Upon purchasing a new SACD recording of the Asrael Symphony by Joseph Suk, conducted Ashkenazy on the Ondine Label, we noticed that it was recorded in a new recording process called DXD. We were curious and looked up this new process and found it to have various technical advantages over regular DSD, which has the been the SACD standard. Among its advantages over standard DSD SACDs are: higher sampling rate (352.8 kHz/24 bit), no need of a noise filter, and being able to be fully mixed and edited without having to downsample the recording to a much lower pcm based format and then upsample back to SACD, as is the case with regular DSD recordings of SACDs. For a fuller technical explanation see http://www.digitalaudio.dk/technical_papers/axion/dxd%20Resolution%20v3.5.pdf
In terms of sound quality, we have never heard such a clean, clear and spacious orchestral recording on SACD. Our previous experiences with SACD was often a mixed bag. Some recordings tended to be cleaner, particularly older recordings, but many we found tended to be thin, constricted and often rather bright and muddy at the same time. We always wondered about this, as the format was touted as superior to redbook CD. But after reading the DXD information above, the problems we had heard with SACDs all made sense, particularly the degradation in sound and noise factor. The DXD disc was clearly superior and had a totally different sound character to the disc. Gone was the thin, veiled constricted feeling of the SACD, being replaced by a rich, incredibly detailed, dynamic presentation. The sound stage was super wide and deep, with instruments in precise locations. Bass depth and definition was vastly superior to other SACD recordings. You could feel the texture of the instruments from the higher strings down to the deepest bass. We could hear all of this on Mid fi priced equipment consisting of a Modified Pioneer DV-48AV Universal Player, Modified AVR 354 / HK3490 receivers and our custom made subwoofers and single driver / point source speakers. In other words, you don't to have high end, incredibly expensive equipment to hear the sound difference.
We did have a few questions for anyone who is knowledgeable about such things. There are only a very few European labels doing their recordings (and not all of them) in DXD. So far we know that some of Ondine's recordings and all of 2L's recordings are being done in DXD recording. 2L is also using this process on their Blu-ray recordings of performances, which we can only surmise are quite stunning. Does anyone know of any other discs / labels that are now using this recording process?
Sean and Rick
Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative