IS SACD and DVD-A REALLY HI-FI?

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As my main interest is in home cinema, but still appreciating Hi-Fi, I am very interested to hear the comments of the enthusiasts and experts on stereo Hi-Fi, on this forum as to whether you consider the 5.1 mixes of tracks found on DVD-A's and SACD's as true Hi-Fi? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY!!! You spend many thousands of pounds on a 2 channel system, accurately setting up imaging, and achieving sublime qualities from 2 speakers then BANG, along comes a system that fills the hole in the middle and enhances space with a rear fill. Given the appropriate funds, would you purchase 3 more amplifiers, speakers and interconnects etc to match your existing equipment and use the 5.1 channels in the same quality as the stereo you currently have or do you still consider the "purist" 2 channel to be superior? If so, why?
 

matthewpiano

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Hi-fi evolves and new possibilities change the landscape. For domestic reasons, and the fact that most of my music is only conventional 2-channel recordings on vinyl and standard CD, I'm sticking to 2-channel, but I can see the advantages of being able to properly recreate a sense of performance space using multichannel technology. If what hi-fi represents didn't evolve we would all still be listening to Philips Disc Jockey Majors.
 

Clare Newsome

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[quote user="fr0g"]Definitely Hi-Fi, but effectively dead.[/quote]

I second that emotion, as Smokey would have it....

(Excluding the Elvis DVD-A - crime against music-engineering).
 

nads

Well-known member
Only got 2 channel SACD and i like the sound. They are still being made but you do not always know you have one. (i had 3 and did not know as they were just labled as CD's was only when i put one in the disc player and it said SACD did i then spot some really small SACD logos.
 

Andrew Everard

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[quote user="fr0g"]Also, Sony have dropped SACD support from the PS3 by the look of it - The 40GB version does not include the facility.

Sony Press release[/quote]

Yes, pain that - would've grabbed a 60GB if I'd known about that in advance, given the dems I've heard in Japan of PS3 playing SACD.
 
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Anonymous

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Re: IS SACD and DVD-A REALLY HI-FI?
Technically, Yes. Practically, depends.
Technically, both SACD and DVD-A use higher sampling rates and better bit-depths. That means, a much more realistic representation of the actual recording.
Pratically, stereo was born to give a better sense of sound field (against mono), because it was thought human brain perceives the sound field by the difference in sound reaching at both the ears. Stereo achieved that to a great extent. Multi-channel audio tries to enhance that experience. In a true implementation, a DVD-A will reproduce the recorded sound field with a much greater degree of precision than stereo. As in, placement of instruments and vocalists would be much more localizable than in stereo.
But, a big but, is the implementation. Is multichannel audio being produced "honestly"? IMO, the answer is - No. What we see is a remastering of old recordings in multichannel. Hello, aren't we doing something wrong here? Aren't we doing what the DPL or DPL II circuits onboard a multichannel integrated amp already does? Yes, we are. The only difference being, when they do that in a studio, they achieve better results. Why? Because supposedly they remaster. As in, they read from the 'original' tapes again, mix it into multichannel format (mosltly with more sophisticated equipments than can be found in home setups.) So I do not see that as a "true" multichannel audio.
Let us face it, there are challenges in recording audio. More in mixing it correctly. Recording is not the problem (you can place as many microphones as required), but mixing is. The process of mixing the Audio is where things can make or break. But if at all, we could have true implementation of multichannel audio, I bet my life, it would sound far more engaging that 2 channels.
That was just the recording and mixing angle. Looking at the reproduction part. We spend about a grand on each equipment, in a stereo system. So if we spend £4000 on a 2 channel system, i.e. £2000 per channel, do we spend £12000 on a 5.1 channel system? Or £14000 on a 7.1 channel system. Believe me, if we did, and if we have an SACD or a DVD-A recorded truely in multiple channels and mixed properly, that would beat its stereo equivalent by a huge margin.
My conclusion is: multichannel audio is dying because of improper implementation and usage, and not because the technology itself is flawed.
 
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Anonymous

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Oldskool, this is something that I have often asked myself! Having listened to albums, then CDs, then a remastered version of the CD to do the original justice, then along comes a remix in 5.1 surround sound!

Firstly, I think that if it's with the artists consent and even more so, if they have played a part in remixing etc., ideally if they have produced the works themselves, that's a good basis to accept the 5.1 surround version. If it's just the record company trying to cash, then it's a definite NO!

Secondy, in terms of the 'highest of fi', then that's down to personal taste and preference. Good hi-fi equipment, will always give a more than just two dimentional feel to two channel stereo, so perhaps 5.1 is the logical next step. Some set-ups will just give you audio, but some (not even elitist or expensive) will fill a room!

I think DVD-Audio as an example really comes into it's own for live concerts. I have Olivia Newton-John (One Womans Journey) and Pat Benatar (From The Front Row Live). Compared to two channel sound, these concerts really come alive (pardon the pun) in 5.1 surround.

My wife purchased some Moody Blues SACDs and I purchased Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon on SACD. Maybe they weren't recorded that way, but listening to those SACDs in 5.1 does give a different aspect to the recordings. I'm not sure we'd want to buy too many SACDs or DVD-As, but it would be a shame not to have the option, especially for live concerts!
 
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Anonymous

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There are the occasional new albums that get released in multichannel format. For example, I purchased Bonnie Prince Billy's "The Letting Go" in DVD-Audio, and the album was recorded in advanced res surround for release. And believe me, it sounds much nicer than the straight stereo version.

I think in terms of balance though, any new recordings done in surround straight off are well worthy of obtaining, some of the "so-called" multichannel remastering doesn't always work so well. To cite an obvious example, REM's "Green" was mixed for DVD-A really badly, yet "New Adventures in Hi Fi" sounds far more like it.

I'd like to see more record companies do what Domino did with the BPB album and do limited runs of DVDA or SACD which will sell.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="al7478"]WazP - was New Adventures... originally recorded and released on DVDA/SACD then?[/quote]

No, that (along with REM's Warners output) was reissued as a 2disc set with the CD album as disc 1 and a DVD-A disc as disc 2. Only Automatic For The People and Reveal had DVD-A separate issues prior to the 2 disc sets.

Like I mentioned, when albums get remastered for multichannel, it can be either the dogs balls, or a big balls up. The Bonnie Prince Billy release was one to demonstrate that albums do get issued straight to multichannel as well - and some of the recent DualDisc releases have 5.1 surround (although sadly all are not DVD-A resolution...)
 
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Anonymous

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Ok, here is my take:

SACD/DVDA (lets not get into which is better) is merely more data per second in your digital representation of the music, plus the ability to multichannel.

Extra data capacity is completely wasted if you don't use it. Example: electronic music put together using a music ackage with all the audio stored and mixed at CD quality. There is no amount of jiggery pokery that will get extra data to fill your extra capacity that isn't already done in most CD players, so it will sound no different.

Like watching a blu ray disk whos data source was a VHS cassette. Doesn't mean this HD format sucks though, means the person who made this disk is an idiot.

Multichannel sound: When remixing audio from 'original master tapes' then the remixer almost certainly has in his posession the vocal track, the guitar track, etc, all separately recorded. That way you can bias various instruments, or just some additional reverb, to rear and side speakers. It will be surround, but it will never be as good as a recording that was set out to be surround in the first place.

I think the summation really is that extra anything is only worth it if you use it, and properly.
 

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