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  1. #1

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    Default Blu-Ray Pure Audio

    Received this today, my first blu-ray pure audio disc. I have a few of what I'd consider audio only BDs, Tom Petty's Mojo, Van Morrison's Moondance etc. But this is the first I'd say that's designed to run without a video presence. All discs are sourced from a minimum 24bit/96khz master, a few so far are 5.1, and some are 2.0. This Breakfast In America disc is 2.0 and the playback choices are 2.0 pcm, 2.0 DTS MA and 2.0 Dolby TrueHD. I prefered the Dolby track, although not much difference between it and the DTS. Up and down arrows on your remote select the playback choice and is visible on the front panel of the BR player, left and right arrows control the song selection. You know, this might go over real big with some of you with 2 channel rigs who might want/already have a BR player in the mix. BIA is coming out in a week or so on SACD as well, priced around $75-80 I believe. This disc was $25 and sounds spectacular. I'm all for another shiny disc hi rez format, since I already have the hardware in place. Some of the discs out so far are listed here, www.hfpureaudio.com there may be a more complete list elsewhere that I am unaware of.
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    I should add that, like SACD, this can be hit or miss depending on the master chosen ,etc. Blu-ray.com has reviewed 3 of these so far. Nirvana's In Utero is rated as great, but Nevermind sucks. The other disc reviewed is Quincy Jones: Big Band Bossa Nova which gets a thumbs up.

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    I have 3 of them so far: Tom Petty's Damn The Torpedos, and Rush's 2112 & Moving Pictures. I listen to them in 2.0 (96/24) and I really enjoy them all.

    I got an email from Music Direct a couple months ago listing the Supertramp and some other new releases. I got all excited when I saw The Rollings Stones' Grrr! on the list, but before the release date came it was removed for preorder on their website. I really wanted that one, and hope that it is just delayed and it'll be available soon...

    While Blu-ray.com didn't review 2112 or Damn The Torpedos, they did a review of Moving Pictures. Here are their thoughts on the audio:


    Rush: Moving Pictures Blu-ray, Audio Quality
    5.0 of 5

    Wow. What more can one say about the quality of at least two of the three lossless tracks offered on this incredible (mostly) audio Blu-ray? Oddly, and for one of the very few times I've experienced this in my reviewing careers, the lossless LPCM 2.0 stereo fold down (24-bit/96kHz) sounds surprisingly pallid when stacked up against the two lossless 5.1 tracks. The low end is especially weak on this 2.0 mix, so if you have the ability to experience the surround mixes, by all means, do so. Two brilliant 5.1 options are offered, an LPCM 5.1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and I personally would be hard pressed to find much if any difference between them. Both are presented with 24-bit/96kHz resolution, and the results are, to put it simply, astounding. The clarity and nuance that is now available to listeners of Moving Pictures presents whole new worlds of sonic activity. Multilayer synths which were before just kind of part of a muddled mass now ring out with singular clarity. Some of the sound effects utilized on a couple of the tunes are much more evident than they've ever been before. The utilization of the surround channels is brilliantly handled, and longtime fans of this album are in for some revelatory listening, as suddenly they'll find themselves centrally placed in an incredibly active soundfield. Fidelity is brilliant, with unbelievably facile dynamic range. As the boys of Rush tell us on one of the text entries on this Blu-ray, the increased resolution of Blu-ray audio means that this was actually mixed lower than traditional CDs or SACDs, so they recommend turning up the volume. I second that recommendation.
    Last edited by Rick88; 11-25-2013 at 10:40 PM.
    "Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music." ~ Ronald Reagan

    "I love songs about horses, railroads, land, Judgment Day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. And Mother. And God." ~ Johnny Cash

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    Exile On Main Street is available on 12/3. This weekend I ordered an USB BR drive for my computer. That along with some software will let me get the lossless high-res tracks off the disk, and onto my music server. This is going to be freaking great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    Exile On Main Street is available on 12/3. This weekend I ordered an USB BR drive for my computer. That along with some software will let me get the lossless high-res tracks off the disk, and onto my music server. This is going to be freaking great.
    Yeah, I'm looking forward to Exile as well!!
    "Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music." ~ Ronald Reagan

    "I love songs about horses, railroads, land, Judgment Day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. And Mother. And God." ~ Johnny Cash

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    Pfffft, most have already been released on SACD.
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    Getting up to change SACDs is so 20th century. It is nice to make playlists of favorite songs, and play it all night.

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    No thanks.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    I picked up the Rolling Stones Grrr! when it was available on amazon.co.uk when it was posted here. I believe its still available that way. I am saving up for the Rush audio blu rays...really want them, but splurged for the Clockwork Angels concert instead.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Rolling-...es+grrr+bluray

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    I also got Grrr! from Amazon UK. It sounded really good in the HT/Surround system. Can't wait to get it onto the Bryston music server.

    Plus I should be able to rip concert BRs if they have a two channel track.

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    John Lennon '' Imagine '' coming next month too.
    High Fidelity Pure Audio – the Universal Music led initiative to reissue high resolution music physically on audio-only blu-ray discs – have announced that John Lennon’s 1971 album Imagine is to lead its next wave of releases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Pfffft, most have already been released on SACD.
    True Jesse, but if I can get a very similar sound and the price is better...which may not be true in all cases of course. I'll continue to buy SACDs as well. I think what may be partially driving this new pure audio blu-ray deal is the amount of blu-ray players in homes vs SACD capable devices. Someone is seeing a market there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tornado Red View Post
    I think what may be partially driving this new pure audio blu-ray deal is the amount of blu-ray players in homes vs SACD capable devices. Someone is seeing a market there.
    You hit the nail on the head: SACD is almost a dying format to the masses; BD will be around for decades.
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    Quote Originally Posted by StantonZ View Post
    You hit the nail on the head: SACD is almost a dying format to the masses; BD will be around for decades.
    Absolutely....and I'm a SACD fan too, but also a realist. Anybody have a SACD player on Santa's wish list ? Maybe a few, that's it. Buying some quality SACD's isn't cheap either, and if BR audio discs are going to ask the same prices, if not more, they too will fall to the same fate.

    Do the math....more and more people having to find ways to stretch that budget, and quality audio costing more and more, it's only common sense that the masses will choose the cheaper alternatives.

    With the arrival of DSD downloads, both BR audio and SACD may be headed for the trash bins. That is if they can keep the price at levels most would deem affordable. Otherwise they will turn higher quality audio into solely a rich mans game.

    Still, I see no reason why a variety of formats can't co-exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Pfffft, most have already been released on SACD.
    The absolute fidelity of SACD is better than Blu-Ray Audio, of course as Tornado Red brought up: The chosen master to master the SACD/Blu-Ray Audio makes a difference. But, assuming they are from the same master and are re-mastered using the same equipment (mastering deck, board, etc.), the SACD will sound better.

    Edit: Of course, you already know this Jesse. I thought I would remind/inform others though.
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:

    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion."

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Pfffft, most have already been released on SACD.
    I'm curious, how high was that nose of yours when you were typing this? Can't imagine how high it will be when you hit 30k.









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    Quote Originally Posted by headrott View Post
    The absolute fidelity of SACD is better than Blu-Ray Audio, of course as Tornado Red brought up: The chosen master to master the SACD/Blu-Ray Audio makes a difference. But, assuming they are from the same master and are re-mastered using the same equipment (mastering deck, board, etc.), the SACD will sound better.
    However, this is just your opinion. There is no technical reason, or data, to state or infer that a DSD file will sound better than a high-res PCM file.

    Of course, some already know this. I thought I would remind/inform others though.

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    There is no technical reason, or data, to state or infer that a DSD file will sound better than a high-res PCM file.
    I found this.

    "SACD audio is stored in a format called Direct Stream Digital (DSD), which differs from the conventional PCM used by the compact disc or conventional computer audio systems.

    DSD is 1-bit, has a sampling rate of 2.8224 MHz, and makes use of noise shaping quantization techniques in order to push 1-bit quantization noise up to inaudible ultrasonic frequencies. This gives the format a greater dynamic range and wider frequency response than the CD. Promotional materials about SACD supplied by Philips and Sony suggest that the system is capable of delivering a dynamic range of 120 dB from 20 Hz to 20 kHz and an extended frequency response up to 100 kHz, although most currently available players list an upper limit of 80–90 kHz.

    The process of creating a DSD signal is conceptually similar to taking a 1-bit delta-sigma analog-to-digital (A/D) converter and removing the decimator which converts the 1-bit bitstream into multibit PCM. Instead, the 1-bit signal is recorded directly and in theory only requires a lowpass filter to reconstruct the original analog waveform. In reality it is a little more complex, and the analogy is incomplete in that 1-bit sigma-delta converters are these days rather unusual, one reason being that a 1-bit signal cannot be dithered properly: most modern sigma-delta converters are multibit.

    Because of the nature of sigma-delta converters, one cannot make a direct comparison between DSD and PCM. An approximation is possible, though, and would place DSD in some aspects comparable to a PCM format that has a bit depth of 20 bits and a sampling frequency of 192 kHz. PCM sampled at 24 bits provides a (theoretical) additional 24 dB of dynamic range. Due to the effects of quantization noise, the usable bandwidth of the SACD format is approximately 100 kHz, which is similar to 192 kHz PCM.

    Because it has been extremely difficult to carry out DSP operations (for example performing EQ, balance, panning and other changes in the digital domain) in a 1-bit environment, and because of the prevalence of studio equipment such as Pro Tools, which is solely PCM-based, the vast majority of SACDs — especially rock and contemporary music which relies on multitrack techniques — are in fact mixed in PCM (or mixed analog and recorded on PCM recorders) and then converted to DSD for SACD mastering.

    To address some of these issues, a new studio format has been developed, usually referred to as "DSD-wide", which retains standard DSD's high sample rate but uses an 8-bit, rather than single-bit digital word length, but still relies heavily on the noise shaping principle. It becomes almost the same as PCM (it's sometimes disparagingly referred to as "PCM-narrow") but has the added benefit of making DSP operations in the studio a great deal more practical. The main difference is that "DSD-wide" still retains 2.8224 MHz (64Fs) sampling frequency while the highest frequency in which PCM is being edited is 352.8 kHz (8Fs). The "DSD-wide" signal is down-converted to regular DSD for SACD mastering. As a result of this technique and other developments there are now a few digital audio workstations (DAWs) which operate, or can operate, in the DSD domain, notably Pyramix and some SADiE systems.

    Note that high-resolution PCM (DVD-Audio, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc) and DSD (SACD) may still differ in terms of fidelity at high-frequencies since DSD, owing to its high sampling frequency, does not show the ringing effects that PCM shows with certain types of signals when sharp reconstruction filters are employed[citation needed], but instead it shows constant high levels of noise at the same frequencies this ringing would show in 192 kHz PCM. On the other hand, DSD's dynamic range decreases quickly at frequencies over 20 kHz due to the use of strong noise shaping techniques which push the noise out of the audio band resulting in a rising noise floor just above 20 kHz. PCM's dynamic range, on the other hand, is the same at all frequencies. (Some high-end SACD players employ an optional low-pass filter set at 30 kHz for compatibility and safety reasons, suitable for situations where amplifiers or loudspeakers can't deliver an undistorted output if noise above 30 kHz is present in the signal.)"

    Are there any high end Blu-ray audio only players on the market?
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    Of course there are. They are called music servers and DACs. Why restrict yourself to one disc at a time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    I'm curious, how high was that nose of yours when you were typing this?
    Not at all, actually.

    My point was that SACD releases to date total just under 9000, the format has been around over 10 years and there are a lot of high end SACD players in the folks homes that are interested in hi-rez music, so why the F would someone with an extensive SACD collection and a nice player want to reinvest in yet another format and the associated gear that offer no sonic advantage to what they already have?

    Now, I see some folks that have a consumer grade Blu-ray player talking up the Blu-ray Audio format like it will be the second coming, FAIL. Just like a consumer grade SACD player is another FAIL.


    Can't imagine how high it will be when you hit 30k.
    I haven't noticed my post count, but I'm touched it means so much to you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    Of course there are. They are called music servers and DACs. Why restrict yourself to one disc at a time?
    Music servers and DAC's are not dedicated high end Blu-ray Audio only players. Why not restrict yourself to one disc at a time? Do you suffer with ADD?
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    I found this.
    The section in bold: The main difference is that "DSD-wide" still retains 2.8224 MHz (64Fs) sampling frequency while the highest frequency in which PCM is being edited is 352.8 kHz (8Fs).

    Is what I was referring to in my last post. Both by the resolution from a design and stats point of view (absolutely NOT my "opinion") AND from a listeing fidelity point of view (more my opinion, but backed up by the stats) the SACD format sounds better than Blu-ray Audio. This is why I will stick with SACD. It's higher fidelity.
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:

    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion."

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    LOL.....You guys crack me up. Like a bunch of dudes in the bathroom measuring d$cks.

    Basically what this all comes down to is splitting hairs. PCM...DSD...SACD...BR audio....as long as it sounds good to you, who gives a flying......you know what.

    Some of you guys act like audio is a race to squeeze out every last drop of resolution in a source component or file.....then throw it all 2 sheets to the wind by playing it all back on tube gear which isn't the most resolute. But tubes sure do add some soul, musicality to what hits it, that's the magic. I think there's a fine line between resolution and musicality, too much resolution sucks the musicality right out imho. If they can retain the musicality chasing the resolution, that's one thing, but so far I haven't seen or heard any evidence of that. Once I get an ear on DSD done right.....hello Rich....then I'll make some more conclusions. But so far, SACD sounds good if the recording is good, the bastard child redbook cd can sound just as good as some SACD, and to these ears anyway BR audio sounds just as fine as SACD......in as far as what I've heard to date anyway.

    Maybe some of the audio nerds like storing their music in 5-6 different formats, but the majority don't. This is why these constant format wars never take foot and remain a niche market. Digital files, good or bad is the future, that's where the most use will be, that's where the money will be to be made, thus the industry will follow suit. Anything that furthers the quality of digital files will be welcomed with open wallets, and the bean counters know this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by headrott View Post
    The section in bold: The main difference is that "DSD-wide" still retains 2.8224 MHz (64Fs) sampling frequency while the highest frequency in which PCM is being edited is 352.8 kHz (8Fs).

    Is what I was referring to in my last post. Both by the resolution from a design and stats point of view (absolutely NOT my "opinion") AND from a listeing fidelity point of view (more my opinion, but backed up by the stats) the SACD format sounds better than Blu-ray Audio. This is why I will stick with SACD. It's higher fidelity.
    So if I have SACD and blu-ray audio discs cut from the same master, and both played through my Oppo 103, the SACD should sound better? There are other factors at work as well I suppose, before the music reaches ones ears. I'll have to revisit my manual, but I think my Pioneer SC-61 turns the DSD it receives from an SACD into PCM anyway. Another factor is price, at least for me. The Breakfast In America blu-ray was $25, the SACD due out next week is listing for $80 at Amazon.com, $60 on Amazon.ca. That is something I have to consider. And as Tony said earlier, I don't see why the 2 formats can't co-exist. Might even see a little competition here which may be good for prices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tornado Red View Post
    So if I have SACD and blu-ray audio discs cut from the same master, and both played through my Oppo 103, the SACD should sound better? There are other factors at work as well I suppose, before the music reaches ones ears. I'll have to revisit my manual, but I think my Pioneer SC-61 turns the DSD it receives from an SACD into PCM anyway. Another factor is price, at least for me. The Breakfast In America blu-ray was $25, the SACD due out next week is listing for $80 at Amazon.com, $60 on Amazon.ca. That is something I have to consider. And as Tony said earlier, I don't see why the 2 formats can't co-exist. Might even see a little competition here which may be good for prices.
    Red,
    On a SACD player, in most cases your using the analog outs so that conversion has already taken place in the player, not the receiver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    LOL.....You guys crack me up. Like a bunch of dudes in the bathroom measuring d$cks.

    Basically what this all comes down to is splitting hairs. PCM...DSD...SACD...BR audio....as long as it sounds good to you, who gives a flying......you know what.
    Bingo!!
    "Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music." ~ Ronald Reagan

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Red,
    On a SACD player, in most cases your using the analog outs so that conversion has already taken place in the player, not the receiver.
    Excellent point, and the one that keeps me listening to (Rebook) CD's via Toslink (or coax) just because the DACs in my Amp are much better than the one in my transports (I'd rather invest in good DACs once than in every piece of transport gear). I have a problem with the high prices of "hi-rez" media, given that a REALLY well mastered CD still sounds good to me; problem is, it seems that fewer and fewer releases fall under the "well mastered" category. This is something I struggle with when doing CD reviews these days, as it seems like the cost benefit of an artist's home studio doesn't necessarily translate into a sonic benefit, and I'm talking about artists that used to have REALLY good sounding CD's (now they sound like a compressed/EQ'd mess--and that's BEFORE I convert them to MP3).
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Red,
    On a SACD player, in most cases your using the analog outs so that conversion has already taken place in the player, not the receiver.
    That's what I mean by "other factors" though. I have maybe $5000 tied up in my whole system, including the display. I'm running HDMI from the Oppo, the SC-61 grabs that and turns it to PCM for SACDs, I believe. So with my small investment in hardware, would "I" really see a big enough difference between the 2 formats to justify 2-3 times the price for SACD vs blu-ray audio? YMMV of course. I am considering possible further upgrades though, since my last divorce my hearing has improved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    LOL.....You guys crack me up. Like a bunch of dudes in the bathroom measuring d$cks.

    Basically what this all comes down to is splitting hairs. PCM...DSD...SACD...BR audio....as long as it sounds good to you, who gives a flying......you know what.
    Exactly. Somebody finds a line that says their baby isn't ugly, and that becomes the entire rationale. Sounds like Roger Russell fans. Times change, and technology changes. Like it or not, what was best yesterday is average today. Personally, I welcome the coming flood of Blueray music, high-res, and DSD downloads coming to market. It just opens the door to more and better sounding music. Having it all stored on a hard drive let's me play what I want via remote control simply be rearranging tracks to play.

    Nirvana's debut disc on BR audio should arrive today/Friday, and Exile on Main Street ships 12/3. That will be interesting to compare to the SHM SACD, is $30 more expensive.

  30. #30

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    That's why I hung up the phone on SACD, I'm not paying those inflated prices. I don't care how good it is, they can kiss my back side before I shell out 50 bucks or higher even for good recordings. If DSD downloads are going to be 20 bucks a song, I'll hang up on them too.

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