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Old 14th September 2002, 09:55 AM   #1
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Default DVD-A: What I am hearing?

I am playing a DVD-A using my 24/96 DVD video player as transport for ART DIO.

This DVD-A has Advanced Resolution Surround/Stereo and Dolby Digital.

I understand that my DVD video player is reading Dolby Digital stream and output 24/96 to ART DIO (it correctly synchronized at 96kH).

My question is what I am hearing?

Is the 96kH output upsampled from Dolby Digital (lossy compression format) in DVD player or can the Dolby Digital accommodate 24/96 and encode it nearly lossless so that DVD player can just pass it though to digital output with high quality?
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Old 15th September 2002, 11:36 PM   #2
hifiZen is offline hifiZen  Canada
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No! Dolby Digital is a very lossy compression format. Chances are you're listening to 192 kbps or maybe as much as 384 kbps, but that's the highest DD bitrate I've ever seen on a DVD... about the same quality as an mp3.

The DD track is only there since it is a standard that all DVD players can read... I'm not entirely sure, but it may even be mandatory in the DVD format.

The only way to know for sure if you're getting the "real deal" is to use a player that specifically supports DVD-Audio... it will most likely have the MLP logo on the front face. With the exception of 24/96 PCM tracks, you must have an MLP licenced/certified player to read and decode the lossless compression format used for most DVD-Audio (the Advanced Resolution) stuff. Otherwise, all you can read is the crappy DD track, in which case you're far better off just to listen to CDDA.
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Old 15th September 2002, 11:42 PM   #3
hifiZen is offline hifiZen  Canada
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Actually, now that I think of it, some DVD-A discs also include dts tracks, which are arguably a bit better than CD, and are often multi-channel too. But, then you need a dts decode capable player (not just one with a dts logo on it... these can merely be dts-passthrough capable) or an external dts decoder to take advantage of this track.

One example: I have The Eagles' Hotel California in Advanced Resolution DVD-Audio, and the label shows that it also had a Dolby Digital track. But, the disc actually includes a dts track too, even though there's no mention of it anywhere on the packaging!

I'm not MLP decode equipped yet , but the dts track sounds very good!
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Old 16th September 2002, 12:31 PM   #4
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Thank you hifiZen,

When I first put the disc in the player, I did not expect an impressive song from that as I know it would only read Dolby stream. However, as soon as the music came out, it was really impressive. Staging, imaging, focus etc were all better than I expected (better than most stuff on CD though I did not have the CD version for the same DVD-A, and I have to admitt that I am not an experienced critical listener so I may be easliy fooled by some manipulated effects.) That's why I was wondering what I was hearing.

I checked it that it could play at 48kHz and 96kHz sampling positions but not 44.1/88.2kHz on ART DIO.

I did a quick search and could not find DTS specs or so. I will do more search later to get some idea how it works.

I liked to get a "Hotel California" but it's not available locally at moment. The disc I was talking about is Jazz at the Movies Band's "The Bedroom Mixes".
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Old 16th September 2002, 01:37 PM   #5
Schaef is offline Schaef  United States
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I agree with HifiZen, you're listening to the Dolby Digital track. (unless of course, you have a DVD-A capable player, in which case you might have the better sound)

some reasons it may sound better than CDs, could include, more attention paid to the recording process, the slightly higher bit rate capable, or emphasis paid in the extreme dynamic regions.

Since these discs are sold at a higher premium than standard CDs, one would hope that a little more attention is being paid to the recording process, and thus improving the original recording, thus making it sound better. Also, it could be the multi-channel sounding louder and thus, your brain interpreting this as sounding better.

There's also the possiblities that they used less audio compression on the recording, and thus making it sound better, or they put some additional EQ in the extremes to compensate for losses due to the DD compression.

I could probably go on if I thought more about it, but they would all be speculation on my part.

But the bottom line is, if it sounds good to you, that's all that matters!
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Old 16th September 2002, 08:09 PM   #6
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I listened to stereo only to DVD-A in question.

Schaef, I agree with what you thought. There are various possibilities that it could sound better.
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Old 17th September 2002, 05:53 AM   #7
hifiZen is offline hifiZen  Canada
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May i ask what model dvd player you are using?
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Old 17th September 2002, 07:15 AM   #8
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Default Re: DVD-A: What I am hearing?

[B]I am playing a DVD-A using my 24/96 DVD video player as transport for ART DIO.

This DVD-A has Advanced Resolution Surround/Stereo and Dolby Digital.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

You never know what is on discs labelled as advanced resolution. Companies are using the big-tent spec of DVDA to sell discs at various resolutions and bit depths,. Even on playback with a DVDA player, you may find 24/48, 16/48 and rarely 24/96 or higher unless clearly staed. You are better off with DVDV and SACD.

I am now very careful about buying DVDAs as prices are premium and quality uncertain. In Britain I use the Trade Descriptions Act to get money back on mislabelled discs.
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Old 17th September 2002, 09:35 AM   #9
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I am using Pioneer DV-K102, with 24/96, Dolby Digital and dts logos
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Old 19th September 2002, 04:44 AM   #10
hifiZen is offline hifiZen  Canada
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DV-K102: hmm.. based on the logo looks like it has dts pass-through but not decode capability. I'd say you're hearing DD, unless your ART DIO has dts decode... ? Check what logo lights up on the K102s display when it's playing.

Quote:
You never know what is on discs labelled as advanced resolution. Companies are using the big-tent spec of DVDA to sell discs at various resolutions and bit depths,. Even on playback with a DVDA player, you may find 24/48, 16/48 and rarely 24/96 or higher unless clearly staed. You are better off with DVDV and SACD.
Yeah, I agree that there is too much confusion in the DVD audio market, and this can only hurt sales. Few non-expert consumers really know what they're getting, and everything is wanna-be MLP 24/96... even ordinary DVD-V produced as a "music disc" is calling itself DVD-Audio. I really wish the name DVD-Audio was licensed for use with 24/96 and 24/192 recordings only. For this reason, I fear SACD will gain even more ground over the high bitrate PCM formats, which to me is a real shame.

DVD is in troubled waters right now, and I don't think many people realize it. The same open standards which made it a success are leading to it's degredation... at the moment, all DVD player manufacturers are facing the increasing problem of dealing with improperly authored DVDs. Nobody is policing the standards, so nobody follows them. The end result is that new discs appear on the market all the time with authoring problems which "break" players in different ways. Since the bad discs often play on some machines but not others, consumers assume that there is some problem with the machine, not the disc! Player manufacturers are forced to make case-by-case fixes in their code and hardware which allow these garbage discs to play, but it's slowly crippling the functionality and driving up the cost and complexity of players. Doing QA on new player designs has become a lengthy nightmare, multiplying development time and effort several-fold . At the same time, it's leading to rapid obsolescence of hardware that hit the market before titles which exhibit new faults.

This is no small problem either... the big Hollywood studios have all violated the DVD standards - they'd rather pass the buck than do it right and QA their titles, since they know that player manufacturers will have to accomodate their discs if they want the player sales. Some of the biggest movie hits are also some of the worst standards-offenders! I'm looking forward to the day when DVD player sales start to slow down as the market saturates, and the studios are forced to author their discs properly if they want their films to sell! We can always hope...

Anyway, I have temporarlily suspended purchase of non CDDA format music for several reasons. While SACD indeed <i>can</i> sound better than CDDA, well recorded CDs often sound very close. I like being able to copy my music to CD-R and play it in my car where the discs get beat up. DVD-V just sucks for music (DD). dts music discs offer even less additional resolution than SACD, and suffer the same non-copy problem. Multi-channel music is of no interest to me until I have a multi-channel setup, which at this rate could be a very long time indeed. And, as for MLP and 24.96 PCM recordings, I don't have a DVD-A player yet, and the number of titles available is still very small. So for me, CD is still king.
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