How to play SACDs?
Sep 3, 2009 at 4:46 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 33

alcyst

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I have been looking into high quality playback of discs, and either I am misreading things or there are only a few SACD players out there? Sony don't seem to have any (?, the new PS3 wont play SACDs), Denon have 1 (DVD-A1UDCI at about USD 4500). Pioneer may have 1. Anybody care to make suggestions.

My thinking is I want to begin to play higher(-est) quality music files. Downloads and computer playback are ok, but they are often only 96/24 and 88.2/24. 96/24 and 88.2/24 may sound great, but computing power and storage are getting cheaper fast.

Bit shocking that the best quality player I have seen enthusiastically discussed here, and I have seen in a retail outlet, is the Korg MR-1. 2.8224 MHz @ 1-bit.
 
Sep 3, 2009 at 5:11 PM Post #3 of 33

grawk

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There are a large number of SACD players, at almost every price point. Sony may not currently make any, but they have in the past.

Marantz, Sony, Denon, Philips, Pioneer, Oppo, Cambridge Audio, Cary, etc.

Crutchfield.com - sacd player

as an example

That Korg isn't an SACD player, it's a digital recorder that records in DSD.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 1:59 AM Post #6 of 33

alcyst

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I take it all back, well, partly. There are SACD players out there. Arcam, Oppo, Marantz, and Denon have a range (Marantz & Denon are the same company), Philips used to have a range can't find any current model numbers. Sony don't feature the SCD XA5400ES player on their Canadian website (where I am right now). I found this post when I did a google.ca search for the 5400ES "Doubt it's available in Canada. From what I hear it's tough to find anywhere right now."
The high-end players do look good.

I know the Korg is a compact recorder. The point is it does record (and play) in 1 bit @ 2.8MHz when most of the stuff we listen to is played is a compressed/lossy format, even if that format is 24bit @ 96kHz. That player is what set me thinking; if I can buy a $400 recorder/player that will do that level of audio, what is the comparable product for day to day listening? I guess having stuck with CDs upto now I am researching if it is worthwhile to start buying SACDs, the answer is maybe.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 3:14 AM Post #7 of 33

wavoman

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My Wadia CDP is one of the few that will downsample SACD 2-channel DSD and output an LPCM bitstream on an S/PDIF (coax) connection. It is at 88.2.

I capture it with an MAUDIO card and store it on a hard drive. I play it back via S/PDIF-out of the MAUDIO, back in to the Wadia via the Wadia's S/PDIF-in (which gives you access to the built-in DAC).

Thus all variables are controlled except for the digital sampling rate. The 2-channel SACD layers of most SACDs sound better than the redbook layers because they are better mastered. But I hear no difference between the SACD layer at full DSD resolution vs the downsample LPCM. Nor does anyone else who listens. And we listen on (a) a KGSS into Stax O2 Mk2 007a Spritzer-mod, and (b) a full HEV90/HE90 Orpheus, using the balanced and the unbalanced output of the Wadia respectively (so it's not the HPs which are hiding any differences here).

I think maybe redbook 44.1 is just slightly below optimal, but 88.2 is at a sampling rate above which the differences are inaudible. I like 96 and 192 files that I have downloaded (the 192's won't play thru the Wadia, so I have to use Benchmark DAC instead), but I am not blown away with these vis-a-vis 88.2

It could be the Wadia DAC ... I can only listen to DSD thru it now (I could listen to the downsample LPCM thru the Benchmark) so have nothing to compare it to. But I have a Denon SACD player about to show up, modded to include the Vanity AudioPraise board, which again gives me 88.2 downsampled LPCM from 2-channel SACD DSD, and I will repeat the experiment (using the Benchmark to play back, since the Denon will not give me access to its internal DAC).

So I am all in favor of SACDs, since I think you are getting superior recordings, but I wouldn't fuss about obtaining something on SACD that you already have downloaded at 88.2, 96, or 192 ... my prediction is you won't hear a difference.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 3:15 AM Post #8 of 33

El_Doug

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Quote:

Originally Posted by s_nyc /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Sony still makes SACD players. One of them is allegedly one of the best out here (the something 5400ES).


XA5400ES (see sig
biggrin.gif
)

it really is that good!!!
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 3:18 PM Post #10 of 33

synfreak

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wavoman /img/forum/go_quote.gif
My Wadia CDP is one of the few that will downsample SACD 2-channel DSD and output an LPCM bitstream on an S/PDIF (coax) connection. It is at 88.2.


Ahhhh..

Would you mind telling what Wadia player that is?

I use (also) a modiefied Pioneer with the Audiopraise board for storing my SACDs on harddisc, and would be interested in how the Wadia would compare.

Have you done some FFT-based comparisons, to what degree (frequency) the Wadia does the convertion? The Audiopraise board filters all content above appr. 32khz.

THX
Harald
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 5:20 PM Post #11 of 33

Anonanimal

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I can speak from experience that the Oppo Digital BDP-83 puts out excellent sound from my SACDs, and the price is hard to argue with- especially since it's one of the few Blu-Ray players in existence that also serves as an SACD player. Highly recommended.
 
Sep 5, 2009 at 1:14 AM Post #13 of 33

El_Doug

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btw - ps3 WILL play back SACD's, so long as it is an older build (one of the first two generations), and is flashed back to version 2.00
 
Sep 5, 2009 at 1:22 AM Post #14 of 33

wavoman

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Quote:

Originally Posted by synfreak /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Would you mind telling what Wadia player that is?

I use (also) ... Audiopraise board for storing my SACDs on harddisc, and would be interested in how the Wadia would compare.

Have you done some FFT-based comparisons, to what degree (frequency) the Wadia does the convertion? The Audiopraise board filters all content above appr. 32khz.



It's a Wadia 781i. I should do the FFT ... haven't yet. I'll wait until I get my Denon/AudioPraise CDP from the modder (Kyle, hurry up already!) and then will really do a serious comparison between the two downsamplers.

The Nyquist cutoff would be 44.1, not 32 ... half of 88.2 ... did you ask the AudioPraise guys (I have the engineer's email, maybe I'll ask) why they chose the filters the way they did?
 
Sep 5, 2009 at 7:22 AM Post #15 of 33

emmodad

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Quote:

Originally Posted by El_Doug /img/forum/go_quote.gif
btw - ps3 WILL play back SACD's, so long as it is an older build (one of the first two generations), and is flashed back to version 2.00


can you pls clarify wrt "flashed back to version 2.00":

1/ was SACD playback support impacted in firmware revs above 2.00? I know that 2.00 introduced downsampled SACD available over optical out; and 2.10 introduced new dither options. did something change wrt SACD after those versions?

btw, optical out not required: 2-channel DSD downsampled to 176.4 LPCM, as well as multichannel, is available via PS3 HDMI output

2/ i thought PS3 was set up so that it was not possible to revert back to an earlier firmware version, the unit will only accept system software newer than the version currently loaded. is there a way around this?
 

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