Agreed - well-engineered 44.1/16 sounds superb. I would go even further and say that in my experience there's absolutely no advantage to higher resolution. I took the best 192/24 and 96/24 recordings that I have, and downsampled them to 44.1/16. The downsampled music sounded the same as the original to me on my high-end studio monitors as well as headphones. Absolutely no difference whatsoever.
This is also why I think SACD technology has no real advantage other than multichannel.
The SACD Mastering technology may not have an advantage, but the DSD recording technology is probably the best ever designed. It captures in the Megahertz range of detail and has none of the problems tape does. Analogue is held by some recording engineers who have bothered to make the comparison to be equivalent to about 13 bit. Very smooth sounding, but less resolving by an order of magnitude. I am speaking only of the recording masters, but that is what limits everything that comes after it.
This only applies to material recorded with DSD. Other sources converted to SACD have no such advantage, being limited by the original recording. SACD has two big problems, neither of which have to do with DSD recording. Firstly, none of the playback units within reach of the non wealthy have what would pass as a decent analogue stage. Secondly, there is nothing we can do about this because SACD was designed primarily as an anti piracy system, not a hifi one. They forbid a digital out, so you are stuck with the onboard, usually inferior DAC. I hope this has changed, but I think it is built into the license.
To hear what DSD can do, listen to the Redbook hybrid layer of a well produced DSD recording. Tierney Sutton's later work on Telarc, including remote recordings, has some of this. I have heard that Concord, when they bought Telarc, shipped the DSD recording equipment back. I do not know if there are any DSD studios in the US any more. Recent Japanese discs with an Obi are often DSD recorded.
The heck with SACD players, we need DSD players.
Edit: DSD equipment is available. Search Sonoma DSD.
Edited by Clarkmc2 - 4/27/11 at 2:13am