A Look at DVD-Audio

Great Sonics, Six-Channel Capability, and Added Features for Your Favourite Music Albums


Equipment Needed
Improved Sound
Additional Onscreen Features

First we listened to albums on vinyl, then we had CDs, and now there's something called DVD-Audio. What's the difference? A lot! DVD-A is the latest way to hear multichannel, audiophile-quality albums in your home, using your DVD or DVD-Audio player. A DVD-A can hold up to seven times the data of a normal CD, which results in added features and better sound. Also, with its sampling rate higher than that of average CDs (up to 192 kHz, whereas most CDs get 44.1 kHz), you may hear a lot of details in music on a DVD-A that you'd never discover on an average CD. And, since nearly all DVD-As are engineered for multichannel/surround-sound listening (using five or six speakers), with the right equipment, you'll be able to hear your favourite music in breathtaking surround sound.


Equipment Needed

First off, DVD-As will not play on normal CD players. You'll need a DVD-Audio player to fully capture the capabilities of these discs. A receiver with 5.1 analog inputs and five speakers (left, center, right, left surround, right surround, and a subwoofer) should also be used to capture the surround-sound capabilities of DVD-As. While pure DVD-As will not play on standard DVD players, most releases (including all the titles produced by Warner, Atlantic, and Elektra) contain a Dolby Digital surround-sound mix, making them playable on any DVD player. Though these discs are primarily audio-only, you'll be best off using them in conjunction with your TV, so you can watch the additional onscreen features (see below) and navigate the menus with ease. It's all a little complicated, but music-loving home theatre enthusiasts won't be disappointed!

Improved Sound

Thanks to a higher sampling rate than that of both standard DVDs and CDs, DVD-As have an incredibly detailed sound. And, when played through a proper home-theatre setup with five or six channels (speakers), you'll get to hear your favourite music in a whole new light--in surround sound. Depending on the remastering, the effect of surround sound on your favourite album can be subtle or dramatic, but generally speaking, every DVD-A sounds better than its standard CD counterpart.

Additional Onscreen Features

The added onscreen features available on DVD-As vary from title to title. DVD-As often have extra unreleased tracks, photo slide shows of the artist performing, song lyrics, music videos, and interviews. But don't expect to get footage of a full concert or videos for every track; DVD-As devote the bulk of their space to high-quality audio-only music. Happy listening!