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SACD and HDCD are marketing gimmicks?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by akart, Dec 13, 2010.
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  1. akart
    Sorry for the double post, but I wanted to create a new thread for this since the previous thread was very old (2005).
    Please read this article:
    There appears to be no audible difference between Redbook CD at 16bit/44.1kHz PCM and SACD 1bit DSD at 2.8224MHz under double-blind experiment conditions. The same study also cites that there are no audible differences between SACD and HDCD at 24bit/174.6kHz PCM.
    Based on the above, SACD is a marketing gimmick and so is HDCD. There is no scientific literature with controlled double-blind conditions to prove otherwise. If you do have information about a formal scientific double-blind study that says otherwise, please share it!

  2. revolink24
    I agree with the fundamental the theory, but the fact remains that SACD masters are almost universally superior to the redbook versions, with much lower levels of dynamic range compression. Furthermore, many audiophile remasters are available only on SACD. 
    So while I don't think SACD is implicitly better sounding, I will stick with it for some purposes.
  3. 9pintube
    If you CAN NOT hear a difference in SACD, DVD-A, and even HDCD over Red Book Disc, Somethings wrong with your Equipment, Or Hearing....PS I'm not trying to be a smart ass..JMO
  4. revolink24


    I also think this has to do with the recording.
    I have Dark Side of the Moon on SACD and red book, as well as MoFi vinyl, and the SACD is clearly superior.
    However, I have several audiophile 24/96 FLAC files and I have the ability to play them without resampling. However, if I resample them to red book, I cannot A/B the difference between the original and the resampled file.
  5. nick_charles Contributor


    I assume you have some DBT evidence of your own to back up your ability to tell the difference between say an SACD and the signal from the same SACD downsampled to 16/44.1 - otherwise it is hard to make sensible comparisons due to other differences, frankly I am more inclined to think the results of a set of carefully proctored DBT trials (512 trials and 60 subjects) more credible than the endless unsupported and methodoligically sloppy anecdotes going around.
    revolink24 likes this.
  6. revolink24


    Well said, sir.
  7. akart
    x2. Well said. Based on anecdotal accounts, people are throwing away thousands of dollars on nonsense. Of course, there is a vested interest from the sellers to promote such stuff. But people who call themselves "audiophiles" also fall for this without knowing the truth. Sad.
  8. 3602
    Good luck with this: first try discerning 320Kbps MP3 from FLAC/ALAC/True lossless. Fire up your iMod or USB-DAC or somethin'. If you are sure that you can actually hear a difference, then get into the whole CD/SACD stuff. I know I can't.
  9. akart
    Couldn't agree with you more ...

  10. JerryLove

    Actually I paid $30 for my SACD player. As mentioned: the SACD version is often better-mastered than the CD version; presumably because of the different target audience.
  11. akart
    That might be true. But assuming the mastering is the same, there should not be a difference.

  12. Headdie
    SACDs often give you a 5.1 layer.
    CDs can also be DTS 5.1, but lossy/compressed disks.
    Now, DTS tracks are often as pleasant to listen than lossless ones.
  13. akart
    I mostly had stereo in mind. The multi-channel capabilities are of course there ... no doubt about that!

  14. 9pintube
    Why would anyone waste their time trying to find the "ability to tell the difference in say a SACD and the signal from the same SACD down sampled to 16/44.1??? A sensible comparison, due to other differences"????? "results of a set of carefully proctored DBT trials (512 trials and 60 subjects) more credible than the endless unsupported and methodologically sloppy anecdotes going on"......WOW!  Did you see the part where I said "JMO" Just My Opinion!!!!!   I'll step off of this thread, I thought we were "Listening" to the music.....I am thank-you..... 
  15. Skylab Contributor

    There are very easy to define technical reasons why both SACD and HDCD are superior to redbook CD, from a purely technical perspective. So what you are suggesting is that while these technical reasons exist, that they are of no value because people cannot tell the difference in double blind tests.

    But does that really make them of no value? First of all, is there any real penalty to be paid for them? In the main, no. HDCD encoded discs were never marketed at premium prices. SACD's often were and are, but as mentioned before, many of these offered multi-channel tracks, and better mastering, even if that had nothing to do with the SACD technology itself.

    So how, exactly, are either HDCD or SACD anything but good things, even if there are no relaible DNT differences? Shall we crap upon every attempt that gets maxi to provide better sound, and which at least mathematically actually does, at no cost penalty?

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