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Don Davis' THE MATRIX (1999) - 2021 Complete Edition by Varese Sarabande (2xCD / 2xSACD / 3xLP)


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On 6/28/2021 at 5:52 PM, crocodile said:

20210628_080651 (1).jpg

 

That back cover is... something else. There's certain fonts that probably shouldn't be used quite so, umm... liberally.

 

Unrelated image below:

Spoiler

81qlz3OpHhL._SL1346_.jpg

 

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9 minutes ago, crumbs said:

 

That back cover is... something else. There's certain fonts that probably shouldn't be used quite so, umm... liberally.

 


You think that’s something, you should see the front cover!!!

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1 hour ago, Alan said:

 

Sadly I don't currently have my surround speakers hooked up to the AV receiver however, I have listened to the SACD layer through the stereo system.

 

This sounds great! Nice sense of space and being in the room with the orchestra (little details like occasionally hearing the musicians shuffle etc). Nicely detailed mastering job and the dynamics seem good too. Sounds more natural than I expected it to, if that makes sense?

 

Sure! And thanks for the detailed description. If you ever do set it up for a 5.1 surround listen, please let me/us know what that experience is like! It's probably the main reason I would pay for the SACD.

 

Yavar

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Had a really enjoyable listen through on this yesterday. I hadn't listened to the previous Deluxe Edition in maybe 3 years so it was kind of a fresh experience. Sound quality is great, like mentioned above, it has a nice sense of space. I love the John Adams-esque minimalist brass patterns. 

 

There were more low-key cues than I had remembered there being, but that's not a bad thing. I enjoyed the story the score told as I listened. 

 

Really glad Varese finally put this one out complete. I can sleep better now that it can sit next to Reloaded and Revolutions. 

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Why is that hard to believe? 

 

Multichannel audio at home has always been a very niche thing. 

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I never found the appeal of SACD. It never sounded as great as advertised.
 

 

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As I said above, Varese could have presented the original 24/48 5.1 PCM audio on a blu-ray audio disc. Releasing it on SACD necessitates transcoding to DSD.

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13 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

It's a scam.

 

SACD is not a scam.

 

17 minutes ago, Ollie said:

I never found the appeal of SACD. It never sounded as great as advertised.

 

How are you listening to it?

 

Yavar

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2 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Not if you're a bat.

 

Ok, we can debate whether some humans can hear the difference between 16 bit CD quality and a 24 bit SACD. I know plenty who can, given the right playback equipment and when it comes to orchestral/choral music in particular. But what about the fact that CDs can only be in mono or stereo, whereas SACD can play losslessly in 5.1 surround sound? You think only a bat can tell the difference between that and stereo? :huh:

 

If you can't tell the difference between SACD and CD, that's fine. But don't act like audiophiles the world over are dupes falling for a fad or something. That's not the case at all.

 

Yavar

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42 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

But what about the fact that CDs can only be in mono or stereo, whereas SACD can play losslessly in 5.1 surround sound? You think only a bat can tell the difference between that and stereo? :huh:

 

Yeah, I forgot about that for a moment. :lol:

 

44 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

I know plenty who can, given the right playback equipment and when it comes to orchestral/choral music in particular. 

 

Such comparisons are often not done right. In order to do a proper comparison, you need a stereo SACD mix which is compared to the same mix downsampled to 16/44. And there's very little scientific evidence that people then are able to hear a difference in sound, not to mention sound quality.

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1 hour ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Such comparisons are often not done right. In order to do a proper comparison, you need a stereo SACD mix which is compared to the same mix downsampled to 16/44. And there's very little scientific evidence that people then are able to hear a difference in sound, not to mention sound quality.

 

I don't understand the distinction -- if someone hears a difference in sound between SACD and CD, aren't they hearing a different in sound quality?

 

I also don't know why this comparison would be hard -- SACDs usually have a regular CD stereo layer, a hi res stereo layer, and a hi res multichannel layer (if applicable)...right? So if someone has a stereo setup, can't they play the SACD on an SACD capable player, to hear it in hi res stereo, and then switch to a regular CD player to play the regular CD layer and compare the difference?

 

Yavar

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1 minute ago, Yavar Moradi said:

I don't understand the distinction -- if someone hears a difference in sound between SACD and CD, aren't they hearing a different in sound quality?

 

It's possible to detect differences between mixes without thinking one sounds better than the other. 

 

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Just now, Jurassic Shark said:

 

It's possible to detect differences between mixes without thinking one sounds better than the other. 

 

 

Ah, but that's assuming there's a different stereo mix being used for the SACD hi resolution layer than the regular CD layer. (Not sure why there would be.)

 

Yavar

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3 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

I also don't know why this comparison would be hard -- SACDs usually have a regular CD stereo layer, a hi res stereo layer, and a hi res multichannel layer (if applicable)...right? So if someone has a stereo setup, can't they play the SACD on an SACD capable player, to hear it in hi res stereo, and then switch to a regular CD player to play the regular CD layer and compare the difference?

 

The stereo layer is often its own mix, not simply a fold down of the SACD mix.

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2 hours ago, Yavar Moradi said:

 

SACD is not a scam.

 

 

How are you listening to it?

 

Yavar

 

 

5.1 setup. But that was years ago when Varese rolled out Timeline and The Great Train Robbery. I have a few other SACDs as well.

 

I think DVD-A sounded better, but that's me.

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2 minutes ago, Ollie said:

 

 

5.1 setup. But that was years ago when Varese rolled out Timeline and The Great Train Robbery. I have a few other SACDs as well.

 

I think DVD-A sounded better, but that's me.

 

Well presumably Blu-ray Audio sounds better than both of them (or can, anyway). But it won't play in regular CD players, which is probably why Varese didn't go for it.

 

5 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

The stereo layer is often its own mix, not simply a fold down of the SACD mix.

 

Of course stereo would be its own mix and not a fold down of the 5.1 mix, which is I think what you're saying. But SACDs (to my understanding) can also have their own hi res audio *stereo* layer, which I assume would be the same mix as the regular CD layer...right? Look:

 

R-9215844-1476811476-8872.jpeg.jpg

 

See, since it's a hybrid disc there's a regular 16 bit CD Audio (stereo) layer, a Super Audio stereo layer, and a Super Audio surround sound layer.

 

I don't think the first two would have a different mix, usually.

 

Yavar

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21 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

Well presumably Blu-ray Audio sounds better than both of them (or can, anyway). But it won't play in regular CD players, which is probably why Varese didn't go for it.

 

Neither will SACDs, and I'd guess many more people have a Blu-ray player than a SACD player. So....why not release it on Blu-ray instead?

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2 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Neither will SACDs, and I'd guess many more people have a Blu-ray player than a SACD player. So....why not release it on Blu-ray instead?

 

Possibly a proper SACD player will have UI-less controls for playing, pausing, stopping, and skipping tracks, which Blu-rays usually don't as far as I know. But then my only SACD player is the PlayStation, and that requires a display *and* a controller, so that's no help at all.

 

35 minutes ago, Ollie said:

I think DVD-A sounded better, but that's me.

 

There's no reason why it would, since SACD is technically superior in all regards. The question may be if the difference is audible at all, but if it is, DVD-A can only be inferior - and if it isn't, it can at best be on the same level. Which doesn't of course prevent individual DVD-A mixes from being better than individual SACD mixes for their own mysterious individual reasons.

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9 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Neither will SACDs, and I'd guess many more people have a Blu-ray player than a SACD player. So....why not release it on Blu-ray instead?

 

99%+ of SACDs *do* play on regular CD players, because they are hybrids with a (easily rippable) CD layer included. This is one of the main advantages to the SACD format, this backwards compatibility. You can play SACDs in your car, you can easily rip them (the CD layer) to your computer and upload that to the cloud, etc.

 

When Tadlow released Obsession on Blu-ray Audio, they had to also have a separate CD in the same package. And presumably that wasn't financially successful as a strategy for them, because they never did it again for another score.

 

6 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

There's no reason why it would, since SACD is technically superior in all regards. The question may be if the difference is audible at all, but if it is, DVD-A can only be inferior - and if it isn't, it can at best be on the same level. Which doesn't of course prevent individual DVD-A mixes from being better than individual SACD mixes for their own mysterious individual reasons.

 

I don't know the details of DVD-A specs vs. SACD... what makes the latter "technically superior in all regards", out of curiosity?


Yavar

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6 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

99%+ of SACDs *do* play on regular CD players, because they are hybrids with a (easily rippable) CD layer included. This is one of the main advantages to the SACD format, this backwards compatibility. You can play SACDs in your car, you can easily rip them (the CD layer) to your computer and upload that to the cloud, etc.

 

True. A release that contains both a Blu-ray and two CDs may have cost two or three [insert currency unit]s more. I'd probably still have paid that to get formats that I can handle.

 

6 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

I don't know the details of DVD-A specs vs. SACD... what makes the latter "technically superior in all regards", out of curiosity?

 

Good point, because my memory *may* be playing tricks and DVD-A could be more advanced than I imagine. But I'm pretty sure it didn't offer the resolutions and frequencies available on SACD. I think its main feature was lossless surround sound at similar resolutions and frequencies as DVD-V. But yes, I could be wrong.

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21 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

Good point, because my memory *may* be playing tricks and DVD-A could be more advanced than I imagine. But I'm pretty sure it didn't offer the resolutions and frequencies available on SACD. I think its main feature was lossless surround sound at similar resolutions and frequencies as DVD-V. But yes, I could be wrong.

 

Well, DVD-V didn't allow lossless surround, did it? Because it also had to have video information and DVDs couldn't hold that much data. But DVD-A, if you had the right player, was as far as I know pretty similar in quality to SACD -- otherwise I'm not sure why the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition score releases would have had DVD-A discs in addition to the CDs (now replaced by Blu-ray Audio discs) instead of just using SACD hybrids. Anyway, it's certainly all very complicated!

 

Yavar

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Just now, Yavar Moradi said:

Well, DVD-V didn't allow lossless surround, did it? Because it also had to have video information and DVDs couldn't hold that much data.

 

Yes, I said as much in my previous post. DVD-V only supported lossless stereo tracks.

 

Just now, Yavar Moradi said:

But DVD-A, if you had the right player, was as far as I know pretty similar in quality to SACD -- otherwise I'm not sure why the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition score releases would have had DVD-A discs in addition to the CDs (now replaced by Blu-ray Audio discs) instead of just using SACD hybrids. Anyway, it's certainly all very complicated!

 

Wider customer base? More convenient manufacturing? Simpler/cheaper licences? I have no idea, but as far as I know, SACD was considered clearly superior to DVD-A at the time. Plus that thing about needing a display to skip tracks and stuff.

 

The Morgan/Stromberg Adventures of Robin Hood on Marco Polos had a DVD-A release as well in 2003, which offered 5.1 sound at 48 kHz and 24 bit. Perhaps they didn't have the means to record at higher rates and therefore wouldn't have benefited from an SACD version, but at least there are clearly other cases where DVD-A was chosen over SACD for whatever reason. I also don't know how straightforward (or cheap) PCM to DSD conversions are, if the material wasn't originally recorded with DSD to begin with.

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28 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

Yes, I said as much in my previous post. DVD-V only supported lossless stereo tracks.

 

I don't think it even supported that! As far as I remember, if you're watching a DVD you are hearing lossy audio. That's why all of those DVD isolated score tracks are lossy (not CD quality), and why we need Deluxe Editions on CD of stuff like Rudy and L.A. Confidential.

 

28 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

Wider customer base? More convenient manufacturing? Simpler/cheaper licences? I have no idea, but as far as I know, SACD was considered clearly superior to DVD-A at the time. Plus that thing about needing a display to skip tracks and stuff.

 

I don't think it's because of higher audio quality, but issues of players and compatibility and such. The fact that SACDs could be hybrids with regular CD layers able to play in regular CD players (and with an easily rippable layer) was a major plus to that format. But a major plus of DVD-A was that you could have a three+ hour score on a single disc -- I think that's one reason why Lord of the Rings ended up on that format instead of SACD.

 

Yavar

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22 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

I don't think it even supported that! As far as I remember, if you're watching a DVD you are hearing lossy audio. That's why all of those DVD isolated score tracks are lossy (not CD quality), and why we need Deluxe Editions on CD of stuff like Rudy and L.A. Confidential.

 

Oh no, it definitely did support LPCM, see below. It was used on some films (even sometimes giving you the choice between DD or DTS 5.1 and uncompressed stereo), but mainly for music DVDs. I imagine most iso scores were compressed for space reasons.

 

IMG_20210706_010531__01__01.jpg

 

IMG_20210706_010547__01.jpg

 

IMG_20210706_010604__01.jpg

 

That last one includes a DVD-V with LPCM stereo and DTS and DD 5.1 tracks plus a separate DVD-A with uncompressed 5.1 surround sound at 48 kHz/24 bit. The DVD-V LPCM track only has 16 bit, so perhaps that was limited as well.

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8 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

And I would probably have blindly gone for the Blu version in that case, because I can play it on my regular players, and I can rip it as well.

 

Same.

 

5 hours ago, Yavar Moradi said:

When Tadlow released Obsession on Blu-ray Audio, they had to also have a separate CD in the same package.

 

They didn't have to do anything. Just sell the CD separately from the blu-ray, y'know, like Varese did anyway selling the CD separately from the SACD.

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29 minutes ago, A. A. Ron said:

They didn't have to do anything. Just sell the CD separately from the blu-ray, y'know, like Varese did anyway selling the CD separately from the SACD.


Don’t you think that’s kinda different, since the SACD will also play in regular CD players? Essentially it’s a 2-in-1 same as Tadlow did.

 

Yavar

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Well both formats have limitations. I don't have the ability to rip high res material off of an SACD. I can rip a blu-ray audio disc. What's more, I know how to make a CDR from the blu-ray's contents, if I so desire.

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8 hours ago, Yavar Moradi said:

99%+ of SACDs *do* play on regular CD players

 

I was of course referring to the high res layer.

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In my opinion the real sound differences between well made SACD, DVD-Audio and Blu-ray Audio are not significant, although I hear them (SACD of the same 5.1. recording sounding a bit rounder, warmer, the Blu-ray a bit clearer and brighter). The main drawing point for me is a good multichannel mix which can elevate a recording very much, see the JW Vienna Blu-ray. 

 

For the matrix release I would have also welcomed a Blu-ray audio sold separately. Doing a backwards  to CD compatible SACD and selling it separately is just trying to extract more money from the audiophile customers. Several classical recording companies like Bis show, that it is perfectly find to just release one SACD for all for the standard CD price. People without SACD player just pop it into the CD or DVD/Audio player and do not notice a difference to a normal CD. 

 

Therefore I am a bit miffed about Varese´release policy, but am willing to pay the premium just to give a sign that multichannel is a point of interest to some. Providing the mix is good, which it seems to be according to @Jim Ware. Although it is not clear to me if there is just a lot of ambience in the surround or discreetly placed instruments. Well, I think I will just hav to bite the bullet and order the SACD for myself and hope for the best. 

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8 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

Wider customer base? More convenient manufacturing? Simpler/cheaper licences? I have no idea, but as far as I know, SACD was considered clearly superior to DVD-A at the time.

 

The main technical advantage of DVD-audio is that it can be played on a regular DVD player.

 

8 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:
8 hours ago, Yavar Moradi said:

Well, DVD-V didn't allow lossless surround, did it? Because it also had to have video information and DVDs couldn't hold that much data.

 

Yes, I said as much in my previous post. DVD-V only supported lossless stereo tracks.

 

That's incorrect.

 

In uncompressed modes, it is possible to get up to 96/16 or 48/24 in 5.1, and 192/24 in stereo. To store 5.1 tracks in 88.2/20, 88.2/24, 96/20 or 96/24 MLP encoding is mandatory.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Audio

 

9 hours ago, Yavar Moradi said:

When Tadlow released Obsession on Blu-ray Audio, they had to also have a separate CD in the same package.

 

Indeed. But I don't see any reason to release a hybrid SACD instead of a Blu-ray audio when they simultaneously have a separate CD release. Those choosing the high res option over the CD release will do it because they want the high res format.

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6 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

The main technical advantage of SACD over DVD-audio is storage space, offering surrounding sound at greater bit depth and sample rate. The surrounding encoding of DVD-audio is closer to CD quality due to its limited space.

 

The main technical advantage of DVD-audio is that it can be played on a regular DVD player.

 

 

 

I am sorry, but every single sentence here is false. SACD and DVD Audio use a standard DVD with the same storage space, it is just used different. SACD is stored as DSD which is a 1 bit format using 2.8224 MHz sampling frequency, so it does not offer greater bit depth. And the surround encoding of DVD audio can use 24 bit at 96 kHz, so much better than CD. 

 

Lastly a DVD Audio cannot be played on a regular DVD player, except it has a DVD-Video-Portion on it, e.g. a Dolby Digital version in addition to the hirez portion. The latter is not accessible to a regular DVD player. This is a difference to Blu-ray audio which can be played on every regular BD player.

6 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

 

But I don't see any reason to release a hybrid SACD instead of a Blu-ray audio when they simultaneously have a separate CD release. Those choosing the high res option over the CD release will do it because they want the high res format.

 

This I can agree on :-)

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5 hours ago, Gurkensalat said:

I am sorry, but every single sentence here is false. SACD and DVD Audio use a standard DVD with the same storage space, it is just used different. SACD is stored as DSD which is a 1 bit format using 2.8224 MHz sampling frequency, so it does not offer greater bit depth. And the surround encoding of DVD audio can use 24 bit at 96 kHz, so much better than CD. 

 

Lastly a DVD Audio cannot be played on a regular DVD player, except it has a DVD-Video-Portion on it, e.g. a Dolby Digital version in addition to the hirez portion. The latter is not accessible to a regular DVD player. This is a difference to Blu-ray audio which can be played on every regular BD player.

 

Yes, I removed the part about storage space as I misremembered.

 

All DVD players can play DVD-Audio discs to some extent. If the DVD-A disc has a Dolby Digital/dts soundtrack then that will play just fine on ANY DVD player.

 

And yes, the encoding of SACDs are indeed DSD and one bit, but that encoding represents audio signals that are for example 24 bits. So your can't say the bit depth is lower on SACDs.

 

5 hours ago, Gurkensalat said:

And the surround encoding of DVD audio can use 24 bit at 96 kHz, so much better than CD. 

 

...with lossy encoding.

 

96/16 or 48/24 in lossless.

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I have 2 DVD Audios without a DVD backwards compatibility, but I agree that most have it, although only in compressed sound. 

 

 

DVD Audio can store 24 bit 96 kHz in lossless with MLP compression which is standard for many years. I have dozens of them. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Gurkensalat said:

Providing the mix is good, which it seems to be according to @Jim Ware. Although it is not clear to me if there is just a lot of ambience in the surround or discreetly placed instruments. Well, I think I will just hav to bite the bullet and order the SACD for myself and hope for the best. 

The rears are primarily orchestral ambience, but there is some discrete synth placement. Chorus has a particularly enveloping quality too.

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3 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

The main technical advantage of DVD-audio is that it can be played on a regular DVD player.

 

That's incorrect. Or at least no more correct than saying that SACDs can be played in a regular CD player. I've never been able to play the DVD-A portion of my DVD-As on any of my devices.

 

3 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

That's incorrect.

 

In uncompressed modes, it is possible to get up to 96/16 or 48/24 in 5.1, and 192/24 in stereo. To store 5.1 tracks in 88.2/20, 88.2/24, 96/20 or 96/24 MLP encoding is mandatory.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Audio

 

Yavar and I were explicitly talking about DVD-V (as we both said in our very same sentences).

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18 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

That's incorrect. Or at least no more correct than saying that SACDs can be played in a regular CD player. I've never been able to play the DVD-A portion of my DVD-As on any of my devices.

 

3 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

All DVD players can play DVD-Audio discs to some extent. If the DVD-A disc has a Dolby Digital/dts soundtrack then that will play just fine on ANY DVD player.

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Sigh...

 

No SACD layers can be played on a regular CD player.

 

Some DVD-As can be played on a regular DVD player.

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5 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

All DVD players can play DVD-Audio discs to some extent. If the DVD-A disc has a Dolby Digital/dts soundtrack then that will play just fine on ANY DVD player.

 

That isn't true.  DVD-A and DVD-V are different and incompatible formats that happen to get pressed to the same medium.

 

The only way a standard DVD player could play content on a DVD-A disc is if the makers of that disc chose to add a DVD-V layer that has the same (musical) content as the DVD-A layer, but it'd be in a lower bitrate.  For example, the DVD-A discs that came in the first pressings of the LOTR CRs did this.  IIRC, there might have been a part of the standard that required them to include a DVD-V layer on every DVD-A disc, I cannot recall for sure right now, but that DVD-V layer could technically have different music or a different mix of the same music on top of being a different bitrate.

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