Surround sound authoring




I am a little ignorant of DVD audio standards, and could use some tips about pushing the envelope.

Basically, I want to author a DVD with from 4 to 6 channels of uncompressed sound - with the original sound source being a CD. As I understand things, the DVD standard permits WAV sound, provided it has been upconverted from 44.1 to 48 kHz. Where I start to get a little hazy is whether anything more than stereo is likely to cause problems. I can put up with playback on a PC rather than on a stand-alone DVD player, if that makes any difference. In fact, I can put up with not necessarily burning a disc, and simply using the hard drive.

Why am I trying to do this? Well, it’s an experiment in using software to mimic active bi or tri-amping, if that means anything to you. The concept here is that some signal processing is applied to a CD track so that the high frequencies go to one file, the lows to another, etc. These individual stereo tracks are then all played back in synchronisation through separate amplifiers.

The advantage of going the surround-sound route is that it conveniently solves the playback synchronisation problems that would otherwise have to be overcome. The downside is that I am not totally sure I can do all this with uncompressed audio, and this is where I could use some advice. A related question is whether I can do this in DVD-V or whether it has to be DVD-A? Alternatively, I suspect I would have to start looking at pro audio mixing and recording tools, probably in combination with some specialised hardware like multi-channel soundcards.


OK, with a bit more digging around I discover that the DVD-V standard supports 8-channel 24/96 LPCM. Good news. The main stumbling block as I see it is either authoring packages or DVD players which don’t support the full standard. For instance, I have a nagging feeling that my stand-alone player will only do stereo LPCM, and surround-sound has to be compressed, ie, DD or DTS.


More digging around seems to have answered my question. The bottom line is that it is all possible in principle, but the authoring packages and/or the DVD players may be a stumbling block:


DVD-V standards do support LPCM (uncompressed audio) but from experince not every player seems to, don’t ask why. In all honesty the best to use is Dolby Digital since no players will have any problems with them despite what the DVD-V standards are.