Thursday, February 10, 2005

DualDisc - new audio/DVD disc

Announced in Summer, 2003, DualDisc is yet another a/v format, and delivers CD audio on one side, and a DVD on the other. Beginning in February, 2005, many titles, some old, some new, will be available on DualDisc for the first time, with bonus material on the DVD-side.

However, the creators of the CD and DVD standard specifications won’t allow their familiar logos to be used with the DualDisc. At least 8 audio manufacturers (MarkLevinson, Marantz & Sony Europe, Toshiba, Sony Electronics, Pioneer Electronics, Onkyo Electronics and Sony Computer Entertainment America) have released consumer warnings, stating that since the discs do not meet the Compact Disc Digital Audio specification, consumers should not use them in their products until the manufacturers’ R&D departments can certify that the discs are suitable. In fact, some of these manufacturers will not cover damage caused by the discs.

The concerns.

1. CDs are 1.2mm thick and are allowed to be up to 1.5 mm thick, allowing for size variations in manufacturing. DualDiscs are 1.5 mm thick and it’s feared that by being at the absolute outer edge of thickness, they may jam in some CD and DVD players. This is by far the biggest single concern since it may lead to physical damage of discs and players.

2. Apparently, the non-DVD side (can’t be called CD-side) can only hold 60 minutes worth of music.

3. Since the DVD side is mated to a CD-side, the DVD side is necessarily single-layer and can only hold half of the information of a dual-layer DVD. Most 2-hour or longer DVDs are dual-layer. This compromise in the amount of data that the disc can hold may explain why the “Reunited” documentary on the new Judas Priest “Angel of Retribution” DualDisc is 10 minutes shorter than on the separate DVD that comes with the limited edition CD version of the album.

DualDisc now competes with SACD and DVD-A, neither of which became very popular with mainstream consumers.

What Is On the DVD-side of DualDisc?

You may see an Enhanced album audio, 5.1 surround sound, music videos, artist interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, documentary films, photo galleries, lyrics, computer-ready digital song files, and Web links.

To take full advantage of DualDiscs’s DVD side that feature surround sound music, you¹ll need a 5.1 channel surround system.

What Is Enhanced Audio And Surround Sound?

The DVD side of the DualDisc offers superior audio. Many DualDiscs include surround sound mixes that have been specially created during the recording process. When listened to on a 5.1 channel surround system, the result is a rich, three-dimensional musical experience.

DualDiscs also include an LPCM Enhanced Stereo mix of the album on the DVD side. LPCM is an uncompressed audio encoding format and Enhanced Stereo refers to the fact that the audio mix of the album on the DVD side is at a higher sampling rate (48 kHz/16-bit) than that of a CD (44.1 kHz/16-bit).

Where Can I Play A DualDisc?

Use the DVD side if you have a DVD player in order to enjoy the entire album in enhanced audio and the additional DVD features. The DVD side plays wherever a DVD plays - including many gaming consoles and computers. In a PC, the DVD side acts like a DVD-ROM on DualDiscs that include computer extras and Web links. The CD audio* side plays on all but a limited number of CD and DVD models.

What are prices like for DualDiscs compared to regular CDs? Here’s a sample of three well-known recordings.

AC/DC’s “Back In Black” (1980) goes for $13.49 in the remastered digipack on CD and $13.99 on DualDisc, at Here’s what you get on the DVD-side for the 50 cents price difference: “Entire album in enhanced LPCM Stereo * The film The Story of Back in Black, featuring interviews with the band, archival footage, and in-studio performances of "Hells Bells," "You Shook Me All Night Long," "Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution," "Shoot to Thrill," and more * Discography.”

Avril Lavigne’s “Under My Skin” (2004) sells for $13.49 on CD and $14.99 on DualDisc. The DVD-side gives you “Entire album in enhanced LPCM Stereo * Music Video for #1 single "My Happy Ending" and "Nobody’s Home" * Behind the scenes footage * Photo Gallery.”

Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” (1959) sells for $8.99 on CD and $14.99 on SACD and DualDisc and has the following bonus material: “Entire album in 5.1 Surround Sound and enhanced LPCM Stereo * 25-minute making-of documentary, Made In Heaven, featuring black-and-white film and stills, the voices of Miles Davis and Bill Evans, plus interviews and more.”

Judas Priest’s 2005 release, “Angel of Retribution”, will sell for $20.99 for the limited edition CD + DVD two disc set and $14.99 for the DualDisc version. Both feature the documentary “Reunited”, plus 7 live video tracks, but the DualDisc documentary is shorter by ten minutes.

I would advise you to not buy anything in the DualDisc format until the manufacturer of you’re A/V equipment certifies it the format as being safe.

More than 50 titles were part of the initial rollout of DualDisc in November, 2004 including:

Simple Plan's newest album "Still Not Getting Any..." featuring 20 minutes of exclusive behind the scenes "making of the album" footage
Nine Inch Nails' "The Downward Spiral" featuring exclusive photos and videos in surround sound and a complete discography
Blondie's "The Curse of Blondie" featuring stunning 5.1 surround sound and music video of club hit "Good Boys."

What DualDisc Titles Are Available in February, 2005?

AC/DC, "Back in Black"
Academy of St. Jane, "Johann Sebastian Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos"
Astrud Gilberto, "Now"
Avril Lavigne, "Under My Skin"
Baltimore Symphony/Orchestra, "Saint Saen's Organ Symphony/Franck's Symphony in D Minor"
Baltimore Orchestra/Houston Symphony Orchestra, "Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4"
David Bowie, "Reality"
Destiny's Child, "Destiny Fulfilled"
Dishwalla, "Opaline"
DJ Haul and Mason, "Half Baked Goods"
Donovan, "Fairy Tale"
Five for Fighting, "The Battle for Everything"
Good Charlotte, The Young and the Hopeless"
Humble Pie, "Live at the Whisky A Go-Go å69"
Incubus, "A Crow Left of the Murder"
Jennifer Lopez, "Rebirth"
John Mayer, "Heavier Things"
Joshua Bell, "Romance Of The Violin"
Judas Priest, "Angel of Retribution"
Lee Ann Womack, "Greatest Hits"
Los Lonely Boys, "Los Lonely Boys"
Mercy Me, "Almost There"
Miles Davis, "Kind of Blue"
Motorhead, "Overkill"
Omarion, "O"
Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, "Live at the BBC"
Philharmonic Promenade Orchestra of London/Boult, "Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.5 and Leonore Overture"
REO Speedwagon, "Live: Plus"
Sammy Hagar, "Hallelujah"
Slaughter, "Then and Now"
Stray Cats, "Rockabilly Rules"
Switchfoot, "The Beautiful Letdown"
Tesla, "Standing Room Only"
The Church, "Forget Yourself"
The 5 Browns, "Introducing The 5 Browns"
The Pentangle, "Basket of Light"
The Pogues, "Streams of Whiskey"
The Searchers, "The Very Best of the Searchers"
Toby Keith, "Shock'n Y'all"
Todd Rundgren, "Liars"
Train, "My Private Nation"
Usher, "8701"
Utah Symphony Orchestra/Abravanel, "Leroy AndersonãFiddle Faddle"
Utah Symphony Orchestra/Abravanel, "Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake"
Utah Symphony Orchestra/Abravanel conducting, "Mahler - Symphony No. 6"
Utah Symphony Orchestra/Abravanel conducting, "Brahms - Symphony No. 1"
Utah Symphony Orchestra/Abravanel conducting, "Rachmaninov - Symphony No. 3"
Utah Symphony Orchestra, "Jean Sibelius: Symph 1& 4"
Utopia, "KSAN 95 FM Live å79"
Various Artists, "The British Are Coming"
Various Artists Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan, "Is It Rolling Bob?"
Velvet Revolver, "Contraband"
Vienna State Opera Orchestra Peter and the Wolf by Boris Karloff, "Serge Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and Lt. Kije Symphonic Suite"
Wishbone Ash, "Bare Bones"
Yo-Yo Ma, "Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone"

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