I'm afraid of getting a bunch of "We've already talked about this" rotten tomatoes thrown at me, but there isn't a search function here and I hate scrolling back through old pages.

I have read two slightly contradictory articles on the issue. The first one, here http://www.audiorevolution.com/equip/dvdavssacd/

says SACD is better but only under the circumstance that no DSP is done to the material after recording, which means almost never.
To fill in what he says with a few more facts. Originally DVD-A was going to be 3 channels 24/96 and 3 channels 16/48 in surround mode and 2 channels 24/192 in stereo. The sampling rate of stereo was set so high to keep the bit rate constant. Meridian Lossless Compression came in and made it so all 5 of the main channels could be recorded 24/96. He is right that 24/192 does not increase perceptual sound quality.

The other article
is scathing towards SACD. But there are a few questions I have.
One, he talks as if the only kind of DACs on the market are bitstream and "multibit." If you look at Burr-brown's product sheets you will see 3 types: DSD (bitstream), delta-sigma (the most common type on middle and high end consumer products), and "advanced segment" which are right in the price range he talks about for "true multibit" DACs.
Similarly, I once read a passing comment on the laserdisc newsgroup that a tech was disappointed when he opened up a MLD-7020 and saw that McIntosh did not replace Pioneer's "bitstream" DACs with true audiophile DACs. Elsewhere I have learned that delta-sigma DACs typically have an internal resolution of 4 bits (from someone who had not studied conumer audio products in many years, however).

Thinking in terms of my own theory, if you take 24/96 and change it into 1 bit oversampled 24 times, I'm not quite sure why that wouldn't work. I see 2 problems. Problem 1 is that SACD is oversampled 29 and 5/30 times. I don't know a theoretical model where that gets you anywhere.

And, I can see how reconstructing a DSD waveform would produce more of a triangle wave rather than a sine wave, since you'd have a bunch of extra data points between the critical points. But I really don't know squat about the hardware implementation of DAC design, so I don't know if it really works like that. And my vision of filling in the gaps with extra data points only works for integer multiple oversampling, so there are some things I am not seeing.
No search function? Of course there is. Either click on the "Forums" link on the top of this page, or use this link http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl . Search away!

Except for a lack of new classical music records vinyl should trump both SACD and DVD-A. So the point is almost moot. :-/ (Aroc donns asbestos flame suit and ducks **)

Dnew--first, I must state that I LOVE classical music and especially recorded multichannelly. Played thru a Denon 2900, SACD and DVD-A sound the same to me (but I'm no GEA) but for one difference--many SACDs have a significantly higher noise floor than ANY DVD-As. This is evident during low-level passages of classical music where I manually boost the levels a bit.

My other 2 'multichannel friends' also prefer the sounds of DVD-As over those of SACDs, without any prompting from me.

Aroc, you said it right--"...vinyl should trump both SACD and DVD-A." The operative word here is 'should'. IMO, the only things LPs have more of are surface noise and TROUBLE. But I'm glad you love 'em; it is, after all, about THE MUSIC.
That's ok cyber tomato’s don't hurt.

I don't think there is an argument about it - vinyl is the best. (not including open reel tape)

I've heard that DVD-A is better, what’s the point when the software is so rare. I've heard both and can't tell much difference. Definitely not enough of a difference to make any major decisions on which way to go.
Neither will give you what they are capable with most stock machines.....bad op-amps, bad wiring, bad RCA outs...etc.

Go to this site...and decide which machine you want SCD-C555Es if you don't want DVD-A and the Denon 3910...if you want both, then have it modified.

If Vinyl is so perfect, why does reel to reel tape sound better? An analog medium has imperfections and imprecision as well. Vinyl is better than CD, but not DVD-A. And even on moderately priced gear (like my PC) DVD-A makes a difference.

And if I ever get audiophile grade electronic equipment, it will be Meridian.
There's always one in the croud. Dnewhous you won the prize!
both formats are dying.
Thus far, I have always preferred SACD. I have one DVDA that sounds quite good but about 20 that do not. I have about 400 SACDs and in many cases have cd counterparts. I have so many SACDs as I seek all that are released that are within my tastes.

I said "thus far" as changes in mods of my Exemplar universal players have had differential impacts on the sounds of different formats.

I find SACDs give a much more realistic sound stage, especially in live performances. I must also say that redbook reproduction has greatly improved. XRCD24s in particular equal or exceed many of my SACDs.

I don't care if many say the newer formats are dead; I continue to buy many SACDs each month. I also find vinyl clearly superior but much less convenient.
Dnewhaus wrote about theorectical considerations of DAC processing. A number of the follow-on posts assert that vinly is or ought to be superior, but without an explanation as to why. I'm curious as to why vinyl would be expected to be superior. Transferring to vinyl entails an electircal to mechnanical transduction and the reading of vinyl a transduction from mechanical to electrical. The tranduction from one medium to another would seem to be the most hazardous step in signal processing.

I assume most recording these days is direct to digital, so I would assume that CD, SACD, and DVD-A should be inheritantly superior to vinyl. What's wrong with that assumption?

Donbellphd, I understand your logic. I have three thoughts. One your assumption may be incorrect about direct to digital. Two, even if true, the dac used may be superior to those in homes. Third, analog transfer even from digitally recorded records may be superior to dacs.

Even with top vinyl and digital sources, there is a less synthetic sound that you get with vinyl. I always know even apart from pops and clicks which is digital and which is vinyl. I want to prefer digital as it is easier to deal with.
Someone brings up another totally 100% valid point that renders a lot of this theoretical hooey.

How good a job are the record companies doing with the mastering process?

For instance, I just got a gold CD of Pink Floyd's the wall. I also have EXOES, their new greatest hits collection. It says in there that they did a 24/96 remastering. Well, comparing the songs they have in common, the gold disc sounds better.

As to whether something is direct to digital - even in this day and age, most music isn't, but much is. Look at the CD and see if you can see "AAD" "ADD" or "DDD". The first refers to the original studio recording, the 2nd to the mastering, and the 3rd to the CD itself. Most CDs don't state this information. There is also the oddball "DAD" CD.

At the end of vinyls lifetime, some vinyl was touted as digitally mastered, as though that were supposed to be superior. (I don't have enough experience myself to vouch for digitall versus analog mastered vinyl.)

The digital masters they were using could not have been any better than DVD-A quality, and it follows from this logically that vinyl is inferior to DVD-A.
Time for me to eat crow here - I just looked at the back of one of my "ultradiscs" (gold CD) again and it says analog analog digital. So the analog mastered ultradisc sounds better than the newer 24/96 mastered greatest hits CD.