October 01, 2008


I haven’t realized the jumpstart that Blu-ray Audio is getting until I read my copy of the latest issue of Stereophile (Sep ’08, Music in the Round pp. 45-51. Rubinson, Kaiman).  Apparently, Surround Records (www.surroundmagic.com) made some HD DVD music only discs that had escaped my attention.  We now know those are not viable media albums to produce.  But Surround Records is now reissuing those HD DVD albums in Blu-ray Audio discs. 

2L Records, who has produced SACDs, have released a Blu-ray Audio disc called Divertimenti, an album of classical string pieces by Bacewicz, Bartok, Bjorklund, and Britten.  Man, is this disc packed with audio choices that surpass that of SACD.  This particular disc is recorded in DXD, an emerging format considered to be potentially superior to DSD by some (see below for a forum posting that attempts to explain*).

This Blu-ray disc offers its music in the following variations:  24/192 LPCM 2-channel tracks, and a whopping FOUR 5.1-channel tracks (48kHz-sampled Dolby Digital, 24/192 Dolby TruHD, 24/192 DTS-HDMA, and 24/192 LPCM).  In addition, this offering includes a separate SACD Hybrid disc with 16-bit/44.1 “red book” PCM stereo, DSD 2-channel tracks plus 5.1 Surround DSD tracks.

I say all this to bring back some excitement to the hi-res music front.  With the steady growth of Blu-ray players in homes and their dropping prices, it is quickly becoming feasible to exploit the floundering hi-res markets once again.  Also, those Blu-ray discs, as you can already surmise from the previous paragraph, will provide much more storage capacity for not only multiple Surround codecs, but also provide room for even more superior sound.

We already know of a few upcoming Blu-ray Audio discs including one from Rob Halford expected in December.  Coupled with the news about emerging Blu-ray Audio releases, I’m going to start keeping a sharp eye out for these.  If the Blu-ray format continues to flourish as it is and the machines end up in more homes than SACD players, the market audience should easily entice artists and labels to pursue hi-res releases further.

FORUM POST -------

Hi. My name is Peter Scheelke. I am one of the founders of DAD, Digital Audio Denmark. We are the manufacturer of the AX24 AD/DA converter and the Merging Sphynx 2 converter.
In the discussion about DSD/DXD, Sadie/Sonoma/Pyramix I can help clarify some of the advantages/disadvantages in the different audio formats.

DSD 64fs (the format used for SACD) is a 1 bit format with a sample rate of 2.8224 MHz (64 x 44.1 kHz). The main advantage of this DSD format is the as close to perfect as we have ever seen impulse response, which is just a little more than 100% measured with a 3us pulse, plus the very wide frequency band. The disadvantage of DSD compared to digital PCM is the noise performance and the fact that DSD can not be edited since it is only 1 bit.

In our AX24/Sphynx 2 we have been able to keep the noise down until 23 kHz (<-120 dBfs measured 20-20 kHz), however the energy from the noise is still part of the signal, so after 23 kHz the noise becomes increasingly significant.

Since DSD can not be edited as a one bit signal, it is necessary to convert to some kind of multi bit for editing. When converting back to DSD the modulator noise will be added again, and after just a few editing back and forth the audio will no longer comply with the noise performance specification stated in the Scarlet Book (specifications for SACD’s). DSD 64fs is used as recording format in Sonoma, Sadie and Pyramix DSD systems. (Pyramix can also record in DXD).

There is also DSD 128fs, also 1 bit, but with a sample frequency of 5.6448 MHz (128 x 44.1 KHz). Since it is a 1 bit signal, quantization noise is equal to DSD64, but since the frequency band is twice as wide, the noise is only half that of DSD 64fs within a given frequency band. With the same type of noise shaping as DSD 64 the noise will start rising at the double frequency. In our implementation the noise starts rising from about 46 kHz.

PCM 44.1-192 kHz/24 bit: Since all frequencies, at more than half the sample rate, will be mirrored around half the sample rate (aliasing), all PCM formats needs an anti aliasing filter. The normal anti aliasing filter is the 0.45/0.55 filter which starts at 45% of the sampling rate and has full attenuation at 55% of the sampling rate.

A major disadvantage in the normal 0.45/0.55 anti aliasing filter is that the filter is only attenuating 10-12 dB at half the sample rate (Nyquist), so frequencies between 50% and 55% of the sample rate will get mirrored around half the sample rate and will create new frequencies without any harmonic relationship to the audio. Another disadvantage is that some of the energy from the audio is lost in pre/post ringing; a stronger anti aliasing filter will create more pre/post ringing than a less intense filter. Since some of the energy is lost, the anti aliasing filter attenuates the impulse response.

Due to bandwidth a steep anti aliasing filter at 44.1 and 48 kHz sampling rate can be justified, however at higher sampling rates (96kHz, 192kHz) it would be better to use a less steep filter. All anti aliasing filters cause delay in the A/D converter which is about 0.8 ms at 44.1 kHz sampling rate with a 0.45/0.55 filter.

DXD is something new, a 352.8 KHz/24 bit sampling rate in the A/D converter intended for 32 bit floating point DAWs. Until now DXD is supported by DAD, by Merging in their Pyramix DAW, by AMS Neve in their new DFC PS/1 console, and in the Saracon SRC from Daniel Weiss, but also other manufactures are one their way with DXD equipment.
In our implementation we have chosen to add only very soft anti aliasing filter for DXD and for an even higher sample rate we offer, 384 kHz; since there is very little audio above half of the sample rate. Our implementation of DXD has a great impulse response (88% with a 3us pulse) and a significant better out of band noise performance compared to DSD64fs.
We think it’s a big step forward, offering far better impulse response that previous PCM, avoiding the filtering problems of previous PCM and better out of band noise performance than DSD. We think this is the future of digital audio.

END FORUM POST ------------------

One last thing. We're now hearing that Robert Plant ISN'T down to doing a LedZep reunion tour. Guess we'll just have to call this our "on again-off again" LZ deal.

There are no reviews to post today (yeah, I admit...White Sox against Twins Tiebreaker game had LOTS to do with this. But we'll be back on Friday. See you then.

Additionally, we provide another band of discovery with The Mary Onettes from Sweden. If you have one that you ran across and want to share them (PLEASE), email me the link. Our goal is to find potential bands that we can musically hang with for the rest of our lives. Just click on the Contact Us button in the menu area.

If you have missed the last As The Disc Spins (updated), check it out here.

To access the previous site and catch up, click here.






Action Front Records and Vanguard Records will release a Live album from the band Live, scheduling the release for November 11.  The album is called Live at the Paradiso and will be available as a CD/DVD configuration.  The CD will feature 16 overall tracks with two of the songs being brand new studio tracks (“Forever,” “Purifier”).  The DVD will feature 17 performance songs.

Epic Records will release a Deluxe Edition of Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield.  This reissue will add in five #1 Dance remixes (“Unwritten – Johnny Vicious Radio remix;” “The One that Got Away – Valentin Radio Mix;” “Love Like This – Johnny Vicious Radio remix;” “Pocketful of Sunshine – Stonebridge Radio mix;” “Angel – Moto Blanco Radio edit”) as well as a five live performance, four video DVD.  This will issue on November 11.

MySpace star (5 million plays), Corey Crowder will release his latest album called Gold & the Sand, planning for November 11.  The releasing label is Tooth & Nail.

Choir Fire Records  and EMI will release an EP album of a band that Alex Lifeson (Rush) calls “…refreshing, energizing, and provide a breath of fresh air.”  The band is called The Drama Club and their EP will be self-titled with 5 songs along with a remix of one of the tracks and a hidden song.  You can get more information from their website and listen to some tracks at their MySpace offering, where they enjoy more than 18,000 “friends” and 360,000 plays.  The Drama Club is scheduled for November 11.

Nuclear Blast will release The Atrocity Experiment – Exhibit A from thrash-band, Exodus in a 2LP set.  The LPs will be pressed in clear red vinyl, and come housed in a gatefold LP jacket.  The album will include a full-colour poster with the cover art and will be limited to a pressing of 1000.  The CD title has sold over 21,000 copies.  This set will be released on November 11.  Early 2009 will bring The Atrocity Experiment – Exhibit B.

Season of Mist will release The Black Flux by Virus on November 11.  The label will also release an album by Death Metallers, Gonin-Ish (in Japanese, the phrase translates “to unite songs by five members”).  The 6-track album (Hyakunin-ish) will be available on November 11.

World’s Fair Records will release an album of covers from their By-the Numbers series.  This one is by The Postmarks and is scheduled to release on November 11.  There are some interesting covers here(“Eight Miles High,” “Nine Million Rainy Days,” “7-11,” and “Six Different Ways” to name a few of them).

We got all kinds of email from readers who pointed the way to the contents of the upcoming Epic 30th Anniversary Boxset for Live at Budokan by Cheap Trick.  The most important of the inclusions in this 1DVD/3CD Box is the DVD that shows the entire concert that the wildly popular original CD was taken from.  Previously, this concert had only aired once on Japanese TV.  In addition, the DVD offers interviews with the band as they look back on the 1978 event.  Two of the CDs provide the entire concert remastered.  The third CD actually is the audio counterpart to the film DVD that includes four additional songs not heard on the film.  Live at Budokan will arrive in stores on November 11.

4AD will release some more LPs (Cocteau Twins, Bauhaus, DCD). I'll fill in those details on Friday.




Review - Gene Autry - Cowboy Hymns & Songs of Inspiration - CD

Gene Autry and his music has been a historic collection of cowboys songs for many decades. With the Cowboy Hymns & Songs of Inspiration collection, fans of the serious cowboy tune can add a collection of radio broadcast tunes to their library.





Review - The Submarines - Honeysuckle Weeks - CD

The Submarines is a male/female duo from LA, recording from their home. On their Honeysuckle Weeks album, they produce a positive brand of pop tunes that are designed to uplift. Excellent pop tunes for the Top40 Alt crowd.





For Your Consideration - The Mary Onettes - Sweden

Perusing the Friends list of Black List, featured over several previous posts, I ran across another '80s sounding band that uses a play on a word as their name (Mary Onettes - marionettes - get it?). The Mary Onettes hail from Sweden and will have you interested in short order. Give them a check out at their MySpace link or at their website.









Copyright 2002-2008 Matthew Rowe.
All rights reserved.All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Disclaimer: various news pieces may state a specific media publication or program as a source. All other news is considered 'rumour' only. That goes double for release dates.

212 Frech

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