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SACD: Is it worth it? - Page 3

post #31 of 153
[QUOTE=ComfyCan]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.

QUOTE]

I would say the analog output stage is the weak link on the Denon (and most players), the dac is actually decent.
post #32 of 153
[QUOTE=DigiPete]
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComfyCan
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.

QUOTE]

I would say the analog output stage is the weak link on the Denon (and most players), the dac is actually decent.
But therein lays the answer to the OP, not really the other (admittedly great) opinions posted here.

If you are only going to spend $100-$200 more for an combi-SACD / CD the chances are, probably, that BOTH will sound WORSE. Why? With more to "pack in" to the component, for such a small price difference, both will probably have to be compromised based on overall design.

So, based upon experience in the business, when you want the best performing of a device you go for the simplest design of that device - K.I.S.S. A combi-SACD / CD will sound decent but not "great" at the same approximate price point as a Redbook CD-only player as more money can be spent on optimizing the sound (only) components, instead of making a multi-channel output (which, thanks to SACD / DVD-A's copy protection, all must have (unless you have a proprietary link, like Denon, and an amp to match)), plus many SACD players are actually "Universal" players that also play DVD Video, and must included the added complication therefore.

I, also, have a Denon 2200 for instance, and in playing back SACD (not why I bought it; the Denon 2200 is my DVD video source, but it got good reviews and the "Universal" was an added bonus) the sound does indeed show a bit more 'spaciousness' – which may just be the mix - but the tonal balance and overall resolution of the output simply holds not a chance of meeting my Redbook CD playback system (I just tested it 20 minutes ago in comparison, as I'm in the middle of modding my DAC).

If you are into the upper regions of Redbook CD playback price points then less compromises have been made overall, smaller differences occur between unit [A] and [B] (contrary to magazine reviewer's opinions - because, after all, that's their job, make difference sound big so you'll continue reading their employer's products (the magazine)), and possibly going from brand [A]'s Redbook-only unit to brand [B]'s combi-SACD / CD might not be that large of a loss at all.

So, in less verbose terms...YMMV!!
post #33 of 153
I actually have to disagree with you Digipete to a small degree. Denon is one of the few people who make... acceptable receivers. I guess you could call it a hi-fi receiver really. NAD makes some as well. It is surprising what one of these units, internal DAC and all can deliver.

LeChuck you hit the nail on the head. The difference often comes down to mastering. The same goes for vinyl which needs to be mastered in a fundementally different way. A mate of mine listening to the DVD-A of Hotel California was awed by the bass. Well that is because the bass has been boosted during mastering darling. And who can forget the blunder that was the Norah Jones SACD? Yeah lets take a CD copy and run it through a DSD upsampler lol.
post #34 of 153
Thread Starter 
Great post Snake.
You've convinced me that SACD probably isn't worth my time the way things stand.

I'm also a devotee of the K.I.S.S. philosophy ala SET amplification and single-driver loudspeakers, so redbook only seems like the most sensible path for me. I wanted to make sure I explored all possible avenues before upgrading components.
post #35 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garbz
And who can forget the blunder that was the Norah Jones SACD? Yeah lets take a CD copy and run it through a DSD upsampler lol.
Are you talking about the 2 channel SACD layer or the multi-channel? The multichannel sounds distinctly different than the 2 channel layer. I think the multi-channel SACD layer is the only one that does Norah's voice justice.
post #36 of 153
You can't compare an older CD release with a recent SACD. They aren't the same. If they are going to go to the trouble of remixing and remastering a 5:1 mix, they are probably going to output a new 2 channel mix at the same time. Assuming the CD layer is the same as the SACD layer (the levels are NEVER the same), that's what you should use for A/B comparison.

I've done this on several systems... really good systems... and there is no difference at all once you balance the line level.

See ya
Steve
post #37 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleestack
Are you talking about the 2 channel SACD layer or the multi-channel? The multichannel sounds distinctly different than the 2 channel layer. I think the multi-channel SACD layer is the only one that does Norah's voice justice.
Bigshot will agree with me the only thing that does Norah's voice justice is the vinyl master.

But seriously bigshot made something else pop to mind. The record industries' overinflation of the sound improvments on the SACD layer. You think that copy of Dark Side of the Moon sounds more dynamic on SACD? It does, the CD layer has been purposesly compressed to crap. Even the very first CD release sounded better. Some magazine (stereophile?) analysed the disc ages ago.

What these standards really need is the marketing department killed off, and a code of conduct put inplace. I know a few guys who could make that look like an accident.
post #38 of 153
I'm quite fond of SACD, but it's held back by being a closed standard and being somewhat limited in terms of content.
post #39 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garbz
Bigshot will agree with me the only thing that does Norah's voice justice is the vinyl master.

But seriously bigshot made something else pop to mind. The record industries' overinflation of the sound improvments on the SACD layer. You think that copy of Dark Side of the Moon sounds more dynamic on SACD? It does, the CD layer has been purposesly compressed to crap. Even the very first CD release sounded better. Some magazine (stereophile?) analysed the disc ages ago.

What these standards really need is the marketing department killed off, and a code of conduct put inplace. I know a few guys who could make that look like an accident.
I have both the heavy and regular vinyl pressings of both of Norah's albums and I would have to disagree. The 5.1 layer of the SACD of Come Away with Me sounds better. All of the resolution, warmth and detail without any of the superfluous surface noise.

That being said, I also believe poor mastering is at the heart of most problems.
post #40 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garbz
Bigshot will agree with me the only thing that does Norah's voice justice is the vinyl master.
I don't know why a digitally recorded album would necessarily sound better on vinyl. Original 50s and 60s LPs in good condition often sound better than the CD reissues, but that's because of the poor condition of the masters after all these years and the inevitable desire of modern reissue producers to noodle and change things.

Vinyl, reel to reel, cd, dvd-a and sacd are all capable of sounding great. It's the mixing and mastering that matter, not the number of numbers and size of the plastic disk.

There was a famous case where RCA was caught with its pants down on one of its hypes... They produced a test LP for music stores to demonstrate their new stereo equipment. It included two examples of Beethoven's 5th first movement... one in mono and the other in stereo. The difference in sound quality was like night and day.

But then someone listened closely to the mono one and realized that they were comparing a late-fifties stereo recording to a 78rpm era recording by Toscanini from the early 1930s!

Electrical recording was a significant improvement over acoustic recording in the mid-1920s. HiFi was a significant improvement over 78s in the late 40s. Stereo was a significant improvement over mono in the mid 50s. But since then, almost all improvements aside from the elimination of generation loss, have been improvements of convenience, not sound quality. The best sounding recording I have ever heard is Fiedler's Gaiete Parisienne from 1954 in the Franklin Mint pressing.

See ya
Steve
post #41 of 153
It always comes up in redbook vs hirez arguments: mastering/mixing/engineering makes all the difference.

Yes it does but what high rez does for the engineers is makes it much easier to deliver a quality product. The best analogy is with hirez you have a 2 ft diameter bullseye vs a 1" diameter bullseye with RBCD. Yes if everything goes right you can create a great sounding RBCD, but there is a lot more room for error with high-rez.
post #42 of 153
That's not at all true. Bad mixing and mastering has absolutely nothing to do with whether it's a cd or an sacd. A bad mix will sound just as bad on either format and a good one will sound just as good. The format isn't the issue. A two channel mix for CD is exactly the same as a two channel mix for SACD.

The only advantage of SACD is the 5:1 surround capabilities.

See ya
Steve
post #43 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garbz
I actually have to disagree with you Digipete to a small degree. Denon is one of the few people who make... acceptable receivers. I guess you could call it a hi-fi receiver really. NAD makes some as well. It is surprising what one of these units, internal DAC and all can deliver.
Responding to Comfycan's post, he has a Denon 2200, which is not a reciever, its a universal player. So, his poor SACD performance (relatively speaking) is partly due to his source that does not have a very high end DAC or output stage. You can't hear what your source does not let you hear.
post #44 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garbz
But seriously bigshot made something else pop to mind. The record industries' overinflation of the sound improvments on the SACD layer. You think that copy of Dark Side of the Moon sounds more dynamic on SACD? It does, the CD layer has been purposesly compressed to crap. Even the very first CD release sounded better. Some magazine (stereophile?) analysed the disc ages ago.
And that is why I have purchased so precious few SACD's. The fact is that a MAJOR portion of the SACD catalog is re-releases of "standards"...sometimes 20 to 30 year old recordings?

Now I know that we believe, since we are all here as fellow audiophiles, that quality recordings are available...if SACD is "hi-res" WHY ARE YOU GIVING US REMIXES OF 30 YEAR OLD RECORDINGS THAT COULD NOT HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN RECORDED ON THE MASTERS WITH THE MULTI-CHANNEL "HI-RES" SYSTEM IN MIND????

And yes, I prefer to YELL at the !#$% morons!

I saw the DSOTM SACD, the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road SACD, the Miles Davis' SACD's, and on and on...

and any REASONABLE person would say "WHY am I going to spend $$$ to get, what is no more really, than a multi-channel remix?? If the masters were quality to begin with one of the audiophile pressing houses, like Mobile Fidelity, would have created a Reference Recording or UHQR a LONG time ago!"

(like Mobile Fidelity did for I, Robot, which is indeed on SACD...but I have the Mobile Fidelity RR pressing)

It's a total joke! Trying to make an audiophile - and let's face it, the first market for any new "hi-res", expensive format is the audiophile and then after that the general public after it takes hold - spend money for what we already KNOW to be old masters with fancy remixes...

Sony?

Blow it out your pie hole.
post #45 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigiPete
Responding to Comfycan's post, he has a Denon 2200, which is not a reciever, its a universal player. So, his poor SACD performance (relatively speaking) is partly due to his source that does not have a very high end DAC or output stage. You can't hear what your source does not let you hear.
My mistake I thought you were talking about a Denon receiver.

For the record I have borrowed and since returned the Norah SACD and I like the vinyl pressing (I have just the light one) much better then any content on the SACD 2ch or otherwise, that is why I thought bigshot may agree, but this is audio and so each to his own!

Snake that is one of the biggest problems. SACD is still just a format which is easily let down by incompitent mastering like any other format. The 30thanev edn of DSOTM was supposed to be hailed as the best thing since sliced bread. But the Mobile Fidelity labs master done some 5 years ealier sounded better then even the SACD layer.

Some new recordings make sense going straight to SACD. But then there's still things like Neil Young's Grendale which I stand by my opinion sounded identical to the CD!
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