Digressing just once more

Constantin wrote a nice article on high-resolution audio, that I would really recommend to audio fans. I especially like the section on the shortcomings of CDs and some of the psychoacoustics behind it.

Just adding a few things:

  • DVD-Audio discs are also found on the DVD layer of DualDiscs. The beasts are two-sided media, that have a Red Book CD side and a DVD side. If you own e.g. some of the re-releases of the Talking Heads (the Brick), you have DualDiscs with high-resolution (96 kHZ/24 bit – 5.1 and Stereo) audio. There are two major caveats with the DualDiscs: some do not feature DVD-A content, but rather a DVD-Video version, some interviews or live concert video coverage. The other problem is that a few CD players have reported issues when playing back the CD side, it is not 100% conformant to the physical characteristics of Red Book discs. I have yet to see a player where is would be the case.
    One of my favorite DualDiscs (beside the Talking Heads) is the 20th anniversary release of “Brothers in Arms” from the Dire Straights in DVD-A.
  • To make all things codec even more complicated, starting with the new HD video media there are now also new HD audio codecs:
    • Dolby TrueHD: Finally a code from Dolby that does not take away half the audio information, TrueHD is a 14 discrete channel container using MLP compression.
    • DTS HD Master Audio: Another lossless HD contender, this time from DTS, with not logical limit on the number of discrete channels.
  • It was quite obvious that the content mafia industry would insist on delivering broken products for high-definition reproduction: thus was born the completely useless HDCP scheme, that damages the HDMI (and DVI) transport beyond repair. Unless your system is blessed with the right keys for decrypting HDCP-scrambled packages, you will not see any HD content on your system. Microsoft is deeply in cahoots with these dubious characters businessmen and intentionally damaged Vista to not properly display movies or High Resolution audio, as Peter Gutmann recently explained.
  • There is at least one more source for high-resolution audio links – and it is even free: check out the Internet Archive, music section. A lot of band allow fans to publish bootlegged versions of their concerts in any format, resulting in (sometime) really nice quality recordings at high bitrates.

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