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Is DVD Audio Right For You?

By Refrag in Technology
Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 08:55:07 AM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)

Prepare to be blasted from all sides about how great DVD Audio is going to be. Prepare for the storm from the consumer electronics and recording industries telling us how much we need it and how we will never be able to imagine our lives without it.

Are they right?

I am in the midst of doing some research on DVD Audio in preparation for replacing my Toshiba SD-2106 DVD player. I'd like to share some information that I have gathered with you, get your impresssions on the new technology, and learn from others that may be more in touch with DVD Audio than I.

Panasonic says that:

Each second recorded on a DVD-Audio disc can hold up to 1,100 times the information as one second of the same recording stored on an audio CD! The sampling frequency is an incredible 4.3 times higher than audio CD (192kHz vs. 44.1kHz) and the quantization resolution is 256 times finer (24-bit vs. 16-bit). Such a high-resolution format requires an ultra-high fidelity digital-to-analog converter (D/A converter, or DAC).
What this means is that for stereo sound (what hi-fi is all about) you'll be treated to 192kHz sampling rates and 24-bit bandwidth using Meridian Lossless Packing. The surround sound side of DVD Audio will be limited to 6 channels of 96kHz PCM sudio. I suspect it is really 5.1 channels of audio just like DVD Video, because there isn't much point in having a full spectrum subwoofer channel.

DVD Audio discs will have a maximum time of 400 minutes when the material is recorded at 44.1kHz/16bit. And more than 74 minutes when using one of the higher fidelity modes. We'll benefit from all of the different types of discs that DVD Video currently uses (single sided, double sided, single-sided dual-layer, double-sided dual-layer) with capacities ranging from 4.7GB to 17GB. DVD Audio can also contain textual information and limited video.

DVD Audio will obviously be able to downmix from surround sound to stereo and from the extended fidelity modes to CD fidelity for use with older equipment. However, in order to enjoy DVD Audio's surround sound your receiver (or pre-amp or integrated amp) must have six discreet inputs on it in order to accept the surround signals.

Hardware manufacturers are expected to push hard to get DVD Audio into cars where they feel most of the infrastructure is already in place to have surround sound.

Warner Music Group has some DVD Audio titles out already. But, unlike Sony's SACDs, DVD Audio discs will not play in standard CD players at reduced fidelity.

So, obviously another option is SACD from Sony, however I don't know much about it (does it have content protection?) and I don't think all of the other hardware manufacturers are going to want to pay licensing fees to Sony. Therefore, SACD will probably doomed to a niche (or failure) just as MiniDisc has been.

One thing that isn't being talked about much is whether or not DVD Audio has content protection. This is definately going to be the key issue as to whether or not I go out of my way to get a DVD Audio compliant DVD Video player. If it does, I highly doubt I will be a big supporter of DVD Audio. I may buy one or two discs of some of my favorite well-recorded music, but nothing extensive.

...is an audiophile that is interested in DVD Audio solely for its 192kHz/24-bit stereo.


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Are you interested in DVD Audio?
o Yes. 25%
o No. 50%
o Not sure. 25%

Votes: 52
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Is DVD Audio Right For You? | 73 comments (73 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
DVD-Audio: We're that much closer to vinyl (2.16 / 6) (#1)
by GusherJizmac on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 12:11:58 AM EST

If only there was some way to store the _exact_ sound wave in some sort of portable medium that could be played back without ANY loss of the signal.....
<sig> G u s h e r J i z m a c </sig>
vinyl != perfect (4.00 / 4) (#10)
by Delirium on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 01:56:21 AM EST

While vinyl is analog, it is still limited by the precision of the recording and playback needles - you do not get an infinitely fine-grained analog recording. There is also loss of signal in playback of course, unless you know of a perfect stereo system.

Although in some cases I agree a new vinyl is better than a new CD, CDs are much more durable. A CD on the 100th playback will nearly always sound better than a vinyl on the 100th playback. When you factor what it'll sound like after storing the audio for 20+ years (as many people with old vinyls have done), the CD becomes much better quality in the long run.

[ Parent ]

good point. (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by jovlinger on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 01:54:34 PM EST

Does anyone know what the sensitivity limit of your typical high-end setup is (oxymorons aside)?

There ought to be a limit on recording fidelity that oyu can proove is smaller than the random noise introduced by your amp or speakercoils (ignoring for now the ability of noise to bring out weak signals, statistically).

[ Parent ]
Laser Pickup (4.50 / 2) (#48)
by cr0sh on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 03:17:19 PM EST

I remember that at one time (maybe still) there was a turntable that used a laser pickup, rather than a needle. It worked by shining a laser on the grooves, and analysing the resulting reflection to create the sound (similar to how a movie projector works - speaking of which, I remember seeing a dead-media article somewhere about a light-phonograph, made in the early part of last century, that used light shining through glass disks coated in lamp black, that had the sound "grooved" on them, and the amplitude of the light shining on a selenium pickup to reform the sound - plus there was a synthesizer in the 50's or 60's that did a similar thing to generate the waveform tones).

While none of these methods address the storage issue, it is interesting (I guess you could use a high-powered cutter on an aluminium platter, then use the laser pickup - talk about a "heavy metal" record - or would that be "light rock" ;)...

[ Parent ]

info on vinyl (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by Johnny O on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 03:30:06 PM EST

This is an excerpt from Wendy Carlos "Switched on Boxed Set" box set booklet:

The first step was made at the CBS recording studios in Manhattan, with engineer John Guerriere. During those transfers, the balances were adjustedto better match our original intentions (the first album had been assembled in many disparate sessions that needed matching,) and some corrective EQ and limiting was added. This was in the days when stereo LP's were the main source of recorded music and we had to make those sound as good as they could.
All of the original stereo cutters had difficulties with several audio parameters: overall level, level peaks on the out-of-phase "difference" channel (which gives stereo separation,) high frequencies and their attacks, and overall maximum bass excursion (which can make the stylus jump the groove, or penetrate into the aluminum support disk.) There were maximums for cutting the outer grooves. Then the further in one went, the more severe the restrictions became, especially at high frequency levels. Kludgey stuff.

Now remember that Switched on Bach came out in 1968. But still, vinyl had its challenges and limitations.

[ Parent ]
"Exact"? (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by phliar on Sat Feb 17, 2001 at 02:52:09 AM EST

...the _exact_ sound wave...
That is a meaningless term. What's exact? The sound you would hear if you were in the recording studio? The sound the recording engineer thinks you should hear? The sound the musicians think you should hear? And all of that is modified by all kinds of crap in your environment.

And when you're talking about recorded sound... all bets are off. You're dealing with the physical limitations of speakers - all kinds of pesky natural phenomena like the conservation of energy. That's why you should spend as much as you possibly can on speakers. Forget tubes, oxygen-free interconnects, green markers, all that crap - just go and buy the best damn speakers you can afford (and then some).

The rest of the system just has to be a little better than the speakers. Read up on fourier analysis and the Nyquist theorem. 44.1 kHz and 16 bits is more than enough for recording audio for humans.

(One change that could be made to the CD standard is to use a log encoding curve instead of linear - that way the LSB can represent a perceptually uniform bit of signal across the entire range of amplitudes.)

Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Distortion (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by Bad Harmony on Sat Feb 17, 2001 at 11:43:19 AM EST

I've always wondered how much distortion is added to small amplitude signals by the use of a linear encoding scheme. The system may have wonderful distortion and signal-to-noise specs with large amplitude test tones, but music has a much larger dynamic range.

54º40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

DVD - car audio (3.50 / 2) (#2)
by onyxruby on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 12:25:06 AM EST

Good story, well researched. I'm also very curious about this since I am a would-be audiophile for the car stereo world. I am in the process of planning a system for IASCA (not IDBL) competition. In this platform, every bit of quality that can be obtained is needed. And since that quality starts at the source media itself, that means that DVD-Audio has a natural leg up on CD to start with. Funny thing about the types that compete in car audio, they share more in common with geeks and their computers than most would ever admit to. From what I understand the content protection will be there, but I'd love to be wrong on this one.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

Car audio? *smirk* (4.66 / 3) (#21)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 05:23:22 AM EST

Um. Okay. Let's see here. In a car sound system, you're always limited by having at least 40dB of background noise (sounds of the road, other cars, wind, etc.). If you want to listen to "pure" sounds, listen using electrostatic headphones in a soundproof acoustically-dead room with no lights (both incandescents and fluorescents have a characteristic hum to them) using a solid-state storage device. Even then you won't be able to hear the difference between a properly-mastered CD and properly-mastered DVD-Audio.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Never again. (3.80 / 5) (#3)
by Seumas on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 12:43:59 AM EST

I paid for my music once. I will not pay for it again. I'll rip my CD's to MP3 and let the discs rot. I don't care of the new CD's come with naked animated holograms -- I am not buying them again. The music 'industry' can just bite me if they don't like my inactive-consumerism.

Now, the one exception to this might be if, for example, the animated hologram is the girl from Cibo Matto or something. Or, if I'm in a really freaky mood -- Biff Naked.
I just read K5 for the articles.

[OT] Which girl? (3.00 / 3) (#22)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 05:25:51 AM EST

Yuka or Miho? They're both cute. But you have to keep in mind that Yuka's already taken...
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Either one! (3.00 / 2) (#24)
by Seumas on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 05:37:22 AM EST

Either Yuka or Miho would do! Just not Sean Lennon -- even if that was his prerequisite for for Yuka. *grin*.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]
Awww (2.50 / 2) (#35)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 12:55:59 PM EST

But I think Sean is really cute too! He looks just like a Japanese version of his dad. :)

and via random nerve firings: "Get your Yoko out of my John!" "Get your John out of my Yoko!" "Sean Lennon - two great tastes together at last."
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Made me chuckle... (3.00 / 5) (#4)
by baberg on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 12:46:55 AM EST

Anybody else notice that the acronym for the bandwidth that Refrag is talking about is:

M eridian
L ossless
P acking

Pretty funny, if you ask me. More on-topic, I'm just worried that nobody's going to pick up on this. Unless they can make them just as cheaply as a CD, 50% of people simply will not care enough to worry about the extra sound. Of the 50% who do care (and I fall into that range) probably 75% of those will not have the speakers to output it correctly. I'm a budding audiophile (just recently heard what good quality sound is supposed to be) but right now I have poor speakers on the receiver downstairs. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference, unless I put my headphones into the jack and listened to that.

I hope that it takes off; high quality is what it's all about. But I'm afraid that people won't care enough. Hmmm.... I'm sure these same arguments were made from cassettes to CDs...

Sound quality. (3.40 / 5) (#5)
by FyreFiend on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 12:49:13 AM EST

I'm just wondering if most people will be able to hear the difference between CD's and audio DVD's. At what point does higher frequency and bit-rate become overkill?

(Not meant as a troll. I'm just curious.)

Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we".
-- Mark Twain

probably not (3.75 / 4) (#7)
by 31: on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 01:16:48 AM EST

But just wait for all sorts of people who's idea of good sound is that insane, fairly low quality bass that's popular now to start talking about how much better this is... most audio improvements are going to have absolutely zero effect on most people. But most people want to impress others with how good their expensive stuff is, and most people will nod along so they don't look stupid for not appreciating.

That said, i'm probably not going to notice anything with the difference. Really, the only thing that would help me would be better speaker systems, rather than better media formats, but even then i'd probably only think it was better 'cause I spent more money.

now (snide comment here), if they'd only spend the money on putting better things onto the disks...

What i'd really like to know, for all the audiophiles on k5, how does this compare to analogue formats? I've been having (as one of many) an ongoing argument with my manager that analoge is better than digital for a great many things... or to rephrase the question from above, at what point do a higher frequency and bit-rate match a pure wave-form?

[ Parent ]
16-bit is Good Enough (4.25 / 4) (#23)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 05:31:02 AM EST

As I mentioned elsewhere in this story, 16-bit audio is precise within about -110dB of the reference signal, whereas I don't know of ANY real-world analog formats which can even touch that... not to mention that even the most responsive electrostatic speakers have this quirky thing known as 'inertia' which does a very good job of performing "hardware interpolation" on the infimitessimal stairsteps between the samples...
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Stairsteps are already removed by a filter (4.00 / 3) (#31)
by kor on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 12:15:52 PM EST

Actually, you don't need to rely on speaker inertia to do interpolation for you--all D/A converters filter the signal at ~22khz to result in a smooth wave. (the smoothness of that wave is determined by the quality of your D/A converter)

[ Parent ]
Hm (3.00 / 2) (#34)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 12:53:50 PM EST

Assuming that the DAC is running at 44KHz (bandwidth), then it'd inherently already be "filtering" the signal at 22KHz (frequency), no?
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Never mind (3.50 / 2) (#37)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 01:17:58 PM EST

I just realized that the stairstepping introduces higher-frequency Fourier components, and that having a lowpass filter tuned to the top frequency (i.e. 1/2 the bandwidth) would eliminate them, as insignifigant as they are. :)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Aw shucks. (3.00 / 1) (#61)
by physicsgod on Sat Feb 17, 2001 at 03:50:35 PM EST

I was just about to go and design some inertialess speakers so that everyone could hear the wonders of those stair-steps, and now you tell me I'd also have to design a DAC. Forget it, I'll just keep working on that FTL drive.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Waveforms (3.00 / 3) (#33)
by Mr Tom on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 12:28:52 PM EST

> to rephrase the question from above, at what point do a
> higher frequency and bit-rate match a pure wave-form

Never. But the higher your freqency, the more accurate you will tend to be. Digital sounds will never be as accurate as analogue, but they will always be less prone to distortion. (Which is both a blessing and a curse)

My take on DVD-A is that it's just not worth it - CDs are more than adequate for most home audio setups, and I don't reckon that the sort of saddos that have uber-high-end audiophile kit will buy into it, because they're all a bunch of sad vinyl junkies anyway. </opinionated_but_unapologetic>

But what I /would/ like to see, would be DVDs with music videos on, that will play in a CD player. Or just play the music on a DVD player. So all that extra space can go on content, and not a marginal quality increase...

Mind, DVD-A will probably really appeal to those poor sad bastards that have Xr2i's with big fat subwoofers in that like to drive around North London listening to UK garage.


-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.
[ Parent ]

Human ear frequency range (3.25 / 4) (#29)
by BehTong on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 11:01:56 AM EST

The human ear can only hear up to about 15kHz (or thereabouts). CD's can encode up to 44.1kHz, which is already way beyond this range. DVD Audio pushes this to 192khz -- I'm extremely skeptical of any added value in this, except perhaps a bigger number that marketing can boast about.

Now using 24-bit quantization might make a difference, but somebody has expressed their skepticism of this, so the whole DVD Audio deal is beginning to sound like Yet Another Attempt to Milk the Cash Cow -- bigger numbers to impress people, but which add absolutely no perceptible value whatsoever.

Beh Tong Kah Beh Si!
[ Parent ]

Sounds like a cash cow... (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by jonr on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 12:59:32 PM EST

So the producers have an excuse of not putting more material on each DVD. The whole case smells foul... J.

[ Parent ]
From what I was told (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by reshippie on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 02:28:19 PM EST

The human ear can deal with about 20-20K Hz. One of the random things I remember from a Recording Techniques class I took at a summer music camp.

Those who don't know me, probably shouldn't trust me. Those who do DEFINITELY shouldn't trust me. :-)
[ Parent ]
Some real-life test results (3.00 / 1) (#62)
by bafungu on Sun Feb 18, 2001 at 04:37:52 PM EST

I fired up my trust HP 241A signal generator, connected my Panasonic headset that's good to 20kHz, and:
  • For me (age: late 30s), hearing sensitivity drops off above 15.5 kHz. I can vaguely hear 17 kHz if the amplitude is cranked up to maximum (which would be a deafening volume at a lower frequency).
  • My 4-year old daughter can hear up to 18 kHz.
For those of you who don't happen to have signal generators lying about, here's an easy alternative: can you hear the high-pitched whine from a TV set? That's 15.743 kHz in North America and 15.625 kHz in Europe. I can still hear it, but it's nowhere near as loud as it sounded when I was in my teens.

That should help put things in perspective. People don't seem to realize how insanely high-pitched 20 kHz is.

[ Parent ]

Flyback transformers (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by fluffy grue on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 02:13:13 AM EST

They are incredibly loud to me, to the point of being quite annoying. My parents are always leaving their TV on (they can't hear it) and so whenever I'm at their house I'm always having to shut it off, and they always ask me, "Wow, could you really hear the flyback transformer?" Funny thing is, I'm usually in my old bedroom (which is across the house from the livingroom) when the sound of the TV gets to me... :)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Sampling frequency vs max frequency (4.50 / 2) (#57)
by Amadawn on Sat Feb 17, 2001 at 06:40:03 AM EST

You say that CDs can encode up to 44.1 kHz which is not right, I am afraid. CDs store music using a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz. But from the Nyquist theorem it follows that when you use a 44.1 kHz sampling rate the maximum represented frequency is half of that, that is 22.05 kHz. You also say that the human hear can only hear up to about 15 kHz. That is probably true on average. That will change a lot with age. I am 25 years old and recently had a "ear test" (or whatever it is called in English). The doctor told me that I could hear sounds up to 20 kHz, which is good but not exceptionnal for someone as you as I am. Cheers, Angel

[ Parent ]
Yes there is a difference (4.00 / 2) (#53)
by Sikpup on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 07:36:27 PM EST

I had the opportunity to sample dvd audio last fall. (disclaimer: it was in a $200,000 private theater, and cost does cover a HD projection set, etc). The track in question was Sting's Desert Rose. There is a noticable difference in sound (the track was specifically recorded as a testbed / proof of concept) Other features will include DVD video compatible info, for example videos, complete list of artist's other works, hyperlinks, etc.

Bottom line is: do you need it? no. Is it better? yes. Would I recommend you to rush out and buy/upgrade? no. If you are in the market for a dvd player anyway, go ahead and get one that is dvd-a compatible, if it doesn't cost you anything extra.

Some of the people working on this stuff are really creative, and expect to see lots of cool features, the same kind of conceptual changes that dvd brought, ie theatrical trailers, deleted scenes, etc. Also realize that the artists themselves have input, and now have a new way to create music - in 3 dimensions instead of 2.

I have skipped over the copy protection issue as I don't know. I don't expect region coding for dvd-a, but will make some inquiries and post when I find out.

[ Parent ]
Two things (3.00 / 1) (#63)
by fluffy grue on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 01:56:24 AM EST

  1. 5.1 audio is 2-dimensional, as opposed to 2.0 audio which is 1-dimensional (when done trivially)
  2. You do not need 5.1 audio to make a 2-dimensional sound field, by using the inverse of the same tricks which our ears use to perceive sound to be multi-dimensional

"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Panasonic's Funny Math (2.00 / 4) (#6)
by davros on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 01:04:52 AM EST

That's some interesting math that Panasonic uses to claim that DVD-Audio holds "1,100 times the information" of CD-Audio. 192kHz vs. 44.1kHz and 24bit vs. 16bit means there's only 6.5x the information content. Using their math, every extra bit would double the information of a sample.

their math is right (3.80 / 5) (#9)
by Delirium on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 01:52:53 AM EST

Using their math, every extra bit would double the information of a sample.

Yes, and that is why they are correct. Adding an extra binary digit does double the information (just like adding an extra digit to a base-10 number would multiply it tenfold). A 24bit sample has 2^24 possible values, while a 16bit sample has 2^16 possible values. Thus, the 24bit sample has 2^8, or 256 times as much information. Multiply that by the ratio of (192 KHz / 44.1 KHz) and you get almost exactly 1100 times the information.

Of course the important question is whether this is worth it. Since most people these days are satisfied with 192 kbps mp3s (if not even lower bitrates), and CD audio is much better than that, is DVD audio really necessary? The only compelling thing I see in it so far is the presence of more than two channels (allowing for true recorded surround-sound rather than surround-sound simulated by the stereo system from a two-channel recording).

[ Parent ]

Except it doesn't work that way (3.80 / 5) (#14)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 02:56:28 AM EST

The amount of 'information' is measured in bandwidth (bitrate), not in the number of possible combinations which can be created. Furthermore, each additional bit in a single sample has half the impact than the previous one; as an example, going from 16 to 20 bits makes for a signal difference of about 0.0014%, whereas going from 20 to 24 bits makes for a maximal signal difference of about 0.0000894%.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

precision? (3.40 / 5) (#16)
by Delirium on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 03:08:55 AM EST

Hmm. While it wouldn't double the bitrate, wouldn't each additional bit double the precision of the digital representation of the audio? For example, if you have 2-bit audio you can have your data be 0, 1, 2, or 3, and then if you go to 3-bit audio you can put a value between each of those points.

Or am I looking at this completely wrong?

[ Parent ]

Nope (3.80 / 5) (#18)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 03:19:24 AM EST

Doesn't double the precision - it just adds on one more signifigant digit, which becomes exponentially LESS signifigant with every bit. ('Signifigant' is meant in two different senses in that last sentence.) Basically, adding a bit to an n-bit representation only improves your precision by a factor of 0.5^n.

Yes, the number of individual representable VALUES doubles, but the distance between those values halves.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

thanks (4.00 / 5) (#19)
by Delirium on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 03:29:33 AM EST

Ah yeah I get it now. I was looking at it correctly (each additional bit adds an extra possible value between each of the previously possible values) but didn't notice that this implied each time it got half as important. =P

So I suppose the 16bit->24bit change is really rather unimportant. What about the 44.1 kHz->192 kHz change?

[ Parent ]

Bandwidth is unimportant too (4.60 / 5) (#20)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 05:10:17 AM EST

Even if your speakers could produce frequencies higher than 20KHz (which requires 40KHz of bandwidth), the human ear can typically only hear up to 15KHz (which requires 30KHz bandwidth). The only reason that there's any sort of difference between 15KHz and 20KHz is various sample aliasing artifacts and the like; I can see merit in going up to 48KHz of bandwidth (since that's definitely way more than enough, whereas 44.1KHz still has some wiggle-room for claiming that there are audible aliasing issues), 192KHz is certainly overkill - not even dogs or cats can hear frequencies up to 96KHz, even if it were physically possible to have a traditional (i.e. magnetic) driver to vibrate that fast (which it isn't). Very high-quality electrostatic and maybe insanely-thin mag-planar drivers could reproduce frequencies that high, but it certainly wouldn't be audible. Unless you're a sonar dish, anyway.

Not to mention that the equipment which is recording and mastering such high-frequency signals, as well as the amps driving your limited-by-inertia speakers, do have this nice thing known as 'capacitance' which ends up applying a low-pass filter which would make it practically impossible to even record or amplify a 96KHz square wave (the highest-frequency waveform which 192KHz of bandwidth can represent).

Basically, audio bandwidth over 48KHz is definitely useless, and over 40KHz is probably so.

This is all in terms of the final mastered product, though; I can think of a few legitimate situations where you'd want more audio bandwidth in pre-production, but even then, anything over, say, 64KHz is probably useless. Certainly the final master doesn't need more than 48KHz.

Oh, and as far as bitdepth goes, the same pre-production stuff applies - 24- or even 32-bit audio in the production of music makes sense, but the final master certainly doesn't need more than 20-bit audio. 16-bit audio's artifacting is a whole whopping -110dB below reference (this means that even if your speakers were blasting at an SPL of 93dB, which is considered "really damned loud" and is enough to blow most drivers, the artifacting would contribute at most -17dB, which is about as loud as a fly landing on a stick of butter...)

The reason that the added bandwidth and bitdepth are useful in pre-production is that you generally lose a few bits of precision when you're futzing around with the volume, and you generally get bad artifacting if you change the pitch and/or speed of a sound and don't have enough audio bandwidth to hide the sample aliasing and the like. However, in most situations, 20-bit 48KHz is pretty massive overkill; in the situations where it isn't, the sound engineer needs to be shot in the groin repeatedly and convinced to find a new line of work.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

More bandwidth can have some advantages (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by Spook on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 03:13:43 PM EST

Using a higher sample rate than required can have some advantages. It could allow for better immunity to scratches for example. However 192kHz is probably excessive.

The paranoid me can't help but wonder if it is not an attempt to make raw bit for bit copying over the Internet harder: 192kHz * 24 bits * 2 channels = 9.2 Mbits/s.

[ Parent ]
compression (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by Delirium on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 04:09:41 PM EST

The paranoid me can't help but wonder if it is not an attempt to make raw bit for bit copying over the Internet harder: 192kHz * 24 bits * 2 channels = 9.2 Mbits/s.

That seems unlikely. Current CDs are recorded at over 1 Mbit/s, but people typically trade mp3s of 128-256 kbps. I don't see why people wouldn't do the same for DVD Audio if they wanted to trade it online.

[ Parent ]

Uhhh... what? (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 08:19:23 PM EST

There are better ways to improve robustness than by adding in useless audio information, especially since considering that if a scratch on a CD is big enough to screw up the CD player, then the same-sized scratch on a DVD-A will be big enough to a higher ratio of damage due to the much higher density of the data on the DVD! That is, the same size of scratch will take out a proportionally LARGER amount of data...
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

SACD - 1 format, 2 players (3.00 / 2) (#8)
by farl on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 01:38:54 AM EST

SACD is a set format that cannot be read by normal CD players. As far as i know, there are NO exceptions to this.

However, there are two types of players currently for SACD. SACD-only that only plays SACDs, and SACD-hybrid, that plays both SACD and regular CD's.

Beyond the obvious reason to get the hybrid, I can honestly say from actually testing one (i have one in a really high end home audio system [and not home theater, i do mean home audio]), a hybrid player makes REGULAR CDs sound better. For real.

But hyrbid players are currently expensive. So for most people the upgrade to just play regular CDs is not worth it. Also, the titles available for SACD are currently REALLY limited right now. That should change over time.

Should be a good warning to you (4.00 / 4) (#15)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 02:59:05 AM EST

The fact that a SACD player can magically make a regular CD sound better should be a pretty good indication that something foul is afoot. As a good friend of mine puts it, "What, does it make the zeros zero-ier and the ones one-ier?"

Don't confuse good hidden equalization with better audio performance.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Actually it does give better performance (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by farl on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 01:38:06 PM EST

This is a known effect of SACD players playing regular CD's. It is not a hidden SACD equalizer. The system that this machine is plugged into has its own passive and active amps and preamps, and does not have its own equalizer (per se). The SACD player is PASSIVE too, and runs through its optical out into a really nice DAC system (the same path structure that was used for the optical out for the original CD player).

As a comparison, the original cd player costs 8000$, so its a really good CD player (while $ do not equal performance, in this case it does).

[ Parent ]
Um, okay. (4.00 / 2) (#43)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 02:30:35 PM EST

But the optical out of a CD player would be identical (in sound quality) to the digital out of a SACD player, if that were the case. It also sounds like a Really Good CD player (hooked up through analog) using the same setup would have the same improvement over a cheap-ass CD player. My understanding, however, is that the people saying that SACD sounds better than CD are typically comparing them on digital outputs...
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

what ever happened to (3.00 / 1) (#39)
by jovlinger on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 01:50:42 PM EST

I seem to recall a spate of equalizers with build in white noise generators and microphones a few years ago. The idea was that you place the microphone in your typical listening position and fiddle with the equalizer until your spectrum analyser was a straight line.

The argument was that by balancing out the influence of the speakers and room on the sound you'd be able to finally acheive sonic nirvana.

Or was that only appealing to popular mechanics demographic?

[ Parent ]
Most receivers have that now (3.00 / 2) (#45)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 02:56:16 PM EST

Pink noise generators. They work great. I currently only use the one in my receiver to modify the levels and not the equalizers (I need to find a decent spectrum analyser program), but in the meantime I just go by ear to voice-match the various channels as much as I can, and my setup's soundstage is quite coherent, for the most part. I'd like to get the response curve nice and flat, though...

The subwoofer does add a bit of complexity to the mix, though, since most receivers (mine included) don't provide mechanism to account for the subwoofer's contribution, not that I blame them or anything (since subwoofers aren't exactly full-spectrum, so even doing the power level calibration is flawed at best). I end up just fiddling with my subwoofer's amp level until it sounds about right for DVDs (I have a few DVDs which I use for a benchmark suite) and then when listening to music I just have the subwoofer and surround processor turned off (there's no LFE, center or rear tracks, so why should I artificially add them in? my front speakers alone do a much better job anyway).
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Actually, they didn't claim that (4.00 / 1) (#71)
by Potsy on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 02:31:35 AM EST

I don't know where the above poster got his info, but Sony/Philips never made that claim. Their claim is that CDs made from SACD material will sound better than straight 16-bit/44.1kHz recordings. That goes back to what you said in an earlier comment -- recording and mastering at higher bitrates and then downmixing to CD bitrates will produce better results, because it reduces aliasing and quantization problems.

[ Parent ]
Hybrid discs (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by Potsy on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 02:41:13 AM EST

You've got it backwards. The "hybrids" are not players, but a dual-layer version of the SACD disc that contains an ordinary, 16/44.1 CD-format version of the audio on the topmost layer. It's supposed to play in standard CD players without a problem. SACD players will focus their lasers to the lower layers, and read the SACD. SACD actually is backward compatible with regular CD.

As for what you said about regular CDs sounding better ... the claim is that regular CD audio that is created by downmixing from SACD data will sound better than straight 16/44.1 PCM recordings. That makes sense, since there is less chance for aliasing and quantization error if you start with a higher bitrate material.

The more I read about SACD, the more I like it. It's just dammed clever. It's backwards compatible, uses a lower bitrate than DVD-Audio (yet produces a more accurate waveform), and the DSD encoding is actually simpler than standard PCM encoding. (I especially like that last part, since I'm a big fan of the KISS philosophy.) You can read more about SACD here.

[ Parent ]

CDs are more than good enough. (4.00 / 6) (#11)
by gblues on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 01:59:31 AM EST

For all you so-called audiophiles who want to believe that DVD audio will be better than regular CD audio, or that vinyl is more accurate than CD audio, I will point you to the Audiophile Myths Page (Click on "Myths" on the sidebar, the site won't let me link directly). Written by a professional engineer who knows what he's talking about.

*puts on flame-retardant clothes*


... although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go. --squinky
I totally agree (4.25 / 8) (#17)
by fluffy grue on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 03:09:55 AM EST

Audiophiles seem to do nothing but spend a lot of money on things which make absolutely no difference just so that they can brag about how "pure" their Kenny-G albums sound (on vinyl, of course). Then there's all sorts of stupid products out there like those $30 CD 'marking pens' which supposedly improve the sound quality by preventing "light leakage," not to mention spending $2000+ on a "perfect" CD transport as though the bits degrade due to a small amount of vibration. They also spend $200 for a digital audio cable (when the whole POINT to digital is that you DON'T need a pure signal on a cable!) which has all sorts of techno-bullshit crap like "with an optimally resonant optical matrix which eliminates crosstalk and echo" and the like -- and they EAT IT UP.

Then there's things like $900 power filters to filter out noise before it gets into their $600/foot power cord. Hello, but that's what the voltage regulator inside your amp is supposed to do.

"But tubes are so much more pure!" Yeah, if you like really enormously non-linear amplification, not to mention microphonics which cause feedback and therefore even more distortion in the output (with built-in REreVERBverb!). Then there's vinyl, where we have the perfect example of Heisenberg's principle in action - listening to the sound actually ALTERS the recording! It's called 'attrition'!

"So why does vinyl on my tube amp sound so much more pure than CDs on a transistor amp?" Well, you're probably using a piece of shit transistor amp, and you're probably listening to vinyl which goes out of its way to be mastered to account for the non-linear weirdnesses of tubes and vinyl.

I really wish that audiophiles would do something more useful with all those excess tens of thousands of dollars that they have just sitting around, like, say, donating to charity, rather than just wasting it on penis measurements.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

We all got a vice, man (3.25 / 4) (#60)
by Bios_Hakr on Sat Feb 17, 2001 at 02:15:43 PM EST

I just paid $50 for a heatsink. Was my proc hot? Not really. I just thought it looked cool (get it...cool...lol) through the transparrent plexiglass cutout with neon backlighting. Now, noone really sees my box, so why the cutout? Well, I wanted to see my nicely tie-strapped power cables and rounded IDE cables. Why did I round the cables? Well, after I painted the inside of my case, I thought a nice dragon decal would look good in there below my drive bays. Why did I paint the inside of my case? It just looked too plain after I painted and decaled the outside. All I am trying to say is this: A: It ain't your money. B: It ain't your house. C: Them buying it makes better stuff cheaper for you. D: If it bugs you that much, get a life.

[ Parent ]
It's not all BS... (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by mugwump on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 11:43:40 AM EST

...not to mention spending $2000+ on a "perfect" CD transport as though the bits degrade due to a small amount of vibration.

Actually this DOES happen - it's called "jitter". If the timing of bits going into the D/A chip isn't perfect, AND the D/A chip doesn't implement a fairly difficult "digital flywheel" (a short buffer that will only very slowly adjust its timing to the input signal), then those timing errors will be present on the outgoing signal. Fourier tells us that this error in timing is equivalent to adding white noise to the signal. IMHO this is probably the second biggest source of noise in many otherwise delicious sounding systems, after shitty speaker tuning.

So, there are a few ways to reduce jitter:

  1. Buy a CD transport with a super-accurate clock, and a cheap DA converter with no anti-jitter. You will still be open to jitter problems on the actual CD pressing itself.
  2. Buy a DA converter with a really good anti-jitter mechanism.
  3. Buy a super-high end CD player with analogue outs that don't have jitter problems.

Very few DA circuits correct for jitter to my knowledge. Most of the pro gear does, of course. Which is why I bought a second hand studio DA unit :-). Having said that, I cannot discern any audible difference between the output of my Sony MD player (MDS-JB930) and that of my Apogee DA-1000E DA converter. But the Apogee does wonders for all other digital equipment I've listened to.

Physical vibrations cause timing errors by jiggling the CD a little.

But tubes are so much more pure!" Yeah, if you like really enormously non-linear amplification, not to mention microphonics which cause feedback and therefore even more distortion in the output (with built-in REreVERBverb!).

All amplification circuits add harmonics to the output. The argument for tubes is that their harmonics don't sound as bad as bipolar harmonics, because they are predominantly at even rather than odd multiples of the original sound frequency. At least, that's what one decently technical audio engineer told me. MOSFET amps give similar harmonics to tubes, and they're coming down in price so the point is pretty moot anyway. But tubes do look cool :-). That is, until they conk out or someone touches them.

This all dates back to my days as a suckered in audiophile, which are now gladly over.

Warning: this post may contain traces of bullshit.
[ Parent ]
numbers game (3.20 / 5) (#12)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 02:13:31 AM EST

people just fail to understand that "high fidelity" and "sounds good" are not synonymous at all when it comes to popular music. so increasing all these numbers doesn't really work shit, except to allow yuppies to brag about their expensive toys.

the appeal of analogue is precisely the way it distorts sound-- it has pleasing harmonic distortion. By comparison, digital sounds sterile crap. The only reason digital caught on is because it gives decent sound quality for portable equipment (think cassette tapes: ugh), and most people have crappy reproductive systems-- e.g. lousy speakers. And the "improvement" that DVD will bring for this audience is not noticeable, since the digital jump has been made already.


I Agree (3.66 / 3) (#28)
by burton on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 10:34:18 AM EST

We recently added a dvd player and got new speakers for our home stereo system, bringing us up to a 5.2 setup (subs on left/right front with indep. volume control). One of our friends argued that playing cds through our dvd player instead of our run-of-the-mill carousel 5 disc cd changer would sound better.

We decided to evaluate one acoustic track off of a fully digital (recording, mixing, format) CD between both, our opt./coax (we had both connectors) dvd player, and our standard a/v disc player. While it is clear that the digital sound is alot crisper, cleaner, clearer, and has more seperation and definition on individual elements of the music, analog through our cd player sounds better, because it sounds real.

Why? Because live music == distortion. If you go to a concert, you aren't going to get that high definition digital sound by a longshot. I guess its a matter of personal preference, but I'd rather feel like I was there then feel like I was listening to a cd.

- throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities... -
[ Parent ]
Just say NO!! (4.00 / 5) (#13)
by www.sorehands.com on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 02:18:16 AM EST

I refuse to buy DVD either video or audio!

After the bad behavior acts of the MPAA, I have refused to support them by buying their products.

Mattel, SLAPP terrorists intent on destroying free speech.

Though I can see your point... (4.00 / 4) (#25)
by Robert Gormley on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 05:56:56 AM EST

... and most of the players are the same, your beef should really be with their Region Encoding trickery, not the technology itself. There's nothing in DVD Audio (that I know of) that is equivalent.

Do you also propose boycotting DVD software, or Linux distributions that come on one DVD versus 6 CDs?

[ Parent ]

Hey (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by Elendale on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 04:38:39 PM EST

I'm doing that as well, though with me its almost more of an "i'm a poor college student" problem. In any case, if dvd audio turns out to contain little-no evil, i will certainly purchase it. Note, however, that it would be evil to take away the CDs and then start charging $45 a dvd with them. Hell, lets just all go back to records and screw this mess.


When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

[ Parent ]
Is Anybody else here (3.00 / 2) (#26)
by wiredog on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 09:17:07 AM EST

old enough to remember quadrophonic sound? 4 channels on LPs. Quadrophenia by The Who was originally recorded that way.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.

Feel old ? (2.50 / 2) (#27)
by retinaburn on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 09:41:26 AM EST

LP's, "The Who" ?? ...Are they a techno band ;)

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

[ Parent ]
Is it region coded? (4.33 / 3) (#30)
by PhilHibbs on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 11:37:23 AM EST

I asked the uk.media.dvd (IIRC) FAQ maintainer, and he's looking into it; does anyone here know for definite if DVD-Audio discs and players are region-coded? If so, what are they using as an excuse this time?>=

This will piss audiophiles off (4.33 / 3) (#32)
by zavyman on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 12:18:49 PM EST

If you own a home theater receiver, preamplifier or decoder that doesn't have six discreet analog inputs, you will not be able to hear the uncompressed high-quality surround sound audio. You will still be able to hear the stereo audio as well as any Dolby Digital surround sound music on the DVD-Audio disc.

I have been talking to someone who is really into listening to live music and trading, and the lack of a digital output gets him really steamed. The point of music is twofold: (1) to listen to music you care about, and (2) to be able to create your own music and share it with others. DVD-Audio is strictly a commercial medium, in fact the first of its kind. Cassette, CD (at least when burners became cheap) and especially DAT allowed both conditions. DAT made it the easiest for (2), that's why it was killed. No wonder that most people dealing with live music use DAT.

DVD-audio would have been a godsend for live music traders, as its increased storage capacity would have allowed entire shows to fit on a single disc, as opposed to the three burned cd's now required for most concerts. 48khz (or 96khz) would have matched up perfectly to allow a digital transition (via digital cabling) from DAT to DVD-Audio, or vise versa. But no, the idea that people might actually want to spread their own non-commercial music in high-fidelity scares the music industry. DVD-Audio will guarantee that they have sole control of the medium, even as DVD burners come down in price.

It's a shame that in this technologically advanced point we are where personal computers could commonly have digital inputs/outputs to facilitate the movement of audio throughout the culture. Instead we might just see a world where one has to connect six (6) analog cables where just a single digital one would do just fine.

What about AC-3 discreet Audio? (4.00 / 2) (#44)
by Mantrid on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 02:36:59 PM EST

I've been using a single digital cable with my DVD player for quite some time now...actually my new PS2 has a fibre optic digital cable.

(Course you might be talking about something completely different and I missed it)

[ Parent ]
Re: What about AC-3 discreet Audio? (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by Johnny O on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 02:57:54 PM EST

Well, that is find for DD content. But DVD-A is not DD content. DVD-A is UNCOMPRESSED audio. DD is compressed/mangled. It is an entirely different stream that unless you have a decoder built into your receiver capable of decoding DVD-A streams, you ain't gonna hear it via your digital connection. DVD-A discs out now do have DD/DTS compatable tracks for existing ?DVD-V? video players. But you will not get the full/uncompressed sound as in the DVD-A stream.
Hope this clarifies
Johnny O

[ Parent ]
Especially with watermarking (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by raygundan on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 04:44:25 PM EST

I followed the link to info about CPPM in the post just above this one and was a bit surprised to see that they will be using watermarking with DVD-audio. Who do they think the market for a player like that would be? Audiophiles will certainly scoff at any "doctored" audio containing a supposedly "inaudible" watermark. On the flip side, no ordinary consumer will be terribly interested in DVD-audio.

I can't hear the difference between CD's and most 160kbps mp3s, even on a good pair of monitor headphones. I certainly have no need for the additional fidelity-- I simply do not have the hearing sensitivity for it to make any difference to me. Most people are like me-- CD's are quite good enough, and so won't be interested in spending the extra money.

So who will buy these things? Not the average joe whose CD collection still sounds great, and not the audiophile who will be put off by the "inaudible" watermarking and the lack of a digital path from player to amplifier.

[ Parent ]
Exactly: what is their target audience? (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by zavyman on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 08:30:07 PM EST

You are exactly right.

It seems as though the music distributers have a personality disorder. On the one hand, they see Napster et al. as a severe threat to their money making enterprises. They went after, and appear to be beating, Napster and everything it represents. On the other hand, they think that people will pay more for "higher quality" music -- ignoring the reality that people are just satisfied with the quality of mp3's for their daily music needs.

So they are trying to target this format to the consumer (hence the protections that [appear to] prevent the creation of non-commercial music), but are also making this format appeal to people that want a higher quality of music -- the small market segment of audiophiles that can really tell the difference. Consumers are satisfied with mp3's and cd's, but hey, let's make a format that is higher quality, with a higher pricetag, and with more protections. You can see exactly why the format contains specifications for web links, videos, lyrics, all that stuff that doesn't mean too much when you are listening to headphones with a portable player.

I hope that they change their minds, and see that the consumer is not the enemy. Music is culture, and I'd rejoice to see the day when consumer-grade equipment will once again be suited for the needs of independent music distribution. Recordable audio cd's were a huge step forward. Let's just hope consumers have the smarts to see that DVD-Audio will be one huge step back.

[ Parent ]
Copy Protection (3.66 / 3) (#40)
by ecki on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 01:53:04 PM EST

DVD Audio is protected by CPPM (cousin of CPRM). Read about it for example here.

That does it... (none / 0) (#66)
by Refrag on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 09:07:52 PM EST

Each licensed decoder model has assigned to it a set of unique device keys that allow it to obtain the Media Key (used to encrypt the audio content) from the MKB and decrypt the audio content. Any playback device can be revoked in future discs via the MKB.
So, they can prevent people from being able to use their $1,500 device to play future DVD Audio titles.
The copy protection scheme for DVD-Audio will also include watermarking, needed to identify music tracks and trigger copy protection systems when recording the content when supplied as an analogue input. The watermark must remain intact when the content is converted to analogue but not be noticeable in listening tests. Tests have been carried out on a system from Verance, but there are concerns that this system can affect the quality of the audio.
I'm now officially uninterested in DVD Audio. They can play games with movies, I don't really care about them too much (and their games aren't as serious). But, once they try to fuck with my ability to do what I want with my music (hell, even whether or not I can play it), I become uninterested in their crap.


Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

SACD (none / 0) (#67)
by Refrag on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 09:09:34 PM EST

I guess I should've included this in my last comment. Does SACD use any form(s) of content protection?


Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

What's wrong with MiniDisc? (4.00 / 3) (#58)
by ryancooley on Sat Feb 17, 2001 at 07:04:35 AM EST

So why is minidisc singled out as a failure? I have two, and I love them like you can't imagine. It's CD quality sould that I can record, edit, name, erase, record over, etc. The discs are about 2$ a piece for 80 minutes of music and that's not for a naked disc (like CDs) but a disc inside a protective caddy-type case that eliminates all scratches, cracks, wearout, etc.

It is still being actively developed, and players/recorders are being manufactured by several big names. And everyone knows that CDs were around long before they caught on as the end-all format.

So again, what makes you think MiniDiscs are dead? I say they've just started.

MiniDisc (none / 0) (#65)
by Refrag on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 08:59:16 PM EST

MiniDisc may not be a failure, but it is most definitely a niche product as I stated in the article.


Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

Niche product (none / 0) (#73)
by ryancooley on Thu May 03, 2001 at 11:22:47 PM EST

MiniDisc may not be a failure, but it is most definitely a niche product as I stated in the article.

So were CD players before they got popular. So was everything before it got popular. At a time Gas powered Cars were niche products, then they got popular.

[ Parent ]

SACD is not Sony-proprietary (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by Potsy on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 02:13:57 AM EST

The SACD standard was co-developed by Sony and Philips, just like the original "Red Book" CD standard. I've heard some people refer to the SACD standard as the "Crimson Book". Sony does not own it all by themselves. I believe Sony and Philips require license fees from manufacturers, which may hurt it. On the other hand, I'm sure making a DVD-A player is not free, either.

However, if Sony/Philips really want their format to take off, they need to make it attractive to music labels. Beats me how they're planning to do that. Of course, Sony-owned and Philips-owned music labels will use it, regardless. But unless a critical mass of third-party music labels adopt it, it will fail.

Sorry, "Scarlet book" (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by Potsy on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 02:26:02 AM EST

According to some of the PDFs on this page, the SACD standard is called the "Scarlet Book", not the "Crimson Book" as I had thought.

[ Parent ]
Is DVD Audio Right For You? | 73 comments (73 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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