Linn Products, a well known audiophile firm based in Glasgow, Scotland and Sony Japan are the latest consumer electronics companies to issue advisories about using their optical disc players with the new Dual Disc format developed by Warner Music in the U.S. High Fidelity Review readers will recall that the Dual Disc is a disc which features DVD content (DVD Video, DVD Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio, DTS 5.1 Audio or a combination of these) on one side and Audio content on the other side. The two sides are glued together and the resulting product is often referred to as a “flipper disc” because you need to flip the disc to play one side or the other.
Since it’s release, the Dual Disc has proved to be playable on most – but not all – optical disc players on the market. The result is that each Dual Disc carries a mandatory notice about potential compatibility concerns from the record labels that issue the discs. More recently, optical disc player manufacturers are also issuing advisories of their own about the Dual Discs.
Linn Products Comments on Dual Disc
Linn Products is a well known maker of audiophile speakers, amps, processors and disc players. The notice from Linn about Dual Disc releases appears under the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of their web site. Their view of using Dual Discs with their optical disc players is noted as follows:
Q. DualDisc format – is it a supported format for Linn disc players / audio servers?
A. No – DualDisc is not supported. DualDisc is a disc format with DVD content on one side and ‘CD’ on the other (see http://www.dualdisc.com for details).
The DVD side comprises DVD-Video and/or DVD-Audio content. The ‘CD’ side is designed to play on CD players but is not in fact a CD as it is not compliant with the Compact Disc Digital Audio Specification (the industry ‘Red Book’ CD Standard). These discs are also thicker than standard CDs or DVDs.
As these discs are not compliant with current industry standard, Linn cannot guarantee that they will play on our range of disc players and audio servers.
Nor can we guarantee that the thickness of DualDiscs will not cause problems for these Linn products – possibly damage to the product and/or the disc – if played.
Any damage resulting from the playing of DualDiscs will not be covered by the Linn warranty, so using these discs with a Linn disc player or audio server is entirely at the user’s risk.
Sony Japan Advisory on Dual Disc Playback
As we’ve noted before, Sony has an interesting role in the world of Dual Discs. The Sony Music division of the company makes Dual Disc releases which feature CD Audio on one side and 5.1 Dolby Digital and DVD Video Clips on the other side. Sony’s DADC division makes the Dual Discs at their Terre Haute and Austrian plants while several of Sony’s Electronics divisions have issued consumer advisories about Dual Disc playback.
On Sony Japan’s web site, they offer the following commentary about Dual Disc playback. Since the notice is in Japanese, the following comments are loosely translated into English with the help of the Alta Vista translation tool on the Internet:
Customers Everywhere: The News Regarding DualDisc Use
The surface of the DualDisc that was sold starting on October 26th last year by the American music industry, conforms to the DVD standard. Furthermore, the music side of DualDisc (the non DVD side), does not conform to the Compact Disk standard.
Please inquire at the dealership or the original music label which sells DualDisc concerning the details and purchase method etc. of DualDisc.
Q & A regarding DualDisc use
Q 1. Is the DualDisc a CD?
A 1. The music aspect of a DualDisc (the non DVD side), does not conform to the Compact Disc (CD) standard. Therefore, the CD Logo graphic is not present.
Q 2. Can Sony made DVD players on PCs with DVD drives play back DualDisc
A 2. The music aspect of DualDisc (the non DVD side) does not conform to the CD standard. Current Sony DVD recorders and drives for the PC do not guarantee playback of the music side of a DualDisc.
The DVD Video contents of DualDisc (the DVD side) are reproduceable with Sony DVD recorders and drives for the PC.
Sony made DVD players with record and DVD drives for the PC do not support the DVD Audio (DVD-A) format, they cannot playback Dual Disc contents which are recorded with the DVD Audio format.
Q 3. Can PCs with Sony made CD drives and players playback DualDisc?
A 3. The music aspect of DualDisc (the non DVD side) does not conform to the CD standard. With current Sony made CD players or CD drives for PC, the music aspect of DualDisc (the non DVD side) Sony does not guarantee playback.
In addition, in order for Sony Compact Disk (CD) players to conform to standard, we design the Sony made CD players and the CD drive for PC to this standard.
As for DualDisc, because both sides become the record aspect, when you use DualDisc with Sony made CD players or parts, there is a possibility of causing a scar which will influence playback of the DVD aspect of the disc. Because of this, please do not use DualDisc in the following Sony products:
- 1) Sony CD players made before the 2003 May CD player
2) Sony Net MD desktop audio systems LAM-10, LAM-Z10, LAM-Z03 and LAM-Z05
3) Sony Hi-MD desktop audio system LAM-X1
4) Sony Personal component system CMT-A01MD and CMT-AH10
5) Sony CD walkman D-E01
6) AIWA make Net MD desktop audio system ADN-1
7) AIWA make MD desktop audio system XR-MDS7
Q 4. My DVD player/the recorder, does the music private aspect of DualDisc that try can play back the CD player or the drive for PC?
A 4. Sony DVD player/recorders for the PC conform to the CD standard. Because the music aspect of DualDisc (the non DVD side) do not conform to standard, the music aspect of DualDisc it does not correspond unless existing equipment is remodelled in order to make reproducible.
Dual Disc Consumer Advisories To Date
To date, we’ve now seen 15 Dual Disc advisories from the following firms:
- Linn Products
- Mark Levinson
- Onkyo Electronics
- Pioneer Electronics
- Sony Computer Entertainment America
- Sony Electronics America
- Sony Europe
- Sony Japan
For more information on each company’s comments and position on Dual Disc, you can check earlier stories in the DVD Audio section of High Fidelity Review or the web sites of these companies for more details.
Designed for Dual Disc Playback
The good news on the horizon for the Dual Disc format is we are just now beginning to see products being designed from the ground up with Dual Disc playback in mind. The first such Dual Disc compatible product is the recently announced PlayStation 3 from Sony which is slated for release in Summer 2006. That unit will play both the DVD and Audio sides of Dual Discs and will handle both PCM, Dolby Digital and DTS encoded Dual Disc content.
The PlayStation 3 does not include support for DVD-A content on Dual Discs, but I suspect we will see future player announcements with that capability as well later this year or sometime in 2006.