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Stereo CD vs Stereo DVD (music)

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by gchaplin, Sep 28, 2004.

  1. gchaplin

    gchaplin
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    I have recently bought a number of music cd’s that have come with a free dvd containing music videos. I also have a few dvd singles with some stereo and 5.1 mixes on them.

    I have noticed that the standard stereo (2 channel dolby digital?) sound quality on the music dvd is not as good as a standard stereo from a cd played on the same dvd player.

    The cd version sounds great, whereas the stereo version from the dvd sounds somewhat lacking by comparison – sounds rather flat.

    Does anyone know why this is? Is it just a compression thing and that ultimate sound quality is not at the top of the list for these products?

    The dvd singles that have a stereo and 5.1 mix are much the same – the quality of the stereo mix ix just not that good – the 5.1 mixes are fine – not just cos they are 5.1 but the whole sound quality is so much better.

    Ideas?

    G
     
  2. arcamalpha

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    You have noticed a difference between standard stereo cd and dvd audio using your dvd player, the difference will be even more if you listened to a standard stereo cd on a dedicated cd player, then compared this with a dvd audio recording played on your dvd player.

    I have not been too impressed with dvd audio to be honest, suppose I'm expecting too much? standard stereo cd via arcam cd82 v dvd audio via panny e85 dvd recorder/player.
     
  3. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Typically the 2 channel stereo sound on a DVD is 192kbps AC3 which isn't all that different to 192kbps mp3 (in fact it worse as it's based on an older standard) so it's not surprising the CD sounds better. As for why the 5.1 mix sounds better, I would guess there is more scope for reusing the same sound in multiple channels (kinda like joint-stereo on mp3) therefore less compression occurs.

    DVD-A is something else entirely and should be superior to CD given a good mix and source material.
     
  4. Knightshade

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    I think a lot is being said about new sources. A lot of people are jumping on the band wagon of something new. I have yet to hear a DVD/SACD sound as good/real as a CD in a quality player. Only a very small percentage of CD players are capable of getting
    the best out of a CD. Mixing things up with multdisk spinners is a mugs game. All you end up with is compromise.
    I think Daneel may be right in thinking that DVD/A may one day be superior but not until the format is decided and some dedicated players are available. At the moment out of all the formats that are on the market IMHO CD is the best.
    Of course we also have to remember that most CD/DVD/SACD are all created for the mass market. If it sounds ok on AIWA then it's good enough!
     
  5. overkill

    overkill
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    Vinyl here mate! ;) Of the digital mediums CD is still the best for stereo, although DVD-Audio and SACD are often only held back by the tacky mixes that they insist on using for 5.1. REM's Automatic for the people for example. A great sounding album on DVD-A (a lot better than the CD), spoilt by some quite horrible mixes! :thumbsdow
     
  6. arcamalpha

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    By no means did I buy the panny e85 for the facility of dvd audio, as one magazine put it, it leaves a lot to be desired with dvd audio medium.

    But was purely curious to hear if it is what some shoot it up to be, give me cd stereo anytime :D
    If I am honest, I would say I do prefer vinyl to cd, but in the digital medium as someone pointed out, cd wins.
     
  7. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    Er.... Overkill, if you listen to some of the better stereo mixes present on DVD-As they can be awesome and unquestionably better fidelity than the equivalent from CD. This assumes you use a decent DVD-A player and downstream kit of course :)

    Agree with you about the often curious surround mixes though.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  8. Knightshade

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    Overkill,
    Perhaps I should've said out of the Digital formats.....?:laugh:
    I'm still waiting to be convinced that DVD/a and surround formats are anything more than a novelty. Mind you look at some of the terrible things that were done to CD's in the late 80's early 90's. Maybe DVD/a will go the same way?
     
  9. overkill

    overkill
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    I wouldn't argue - in the main. :D I have however, bought some pretty poor DVD-A's, that (Wish I'd checked first!) took some hefty flak for their stereo. The DVD-A in question, "Automatic for the people", is far superior to the CD, but spoilt by the crappy mix! ;) On that note a US friend, who works for WEA, said some worrying things about the state of CD, & digital mixes in toto the other day...............

    Mine DVD player is a Denon 2900, which, although I'm sure you'd argue (with some justice) yours are better, is a still a fine beast! :D


    Likewise.
     
  10. Kish Kash

    Kish Kash
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    Sorry Knightshade, we agree on a lot of things, but I'm going to disagree with you on this one.

    Stereo SACD on my tres budget Pioneer 565 knocks the pants off the CD layer through my TAG DAC20. (I hope that classifies as a "quality player"). OK, so the mixes might be slightly different, but IMHO, its no contest.

    Listened to the Kirov Orchestra's Sheherazade SACD last night and was left utterly breathless. I mean, just gobsmacked :eek:

    No CD has ever had such an effect on me.

    KK
     
  11. overkill

    overkill
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    CD replay is often poor using DVD players - even thru a quality DAC like yours. A better comparison would be a good CD transport v the Pioneer. I wouldn't argue though, the few SACD's (I have mainly DVD-A's, don't know why though!) I have are better quality than the CD versions. Again though, spoilt by the mixes, and the 5.1 is gimicky...............
     
  12. Kish Kash

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    Sorry Overkill, but I completely disagree with you on this point.

    Max Townshend of Townshead Audio (who probably know a thing or two about these things ) had this to say about the Pioneer 565 in HFC's October 04 issue:

    "I think its the most advanced player on the planet. Its the same basic engine that Pioneer uses for all its universal players, and most of the other manufacturers use a Pioneer engine in their universal players. The transport is one of the best transports currently available on any player ever, probably one of the best transports ever made. If you use it with an external DAC it sounds better than most high-end transports"

    OK, so Max has a vested interest in promoting the 565 transport, as it is used in his new TA565 player, but I still thought it would be worth pointing out.

    KK
     
  13. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Hi Kish Kash,
    This is the Pioneer that CJCross suggested I try isn't it? I will get round to trying it out.
    Maybe i'm just not listening to them on the right equipment or perhaps more realisticaly I fear change.....:laugh:
    Maybe I've just got used to a certain sound? Just I find DVD/A seems a little 'unreal' not quite the 'live' feeling that I get with CD. People may not believe or understand this....!
    Another reason to check out the 565.

    Cheers
    Knight
     
  14. overkill

    overkill
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    Exactly. I like Max (I've met him) but like most designers/manufacturers he tends to plug his own stuff (as you'd expect) without to much holding back!! Still, he's not alone, Tom Barron (of Rotel) once tried to tell me that his companies new £300 CD player could beat anything up to, and over a £1000, that their rivals could offer!! And no, he wasn't p****d............. :D

    Not to mention the great Pioneer A400 scandal.......... where punters were convinced they REALLY were good enough to beat £1500 amps. Your ears can lie - if the right people tell you so. ;)

    Not that I'm saying thats the case with the 565. I had the 757 and it really was a great piece of kit! I just tend to take manufacturers and their reps word with a tanker load of salt!

    I can feel a CJ interjection coming on............ :laugh:
     
  15. Kish Kash

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    Yeah, I'm not going to argue the point too strongly as I understand the need for manufacturers to plug their products, but this (along with other very positive reviews & comments from various audiophile publications and industry "experts") has made me think twice about dropping £500+ on a matching cd transport.

    IMHO. the 757ai is probably the best all-round DVD player ever made (in its price bracket of course). Seems to go for peanuts these days too.

    FWIW, IMHO, IIRC, CJ only replies to posts regarding DACs vs CDPs, so he probably won't join this thread, WTB, SOS, TBH :rotfl:
     
  16. ncpl

    ncpl
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    My 2p....and in no particular order

    Virtually all of my DVD-A completely blitz the RBCD version of the same when doing a 2 ch comparison when a discrete 2 ch mix is available.

    I don't like 5.1 mixed down to 2.0 at all and would rather listen at 16/44.1 on a CD.
    Some labels seem to fall well short of sonic delight though...Silverline springs to mind.

    Check out an AIX disc and see how lifelike a 96/24 recording can be. No fancy 5.1 mixes either...just acoutic ambiance.

    Some 5.1 mixes are not really suited to the style of music; others are. Some DVD-A, e.g. Clapton/King make good use of the channels and esp the .1. Others like Legion of Boom, Jarre, etc are electronica and I personally don't sit there worrying about where the musicians are, soundfield etc. It's no big problem to have sounds flying around etc just like Floyd and ELP et al have been doing for years.

    CD's can also sound very very good, but, again I have some that suck from a sound quality p.o.v. I suspect that the number of lacklustre CD's I have is proportionately the same as the number of dull DVD-A. This suggests to me that the format is only one factor to determine whether a get a grin on my face or not.
     
  17. ncpl

    ncpl
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    I forgot to mention that DVD-V's that I have using a 96/24 stereo track also sound very very good e.g. Gilmour's or Gabriel's
     
  18. mick23

    mick23
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    ncpl whats a aix disk believe a dealer mentioned to me to try one because of the quality??

    thank you
     
  19. ncpl

    ncpl
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    Mick,

    Have a look at http://www.aixrecords.com/catalog/catalog.html

    The prices listed are max RRP, so, shop around.

    I use

    http://www.dvdpacific.com/AdvancedSearch2.asp?sfl=1&genre=AUDIO&studio=AIX+ENTERTAINMENT

    for AIX discs as the prices are so good.

    The music is certainly not mainstream so you may not find titles you either recognise or artists you've heard of. However, give the various genres a read and see what gives. I have 3 so far and the SQ is tremendous. They aren't perhaps my fave type though. I do have others in mind on their site though.

    Hope that helps
     
  20. Kish Kash

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    Jesus H. Christ, the Silverline (Abravanel & Utah S.O.) Swan Lake DVDA is superb in 2-channel!!!!

    The Harp in chapter 21: andante non tropo is :censored: amazing. Best intrumentation replication I've ever heard on DVDA. Period.

    Not sure if the rest of the silverline collection is as good, but I'd certainly buy more based on the Swan Lake recording.

    I agree with you about 5.1 downmixed to 2-channel though. It can (and often does) sound poor IMO. Especially with DD/DTS - the centre channel is totally destroyed!!

    KK
     
  21. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    G

    Standard Dolby Digital 2.0 is IMHO the worst stereo format for DVD-V, you are much better listening to a Dolby Digital 5.1 downmix if you have a DAC or AV amp or using the DVD-Vs players onboard DACs. Basically its down to the level of information supplied in each track. Linear PCM for stereo from DVD-V 16/24/48 Khz Is IME stunningly good. In some cases better than CD quality IME (Sting – Peter Gabriel – Dave Gilmour – Lauryn Hill). So if in doubt I generally avoid Dolby Digital 2.0 (one rare DD 2.0 that sounds very good though is Peter Gabriels Growing Up IMHO, but the man is fastidious in his quest for top level quality.

    DD 5.1 Sound varies just like CD, depends on the quality of the recording, but there are more than a few excellent sounding mixes about, I have loads of live concerts on DVD-V and listen to them in a stereo system, maybe it just the synergy of my system but I love 5.1 > 2.0 Stereo downmixes via my DAC and DVD-V player (set to PCM output all the time FWIW) it just seems like a great stereo event to me, this is comparing CD copies against DVD-V LPCM & 5.1 DD downmixes. Sometimes the downmixed DD sounds better than the CD mix, Stings All this Time & Lauryn Hill MTV unplugged are both scenarios like that to my ears. Jean Michell Jarres Aero also has a competing CD v DVD-V 5.1 quality that’s worth experimenting with.

    Disclaimer : Im mot saying the 5.1 > 2.0 downmixes above are superior to 5.1 playback on a 5.1 system, just that they sound to me with a stereo system as fantastic stereo source material. Never been enclined to squander my hifi resources on a 5.1 system TBH, Im more happy to shoehorn stereo downmixes from DVD-V from my stereo system.

    Anyway I note it has been mentioned here a couple of times but I will endorse its also, Dave Gilmours DVD-V Linear PCM 24 Bit 48Khz stereo tracks on his live meltdown concert is one of the best ever digital recordings I have heard to this date, and that’s against many HDCDs, Shefflield Lab Golds, Chesky DAD DVD-V 24/96Khz stereo etc. If anyone is reading this and is interested in hearing what the pinnacle of DVD-V stereo has to offer from normal DVD-V players it is well worth tracking down.

    KK just to confirm that the best way to downmix DD 5.1 is to a stereo device like your DAC 20 via a PCM data stream, as such DTS cannot be heard via this PCM device. Ie Im not sure how you are hearing DTS downmixed to stereo from your present kit must be via the AV amp. FWIW dude I don’t find the dialogue that bad from my DAC 20 in downmix mode. Especially with the Subwoofer in duty, 2.1 DVD-V cineam sound is good enough for these old ears.

    I would point out though that audiophile opinion cuts both ways Overkill ie overhyped budget kit and overhyped estoric kit as Im sure your aware. Ie “ears can lie” in both directions would you not agree ? :laugh:

    No point really :D , if your happy spending £500 on a CD transport power to you dude, Im more than happy with a £200 or £500 DVD-V player doing transport duties, does not make either one of us right does it ?. YMMV : each to their own etc etc. :smashin:
     
  22. Kish Kash

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    The DAC20 isn't doing the DTS processing, as you rightly point out. The 565 has a DTS > PCM option, which I have engaged. If a film has a DTS soudtrack, I usually select it over DD. I can't tell the difference between the two once they've been downmixed to stereo though :blush:

    Seeing as the DAC20 can process DD signals to 2 channel, maybe I should turn the DD > PCM option off and let the DAC20 handle the downmixing, rather than the 565? Maybe it will sound better?

    CJ, you say you haven't ever used a 5.1 system, but I'm going to assume you've heard plenty of them over the years. I recently changed my system from 5.1 to 2.0. IMO, 2 channel downmixes of 5.1 material (on my system :rolleyes: ) has made me appreciate the benefits of having a dialogue channel. Keeping it seperate from the front L/R's really improves the clarity and definition of speech, especially in whizz-bang action movies.

    I think 5.1 gives movie soundtracks more "room to breathe" compared to 2.0, which can sound a little congested sometimes.

    Sorry for going off-topic mods!

    KK
     
  23. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Ah I see now, was confused about that TBH. So you are in effect listening to the 565s DACs for this DTS downmix processing.

    You mean you have not been using the DAC 20 for downmixing already before you made your 5.1 > 2.0 downmix quotes above !! Hell Damnation brother !!, set that 565s Digital output to PCM and send a DD 5.1 mix out via the digital output towards your DAC 20 !! And listen to the vibes.

    Yep have heard loads dude, and for 5.1 soundtracks there is no better type system to play those tracks on IMHO. But stereo has always been my bag for music and not surround, especially with CD & Vinyl as my main sources of music, I would even wager that a high-end stereo system gives better involvement in musical terms (to a music lover) than a mid-level 5.1 system as mentioned above by a poster, due to the fact that the majority of 5.1 mixes are mixed very badly to creat “effects” rather than musical integration they stumble at this hurdle straighaway, that’s a feeling Ive had hearing even high-end 5.1 gear, stereo V 5.1 its a big big step, there is a very good thread here reagrding this step that may interest you :

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=143693

    Ie people leaving 5.1 to get better stereo, it’s a compromise TBH if you value 5.1 “whizz bang” over music then it’s a big choice (Im glad FWIW you have reverted to stereo dude)

    Dude I wont argue that 5.1 played on a 5.1 system is the way to hear such tracks, more that using a convertor like the DAC 20 to downmix is a very acceptable alternative to me (adding a nice subwoofer to my system has been a revelation for AV film use dude out of interest), in fact Ive never felt the need to go down the 5.1 route even though I bought a DVD player to act as my main source for CDs & DVD-Vs and to act as transport towards a well designed DAC. Get that DAC 20 blasting into some DD 5.1 soundtracks dude and not the 565, then .

    Yep can agree with that fully.

    I cant see how you have went off topic at all, you have come up with some interesting points relating directly to stereo & 5.1 sound via hifi systems & 5.1 ones.

    ATB
     
  24. Kish Kash

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    CJ, I tried this last night and as I expected, nothing happened. DD > PCM was switched off. The DAC20 locked onto a 48Khz signal, but no sound was being produced. It was a 2-channel dolby digital soundtrack, btw. Does the DAC20 only process 5.1 soundtracks?

    Really confused here. :confused:
     
  25. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    KK Im not to sure what the settings on your Pioneer DVD player are, ie I know you mentioned that you can select a downmix DD/DTS selection, but on my older player all it gives me for the option of the digital output type is :

    Linear PCM (either 48Khz or 96Khz) I have mine set to 48Khz as that’s the resoltuion my DAC goes to. (I have this set all the time, even when listening to DD tracks so in my case DD > PCM is on)

    Bitstream or AC3

    Reading your vibes above, it sounded like you have never heard a 2 channel downmix on your DAC 20, is that the case ?, ie using the Pio DVD as a transport only but using the Pioneers DACs for downmix mode from DD & DTS. Sounds to me is you need to do some experimenting with the Pioneers digital output mode (PCM / Bitstream / DTS OFF ) and downmix options (ie DD should be set to on PCM ON IMHO maybe this mode also governs the digital output). Are you sure you did not send a DTS signal to the DAC 20 ?, Im sure it would lock onto the 48Khz data but you would not hear anything.

    The only tracks your DAC 20 will not process from the DVD-V format are DTS ie because it is a PCM device with no DTS decoders. So Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 (By process I mean downmix 5.1 data it recieves into a 2.0 stereo mix), Linear PCM 16 & 24 Bit @ 46 Khz stereo & 24/96 Linear PCM stereo from DAD discs.

    Anyway you will need to play about with the Players modes to see what suits the DAC 20 best, are there any online manuals of your player I could have a look at ?

    HTHs
     
  26. overkill

    overkill
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    Yes, I would agree, but it tends to happen for different reasons. The Pioneer thing was a cynical marketing hype, whereas much of the hype of high end gear is misguided rather than money motivated. I've heard some pretty awful stuff that cost thousands, including some from the big names, Krell (some of their CD players made my ears bleed! :mad:) Linn, Quad etc, yet the reviewers drooled over them.

    No argument there. :D

    Sorry for the delay in replying. ;)

    Apologies for being :offtopic:
     

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