

iPods and iTunes are the next generation of music, that sucks!! It's good to have mp3's and iPods but not if that means a drawback in musical quiality. I

This is a bit open to question in my opinion. I think you can play full quality lossless audio files on many of these devices if you are willing to accept the file size increase. I'm not sure about iTunes though and their formats... but certainly you can rip CDs to formats other than mp3.
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Originally posted by orangefunk:

Originally posted by Omar Awapara:

iPods and iTunes are the next generation of music, that sucks!! It's good to have mp3's and iPods but not if that means a drawback in musical quiality. I

This is a bit open to question in my opinion. I think you can play full quality lossless audio files on many of these devices if you are willing to accept the file size increase. I'm not sure about iTunes though and their formats... but certainly you can rip CDs to formats other than mp3.
Right, iTunes and the iPod support the "Apple Lossless" format, you just can't buy music in that format. My CD's are all encoded using lossless compression.

 

I think the only problem is that hard disk players have has to access the hard drive more frequently as the cache has to be filled more often, making damage more likely.

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we could actually hear each instrument on a different speacker, and imagine a surround passage that goes 360 degrees instead of just bouncing form Left to Right like stereo does.
No offense but in my opinion 5.1 audio and 360 degree sound is unrealistic for music. Why? because when you are at a concert the musicians are in front of you and they usually stay on stage. As far as hearing each instrument on a seprate speaker,while it would be cool it's somewhat novel because for one the musicians onstage don't even get that type of separation :P . And on the other hand all of the instruments and the vocals are all mixed, also the listener would need a fancier pair of headphones unless of course a 2 channel mix is provided on the same disc.

 

Regarding formats; While I do agree that some people will prefer buying a physical copy of an album others will continue to embrace the alternatives. Higher quailty mixes of songs could become availble online aswell as other formats could become more popular. I for one like open-source formats such as Ogg-vorbis, FLAC etc.

 

One of the big advantages of publishing your music online and not in a packaged format is that their is less pressure on an artist as far as image and packaging goes, meaning you won't have to make sure you do a nice photo shoot and make sure your wearing the hippist clothes, have your hair done just "right" and put 10 pictures of your self on the album(front cover, insert, back cover, maybe a picture of yourself on the disc) that means you don't have to pay a hair stylist, designer etc.

 

What the physical disc has become is a great way for big labels to show off their prized pop-artist while ignoring musical content(not in all cases).

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No offense but in my opinion 5.1 audio and 360 degree sound is unrealistic for music. Why? because when you are at a concert the musicians are in front of you and they usually stay on stage. As far as hearing each instrument on a seprate speaker,while it would be cool it's somewhat novel because for one the musicians onstage don't even get that type of separation :P . And on the other hand all of the instruments and the vocals are all mixed, also the listener would need a fancier pair of headphones unless of course a 2 channel mix is provided on the same disc. [/QB]
I really don't think that it would be unrealistic just beacuse musicians don't get separated. It all gets solved arranging speakers in the concert hall. Besides music is not about trying to be "realistic" all the time, if that would be the case then we would never have had synthesizers and weird sounds that don't exist in nature.

Besides mixing music in 5.1 is nothing new, we get it all the time in movie soundtracks, why would it be so tabu to use it on audio albums??

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Originally posted by Omar Awapara:

No offense but in my opinion 5.1 audio and 360 degree sound is unrealistic for music. Why? because when you are at a concert the musicians are in front of you and they usually stay on stage. As far as hearing each instrument on a seprate speaker,while it would be cool it's somewhat novel because for one the musicians onstage don't even get that type of separation :P . And on the other hand all of the instruments and the vocals are all mixed, also the listener would need a fancier pair of headphones unless of course a 2 channel mix is provided on the same disc.
I really don't think that it would be unrealistic just beacuse musicians don't get separated. It all gets solved arranging speakers in the concert hall. Besides music is not about trying to be "realistic" all the time, if that would be the case then we would never have had synthesizers and weird sounds that don't exist in nature.

Besides mixing music in 5.1 is nothing new, we get it all the time in movie soundtracks, why would it be so tabu to use it on audio albums?? [/QB]

I'm not saying it's entirely unfruitful, I do realize that not everything about music is realistic. As a concept album or anything therefore realted to that idea, yes 5.1 could be interesting but is it entirely practical? No, when you hear a band play whether they play jazz, classical etc. you hear a blend of them playing together. If they are an acoustic band part of their skill would be each of them playing at just the right volume so you hear them as one entity a band.

 

Sure you could use a 5.1 system and take a stereo recording and pump the same mix out of each speaker but what I gather from what your saying is using 5.1 audio in such a way that for example, you hear the piano from the front left speaker, the guitar from the front right, the bass guitar from the rear left, a B3 from the rear right, the vocals from the center channel and the drums would be underlying the whole mix and come from all of the speakers. If what I just stated is similar to what you imagine I can understand as I stated before how this could be usefull for concept albums but I don't think this would be usefull for say a jazz trio because when you go to a concert you don't sit in the middle of all of the musicians. I do understand the use of 5.1,6.1 and 7.1 in movies and television but movies and music are two diffrent things.

 

Maybe there's a misunderstanding about what each of us is trying to explain :confused: either way it's all in a friendly context as I said before I mean no offense.

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Regardless of medium, a great peformance will cut through.

 

The proof is in folks who own every generation of their favorite recordings i.e. vinyl, cassette, CD, digital download, etc. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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