Both DVD-Audio and SACD Get Much Needed Software Boost

If it's the software that sells a new format, then several recent announcements bode well for both SACD and DVD-Audio. Last week, DTS announced plans to begin shipment of the first DVD-Audio music recordings produced by its company-owned DTS Entertainment record label by late February 2001. Also, the first multichannel SACD to be produced by a major label from an original multitrack master, Mike Oldfield's recently remastered 1971 classic Tubular Bells is due for release from Virgin Records in February 2001.

DTS says that each of its DVD-Audio titles will be marketed as a "DTS Music Experience" and will include MLP multi-channel and stereo tracks for DVD-A players plus a DTS "Master Quality" multi-channel soundtrack and a Dolby Digital stereo track for compatibility with all existing DVD-Video players.

DTS' Jon Kirchner says that his company has been at the forefront of multi-channel digital audio since its inception in 1993, adding that "the new DVD-Audio format provides the storage capacity to simultaneously deliver multiple high-resolution 5.1 and stereo soundtracks. Backward compatibility to the DVD-Video format brings these exceptional music recordings directly into the homes and automobiles of millions of DTS Digital Surround enthusiasts."

According to DTS, the first DVD-Audio titles scheduled for release early next year include a series of 96/24 classical titles from Iliad, the pop/rock classic Toy Matinee (produced by Patrick Leonard), Steve Stevens' Flamenco A Go-Go, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

On the SACD front, Airshow Mastering, which has so far prepared about 50 of the 200 titles on the market, is excited about its first surround title. Airshow's David Glasser notes that for the Tubular Bells project, "the original engineer, Simon Heyworth, came over from England with the original half-inch [quadraphonic] masters. They'd been sitting on the shelf for nearly 25 years and we remastered them for surround."

Another recent SACD project, Yo Miles!, a Miles Davis tribute project led by avant-garde guitarist/composer Henry Kaiser and trumpet player Wadada Leo Smith, has been recorded direct to high-resolution stereo DSD by John Cutler. Glasser says that Yo Miles! is the first SACD project to make use of the new Sonoma mixing card for the Sony Sonoma multi-channel workstation.  Yo Miles! will be released in Japan on the Sony Japan label. A US release is in the works.