What happened to Blu-ray Audio?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by floyd, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. floyd

    floyd Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Spring Green, WI
    I like SACD and that has been where most of my attention has gone concerning high res digital. Mostly because I just had a cheapo blu-ray player that was not part of my listening system. I pretty much ignored Blu-ray Audio, but recently I bought the Cambridge Audio CXU which plays just about everything.

    I do own a few blu-ray audio discs and even the Steven Wilson Yes offerings. A visit to Amazon.com did not find much to offer. Seems like many of the titles are now very expensive and out of print possibly. Did this format already die?
  2. DrZhivago

    DrZhivago Hedonist

    Adelaide Australia
    "It's dead Jim!".
  3. jl151080

    jl151080 Forum Resident

    Bristol, UK
    It's dead, aside from releases that decide to include audio only blu ray discs as part of the package, such as the new Fresh Cream box set.
  4. noname74

    noname74 We The North.

  5. micksmuse

    micksmuse Forum Resident

    san diego
    like so much the industry does. it thought it smelled money and chased it not realizing that most wanted surround sound with their upgraded format, especially on blu-ray's which are known for surround or just plain cheaped out and released a bunch of their old war horses in stereo and not really upgraded sound on it and it died out of lack of interest most likely.
    if hybrid sacd died hard to imagine blu-ray audio could survive because at least hybrid sacd's could be played in portable and car players.
  6. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City!

    Fonthill, Ontario
    Too bad:cheers:
    Karnak, J_D__ and audiomixer like this.
  7. oh_alvin

    oh_alvin New Member

    HD Downloads seem to have stolen their thunder.
    CDs should just start coming with a BluRay, the way DVDs do. Or a Digital Copy with option to download in HD.
  8. floyd

    floyd Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Spring Green, WI
    What are some unique titles (titles not on sacd or DVD-a, or with different mastering or extra material)
    Some interesting titles I see that still seem available:
    Nirvana (the 14 track collection)
    CSNY 1974
    Bryan Adams Reckless
  9. Vinyl Socks

    Vinyl Socks Forum Resident

    Niles, Ohio
    With HDTracks and Pono (maybe), Bluray audio seems forgotten - although concerts and other musical movies usually sound great in Bluray 24/192 audio.
    Talking Heads ~ Stop Making Sense
    Roxy The Movie ~ Frank Zappa and the Mothers
    The Doors ~ Live at the Hollywood Bowl
    Anything Beatles on Bluray
    Linger63 likes this.
  10. Juggsnelson

    Juggsnelson Forum Resident

    Long Island
    All of the Steven Wilson stuff is worth owning (Yes, Tull, Xtc), Tears For Fears SFTBC has a great 5.1 mix, Beck Sea Change is great and cheaper than the alternative, the Clapton stuff in the God Give Me Strength box too.
    These are also great: Lionel Richie, The Stones Grrr, and all of the Grace Jones titles (great sound and bonus tracks).
    ben_wood and kBear like this.
  11. Flaming Torch

    Flaming Torch Forum Resident

    Yes seems to be dying out. The blu ray in the Fresh Cream is great wish they had put everything on it from the box. The live CSNY from 1974 blu-ray is still around along with Pet Sounds. I am one of those who has dabbled with hi-res downloads which now seem to be the way old rock/pop titles will be issued.
    Jim in Houston likes this.
  12. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Hope to god the trickle isn't shut off before Fears for Fears is ready to release Seeds of Love.
  13. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident

    It's a real shame this never took off. Great sound and cheaper than SACD. A lack of strong titles and barebones discs didn't help, mind.

    I think the odd title is still being released, but you have to hunt them down.
    sunspot42 likes this.
  14. eelkiller

    eelkiller Technically right but still wrong

    What happened to Blu-ray? It appears it is still in use for movies & TV series (I just purchased Planet Earth 2 yesterday). It is still around but not being used as much for music. Blame the downloaders and vinyl buyers because CD is supposedly on life support. ;)
    Jim in Houston and CraigC like this.
  15. GregM

    GregM Forum Resident

    Daddyland, CA
    I agree downloads are replacing optical discs and I don't like that. DVD's don't come with a blu-ray disc, it's the other way around.

    I can't get onboard with downloads or streaming services.
    apesfan, kw21925, vegafleet and 3 others like this.
  16. If it's anything like SACD or DVD-A 'trickle' you have nothing to worry about.
    quicksrt likes this.
  17. detroit muscle

    detroit muscle Forum Resident

    The recent 25th anniversary set of R.E.M.'s Out Of Time contains a blu-ray with the album in 5.1 and promo films.
  18. 2141

    2141 Forum Resident

    This is a good question; something I've wondered for a while: What is THE FORMAT for 5.1 surround mixes today? These 5.1 mixes can be incredible and there's a lot music that I'd like to have this way, but... is there any consensus of the format? You hate to buy stuff that's going to be obsolete in a year or two. So what is THE FORMAT to rely on if you want surround mixes?
  19. AlanDistro

    AlanDistro Forum Resident

    Sandy, OR
    I just bought two dozen titles, they were all still in print except two or three, so all decently priced. I'm one of those weirdo's buying them just for the hi-res stereo tracks. I'm not set up for surround, and I like the idea of the physical discs vs downloads, especially as more and more hi-res downloads are being audibly watermarked. It's a shame the format isn't getting more love, it's ideal for hi-res music that the average fan can't easily make a copy of (so no need to watermark them) (I mean, I have bluray ripping and burning software, and make flacs of all my BluRay Audio discs so I can shuffle them into JRiver with everything else, but most don't even have a bluray drive in their computer).
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  20. 2141

    2141 Forum Resident

    "I like the idea of the physical discs vs downloads, especially as more and more hi-res downloads are being audibly watermarked."

    Totally agree!
    Shvartze Shabbos and AlanDistro like this.
  21. Vinyl Socks

    Vinyl Socks Forum Resident

    Niles, Ohio
    I'm curious about the watermarks...how do you spot them?
  22. AlanDistro

    AlanDistro Forum Resident

    Sandy, OR
    With your ears. When they're there, you'll hear it. Listen to the opening 15 seconds of Rush's "Tom Sawyer" from the 2015 HDTracks release, it's a low swishy sound not unlike mp3 compression artifacts. I was so incredibly pissed after spending over $200 on their hi-res catalog to find out they were all watermarked. And to make things worse, the BluRay Audio of the three albums they released during that campaign used the Sectors box masters, not the great 2015 masters. So there is no way to get un-watermarked hi-res copies of those masters.
  23. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    What is a watermark?
  24. OldJohnRobertson

    OldJohnRobertson Martyr for Even Less

    Durham, NC
    Honestly, Blu Ray audio is destined to suffer the same commercial fate as SACD and DVD-Audio. People need to face the fact that 5.1 music has absolutely ZERO mass-market appeal in 2017. People want their music portable, able to listen to it anywhere with a few taps of their phone, and that's just the way it is. Even for those who still like to sit in their living rooms and listen to music in the foreground, they just plug something into the headphone jack of their phone and stream it on Spotify or play Pandora. The days of new dedicated music formats being able to gain mass-market traction are LONG over.

    With that said, Blu Ray has one advantage that DVD-Audio and SACD never had, which is that you don't need a special player to reap its benefits. Any Blu Ray player can give you the lossless audio and you're only limited by your speakers, really. Because of that, I think you'll continue to have artists like Steven Wilson who love 5.1 and will put their albums out in that format in limited quantities for those of us who love it as well.

    5.1 mixes on Blu Ray can also be a great value add for box sets, kinda like what Depeche Mode did Delta Machine. It didn't make financial sense to put out a standalone Blu Ray audio version of that album, but since they planned to put out a box set of a live concert during that tour, it made all the sense in the world to throw in an extra Blu Ray disc with Delta Machine's 5.1 mix on it as a value add.

    So, no, I don't believe that Blu Ray audio will ever die, but I think releases are going to be very limited and only be available on an artist-by-artist basis. Sad to say, anyone who anticipates the day when all new releases come out in 5.1 and we see massive 5.1 reissue campaigns is deluding themselves. The only way I ever see Blu Ray audio dying entirely is if someone comes up with a way to stream 5.1 music. It's not so crazy to think of. After all, if Netflix and Hulu can stream movies with 5.1 audio, there's absolutely no reason why Spotify or Apple Music couldn't stream music in 5.1. If/when that happens, there will then be no point to audio on Blu Ray.
  25. AlanDistro

    AlanDistro Forum Resident

    Sandy, OR
    It's a digital signal inserted into the music to identify who the retailer is that sold the digital copy. It can be done inaudibly, for example, by putting it in the super-human high frequencies (say, around 30kHz), but instead they put it in the audible frequencies, so that it couldn't be EQ'ed out without substantially changing the sound quality. Problem with that becomes it's now audible (mostly on reverb tails), and makes the great hi-res master sound like a 128kbps mp3.
    chilinvilin, rxcory, ben_wood and 6 others like this.

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