Andrew Rondeau

Software Developer, Audio Enthusiast

One late night I was looking for reviews of DVD-Audio disks and came across an article which claimed that the goal of DVD-Audio is to fight MP3s. Here is my response. I didn't know that the site was going to publish it, and wish that I spent a few more minutes proof-reading.

It appears that the original server is no longer online. You can view it on the Internet Archive or my own saved version.

Hi. I just came across an older article about DVD-audio:

Robert Menta portrays DVD-Audio as a means for the record company to squash Mp3. Are you sure that he knows what he's writing about? Ever since the 1960s, there has been a clamor for multi-channel sound. (Do a little research into the history of quadraphonics.) Ever since the original audio CD came out, there has been a clamor for higher sampling rates and higher bit densities. DVD-Audio is primarily aimed at audiophiles. (They are the people who can hear the difference between an mp3 and the original CD.)

As far as a ripper for DVD-audio? That's a whole different can of worms, so to speak.

Dolby Digital and DTS are the lossy formats of choice for a lower-bandwidth version of DVD-audio. (They are used to compress the soundtrack on a DVD movie. Both support 6-channel audio at 48khz/20bit. DVD-Audio is typically 6-channel, 96khz/24bit) DTS fits into a CD, that is, 1 minute of DVD-Audio quality sound, compressed with DTS, will take up the same space as 1 minute of CD sound, uncompressed. Dolby Digital takes up half the space as DTS, although many people notice a slight increase in quality with DTS.

Even better, in order to be compatible with current DVD-video players, many DVD-Audio discs come with the program already compressed into Dolby Digital! All you have to do is use your favorite DVD ripper to extract the audio information, and then save the soundtrack!

As far as the mp3 market? What use are they going to have for anything comparable to DVD-Audio? Most people listen to mp3s on their computers. Most people have awful computer speakers... The mp3 market simply will not care. Chances are, any DVD-Audio rips on napster will be off of the stereo version of the disk, reduced in resolution to 16bit/48khz. That will be a slight increase in quality over current mp3s, which are 16bit/44khz, and a slight increase in file size. Most people will never notice the difference, nor will they care.

Those who can afford to play back 6-channel DVD-Audio rips, (because the speakers will be more expensive,) will also be able to afford the expanded bandwidth needed for the larger files.

Andrew Rondeau