Denon Electronics has added a Dual Disc section to their U.S. web site. The new information takes the form of a set of 4 “frequently asked questions” (FAQs) about the Dual Disc format and the playability or the two sides of these discs on Denon CD, DVD and Universal CD, DVD & SACD optical disc players. The appearance of the new information is not surprising since Denon is owned by DH Holdings, the parent company of Marantz which provided their consumers comparable information and commentary about the Dual Disc format late last year on that web site.
A Flipper Disc
Dual Disc is what is known in the music industry as a “flipper disc” with a DVD Video disc on one side and a CD disc on the other side. It was developed by Warner Music in the U.S. and is similar to the DVD Plus flipper disc product developed in Germany by a firm named DVD International. Recently, two disc pressing plants in Europe – Sony DADC and Sonopress – licensed the European DVD Plus patents from DVD International so they could begin to press Dual Discs for that market.
Originally the Dual Disc releases were referred to as having a “DVD Side” and a “CD Side”. However, officials at Philips Intellectual Property & Standards (IP&S) which licenses the Compact Disc or CD format, have refused to license the CD logo to companies making or releasing Dual Disc products on the grounds that they do not meet the Compact Disc spec. This has led to some changes in Dual Disc marketing and labeling lately with some companies – such as Sony Music – now referring to the “CD Side” as the “Audio Side” of the disc. In the case of Denon, they refer to this side of the Dual Disc as “the non-DVD side”.
Denon’s Dual Disc Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Denon Dual Disc information provides consumers with a definition of the product as well as answering consumer questions about the playability of the DVD and the non-DVD side of the disc. Denon says that the DVD side of Dual Discs “do not guarantee” playback on Denon DVD players. As for the playability of the non-DVD side of the disc, Denon says that this side does not meet the CD specifications, some Denon players “may read and interpret the audio side of the disc while others may not”. Finally, Denon indicates that they do not have plans to “modify its players to allow them to play back this new type of disc”. This is in contrast to an earlier announcement from Meridian which does have plans to offer Dual Disc modifications to some of its product line.
Here’s the text of the Denon Dual Disc FAQs from their U.S. web site:
1) What is “DualDisc”?
“DualDisc” is a two sided disc which appears to be a bonded combination of DVD on one side of the disc and non-DVD (which may incorrectly be referred to as a CD side) on the other side of the disc. “DualDisc” is similar in size to a DVD and CD. The DVD side of the “DualDisc” offers DVD video and/or DVD audio content which may include many of the features currently found in DVD discs including enhanced audio; 5.1 surround sound, music videos and other material produced by the recording artist or label. The non-DVD side of the “DualDisc” delivers the 2 channel recording; however it does not meet the Compact Disc Digital Audio Specification and therefore does not bear the CD logo.
2) Will the DVD side of the “DualDisc” play on Denon DVD players/changers and universal players?
The DVD video/audio contents on the DVD side of the “DualDisc” do not guarantee reproduction by Denon DVD players/changers and universal players. However, a couple of DVD players/changers do not support DVD Audio format and contents found on the DVD side of a “DualDisc”.
3) Will the non-DVD side (audio side) of the “DualDisc” play on Denon CD players/changers and recorders, DVD players/changers, universal players and SACD/CD players?
Not always. Since the audio side of the DualDisc does not meet the Compact Disc Digital Audio specifications found in the industry “Redbook Standard”, the data constituting the audio portion of the disc may not be read by some CD players/changers and recorders, DVD players/changers, universal players and Super Audio CD players. Even though the audio side does not meet the Compact Disc Digital Audio specification, some Denon CD players/changers and recorders, DVD players/changers, universal players and Super Audio CD players may read and interpret the audio side of the disc while others may not. The non-DVD side (audio side) of a “DualDisc” will be not able to play in a slot-type DJ or car audio players. Also, the non DVD side of “DualDisc” may become scratched or abraded with attempted playback in slot-type CD players.
4) Will Denon modify my CD players/changers and recorders, DVD players/changers, universal players and SACD/CD players that cannot playback either side of a “DualDisc”?
No. The CD players/changers and recorders, DVD players/changers, universal players or Super Audio CD players manufactured by Denon were designed to meet the Compact Disc Digital Audio and DVD Forum specifications. Since the non-DVD side (audio side) of the “DualDisc” does not meet the Compact Disc Digital Audio specification found in the industry “Redbook Standard”. Denon is not in a position to modify its players to allow them to play back this new type of disc.
Burning CD-Rs: A Dual Disc Workaround?
Speaking of the Denon optical disc players and the Dual Disc format, a web poll and recent postings on the Steve Hoffman Forum indicate that 3 Denon models – the 2200, 3800 and 3910 have play problems with the Dual Discs. But the posters report varying Dual Disc results with the same player. For example, some posters say the Denon 3910 has problems with the DVD and non-DVD side yet one poster says he has no such play problems with that Denon player model.
Interestingly music fans on that forum suggest taking the audio or non-DVD side of the Dual Disc and transferring the music on it to a CD-R disc with your home computer. The CD-R can then be played on a variety of CD and DVD players. I assume that works but I was under the impression that the purpose of Dual Discs was to encourage the purchase of music discs, not CD-R burning.
On the positive side, the poll on this forum indicates that most consumers are indeed able to play Dual Discs without issues on their players. In response to the question “Have you had a problem playing a DualDisc (either side)?”, a majority of the participants indicate they have not. The results of the poll are as follows:
Dual Disc Consumer Advisories To Date
To date, we’ve now seen 13 Dual Disc advisories from the following firms:
You can check earlier stories in the DVD Audio section of High Fidelity Review or the web sites of these companies for more details on these Dual Disc advisories and how Dual Discs may perform from optical disc players from these manufacturers.