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April 2013 Issue
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DVD AUDIO

In your reply to Paul Marfleet (Dec 2012 issue) you stated “...as far as I am aware, you cannot now either create or play DVD Audio discs, except...” 

As far as playback is concerned you are partly right in naming Cambridge and Oppo. What is now a poorly kept secret is that the innards of the Oppo has found its way in quite a few Universal players (Marantz McIntosh, Denon & Ayre amongst others) at something of a premium.

On to the creating piece. Yes you can!!! A company called Cirlinca (www.cirlinca.com) offers two programmes (HD-Audio Solo Ultra $68.98 US and DVD-Audio Solo $44.95 US) that allows you to roll you own. 

HD-Audio allows you to burn DVD-A disc as well as – get this – Blu-Ray discs. Yes, you are reading this correctly. Even more astounding the Blu-Ray discs will hold 60+ 24/192 tracks. 

The DVD-Audio version of the programme allows you to burn DVD-Audio discs. 

Both programmes will rip your current CDs and upsample up to 24/192, so one could rip and burn in one fell swoop. However, I find that ripping with dBpoweramp is quicker. Both dBpoweramp and the Cirlinca programmes allow you to save your 24/192 files in both WAV and FLAC format on your hard drive etc

I sent a quick query to the guys at Cirlinca asking if there was any move to 32/384 capability and they replied no. Guess I’ll just have to keep rolling my own at 24/192.

Cheers,

Roger Crossman 

 

You can burn DVD-Audio discs with Cirlinca, Roger Crossman tells us.

And it will burn Blu-ray audio discs too. 

 

Fascinating stuff Roger – thanks for the update. I see free trials are available and prices range from $44.95 for DVD Audio Solo Standard, to $68.95 for HD-Audio Solo Ultra. The software is for PCs, not Macs; VMware emulator or Windows running in Bootcamp are solutions to this limitation. Vista 32bit and Windows 7 64bit are compatible apparently, but Vista can cause problems (read Support). Circlinca are based in San Francisco and are DSD aware.

         The other software for this purpose that I’ve used in the past, but overlooked, is DiscWelder, from Minnetonka software, near to Minneapolis, USA (near the Great Lakes). DiscWelder Bronze works on Mac (Intel) as well as PC and costs $99. I see they also have Bronze 1000m ($199) that provides DSD-to-PCM conversion before burning to disc. 

DVD-Audio is a ‘rare’ format now, recognised by few players. DVD video players mostly reject DVD Audio discs, saying they are ‘unreadable’. We’ve consistently mentioned Oppo and Cambridge Audio Blu-ray players that play DVD-Audio as well as SACD, CD and Blu-ray; they are unusual in being able to play all silver discs.  That’s because they use a Mediatek platform solution, and it’s likely the other players you mention also use it.

Internet reviewers and forums often talk about “company XX copying company YY”, but in truth none of these companies have the ability to develop the necessarily complex chip sets required by Blu-ray and no one copies anyone in the way forums speculate. They buy in a solution, package it and market it; that's the reason they look the same. Go to www.mediatek.com and their MT8555 Single chip Blu-ray player to read more; only Mediatek do this I believe. Just don’t ask about minimum order quantity, with a price of £60-£100 per chip. 

       You may be interested to know that Mediatek are now offering a complete Smartphone package, explaining the sudden appearance of $100 Smartphones at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. I think I am right in saying the Huwei Ascend D2 uses this turnkey platform. Mediatek (Taiwan) are big, very big and this is where DVD-Audio players currently come from. Otherwise, it is a dead format, unsupported by the CE industry at large. NK

 

Blu-ray players are hugely complex and based on solutions from the big

chip manufacturers. Cambridge Audio and Oppo both use Mediatek

technology, as do most other manufacturers, but Cambridge

(shown here) put their name on everything!



 

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