Fighting Audiophile Obsolescence

Waiting for the Holy Grail of DVD-Audio? Even with players still distant on the horizon, one can now begin building a DVD-Audio music library with discs compatible with current DVD-Video players. At least that's the strategy offered at the recent High End 2000 show in Frankfurt, Germany this past week.

Syrinx Music & Media has announced that, in a joint production with Audionet and Frequenzwerkstatt, it will soon release what they describe as "the first-ever DVD to meet both the high-resolution DVD-Audio standard as well as the DVD-Video standard." The jazz disc features the Hamamura Quintet, recorded in Hamburg at the Milchkettenmusik Studio. Syrinx says it was in charge of recording, audio post-production, and DVD premastering, and provided the central elements of the production system, while overall production was in the hands of Frequenzwerkstatt.

In a statement, Syrinx says that "as long as the DVD-Audio and Universal players are still awaiting widespread distribution, this DVD can be read in an ordinary DVD-Video player, with the consumer able to choose in the start menu between 24-bit/96kHz stereo, 16-bit/48kHz stereo, or 5.0 Dolby Digital Multichannel." According to the company, the same disc in a DVD-Audio or Universal player will then offer the consumer the ability to select, in a graphically differentiated DVD-Audio start menu, 24-bit/192kHz stereo or 24-bit/48kHz 5.0-channel.

Marcus Herzog, chief Tonmeister at Syrinx, states that "music lovers will find this project reminiscent of the tradition of direct-die plates. Recordings in high-resolution multichannel technology are teamed with high-bit recordings of up to 24-bit/192kHz stereo. The frequency range which this facilitates, of up to 96kHz, does not yet allow for subsequent alterations to the sound. The final mastering is therefore done at the recording stage."

Syrinx adds that the creation of DVD-Audio and DVD-Video compatibility in one product will "set the skeptics thinking as regards the marketability of the new DVD-Audio standard. Since the new standard is compatible with the 'old' DVD-Video standard, the audiophile market segment can be served without any additional replication costs."