DVD audio not sounding as good as SACD?

Discussion in 'Music & Music Streaming Services' started by barongreenback, May 8, 2005.

  1. barongreenback

    barongreenback
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    I'm just starting to build a collection of high res disks. So far I have a free Sony SACD sampler and the Paul Weller covers album on SACD, and REM Reveal and Led Zeppelin How The West Was Won on DVD-Audio. Comparing the discs, SACD somehow sounds the more alive of the two formats. Is this right, have I chosen good enough discs yet or am I doing something horribly wrong? ;) Setup-wise I'm using a Denon 2910, AVR2805 and Mordaunt Short Genies.
     
  2. Eddy Boy

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    Don't forget that with out video SACD is meant to be a straight uncompressed copy of the master.
     
  3. overkill

    overkill
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    How the west was won, isn't a full on hi-res disc. Reveal is just, well, crap! :D Try Harvest by Neil Young, Metallicas black album, or if you're feeling a bit adventurous, Workingmans dead by the Grateful dead. The latter is a superb recording that wipes the floor with the CD version. I find SACD to be too 'shiny' so far.
     
  4. pringtef

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    Or :-

    Eagles - Hotel California
    Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
    Yes - Fragile

    Specifically for DVD-A with Surround, have a listen to Flaming Lips' Yoshima Battles the Pink Robots.
     
  5. overkill

    overkill
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    Yup. Excellent DVD-A. Prefer Rumours and Fragile on vinyl to the DVD versions. Frank Zappas Quadiophiliac is another great DVD-A. If you like Jazz (or even if you dont') Miles Davis's TUTU is also much better on DVD audio than on CD.
     
  6. Floodedstatue

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    The best SACD is Pink Floyd - 'Dark Side Of The Moon' IMHO

    The best DVD-A is Porcupine Tree - 'In Absentia' IMHO (award-winning, might I add!)

    They are both brilliant in their own ways. As I am not an expert, I am not in a position to say one is better than the other. I will just say that they both sound incredible and listening to them in surround-sound is a true pleasure :D
     
  7. MartinImber

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    Try LA Woman by The Doors
     
  8. CJROSS

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    Not entirely convinced by SACD myself when Ive heard it (on high quality stereo equipment that is not 5.1 kit) I too find it overly bright, like everything though else in audiophile land it comes down to what mix quality and equipment your hearing the mix on. Like top quality CD or virgin 180g vinyl – the recording makes or breaks the final outcome.

    FWIW I would endorse these DVD-As as ones that I would be quite surprised could be beaten by a SACD version :

    Porcupines Trees : In Absentia
    George Bensons : Breezin
    Fleetwood Mac : Say You Will
    Paul Simon : Your the one

    And FWIW Ive also heard CD HDCD versions of DVD-A sounding as good as the DVD-A version, for example Joni Mitchells : Both Sides Now or the Doors LA Woman. FWIW the CD version of Fleetwood Macs album above is also a stunning recording.

    Someone made a very good point last week IIRC, about people hearing SACD or DVD-A on sub £1000 AV 5.1 systems (no offence to owners of equipment in that bracket) and being very impressed by what it can do compared to normal CD via the same systems. If only they concentrated on getting the best from a CD/LP system in stereo, it makes the hi-res “difference” very small, in fact in some cases not even there TBH. I think on cheaper systems SACD comes across as “more detailed” thus “better” on higher end kit, this translates to brash, bright & fatiguing. This then does what Sony et al want these formats to do (sound great on cheaper components – CD will not), thus a 5.1 music orientated buying public is created, this as we all know has failed spectacularly, my advice is get the best stereo sounding system you can if your into hi-res formats. You can slot SACD & DVD-A into them, but you may be surprised how good normal CD sounds comapred to them in such a system.
     
  9. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
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    CJ

    Well put! The hybrid SACD layer played on my Pioneer will trounce the CD layer every time.

    However comparing the SACD layer on my Pioneer against the CD layer on my TAG it's a different story. There is not much in it IMHO and the Stones' hybrid discs CD layer are outstanding.

    I usually prefer SACDs to DVD-As however there are some great DVD-As too. One DVD-A I never see mentioned but is well worthy of buying is Jeff Trott's Dig Up The Astroturf
     
  10. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Yeah Kenny don’t get me wrong, Ive got quite a collection of SACDs that I think the hybrid CD layer is pretty stunning in redbook terms. FWIW : I have a couple of Linn SACDs (Barb Jungr & Nigel North) that are actually HDCD on the CD hybrid layer I sure weve mentioned that before. Stings ; Sacred Love & The Police remastered on SACD (Zennyatta Mondatta, Synchronicity & Greatest Hits) all sound pretty stunning (and that’s me comparing directly to the vinyl versions) when you consider that SACD or DVD-A cant get near as far as many reviewers would comment.

    The more I read about these comments of SACD or DVD-A being plainly superior to CD, its 9/10 on a universpal player costing £300-400, an AV 5.1 integarted reciever costing £400 & 5.1 speakers + sub that barely reach £1000. Now that’s not me slagging off kit in that bracket, but when you listen back to a CD on that system, then make a comparison against a format that has a “brighter presenation” its very easy to puff SACD up as superior, when it patently is not in comparison to a £3000+ CD based stereo system.
     
  11. manny

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    the point about cd sounding pretty much as good as sacd or dvd-a on £3000+ set-ups may be true, but how many of us can afford that? to me, the great thing about these formats is that i can get much better sound from my relatively modest set-up without having to spend an absolute fortune.
     
  12. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Agree with CJ and Kenny.

    Like CJ I too have found the CDs of the Joni Mitchell, Doors and Fleetwood Mac albums to be the equal of the DVD-As. That current re-master of "Rumours" is jaw-droppingly good, as are those Stones re-masters.

    As CJ says too many people are playing CD, SACD and DVD-A on universal decks through home-cinema oriented equipment. This is not the way to hear CD at its best as this kit is oriented toward multi-channel with 2 channel CD as a poorly executed afterthought.

    Was sitting the other night with the lights out, chilled drink, nice fire in the grate and cool CD and SACD sounds on the hi-fi. The last thing i wanted to do to ruin that cosy atmosphere was to get up and switch on the telly just so I could listen to a DVD-A.

    The main stumbling block with this format (along with CD player incompatibility) as far as I am concerned.
     
  13. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Manny, that £3000 figure is a bit high I agree but not when you consider that 99.9% of your collection is CD or Vinyl based, in fact I would wager you can assemble a very decent CD system for £1500 these days that will blow away a similarly priced 5.1 SACD/DVD-A system for that budget, don’t believe me :

    Hows about :

    Denon 2900 – SACD & DVD-A = £350 (SACD & DVD-A in stereo)
    Offboard DAC for CD use off Universal player above = £350
    Unison Research Unico / Sugden A21 Amp / Rotel 1060 = £500
    £300 on a stereo set of speakers.

    For your existing CD collection that will blow the socks off a similarly priced 5.1 setup. And consequently as you go higher up the chain (ie £2000, £3000 etc etc) the differences are as marked.

    You also forget that the extent of material available on each format is the deciding factor, I would easily live with a cheaper system that sounds great with a “hi-res” format if there was a decent amount of material, both SACD & DVDA have shown the list is tiny compared to CD or Vinyl. Use your money wisely I would say, and wisely to me is gettign your system operating at full level for the CD/record collection you have currently, not one that an indusrty pushes as the way forward. PS watch the next round develop with Bluray et al and look at CDs, they aint going to dissapear overnight.

    And a final point, if I come across as snobby about kit performance v price of kit, then that’s not my intention, in fact use a £300 TT off a £400 stereo amp into £300 speakers and that’s as high resolution as you get below £1000. Makes a mockery of what you will hear from a £1000 5.1 SACD/DVD-A system.
     
  14. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    The point is you don't get a better sound from your set up. Your universal deck may give SACD and DVD-A performance that is superior to the CD performance of that deck but it won't outperform a decent dedicated CD player.

    And you don't have to spend anywhere near £3,000 to get a result. Give me £600-£700 and with a bit of judicious discount shopping I could buy a CD player and hi-fi amp that would blow away the SACD / DVD-A sound from a similarly priced Universal player and AV amp combo (or even a slightly more expensive pairing for that matter).

    Good quality CD replay is the last thing most universal decks are designed for, and good quality stereo reproduction is the downfall of many AV amps.
     
  15. manny

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    i didn't mean to imply you were being snobby, you certainly weren't.
    i take your point about being able to get a more than decent cd system for a fairly reasonable outlay, the problem is that for many of us our set-up is a compromise. i certainly don't have the space, never mind the funds, to have both a home cinema system and a music system. i have done my best to get the best compromise, i have full range speakers on all channels and a stereo-only by-pass on my amp, and i use seperate cd and dvd/sacd/dvd-a players. i know it's not perfect, but i am quite happy with the results.
    however, if i can ever afford it, rest assured i will get a music system that'll blow my mind!
     
  16. barongreenback

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    Manny - that's my logic. I had a finite budget and whilst I would love to be able to afford both a stereo and 5.1 set up, I opted for the latter. I'm trying to build a collection that will make the most of my kit, conscious of the fact that CDs will not sound all they can be based on the equipment I have.

    Going back to my original point - is there any reason why one format should in theory sound better than the other?
     
  17. manny

    manny
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    oh, one other thing, Pauly, you commented about having to get up to use the television for dvd-a, you don't. just press play on the remote instead of close tray and the disc will automatically start playing. you can also change groups from the remote, for changing from multi-channel to stereo.
     
  18. manny

    manny
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    oh yeah, the point of the thread!
    peole have come up with all sorts of technical reasons why one format should be better than the other, but in the end i think it comes down to the ears. i mean, from a technical point of view both hi-res formats should be clearly superior to cd, but as many have said here, there isn't that much in it. i personally find a preference for dvd-a , it's smoother and less brash. but i still thoroughly enjoy many sacd discs.
     
  19. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
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    One DVD-A which is excellent is Ryan Adam's Gold :thumbsup: In fact I have an un-opened spare copy if anyone wants to swap?
     
  20. russraff

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    Don't you need to have speakers that have 20khz+ freq response to get the best out of these new gen formats?

    Russell
     
  21. Ovation

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    I have about a dozen DVD-As and around 40 SACDs. Both are excellent formats (the relative number has to do with availability of titles, not a format preference, in my case).

    All my DVD-As start playing automatically. You don't NEED to use a display (there were a few early releases that were improperly authored, but it's only a couple).

    I've heard the hi-res formats on "high-end" kits compared to "hi-end" CD players and as long as the the players are of equivalent quality (and the recordings are of good quality), hi-res has trumped the CD each and every time. If I were spending "hi-end" money, I'd buy a "hi-end" CD player (because I have a lot of them) AND a "hi-end" hi-res player.

    However, a MCH setup will ALWAYS be part of my primary setup, as I consider discrete (as opposed to artificially generated DSP) MCH mixes the superior approach to music, regardless of genre. I've read all the objections, done the tests on my own "humble" system and, with the exception of ONE track on ONE DVD-A, I have preferred the MCH mixes in each case.

    The early Elton John re-releases in MCH SACD are one case in point. The immersive quality of the surround mixes are just stunning. A MCH array brings out the backing instruments and vocals in a way simply unattainable in two-channel, AT ANY PRICE. Yes, it places you "in the band", which is an unfamiliar place from which to listen for most people, but I'll take that seat "in the band" with the increased clarity of the instruments over the "flat" and "blurred" (relatively speaking) two channel version. And the best part is, even when I'm not sitting in the "sweet spot" for critical listening, the clarity and separation remain far superior as I move about the room.

    Another case:

    Pletnev Plays Schumann--SACD. This is a solo piano performance in MCH. You don't need MCH for a solo piano, you say? Poppycock. Do you listen to solo classical piano performances in mono just because there's only one instrument? (I listen to mono tracks in mono because they were recorded that way, but not because I think them superior to two channel). The MCH mix provides a sense of the acoustic space that a two channel mix simply cannot replicate. I don't care how much money is in your kit. I compared it to the two channel recording. The two channel is extremely nice. It sounds like an excellent recording of the piano. The MCH sounds like the piano is in the room.

    Many people object to the "immersive" nature of "in the band" surround mixes--even those who are otherwise big fans of MCH mixes (the ambience ones, at least). They say it's not "natural". Music was meant to be presented "in front". I concede that may be the case for "live" presentations but there is no "stage" in a studio recording. The tracks are recorded sequentially, not concurrently, and current MCH playback technology greatly expands the possibilities. I, for one, enjoy the fresh takes on "old chestnuts". Every recommendation for a MCH music playback calls for, at the very least, five identical speakers and a sub (the highest quality one can afford). Why would I bother with excellent rear speakers if all they were for was ambient hall effects? Seems wasteful. But when I put in one of the Elton Johns, or Dark Side of the Moon, or Rumours--any MCH "in the band" mix, I certainly appreciate the extra money I spent on my rear speakers.

    There will always be a place for a high quality two channel configuration. For one thing, the amount of two channel music out there is too great to ignore. For another, money and space considerations won't allow for MCH systems all over the house. And, there is the not inconsiderable point of personal preference. While I prefer MCH mixes AND I think a large part of the resistance to such is a strain of "experiential conservatism" that runs through most people, I also know that it's about "enjoying the tunes". That's more important than how many channels you use.

    But, I still stand by my assertion that with hi-res two channel vs CD two channel, of the same recordings, on equal equipment, hi-res will win out.
     
  22. overkill

    overkill
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    :rolleyes: No, it's down, as CJ amongst others have said, to the equipment you use - period. My Multi format player (DCD2900) gives good results with the 5.1 mixes, which is fine as they go (gimmicky for the most part) but still gives better results with hi-res in two channel. As to CD, my standalone CD player which cost roughly the same, wipes the floor with it in terms of CD replay.

    "Conservatism" has jack to do with it. If the 5.1 mix is just all gimmick (REM 'automatic for the people' being a classic example) it's a thoroughly unenjoyable experience. I've found very few that aren't. I don't care how "immersive" they are, if it in no way enhances the listening pleasure, in particular after the intial "ooh thats interesting" feeling wears off, then its stereo for me. 9 times out of 10, 5.1 after extended listening, doesn't convince me.

    If you enjoy the hi res and 5.1 over CD then fine, if that floats your boat, that's up to you. But deriding people as "conservative", listening wise, because despite having bought several hi-res disc's they're not entirely convinced, is a poor show.
     
  23. barongreenback

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    What have I started? :rolleyes: :D
     
  24. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    It might be worth pointing out that stuff recorded in PCM (the vast majority IIRC) should sound better on a PCM format like DVDA.

    Pure DSD recordings are very, very rare (some DSD to PCM conversion is almost inevitable during the recording/mixing/mastering process).

    Having said that though, I generally prefer the sound of SACD to DVDA. Am I alone in thinking SACD has the edge in ambient detail retrieval and musical "fluidity"?

    I also prefer it in operational terms - no tv required! Pity these formats are dying because they both had enormous potential :(

    DT
     
  25. CJROSS

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    Overkill, If Im conservative then so be it, but I was a live concert last week and there were no speakers behind me, no rear effects as it were, just the soundstage from the front of the stage, and I can say I enjoyed that experience no-end. Ive also listended to a fully stacked Krell showcase SF Cremona rig doing SACD 5.1 & DVD-V 5.1, and nope did not like it at all. And plenty of other systems – sounds disjointed to me, bang & whizz bullets, yep fine, but music nope. Ive not ever been to many live concerts indoor or outdoor where I get a spatial feeling of sound behind me like 5.1 system. So yes Im conservative, and glad to be when I put that 2 channel conservatism into perspective with what I hear at live events. 5.1 music does not come close, stereo does.

    FWIW DT makes a very good point about pure DSD recordings, IMHO your guaranteed HDCD levels of quality from the hybrid CD layer of such a disc, in fact Linn SACDs are HDCD encoded, but others I have heard, such as Stings : Sacred Love on CD via a good redbook convertor well its pretty stunning, The jury is very much out on PCM master tapes trasferred over to DSD for SACD, yet SACD is always offered as superior to CD PCM. Not in my book.

    DT I think they are both dying because the industry behind each format, foolishly went down the 5.1 route, and trying to push that medium to confirmed audiophiles with thousands of stereo CDs & Vinyl LPs already, they would have been better served pushing it as a stereo high resolution. It’s the main reasosn Ive avoided them to this stage, I get the best system that can do my existing formats and then try to get the best stereo from DVD-V/A FWIW. Dualdisc further highlights how they are missing the point, ie how many high resolution stereo mixes have you noticed on Dualdisc ?

    Stereo you cretins, Stereo !! Do you hear ?
     
  26. overkill

    overkill
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    Fair enough CJ. I take your point over DVD-V 5.1 or surround sound in movies full stop, as the rear and side effects can add to the experience. I was involved right from the early days of surround sound, and it was great fun watching customers duck as jet engines (top gun) seemed to be coming from behind them. :D However, like you, I find the surround experience adds nothing to music, and as above, the curiosity effect wore off (I no longer bother even trying them) after a few plays.

    Again, I would agree the disc producers made a mistake in pushing 5.1, when it would have been better pushing the hi quality stereo side of hi res discs.

    With customer take up still slack (vinyl is selling more units than hi-res combined), it's no wonder, once again, hi-res, high quality digital media looks to have bitten the dust.
     
  27. manny

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    i personally hope the hi-res formats do survive. i have around 50 discs, and all but 2 (that i can think of) have both 5.1 and stereo mixes. there have been a some where i have preferred the stereo mix, but generally i find the surround mixes to be very good. often they have just faint ambience in the surrounds which i initially thought was pointless, it might as weel be stereo, but i turned off the rear speakers and was very surprised by how much narrower the soundstage suddenly became. as for surround mixes on studio recordings, it's not a live band, why shouldn't sound come from any direction the mixer or musician wants? i've particularly enjoyed bjork's vespertine, frankie goes to hollywood's rage hard, alice cooper's welcome to my nightmare and the Blue Man Group's first album. and the hi-res stereo re-master of the Eagle's hotel california is fantastic.
    i realise many people dislike 5.1 music, but many of us like it very much. i wouldn't call you wrong for preferring stereo, and so far most hi-res discs have given us the choice of which one we'd rather listen to. and now with both hybrid sacd and dual disc, one purchase can fulfill cd, hi-res stereo and 5.1 desires. as i see it this is a good thing and should be supported.
     
  28. KoThreads

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    I've seen a few bands with more thas just a front PA over the years, but I saw Tangerine Dream at Coventry Cathedral in 75 or 76 with there version of quad sound, and no 5.1 6.1, SACD DVD-A or anything else could even come remotely close for ambience unless you stick a sheer monster set up in a church..

    I will add I don't posess SACD or DVD-A, just around a £900 hifi and a £1000 seperate DVD, MCH receiver and Mission 700 series 5.1 with sub. It's rubbish with CD compared to the Arcams/Kef hifi. But I still want to have a bash with hi-res one day, maybe the new Samsung 950 will be enough for me. I'm not biased one way or another, I just wish I had a bigger house.
     
  29. manny

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    yeah, i wish i had a bigger house too... sigh...
     
  30. Andy_Lee

    Andy_Lee
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Messages:
    98
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Telford Shropshire
    Ratings:
    +0
    Sorry I'm a bit confused here. You have to turn your TV on to listen to a DVD Audio disc???????? Please explain or is it a typo?
     

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