On all SACD's there is a 2 channel stereo version. On multichannel discs there is also a seperate multi-channel version of the same music, mixed differently. The stereo version is not converted to stereo on multichannel discs by the player(though on many players you can select which version you want "on the fly" through the players controls), its seperate from the multichannel information. In some cases the stereo version is preffered on multichannel discs, though there is no universal rule about that. When in doubt about a disc do as I do search: http://www.sa-cd.net
Search the title and read the reviews and see what others have to say- you'll save a lot of time and money that way. It seems that a lot of the users here prefer stereo sacd, then again this is a site which is mostly stereo only guys- so it may not seem like a fair debate to hold.
Without going into the science, I will just say that I have owned two multi-channel SACD players, but have used them both exclusively for two channel listening and they have both sounded great in two channel.
When it is said that a SACD player is multi-channel, it means it means it
can play in both two-channel AND Multi-channel. When it is said that a
SACD player is Two-Channel, it means it doesn't have multi-channel
capability. Personally, I think some multi-channel SACD players sound
better in Stereo than in multi-channel, but since I have a strong preference for two-channels when it comes to music -- I am probably
too biased in that regard to render an objective opinion.
Rsbeck, I am a two channel person myself. Have you had the opportunity to listen to 2 channel SACD from a dedicated 2 channel player? If so, how did it compare to 2 channel reproduction from a multi-channel system?
There is absolutely no technical reason why playback of the SACD 2 channel program should be better or worse than the 5 channel one. Of course the 2 channel mix might be more to your liking than the multichannel mix, but that is a function of the disc, not the player.
Some confusion may result from the DVD-A 2-channel capability, where the stereo mixdown is done by the player using information provided on the disc by the recording engineer.
Well here I go again, "....DVD-A 2-channel capability, where the stereo mixdown is done by the player using information provided on the disc by the recording engineer."
There is proprietary two channel information on a DVD-A disc?
I know there is always proprietary 2 channel info on SACD. I might add that, in a 2 channel only SACD player, it stands to reason you could get higher quality construction because of fewer channels. That should be fairly obvious.
Distortion...A two-channel program does not exist on a DVD-A, but instructions to the player regarding how to mix down the multichannel program into stereo are there. The DVD-A approach and the SACD approach accomplish the same thing in different ways. The DVD-A way doesn't use up as much data space on the disc, (for a complete 2-channel program) but requires a mixdown capability in the player.
Hardware for the three extra channels of a multichannel player cost almost nothing.
I don't know if I misunderstand what Eldaford is trying to say. But I tell you my "Fourplay" DVD-A disc has BOTH stereo and multi channel mode option and NOT just mulitchannel mixed down to stereo by my DVD player.
Eldartford, Thanks once again for the info. It wont be long before I upgrade my DVD/SACD player and this time I am going to look for one that offers DVD-A as well. I am really enjoying the multi-channel format as a change up from my normal 2 channel listening and I dont want to leave anything out.
Bonger...You use the word "mode" which indicates to me that you are configuring your player for stereo playback, and the player is doing the final mixdown. (Remember all recordings these days are mixdowns from dozens of tracks on the master. Stereo is the most mixed of all, except for mono if there are any). SCAD does have a separate area of the disc where the complete program is duplicated in stereo format, and this area is selected in a manner that resembles choice of the stereo DVD-A format, so it is easy to think that they both select a stereo program on the disc.
That said, the DVD-A protocol is very flexible, and I guess it would be possible to put a duplicate program on the disc a la SACD, but if so you have a very unique disc. DVD-A allows for 192 KHz sampling (instead of 96KHz) when the program is only stereo, but I have not seen any discs that are actually made in this way.
I do have some discs that are recorded on both sides, with a 2-channel Dolby program playable on DVD-V players on the backside.
Eldartford, the only DVD-A's I have are American Beauty and the producers cut of Emmylou Harris, and both have 2 channel separate mixes.
Arafel...Interesting...Exactly how can you be sure that it is a 2-channel program on the disc, and not the player realtime downmix which DVD-A provides? Is the program 196KHz sampling? Can you provide more details about the Emmylou disc: Label, etc. so I can look into this.
I find the answer that Eldartford gave very interesting. I had never heard that about a DVDA player having to "mixdown" a multi-channel recording down to two track to properly play back a stereo signal but never really read anywhere that DVDA discs did not have a seperate two channel audio layer either. I am in the market for either seperate SACD & DVDA palyers or one "universal" player. Could you tell us where you got your information so we (at least I) could look into this further. Thanks alot...
Soundhd...The downmix mode of player operation is described in the player owner's manual. I have used Panasonic, Pioneer, and Denon DVD-A players and they all did it. The producer of the disc can lock out this downmix feature by info on the disc, but I have not seen any like that.
Also, I heard somewhere that the gain coefficients for the downmix process are not fixed by the player design, but are provided to the player from the disc.
DVD-A discs do not have more than one layer. On SACD the SACD stereo program is on the same layer as the Multichannel program, but on a different area of the disc. The CD-readable program is on the second layer of a SACD disc.
I'm just a casual reader of this site, but it is obvious "Eld" is an Audio Geek and suffer from "now it all syndrome". I suggest "Eld" get out more...like to a few Star Trek conventions to master his Klingon.
Where did that guy come from. Must be an alien.
Anyway, I just got a Panasonic SA-XR10 receiver (digital multichannel) and it also talks about the downmix feature.