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DVD-A Format Definition: What is DVD Audio?



What is the DVD-A Format?

DVD audio (or DVD-A for short) is sometimes confused with simply burning digital audio files (such as MP3, AAC, WMA, etc.) to a DVD (Digital Versatile Disc). This method only creates a data disc on which files are stored. DVD-A is in fact a special audio format for a DVD disc which enables you to store and playback sound that is far higher in quality than the normal compact disc audio format (technically called, Red Book). The DVD-A format is also superior in several other ways too.

How Does it Differ from Normal CD Audio?

As mentioned above, the DVD-A format is a superior method of storing digital audio data on DVD rather than CD. The main benefits of using this technology include:
  1. Enhanced Sound Quality: normal audio CD has a sampling rate of 44.1 Khz and a bit depth of 16 bits. Compare this to DVD audio which can have a sampling rate of 192 Khz and a bit depth of 24 bits. However, these two factors on their own don't translate to a better sound experience. To enhance sound quality even further, DVD Audio also supports multi-channel surround sound (5.1) which gives you a far better spatial experience when it comes to listening to music. These six channels of sound can have multiple sampling rate and bit depth configurations. Incidentally, audio CD only has 2 channels and is therefore less superior (and flat) in this respect.
  2. Storage Capacity: Due to the superior storage capacity of DVD compared to CD, you can store much more music at a higher definition. Audio can be stored (in the Linear PCM format) either as uncompressed data or compressed using the lossless MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing) coding scheme.

Common software for DVD-A Authoring

Popular software used for DVD Audio authoring includes:
  • Windows: discWelder (Minnetonka Audio Software, Inc.); Wavelab (Steinberg); DVD-Audio Solo (Cirlinca). DVD Audio Tools (free open source)
  • Macintosh: discWelder (Minnetonka Audio Software, Inc.); Apple Logic Pro; Burn (freeware).
Also Known As: Audio DVD
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