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DVD-A & Blu Ray audio


syganymede
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I have been looking at both DVD-A and Blu Ray audio. My understanding now is

 

DVD-A

 

Supports stereo up to 24bit/192kHz and 5.1 Surround 5.1 up to 24bit/96kHz only. It uses disk encryption called CPPM and any player has to have a valid decryption key. It uses MLP lossless compression of PCM signals.

 

Players have three output options:

1 Decrypt the CPPM, decode the MLP, feed to 6 DACs and output 6 analog channels

2 Decrypt the CPPM, decode the MLP, re-encrypt using HDCP for HDMI output to a HDMI input amplifier (with valid HDCP key)

3 They may also i) turn off any TOSLINK output, ii) down-convert to 2.0 16bit/44.1kHz or iii) down-convert to 2.0 but output original bit size/sample rate if the originator sets a special flag (they rarely do).

 

So in reality there are just two ways to listen to DVD-A, have aplayer with 6 analog outputs (internal DACs), or through HDMI/HDCP compatible DACs (none of which I have found on the market...).

 

Blu Ray

 

BR is even a bigger mess as they have i) mandatory Dolby Digital (AC3), DTS or LPCM encoding. And optional Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Hi-Res and Lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master encoding!!!

 

Players have to decrypt the disks. They mostly output HDMI video and audio.There are some converters which can be used to extract the audio, for example from www.octavainc.com. A typical one is their 1x1 HDMI Audio Converter giving HDMI In/Out (with HDCP encryption support), 2.0 analog audio out and TOSLINK optical S/PDIF output from 2.0 to 7.1. But I am not sure what bit rates and sample sizes are supported. Maybe someone knows?

 

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DVD-Audio is 10+ years old (I'm on my ninth player) and has seen some success, but mostly, like it's brethren hirez disc format SACD, has not been marketed properly and is past maturity...losing ground to convenience and portability (i.e MP3, etc.). However, you can listen to DVD-Audio via HDMI easily since those HDMI-equipped players put out basically linear PCM, something HDMI handles well. Many of us DVD-Audio fans use analog outs, however, as they are typically backed by a cleaner or more robust analog stage (especially compared to AVR's, etc.). Also, DVD-Audio 2 channel software can now be ripped and stored on an HD, to be played back on DAC (hopefully capable of DVD-Audio's 24/192 2 channel maximums.) I listen to 24/192 DVD-A's via my Weiss DAC daily. :)

 

BlURay audio does not require players to "decrypt" the disks, especially if you have a processor or AVR built in the last few years. Most decent processors have TrueHD, DTS HD MA or linear PCM capability to 24/192. If not, then yes have the player do it. Not a real big deal! Popular players like the Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition (SE) has genuine audiophile-grade analog sections for 2 channel and multichannel, and can be had for under $1k. it's stock brethren is $499 and not a slouch either. And furthermore, the high-end modification companies are offering audiophile-level mods to both player versions, as well as other hi-end BluRay audiophile considerations like the Sony XA5400. $200 outboard HDMI de-enmbedders are an option, but the true bit depth they pass is still being investigated.

 

 

 

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