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Basic DVD-Audio Mastering Software Now $495 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 May 2002
Minnetonka Audio Software announced the release of discWelder STEEL, a basic DVD-Audio writing program that allows pro and consumer users to deliver high-resolution audio from his or her own PC, at the price of $495. With discWelder STEEL, the user can import all Linear PCM formats supported in the DVD-A specification, including non-encoded / uncompressed surround (consisting of up to 6 channels of 24-bit, 48KHz audio), and/or high-resolution stereo (two channels of 24-bit, 192KHz audio). Surround and stereo tracks may be used on the same disc, in WAV or AIFF file format, and a discWelder-burned disc will play on any DVD-A player that supports DVD-R. The Windows-based program is extremely simple to use, and can burn DVD-A discs utilizing inexpensive DVD-R drives (such as Pioneer’s DVR-A04). Additionally, the user may edit the titles of the disc, group, and tracks, using the program’s default Background Image and Fonts.

For the first time, any audio studio, video suite, or savvy consumer can afford to write their own high-resolution DVD-A’s for under $1,000 for both software and burner. While higher-level authoring and editing features such as menu options, background images, slides, MLP import, video_ts import, DLT export and others are not offered in this basic writing program, Minnetonka Audio’s full-featured DVD-Audio authoring program discWelder CHROME supports all these features and many more, at a price of $2,495. Add Minnetonka Audio’s SurCode MLP ($3,495), and the end-user can author DVD-Audio at the feature level that suits their needs and budget.

The question is – will this breakthrough in software mean that more studios will be able to cost effectively create DVD-Audio material or will consumers pair software and inexpensive DVD-R drives with pirating software to rip off pre-recorded DVD-Audio material? The RIAA and some of the record labels might say that DVD-A piracy could flourish with such software but there are so few good DVD-Audio (and SACD for that matter) titles on the market, it wouldn’t be worth the effort and the cost for even the most punk pirate. On the other hand, there are tens of thousands of users who have high resolution (24 bit) digital audio workstations for home studios (like Protools) and home recording. At $495, this software allows the home music engineer to master his or her recordings for the content starved DVD-Audio market. In a painful era of music industry consolidation, could DVD-Audio be launched by grassroots means powered by the small recording studio and home recording engineer? Only time will tell.

Release of disc Welder STEEL and discWelder CHROME is scheduled for June of 2002. For more information, including a full list of features, please visit www.discWelder.com, or www.minnetonkaaudio.com, or call 952-449-6481.

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