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  1. #1
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    down there

    Why not more of the same?

    I've recently acquired a couple of Sony Masterworks Expanded Edition discs and they are most acceptable. The blurb on the cover reads:

    --"Features Sony's DSD System and SBM Direct for best possible sound quality"--

    Without trying to revive the medium v. method thread/argument, what is SBM and is
    DSD/SBM cost prohibitive? If not why do we not see this as a regular mastering technique?

    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  2. #2
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    SF Bay Area
    DSD is the one-bit digital audio format that's used with the SACD disc format. DSD was originally developed by Sony as an archiving format for their library of analog master tapes, which have a finite shelf life.

    SBM stands for Super Bit Mapping, and that's Sony's method for downconverting high res digital audio during the CD mastering process. SBM is on plenty of CD labels, particularly high res remasters of vintage recordings. No idea if it's any better or even any different from other downconversion methods. SBM Direct applies to the process used for downconverting DSD audio.

    In this case, Sony likely archived the original analog master tape to DSD first, and then used the SBM Direct downconversion to create the 44.1/16 track on the CD transfer. A technical explanation of SBM Direct from the SACD white paper is clipped below.

    Downconverting Direct Stream Digital from 1-bit/64fs to 16-bit/1fs
    is not theoretically difficult. Every DAT recorder and A/D converter
    has a circuit that does much the same thing. But we needed to
    downconvert DSD in such a way as to retain the maximum possible
    signal quality in the 16-bit world. The answer was to completely
    filter and noise shape the DSD signal in a single stage.

    Thus, interstage requantizing errors would be eliminated. Aliasing would
    be minimized. And ripple would be suppressed. Sony designed a
    super-power one-stage FIR digital filter/noise shaper with an
    amazing 32,639 taps. This is Sony’s real-time Super Bit Mapping
    Direct processor.

    Just as Sony’s existing Super Bit Mapping™ circuit helps
    approach 20-to-24-bit precision in 16-bit digital audio, the new
    Super Bit Mapping Direct processor enables DSD to be released
    on industry-standard Compact Discs with audibly superior
    performance. Subjective comparisons conclude that much of the
    original DSD benefit is preserved in 16-bit Compact Disc release.
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  3. #3
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    below the noise floor
    SBM has existed long before DSD, I believe. It pushes the dither noise up into the highest frequencies (coincidentally, so does DSD), in a realm where it won't be heard on most consumer gear. It's not really "DSD on CD", though -- that's overstating things.

    It sounded audibly superior when I first heard it, haven't listened to it in a while, though.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
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    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
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  4. #4
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Hey! Over here!
    Sony has always made it a point to develope their own method of archiving, down converting, file compression for playback (MiniDisc), recording/playback for movies (Beta)...Why? Beats me...I own a few SBM 20bit CDs and I couldn't say I've heard any improvement. Of course, I don't think I could since most common players are still using the 16 bit converters (standard CD).

    I have not heard any SACDs though. When they settle on one type of playback format or make a universal player that plays all types of formats (SACD, DTS, DVD-A, HDCD, high bit rates, etc) I might make the plunge, but not until then.

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