DVD-A question

I'm relatively new to DVD-A. I love the sound, but don't like the format itself, for various reasons:

1) You need a TV to play the disc. There is no TV in my music room (and never will be!), so SACD/CD/Vinyl rules there. Is there a DVD-A player out there that can be EASILY used without having to use the onscreen menus to select between 2CH/MCH, etc.?

2) Some DVD-A discs play a little snippet of music over and over again until you've done your setup and hit PLAY. For instance, I have "Monster" by R.E.M., and it plays about 30 seconds of "What's The Frequency, Kenneth" over and over until you stop it. It does this before you do your setup, AND after the disc ends. This is one of the most annoying things I've ever encountered. Is there a player out there that can essentially disable this "feature".

3) Where SACD has a discrete Stereo layer and a Multichannel layer, does DVD-A also have this? I've been reading a little bit, and it sounds to me like DVD-A in stereo is actually a mix-down of the multichannel information. Is this true? Is this something to be concerned with? Especially when choosing a DVD-A player?

I currently have a junky Toshiba player, and am thinking about getting a better DVD-A player. Or should I just keep my Toshiba because DVD-A is dead?

Thanks in advance.

1. Both of the DVD-A players I've owned allow you to preselect what the player will do to the disc. Even now mine just play without any television.
2. If you preprogram the player, you don't get any of the menu music.
3. DVD-As contain separate 2- and multichannel tracks.

YOUR DVD-A music may be dead, but mine isn't. The classical labels I buy still release music and I still buy it.

I prefer the sound of DVD-A to SACD, as do both of my 'multichannel friends'. Among other reasons, I find many SACDs to have a MUCH higher noise floor than ANY DVD-A.
1... As Jeffreybehr says, you don't require a video screen to play a DVDA. You do need it for setup. The solution is to go out and buy a little (13") cheap ($89) TV and put it in your equipment rack.

2...I think the "snippet" problem is the disc. I have not had this problem with any of several players and many discs. However, with the Denon 2900, some discs start themselves when the drawer closes, and others require me to push PLAY.

3...There are no multiple layers on a DVDA. I think that the DVDA protocol creates a stereo program by real time (in the player) mixdown of the multichannel program, although there is also provision for a stereo-only program with higher (196 vs 96) sample rate. (I have no stereo-only discs). All stereo programs (CD, LP, etc) are made by mixdown from many (24 or so) tracks, so the idea of making the final mix in the player seems OK to me. I think that coefficients for this mixdown are encoded on the disc and used by the player. Also, the multichannel playback involves coefficients that can be used to provide different "perspectives"...close up (called "stage") and distant (called "audience").

I have good and bad (audiowise) recordings, SACD, DVDA, CD, and LP. My best DVDA are superior to the best SACD and CD. (You can draw your own opinion of LP).

And the video material, interviews and program notes, are sometimes interesting (even on my little 13" monitor).
#1 - depends on the player
#2 - As above
#3 - depends on the disk - some have both DVDA multi channel and DVDA stereo (both in various combinations of resolution and frequency) All disks usually have a DD5.1 layer that will play on an ordinary DVD player and a prologic layer for 2 channel digital out. Some also include DTS5.1

My biggest irritant with this format is the fact that there doesn't seem to be any standard for the players or the disks - you get silverline releases which are no higher quality than DTS and rhino which are higher resolution more to the DVDA standard. More video and track type options with DVDA though - which could be viewed as a good thing by some. Get a good combo player and you will be safe (for a while anyway) As far as releases go - I'm in to rock/pop and SACD seems to be ahead in new and upcoming releases these days
3. DVD-As CAN contain separate stereo and MCH tracks but some do not. (Lately, it seems that is true for SACD as well.)

Also, I have added a 6" LCD monitor to my rack for use in programming the player and for program selection when necessary. It is unobtrusive and cheap and saves me lots of frustration.

Finally, I tend to prefer SACDs because there are many more classical releases compared with DVD-A. YMMV.

I have a McIntosh MPV851, Because of the display I could use this without a TV but I got a 15" flat panel monitor that I hung on the wall. I also use it for my XM tuner because it displays the title and artist of the song being played. I did turn the brightness all the way down so that when the lights are dimmed its not obtrusive. The McIntosh player will play in many different ways.

The formats depend on what's on the disk like
Normally these are on the disk

1) It will play 5.1 multi channel
2) 2 channel high resolution ether 96/24 or 192/24

Now this is where there things differ:
some DVD-A disks have a "mix down" track this is a special track that is used to down mix the multi channel to 2 channel If you select multichannel and you have your player configured for 2 channel it will use the mix down track.
With the McIntosh player if there is no mix down track and you are only using 2 channel it will do the mix down itself, it has it's own logic in it to do that

It can also play moves or a concert video on it. using the DVD-Video soundtrack.

You ask "is it dead" Well if its computer related media and it came out yesterday then of course it's dead. Tomorrow there is HD DVD and Blueray technology that will be at war with the DVD and SACD format. I guess if you get something with a good trade in value you can just keep trading in every few years and maybe someday it will settle down like LP's and CD's have.
As bad as the software selection for SACD considering how long it's been out, DVD-A software selection is dismal.

Add to that all the setup irritations and limitation, and the only thing I give it credit for is surviving.

Did they give up on the format or what? I haven’t really followed DVD-A much.

Anyone who doubts the value/performance of DVD-A/HiRez PCM should listen to a Classic Records DAD. IMO- the recording industry screwed up the format by trying to capture the surround sound HT
I certainly don't doubt the performance of DVD-A - in fact, I think it sounds marginally better than SACD, but I had to go with SACD simply becuase DVD-A was too scarse. I'm sure someday if it is still around I'll get a Universal player.

Thanks for the responses! I think I'm gonna sit awhile on the fence with this one. DualDisc and BlueRay would seem to jeopardize the future of DVD-A far more than SACD, and since I have over +100 SACDs now and only 4 DVD-A's, I think I'll continue buying SACD's for now.
Tom, Like Kr4 I put a mini mobile monitor on the back wall of my equipment closet. This keeps me from turning on my projector, even for other set-up items.

If you like the selection, perhaps you should try a HiRes two channel title [http://www.hiresmusic.com/]. They have several selections at 192/24 stereo that are really amazing. For sample tracks I have found Barnes & Noble.com has most titles available so you get an idea of what your getting before plunking down the coin.

Wow...100+ SACDs! That's impressive.

Good luck,

Like Kr4, I'm into classical music, and SACD has the titles. You can find most of the standard repertoire on SACD now. Although I'm still waiting for Bartok's quartets! I consider that to be the most conspicuous absence from available SACD titles right now. Also, more Haydn symphonies are needed. And I'm really looking forward to Diabelli Variations when Stereophile releases it.

I'll check out hiresmusic.com. Thanks!