DVD Audio & SACD - The Royal Scam Part II - page 3
Issue #6: Alternate Menu Configurations for DVD-A Analog Output and DD Bitstream Output
It has come to my attention that some of the DVD-A players on the market must be configured to play DVD-A signals from the analog out. When the player is configured in this fashion, it cannot output a Dolby Digital bitstream from the digital output. This means you must reconfigure the audio settings in the DVD player menu every time you switch between a DVD-V disc and wish to pass the DD bitstream into your receiver or listen to a DVD-A disc with MLP decoding via the analog outputs of the player. How many consumers are willing to bother with this inconvenience, and how many will get too annoyed to care? To make matter worse, you need to turn your TV on when you want to listed to a DVD-A disc so that you can select the proper audio stream on your DVD-A disc menu. Also, try pausing the DVD-A disc, you may be surprised to find that the current DVD-A discs cannot be paused.
Issue #7: Audio Watermarking May Kill Resolution
As if the lack of a universal digital output for DVD-A / SACD wasn't bad enough, the paranoid Record Industry is set to cause more havoc by watermarking these new high resolution discs. This watermarking seems to be applying mostly to DVD-A at this time, but only the future will tell to what extent it will achieve and if SACD will suffer in the same fate. Audio watermarking modulates a spectrum of noise within the audio band. It is designed to reduce resolution to deter piracy.
Although the scoundrels who are implementing this, claim that it is inaudible. However, many record produces claim it is clearly audible on the few watermarked DVD-A discs currently available, and is characterized by a low buzzing sound which is evident even on mediocre systems. The result of audio watermarking may reduce the resolution of DVD-A and SACD (if applied) to less than current 16 bit PCM based "Red Book" CD's and possibly even lower than a good DD/DTS recording. So at this point you may be finding yourself scratching your head asking what's the point?
Why not just be happy with DVD-V and listen to DTS and DD recordings? These are good questions that I am not sure have definitive answers, especially with the advent of DTS 96/24 on the horizon.
For more info about this topic from a very credible source, look here: http://www.audiorevolution.com/news/0800/09.dvdwatermark.shtml
I am not trying to deter anyone from buying into the new DVD-A and SACD formats. It was my intent to identify the shortcomings of these technologies and how they may impact your enjoyment when you integrate them into your home theater system. I am personally quite satisfied with some of the DTS soundtracks of the new DVD-A discs, particularly the DTS 96/24 ones. My system configuration is optimized, and all I have to do is press play to enjoy 5.1 music. However, in order to do proper diligence to the new technologies (DVD-A / SACD), I recently added a new DVD-A player and SACD changer to my reference system so that I could experience these high resolution formats first hand and compare the MLP soundtracks and to their DTS counterparts. In a properly set-up system, I have been able to hear benefits of MLP over DTS, particularly in smoothness and transparency. However, a DVD-A player without bass managment and digital delay compensation may offset this advantage by smearing the imaging and soundstage and not properly routing bass to the approrpriate channels. So far, some of the best audio fidelity I have heard to date is from two channel SACD. I am acutally floored by how good all of my SACD discs sound. In two channel, all of the issues of bass management and digital delay compensation basically disappear, so just about anyone could enjoy this format with little or no set-up difficulty regardless of their system.
If you are ready to support one of these new high resolution formats, then by all means, go for it. You can work around many of the issues I have identified if your willing to customize the configuration of your system each time you listen to these new formats and you are willing to add all the necessary cabling as well. I am sure there will be light at the end of the tunnel and a new hope for these technologies once hardware vendors and the Record Industry realize that consumers are annoyed with these issues and once standards bodies and lawyers make a mutual compromise. In the meantime, we can enjoy these technologies and look forward to their future improvements. I strongly encourage considering one of the newer universal machines to minimize cabling and for added convenience.
Enjoy the music!