What Is "Enhanced Stereo"?

That's what a lot of people want to know when they buy a Sony DualDisc and notice that the DVD side offers Enhanced Stereo. As Clark Novak writes on QuadraphonicQuad.com, "What the hell does that mean anyway? 'Enhanced Stereo.' That's kind of like 'connoisseur's popcorn.' Means nothing. Grr."

Those little red inserts in the DualDiscs are no help, merely saying that "enhanced audio" means "superior audio." Lotsa theories circulating, so we checked with the label for the official word - and a spokesman confirmed that, for Sony, enhanced stereo is 48-kHz/16-bit linear PCM. Which, of course, is just a shade above the CD spec of 44.1/16. Other posters on Quad and similar forums suspected as much. Their reaction: "Not a lot of enhancement." "What's the point?" "Ugh! What a waste!"

So if you're looking for high-resolution stereo from Sony, stick with its SACDs - except that it's not releasing many of those anymore. D'oh!

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