When I worked as the marketing director for Dolby Laboratories from 2000 to 2002, I always felt like I was pushing against an immovable wall when I was promoting the then-new, now-dead DVD-Audio format. I wonder if the companies promoting new, high-efficiency amplifier technologies today sometimes feel the same way.
Both DVD-Audio and its competitor, Sony’s SACD, failed in the marketplace, but SACD was the one that got the most love from audiophiles. I even remember when Pioneer’s first DVD-Audio/SACD combi player came out, one reviewer raved about how much better SACD sounded through it than PCM did, even though unbeknownst to him that player converted all SACD signals into PCM.
Yet SACD didn’t perform better. No controlled listening test ever established its superiority, and the DSD recording format used for SACD has technical issues that make it in some ways inferior to standard PCM audio — for example, its dynamic resolution reduces (and noise floor increases) as the frequency of sound rises. Why, then, did audiophiles believe SACD was better, I asked one of Dolby’s most experienced and respected engineers (and one I felt had an especially solid grasp of market realities).
“They’ve been told it’s more analog-like,” he replied with a shrug.
How does this tie in with high-efficiency amplification technologies?
Read the full story: Fixing the Marketing Problem with Class D