NewB question: DVD audio or SACD? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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10-04-2004, 06:48 PM
what are their main differences besides that one is in dvd format and the other is in cd format? Is one better than the other in terms of sound quality etc? Thanks.

N. Abstentia
10-04-2004, 06:55 PM
There's no real difference in the sound quality, both are superb. The real difference lies in the surround mix. Theres no reason not to own both, since players that support both are less than $200.

You can also see my writeups on DVD-A and SACD releases that I have on my website. It's then click the 'music' tab.

10-04-2004, 11:58 PM
what are their main differences besides that one is in dvd format and the other is in cd format? Is one better than the other in terms of sound quality etc? Thanks.
They're both DVD-based (ie: same physical media). I've owned my universal player for a little more than two years now and only have five DVD-As and twenty SACDs. Just not much content out there that interests me. They both have the potential to sound better than CD but don't expect every title to blow you away. Overall I'd say SACD sounds like LP minus the surface noise, while DVD-A sounds more like a better version of CD (brighter than most SACDs). I prefer SACD but that's probably because there is just so little DVD-A content out there that interest me and I don't like that some discs are authored in such a way that you must select from a menu before playing anything (thus having to turn on your TV), while with SACD you just pop in the disc and hit play (just like a CD). That being said I don't think it makes much sense to buy a single format player and limit your title selection even further.

10-05-2004, 09:57 AM
SACD utilizes DSD (direct stream digital) while DVD-A uses PCM (pulse code modulation) which is the same basis for cd. TAS had an interesting article two issues ago with a couple of recording engineers, one from Sheffield Labs the other being Mark Levinson (yes, that Mark Levinson) and both preferred the sound of DSD based SACD as it was more analog in nature while DVD-A, as good as it is, still reminded them of very good digital. To each their own and to be honest, I don't know that my ears or gear is good enough to determine any differences anyway. DVD-A releases tend to be more mainstream music while SACD has a lot of jazz, classical, etc., although they are getting better. I'm not sold that either format will last much longer without broader acceptance, but I sure hope they do because they do sound better than cd.

Hope this helps.

Sir Terrence the Terrible
10-05-2004, 01:39 PM
One thing that people must keep in mind. DVD-A and SACD are still relatively new formats. Neither has reached its potential yet in terms of sound quality. Mostly all DVD-A titles are being edited at workstations with pro tools. This IMO, is not the cleanest way to edit, or mix. A good old fashion mixing desk, and outboard processing is the best way to go. With only a few editing stations out in the field, SACD still has to be converted to PCM for editing(though this is changing as more DSD editing systems get out in the field) and back to DSD for playback. Very few titles have been recorded in DSD, edited in DSD, and played back in SACD format. This is the way to hear SACD, and it sounds a hell of alot better than what has been currently turned out.

Most DVD-A titles are catalog items recorded with lower resolution than the format itself. The same goes for SACD. It will take some time to roll out recordings that utilize the full resolution that each format can deliver.