Philips Announces ProTools DSD Plug-In & SACD Creation Tools

Philips has announced the availability of a new Plug-In for the popular ProTools Digital Audio Workstation that will enable ProTools users to create multichannel DSD audio files on ProTools workstations and systems. In addition to the new DSD ProTools plug-in, Philips is also offering a standalone software program called SA-CD Creator and an SA-CD Creator Pack which includes both products.

According to officials at Philips, these new DSD production tools are designed to speed the creation of SACD disc images and cutting masters, thereby bringing more Super Audio CD discs to market in the near future. All three of these products will be available through the Philips ProTech group shortly.

New DSD Plug-In for ProTools
The new DSD plug-in developed by Philips ProTech works on the Digidesign Pro Tools LE and TDM systems. At this time, the plug-in is only available for systems running on the Windows platform. The plug-in converts PCM audio (2, 5 or 6 channels) to a Direct Stream Digital (DSD) file. The plug-in also includes a DST compression ratio estimator to estimate the size of the audio file’s disc image on an SACD disc. (DST is the lossless packing technology developed by Philips that is used in the SACD production process).

SA-CD Creator Software
Philips is also offering a product named SA-CD creator which takes DSD files (created from the Philips DSD PlugIn for ProTools LE/TD for Windows, the Philips Audio Format Converter software program, a DSD audio workstation or a DSD file from a hardware DSD converter) and enables the user to convert that file to “a complete verified SA-CD disc image”. Key features of the SA-CD Creator software include:

  • Audio Level Metering of the DSD file according to Annex D&E of the Scarlet Book standard for SA-CD
  • DSD to DST encoding (lossless data compression)
  • SA-CD authoring
  • Logical verification of the SA-CD disc image
  • A playback feature which enables listening to the DSD data or SA-CD disc image, and the display of SA-CD text
  • Integrated tape writing functionality to allow distribution of the SA-CD disc image on tape
  • An intuitive user interface
  • SA-CD text input via an input file or the embedded SA-CD text editor
  • Playback via a dedicated hardware PCI card with 6-channel SDIF outputs, to enable the user to connect their own preferred D/A converter equipment
  • Result logging for later reference

The Philips SA-CD Creator Pack
In addition to the SA-CD Creator software for Windows, Philips is also making available a new SA-CD Creator Pack. This product consists of the Philips SA-CD Creator and the Philips DSD ProTools Plug-In in one package. Philips refers to the new Creator Pack as “a complete software solution for the creation of Super Audio CD Disc Images/Cutting Masters for Pro Tools users.”

Comments on the New Products
Jos Bruins, Director of Marketing at Philips Intellectual Property & Standards said that

“We expect the SA-CD Creator Pack to be welcomed by the many music studios which are currently preparing their titles for release on SA-CD. We have deliberately focused this solution on Digidesign’s Pro Tools workstations because of their leadership and market position. Now, the combination of Pro Tools with our SA-CD Creator gives studios an affordable, end-to-end solution that provides full in-house control of the process of creating SA-CD disc images and cutting masters.”

Ed Gray, Digidesign Director of Partnering Programs noted that

“We aim to give our customers fully featured audio production solutions with our Pro Tools LE and HD products. With its outstanding sound quality and realism, Super Audio CD is an extremely valuable complement to Pro Tools. The availability of the specific DSD output plug–in shows Philips’ commitment in bringing a powerful SA-CD authoring and mastering capability to the music production studios community where Pro Tools has a large and growing base of creative users.”

According to Philips, the new products will be available on June 1st. Pricing of the new products in Euros, excluding VAT and including shipping costs are as follows:

  • DSD Plug-in for ProTools for Windows (999 Euro)
  • SA-CD Creator (8,995 Euro)
  • SA-CD Creator Pack (DSD Plug-in + SA-CD Creator) (9,799 Euro)
  • Additional DSD plugins on top of SA-CD Creator Pack (299 Euro)

Additional DSD & SACD Tools from the Philips ProTech Group
To provide DSD & SACD technology and tools to the recording industry, Philips formed the ProTech Group last October headed up by SACD Project veteran Petra Smits. ProTech is made up of members of the Philips Intellectual Property & Standards (IP&S) group that license CD and SACD technologies to the industry as well as staff from the Philips Digital System Labs (PDSL) which handles development for both Philips Consumer Electronics and Philips Semiconductors.

ProTech’s mission is to provide assistance and support to hardware companies that want to integrate DSD and SACD technology into their professional recording studio equipment. The ProTech group also provides finished software for use by record labels and recording studios as well. Some of the products the group now makes available to the industry (in addition to the DSD Plug-In, SA-CD Creator and SA-CD Creator Pack) include:

Software Modules

  • Super Audio Disc Image Reading Component
  • Super Audio Disc Builder Component
  • Super Audio Disc Image Verifier Component
  • Other DSD & SACD Products
  • Audio Format Converter Application
  • Super Audio Verifier PCI Card
  • DST Encoder for Windows
  • Super Author for Windows
  • Super Audio CD Verifier for Windows