What does "DVD-audio" mean here?


John Allen
Post here mention "DVD-audio" as something exotic and untried, or a narrow, specialist niche like SACD.

You probably already have DVD-audio. A Digital Versatile Disk (DVD) with 5.1 sound is a "DVD-audio". It will play on any DVD-video player.



A good DVD player (e.g. NAD T532) gives amazing and wonderful 96/24 sound, a whole step ahead of CD (44/16). Plus six channels instead of two, of course.

DVD-audio disks of this sort are readily available. For instance look at the DTS catalogue.


For cheap, stunning classical music disks, look up DVD-audio on www.naxos.com

Of course there are new formats ahead. But 5.1 DVD-audio is here, now.

Or have I misunderstood something?

John Allen
Sorry, wrong link pasted in above.

DTS catalogue:-



I am not sure any DVD-A disk would play on normal DVD players. Is that right?

Can my DVD-Video player, CD player or PC play DVD-Audio discs?

DVD-Video Player
Most DVD-audio discs are compatible with DVD-Video players. To provide compatibility, most DVD-Audio discs are including Dolby Digital (some also include DTS) audio tracks that satisfy the DVD-Video specification. These tracks are playable on DVD-Video players. A DVD album which includes these features will carry the DVD-Audio and DVD-Video logo.

However, a DVD-Video player will not recognize and play the ultra-high fidelity PCM and MLP encoded audio tracks on a DVD-Audio disk. To play these tracks, a DVD player is required that meets the DVD-Audio specification. These players can be identified by the DVD-Audio logo.

CD Player
Unfortunately, a DVD-Audio disc is NOT playable on a CD player.

At present PC's do not support the DVD-Audio standard. Therefore, a PC player will not recognize and play the ultra-high fidelity PCM and MLP encoded audio tracks on a DVD-Audio disk. However, most PC's can recognize and play DVD-Video compatible material on a DVD-Audio disc


John Allen
Thanks. So we are talking about two different things. Anon seems to be saying you have DVD-audio if the DVD has a PCM audio track and the player will read it.

However, from that link, the DVD-audio multichannel max sampling rate is given as 96 kHz, and the sampling max size 24 bit. Now my NAD T732 does that, on DTS. The effect is incredible. If that does not qualify as DVD-audio then we need a another name.

The same DVD player happily plays DTS or DD on a DVD-audio disk such as:-

Naxos 5.110004 Holst, The Planets etc. Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The label says "DVD AUDIO" and has the logo, also those of DTS and DD. It also says "plays on all DVD-Audio and DVD-Video machines". So I am not sure what I am missing here.

I get the impression that many people do not know their DVD players will already play DVD-Audio disks, and they don't know the sound quality is fantastic.

Any views?

John Allen
You can certainly play DVD-Audio disks on a DVD-video player.

I can't say "any" DVD-video player. But if you have one, give it a try. It is worth it.

Anon wrote, or pasted:-

"However, a DVD-Video player will not recognize and play the ultra-high fidelity PCM and MLP encoded audio tracks on a DVD-Audio disk".

Well, mine does exactly that. NADT532. Choose settings/digital audio out/PCM. From the DVD-Audio disk, DD is no longer available (though DTS is), and, instead, the receiver gets stereo though the digital optical interconnect. Great stereo, in fact.

This DVD player meets all the DVD-A spec for multichannel, and fails for two-channel because it delivers at "Only" 96 kHz sampling frequency. According to anon's link (http://www.digitalaudioguide.com/faq/dvd-audio/faq_intro.htm) , you need 192 KHz for two-channel. This is counting angels on pinheads. The industry once wished us to believe there was no possible audible improvement on 44 kHz.

The quote continues, and here I get suspicious:-

"To play these tracks, a DVD player is required that meets the DVD-Audio specification. These players can be identified by the DVD-Audio logo".

This probably means someone wants to license use of the logo.

NAD states in its web site FAQ:-

"Will my DVD player play DVD-Audio? "

"DVD Audio has been delayed because of copyright protection issues. When it arrives, it will not be decodable by any currently available decoder, and in fact will not even allow a digital transfer of data. The only output available from DVD audio will be in a 5.1 analogue format".

There is a big difference between this statement and the stuff on anon's link. Perhaps DVD-A is being hyped in advance of the spec for a player which qualifies for the badge for which someone has an exclusive right to collect a license fee? From NAD's comment it looks like a badged "DVD-Audio" player will need analogue 5.1 out to qualify for a license. When you probably have the processor already in your receiver, this all looks a bit like the industry clearing the way once again to sell us things we already have. If that is what it all turns on, then there is no difference between this con and the SACD con.

Meanwhile, play any DVD-Audio disk on any DVD player such as the T532. What you get is DVD-Audio, badge or not.

And it gives tremendous sound.

The Naxos DVD-As are cheap. Try one. If you hate classical then try any disk with the DVD-A logo and "plays on all DVD players". If your DVD-player doesn't deliver the "high-definition" two-channel PCM track you will still be blown away by the DTS, I guarantee. Surround sound is the big advantage, in fact. The recoding engineers KandA Associates hired by Naxos even make Dolby Digital sound OK.

i'm confused. is it worth it to buy a system with the dvd-audio label on it or not? Some of the midrange home theater systems play dvd-video but not audio...what's up with that? i'd rather not pay ~$350 more for a system with a DVD-audio tag if it's not worth it.

John A.
I wrote too much!

No, confused, it is not worth it. Get a DVD-audio disc (see link), take it along to the shop, and see if the player will play it. If it does, forget about whether the player has the label. DVD-audio is a small market at the moment, and not a selling point for most consumers, so another label probably makes the player's front panel look cluttered. It could be that simple.

DVD-Audio is not DVD-Video. DVD or DVD Video is the regular DVD disc you play on any DVD player. Unless a player says it plays SACD or DVD-Audio--it doesn't. Simple as that. DVD-Audio is the competing audio surround format to the SONY/Philips SACD surround audio format. Hence, you will generally find SACD on most Sony DVD Players and as of yet you will not find DVD-Audio on any Sony players.

DVD Audio will not play on a DVD player that doesn't specify having DVD-Audio on the front panel. Same with SACD.

Panasonic made some DVD-Audio players. Pioneer, Denon, and Yamaha make combination SACD/DVD-Audio compatibility on a couple of players. I am sure there are or will be more.

John A.

"DVD Audio will not play on a DVD player that doesn't specify having DVD-Audio on the front panel"

Not so. I have a player without the badge, and it plays DVD-Audio disks fine. We are going round in circles.

See my post of August 31, above.

Get a DVD-Audio disk and try it. If it works, it works, whether the label on the front panel agrees or not.

Many DVD-Audio discs are dual-sided, which means they have the DVD-Audio track on one side and regular DVD tracks (DTS or DD) on the opposite side. The regular DVD side will play in all DVD players, but it will not be DVD-Audio quality.

John A.

The DVD-Audio disk is backward compatible with DVD-Video player as long as the DD and/or DTS logo are labelled on it. In other words, DVD-Audio disk still playable on DVD-Video player but
at lower sonic resulution.

That is correct. If your DVD player DOES NOT say DVD audio on the front of it then when the DVD Audio disc plays it is playing the lower resolution dolby digital or DTS track. ONLY A PLAYER THAT SAYS DVD AUDIO ON THE FRONT WILL PLAY THE DVD AUDIO TRACK.

John A.
Thank you for the responses. Sorry, again, confused!


As I said, set an NAD 732 DVD player "Audio out" to PCM and it delivers, by default, a digital stereo signal from a DVD-Audio disk to the receiver, through the TOS or digital audio cable. Select also 96 kHz, and you fall short of the theoretical DVD-Audio spec for two-channel only because that requires 192 kHz.

However: 1. Can anyone hear the difference? I am skeptical. In theory you can get higher frequencies of sound at higher sampling frequencies, but our speakers usually cut off miles below even what 96 kHz can supply. And our ears don't even hear that.

However: 2. The DVD-Audio disks themselves may only have 96 kHz anyway, so then you lose nothing. I have two DVD-Audio disks now that are actually specified at 44 kHz, the same as a CD.

And the big point: the surround sound spec for DVD-Audio is 96 kHz into all 5.1 channels. My player does that; it meets even the theoretical specification for DVD-Audio multi-channel, which is what I want. It is terrific sound. I have just got the Naxos Elgar/Payne Symphony No. 3. Brilliant (the music, too...). And nothing above 44 kHz on the disk itself.

Anonymous (number two?):-

The Naxos DVD-A disks are single-sided. One side contains the two-channel "hi-res" audio; DTS; and Dolby Digitial. The player selects the track according to what you tell it. If you select PCM, as above, it plays "hi-res" stereo as default in place of Dolby Digital as default. DTS is my choice, anyway.

So, another long post. Sorry. Summary:-

1. The player may play DVD-Audio even if it does not have the badge. Why? One conspiracy theory is given above. But maybe the standard is just not agreed, and no DVD player manufacturer wants to break ranks and be embarrassed by subsequent paper comparisons.

2. The real question is not whether the badge is on the player, but whether the badge is on the disk. If it is, try it. If it plays, it plays.

3. DVD-Audio reproduced as above is amazing and wonderful sound. The only real advance in sound (not convenience) over vinyl LP if you want all my prejudices out in the open (No, I haven't heard SACD; sorry, but before buying an licensed player I will first have to overcome my feeling that manufacturers should not lie to customers).

4. DVD-Audio gives the recording engineers a lot to think about. What do they use the surround channels for? There is a Vivaldi DVD-Audio in the Naxos series which has incredible sound (96 kHz, if you can tell). For the good ol' Four Seasons they have the orchestra at the front, then ambient sounds and reflections from the surrounds. Then they switch to a big operation where you hear two orchestras, one in front, one behind. The violin soloist said it is the nearest he has ever heard to the sound he hears whilst performing. Whether that is what you want in your room is a different question! The recording company by the way is here:-


Final comment. I am a cynical old "serious" music listener, sometime amateur musician, and hi-fi person for 25 years, "Been there, done that". BUT:-

Muti-channel DVD-Audio is utterly amazing sound. Try it. Please.

And tell me if I am wrong.

John A.
rydogg sc2:-

You are wrong, sorry. See above.

I don't mind the occasional conspiracy theory. Here is is: you believe what "they" (who...?) want you to believe...

My list of unbadged DVD players that nevertheless play true DVD-Audio is one, the NAD T732.

Any others?

IF THE DVD PLAYER DOES NOT HAVE THE DVD AUDIO LOGO IT DOES NOT PLAY THE DVD AUDIO TRACK. There is no getting around that. DVD audio is a different format than DVD video so the player must be able to pick it up tp play it. You talk like you think the two are interchangeable. THEY ARE NOT AT ALL. Another thing...if you are listening to the music through a digital output then it is not dvd audio ie: optical or coaxial.

John A.

Sorry, folks, my DVD-Audio-capable DVD player is the NAD T532. There is no T732.

The T532 font panel badges are: Compact Disc; MPEG multichannel; Dolby Digital; DTS; DVD-Video is on the front of the tray.

Everything else correct as stated!

John A.
rydogg sc2



Wrong. Mine does just that.

"DVD audio is a different format than DVD video..."
Not completely. It requires PCM, 96 kHz, 24 bit, same as DTS.

"... so the player must be able to pick it up tp play it."

Mine does. Honestly. I am not making this up.

"You talk like you think the two are interchangeable.."

Not at all. See my two long posts.

Have you, has anyone, actually TRIED a DVD-Audio disk in their unbadged player?

Get a Naxos (they are cheap) and see. You won't get silence, anyway; the disks are worth it for the DTS and Dolby Digital tracks they also carry. Or go to the DTS catalogue, as I said.

I would like to know how you know yours is playing the DVD Audio track and not the DD or DTS track.

By the way DVD audio is capable of 192khz, not 96khz as you are saying. My Eagles Hotel California DVD-Audio disk has a stereo 192khz track.

John A.
Yes, a DVD-audio disk can contain two-channel audio tracks up to 192 kHz. But it does not have to.

The surround sound spec for DVD-Audio Disks is on Anonymous's link of August 10

List DVD-Audio Disk spec, then
-"Will the NAD T532 play it?"

Audio format: PCM

Sample size:12, 16, 20, or 24 bits

Sampling frequency for two-channel, per channel:
44.1, 88.2, 176.4KHz or 48, 96, 192KHz
-YES (except 176.4 and 192 kHz are not possible BUT THEY ARE NOT USED ON THE DVD-audio disks I have, either).

Sampling frequency for multichannel, per channel:
44.1, 88.2KHz or 48, 96KHz

So an unbadged NAD T532 meets the specification to play a DVD-Audio disk.

Does it really do it? -YES. How do you get it? You choose "Digitial Audio Out" setting "PCM".

Note also that the 24bit/96 kHz spec for DTS is identical to the HIGHEST multichannel DVD-audio spec.

So you will not lose anything if you play a multi-format combined DVD-audio/DVD-video disk for audio only using DTS.

To comment on Warner Bros Hotel California I would need to see the spec on the disk and try it. I will see if I can get one, and report back.

For Hotel Caifornia, I find from a review site:-
This disc was mixed and mastered especially for DVD-Audio and plays only on players with a DVD logo.
But then the Product Information continues:-
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1

The product information should mean Hotel California will play on any DVD-player with Dolby Digital and DTS, and "....plays only on...." is wrong. Please try it, and let me know. If it does not play, there is some code to stop it, like the DVD "regionalisation" code - it is NOT a question of not meeting high-res sound requirements.

The product info I fond does not give the sampling frequency used. From your comments, there is clearly a 192 kHz stereo track.

"PCM 5.1" is missing from my player, but DTS IS PCM, so it may just be a question of the compression algorithm used.

rydogg sc2, please try Hotel California, a DVD-Audio disk, on a DVD-video player. Will it play? Y/N If N, why the DD and DTS spec?

Then try the PCM 192 kHz stereo track at 96 kHz and see if there is any difference you can hear.

Finally, it is in the interests of the DVD-Audio manufacturer (Warner; Naxos; whatever) to make the disk playable on as many machines as possible. Whereas, it is in the interests of SOME player manufacturers to make customers believe they can play certain disks (DVD-A) not playable on other machines. They can charge a premium for nothing more than a badge whose copyright they own.

What we should all be very careful of is the combination of player manufacturer AND disc manufacturer. They are in a position to con the consumer with that badge. And Sony/Philips are the guys who brought us SACD...

Thanks again.

I keep worrying about "confused". I am sure he/she has stopped reading.


John A.
Confused, and others:-

Eagles - Hotel California
London Mozart Players; David Juritz - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

Both will be play on any DVD player.

of course they will play on any dvd player! It had a dolby digital track. Your dvd player automatically chooses the DD track. Are you listening to your DVD Audio disk through a digital output on your DVD player?toslink optical or coaxial)

John A.
rydogg c2:-

Yes, I can do that. With PCM for audio out. The receiver detects a digital stereo signal from the digital interconnect, not DD (it is not PCM). You can switch the receiver from stereo to DTS (which is PCM) and back on the fly, but not to DD.

"Hotel California" is a DVD-Audio disk. It plays on a DVD player that has no DVD-Audio badge. Therefore, it is wrong for the review site to say:-

"This disc was mixed and mastered especially for DVD-Audio and plays only on players with a DVD logo".

You wrote "of course they will play on any dvd player!". Why "of course"? It sure ain't obvious to that reviewer, for a start..

So my question: "What does DVD-Audio mean here?"

Common sense would say "You have DVD-Audio if you can play a DVD-Audio disk". Or am I missing something?

Do your homework,... go to DVD-Audio website and
answer is there. Cheers.

You do not understand what DVD-Audio is and I am bored with trying to explain it it you when you already think you know everything. I will finish by saying that DVD-Audio is not simply audio on a DVD...it is a different format. Go on the internet and read up on it before you come to these crazy judgements and tell me I am wrong. DVD audio CAN NOT be transmitted through an optical or coaxial digital connection. It is impossible due to the fact that those types of transmission can not handle the amount of data that DVD-Audio can produce.

John A.
DVD Audio is a pdf file (804 kb) of a 23-page document describing DVD-Audio and SACD. It is from a disc manufacturer, Delux Global Media Services Ltd., and dated 30 July 2003.

From page 4:-

DVD-Audio discs offer high quality surround sound using a DVD-Audio player and suitable amplifier/speakers. When played in a DVD-Video player the same surround sound experience can be obtained with some loss in quality, which most consumers may not notice.

So "will not play" is wrong.

I dug into specifications (Sept 11) because I was interested to know about "...with some loss in quality, which most consumers may not notice...". The quality is outstanding. No surprise: for multichannel, my player/receiver specification is equal to the best DVD-Audio disc specification as regards audio format (PCM), sample size (24 bit) and sampling frequency (96 kHz). There is something called Meridian Lossless Packaging (MLP) which badged DVD-Audio players have and I don't. It is an alternative to DTS and DD compression, and not required as part of the strict DVD-A specification according to the DVD-Audio FAQ linked by Anonymous on August 30. Linear PCM travels from my player to the receiver through an optical cable, true, and dedicated DVD-A players now have only analogue out. But there is talk of Firewire for higher data transfer speeds. If the DACs are in the receiver and not the player, so what?

I am interested to know what I am missing.

The bottom line is this: DVD-Video players play DVD-Audio discs.

It is that simple.

Try it and see.

Yes, a DVD player without DVD-Audio will play the disc, with some caveats.

"DVD-Audio discs offer high quality surround sound using a DVD-Audio player and suitable amplifier/speakers. When played in a DVD-Video player the same surround sound experience can be obtained with some loss in quality, which most consumers may not notice. "

The operative word is some loss in quality. If you don't care about a loss in quality which you may or may not notice ---fine.

I care about it and I presume most people that enjoy listening carefully to music want the best they can afford.

If you don't want to buy a DVD player with specified DVD-Audio---fine. But as long as there is a distinct and measurable difference I will be far more comfortable paying for a player that has the chips for DVD-Audio and/or SACD, as I like listening to surround music that is properly encoded. I have a number of DVD-Audio discs such as:"Tiger Lily" by Natalie Merchant, Steely Dan, and 8 others.

I can definitely hear a difference when I play these discs through my Pioneer Elite 47ti with SACD/DVD-Audio player and then switch out the player to an older Sony player that doesn't support this format. The depth, richness, and finely placed directionality are mostly absent. It doesn't sound bad--but it doesn't sound as good.

That said, there aren't many well-engineered DVD-Audio discs yet. Most recording engineers aren't familiar enough with the format presently--but I am sure the engineers will catch up to the differences in recording a straight CD and a DVD-Audio disc with distinct multi-channels. There is a big learning curve in getting the balance right. It is like the first CD's were mostly worse than their analogue LP relatives. That hasn't been the case for a long time now. Engineers now know that they don't have to compress the range in digital recording like they did with analogue recording along with different miking techniques.


Thanks for posting the pdf link, it makes things clear. Pages 13-15 are particularly interesting, and page 17 gives the conclusion to this discussion:

"Alternative coding formats
In addition to PCM audio, other optional audio formats are possible including:
• Dolby Digital (AC-3), which is the audio encoding format to accompany the video on a DVD-Audio disc
• MPEG-1 stereo or MPEG-2 multi-channel audio
• Others such as DTS, SDDS etc

Audio using any of these coding formats must be in addition to not instead of the normal PCM audio on a DVD-Audio disc."

So... most DVD Audio disk producers decide to sell DVD Audio disks on which the same tunes are coded not only in *one* of the *numerous* DVD Audio formats (see all sampling rates, numbers of channels, and loss-less encoding algorithms), but also in additional formats (such as the DTS-encoded format, which is *not* lossless).

The catch is that the additional formats such as DTS can end up giving the same quality as the lossless DVD Audio format...

Now I guess that the redundant formats will disappear progressively so that a DVD Audio will ultimately bear only the DVD Audio signal in the highest quality (192kHz/24bits in stereo, and 96kHz/24bits in 6-channel).

Hope *I* got it right and I am not confusing everyone ;-)


That is what I have been saying all along John. THe disc will not play the DVD Audio track but it will play the Dolby Digital and or DTS multichannel track. So technically you are not listening to dvd audio...you are listening to a dolby digital or DTS track of the DVD audio mix on the DVD audio disc. This track will not sound as good im most cases due to it being recorded in a "lossy" format.

John A.
G-Man, Jean, Rydogg:-


I have learned something from all this.

G-Man, I, too, care about sound quality. You write "I care about it and I presume most people that enjoy listening carefully to music want the best they can afford". That's right, but, in the real world, normal people have to ask "Does it make a difference? Is it worth it?" By the way, I think you guys in the US (correct?) are way ahead with these formats and availability of the technology, so please be patient. But it is interesting that UK recording engineers have taken it on. They seem to have almost no home market.

Having said that, "What do we mean by DVD-Audio?" is my original question. At one level you have DVD-Audio if you close your eyes, or switch off the TV. At the other end you only have DVD-Audio with the capability for 96/24 surround sound or 192/24 stereo, all with lossless packing and PCM format. And the analogue signals going to the power amp through cables (here I am still suspicious...).

All I want to repeat is that anyone with a DVD-Video player can confidently buy a DVD-Audio disc; it will play.

Few people seem to know that. And, at that level, they have DVD-Audio and probably don't know it.

G-Man, I accept your opinions, always good and informed on these threads, and I thank you. Here you can make the subjective comparison I can't. But let me say my breath is almost taken taken away by some of the DTS tracks I have on DVD-Audio discs. If the PCM surround plus MLP track really improves on that, then I will have to try it, and think again. But looking at the spec (both 96/24 and PCM, remember), I cannot see how it is done. I know I cannot hear above 12 kHz. I also know my speakers roll off at 20 kHz. And the ears and the speakers are not so bad. Whether I get an accurate sound waveform above 90 kHz is like lying awake worrying about continental drift. I am not going to re-mortgage the house to please passing bats.

Let me try to explain a perspective. It will take some more paragraphs. I can just remember stereo coming in to replace mono: the present step to surround sound is that big, in my view.

Now there were audiophiles in the 1960s who insisted mono was always better value: they would argue you should get the best single channel amp and one great speaker, instead of compromising with weaker components to get the illusion of separation of sound sources at the expense of sound quality. In mono, they might say, you will get full frequency response, accurate and neutral sound, all for the same money, much better. (A famous mono evangelist was Phil Spector; anyone remember that name, he knew some things...).

And, you know, the LP manufacturers helped the mono argument, by producing gimmicks like trains (steam of course) chuffing across the sound stage. Even music: listen to early Pink Floyd or similar, when stereo was a novelty, and they have ping-pong stereo effect like kids with a new toy - that never happened in performance. Then the consumer electronics people produced things like stereo radiograms with hopeless frequency response, and crap speakers two feet apart in rattling cabinets and facing the wrong way. So stereo took years to get going and be accepted by people who loved high quality sound.

I think we are at about that same stage now with surround sound. The average music lover has a good case for thinking it is all an expensive gimmick, for rich kids with no taste, and probably spending someone else's money. They might also think stereo is the benchmark, as it always was, and if you truly love movies you should go to the cinema....

The "average music lover" is wrong about the sound. That is really what I want to say. And if he/she does not yet have a "true" DVD-Audio player, never mind. Get a DVD-Audio disc, put it in your home theatre system, and listen carefully...

Best to all.

Sorry this is so long.

Het John A.,

Will a NAD T532 play DVD-Audio discs? I have an old 2 channel receiver at this point but plan on upgrading soon.


A DVD-Audio DVD player will play it as encoded. A regular DVD player will play it with some loss (as it doesn't have the same encoding)--depending on the person this may or may not be audible. As long as your NAD can play DVD's in surround format it will not matter, except if it or your DVD player has no (or poor) bass management. As the DVD-Audio format gets converted to Analogue and doesn't remain in the digital realm (as DVD-Video stays in the digital realm), you need bass management to adjust your subwoofer. If you have full range speakers and no subwoofer--you don't have to worry. But then you'd need full range speakers all the way around--or you would need to cut off the bass on your surrounds at about 80 Hz.

Of course, you could always get off your chair and adjust the subwoofer, but this is far from an ideal approach. And you would have to reset it back to where it was before after you have alterred it.

But John A. has a good point. Very few recording engineers have mastered the DVD-Audio technique in recording and there isn't a lot of software out there now. Who knows if DVD-Audio or SACD will ever catch on in a bigtime way.

That said--I own a Pioneer Elite universal player (47ti) hooked up to my Pioneer Elite 49txi and downstairs a Denon 2900 universal player hooked up to Aragon separates. The Denon has a better chipset (afterall it is brand new), but the Pioneer has advantages when hooked via its firewire cable to the 49txi. It automatically adjusts for SACD and DVD-Audio which is a huge convenience. I imagine the next generation Pioneer Elite that replaces the 47ti which fix any chroma problems it has now. They aren't severe by any means, but they don't measure as good as the Denons and in a pure white shot you can notice a difference. You would never notice the difference without a good HDTV.

John A.
Anonymous. It will play DVD-Audio discs. Mine does. Try it! Please confirm!

I assume your system works with DVD-video discs, and you are using an analogue two-channel output, as with a CD player.

If, instead, you want digital audio out, choose settings/digital audio out/PCM and then 96 kHz. You will get a digital stereo audio feed to the processor in the receiver (if it has one), provided of course you connect with Digital cable co-ax/optical. Contrary to my guess on Aug 31, I now think this signal is NOT the "true" DVD-Audio track, but the stereo downmix of Dolby Digital which the player puts through DACs to give analogue output for people without 5.1, Anyone know? If so, this may just be another way of getting what you are hearing already. But it will play OK. If you still worry, choose a disc which says "Plays on any DVD player". I bought some, and discovered all this by accident.

To possibly be more straightforward--While DVD-Audio discs contain high-resolution DVD-A audio, they generally also have lower resolution audio that is playable on most DVD-Video players. This allows most people with DVD-Video players to experience the surround sound audio without owning a DVD-A/V (DVD-Audio/Video) player.

Other extra features that are often included on the DVD-Audio disc often are not available to those without a DVD-Audio player. That was true when I played a Natalie Merchant "Tiger Lily" DVD-Audio disc on an older SONY DVD player (which I have since given to my niece), but when I switched out to the Pioneer DVD-A/SACD 47ti player, all the sound appeared in full richness and the extras became apparent--such as web links, lyrics--etc.

All the above being said---unless you love the new technology and have the extra cash to buy a new DVD player, I wouldn't lose sleep over not owning a DVD-Audio player. It is nowhere near the dramatic difference between stereo listening and surround listening on a CD played back with Dolby Prologic II. Not that I don't prefer the DVD-Audio, but many DVD-A discs are re-makes of CD's that were matrixed into DVD-A. I only have 3 discs that were engineered for DVD-A from the start. These are far superior and are a big difference.

Let's face it. So far the "BIG DEAL" with the surround format resides mainly in the theatre (movie) experience with the coinciding audio track. It is hard to say what will become of DVD-A and SACD.

I would only get a universal player if I was buying a new player and comfortably had the money for it. I wouldn't tell anyone that remotely has money issues to buy it.

John A.
G-Man. Again, thanks. Yes, firewire will send data fast enough. I cannot see why manufacturers don't just make a DD/DTS/PCM-MLP DVD player, and a receiver with a processor to decode all three formats. This is where I get suspicious the DVD-Audio player specification is partly a marketing ploy to sell us stuff all over again.

Your recommendation to Anon is right. I play DTS in full-channel for 5.1 (all speakers assumed large) plus subwoofer. DTS is designed to work that way. The sound is really tremendous. With speakers small it is still good, but I think I hear the crossover, and can then locate the sub in the room.

You might be interested to try an A/B comparison of DTS with DVD-A through the same full-range system, using the same fine components. I find it hard to believe the data packaging technique makes a dramatic difference. DTS claim their system produces no audible losses. DD is different. I do believe and hear for myself the DD compression system degrades the sound - a lot.

I have looked again at the DVD-A discs I have. The Elgar Symphony 3 is recorded at 192 kHz, but presented on the disc at 44 kHz. The DTS sound is extraordinary, honestly. Since 44 kHz is the same sampling frequency as CD, I assume the 24-bit is doing it. But I also think those recording engineers know exactly what they are doing with mikes etc. - look at the K&A Productions link (my post Sept 11).

BTW content is taste and not the issue (I like most music), but they (Naxos and K&A) have Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony lined up for issue in Sept. That is a really massive choral and orchestral work, full of huge and beautiful sounds. If the opening brass fanfare and choral entry doesn't lift you out of your seat like a great wave, the engineers will have screwed up badly. That one was just made for surround.

Sorry, John A., but you simply (still) didn't do your homework...

DVD Audio is LPCM with MLP (loss-less compression) compared with DD (AC3) and DTS 'lossy' compression that limits data rates per second to way less than DVD Audio bit rates (DD's data rate is perhaps as low a 7% of DVD Audio)...

For DVD Video - Audio, sampling rates and the resulting data rates are the result of either DD or DTS compression...

For DVD Audio the full sampling AND data rates use MLP lossless compression.

The difference should be like hearing the difference between a MP3 128kbps "CD Quality" sample compared to an uncompressed .wav 16 bit 44.1 kHz sample - if you can't 'hear' the difference then you either have a poor sound system/speakers or poor discrimination with you hearing I'm afraid...

The difference between 24 bit 48kHz samples is staggering compared to 'CD' quality - fact is not all sound systems can accurately reproduce the 24 bit 96kHz (not to mention 192kHz) samples of DVD audio.

Finally - yes, DVD Audio disks DO contain either a DD or DTS sample for play back/compatibility with DVD Video Players...

The other thing to take note of is that the specs for DVD Video players only require them to down sample the audio to 16 bit 48kHz! Not all DVD Video players will resolve and output the full sampling rate provided to them!

BTW - this link might help in understanding the DVD Audio 'fruits'...

Unfortunately the graphics are poor (hey, they're poorly compressed .PDF's - seems to go in line with poor 'video'!)...


John A.

Thanks. I did some homework on this, and learned some things from this thread.

The DVD Audio link (Sept 12) says MLP is allowed, but not required, for the DVD-A format. They seem to know what they are talking about, they are disc manufacturers.

If you have a sound system that will reproduce 5.1 at 24 bit and 96 kHz, then any audible difference between DTS and DVD-A (with or without MLP) must be down to the "lossy" compression of DTS, assuming the two contain the same recording mix (SACDs sound different to what you are used to because the mix is different - it is seems to be impossible to make an honest A/B conparison). I have not been able to listen to make the DVD-A/DVD-V(DTS) comparison, but I hope to. All I am saying is I need some convincing any difference will be audible; the DTS is so good already. Saying the difference is there but you can't hear it may get people to upgrade their speakers, but most people are stone deaf beyond 12 kHz, anyway. Most speakers will already go to 20 kHz. You can't upgrade your ears.

My main message is people should not hesitate to get a DVD-A disc if they are interested; their DVD-V players will play any current DVD-A disc. What I learned on this thread is that they will not play the DVD-A track, only the sound on the DVD-V track. But all DVD-A discs currently available have a DVD-V track, and DTS, at least, is really something - miles ahead of stereo.

Anonymous 10:17 am,

Thanks, also. That interesting pdf from 1999 predicts that MLP is "at the heart of" DVD-A in the "soon forthcoming" agreed DVD-A format. The document of 30 July 2003 from Delux Global Media Services Ltd. (also see Sept 12) says otherwise.

I still think it is worth asking "What do we mean by 'DVD-Audio'?", even the industry seem to be in some disagreement.

The normal user will probably think DVD-Audio is Audio on a DVD. That would seem to be a common sense point of view.

BTW The Sea Symphony release was delayed until November; mine on order. I recently nominated an even more esoteric disc on
It must surely be the ultimate surround test disc so far, if closeness of approach to an original sound is what we are looking for.

John A.
Again I thank G-Man and others for the education on this thread. Here are my first audio impressions of the disc I plugged on November 19. It makes most things clear to me. And I finally wish to upgrade. Preferably everything.

My high prior expectations on What's the best dvd to test out my new system? are exceeded by this disc. There is something on the content on that thread, too, but it is off topic. I have learned some things about the limitations of my system, just from this disc.

From the cover:-

Thomas Tallis
Spem in Alium
The Sixteen

Side 1: DVD-Video (audio tracks and video interviews)
Dolby Digital 4.0 Surround Sound
DTS 4.0 Surround Sound
Video interviews, extra features

Side 2: DVD-Audio (High definition audio)
96 kHz 24 Bit 4 Channel Surround Sound
96 kHz 24 Bit 2 Channel Stereo.

My comments, relating to discussions on this thread.

1. One disc; two sides. One side is DVD-V; the other side is DVD-A. My player tries side 2 for two seconds, then goes back to the start, and stays in that loop indefinitely. No sound there. Even with PCM. As others would predict, and tried to explain, I am not hearing DVD-A.

2. No sub. The right decision by the engineers. Nevertheless my receiver gives an LFE channel signal in Dolby Digital, as in Naxos Vivaldi. This is a fault. The DSP is duplicating low frequencies intended for the main channels. It doesn't do so with DTS. This may be one reason why I dislike DD so much. I will maybe give it another chance when I get the fault fixed/another system.

3. Even allowing for DD "megabass", DTS beats Dolby Digital hands down. You would have to be deaf not to hear it. Some tracks have instruments plus voices. You can hear that in DTS, and hear which is which.

4. No centre channel. Also the right decision by the engineers. My system gets that right, both formats. The original source on the main track was 40 human voices, arranged in a circle around the listener, and divided into 8 choirs of 5. What could they possibly have put into the centre channel?

5. Listening position. You have to be right in the middle, the same distance from each of the four speakers. Move an inch and the whole sound field changes. That is not easy listening.

6. I heard a radio review of this disc last weekend. The reviewer said it was OK, but she had previously heard a genuine 40-channel surround recording, by the same people of the same piece, in The Whitechapel Gallery, London. I cannot find more on the net. I am currently looking for a 40.1 receiver.... and wondering where to put the speakers....

7. The recording. All Saints Church, Tooting, well-known location. How did they eliminate traffic noise? Single, named producer; single, named sound engineer. No company. If the Sixteen did it themselves, well... Digital Mastering: Floating Earth. DVD authoring: Freehand (as for Naxos).

8. I hope one day to hear Side 2. This must be the acid test.

9. MLP? It doesn't say. I doubt if they need any compression at all; they have spread the programme over two sides. Is this unusual? Seems like common sense.

10. It is also available as a separate SACD. Also must be the acid test.

Can anyone suggest a suitable system?

Still no Vaughan Williams. Our local dealer says Naxos says there is an unexpectedly high demand for its DVD-As.

Thanks for reading.

New member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 50
Registered: 12-2003
rygdogg wrote, emphatically, on Sept 12:

DVD audio CAN NOT be transmitted through an optical or coaxial digital connection. It is impossible due to the fact that those types of transmission can not handle the amount of data that DVD-Audio can produce.

Many people seem to accept this, I am sure in good faith. Can anyone supply an industry source?

I have voiced my doubts: I cannot see a bandwidth issue for any digital audio, whether over fibre-optic or electrical cables. Fibre optics are cheap and can handle GHz frequencies. Most receivers have pretty good DACs. So why can't we just buy a DVD-V/DVD-A receiver, and use the same TOS-link? PCM is PCM, and you could build MLP unpacking into the receiver's DSP.

To me, obligatory analogue interconnects for DVD-A suggest protectionism, and a cosy agreement between manufacturers and whoever licenses use of the DVD-A badge for electronics and discs.

Now I read the blurb for the NAD's first DVD-A, the T533 It states:-

Unlike all other digital formats, DVD-A can only be output as an analogue signal, due to Digital Rights Management agreements required by the format.

So I am not being paranoid about this issue!

And thanks to NAD for refreshing lack of BS.

Anyone know anything about "Digital Rights Management agreements"?

One view I have read here is that cable manufacturers exert a lot of influence, and of course they would have a lot to gain by the restriction, selling loads of new interconnects. But cables are cheap, and there is real competition between the manufacturers. So I don't see how cable makers could have enough clout, or even act together.

The hardware manufacturers themselves would make just as much from people buying new receivers as from them buying new players - probably more.

So what's this all about?

Any ideas?

Jesse D
Unregistered guest
John A:

The problem is definitely not bandwidth. The lack of digital outs is purely because the recording industry thinks that we're all pirates. The upcoming super high end Pioneer DVD player will output the actual digital signal over firewire but to actually use that you pretty much have to hook it up to their super high end receiver (~ $4k?).

New member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 51
Registered: 12-2003

Thanks. Many people believe strongly the problem is bandwidth. I don't know where they got the idea. Some people talk also of the superiority of analogue interconnects over digital for this "high-end" format: total confusion!

Firewire is now cheap, in mass-market digital video cameras - also, I have been playing with an Apple iPod recently and it includes firewire connection to the computer.

So why is firewire exotic and "high-end" in the context of audio?

As regards us all being potential pirates, I thought the copy protection in DVDs was strong, and do not see how analogue output helps. A serious pirate would simply get an A-to-D converter and make his own digital master. If a mass-producer of DVDs cannot produce a quality product that competes and has a final cost that compares favourably with an inferior pirated copy, I wonder how they stay in business in the first place. It all seems like protectionism to me. With technical BS to disguise the fact. At least NAD is doesn't do BS...

PS I saw a Thai, pirated copy of Pirates of the Caribbean recently. It was bl**dy awful. The video had obviously been made from a digital camcorder pointed at a screen: the on-screen auto-balance indicator displayed something every time the contrast changed, the colour and contrast was rubbish, and the frame rate was sampling the movie frame rate, so all movement seemed to occur in a series of jerks, like early, silent cinema. The sound was OK (DTS). Presumably whoever made it had worked out how to copy the audio track digitally, or done their own A-to-D on the audio.

Even with no moral objection to piracy, I personally would not accept a pirate copy as a gift, let alone pay real money for one.

Unregistered guest
Maybe I can shed some light on some things based on what I know. I have a DVD-Audio player(Kenwood DV-4070B, 5 disc changer, an awesome player IMO).

A standard DVD player (DVD-Video) will NOT play some DVD-A discs, because they are purely DVD-A, which is a different standard. NON-pure DVD-A discs WILL play on a DVD-V player, but they will not be able to use the same high sample rate that a DVD-A player is capable of(192khz and 96khz).

One way to tell if a DVD disc is a DVD-A disc is to look on the front or back cover of the jewel case and look for the DVD logo(DVD with a disc underneath). A DVD-V disc will say VIDEO underneath the logo, and a disc that is DVD-A capable will say AUDIO under the logo. From the 2 discs I have(so far), the also have a logo that says Advanced Resolution. Furthermore(at least on the 2 I have), the Jewel case is a different design than a standard CD or DVD, its like a CD case, but larger.

As for the issue of non digital signal transport to the receiver, the story I heard was that it was an anti-piracy measure. This will DEFINATELY not stop a pirate who wanted to put the disc out, they could just make an image and share that(an image is a file copy of what is on the disc, exactly). There would be no reason to use digital transfer then.

Following the last point, You need a 6ch input on your receiver to have surround with DVD-A. So, you need 2 RCA inputs for the Front, 2 for the back and 1 each for LFE and center.

By the way, DVD-A sounds superb. Very clear and defined.

Unregistered guest
Blah, I forgot to talk about the DD/DTS!

Here is the exact notice on the back of one of my DVD-A discs:

This disc will only play on players with a DVD logo. Advanced resolution audio and related visual content require DVD-Audio capable players. This disc can be played three ways: As advanced resolution surround, advanced resolution stereo or DVD-Video compatible Dolby Digital.

Now, this, to me, explains it pretty clearly. For those with DVD-Video players(a standard DVD player) this will play the Dolby track. For those with DVD-A players, It will play the Advanced Resolution track. When I play the disc (I have a DVD-A player) I do not have an option to use Dolby, only 5.1 or Stereo, so this would indicate, to me, that someone with a DVD-V player wouldn't start with the menu I do, and the AR tracks are on a different area of the disc then the DD track is.

Confused yet? =)

New member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 52
Registered: 12-2003

As I understand it, you summarize the position extremely well, and are correct in every detail.

I started this thread after I bought my first DVD-A disc. Part of my misunderstanding arose because it said "plays on all DVD players". Yet, other people claim to have discs saying "plays only on DVD-A players with the DVD-A logo". I can find not example of that. They probably should say "the DVD-A track plays only on DVD-A players with the DVD-A logo", which is different. I would have been clear if my first disc had been the CORO one I mentioned on December 6 - it has two sides, one the DVD-V, the other DVD-A.

I have about 10 DVD-A discs now. They all sound awesome, especially in DTS instead of Dolby Digital. My player is DVD-V. Even after all this, I still undecided whether I will get anything more out of a DVD-V/DVD-A player.

I think your player must allow you to select DVD-V - there is often extra material there, such as video clips, interviews, etc.

If you can do that, and then form any opinion on the sound of DVD-A versus DVD-V, I am sure many would be interested to know. Certainly I would!

Best wishes.

New member
Username: Kaffine

Post Number: 2
Registered: 12-2003
The sound of DVD-A is absolutly amazing. So engulfing and clear, with enough sound depth to make it amazing. I listened to Metallica's Black Album(Metallica) and John Lee Hooker with the Groundhogs on DVD-A and was amazed. I played it through my Kenwood DV-4070B DVD-A 5 disk changer through a Denon receiver(a model from 95 or so, I cant remember the number off hand) to a pair of JBL L166's. Detail is impecible and precise, just the way it should be. I only sprang for the -A because it was a great deal on ebay(open box item, display model, came with everything and jsut a few scuffs on the front, and, at $40, a steal. It turned out to be worthwhile(at least for me).

New member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 65
Registered: 12-2003

Thanks. I am even more interested in DVD-A. I like good stereo, just as much as 5.1. Will your Kenwood give the Denon a 5.1 signal? Possibly the Denon will not handle DTS?

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 291
Registered: Dec-03
Now this thread is re-opened (thanks, admin), a follow-up to my post, above, of September 19.<br><br>Naxos 5.110016. Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra. 44.1 kHz, 24 bit. 2004. Symphony no. 1 by Ralph Vaughan Williams: "A Sea Symphony". <br><br>The disc is inexpensive, and amazing. For the first time, I hear every word, every voice, and every instrument. Even if this sort of stuff is not your usual listening, try it for the sound, and for the words of "A Song for all Seas, all Ships" (first movement: one for flag-wavers). The dynamic range of the recording exceeds anything I have heard. On a system like mine, choose DTS 5.1 (I don't have DVD-A yet) and start at, say, +10 dB. The opening brass fanfare is like a blinding light, the choral and orchestral entry like a huge wave crashing over you. Leave the volume up with full dynamic range, and see if you can hear the final notes, from the low strings, at all. On my system the close fades imperceptibly into silence. Or, at least, into the ambience of the hall, and one slight creak from a chair.<br><br>See also My weekend was spent...., a wide-ranging thread started by Johnny, and from which the above is a small chunk.

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 292
Registered: Dec-03
"Enable HTML code in message" did not work. I tried!

If I understand right:

LPCM or (also) lossless MLP up to 24bits@192kHz

LPCM up to 24bits@96kHz according to http://www.disctronics.co.uk/downloads/tech_docs/dvdvideo.pdf
Lossy MPEG1/2, DTS, or Dolby Digital

I also own a T532, and it does not support DVDA, that's why you ?should? get a T533. The reason why you are hearing anything is that it probably does one of two things. I think it's most likely that indeed you are hearing a DTS/DD or DVDV-LPCM variant track on the disk. Let's stop mixing up DVD-Audio and one of the DVD-Video audio formats. The other small possibility is that what you are hearing is actually a down-sampled DVD-Audio stream. This is not likely, since that would violate the Digital Rights Management philosophy. Anyway, I will make a number of tests by burning my own disks and see what happens, taking notice of the digital out settings on the drive. I only had to use that once: when I encoded an MPEG1-layer2 as audio track in a movie, I had to set it to PCM?!? Whatever.

BTW John, you complain about going over 96kHz being silly since we can't hear over 22kHz, but that's not quite the reason why you should stop there. If a digital audio stream is at x kHz, it doesn't mean that it represents the highest wave frequency that can be reproduced. PCM has a disadvantage vs. DSD, namely that you will have to reproduce a bitstream from a quantized symbol stream. This can introduce distortion. Having a higher sampling frequency, you'll diminish that effect.

Anyway, here's my vision on DTS/DD versus DVDA. Let's assume that a digital connection cannot transfer the maximum bandwidth of a DVDA stream (9.2mbps or so, while digital networks are known for being able to transfer these kinds of bandwidth easily, but let's assume it cannot be done). Now DVDA is only available decompressed in analog form, which means you will have to transfer over analog lines to your amplifier first, which will introduce distortion again. I like my sound to be digital all the way up to my receiver. I feel that DTS 'should' be able to give me sound that is not audibly different from a DVDA stream.

BTW: wouldn't the best alternative next to DVDA for a DVDV-player be DVDV-LPCM?

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 295
Registered: Dec-03
Anonymous, Thanks. I agree. I was a bit off-beam when I started this thread. All I had was DVD-A discs which played wonderfully on my NAD T532. Plus knowledge of the range of "DVD-Audio" discs advertised by DTS Entertainment. In the end, I hit on an explanation for getting two-channel stereo out of DVD-A discs via a digitial link to the receiver, having choosen linear/PCM in the player's audio set-up, but "dolby Digital" from the on-screen menu. In this mode I believe I am giving the receiver the digital version of the two-channel DD mode intended for the stereo analogue outputs. Re frequencies, I since learned on another thread of a "sampling theorem" by which a waveform can be reproduced from samples taken at a frequency not less twice its own fundamental frequency. This fits with the claims of the high-resolution formats: DVD-A with 192 kHz sampling (in two-channel) gives sounds up to 96 kHz (in theory): 96 kHz sampling gives up to 48 kHz sounds; etc. etc. So CD at 44 kHz can give 22 kHz sounds - which explains the limit in most audio equipment these days. All I repeat is:- 1. No-one can hear much beyond 15 kHz. Humans are certainly stone deaf at 20 kHz. 2. Most speakers and amps today were designed with the 22 kHz limit of Cd in mind. There is no point in trying to reproduce "sounds" you cannot hear. Nor in playing the signals through amps and speakers that do not reproduce them. A "double whammy"! As you will have gathered, I very much like the T532. The T533 here is actually about the same price the T512 was a year ago. But I am holding off because I want to keep open the possibility of a future DVI video output. I am wondering if NAD have anything in the pipeline, e.g. a T563. NAD will lose out ot other brands if they do not cater for digital video out. All the video buffs agree it is greatly superior. The T533 has component video while the T532 does not, but neither of them has DVI. This is all another issue, I admit. The technology lead seems to be with Pioneer, as I understand it, with "firewire" digital audio input-capable receivers with 192/24 DACs. I still think an optical cable is up to the job, and we are just looking at an industry agreement to make life difficult (and expensive) for bona fide customers who want high-definition sound, in order to block copying. The "Firewire" etc allows "handshaking", so encryption codes in the source and processor can prevent you listening to copies of the source. Wish those guys would just concentrate on making attractive products at competitive prices, rendering piracy unprofitable. It's like "regionalized" DVDs, a way to control the market, reducing consumer choice. The claims about limitations of bandwidth are mostly a smokescreen, imho. Mind you, someone has to pay the recording artists in the first place, I understand that. Back to the point: I still have not heard anyone attest to 5.1 DVD-A being audibly better than 5.1 DTS. We'll have to try it ourselves!

Unregistered guest
A sampling frequency of 44.1kHz could indeed result in a highest reproducable wave frequency of 22.05kHz if it is reproduced in a certain way.

Consider a sample sequency of alternating 1's and -1's. Drawing a smooth wave through these points will result in a 22.05kHz wave. But you could also draw a 44.1kHz or a 88.2kHz through these points, or any random amplified sum of these. This is what generally happens while reconstructing the sound.

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 425
Registered: Dec-03
Still no move to "true" DVD-A; it's difficult to know which player to get (DVD-A. Cambridge Audio azur 540D, NAD T533...?), Also, I am still not convinced it is worth it. Especially after Anonymous (March 04) pointing out that DTS is an uninterrupted digital stream. I have a growing collection of DVD-A discs. How could they be improved?

For pure, musical, enveloping audio excellence, try the DVD-V "Master and Commander" in DTS format. Is there really something better?!

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 348
Registered: Dec-03
The main reason I bought a DVD-A player was that I needed a new DVD player and I figured I might as well get a universal player WITH THE PROPER CODECS.

If people argue over audible differences on CD players with identical codecs, then it goes without saying if you believe the first you must believe that playing a DVD-A on a different codec for video has to be aidibly different than playing on the DVD-A codec.

The only difference I ever sense in CD players is error correction and tracking abiity. Other than that I have never been able to pass an ABX blind test in knowing whether a $3,000 cd player was operationg or a $300 player.

Now, I have never taken a DVD-A ABX blind test, nor have I played a DVD-A disc on a DVD-V machine.
I just figure that since the DVD-V codec is different than the DVD-A codec, that if someone is planning on buying a new DVD player and listen to DVD-A's, it makes sense to pay slightly more and get the proper codec.

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 431
Registered: Dec-03

This is a good point and a new direction. But you can surely comment on the sense of DVD-A vs DVD-V DTS; all DVD-A discs have a DVD-V DTS partition, and all players will send the DVD-V DTS PCM to the decoder in the receiver, or else they have one built in.

This assumes the DVD-A and DTS formats of one disc have the same mix, of course, and this may not be true. SACD discs certainly have different mixes from the CD, even for two-channel, and even on one "hybrid" disc.

ABX blind tests would be easy, and encouraged, if audible differences in formats were readily apparent, and, for example, SACD/DVD-A gave better stereo. The improved sound would speak for itself.

What is really new is surround sound. But the same applies. I am suspicious of the reasons why we can't just try the same thing in the two audio surround formats, SACD and DVD-A, and also in DVD-V DTS. I have yet to read a clear statement that anyone can clearly rank these different surround formats. Instead, people tend to fall back on arguments about types of compression, and do not report on what they actually hear.

For most people contemplating purchase of a new player, the basic question is "Will I perceive improved quality of sound purely as a result being able to play the new format?"

I suggest from this and other threads the answers are:


CD -> SACD. Not proven.

CD -> DVD-A. Not proven.


DVD-V AC3 -> DVD-V DTS. Yes.

DVD-V DTS <-> DVD-A. Not proven.

DVD-V DTS <-> SACD. Not proven.

DVD-A <-> SACD. Not proven.


Two channel -> Multichannel. Yes: surround sound.

So if someone wants surround sound, the question is, does either SACD or DVD-A improve on DVD-V DTS?

If "Yes", which is better, and by how much?

All remembering that most home theatre systems will play DTS 5.1 already, and the obstacle seems to be that not many people know they can just choose DTS (or even Dolby Digital/AC3) in order to play commercial "DVD-A" 5.1 audio discs on any DVD player.

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 451
Registered: Dec-03
After all the above discussion, I have finally purchased a DVD-Audio player, the NAD T533. I thought I should post back.

Yes, DVD-A is better than DTS. Quite a lot. I would never have believed it possible. It is such a pleasure to hear. Just like being there. So many interesting things happening in the music I hadn't noticed before. Little ones and big ones.

So I now change my evaluation (March 28), on the evidence of what I hear for myself.

Mutichannel: DVD-V DTS -> DVD-A. Yes. Big improvement. Well worth it. Warmly recommended.

It is not "just" the player.The T533 (with DVD-A) is otherwise mostly very close to the T532 (without it) I used before. Though I find DD, certainly, and CD, possibly, also sound better on the T533.

There is more on the thread DVD-A recommendation.

Thanks to all who have educated me on this thread.

Unregistered guest
Stupid question...

Does the DVD audio play the video part?

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 614
Registered: Dec-03
DVD-A, or DVD Audio, is a high resolution surround format (5.1). It does not play movies or moving video images, but will often have still pictures or lyrics (or both) for each song on the television screen.

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 692
Registered: Aug-04
Sometimes on the same disc as the DVD-a recording, video (moving) clips are supplied in the DD or DTS surround formats.

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2113
Registered: Dec-03
Yes, also, all DVD-Audio discs carry a Dolby Digital and/or DTS version of the same programme material, so the disc will play on any DVD-player. The DD/DTS is usually audio only, despite the fact that these formats are officially "DVD-Video", not "DVD-Audio". DVD-Audio can also be stereo, too, but 5.1 is the norm.

It is worth getting a DVD-A disc, aiber, if you are interested, and have any sort of DVD player.

New member
Username: Kingfish

Post Number: 3
Registered: Sep-04
This stuff always is so confusing. I've had a DVD-A player for about 2 years now. I agree with those of you that say most any DVD player will play DVD-A discs. The point being though, that all the discs that I have included different layers.

Most any DVD player will play the DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1 layer. My player will play these layers when I go into the settings of the DVD player and change the priority to DVD Video. The default is DVD Audio.

However, to get the highest resolution sound, for us audiophiles or lovers of good quality music, the player would be set on the DVD Audio priority setting in the player. Some players need to be turned off, then on to activate once changed, or the DVD to be ejected and reinserted depending on the player. Once that is done you'll even see the logo change or a menu change on the DVD which now will show as DVD Audio.

This is the highest resolution format on that DVD and is ususally the best sound, since it makes use of the six analog connections on the back of your player, if your player has the DVD-A capabilities. This is the very best way to play them, since it makes those discrete connetions. Of course, your amp would also need those 6 connectors from the DVD. Make sure any downsampling is turned off in the DVD player. Be sure to change your input on your amp to the 6 channel input. Of course if you don't have those 6 connectors, the DVD Video sources, DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound great too.

Before you decide to buy a new player, go look around in Best Buy and online at DVD Audio and SACD discs to see any you may want before you invest. It may or may not be worth it to you. I have around 10 or 15 and to me, high resolution audio is the next best thing since stereo. The sound is awesome.

Buy the way, in December, Fleetwood Mac is coming out with Tusk in DVD-A. There latest release was recorded in DVD-A too.

Also, some newer players are coming out that will play both DVD-A and SACD. My Pioneer Elite DV45-A will play both also. I do prefer DVD-A over SACD for the simple reason that some bands put video or photos with music that you can watch on TV while listening. Really cool.

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2131
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, Keith. Anyone interested please also see Twilight of the Compact Disc.

New member
Username: Kingfish

Post Number: 4
Registered: Sep-04
Thank your for that link John.

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2132
Registered: Dec-03
You are welcome, Keith. When this thread was started, there was no category "DVD-Audio & SACD", and the first post was under "DVD Players" where most people are not too bothered about sound quality. A couple of regulars asked admin to start a "hi res audio" thread. My first post here shows I did not have a clue at that time. A major obstacle to the take-up of DVD-A is surely that people are still confused about discs, players, the whole thing. It is understandable. Even record and hi-fi dealers in my area do not know what DVD-Audio is. First question in record store, or in on-line stores: is it filed under "music" or "DVD"...?!

New member
Username: Kingfish

Post Number: 5
Registered: Sep-04
Yes, I agree. That is my thoughts when I go to a store that I've not visited before. Perhaps the catagory should be labeled DVD Music in the music section, just as there is sometimes a import section. Due to the quality of the music and the forces behind it, I don't think it will die, but just be a slow riser. Sony is behind SACD, so thats a big plus for that format, though the best ones I've heard are on DVD-A. Another plus for both formats is that players are being made that play both formats. I am so happy about that.

Silver Member
Username: Arnold_layne


Post Number: 139
Registered: Jun-04
I personally prefer SACD for some types of music, but I think DVD-A might eventually be the way for hi-rez to find the mass markets. It seems to be a lot easier to incorporate PPCM (packed PCM) than DSD in budget players. And we're still waiting for bass management truly DSD (not converting to PCM). So SACD can't be fully explored in a Home theater kit. Average consumer don't have 5 full-range speakers...

BTW: Keith, your recommendations on good DVD-A would surely be appreciated in this thread:


Hasta pronto


Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 703
Registered: Aug-04
I am inclined to agree with Arnold about the bass management option with SACD particularly without having to convert to LPCM. But, even without having 5 full range speakers, I find SACD a refreshing and significent step up in audio sound as I do with DVD-A. But, I think a small satellite type surround speaker system would not be very beneficial for Hi-rez format listening.


New member
Username: Kingfish

Post Number: 7
Registered: Sep-04
Arnold Layne

I have read some about peoples concern with bass management in the past. I hope this comes to a resolution for you.

I agree with you about using full range speakers. That was my concern when I made the jump to high res audio. I went ahead and replaced my surrounds with full range speakers just for that reason. Luckily, I was able to match those with what I had. Being a bachelor, gives me the headroom to to that. :-)

I would find it difficult to suggest a particular selection. Everyone has their own musical tastes. But I will read the thread and possibly share my thoughts. Thank you for sharing this thread with me.

Silver Member
Username: Arnold_layne


Post Number: 148
Registered: Jun-04
True, some (but not all) hi-rez is made for the lucky owner of full range speakers. I run on bookshelf mains and tiny surrounds by now, for tactical reasons. As a bachelor, you may have not yet been fully exposed to the WAF (Woman Acceptance Factor). But for me there is a beloved Mrs. Layne supervising all aesthetical changes in our living room. So I bought some sleek speakers in the same cherry wood colour as our bookshelf, as a first step into multichannel age. But soon they'll be substituted. I'm planning to build all speakers myself. Oak wood this time, to match the carpentry in our flat. Tactics, my young bachelors, tactics... ;-)


Bronze Member
Username: Kingfish

Post Number: 17
Registered: Sep-04
If you hide them in the wall, thats complete cover!! :>

(Though, I'm sure you have that in your combat plan.) LOL

Nice your building your own speakers. I've never done that. I'm sure its satisfying. How do you decide what speakers to buy? I know some companies won't sell them.

Silver Member
Username: Arnold_layne


Post Number: 149
Registered: Jun-04
Should have considered stealth technology from the beginning. Mrs. Layne is now able to identify rectangular wooden protuberance sticking out on other side of the wall with red and black cable attached as back panel of speaker. ;-)

I decided to build myself because SACD (50 KHz)compliant speakers seem to be rare and very expensive high end gear. I am a novice, so right now I'm scanning DIY forums for designs. My idea is to:

- Find drawings of a suitable 2-ways design.
- Build cabinet of oak.
- Use high-quality elements.
- Add a supertweeter a la B&W.

I think there will be problems to achieve linear frequency response. But I reckon it can be fixed by crossover and filling material tweaks.



Bronze Member
Username: Kaffine

Post Number: 12
Registered: Dec-03
If you are going to DIY, definately use MDF board over hardwood. MDF is incredibly dense and eliminates sound resonance due to air pockets, plus I find its incredibly easy to work with versus wood. I would assume that you are looking for an Oak finish, so some oak Veneer would be in order.

Plus, a 4ftx8ft sheet of MDF costs ~$25 where I live, versus mucho $ with real wood.

Unregistered guest
Is it possible to play a DVD Video on a DVD Audio player?

Bronze Member
Username: Kingfish

Post Number: 82
Registered: Sep-04
I've not seen a strickly DVD Audio only player. The logo on the front of the player would have DVD Video/Audio if it plays both formats.

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2398
Registered: Dec-03
Is it possible to play a DVD Video on a DVD Audio player?

Yes, always.
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