Forum Topic: Why does the Blu-ray disc sound better than the audio CD?

Source? Equipment? Both?

by hodg100 Jun 29, 2017 at 7:01 AM

  • AVForums member doggy found themselves slightly perplexed recently following an a comparison between a CD and a Blu-ray disc.
    Doggy was listening to the Whiplash soundtrack CD on their Hi-Fi system and wasn't overly impressed with the representation of the cymbals, during the last scene at the jazz festival. He then played the Blu-ray through the amp via an optical cable and it sounded ‘so much better’ – is that down to the production of the CD, asks doggy?

    Stalwart contributor to the Hi-Fi Forums, BlueWizard aka Steve, suspects at least an element of it is the different mixes used on the audio CD and Blu-ray. The Blu-ray was specifically mixed for the movie and things may have been done to enhance the dynamic range, while they probably used a different mix for the audio CD of the soundtrack.

    Though it could also be a difference in the DACs (digital to analogue converter), says Steve, if you use RCA cables, then you are using the DAC in the player. However, if you are connected by optical cable, then you are using the DAC in the amplifier or receiver. So, that aspect is possible.

    CD is limited to 16bit and a sample rate of 44.1KHz but Blu-ray is considerably higher in both. A Blu-ray is typically 24 bit and 96KHz sample rate with, BlueWizard thinks, the potential to go as high as 24bit/192KHz. However, just because that capability is there, doesn't mean they are using it. It is hard to determine what the actual mix is on any given Blu-ray but the potential for higher resolution sound is there.

    Why do you think doggy is hearing the difference?

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