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CS vs SACD vs DVDa vs DVD Video

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by jameslindsey, Mar 15, 2004.

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  1. DVD A

    11 vote(s)
    28.2%
  2. SACD

    13 vote(s)
    33.3%
  3. DVD Video

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. CD

    15 vote(s)
    38.5%
  1. jameslindsey

    jameslindsey
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    Just replaced my ageing DVD player with a brand spanking new Pioneer 757Ai. WOW! what a difference. I was never really unhappy with the old player for DVD playback (CD was a little lacking) but I guess what you don't know wont hurt your bank balance.

    Many thanks to the knowledgeable people on these forums who have helped me choose some superb kit.
    I'm well impressed with CD audio quality (was going to buy a dedicated player but will buy some CDs instead now) but the gist of my question is what is the absoute best now that I can use the different formats available.

    Should I buy SACD, DVDA, CD or DVD video. Some albums are available on more than one format obviously it's nice to have the video also but for pure sound quality which is the order to go for.

    Technolgy says DVDa, SACD, DVD video then CD or am I wrong?

    I am frequently amazed with the good quality of some CDs and the poor quality (must be down to the mastering) of others. Is this the main controlling factor to pure audio quality?

    Anyone out there with experience of the formats got a comment?
     
  2. deckard

    deckard
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    Well I've recently bought a 757 too and have been impressed with it. I've also bought a DVD-a (Queen's 'A night at the opera') and an SACD (Feeder's 'Comfort in Sound') to evaluate the formats.

    You might not like to hear what I say next though, as I bought an AX5i too and have done all my listening through i-link which I must say is very user friendly and is much better than a standard digital coax connection for CDs. As such, I can't comment on the multichannel outs of the 757Ai.

    My (limited) experience of the formats so far is encouraging, there is better detailing at higher frequncies and improved imaging over regular CD. I couldn't pick one high res format over the other though.
     
  3. jameslindsey

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    Didn't think I needed iLink so bought the 2011 without (was a bargain).

    Then I made the mistake of going for the 757. Argh!!

    Hopefully simplicity is the only advantage. I have compared CD output via internal DVD player DACs and using digital link to the Amp and it processing in direct mode. I may be hearing things but I think the DVD output was a touch warmer and nicer. Not better not worse, just different, slightly, maybe.
     
  4. bobbypunk

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    The only issue I have with DVD-A is that the quality of it is stated as being 96KHz multi channel and 192KHz stereo
    but if you check the backs of the DVD-A cases they are rarely anywhere near that kind of spec, and are often no higher than a standard dolby digital mix. SACD in surround sound didn't make a huge amount of difference to me over DVD-A but in stereo SACD came into it's own.
    But I'll buy SACD out of those choices but in the main I'm sticking with vinyl!
     
  5. mjn

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    CD all the way
     
  6. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Yep another vote for good old CD. A well recorded redbook CD is a wonderful format. Ive often compared mint vinyl 180-200g virgin pressings against excellent CD versions and I cant favour either, the formats may have differing qualities but they are both as "hi-resolution" as my ears can handle.

    The audiophile market is actaully out on either SACD or DVD-A from where I see it, nothing is convincing me to invest in either format, be it recording quality or msuic on offer, I had a discussion recently with someone on another forum to indicate that SACDs catalogue of 1600 odd titles is dwarfed by over 5000 HDCDs in 2002 (try these out even if you dont own a HDCD player/DAC), who knows how many since 2002 have been let loose, but Im happily plowing on the HDCD trail.

    I would also give a big mention here to plain vainlla DVD-V music either 5.1 48Khz surround or 16 or 24 Bit/48Khz Linear PCM tracks, these sound astounding via a half decent hifi system. Again another reason I dont feel the need to embrace SACD/DVDA.

    A last point, you seem to have missed Vinyl off your poll above, tut tut !! The Dark side brigade will be coming to getcha.

    ATB.

    Anyway
     
  7. jameslindsey

    jameslindsey
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    Good Point, With hindsight vinyl should have been there, but to be honest although owning a few rare discs I haven't had a turntable in about 15 years. I agree on the first few playings vinyl has a nicer sound but handling is a pain in the wotsit and this quality for me subsides with scratches, dust and general poor handling of the medium (by myself). I'm right lazy me.

    Another query. If an album is available in SACD multichannel as well as a Hybrid version which is the best? Thinking of buying Norah Jones but can't make my mind up. Only possible sway is the fact that I can mp3 the hybrid so I can listen to it on the way to work.
     
  8. jameslindsey

    jameslindsey
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    No one rates DVD music videos? I've got a couple of titles from Peter Gabriel's Secret world live & Bjork - Volumen to the Chemical Brothers and Orbital all duplicated on CD also. I'd have to say that I feel the audio quality is on a par with, if not better than the CD version in my opinion. Maybe just my system performs better with DVD?

    As a test I bought Sting, Ten Summoners tales on DTS DVD as well as CD. This is actually a very well recorded CD but I felt the DVD when played in DTS gave it that something extra. Separate instruments became a little more defined and the sound as a whole projected better into the room. I was worried that multichannel music recordings would seem a little odd however certainly with this DVD it works very well indeed.

    Still not decided on an SACD to test.
     
  9. mudan

    mudan
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    I have The Police - Greatest Hits dts CD, which sounds great in my opinion - much more lively than the standard CD. This is apart from the over the top surround effects on some of the tracks.
     
  10. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    FWIW I love DVD-V music, I have many comparable albums on Cd & DVD-V, one such album Lauryn Hill - MTV unplugged sound better on DVD than CD, others its not so close, its very James IMO. But in some respects DVD-V is truly stunning, even fired 5.1 fired thru a stereo system, In fact was listening / watchin Sting : All This Time Live, last night, grin inducing quality. Im a big fan of 48Khz music dude, and CD & Vinyl.

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=119331
     
  11. jameslindsey

    jameslindsey
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    Thought it was only me that got that.:D
    And people thought I was mad when I told them that good audio made me smile.
     
  12. Jimmysil

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    Cd gets my vote, also I would say vinyl.
    Having said that the Metallica black album is good on DVDA and so are DTS cds.

    I always find that music on DVD video is a little disappointing.
     
  13. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    I find CD is not that good PC DVD-A is much better

    CD has always sounded harsh to me regardless of player.
     
  14. laurla

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    Clearly the SACD is potentially the best Hi-Fi format. To get the best of the format, the recordings will have to be done with the appropriate equipment. Some older analogue recordings do transfer well though.

    DVD-formats suffer from the fact that good DAC’s are very expensive making it difficult to take advantage of the additional bits in the stream. This means that the difference between DVD and CD can be hard to tell on a consumer player.

    SACD is an altogether different fish. The format calls for expensive recording equipment, but the player can be produced using much cheaper electronics. DSD decoders are easily made very linear which is a major problem for a conventional converter.

    The CD will often sound as good as the new format, but that is mostly because of the recording. The end result will never be better than the source material.


    By the way: The SACD player should be connected to the amplifier using analogue cables to get the full benefits of the format. Using i.Link will convert to PCM and cancel advantage of the format.

    These are my opinions - Yours might differ.
     
  15. Underscore

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    I voted for CD; here's why. Firstly, CD is perfectly high enough resolution to notice dodgy mastering on many recordings. However, my main reason is to do, not with laboratory resolutions, but the real world. Most of us have budgets for our systems; imagine someone with £1000 to spend on amplification and speakers. For stereo, that works out at £500 per channel, whcih should get you some well engineered and good sounding components. For multi-channel, that is £200 per channel - not even considering a sub. So which do you think will sound best?

    _
     
  16. warrj

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    laurla wrote:
    Is that really true? Meridian (amongst others) would certainly dispute that.

    Mind you my vote went for CD. Well-produced Redbook CD is as good as (IMHO) DVD-A or SACD. The new hi-res formats certainly sound different. But better? The jury's still out on that one...

    Regards,

    Jules.
     
  17. laurla

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    Well. They are all limited formats, meaning there is an absolute limit to the content of information the can contain.

    CD has the lowest limit.
    DVD uses the same format but with a higher limit. Inherently I can only be better (How could it be worse?).
    SACD also exceeds CD by far, but taking another approach.

    I can hardly see how CD could possibly win this. We can discuss if the equipment available at the moment favors CD. That might easily be the case, but in the long run the newer formats holds all aces.

    I think that to really appreciate the sound quality of DVD you need to spend big bucks on high-end DACS. One can question if its worth it. This is an individual choice.

    A good SACD player should be cheaper than the CD equivalent as this is one of the advantages of the format.

    The investment into new equipment can be either cheap or expensive, depending on your present equipment. If you use a fully fletched 6.1 channel system, then its no big deal as any half-descent player will play all formats within short. If you have a high-end stereo setup, things could look better. But quite a lot of SACD discs are 2 channel stereo, and others are hybrid discs where you have the best of two worlds.

    I personally use the same equipment for both audio and video content. (Making me a non-audiophile of coarse J)

    I must say that I doubt if I will invest in any audio DVD’s, as I personally prefer the SACD format.
     
  18. Underscore

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    Actually, from what I've read, this is not quite the case. Two quotes from this document:

    Now, I'm not saying that SACD won't "win" but I've read several independent articles stating that SACD is technically inferior to DVD-A and not one claiming the opposite.

    Also, I don't see the ability to make cheaper players, at the expense of ultimate fidelity for those people who wish to shell out for equipment with proper multi-bit DACs, to be a technical advantage - though it may well be a commercial one in getting public acceptance for the format.

    _
     
  19. Wasabi

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    Best technology may not win, as we have seen in the console war.

    Its about the perception of the quality and the support of software I reckon in this war.

    I repeat some of the data that I input in "is dvd audio dead" thread.

    SACD has to dat 1950 titles from 213 labels and the big ones are Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, EMI/Virgin and BMG. There are over 28 big manufacturers that has launched players.

    DVD-Audio have so far717 titles from 102 labels and the big ones are Universal Music Group, EMI, BMG and Warner Music. However there are rumours that Warner Music might pull out totally from DVD-A according to FT article.

    Anyway, I understand that SACD has been launched longer than DVD-A, however, despite the superior technology and the backing of many more manufacturer and more compatibility with existing players, DVD-A hasn't managed to decrease the gap of label/titles/sales between them two. Even today, there are more lables signing up at the SACD than DVD-A.

    I doubt there will be only one format surviving, like the VCR war, this time I think both are here to stay for a while and Sony has learnt lessons from the 80s.

    Look at the DVD-R and DVD+R war, dvd-r had the big approval and backing of the dvd forum, but somehow with good marketing and strategy, Philips and Sony with its un approved format, has won over the big players in US/Taiwan and Japan, and are now the leading format both in sales and development.

    The HD-DVD war will be another 5er though, as not many manufacturers apart from JVC and LG has shown Blue-ray products, although Toshiba's camp hasn't even launched theirs yet, they are still only at prototype stage. The outcome is still very uncertain. Also, reports say that Hollywood will only back one format, due to costs. And we musn't forget Microsoft's WM9 as a dark horse.

    Wasabi
     
  20. laurla

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    Well, I can also find well documented articles stating that Earth is flat, but that does not make me believe it (Hey maybe it is).

    Now why would Meredian say something nice about SACD: “Meridian Audio is a leader in digital audio and the inventor of Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) used for DVD-Audio”. Hmmm.

    I will agree to that it’s not easy to make a direct comparison out of the data sheets from the different formats given the different approach.

    But let’s make it a bit simpler.

    A CD contains 780 MB of information. An SACD contains 4.7 GB. If they did not squander it all away some probably went into music. Looking at specifications its bandwidth is limited to 100.000 Hz. Lets say it was only half of that. Enough?

    There is nothing new to DSD. This format has been used in many applications before SACD, but until now it would have been impossible to store the data necessary on a disc.

    The CD was conceived at the limit of the acceptable because of the technical challenges at the time. In my opinion they were out too early.

    As to making the players cheaper, this comes at no expense as it is merely an advantage of the format. A high-end SACD player would also be cheaper than the CD equivalent.

    There is nothing wrong with DVD. But apart from bringing multi channel most people just don’t have the equipment to take full advantage of it. The dynamics would be a problem, although I do se a great benefit in a higher sampling rate.

    There are some obvious disadvantages using SACD. One is transport in the analogue domain. This does not seam to bother the audiophiles as most use external DAC’s. The format is not easily copied either, which means no backups possible.
     
  21. laurla

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    To Underscore:

    I read the document you referred to and must admit I found it shocking. So I read it again and calmed down.

    Statement: It can be discussed if we can tolerate the ultrasound noise generated from SACD. The noise from SACD just above 100 kHz is higher in level than most of the treble in the audible range, at least when listening to the majority of acoustical music. It can also be discussed if DSD uses a "high" sampling rate. But apart from that: Yes, without noise shaping it will not work at all and that would be a lot worse. Now it is only a little bit worse than CD in the highest treble.

    Well. I would say that this is “out of band noise”. I guess that is what the 5th order filter is there for. Should we treat PCM audio without oversampling and filtering as well, it would look even worse.

    Statement: The noise level in the range above 100 kHz is –40dB under maximum signal level (and is thus even visible on an oscilloscope!). The noise is in fact much higher than any possible music signal in the same frequency range. This can be compared to DVD-A where the noise level is –144dB in the whole audible range and also in the ultrasound range.

    See above. And what ultrasound range? Multi channel DVD audio is limited to 44 kHz.

    Statement: Stereophile also performed a large subjective listening test between some existing high performance recording formats and SACD was even considered to be inferior to PCM 16bit, 176,4 kHz.

    Then it must be bad, right? But wait. Did he say 176,4 kHz. That is 4 times the sampling rate of the CD format and twice that of multi channel DVD audio. Why is this bad for SACD?

    And it goes on and on.

    I checked up on Ing. Ohman and he describe himself as: recognized hifi-political incorrect. He might be right there.

    You decide.
     
  22. John Dawson

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    People interested in some of the theory behind the arguments here might care to look at the following paper by two of the most respected academics in the audio industry. I was present at the original reading of this paper and it caused a big stir that somebody should come out with such unpalatable facts.

    http://www.discwelder.com/pdfs/1-Bit SD is Unsuitable paper.pdf

    On a more general note, this month's AES journal is wholly devoted to the subject of high resolution digital audio - about 150 pages - it will take a while to digest :)

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     

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