Flashback 2001: Introducing DVD-Audio

DVD-Audio was the big story in our February/March 2000 issue, which devoted more than a dozen pages to the launch of a promising new multichannel music format hailed by Neil Young and other artists as audio’s second coming. Things didn’t quite turn out as planned.

From our 2012 article, “Flops: 14 Formats and Technologies that Couldn’t Quite Hang On”:

SACD started life in the fall of 1999 as a tweak format with the launch of a $5,000 Sony player and 19 (mostly classical) Sony Music titles priced at $25 each. Although the format was capable of multichannel surround sound, early players and discs played only stereo SACDs and regular CDs; multichannel players and discs would come a couple of years later. After several false starts, DVD-Audio stumbled into the market a year later, led by a $1,000 Panasonic player and a small, eclectic mix of pop, jazz, and classical titles, also priced around $25. Players were touted as universal machines that played CDs, regular DVDs, and the new, high-res DVD-Audio discs, which served up music mixed for 5.1-channel surround sound, DVD-like menus, and multimedia extras such as videos, interviews, lyrics, and photos. A Warner Music exec who was at the forefront of the launch said DVD-Audio would be looked back on as “a milestone similar to the move from mono to stereo.” Actually, it would be all but forgotten before the end of the decade.

mtymous1's picture

...it didn't make it. One of my favorite albums (STP's "Core") was done for DVD-audio and I especially enjoyed the 5.1 mix. I heard detail from the DVD-audio that simply wasn't available on any other medium.

I guess on the flip side it ushered quite a number of discs in to the realm of collector's items since it's now worth three times what I paid back in 2000/2001:

What's more is that it was super-simple to rip the 5.1 tracks to multi-channel FLAC at the same 24/96 resolution 14 years later. Try doing that with a 24/96 BluRay.

thehun's picture

Yup from the ripping POV DVD-A is awesome, Blu Ray is fairly easy too, but forget SACD it's a pain, maybe one of the reasons why DSD downloads are all the fad these days.