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Audio DVD Questions

Discussion in 'High resolution audio' started by DInc, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. DInc

    DInc Regular member

    Jul 19, 2007
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    I have been wondering about audio-DVDs for a while now, so here are some questions:

    - So audio-DVD (or is it DVD-audio?) is supposed to be better quality right?
    Could I hear the difference especially being a musician?
    Or would that depend largely on my equipment (or not so much)?

    - Do these DVDs contain a different mix of music, like technically different such as in 5.1?
    Or is it still always in stereo and could I use a normal setup?
    Maybe both?...

    - Are the DVDs convenient to use?
    Because I think I've seen you'd have to use a menu, thus have to use any kind of display.
    Or could I do like I do now with my CDs, just using them in a DVD-player without a screen?
    Or does that again depend on how they created it?

    - And together with that, I also wonder how fast they work
    since I've noticed DVDs take longer to load that DVDs, at least the movies.
    Or, yet again, does that rely on my DVD-player?
    (And note I'm generally talking about the bigger (standalone?) DVD-players.)

    - How much is this media supported, is it growing bigger maybe even to replace the CD?
    Or is it not so much in use and perhaps even dying?
    And also technically, or is it really simple
    that it will be able to work even on the Blu-Ray-players of the future?

    If you could all please answer these question, that would be great.
    Because I found some DVDs of my favorite artists and I'm really into quality. :)
    Anyone else is welcome to add random questions too of course.
    And I'm sorry if this kind of thread is not the meaning of this forum. :(

    - Damage Inc.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  2. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

    May 31, 2003
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    Okay - let's try to go through these questions, but first we need to determine exactly what you are doing, trying to do, as well as what you think is happening.
    Sadly, thanks to mislabelling & deliberate obfuscation, discs are often called DVD-Audio when all they really are is Audio on DVD-Video.
    I will try to explain the differences as we go along, but basically DVD-Audio is capable of far greater resolution than any other format currently affordable.
    Firstly, the differences.
    1 - DVD-Audio.
    This is a format designed from the ground up as an AUDIO format.
    You can have a combination of stereo & surround, or just straight stereo. All audio is uncompressed (in this context, I am using "compression" to mean a form of lossy (IE Perceptual) data reduction, where the output is reduced in quality compared to the input).
    2 - DVD-Video.
    This is a VIDEO format, and the video is always the dominant form. All audio must be accompanied by full-motion video or slideshows, and with the exception of LPCM Stereo (which can be from 16/48 to 24/96) all audio is compressed with either Dolby Digital (yuk)or DTS (far better) but the caveat here is that DTS is an optional stream and as such cannot ever be stream #1, or the sole stream.

    Now to try & answer your questions.

    1 - Yes. You certainly should be able to tell the difference, especially if you are recording & mixing at 24bits (44.1 upwards).
    With Audio DVD, the odds are very high the main audio soundtrack will be data reduced, which means the quality will take a dive.

    2 - Both. In both formats.
    DVD-Audio can hold up to 9 groups of up to 99 tracks, with 2 streams in each - one stereo, one surround.
    DVD-Video can hold up to 99 timelines (or titles) of up to 99 tracks each, with up to 8 audio streams.
    DVD-Audio can be set up in so-called "PGC Block" mode, meaning you have both stereo & surround on a single group and the player will automatically play the stream it is set up for. A stereo player will access the stereo stream by default, a surround player the surround stream. Proper authoring will give menu access to the stereo as well as the surround.
    Additionally, DVD-A can be set to access any bonus video material (all content) in the Video_TS.

    3 - Yes.
    Menus in DVD-A are optional, you do *not* have to use them as a disc can be set to Autoplay.
    Menus are necessary in DVD-Video though, and seriously recommended in DVD-A as you can do a lot of interesting stuff with them.
    A properly authored DVD-A will contain a DVD-V section, and these discs will automatically load in all DVD players in the form the player can read.

    4 - Depends on the disc & the player.

    5 - Very well supported.
    A properly authored disc will play on every DVD player that exists in one form or another.
    They are not easy to author though, if commercial release is the aim.
    Blu Ray players will, by & large, play just Blu Ray or DVD-Video right now. Sony are terrified of DVD-A (They spent a lot of time & effort trying to kill it) and it is unlikely any Sony player will ever play a DVD-A disc, but they will play the Video_TS.
    Denon, on the other hand, as well as Pioneer, Onkyo, Meridian etc (and many others like Panasonic too) will continue to build "Universal" players that will play all formats.

    This sort of thing is exactly what this forum is for - so no worries there IMHO.
    DVD-Video is nearly always wasting bits on video, making you watch music instead of listen to it. Blu Ray is also a VIDEO format (despite the vapourware "Profile 3.0" talk) and is brutally expensive to create due to the mandatory AACS licenses, which will cost you - the content owner - at least $15,000 per title in fees before you author anything or press a single disc.

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