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SACD: Is it worth it? - Page 2

post #16 of 153
IMO you're better off investing in a really good Redbook player at this point in the game. There are many tradeoffs with SACD:

PROS:
  • SACDs *can* sound great given a good source and good downstream equipment. Like any recorded media however, audio quality can and will vary depending on the recording and engineering put into the release.
  • In many cases older recordings have gone through remastering on their way to SACD release.
  • If you're into multichannel music there are some 5.1 SACD mixes that sound phenomenal with a properly calibrated and matched system.

CONS:
  • With the exception of some classical and jazz labels, SACD has been pretty much abandoned by both the industry and Sony.
  • Title availability is limited if you're into anything other than jazz or classical. Comparitively speaking there are VERY few upcoming SACD releases in other genres.
  • You need good equipment to realize the sonic benefits of SACD.
  • The Redbook layer on some hybrid SACD discs leaves a lot to be desired.
  • It can cost you. Doesn't make much sense to buy a cheap SACD player, since the whole idea is improving your audio experience.
post #17 of 153
I spent a lot of time and energy setting up a level balanced blind A/B test between SACD and CD. I couldn't find any difference between the two that wasn't attributable to differences in mixing and mastering. If you can get a combo player you like at no additional cost, it's fine. But I wouldn't walk across the street for SACD based on my testing. Just get the SACDs and play the redbook layer on a regular CD player. (if the SACD is the best sounding release, which it isn't always...)

Edit: I forgot to mention... My comments are based on 2 channel playback. If you're looking for 5:1, that's an entirely different story. SACD is great for multichannel playback.

See ya
Steve
post #18 of 153
I personally think SACD is worth the investment. To my ears it is vastly superior to redbook, especially with budget players. For $75 to buy a Toshiba uni-player and $20 for your favorite SACD title you can experience incredible sound. Probably better than anything you are likely to hear in the next 10 years. It is a rare treat for the budget enthusiast and has left me wondering what high end RBCD players sound like. I doubt they sound as good as a SACD from a budget uni-player
post #19 of 153
At the NY Meet, even what Vpivinylspinner called an "average" SACD player sounded better with a CD in a high end unit. Having experienced a really great SACD system (Emmlabs SACD/Grado Balanced Amp Balanced GS1000s), and trying both CDs and SACD in the source, I heard such a substantial, realistic, accurate sound that this has become my "dream system."
post #20 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal
I personally think SACD is worth the investment. To my ears it is vastly superior to redbook, especially with budget players. For $75 to buy a Toshiba uni-player and $20 for your favorite SACD title you can experience incredible sound. Probably better than anything you are likely to hear in the next 10 years. It is a rare treat for the budget enthusiast and has left me wondering what high end RBCD players sound like. I doubt they sound as good as a SACD from a budget uni-player
My SACD player is not any kind of audiophile-approved machine with a snobby name brand, but it certainly does its job....and does it very well. SACD is definitely worth it if there's music you like on the format. I went with SACD due to the low entry price and the relatively abundance of available software. Now I buy more SACDs than CDs.
post #21 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundboy
SACD is definitely worth it if there's music you like on the format.
I guess that's the reasonable approach. It offers the highest possible quality in terms of sonics & convenience (both DVD-A and vinyl loose out ), but what does that mean if you don't care for the music. Admittedly, SACD changed my listening habits quite a bit, classic rock & jazz were not so much on my list before. Yet I found joy in them, especially due to HQ remasters. The factor of high quality productions is much higher with SACD than with redbook, making up for a lot the format lacks in catalogue.
post #22 of 153
I am going to go the opposite way. Firstly DVD-A is better but that is not what I am arguing. Current D/A converters are only just realising the full potential of CDs and thus far the best sound I have ever heard from a digital source was still on a very high end CDplayer.

Moving from one cheap source to another makes sense if there is music on the SACD format that you can not get any other way. But it makes less sense to throw your weight behind a format with such laclusture industry support. Currently it is easier for me to find new vinyl then SACDs
post #23 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosk
I'm planning on upgrading my CD player in the near future and have been toying with the idea of buying a SACD player, perhaps one of the Shanling offerings.

My question is, if you had to spend an extra $100 or $200 to get a CD+SACD source instead of just a CD source, and assuming they both sounded similar on CD playback, do you think it's worth forking over the extra for SACD playback?

I have absolutely no experience with SACDs and have heard they're an improvement over CDs, but by how much I'm not sure.
They are a HUGE improvment if you have a multi channel set up.. 5.1 speakers.
Yes, even if you only use cans, it's still a sizable upgrade over regular CDS. I compared my Journey CD with my Journey SACD..Noticable difference..Wider sound stage, better seperation..Feels more intimate, upclose feeling..Ofcourse SACD really shines when using Multi Channel out 5.1 speakers.
post #24 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garbz
I am going to go the opposite way. Firstly DVD-A is better but that is not what I am arguing. Current D/A converters are only just realising the full potential of CDs and thus far the best sound I have ever heard from a digital source was still on a very high end CDplayer.

Moving from one cheap source to another makes sense if there is music on the SACD format that you can not get any other way. But it makes less sense to throw your weight behind a format with such laclusture industry support. Currently it is easier for me to find new vinyl then SACDs
Better is your opinion.. I prefer SACD among their many benefits over DVD audio..
post #25 of 153
I just ordered one of the refurbished Sony CE595s. The price was right ($89) and I've been curious about SACD since it was released. Now that I have the right equipment to appreciate it, I decided to take the plunge. Part of this is because I'm building a collection of jazz and classical. The SACDs are only a few dollars more (if at all) and I have heard the difference between redbook and SACD. All the titles I want (so far) are available on SACD as well.

I was seriously considering getting into vinyl or buying a reel-to-reel for an alternative to CDs and computer-as-source. Vinyl is expensive and requires maintenance. A decent turntable is $500-$1000, you have to buy a cartridge, have to buy or build a phono stage, a record cleaner, and some records to play. Even then, you have to replace cartridges, vinyl wears out, you have to fiddle with the arm, and so on. Now, I know a lot of people enjoy the vinyl ritual, and that's fine. But it is a bit of work. Good vinyl costs about the same as SACDs, too, you have to clean it and it eventually wears out. As for reel, you have to buy a vintage machine. Most are extremely well made, but there's still maintenance, some parts are hard to find, and most restorers want $400 and often much more to sort out a machine. And again, good reels cost about the same as good vinyl and SACDs. Tape also wears out and degrades over time, too.

For me, at least, SACD makes sense. I've always loved the no-fuss approach of CDs (wipe with a damp cloth to clean) and ability to skip tracks. The player will ship on the 19th, and I'm really looking forward to hearing it in my system.
post #26 of 153
As of this post, sa-cd.net now list 3,899 SACD titles worldwide. Five were added to the list today.
post #27 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by kool bubba ice
Better is your opinion.. I prefer SACD among their many benefits over DVD audio..
Oh do not start a war. There's fans on both sides. Both sides has technical papers which show how each is superior to the other often they are very contradictory. The formats are too different to compare imperically IMHO. Oh and they are better because a lot more of my fav music was released on them

Also yes I forgot about the 5.1 aspect. Assuming that is what you are into and that is what you are setup for then SACD (and DVD-A ) makes a lot of sense.
post #28 of 153
The best i could describe the difference between sacd and cd is that the sacd has more "air" and less edge. My favorite recordings in terms of sound quality are all sacds, Diana Krall, Beck, etc. I feel when i use speakers, i can really tell the difference. It can be "felt". I'm only using the sony ce595 but i can really tell the difference. My speakers are Dali Suite 2.8 driven by NAD c320bee.
post #29 of 153
This is a very frustrating issue for me.

I like well-mixed SACD and DVD-A quite a lot, although there are many titles that do not take anything close to full advantage of the potential offered by the high resolution formats. Of course, the same is also true of redbook cd's; most new redbook cd's are poorly mixed with little dynamic range. You can stamp a crappy mix onto any disk, no matter how formatted.

The heart of my sound system is my computer, which is a real problem when it comes to SACD listening. I now have my computer sound system tweaked to the point that decent redbook cd's ripped lossless to my harddrive generally sound better than SACD's played on my Denon 2200 (pretty much entry level for a Denon player). The limiter is the DAC in the Denon; since I can't transport SACD in digital form to my MicroDac, I'm stuck with the DAC in the Denon for SACD playback. It is inferior to the MicroDac, but there are not enough SACD titles that I like to warrant abandonning the convenience of computer based audio and the expense of buying a superior SACD player.

I still buy the occasional SACD, and am constantly on the lookout for good DVD-A releases (which I can play on my computer, using the software converter in PowerDVD, among other solutions).

If SACD somehow "takes off," I may spring for a better SACD player, but I doubt that will happen. The recording industry could not possibly have done a worse job of promoting this technology it they tried. What a pity.

So, for me, it's a matter of compromise. I get by with a used low-end universal player that I picked up on e-bay at a good price so I can listen to SACD's, but I also know I'm not hearing what I could be hearing with a better player, or if I could somehow send the SACD signal digitally to my MicroDac. For me, it was worth the $275 or so it cost me, but barely so.
post #30 of 153
I generally agree with BigShot in that the benifits of SACD come down to better mastering, not better resolution; even then, the best sounding releases are not always the SACD ones.

I am never going to buy into a format that requires the DAC to be chained to its transport and can't be ripped, as far as I'm concerned this is a fundamental drawback. Sony wants to run the show on SACD? Fine, but no one else wants to play.
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