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jazzfan
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Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs

Yes you read the message subject correctly. It does say "Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs" and believe it or not, it is actually possible to make your very own DVD-Audio discs at home using the DVD burner in your computer.

Before the sysop police come out and delete this post, I'm not talking about making copies of DVD-Audio discs but rather of making your very own DVD-Audio discs from any 24 bit-44.1/48/96k two channel wav audio files you have on your computer. How you get the wav files is up to you. So far I only know how to make two channel discs, but maybe someone out there can find a way to make a 5.1 channel discs.

Here's what's involved:

1. The audio files - as I said, any 24 bit wav file will work, the sampling rate can be either 44.1k, 48k or 96K. One can make these files using many of the current higher end sound cards available and transfering over a tape or lp to one's hard drive.

2. A copy of DVD-Audio Tools, which can be downloaded from DVD-Audio Tools. Don't worry this is free, open source software and is not infected with any virus or rootkit or other nasties. However, what it is, is a simple program with a command line interface which many of you die hard windows and mac users will be at a loss to understand.

3. What DVD-Audio Tools (along with another small command line program mkisofs) will do is create an .iso image file of the DVD which can then be "burned" using any DVD burning software which can read .iso files. Nero is the program that I used.

Basically what all this means is that instead of taking one's LP's and making copies of them onto CD you can now make high resolution copies of them onto DVD-Audio discs. Now that's what I call progress.

By the way, from what I read, the way I understand it the author of DVD-Audio Tools reverse engineered how to make a DVD-Audio disc by examining what was on a commercial DVD-Audio disc and then figuring out how to recreate that information and put it on a blank DVD. At present there is no commercial consumer level software available for making DVD-Audio discs.

Editor
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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs

Good stuff, Jazzfan. We did cover DVD-Audio Tools in the paper magazine a while back. To burn your own multichannel DVD-Audio discs, I recommend Minnetonka Software's Discwelder program, BTW.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

jazzfan
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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs

Thank you John for the feedback. The Discwelder programs look promising and I'm quite sure somewhat easier to use and substantially more powerful and versatile. Of course, they have one big drawback - they are not free.

I will look into them and report back my impressions.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs

Great post. I'm on it and will report back over the weekend. Thanks again.

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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs


Quote:
Good stuff, Jazzfan. We did cover DVD-Audio Tools in the paper magazine a while back. To burn your own multichannel DVD-Audio discs, I recommend Minnetonka Software's Discwelder program, BTW.

As promised I have been looking into the Discwelder programs and I am continuing to use the DVDa-author program and now I'm really at loss as to what's going on in the audiophile community. Let me explain.

The Minnetonka Audio offers three different programs for authoring and burning DVD-Audio discs: Discwelder Bronze for $99, Discwelder Steel for $495, and Discwelder Chrome II for $2995 (all their software is available at a discount from various mail order vendors). Bronze is a basic DVD-Audio burning program, Steel has quite a few more features and Chrome is professional level DVD-Audio authoring and burning program with just about about everything one would need to make commercial quality DVD-Audio discs. (The only thing missing is the Meridian Lossless Packing program, which is also available from Minnetonka Audio for another $2000 or so).

What has me puzzled is that with a set up of a fairly up to date midpriced PC with a high end sound card (capable of recording at 24 bit and up to 192kHz), a DVD burner and Discwelder Bronzer, one could be archiving one's LP or tape collection to a hi-rez format at an insanely low price. Each single layer DVD-Audio disc will hold about 3 or 4 hours of music at 24 bit/96kHz.

So why are we sitting on our hands? You can do this yourself, as soon as you get the software and a good soundcard and you don't have to play it back through your computer!!! You play the discs on your "big" rig while sitting in the "sweet spot".

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs

What external firewire or USB DVD-R drive should I be looking at? Best Buy had an LG 266A for $135.00 and it seemed to author all formats. It is USB 2.0.

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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs


Quote:
What external firewire or USB DVD-R drive should I be looking at? Best Buy had an LG 266A for $135.00 and it seemed to author all formats. It is USB 2.0.

Hi Jim,

Since I'm no expert on this subject and I just use the DVD burner that came with my Dell computer I will suggest that you check out the following links for some recommendations. PC Magazine DVD Burner Guide and Mazimum PC DVD Burner Reviews These will give you a good idea of what's out there and how best to spend your money.

Some things I would look for in a drive are dual layer support, support of as many formats as possible, the fastest speed you can afford and a decent built-in buffer size. One thing I would avoid is "last year's model", go with a current model, even if it means spending a few dollars more. And also look out for what software, if any, the drive comes bundled with, the better drives tend to come with better CD/DVD burning and DVD playback software (like Nero and Roxio), the el cheapo and OEM drives may not come with any software and licensed copies of the software can cost as much as, if not more than, the drive itself.

One quick note about burning speed - don't be to taken with super fast burn speeds, they don't mean that much in the real world since a lot of the time is spent by the drive starting to burn and "closing" the disc, plus some CD and DVD players may not read discs when they are burned at some of the higher speeds. Just FYI.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs

Thanks for the heads-up. The LG drive looked pretty nice for the money, but I will do more homework. I bought the NCH recording software for recording at higher sampling rates which my cheaper version of Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio would not let me do. Looks like plug and play is out the window. Should be fun. I guess the joy of buying CD'rs at 5 to 10 cents is over.

This link looks interesting. There are also cabinets that will convert internal drives to external for about $50. Makes no sense with the Sony at this price.

http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProductInformation-Start;sid=8eJwGNrq5NpyPJkJIlJ6E5XmxZWCKPxkB2k=?ProductSKU=DRX810UL

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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs

I'm anxious to hear what you think of the sound quality of the DVD compared to the Vinyl. Curious if you will reach for the DVD or the vinyl when it comes time for some serious listening on the big rig. I know I'm having one hell of a hard time transfering my digital collection to my server, probably because I'm being selective about tracks. I'm starting to think it would be much easier to just rip the entire CD then delete what I don't want at my leisure. At least this pile would start to dwindle a bit. But I hate the chore of it. I would much rather kick back with my current favorites on the new rig. Do you think you'll stick with it? I know you have a very large LP collection.

RG

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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs

At the moment RG I haven't ripped any vinyl to DVD-Audio. I've been limiting my early experiments to 24 bit files that I've downloaded from The Live Music Archive of Archive.org, which is a great site and worth checking out. Only problem with the files from archive.org are that they are what you would call bootleg live recordings, they're official, as in allowed by the performers, but bootleg nonetheless. That being said, the sound and recording quality on many of the shows available on archive.org is simply amazing, in many cases better than many official live releases. Some of these "tapers" really know what they are doing and have excellent, state of the art equipment. Most of the posts will list exactly how the show was recorded, i.e. location of the mics, recording equipment and method of conversion.

I do have a SoundBlaster X-Fi soundcard in my computer but at present my computer does not have a turntable connected to it. Plus if I was to go through all the effort involved in converting LPs I would seriously think about buying either the Discwelder Bronze or Steel program, if only to get some decent tech support.

I can say one thing, SACD does come pretty damn close to vinyl. SACD gets much closer to the sound of analog bass than regular CD does, that's for sure.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs

I think this will be fun and a long term excercise, but question where it will go long term. The cost of the discs will have to come done considerably for me to really use it all the time. As I have read elsewhere that many DVD players do not read 88.2 data, which is a cleaner conversion to CD redbook for most clients. There is no doubt that higher rez is the way to go. Even with this NCH WavePad software I have found recording at 88.2 and truncating back to redbook is better than just recording at 44.1. For $68 the WavePad is a great bargain, but I have no means to test it other than my ears. If I had a band I would sure look into hirez recording and archiving on DVD and worry about the final format later on for release. It is really too bad that the Tascam DVRA 1000 does not record in the proper 2 channel DSD format for playback on any sacd player. Another huge mistake.

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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs

Jim,

Two quick comments.

First, you should try to use the "Instant UBB Code" url link making featuring located directly below the post text input box when you want to add a link to your posts. It's easy and the link won't screw up the display on everyone's screen. For example your Sony link would displayed as: Sony External DVD Burner

Second, I quite agree with your most of your comments regarding the long term nature of hi-rez archiving except about how much the discs cost. I just bought a 25 pack of Memorex DVD+R, 16X, single layer, 4.7GB, disc at CompUSA for $8 which comes less than $0.50 per disc. How cheap do you want the discs to be?

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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs


Quote:
At the moment RG I haven't ripped any vinyl to DVD-Audio. I've been limiting my early experiments to 24 bit files that I've downloaded from The Live Music Archive of Archive.org, which is a great site and worth checking out. Only problem with the files from archive.org are that they are what you would call bootleg live recordings, they're official, as in allowed by the performers, but bootleg nonetheless. That being said, the sound and recording quality on many of the shows available on archive.org is simply amazing, in many cases better than many official live releases. Some of these "tapers" really know what they are doing and have excellent, state of the art equipment. Most of the posts will list exactly how the show was recorded, i.e. location of the mics, recording equipment and method of conversion.

I attached an image file of a label that I made for one of the DVD-Audio discs I "home brewed" using files that I downloaded from archive.org. The labeling program I use is Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker 2.47 and it's about the simplest and most feature packed program out there plus the price is very reasonable. As you can see from in the label image, there is all kinds of info given about the method of the recording. These people do not fool around! And I should note that many of them hate mp3s.

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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs

Fairly impressive. So you think the results are superior to the standard "from the soundboard" technique? Are these multichannel transfers? Can you walk us thru the download/burn process. I notice the final format "flac" being used. Is that good to go or is a reconversion necessary? Interesing stuff...this could be fun!

RG

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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs


Quote:
Fairly impressive. So you think the results are superior to the standard "from the soundboard" technique? Are these multichannel transfers? Can you walk us thru the download/burn process. I notice the final format "flac" being used. Is that good to go or is a reconversion necessary?

Boy, that's a lot of questions! I'll try to answer them one at a time.

1. So you think the results are superior to the standard "from the soundboard" technique? That depends on the individual recording, some soundboards are fantastic and some are quite lame. Some audience recordings are, as I've stated earlier, better than commercially released live recordings and some sound like, well, audience recordings. However, what I have noticed with the 24 bit recordings is that if the person doing the recording cares enough to record in high resolution then they seem to have their s**t together on the mic placement and sound quality end of things too.

2. Are these multichannel transfers? In the case of that Radiators show the answer is no, it is a multichannel mix down to two track stereo. I had emailed the person who recorded it and he told me that recording 5 tracks of 24 bit audio would take some ridiculous amount of hard drive space per minute and he just didn't have the room since he was recording several other groups that weekend. But he is going to experiment with a 5.1 channel 24 bit recording in the near future and will keep me posted.

3. Can you walk us thru the download/burn process. Some of this I had outlined in my initial post of this thread but I'll try to give you a better idea of what's involved.

A. Do a search of archive.org's live music archive using either "24bit" or "24 bit" as the search term and find a show that you think you might like. Download one of the songs as a test to check the sound quality and to make sure that you will like it.

B. I have to jump a little ahead here and talk about flac files. flac, which states for Free Lossless Audio Codec, is just as the name says, a lossless compression format which is not owned by Apple or Microsoft or anyone else and that's why the "tapers" and traders love it! You can download a copy here: FLAC download page.

C. Another sidebar: I decode the files from flac to wav for two reasons, first because I don't quite trust the dvda-author (aka DVD-Audio Tools) to actually work with flac files and second because I use Creative MediaSource Player to play the 24 bit files and since Creative MediaSource Player is from large commercial company (Creative, the makers of SoundBlaster) it's pretty lame and doesn't support playback of flac files - like a good any freeware media player would.

Still another sidebar: Please keep in mind that you will not be able to play the 24 bit audio files regardless of type of media player or flac/wav format if your computer's sound card does not support 24 bit audio playback.

D. Okay, so now you've found a show you want to download. Create a directory, oops I mean folder, to save the files and download the rest of the files. Once they're downloaded, decode them to wav using the flac frontend program. If you get any errors while decoding then try downloading that file again. I find that sometimes I get an incomplete download the first time around.

E. Once all the files have been converted from flac to wav, move or copy (I suggest move since it's faster and the files are BIG and you don't want multiple copies of them lying around on your hard drive) the files to the dvda-author folder and follow the directions given on the DVD-Audio Tools Howto page. About the only thing that's not too clear is how to burn an image.iso file. I use Nero and what's involved is just running the Nero Burning ROM application and selecting "file:open" and finding the "image.iso" file in the dvda-author folder, Nero does the rest. Just keep in mind that the image file cannot be larger than 4.7GB for a single layer DVD.

I hope that I answered your questions and that you can follow most of what I wrote. This reminds me of good old days of making cassette tapes. Most people just threw any old cheap p.o.s. tape in a p.o.s. cassette deck and then wondered why it sounded so bad. I used high quality tape in a first class, three head cassette deck which was carefully calibrated, with the levels set exactly and the results were pretty damn good. I apply those same principles to making CDs and now DVD-Audio discs - quality in equals quality out.

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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs

Dang Jazzfan....thanks for going above and beyond the call of duty. Great walk thru, I'm going to give it a go this week. Since I don't recognize ANY of the bands listed, perhaps you have a heads up on some you have found interesting?

RG

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Re: Home Brewed DVD-Audio Discs - Live Music Archive

Here's an update on my progress with the making of DVD-Audio discs.

So far I've downloaded and burned about 12 different shows from the archive.org site. All the shows were recorded as 24 bit with either a 44.1, 48 or 96 kHz sampling rate, it depends on the show.

The recording quality tends to vary but with the 24 bit recordings, at least so far, seems to be a rather high standard. A couple of the recordings are simply spectacular.

As for the music, most of the artists have recording contracts and several are quite well known within their respective fields of music. For example, Charlie Hunter is a premier jazz guitar player, Michael Franti and Spearhead is a headline rock/r&b act, The Radiators have been a New Orleans rock institution for over 20 years and the Jazz Mandolin Project is moving the concepts of "jam based music" in completely new directions. The great part about the whole thing is that you can download just a few songs to see if you like the music before you make a real commitment.

Now I have a pull the coattails of the Stereophile writers and editors. As has been often noted within the pages (and on the website) of Stereophile, the music business as we once knew it is dead and some new model will soon emerge to take it's place. Well web sites like archive.org are part of that new model and more importantly, the users, as in downloaders, of archive.org are the new consumers, the artists, whose music is available on the archive, are the new performers and the people, who record and upload the shows, are the new hi-fi enthusiasts.

The people who record these shows seem to be among the only ones in the younger generations who care about sound quality. Without ever having read an issue of any high end audio magazine most of them have come to the realization that mp3s do not sound very good and that a recording made at 24 bit, 96kHz sounds better than one made at 16 bit, 44.1kHz. Plus they appear to know more about microphone placement than most record company recording engineers.

Stereophile needs to get down into the trenches with these people and explore the cutting edge/intersection of future of the music business/amateur recording and online music distribution. I really think that it will be quite an eye opener for both sides.

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