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To SACD or not to SACD, that is the question. - Page 2

post #16 of 133

I hope that this question does not derail this thread but has anyone compared hi rez downloads from Linn, HD tracks etc. with SACD recordings?  Does one sound better than the other or are they pretty much equal?  

I'm curious because I have been downloading hi rez classical files and have been thoroughly enjoying them and I always wonder if I'm missing out on quality recordings. 

 

For me it is very convenient to be able to sample and download music and then store it on a hard drive.  With back-up systems such as time machine on macs there is almost no risk of file loss.  Not to state the obvious, but it seems clear to me that computer audio is the future and that audiophiles are already gravitating to this form of music storage and playback.

 

post #17 of 133

For me when listening to music I don't want to use a computer at all.  I don't want to look at the computer screen when changing the song.  Heck when I do my listening on my laptop I'm always doing something else besides listening to music (surfing the web, etc.), which for me defeats the whole purpose of listening to music. 

'

I want to do SACD because of its better production values but at this time there's not enough SACD stuff that I want to listen to.  I don't listen to classical all the time (rare) and all the jazz I just get them on vinyl.

 

But if we are talking about CDs then I would get a player in the future for that.  I was thinking about getting a CD/SACD player just to have the best of both worlds, but honestly I'm still deciding like always.  :P

post #18 of 133

getting a player specifically for SACD is not something I'd recommend at this point. However if you are in the market for a nice player looking at a combi-player is a perfectly viable option. One of the variations of the Oppo BDP-83 does everything fairly well and would allow you to dabble in SACD and DVD-A. That being said, it's only a matter of time before any SACD collection eventually becomes expensive bookends.

 

Whereas CD's will continue to be supported by at the very least DVD Rom drives that will continue to be able to read them. My understanding is that getting the High Res Audio off of DVD-A discs is also much easier than doing so from SACD's. 

 

So if you want to dabble pick up a Oppo BDP-83SE or NE or even one of the Exemplar modified units that immtbiker and I have. They're all decent, and they play everything.


Edited by Yikes - 7/19/10 at 11:20am
post #19 of 133

The differences in mastering between the layers definitely complicates things. I've A/B'ed my Dark Side of the Moon SACD, and while the SACD is immediately noticeable as being better, a big part of it has to do with the CD layer not being up to par. They also make it a bit difficult to A/B it, since the two layers have different track breaks.

 

I'd like to do my own downsampling of the SACD layer to 16/44.1 and compare the two, but I don't have the equipment.
 

post #20 of 133

On the subject of SACD sound quality, I have found it to be generally cleaner (or sharper) sounding without that digital "hash" compared to redbook CD, you could call it smoother but more defined. So I would say there is a difference, in my system of course, but I wouldn't say that it's night and day.

 

I still see plenty of new releases when I flick through Gramophone or BBC Music Magazine so it looks like Classical fans are still being well taken care of, also remember that there have been around 6000 SACDs released (last time I looked) so there is plenty of choice, obviously if the kind of music available on the format appeals to you.

post #21 of 133

Have you actually tried to find most of those 6000 titles? Most are out of print and Un-obtainable at anything approaching reasonable prices.

 

Yes, Classical labels are still releasing SACD's. They realize that since they are recording in High Resolution (Usually PCM) that coming out with an SACD slightly widens the appeal of the release and that they can charge more for it. The real issue is that most discs have one pressing and then go away forever. The same is happening to much of the popular back CD catalog, only at a slower rate because the initial run is so much larger.

post #22 of 133
Thread Starter 

So if you want to dabble pick up a Oppo BDP-83SE or NE or even one of the Exemplar modified units that immtbiker and I have. They're all decent, and they play everything.

 

Thanks for the recommendation.  I'll check the above out but what I'm really wanting is something compatible with a desktop computer box like a combo Blu-Ray/DVD/CD rw unit.  Any suggestions or has this not happened yet?

 

???


Edited by beeman458 - 7/19/10 at 1:01pm
post #23 of 133

I have a universal player which gives me options however, I only have CDs and DVD-A discs so I cant comment on SACD quality.

post #24 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by beeman458 View Post

So if you want to dabble pick up a Oppo BDP-83SE or NE or even one of the Exemplar modified units that immtbiker and I have. They're all decent, and they play everything.

 

Thanks for the recommendation.  I'll check the above out but what I'm really wanting is something compatible with a desktop computer box like a combo Blu-Ray/DVD/CD rw unit.  Any suggestions or has this not happened yet?

 

???

 

I mentioned this earlier, but if you want a SACD player for a computer, you have to buy one of the vintage Sony Vaio machines that have SACD players.  My guess is that they hit the market five or six years ago.  Further, the SACD drive is locked down to the hardware so  you probably would have very limited ability to upgrade the machine, hardware or software.

 

Further, you would not be able to rip the SACDs.  SACD uses a laser that's different from the ones used for CD, DVD and BluRay.  Moreover, there are no blank SACDs on the market and the SACD encryption will not allow output of the 24/96 SACD layer.  You can rip the Red Book layer, but not the hi-rez.

 

It does not look like a computer drive or anything else of the sort will be developed, ever.

 

The bottom line is that if you want to listen to SACD, just buy a dedicated player.  There are a lot of advantages to running a traditional stereo setup with separate components, anyway.  The computer makes for a nice server, but centering around one chokes off you ability to play vinyl, use a tuner, reel, or any of the other good stuff.


Edited by Uncle Erik - 7/20/10 at 10:55am
post #25 of 133

 

 

Quote:

I searched the forum's archives and didn't find any up to date information regarding the current state of SACD playback equipment vs current CD playback equipment.

 

I figure the next step-up in sound quality improvement after receiving the ordered set of headphone cables for the HD-650

 

I have a set of HD-650's and I would highly recommend getting a SACD player to go with it. I bought a Marantz SA-8003 ... and there is new model coming out next month called the SA-8004 I think. Sony has just announced their new model due August - taking the price entry point into a newly accessible ballpark.

 

Basically, CD as a high-end audio format is dead ... Serious high-end companies like Mark Levinson, Esoteric, Krell etc ... have all stopped selling CD players and have moved to SACD (which can still play your old CDs) but take advantage of hi-rez SACD discs which contain at least 4 times more information than a CD. If a recording is made in hi-rez and stuck on a CD, the CD basically throws out masses of information ... which is retained on the SACD.

 

HARDWARE:

Sony no longer make a standalone CD player - their new models are all SACD. Almost everything Marantz is producing is SACD. Yamaha is SACD. Pioneer is SACD. Basically, the standalone CD player is gone as a high-end device, replaced by SACD for hard-format or music servers for the download market.

 

SOFTWARE

That leaves the download vs SACD issue. Downloads are all PCM ... there are only a tiny number of hi-rez ones available  ... in the hundreds last time I checked ... and most max out at 96kHz / 24 bit. Not much available with the big artists. By contrast, there about 6500 SACD titles ... especially strong in Classical and Jazz,  ... with about 600 new releases per year ... and many are pure DSD recordings which is the closest thing you will ever get to pure analog in a digital format.  Hi-rez downloads also have the disavantage that you can't resell them and bizarrely they usually cost more than SACDs ... which sucks if you don't like your $20 download and you get stuck with it. 

 

The SACD 'software' market is surprisingly bouyant ... some of the early discs brought out by Sony and DG have now sold out ... and they now sell on eBay or Amazon for HUNDREDS of dollars! I'm thinking of re-selling my Ludacris SACD for $$$ - lol. Over at Acoustic Sounds, the top selling items are not vinyl ... they are all SACDs. Sony Japan has just re-released a whole batch of cool stuff that had previously sold out. 

 

Oddly enough, in my view anyway --- the thing that has kept the SACD market bouyant *is* the DRM ... it means labels can release their studio quality masters in the highest rez available and not really worry about copying or downloads. You can always rip the CD layer of the SACD if you want to ... but not the hi-rez layer. I think this also keeps the re-sale market for SACDs very very healthy ... Compare the re-sale price of CD (basically $1) with the re-sale price of an SACD! I think it's also partly why you see so many more titles on SACD than you do as hi-rez downloads. 

 

I got my new SACD player about a year ago ... so I'm a new-comer still .. and I'd say it's the best new kit I've purchased in at least 15 years. Most exciting thing since CD itself. Get a few great discs and you will be amazed at how natural and pure the sound is. Perfect with my HD-650s!


Edited by rapunzel - 7/20/10 at 1:18pm
post #26 of 133

 

Quote:

I never said, "Proven."  I said, "Shown."  In natural science, based on the scientific method and deductive logic, it is impossible to prove.  You can only prove what something is not.

 

Here is a citation:

Audibility of a CD-Standard A/D/A Loop Inserted into High-Resolution Audio Playback". E. Brad Meyer and David R. Moran. JAES 55(9) September 2007.

 

Nah - that's the paper that got de-bunked over at sa-cd.net. Basically, it turns out the authors ... unbelievably ... selected some SACDs of things like Pink Floyd and other 70s stuff ... and even some early 80s digital recordings as their test discs ... stuff that wasn't hi-rez to start with ... but which existed on SACD because it had multi-channel support (perhaps form old multi-track recordings) and they didn't even realise that the recordings weren't hi-rez to start with  ... and they used these for their tests.  

 

Garbage in. Garbage out.  

 

As Ken Kessler says in Hi-Fi News and Record Review (Sept 2009):

 

" The fact that all SACDs these days are dual-layer means it’s no big deal to compare SACD with normal CD.

And despite reports by the mainstream press naysayers about the public not hearing the difference,

any music lover who can’t needs a session with an ear-wax remover"


Edited by rapunzel - 7/20/10 at 1:44pm
post #27 of 133
Thread Starter 

Uncle Erik wrote:

 

It does not look like a computer drive or anything else of the sort will be developed, ever.

 

Where's a crying emoticon when you need one?

 

Rapunzel wrote:

 

... and they now sell on eBay or Amazon for HUNDREDS of dollars! I'm thinking of re-selling my Ludacris SACD for $$$ - lol.

 

Thanks!

 

Oh, my.  I'm in it just for the music as my wallet's not fat enough to support these kinds of prices.

 

Now I'm inconsolably sobbing.  Oh, Boo, Hoo, Hoo.

 


Edited by beeman458 - 7/20/10 at 1:56pm
post #28 of 133

Well, there are still quite a few SACD's that can be had for reasonable prices that makes the jump still worth it IMO. I've been very happy with SACD since I got into it a few years back and I only have like 8-10 classical and jazz sacd's with 5 times more sacd's comprising all other genre's. You just need to know where to look and where to buy. I've gotten SACD's for as low as 5-6 bucks that were totally worth quite a bit more.There are some new artists you may find via SACD as well, so its not all bad news. Start with the Sony CE595, which IMO should be the starting point for anyone wanting to get into SACD, along with maybe the OPPO universal or Yamaha universal players, but they cost a tad more. Get a few recommended discs from the huge thread here on head-fi, and listen for yourself if its worth it. I have two setups for SACD, the 595 for stereo SACD playback on my 2 channel setup and Yamaha universal for mutli-channel on my home theater. Some albums are worth it for multi-channel and some for stereo. Its not such an expensive hobby to try as people make it seem, and I for one don't see it dying anytime soon, its been deteriorating a bit no doubt, but the new wave of SHM-SACD's is a good sign (albeit pricey) and I believe things will move on for a while until another high-res format picks up.

post #29 of 133

As I finished that post I went and bought 4 more SACD's from cdbaby

 

Hans Theessink - Bridges (Acoustic/Folk Blues)

Branko - My Electric World (90's Rock)

Romero - Live at Trinity Church (Flamenco)

Sara K - Made In the Shade (Folk Blues)

 

Check out samples on the website. There were a few more available as well. Who says you can't find sacd's no more.

post #30 of 133

I don't agree (with the post that says there isn't a difference between SACD and CD).  On cans or on speakers I can tell the difference between between SACD and CDs.  There is a more artificial, metallic sound to CDs, whereas my SACDs sound more like (but not all the way) like vinyl.


Edited by podeschi - 7/20/10 at 6:15pm
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