I'll try to guide you the maze of these formats with both the geek explanations and my own simple-minded vocab. Hey....scrabble was never one of my strong board games...we Ukrainians learned crib dagnabit....
What is DAD?
The Classic 24/96 Digital Audio Disc DAD™ is designed to be an audiophile musical reference. The process starts with the encoding of an analog signal from a live microphone feed or more commonly from an analog master tape. The highly sophisticated Analog to Digital converter (A to D) samples the analog signal 96,000 times per second (96kHz) and assigns a numerical value to each sample point. The 96kHz sampling rate is more than twice the 44,100 (44.1kHz) sampling rate used on standard CD's......wow, if you're still reading this I'm impressed...
In a nutshell, DAD offers the listener an expanded dynamic range over traditional analog recordings. The low frequencies will be deeper and the highs will shimmer. DAD releases are sourced directly from the original analog master tapes. Oftentimes; new recordings are recorded in digital in the first place...and are thus transferred into DAD seamlessly. DAD releases are stereo (2 channel) and can be played on any DVD player. They will not play in a regular cd player.
A recent innovation is a double sided HDAD offering. One side can be played in your regular DVD player. Flip it over, and you can then take advantage of better sounding audio in a DVD-A compatible player.
You will find only a limited number of artists, including John Lee Hooker, Alan Parsons and Pete Townshend on DAD and or HDAD.
What is DTS?
Digital Theater Systems" - a multi-channel (5.1) digital audio encoding format created by Digital Theater Systems. The DTS format was introduced in theaters in 1993, with Steven Spielberg's blockbuster movie Jurassic Park.
The DTS format provides an expanded frequency range over regular cds and are available in stereo and\or multichannel formats. Like DADs, DTS audio discs are designed for use in your dvd player. All DTS discs will play in your dvd player; however, the older dvd players may only reproduce a DTS disc in stereo. If your home theater set-up can replicate surround sound...then you're good to go.
DTS has offerings of Eric Clapton, Steve Miller, BTO, Jeff Beck, Queen, the Police and others.
What is DVD-A?
DVD-Audio is the latest member of the DVD family of pre-recorded optical disc formats and is designed to be the next-generation high-quality audio format, offering very high quality, surround sound, longer playing times plus additional features that are not available on CDs.
DVD-Audio discs can also carry video, like DVD-Video titles, and limited interactivity. Capacity of a single layer DVD-Audio is at least 74 minutes of high quality full surround sound audio. In addition the disc can accommodate the same audio encoded as Dolby Digital for playing on existing DVD-Video players.
In other words...I mean my words...DVD-A discs contain both audio tracks and some video content. Most titles come with a photo album, videos and lyric sheets that are displayed on your television...much like popping a movie into your dvd player. The menu function allows you to choose between 2 channel audio (stereo) and; when applicable, multichannel or surround sound. Some discs will come with 3 or more different playback options including mono for the diehards. Some
DVD-A discs will not play on older dvd players. Make sure your dvd player can handle this format before you buy.
What is SACD?
Super Audio CD is a new format developed by Sony and Philips. It uses DSD (Direct stream digital) recording technology and a 4.7GB disc to give the consumer an audio experience so real you think you are in the recording studio or front row at a concert. ....or in the middle of the orchestra pit.
Says me....as the anagram suggests, SACD is designed to play on your cd players. SACD discs come in 3 different formats. A single layer SACD will play on an SACD compatible player only. Dual layer SACDs can hold almost double the information as a single layer SACD. In other words; those double cds in your collection can be transferred to one dual-layered SACD. Like the single layer SACD, dual-layered SACDs will only play on an SACD compatible cd player. And finally, the hybrid SACD has a single high density layer and a cd layer. These SACDs will play on your fancy SACD player in the livingroom, in your car stereo and on that crappy cd player on your bedside table. Important to note: SACD compatible players will play any type of cd available.
SACDs can come in multichannel or stereo variants. Some titles, like Jeff Beck's "Blow by Blow" are offered in either a stereo version or a multichannel version. Other artists with SACD releases include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Aerosmith, and Pink Floyd and hundreds(!) of others.
All in all....DAD, HDAD, DTS and DVD-A are designed for your DVD player. SACD is designed for your SACD compatible cd player. DAD offers up to 2 channel stereo, all the others offer stereo and or Multichannel variations. Whew...I think I even learned a thing or 2 about a thing or 2 today. What the...?