The digital age is becoming latent in modern society of XXI century. Continuous technological advances have managed to perfect electronic devices, picture and especially sound, reaching unimaginable heights of quality; the line between what is virtual reality ever closer. In this post I will discuss three types of formats, created “recently”, capable of producing high definition audio: DVD-Audio, SACD and HFPA.
The DVD-A belongs to the family of the DVD also includes DVD-Video (DVD), DVD-ROM, DVD-R and DVD-RAM. This optical disk is divided internally into three blocks. The first is reserved for audio storage, ie for all kinds of sound files without image. In the second block the video is stored; music for example. The third and final block of storage is reserved for texts; Lyrics of artists, biographies, photographs, etc. The DVD-A contains a menu which allows you to access, through it, to each of these blocks. The DVD-A files encoded digitally, which allows for greater storage capacity and therefore offers much higher sound quality than traditional CDs. For compatibility with conventional CD players, DVD-A uses dual-layer discs: The top, semitransparent layer is read by a laser with a shorter wavelength. The bottom layer (which reads a laser with a wavelength longer than that reaches deeper) contains the same information but coded so that it can be read by a conventional CD player.
The sampling of a DVD is between 92kHz and 96kHz; More often, though, when using multiple channels, the frequency is reduced to 90kHz. However, high that may become the sampling frequency, the human hearing is 20kHz; so DVD players progressively apply a filter that attenuates the signal to 20kHz, the limit of human hearing. In practice, the useful bandwidth is the same as the CD-Audio. In any case, the sampling rate can be compared with its main competitor in audio format in high definition, SACD, because the technology used is different: the DSD (I’ll explain later in more detail).
The MULTICHANNEL is one of the most interesting features of DVD-Audio (SACD although as discussed below) the availability of true surround sound – including all disk channels separators against CD only has the availability of sound in stereo (two channels). Despite the multichannel potential ultrasonic improvement over CD-Audio is highly debatable and non-existent compared to the SACD.
In addition, a DVD-A can offer up to 622 minutes of music. This is its main advantage over the SACD (maximum 222 minutes in hybrid SACD) and CD (74 minutes).
His real name is Super Audio CD. This disc is designed to deliver high-definition audio, has been developed by Philips and Sony in 1999. Therefore it is a newer format that DVD-A. The SACD is, at first glance, identical to a conventional audio CD but under the surface, there is a triple layer disc that brings together all the latest technological improvements referring to the SACD. In addition, these layers allow it to be compatible with CD players, DVD and SACD itself.
One such improvement is the sampling frequency, which can be up to 100kHz still higher than the frequency of CD and DVD. This is due to the coding system used by the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) technology; Therefore, although the SACD uses the same technology as the DVD can not be played on any DVD player due to the coding system. However, this technology does not remain constant throughout its range ultrasonic potential but deteriorates up to 20kHz. Another improvement, as a result of the sampling frequency, is the storage of files: This allows – the SACD – much more capacity of information; this translates to a sound production much higher quality. The news is that there are various types of SACD, but the most common is the hybrid SACD (three layers) that although more expensive production resulting market demand is much higher, so it is economically profitable.
These innovations and technological improvements have never been achieved by a previous system playback or recording. Following the results in preliminary tests conducted by independent reviewers and music producers as they defined this sound relaxed, musical, detailed and transparent with a greater sense of space and a better definition of each instrument and voice.
This layer also contains high density DSD recording six channels of the same piece of music. Each of these six channels can be recorded independently in full resolution, and with a full frequency response up to 100kHz. As a result, the image of the six-channel sound offers a resolution and transparency uniques.
HFPA (Blu-Ray Audio)
The HFPA (High Fidelity Audio Pure) is considered a disc in Blu-Ray format, but it is designed for music files only. It is currently the highest quality format with multichannel sound. To better understand this explanation needed me tell you, in advance, what is and what the Blu-Ray.
Blu-ray is an optical disc format developed by the new generation BDA (stands for Blu-ray Disc Association) used specifically for high-definition video.
The Blu-Ray disc uses a blue laser beam with a wavelength less than the red laser used in DVD players wave. This, along with other technological advances, can store significantly more information than the DVD. Blu-ray gets its name from blue laser beam (blue ray).
It is the format used by studios to file their productions, previously converted to the format you wanted to export. This is no longer necessary, so that the digital cinema industry will not have to invest time and effort in changing movie resolution, which will lower to a lesser extent and cost reduction.
So HFPA is a marketing initiative spearheaded by Universal Music, of Sony, in 2013. This album aims to impress with quality 96kHz having lossless audio. Much higher to 44kHz CD. The strategy proposed is universal listen to music using a Blu-Ray player or PS3 with the possibility to choose between three standard formats: PCM, DTS HD Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD.
The price of each disc will be around 20 euros and its potential market does not seem very wide entrance, as to harness the potential of this disc must have a device at home according to the quality promised by the HFPA; which means, in times of crisis, a considerable reduction in the target audience.
Before concluding this post, I would like to present a number of issues that have been thinking during the course of this comparative analysis.
1. It is worth this increased sampling frequency?
2. increasing the quality was really notice?
In my opinion, the answer is ambiguous. It is necessary to consider a number of factors, because these very important in determining the response.
First, we need to have a computer according to the quality offered by the format in order to make the most of all the sound quality. The problem is that most people do not have a specific player, because they are not cheap and purchasing power is lower in times of crisis.
Secondly many of us do not have the ear to distinguish between the quality of DVD and Blu-Ray; thus it would not be necessary to buy the most modern equipment market sound. This assessment would be reserved for more experienced ears. In any case, the potential ultrasonic digital audio format is a feature, in the best of cases and for obvious reasons, very questionable.
The proof of this is that neither format has achieved success in the market. In general, most of us are satisfied with the quality offered by conventional CDs. Multichannel options, which may be the most interesting of these formats require equipment suitable speakers that most people do not have.
About Blu-Ray, I honestly just did not see the possibilities of this new generation format. Keep in mind that it is not very different from the previous (DVD & SACD), and both have failed. More importantly, the peak that is experiencing the market for digital downloads; in less than five years end up being a win and a new model for music.
Finally, I attached to you a commercial video of a company specializing in the development of surround sound, Dolby company. In this video you can see the high definition audio as multichannel speaker takes effect on your equipment; enveloping sound.