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From CD to SACD how much of difference

post #1 of 161
Thread Starter 
Hullo all
So I got my first SACD to try on my Denon DVD-2930CI, I must say I was kinda dissappointed. My AKG 701's are not completely broken in, so that may be part of it. But I confess I thought I would hear a BIG difference between a CD and a SACD. As it is, I've tried both the multichannel and stereo "modes" for the SACD and found both about equal with a normal CD (thought the stereo version is a bit louder) Am I missing a setting here? Or is there really not that much of a difference between a SACD and a CD if you are listening to it over headphones?

Many thanks for any advice
Stick
post #2 of 161
When I had my first SACD player, a Pioneer, there seemed to be a very large difference between SACD and CD; SACD being better. Recently I upgraded to a Denon 3930CI, and I was quite surprised by how much less of a distinction there was. Both SACD and CD sound better with the Denon, it' just that the improvment in Redbook CD is so much better.

I think the lower end players have an easier time with SACD then CD. What I've learned is that with a decent player, Redbook CD can sound really good.
post #3 of 161
I recently acquired a Yamaha DVD player that also supports SACD (and DVD-A). I must say, I'm not impressed. Fortunately, I wanted it mostly for the DVD. Perhaps we both have more to learn...
post #4 of 161
SACD can have a noticeable improvement in SQ on cheaper gear, especially with a 1-bit DAC section. As soon as you get to get into mid-fi gear, CD sound can really start to come to life and have no problem keeping up with SACD's.

However, SACD's are generally mastered very well. So you get your money's worth with well mastered discs somewhat far removed from the loudness war.
post #5 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redo View Post
SHowever, SACD's are generally mastered very well. So you get your money's worth with well mastered discs somewhat far removed from the loudness war.
If you buy a hybrid SACD, does the non-super part of the CD (playable on a non-SACD player) have the same mastering job as the super part of the CD?

Does that question even make sense?
post #6 of 161
There's no difference in audible sound quality between CD and SACD for two channel playback. However there are huge differences in the mixing and mastering of SACDs as opposed to the redbook equivalent. Multi-channel sound is also a big difference.

For 5:1, go SACD. For 2 channel, don't bother.

See ya
Steve
post #7 of 161
Yup. Format matters very little. Sound engineer/mastering matters the most. More formats means access to a wider range of masters. Cost effective? Maybe not. Cost not a limit? Go for SACD/DVD-a and the rest.
post #8 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmyers View Post
If you buy a hybrid SACD, does the non-super part of the CD (playable on a non-SACD player) have the same mastering job as the super part of the CD?

Does that question even make sense?
Sure, your question makes sense! The problem is that what producers/labels choose do sometimes makes no sense....

The original SACD version of Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" simply resampled the redbook version of the album to DSD for the stereo SACD layer, but remixed the original tapes for the surround SACD layer. The result was that the stereo SACD layer was at best the same as the CD layer; some found the stereo SACD layer inferior to the CD layer!

It would logical that if it's known that a disc will be released on SACD, then the quality of the SACD mixes would come first, and the redbook master would simply be a downsample from the stereo SACD master. Why that is not always the case, I have no idea.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
There's no difference in audible sound quality between CD and SACD for two channel playback. However there are huge differences in the mixing and mastering of SACDs as opposed to the redbook equivalent. Multi-channel sound is also a big difference.

For 5:1, go SACD. For 2 channel, don't bother.
Based on my comparison of the 0404 USB versus the Marantz SA8001, I'm in agreement here--whatever difference I perceived is small enough that it might not be real.

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showpo...03&postcount=1

Why should there be a difference in mixing/mastering of the stereo SACD layer versus redbook, Steve? Seems like creating a less-than-stellar CD master is simply wasted work, if it's known that the release is destined for SACD.
post #9 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by sejarzo View Post
Why should there be a difference in mixing/mastering of the stereo SACD layer versus redbook, Steve?
My theory is that when companies release SACD hybrids, they figure that the people buying them have an SACD player. So they sometimes hobble the redbook layer to make the difference noticeable. The exception to this are companies like Pentatone who don't produce standard redbook CDs. All of their releases are SACD/CD hybrids. They probably sell as many discs to people who own CD players as they do to those who have SACD players. If they hobble the redbook layer, they are messing with a big chunk of their customer base.

But to be perfectly honest, I think the whole remastering/remixing thing is for one reason only... To make various versions of a record so collectors will buy it over and over again. Who on this board holds the record for the most versions of Dark Side of the Moon?

See ya
Steve
post #10 of 161
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks very much for all that info, I'm glad and sad, glad that I'm not losing my mind when I can't percieve a difference between a SACD and a CD, sad that there is no way to get 5.1 through headphones. The comments about better mastering makes me wish they would put the name of the person who mastered the SACD on the disc packaging, that way I would know when someone who has compentency has mastered a disc. Ah well, live and learn, I suppose I should have kept that money for my Rega Saturn Fund, but seeing as it will take me 6 month to a year to save that anyways, the Denon will be an ok sub.

Cheers
Stick

ps. I have 3 versions of Dark Side of the Moon (counting Pulse)
post #11 of 161
Stick,

Which SACD did you listen to?

Just because something appear on SACD doesn't mean it will sound better than the CD version. SACD has the potential to sound better than CD, but that potential needs to be realized. There're plenty of SACD out there that sounds better than their CD counterparts.
post #12 of 161
I agree that the biggest difference from the CD to SACD is the care that is taken with many SACDs and how they are mastered. The CD loudness war has killed the sound quality on many albums and I have not heard that engineers are pushing SACDs to the point of clipping like many CDs.
post #13 of 161
I compared a Pentatone hybrid, which was recorded and mixed all in high bitrate. It sounded phenominal, but the redbook layer sounded exactly the same as the SACD layer (aside from a small volume difference).

The sound quality advantage of the SACD format are inaudible at normal listening volumes. SACD is most useful for its multi-channel ability.

See ya
Steve
post #14 of 161
I don't know, guys... to me, there is an obvious difference. I kind of wonder what people mean when they say they don't think SACDs sound better. Did you expect a new guitar player to appear in the band? That suddenly the drums would extend to 100,000 Hz? I know this comes off as sarcastic, and it is, but unfortunately this is the only way I can think of to phrase it.

I'm curious as to what kind of systems you guys are using. If it's not a resolving system, it makes sense that there isn't a huge difference... you're not going to get solid gold sound out of a crappy setup just because you switch formats.
post #15 of 161
I've come to my conclusion based on several setups......0404 USB>Murano monoblocks (clones of the Rowland 102 ICEpower amps)>Paradigm Studio 40v3's.......0404 USB>CK2III>HD600's......Marantz SA8001>passive pre>Muranos>40v3's.......Marantz>CK2III>HD600's.

The CK2III>HD600's resolve far more detail than the Muranos>40v3's.

If there is a significant difference, those systems should resolve it. But any difference was virtually nil.
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