Technology

So what exactly is BluRay, CD, DMM, DSD SACD and XRCD?

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SACD


SACD is capable of encoding recorded audio in either stereophonic sound or surround sound. Although SACD audio streams are encoded in a pulse-density modulation (PDM) scheme called Direct Stream Digital (DSD), a manufacturer may also write a Pulse-code modulation (PCM) "layer" compatible with conventional Compact Disc players.

SACD is a disc of identical physical dimensions to a standard compact disc; the density of the disc is the same as a DVD and it encodes audio using a process known as Direct Stream Digital. The SACD sampling rate is 2.8224 MHz and the resolution is one bit. A stereo SACD recording can stream data at an uncompressed rate of 5.6 Mbit/s, four times the rate for Red Book CD stereo audio.[1] SACD recordings can have a wider frequency and dynamic range than conventional CDs.

There are three types of SACDs:

  • Hybrid: Hybrid SACDs are encoded with a 4.7 GB DSD layer (also known as the HD layer), as well as a PCM (Red Book) audio layer readable by most conventional Compact Disc players.
  • Single-layer: A DVD-5 encoded with one 4.7 GB DSD layer. Single-layer SACDs are not backward-compatible with conventional CD players.
  • Dual-layer: A DVD-9 encoded with two DSD layers, totalling 8.5 GB, and no PCM layer. Dual-layer SACDs can store nearly twice as much data as a single-layer SACD. Like single-layer SACDs, dual-layer discs are not backward-compatible with conventional CD players.

The CD layer exists primarily for backward compatibility, but is not required. If the CD layer is omitted, the SACD need not be limited to an 80-minute playing time. For stereo material, the space that would have been taken by the multi-channel program can be used to extend playing time to four hours or more.

Objective lenses in conventional CD players have a longer working distance, or focal length, than lenses designed for SACD players. This means that when a hybrid SACD is placed into a conventional CD player, the laser beam passes the high-resolution layer and is reflected by the conventional layer at the standard 1.2 mm distance, and the high-density layer is out of focus. When the disc is placed into an SACD player, the laser is reflected by the high-resolution layer (at 600 Ám distance) before it can reach the conventional layer. Conversely, if a conventional CD is placed into an SACD player, the laser will read the disc as a CD since there is no high-resolution layer.