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#43353 - 12/12/02 11:22 AM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
charlie Offline
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Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 1176
I suspect the DVD-Video [DD, DTS] compatible data on most DVD-A disks will help a lot as HT systems penetrate the market in the future. Being able to hear the DTS tracks makes me wonder what the 'real' tracks sound like....
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#43354 - 12/13/02 12:37 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
Jason J Offline
Desperado

Registered: 09/02/02
Posts: 615
Loc: Northern Garden State
I've been reading the posts on this thread and just wanted to add my thoughts on a couple of things.

First, to get the true resolution that DVD-A/SACD is offering to the music listening public, those discs can't go through any processing once they've been decoded by the player. Unfortunately for most, this means you lose your bass management, speaker distance settings, delays, and any other DSP your receiver/pre-amp may add. Some hi-res players can offer bass management because their chipset supports the higher resolution but you'll notice this only on DVD-A. On a well recorded SACD, the whole point, at least to me, is that the audio never touches a PCM source. This is what the main point of the format is all about.

Second, if you eliminate the center channel, you're ruining the sound engineer's mix. The multi-channel format includes information in the center channel so the engineers have been using it. Not using a center defeats the current "state of the art" in the format. I own a couple multi-channel SACD recordings and the center channel plays an important role in all of them.

Finally, I own the Sony DVP-NS500V and I love the sound it puts out. I have it hooked up to the "5.1 direct" input on my 1050. The combination sounds great. I'm also lucky enough to have basically equal speaker distances in my set-up and I'm using the same speakers (M&K K-5s) across the front three channels. The difference, to my ears, between SACD and CD is amazing. The difference between the using the direct inputs and the CD inputs on the 1050 is just as amazing. You really have to take the DSP out of the mix if you want to hear the true benefit of a high-resolution recording.

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#43355 - 12/13/02 01:43 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
charlie Offline
Desperado

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 1176
Just a few things to consider.

First, running without a center speaker is not the the same thing as not using the center channel of the mix. It is completely possible to mix the center information back into the fronts without leaving the analog domain. I have a center, but I thought I should point out the distinction.

Second, yes there is a day and night difference between CD and SACD. According to normally reliable sources this is due to fairly aggressive EQ and other processing that Sony adds during the mastering process.

Kinda like why DTS sounds so different from DD too.

Finally, and this is just my own opinion, the big advantage of DVD-A/SACD is the multi-channel format more than anything else. The bigger samples and/or higher rates make the systems easier to implement well, and so that is good, but offer no intrinsic advantage in absolute sound quality for humans.

That last one is very controversial and I don't expect many here to agree. It is just my opinion, based on solid engineering priciples. Anyone who listened to the 'soundhound challenge' CD got an extreme example of this first hand.

A lot of the bad rep CD audio has stems from two places:

(1) It's hard to implement a really good digital system with a upper frequency limit so close to the Nyquist frequency. Not all implementations were very good, especially early on. Ironically a higher sample frequency would have made implementation easier and possibly fixed the 'problem'. It's like the sample rate argument is right for all the wrong reasons.

(2) A lot of 'Hi-End' folks just couldn't (some still can't) get their heads around how it works. They are often respected in the community and their opinions carry some weight.

Just my $0.02 and YMMV, etc.
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#43356 - 12/13/02 02:09 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
soundhound Offline
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Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
There is one very real advantage and usefulness for the added lower 8 bits in a 24 bit recording: They make a very convenient place for record companies to stash 'copy restriction' data, a place that will never be heard or even decoded as sound in any player. I don't know if they are doing this, or plan to, but the conspiracy therorist in me can't help but think of the possibilities

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#43357 - 12/13/02 04:02 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
charlie Offline
Desperado

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 1176


Interesting idea. The software engineer in me can't watch all those bits go blowing by uselessly without feeling something like pain...

Oh well.
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#43358 - 12/13/02 05:02 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
bossobass Offline
Desperado

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 430
Loc: charlotte, nc usa
if agressive eq and multichannel is all sacd has to offer, why not just play a cd, matrix it to 6 channels and agressively eq it? whoever said that is either deaf or a moron. in fact, i believe someone quoted tom nousaine or a wank associate of his somewhere in another thread as having said something to that effect. when i read it, what little respect i had for mr. nousaine instantly evaporated.

jason j is correct. if you redirect the center channel info to the mains, you don't get a 'phantom center'. you simply get an entirely new stereo image from your mains. this is the equivalent to switching a stereo mix to mono and calling it 'phantom' stereo.

sacd does not suffer the brick wall limiter @ 20k like pcm. sacd is low passed @ 70 or 80k. it's a 1-bit system at a super fast sampling rate. it's advantages over 16 bit stereo:

1.) 6 discrete channels. give a speaker and amp less to reproduce and they will reproduce it cleaner.

2.) soundfield. no comparison.

3.) dc to 70k. dynamics and detail that are impossible with 16 bit cd...period. and anyone with a system capable of playing it back and normal hearing can tell the difference... easily.

4.) endlessly more possibilities for new instruments and mixing techniques. the surface hasn't been scratched.

5.) hybrid multichannel scad/stereo cd...2 discs for the price of 1 and 1/2 the shelf space.

i agree with and love the title of this thread...Wow! DVD-A/SACD. i also agree with jason j in that, though it's simple enough to set the center to 'no' in my sony dvp-ns900v, it defeats the purpose and distorts the mix.
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#43359 - 12/13/02 08:52 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
charlie Offline
Desperado

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 1176
Bosso:

I sort of mis-spoke when I said 'due to'. I should have said 'could very well be due to' instead. It is rumored that there are easily measured equalization and other differences between the SACD and CD versions of some otherwise identical recordings. Why would that be? Dunno. Could it make them sound 'day and night different'? I bet so. Could that be the reason it's done? The conspiracy theorist in me suspects it could be. Could this guy be lying? Sure. Would it be easy to discover? Yup. Has anyone done the measurements and said he's wrong? Not to my knowledge. Why? 'cause he's probably not lying. Am I motivated enough ot do it myself? No way. I really don't care.

I knew when I said it I was opening a can of worms. I can address those concerns, but in reality nothing I say will probably ever convince anyone to change their mind and no one has ever been able to back the high speed sampling or deep bit theories with any solid engineering or logical arguments that I found compelling.

So it's probably best to agree to disagree on this one peacefully. If you or others want to discuss it calmly and logically I'm OK with it, but I'm not interested in screaming matches, anecdotal evidence or emotional appeals. It may be best to let it rest as a sort of religious issue.

To address your points:

(1) No argument. Also has nothing to do with digital sampling method. An extreme case of this would be a brick at zero input, which exhibits zero distortion.
(2) Qualitative assessments are useful, but I suspect this could be traced back to quantifiable causes.
(3) DC-70K. I doubt anyone anywhere has a system that can put out meaningful levels of output over this range, although I'd sure respect anyone who does. Also, I can only hear (at reasonable levels) up to about 18 KHz. Few adult humans can hear much better than that.
(4) It's good not to scratch the surface I guess? Or is it bad? Anyway, nothing I can disagree with there. I will say that there's no waveform that cannot be accurately represented as a stream of PCM data.
(5) Not my problem. Also, DVD-A can often play in DVD-Video players, which are actually a growing market segment. Amazon has lots of shelves. Don't really see an issue.

And another thing, I know you know better, but PCM doesn't require a brick wall at 20KHz either. The CD audio format, a specific case of PCM, does. And my wetware does a dandy job of figuring out what parts of the signal are 'common' and forming an image on center. Is it distorted? Sure, has to be by definition. Does it usually sound OK? Yep. Are people that swear by this method idiots? Not necessarily. Is the original center mix of a real acoustic event distorted anyway? Probably. Do I use a phantom center? Nope. Have I? Yep.

Anyway, peace and have a good one.


Charlie
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#43360 - 12/13/02 10:19 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
It is important to remember in all the debates about SACD/DVD-A that in reality we are talking about nothing more than an input/storage/delivery medium. BOTH are excellent formats, but in the end, they are again, just different ways to store bits which represent music data.

Either format can have in theory as many channels as wished, and PCM can have any sampling frequency or bit depth desired. Neither format is limited in any way just by the format itself.

The consumer (and professional for that matter) field is rife with specsmanship, with a healthy dose of BS thrown in. The only way to really judge how accurate SACD or DVD-A is to the original master tape (or to the live microphone feed from the musicians) is to actually listen to that master tape and compare it in real time to the SACD or DVD-A. There can be speculation to the ends of the earth about which sounds better, or what processing may or may not have been done, but in the end, you have to listen to the original source to get to the truth. Of course consumers don't have access to the original masters, so the opinions fly.

SACD is a derivative of Delta Modulation, which is a technically sweet way of encoding data. It is simple and inexpensive to implement in a consumer player, and this no doubt is a good reason Sony is backing it in the first place. PCM is a bit more complex. It costs relatively more money to implement well, which is a reason that it isn't implemented so well in a good number of players.

A good recording is a good recording regardless of whether it's SACD or DVD-A, or CD for that matter. A bad recording stinks just as badly regardless of format.

This all reminds me of a saying in the photography field: Question: "What's the best camera in the world?"
Answer: "The one you happen to have with you when that once-in-a-lifetime shot comes around"


Just humble thoughts from someone who works with this stuff daily



[This message has been edited by soundhound (edited December 14, 2002).]

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#43361 - 12/13/02 11:05 PM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
Jason J Offline
Desperado

Registered: 09/02/02
Posts: 615
Loc: Northern Garden State
I think soundhound is onto something here with "it's only as good as the recording." I think the proper phrase here is that, "You can't shine a turd!" If the music isn't what you like to listen to, no amount of fidelity is going to change that opinion.

As to the claims of another poster here on this forum....umm...use your ears. You claim they can hear pretty high, so go do some critical listening between a properly hooked up system playing a master tape, a DVD-A copy of that source, and a SACD copy of the same source. Well, if you can't hook that up, go find this month's copy of MIX magazine. Then read the Stone's remasters producer's comments after he listened to the aforementioned set-up using the original Stones masters. It's very enlightening stuff to say the least. I think here that soundhound has the proper point again...listen to the testimony of the engineers working with these formats. These people deal with audio every single day and have probably had experience with almost every format out there. Their word may not be the final point on anything, but it does help to show at least me what they like and what they think works. Again, the final judge on any arguement about sound is your ears. If you like what they hear, enjoy!

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#43362 - 12/16/02 12:01 AM Re: Wow! DVD-A/SACD
fmcorps Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 197
Loc: Fargo, ND, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Jason J:
I think soundhound is onto something here with "it's only as good as the recording." I think the proper phrase here is that, "You can't shine a turd!"


Well, after many years of living on the great plains let me tell you that yes, you can shine a turd. However, all you get is a shiny turd.

What can I say, no beer and no TV makes Jason...some thing something.

Jason

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