What's good about SACD?
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mikeg

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I use a Marantz CD5000 as my source. What is the benefit of replacing it with an SACD player? If I listen to the same classical composition using a regular CD disk versus an SACD disk, what benefit in sound would I gain? Also, is SACD likely to be a generally accepted standard, or is it likely to shortly become absolete (i.e., like Sony's BETA system)?
 
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kelly

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The first advantage you would notice from upgrading your CD player is that you'll discover that the "redbook performance" may be better.


See other thread for definition of redbook. Basically, your Marantz player, while it may have been a good buy for you at the time, is not as good as many CD players made today including those which also play SACD.

The other advantage, of course, is the ability to play SACDs. SACDs use a different method for encoding discs and thus produce fewer/different artifacts than normal CD. While SACD format does not guarantee a good recording, many people have reported less digital artifacting, less glare/digital haze, better texture/air surrounding instruments, more extended highs, more solid bass. These are the same kind of differences you would experience from upgrading CD players at all but SACD goes a step further by correcting some of the problems inherit to the format itself.

Technically SACD's advantages surround the fact that it has a higher sampling rate and a more even distribution of sampling and that it has a larger frequency response. It is theorized that the higher frequencies, while directly inaudible to most humans, have a domino-like effect on the sounds we do hear and impact the subjective quality of the playback.

There are never any guarantees when a new format launches. It is for this reason that I never advocate even though I myself now own a player. My advice is to look at the SACD software available today and see which software you would purchase. If there is music you would buy, consider that when you're deciding between a new player that has SACD versus one that does not. Whether SACD becomes a "dead format" or not, in my opinion, a lot of great recordings are already out and many more will be coming throughout this calendar year.

If this didn't answer your questions, give markl a chance to post in this thread.
 
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fredpb

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SACD is a way for companies to get money.....patents and rights.
It also is competing with other formats, like DVD-A. Right now, there are not many SACD titles available, compared to regular CD's you usually see. Not only that, they newer SACD's will sound good because they will probably be skillfully mastered and created because they want them to become popular.

Current CD's can sound GREAT, and we don't really need SACD. Well, some audiophiles or gadget freaks may want them. But most regular CD's are recorded and mastered like crud.

I have Telarc classical CD's and also have the EXACT same recording on LP. Telarc is supposed to be good. But I can make a BETTER sounding CD with my CD recorder from the LP. Their CD engineering stinks. Most CD engineering stinks.

Eventually, SACD will get the same way, once they get popular. They will sound the same.....cruddy.

So why dump the current CD format? So big new companies can make money on making it obsolete.

I LOVE toys, electronics, and gadgets. I won't buy a SACD.
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by fredpb
SACD is a way for companies to get money.....patents and rights.
It also is competing with other formats, like DVD-A. Right now, there are not many SACD titles available, compared to regular CD's you usually see. Not only that, they newer SACD's will sound good because they will probably be skillfully mastered and created because they want them to become popular.

Current CD's can sound GREAT, and we don't really need SACD. Well, some audiophiles or gadget freaks may want them. But most regular CD's are recorded and mastered like crud.

I have Telarc classical CD's and also have the EXACT same recording on LP. Telarc is supposed to be good. But I can make a BETTER sounding CD with my CD recorder from the LP. Their CD engineering stinks. Most CD engineering stinks.

Eventually, SACD will get the same way, once they get popular. They will sound the same.....cruddy.

So why dump the current CD format? So big new companies can make money on making it obsolete.

I LOVE toys, electronics, and gadgets. I won't buy a SACD.



Oh,Man.I'd never have thunk it,but I gotta disagree with you here Fred.I think SACD is a viable format and the difference in sound quality on even a mediocre system is astonishing.At the currently low entry cost of SACD not trying it is a real shame.I do agree that SACD is a money making oportunity for the labels.I think that SACD is the closest thing to analog quality as is currently available.On the opposing side of this I would also make the argument that with upsampling some cds do in fact sound nearly as good as SACD,but upsampling is not cheap and not all redbook cds benefit from it.The gap in perfromance of CDPs has closed dramatically in the last year or so.Performance that you were paying $2000.00 for last year is currently bested by some players costing a tenth of that.this is supported by reviews of low cost players in mags and my own auditions of current players.I would give SACD a try.You can't go wrong at these prices.
 
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markl

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"What is the benefit of replacing it with an SACD player?"

As kelly said, you'll likely get better Redbook playback from a new SACD player, but obviously, YMMV depending on how good your current CDP is, and how good a SACDP you buy (duh).

"If I listen to the same classical composition using a regular CD disk versus an SACD disk, what benefit in sound would I gain? "

Can you tell the difference between the picture quality of a DVD video and VHS video? Of course you can. It's the same idea but in audio form. However, if you're listening to SACDs through a PortaPro and Altoids amp you may be wasting your money on that extra fidelity. You need a system worthy of SACD (again, duh). Also, how much will you benefit from a SACD version of a 1952 recording in mono? Not much (triple duh).

Also, is SACD likely to be a generally accepted standard, or is it likely to shortly become absolete (i.e., like Sony's BETA system)?"

It will become obsolete if we audiophiles/music lovers sit on our butts waiting for "everyone else" to buy in. Kiss the new formats goodbye-- and you'll only have yourself to blame. Life is full of risks.

"SACD is a way for companies to get money.....patents and rights."

Count to ten slowly... temper...temper...

Why do people on this board willingly spend $300 on a pair of interconnects, thousands on phones and amps, but then become hostile toward the prospect of high-rez formats? I'm totally stumped by this. It makes NO sense at all. No one is FORCING you to sell your CDs. Your entire CD collection will be playable on both DVD-A players and SACD players. You will have lost NOTHING if either new format wins.

"Not only that, they newer SACD's will sound good because they will probably be skillfully mastered and created because they want them to become popular."

This is exactly WRONG. SACD technology is in its infancy. There is not a host of equipment for mastering pros to choose from to make SACDs with, and no one has extensive experience with this format. How AWFUL were the first CDs? AWFULLLY AWFUL. It took 15 years for the CD to even BEGIN sounding good. SACDS of the future will sound infinitely better than those of today.

"Current CD's can sound GREAT, and we don't really need SACD."

Spoken like someone who's never heard SACD. They said the same thing about stereo when it was introduced. "But mono sounds great, we don't really need stereo". Do you own a DVD player? Would even think of going back to VHS? No. Once you saw DVD, VHS was not satisfactory anymore.

"Eventually, SACD will get the same way, once they get popular. They will sound the same.....cruddy."

See above.

markl
 
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mikeg

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Fantastic response to my questions. Thanks kelly, fredpb, tuberoller, and markl. I'm sold, and I'll buy an SACD player. But, which one to buy, without reaching the point of diminishing returns? I use an AKG K1000 headphone connected to an ASL AQ-1005DT amp. Volume control is with a Creek OBH-10 passive preamp, and connectors from CDP to Creek and from Creek to ASL amp are DiMarzio M-Path Interconnects. So, which reasonably priced SACD player would make sense for use with this equipment?
 
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markl

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Given the level of your equipment, I'd say try to track down a Sony SCD-555ES. It's probably around $800 now but was $1600 when it came out 6-9 months ago.

markl
 
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Quote:

"Current CD's can sound GREAT, and we don't really need SACD."

Spoken like someone who's never heard SACD. They said the same thing about stereo when it was introduced. "But mono sounds great, we don't really need stereo". Do you own a DVD player? Would even think of going back to VHS? No. Once you saw DVD, VHS was not satisfactory anymore.


Once I heard CDs being played back on a good high end CDP, I was more then ready to dump SACD playback. The differences are not quite as dramatic as DVD vs. VHS methinks.


I've heard a lot of BS in the past about CDs on a good player being on par with SACDs if not bettering it outright. I sure don't think it's BS anymore.
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by Vertigo-1


Once I heard CDs being played back on a good high end CDP, I was more then ready to dump SACD playback.



Why the mystery? What player are you refering to, and at what level do we need to go for redbook to surpass SACD?
 
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Vertigo-1

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I am comparing the 9000ES' redbook and SACD playback with the Arcam CD23T. At redbook the 9000 completely loses to the CD23 (note though that the 9000 is indeed no slouch at redbook, and this comparison just proves it further to me), and with SACD playback in the 9000ES the levels are equal, with maybe the SACD playback edging out the CD23's CD playback by a bit.

CDs beating SACDs is just a matter of DAC implementation within the source. If it were to come down to a bushwhacking game, I think a CDP with a very high end DAC would be equal with the best SACD implementation available today (I don't believe the players out there today tap into the SACD potential 100% yet, but they're getting there). Beating SACD playback though is not something I'm exactly shooting for though, and incidentally to beat the pants off SACD playback with a redbook player requires an exuberant amount of money invested in the redbook player (think Sondek CD12) I think SACDs are a nice way of leveling our pocketbooks with such players as the Sondek. My problem with SACD players is just in their redbook implementation in my price range and in the availibility and price of the software.

I'm sure none of the above is news though.
 
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Since I would never comment on something about which i know nothing.I'll tell you to please audition the lastest SACD players.The redbook performance of the cheapest Sony players is truly outstanding and the SACD performance is fantastic as well.I'll say it again,the performance gap between the most and least expensive players is so small today a top notch high fidelity system is needed to realize those differences.


Note that every major CDP manufacturer has seriously upgraded their players in the last year or so.Most feature upgraded DACs,power supplies and isolated circuits.I think these improvements to the lower priced players have helped close the performance gap.
 
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kelly

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mikeg
How much money are you planning to commit to a new CD player? Do you require having a CD changer or is single disc ok?

The 555ES was not really something I liked a lot in redbook mode, though I'm told (and believe) aftermarket mods work wonders on this player. You may want to consider the Philips 1000 which is a higher end SACD player that someone mentioned being on clearance for great prices. I heard it briefly and thought it was good when I heard it but didn't really hear it enough to make comparisons.

For a bit more money, the stock performance of the XA777ES is not bad at all and probably worth the $2k price from Oade but it's probably a bit over the top for most people. I bought mine to mod to try to get close to those killer rigs I can't afford. I'll do a more extensive writeup on this one after I've had more time with it and have burned it in more.
 
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mikeg

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kelly,

I'll decide how much to spend after the "target" is identified. A single disk player is OK. As for the 555ES, does it play CD-Rs. If not, then it's NG for me. I look forward to your writeup on the XA777ES. Thanks for your comments.
 
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As far as I know, there have not been any properly conducted (that is: DBT) listenings tests between SACD, redbook CD - and the master tape.

A redbook CD and its SACD counterpart may well sound quite different. But so far we do not know whether this is caused by different mastering, using eq - or the technical superiority of the hi-rez format (in reproducing what is on the master tape).

So, until a proper test is conducted, threads like this are just idle speculation. I also would like to know the truth.

My bet is that SACD will not be a viable format, at least not in its two channel incarnation. People are not sufficiently interested in it. The audiophile market on the other hand is much too small to make a separate format profitable.

Regards,

L.
 
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kelly

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All of Telarc's discs are dual layer. One should note that in my experience thus far, the Telarc redbook is among the best redbook I have ever heard. Yet, in my experience the SACD surpasses it easily. I realize these experiments were not controlled, double blind or scientific but the difference was not so subtle as to think that required.
 
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