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Newb question about sound and DVD's

Old 02-17-05, 05:39 PM
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Newb question about sound and DVD's

I have the full home theater setup with DTS and Dolby Digital, but no DVD-Audio.

Music seems to sound better when watching a movie. I think this is probably a fairly obvious observation.
For example, Brian Eno's song on the end credits for Traffic, or the songs on Almost Famous are incredible. They seem to take full advantage of all the speakers.

Now, would this be similar to DVD-Audio? What are the technical differences between a song on DVD to a song on DVD-A?

What are some others good movies with good sounding songs. I found myself collecting movies like this purely for the awesome sounding music, and wanted to get the thoughts of the experts here on this. I am also considering making the jump to DVD-A.

Any comments are greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-17-05, 05:51 PM
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DVD-A is only as good as the re-mixing that's done to use it... I've heard some that are GREAT (I think Linkin Park's Reanimation was DVD-A), however I've heard others that weren't worth the double-dip. As to other movies with good sound, American Beauty has great music (songs) as well as a kickbutt score
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Old 02-18-05, 07:43 AM
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Problems with DVD-Audio

1. lack of titles
2. poorly mixed
3. dead format
4. expensive

DVD-Audio is totally different from the audio you get from regular DVDs.
But as ShaqMan said, it's all about the recording. There are VERY few DVD-Audio titles worth purchasing. It's basically a dead format. It can sound better than CD, but rarely does.

For the most part, your standard redbook CD will sound better than DVD-video. Might want to look into SACD(another soon-to-be-dead format) which is supposedly better than DVD-A. Especially if you listen to a lot of classical. Not much else in terms of selections.

If you're thinking of buying a universal or SACD player just for music, you're better off with a quality redbook player. The $700 rotel 1072 will sound as nice as, say, the $1300 Denon 3910, and a tad bit worse than the Arcam DV79 which costs around $1800. But hey, if you have cash to burn, you might as well purchase the McCormack UDP, one of the few universal players which does everything well without costing a leg and an arm.

Stereophile review

My final statement: unless you're going to spend at least a grand for a DVD-Audio/SACD player, don't bother (cheaper players make too much compromises, such as using DVD-laser for redbook playback) You can get audio fidelity for much less. A NAD 521Bee, for instance, costs $300? and would make a great entry level source.

Last edited by Snikey; 02-18-05 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 02-18-05, 05:21 PM
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Don't confuse the concept of "multi-channel sound" -- which can be present on any DTS or DD -- with the DVD-A format.

The difference is that DVD-A, like SACD, is a format capable of very high (24-bit) resolution and sampling rates (96kHz) with much less compression. A recording that takes full advantage of these capabilities will have less noise, greater dynamic range, and more audible clarity.

Not every HT system can reveal these differences (assuming a compatible player); not every listener can appreciate them, and -- by a long shot -- not every recording released in these formats uses all of their capabilities.

A multichannel mix created for DVD-A (or SACD) can be compressed using Dolby Digital or DTS and released on a standard DVD-Video disc. In fact, most DVD-A discs include a copy of the DVD-A mix as a DTS or DD track, for compatibility. These tracks sound as good as any other DTS or DD track.

Music that has little dynamic range (most pop/rock music) and little "air" in the arrangements will often appear to gain little from a high-resolution recording, although the differences are there. And people for whom 5.1 movie soundtracks played on their new HT systems represent the pinnacle of their listening experience will often not appreciate the addional increment in quality of a hi-rez recording.

It does appear that hi-rez audio will remain a niche market, if it doesn't die out altogether. Various reasons have been advanced to explain this -- poor marketing, high prices, lack of product, too many unremarkable releases, too few day-and-date releases -- and I agree to some extent with all of them.

But personally, I analyse it like this: "Critical listening -- sitting in a room and listening to music to the exclusion of other activities -- is a dying pastime. More and more, people integrate music listening with other activities that divide their attention. Therefore, few are willing to invest time and money in hardware and software whose only justification is to improve the experience of critical listening. That's what makes it a niche market."

RichC
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Old 02-28-05, 06:31 PM
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Thanks ShagMan and Snikey for the recommendations!

rdclark
Thank you very much for your in depth explanation. I sincerely appreciate it. To summarize what you have said, and maybe to clarify a bit, I have a couple things...

So what you’re saying is that
1) It is very difficult to hear the difference's between Audio DTS/DD and DVD-A/SACD, especially to the untrained ear?

2) Most DVD-A disks come with a DTS/DD track that would be fine for most amateur audiophiles?

If that is the case, I would get a little excited seeing I could get good sounding music without upgrading to SACD/DVD-A, but ShagMan says there are only a few decent DVD-A releases. I guess I just love the sound on a good movie DVD when edited properly taking advantage of all the speakers as opposed to a CD. I may have to search for some reviews of DVD-A's with DTS/DD mixes.

Thanks RichC

I remember reading an interview with Trent Reznor from NIN, and he studied as many concert DVD releases as he could in preparing for mixing his concert DVD. I remember him saying that there were very few good mixes of concert DVD's. Bands putting the vocals in the center channel only hence making it sound contrived, mixes with either way to much going on in the rear speakers, or nothing at all, etc. He was very disappointed with the quality up to that point (about 2 years ago)
Just a side note.

Last edited by dspiral; 02-28-05 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 02-28-05, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by dspiral
Thanks ShagMan and Snikey for the recommendations!

rdclark
Thank you very much for your in depth explanation. I sincerely appreciate it. To summarize what you have said, and maybe to clarify a bit, I have a couple things...

So what you’re saying is that
1) It is very difficult to hear the difference's between Audio DTS/DD and DVD-A/SACD, especially to the untrained ear?

2) Most DVD-A disks come with a DTS/DD track that would be fine for most amateur audiophiles?

If that is the case, I would get a little excited seeing I could get good sounding music without upgrading to SACD/DVD-A, but ShagMan says there are only a few decent DVD-A releases. I guess I just love the sound on a good movie DVD when edited properly taking advantage of all the speakers as opposed to a CD. I may have to search for some reviews of DVD-A's with DTS/DD mixes.

Thanks RichC
For the record I am getting confused trying to understand your summary of the explanation.

Dolby Digital (5.1, 6.1 & 7.1) is a film sound encoding method. DTS is a different film sound encoding method. These are found on movie DVD's.

DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD) are AUDIO encoding formats and are usually done for music presentations only. Some of these have video attached but they are not designed to be like movies.

You appear to have the two very confused as evidenced by this statement:

I may have to search for some reviews of DVD-A's with DTS/DD mixes.
I do not believe there is such a thing nor would it be technically possible.
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Old 02-28-05, 06:54 PM
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Hi Brian, I was going off of the following quote from rdclark...

Originally Posted by rdclark
A multichannel mix created for DVD-A (or SACD) can be compressed using Dolby Digital or DTS and released on a standard DVD-Video disc. In fact, most DVD-A discs include a copy of the DVD-A mix as a DTS or DD track, for compatibility. These tracks sound as good as any other DTS or DD track.
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Old 02-28-05, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by dspiral
Hi Brian, I was going off of the following quote from rdclark...
Understood and if I am wrong some please correct me.

I have SACD' s, DVD-Audio's as well as Movie DVD's. I am not aware of any DVD-Audio or SACD that is primarily a music format, having film content. In other words I do not think you will find a version of Lord of the Rings in DVD-Audio or SACD. Lord of the Rings has a DTS as well as a DD mix on the disc.

Good luck.
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Old 02-28-05, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Shannon
For the record I am getting confused trying to understand your summary of the explanation.

Dolby Digital (5.1, 6.1 & 7.1) is a film sound encoding method. DTS is a different film sound encoding method. These are found on movie DVD's.
No, you can use DD or DTS to encode any audio source, regardless of number of channels. The audio encoder doesn't care if the accompanying video came from a movie, a concert, a still photograph, or if there is no video at all.

DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD) are AUDIO encoding formats and are usually done for music presentations only. Some of these have video attached but they are not designed to be like movies.
Yes, but most DVD-Audio discs also include a DTS or Dolby Digital encoded copy of the very same multichannel audio track that is also present as a DVD-A track. It has less resolution, a lower bitrate, and a different encoding method, but the *source* -- the multichannel digital audio master of the recording -- is the same.

RichC
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Old 02-28-05, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by dspiral
So what you’re saying is that
1) It is very difficult to hear the difference's between Audio DTS/DD and DVD-A/SACD, especially to the untrained ear?
I have found that to be true. If you start with a disk that includes two copies of the same multichannel mix -- one in DTS, one in DVD-Audio -- most people listening on a typical mid-fi HT system don't seem to be able to consistently hear a difference between the two. This is exascerbated by disks that start with 48kHz source material (such as "Toy Matinee" or Porcupine Tree's "In Absentia") rather than 96kHz material like Diana Krall's "When I Look In Your Eyes." The difference is still there, but it's less easily revealed by modest equipment.

2) Most DVD-A disks come with a DTS/DD track that would be fine for most amateur audiophiles?
Yes, those tracks are generally present. You can always hear lossy compression such as DTS or DD, so I hesitate to suggest they're suitable for any "audiophile," amateur or otherwise.

The issue is confused by the fact that so many of these discs are reissues of older material. The new versions are remastered, cleaned up, and remixed for multichannel sound. It's very difficult to separate what part of the improvement is the result of remastering vs what part is the benefit of multichannel sound.

If that is the case, I would get a little excited seeing I could get good sounding music without upgrading to SACD/DVD-A, but ShagMan says there are only a few decent DVD-A releases. I guess I just love the sound on a good movie DVD when edited properly taking advantage of all the speakers as opposed to a CD. I may have to search for some reviews of DVD-A's with DTS/DD mixes.
You will certainly hear the benefits of remastering and multichannel mixing, even without a high-resolution player. I owned and enjoyed my copies of "Toy Matinee" and Blue Man Group's "Audio" for months before I got a DVD-A/SACD player.

RichC
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Old 02-28-05, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Shannon
I do not believe there is such a thing nor would it be technically possible.
Regarding the presence on a DVD-A of a DD or DTS copy of the same mix:

It's not just possible. It can't have the DVD logo on it if it doesn't have content playable in a standard DVD player. This doesn't mean *all* it's content must play in a DVD player, and indeed its DVD-Audio content requires a DVD-A player.

But it must have an audio track that will play in a DVD player, and this content is --almost without exception -- a DD or DTS 5.1 encoded copy of the same 5.1 mix used for the DVD-Audio.

I don't know how I can say it any more clearly. Go look at some DVD-A discs and read the labels if you don't believe me. Or look at any of a hundred FAQs on the subject, such as (the first one I happened to find) this one.

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Old 03-01-05, 08:46 AM
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I love DVD-A, the Linking Park Reanimation DVDA is awsome. I also love the OatKast Stankonia DVDA
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Old 03-01-05, 01:19 PM
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SACD may be the dead format now that Sony have, apparently, embraced Dual-Disc for their non-classical or jazz releases. But that may not be true... There have been recent "major" releases from Elton John, Nine Inch Nails, etc. One thing about SACD that is dooming it, IMHO, is that not all titles are being remixed for 5.1. There are many 2.0 SACDs on the market.

DVD-A on the other hand, I don't believe is dead... It's merely is a state of stunted growth. There are DVD-A titles still being released, just not at a very fast pace... The entire Warner's R.E.M. catalog is due to street today. Last week had several David Bowie releases. DTS Entertainment have a pretty nice selection of DVD-A material (including DVD-A exclusive recordings from Frank Zappa), just go to their website. DVD-A may be dead in the retail B&M world since Best Buy and the like don't tend to stock "niche" products, but you can order online (or pay full cost at Tower Records, they tend to stock a fairly good selection of DVD-A and SACD releases). One other thing to note concerning DVD-A is the ability to contain video based extras.

Which brings us to Dual-Disc... From what I'm reading so far, some of the mixes for Sony's Dual-Disc releases are not true hi-rez. If so, what's the point. The only Dual-Disc that I own is the recent Nine Inch Nails release of The Downward Spiral. It contains a hi-rez DVD-A mix of the album in addition to several videos and is definitely an improvement over the CD version.

All that said, I will absolutely agree that the lack of titles available in any of the formats is - to date - discouraging. There are some amazing mixes out there though... Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips is surround sound heaven.

And yes, DVD-A must - and do - support a basic DD (or DTS) mix in addition to the hi-rez mix.

Last edited by Johnny Zhivago; 03-01-05 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 03-30-05, 12:29 PM
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Its been awhile, but I just wanted to say thanks. Because of this thread, you guys opened me up to a whole new world.

I picked up Linking Park Reanimation this weekend, and it is phenomenal! Off to read some reviews on DVD-A's to purchase some more.
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Old 03-30-05, 01:53 PM
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Blue Man Group: Audio.

Must have good sub!

Anything from AIX records. They are THE masters of DVD-A. aixrecords.com
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Old 03-30-05, 10:59 PM
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Check out this thread from the Music forum. It's been going for 3 1/2 years, so there's lots of recommendations:

DVD Audio/SACD recommendations
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