1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

DVD-Audio Or SACD?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Rasczak, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. Rasczak

    Rasczak
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    21,200
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Argyll
    Ratings:
    +2,257
    I am in the market for a new DVD player - haven't set all my requriements yet - but I know I would like to enter invest in a system capable of playing one of the new audio formats. The question is which one? I don't really want to start buying disks of a format that may not last the long term. And I really don't want to start buying disks of both formats.

    After listening to a variety of sources played on a variety of SACD and DVD-Audio players they both seem to offer incredible sound quality. Infact I was unable to tell any real quality difference between them so they are obviously both 'good'.

    With regards to backing of various companies then DVD-Audio seems to be backed by Panasonic, JVC, Kenwood, Onkyo, and Yamaha. SACD seems to be backed by Sony, Philips and Marantz. Pioneer seems to be backing both formats (and Sony seems to have a universal player out now - is this significant?). So both have reasonable support then - if opting for DVD-Audio should I be concerned that Sony (with it's massive music archive) is not onboard? What's the position of other large music companies, e.g. Universal?

    Can someone also offer advice on the actual differences between the formats? From reading a number of sources a brief summary seems to be (please correct as required!):

    DVD-AUDIO
    DVD-Audio seems to based on standard PCM that the current CD-DA format is albeit with a more Dynamic range. It also carries the advantage of the high capacity of DVDs (can dual layer DVDs be used?) meaning several albums can be put on one disk (but does this actually happen?).

    I also understand that several audio formats can be used on one disk, e.g. Dolby Digital, DTS, or MPEG (but again does this happen?). What about 'content' accessed when using a TV, i.e. coverart, videos etc - can anyone expand upon this? Also, as I understand it, DVD-Audio is ground up 5.1 audio reproduction.

    What about copy-protection - can I use a DVD-Audio disk on my PC?

    SACD
    SACD seems to be based on Direct Stream Digital Recording which (I'm told) provides for more accurate sound reproduction than PCM. I understand this is because the music is not compressed avoiding artifacts or missing information. SACD disks have a capacity of 4.7GB (equivalent to a single, sided DVD) - so capacity compared to DVD-Audio isn't a major concern I suppose.

    I understand SACD can accommodate separate stereo and six-channel mixes of 100 minutes each. This seems somewhat limited compared to the multi-format music types on DVD-Audio (is it?) SACDs also have the capacity to include extras such as album graphics, still photos etc (again do they actually do this?)SACD players are backwards compatible with conventional CDs (which I suppose would be useful for in-car use).

    What about copy-protection - can I use a SACD in my PC?


    So that is the information I have so far on the differences between the formats. Looking at the differences DVD-Audio seems the more impressive. Can anyone add/correct/expand on that?

    There also seems to be some dispute over a digital connection for the formats, i.e. how does one hook them upto a AV receiver? I read ouputting via the digital/optical out on the DVD player will not give the full multi-channel audio? Can anybody shed some light on this? Is a new AV receiver required?

    Can anyone recommend an online retailer that has supplies of each type of disk so that I can browse the respective catelogues for each format?

    Many thanks to anyone who can shed some light on this.
     
  2. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
    AVF Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,848
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,219
    I really wouldn't consider buying a player that didn't support both just in case- there's no obsolete format if you can continue to use it. I prefer the range of titles available on DVD-A but the engineers assure me that SACD is more technically accomplished (for reasons beyond this tiny mind to understand :blush:)
    Connection (in all but the most exotic cases) is via six channel out into the corresponding inputs on the amp- be prepared for heavy interconnect outlay. Digital outputs will only output DD/DTS from the discs. Copy protection is I understand quite effective and I think PC replay is out of the question.
    HTH
    Ed
     
  3. Rasczak

    Rasczak
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    21,200
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Argyll
    Ratings:
    +2,257
    That's a fair enough point - but looking at my CD collection I have quite a few disks which I purchased well over 10 years ago. And I have got through 5 or 6 CD players since then - I see no reason why the same wouldn't be true for DVD-Audio/SACD disks I buy so ideally need a format that is going to be around for a while.

    That seems really 'backwards' - an analogue connection for what is supposed to be the next generation of music quality? :confused: Do you think that HDMI connections might be utilised in the near future?

    That is very annoying. I work away from home a fair bit and use my laptop to play CDs - and I was hoping DVD-A/SACDs as well. Oh well.
     
  4. bowler

    bowler
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2003
    Messages:
    223
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +2
    There is some good info at HIGHFIDELITYREVIEW.COM
     
  5. Costas

    Costas
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Messages:
    1,662
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Swindon, UK
    Ratings:
    +121
    Rasczak,

    The Pioneer DV-757Ai DVD player (also 656 and 565 models) supports both DVD-A and SACD. You will find a lot of threads covering it in this forum.
     
  6. Bursar

    Bursar
    Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2003
    Messages:
    2,405
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Cambridge
    Ratings:
    +216
    IIRC SACD cannot be played on the PC. Currently there isn't a PC based SACD drive on the market.

    DVD-A can be played, as all you need is a software decoder (just like Power-DVD but for the audio discs). I think Creative offer this with their latest Audigy cards.

    This is from memory though, so I'm sure someone else can correct me if I've made any mistakes.
     
  7. MartinImber

    MartinImber
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Messages:
    3,851
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Worcester
    Ratings:
    +21
    Yes a PC can play DVD-A but get a dual deck.

    SACD has a better selection.

    I can't see either being killed off for a while
     
  8. Branxx

    Branxx
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2000
    Messages:
    801
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ratings:
    +1
    Perceived benefit of either DVD-Audio or SACD is marketing spin put by record companies to encourage customers to move away from standard CDs, which they see as completely open to piracy.

    Supposed improvement in audio quality is in my opinion heavily compromised with the removal of fair use rights and the very miserable choice.

    I am still to come across a SACD/DVD-A that was such jump in audio quality over CD to make the move a definitive must. Take for example declared performance of DVD-A to play high sample rate of 192Khz/24bit, but never to be used in practice, i.e. complete hot air and wishful thinking.

    In addition to fair use limitations, you have to deal with six analogue audio cables, no bass management, and very limited ability to listen via HTPC.

    A consumers we should actively avoid this type of CON products.
     
  9. Rasczak

    Rasczak
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    21,200
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Argyll
    Ratings:
    +2,257
    Many thanks for that link - I will browse through the reviews for DVD-Audio and SACD to get a feel for the 'extra content' available on each.

    That rings a bell now you mention it. I remember reading the WinDVD 5 will support DVD-Audio (given suitable hardware). I'll ensure I get an Creative Labs Audgy 2 soundcard when up replace/upgrade my PC early next year. Laptop compatibility will have to wait until I replace my current model I suppose.

    Is there a reason for this Martin? I mean does SACD have better support among the music labels - or was it that SACD got to the market first?

    Branxx - I see your point - but by the same token I can see why the music industry wants to stop the routine piracy that occurs. Releasing 'copy-protected' CDs which won't play on PCs and have no extra benefit to the consumer is not the way forward IMHO. However if they can offer something better, i.e. high quality, surround sound audio with extra features such as music videos etc, then maybe more copy protection is acceptable.

    I wouldn't describe either format as a 'con' though - I thought both DVD-Audio and SACD sounded stunning in comparison to CD-DA. It's subjective I suppose.
     
  10. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
    AVF Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,848
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,219
    Being of the opinion the the source is important here, surely one of the reasons why you feel this way could be because the unit you have heard the super audio formats on is not as good as the quality of equipment you listen to CD's on? The Pioneer 656 that plays my extended formats is a thrid the price of my CD player- and its still not bad either. When I had a Marantz DV8400 at home for a bit, it was a real night and day business and made the multichannel discs I own really come alive. I suspect with a passive multichannel pre-amp/amp, the results could be stunning.
    This of course also fails to mention the Marantz SA12 that I used, that simply is the finest disc spinner I've ever heard.
    Ed
     
  11. ailean

    ailean
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I've been doing alot of reading on this recently so here's what I've gathered;

    Theory;
    DVD-A; DD, DTS, PCM 2ch upto 192Khz/24bit, PCM 6ch upto 96Khz/24bit, Video, Text and Pictures.
    All but the PCM tracks 'can' be made available to a standard DVD player if they but the stuff in the right directories.

    SACD; 2ch & 6ch something like 2.8Ghz/1bit DSD encoding. There's big plus and minus things to this type of recording but I don't really understand them, just to say the 'expert' option recons in real life there's not much between 192/24PCM and DSD. No other audio or visual content except a CD layer with hybrid discs.

    In practise;
    DVD-A; The DVD compatible bits on the discs I have can be used and ripped on a PC as any DVD. The High-Res audio so far can only be played on a DVD-A player or a PC with the new Creative Audigy 2 ZS card (Creative have licensed and implemented the security into the driver/card which is the only 'legal' way to access it). Note the use of the word "upto" in the spec, the discs I have that actually detail the content only have 48Khz/24bit 2 & 6 channel High-Res audio.

    SACD; The one disc I have isn't Hybrid and only has a 2 Channel mix on it, alas as my deck isn't out till Nov I've not been able to play it on anything (does nothing in a PC). :rolleyes:

    As has been said the only way to get HiRes audio out of a player is via the 5.1 channel analogue outputs, so you need a deck with good DACs. However there is a new standard that is being used which will carry the pure digital signal. This is based on FireWire and uses encryption to protect the content. Pioneer high end decks and Pioneer & Yamaha high end AV-Amps already have this. HDMI (or what ever the letters are ;) ) will only carry the DD and DTS content of DVD-A. :(

    The SACD catalog is about 300-400 and the DVD-A one is about 200 at the moment. This is a mix of SACD making it first to market and because Sony controls alot of the content so is pushing it on there SACD standard. I have to say I've now ordered everything on both catalogues that I could actually listen to, which is about 6-7 discs! :eek:

    But I'm still awaiting my Pioneer DV-868AVi player to actually try the things out.

    Try Play.com, Amazon and DigitalEyes for a browse of titles.


    EDIT:
    Forgot to mention, my intension for portable content from these is to connect the analogue to a M-Audio Revo soundcard and record the 2 channel mix to the original resolution (well upto 96Khz/24bit) and then down convert to the best quality the device can handle.
     
  12. MartinImber

    MartinImber
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Messages:
    3,851
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Worcester
    Ratings:
    +21
    There are more SACDs I want but my PC doesn't play them.:mad:

    DVD-A is like CD with roughness removed, vinyl with no scratches and no restricted high frequencies.

    recommend Doors LA Woman.

    Next year I buy a new DVD player:smashin:
     
  13. Brogan

    Brogan
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Messages:
    7,476
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cary, North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +481
    The (soon to be released) Pioneer 868AVi has an iLINK connection which does away with the requirement for 6 separate analogue cables from player to amp.
    A simple firewire cable replaces the lot and the best bit is it's supplied in the box so no forking out for cables.

    (It also has HDMI but that is for the video output to a plasma/tuner box)
     
  14. Costas

    Costas
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Messages:
    1,662
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Swindon, UK
    Ratings:
    +121
    The Pioneer 757Ai has already iLink on it. The 868 will also add the HDMI
     
  15. Rasczak

    Rasczak
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    21,200
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Argyll
    Ratings:
    +2,257
    That sounds good. However I assume then that would mean getting a new receiver with an iLink in ability. I'm not against that (I realise I will need a new receiver) but don't really want to get 'tied down' to Pioneer products (nothing against Pioneer but I like to choose each element of my setup based on individual merits). Is iLink likely to become a standard interface or is it a Pioneer only thing?
     
  16. Brogan

    Brogan
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Messages:
    7,476
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cary, North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +481
    iLINK is Firewire so it is already a standard interface/protocol.

    And yes, you would need an amp with an iLINK input.
    The Pioneer AX5i has this but I don't personally know of any other manufacturers doing this as I am planning to go the all Pioneer route (a new approach for me too).
     
  17. ailean

    ailean
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Like I said both Pioneer and Yamaha are doing Amps with this Firewire/i-Link connection, the Pioneer also have a jitter free clock sync feature. As far as I can tell the basic link is a standard that others will be adding but I'm not sure who owns it and what the licensing costs are (and of course the likes of Sony will want there own version, but I'm hoping they'll come in on this as it's i-Link based. ;) ).
     
  18. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
    AVF Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,848
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,219
    Going to stick my neck above the parapit and admit to being unconvinced by i-link (or whatever they're calling it this week). On the understanding that I don't connect my CD player digitally to an AV Amp (I use an analogue connection as the CD DAC is better), what line of reasoning supposes that these film specialised monsters are doing a better job of decoding the disc than the player itself? It also doesn't strike me as a universally accepted medium as there is division between the large manufacturers so what hope is there of the "specialists" coming on board?
     
  19. Brogan

    Brogan
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Messages:
    7,476
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cary, North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +481
    I agree to a certain extent but if the DAC in the amp is better than the DAC in the player then a digital connection is the better option.
    I would suggest that the AX10i reference spec amp, although it is primarily an AV Receiver, it should do just a good a job as the DV868.
    Obviously if you have a high end CD player then I agree, analogue conection would be better as the DAC will be superior in the player.

    I have done some blind tests with friends using a Technics SLPG490 cd player and a Sony STR-DB930 AV amp using optical and good quality analogue connections and no-one could tell the difference between the two.
    Perhaps if you had £15k worth of kit then fine, but on a set-up totalling £2k I think most (if not all) people would notice the difference.

    I wasn't aware there were any issues related to the standard between the various manufacturers.
    Basically Apple invented the technology and called it FireWire. The other manufacturers have adopted the names iLINK and Lynx.
    As far as I know, they're all identical implementations of the same technology.
    More here: http://webopedia.internet.com/TERM/I/IEEE_1394.html
     
  20. ailean

    ailean
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    One of the main issues being that virtually every Amp I know only has ONE set of 5.1 analogue connections... if you have more then one source doing HiRes multichannel audio then you're screwed. ;)

    However the iLINK/FW connection can be daisy chained with dozens of multichannel HiRes sources. :smashin:
     
  21. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Messages:
    17,133
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ratings:
    +1,277
    There is allot more to sounding good than just DAC quality. I remain cautious' re the perceived benefits of Ilink which I think will die overnight once HDMI gets going. Digital connections are not always a good thing and it is often better doing things in the player.

    I read the ilink as more marketting than sound gains and as Branxx says most DVD A / SACD still can't compete with CDs despite the technical advantages. Our electronics, both analogue and digital just isn't any where near good enough to exploit the claimed specs.
     
  22. Brogan

    Brogan
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Messages:
    7,476
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cary, North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +481
    And I still maintain that in the real world for systems costing around the £2k mark (amp, dvd, speakers, etc.) most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a CD played on a CD player or a (decent) DVD player and whether the connection is analogue or digital.
     
  23. Rasczak

    Rasczak
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    21,200
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Argyll
    Ratings:
    +2,257
    With regard to purchasing a 'universal' DVD-Audio/SACD player I found this article:
    http://www.cdrinfo.com/Sections/SuperAudio/SACD_DVDA_1.aspx

    It talks about a potential hybrid DVD/SACD to solve the issue but he does go into (limited) detail of why such a 'universal' product is only actually going to be any good for one or the other. Has everyone seen this? Any reactions? Obviously he is trying to sell his idea but CDR Info is a well respected site which normally is bang on with there info.
     
  24. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Messages:
    17,133
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ratings:
    +1,277
    That was canned I think
     
  25. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
    AVF Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,848
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,219
    Hence why a universal continues to appeal on so many levels. As a bit of a stereo anorak, my leaning towards the six channel out is based on a familiarity with the principles and the technology involved. I'm also suspicious of these ratty little firewire cables that are being used- unless it looks like ironing flex, I'm not interested :clown: .
     
  26. Brogan

    Brogan
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Messages:
    7,476
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cary, North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +481
    Luddite! ;) :p :D
     
  27. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
    AVF Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,848
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,219
    Well quite- I'm never happier than when I have valves and some nice balanced outputs to deal with. I continue to be fascinated by the Audio Note DAC5 Sig that is able to deal with a stereo DVD-A signal from a player-decoding being handled by some valves.
    At $55,000 I'm going to need some donations from you guys to tell you how well it works though :cool: .
     
  28. lowrider

    lowrider
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2003
    Messages:
    676
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Riga, Latvia
    Ratings:
    +1
    I think it is the other way around, while I had a receiver, and a fairly good one, Onkyo 787, I preferred the sound of CDs using the DV88´s DACs and bypassing digital processing on the receiver...

    When I bought TAG Av32R, now Krell Showcase, I prefer the sound using the processor´s DACs, over the FMJ DV27´s...

    And I compared using Krell´s all analog bypass + good cables versus coaxial disabling bass management, it makes even less sense if, like me, you use bass management and DPLII...
     
  29. NicolasB

    NicolasB
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2002
    Messages:
    5,876
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Emily's Shop
    Ratings:
    +566
    There are an awful lot of problems associated with DVD-A and SACD that really ought not to be.

    One obvious one is the problem of bass management. So far as I am aware, nobody has yet come up with a way of doing bass management for SACD which doesn't eliminate the theoretical advantages of the medium. Even Linn's fantastically expensive Unidisk player expects you to use a Kisto controller that puts the analogue input signal through an A/D conversion, then does bass management, and then goes through a second D/A conversion. And very few DVD-A players can do a good job of bass management either. (I gather the Arcam DV27A has a fairly good stab at it).

    This, of course, is a problem associated with using analogue outputs from the player - but you have to do this whether you like it or not, unless you own a Meridian system. There are a number of proprietary digital connections between player and processor, but they don't work for encrypted audio - which the vast majority of the disks are. The only digital connection which can usefully transmit DVD-Audio in digital form is Meridian's MHR Smartlink. A Meridian 598 player hooked into a 568.2mm processor and doing DVD-A sounds glorious - but would also set you back over £7K new.

    My suspicion is that, at the moment, unless you can go at least as high up the price range as an Arcam DV27A (and preferably higher), you will probably get nearly the same sound quality by spending the money on a top-notch CD-player and using CDs. When the industry finally gets its act together and comes up with a standard for the digital transmission of DVD-Audio, that may cease to be the case.
     
  30. NicolasB

    NicolasB
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2002
    Messages:
    5,876
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Emily's Shop
    Ratings:
    +566
    I don't have any useful experience of the Krell processor, but certainly as far as the Tag AV32R is concerned, that probably has a lot to do with the lack of quality in the analogue bypass rather than a lack of quality in the DV27's output. You should try comparing the DV27 playing through something like a Bryston SP1.7 in bypass mode with what it sounds like playing through an AV32R in bypass mode - night and day difference. Nicer than the sound generated by an AV32R's DACs, in my opinion (although obviously not if bass management is an issue!)
     

Share This Page

Loading...