Is SACD really this lousy?

Bought a Sony SCD 1 and this is boring me in my system. Have had it for 2 weeks and just cannot get interested. Previously I had a CAL CL2o and we were astounded by how the DVD DAD's sounded-fall into the soundstage, reach out and touch the performers. Also the dynamic range used every bit of the VTL's 275 watts into the Maggies. The 44/16 side of the CL20 was at best lukewarm. This after coming off a Meridian 508 20. Then I tried the Wadia 270/27ix. In my system, all the write ups were proven wrong. Then I went to the Linn Ikemi. It was great except I couldn't forget that sound of the DVD's with the CL20. I went to get the Sony SCD 1. I don't have a dealer here but trusted it wouldn't dissappoint. WRONNNG! I called Steve Huntley at Great Northern Sound to see if he could do anything. He said it was a great player, it's just that Sony missed the boat when it came to the analog section. He is in fact drawing up a mod to deal with this very thing that he says will approach the Accuphase. That however will cost anywhere from $1500 roonies for the SACD side to $3500 for both. Anybody have any comment on this or am I the only one experiencing disappointment?
Hate to hear of your disappointment.Off the top of my head,your is the first neg.on sacd I have heard.The one you have is the new lower priced one? At last, what caught my eye;this and your Cal 20 as a cd transport (lukewarm at best) I have a pioneer 09.great dvd player.Aspires too lukewarm/cd player status.Do you have a 24/96 dac?I have Theta data3+5a w/24/96 Purcell'tween. Saving up for Delius. I got this from the Stereophile combined SACD, Elgar reviews.Improve ALL your cds.Never having heard;I got the Purcell/can't wait for the Delius and I'm delighted with the first half.DVD-A was supposed to hit the streets July,1.Too much confusion for me.Not to mention,so far a crappy cd player included free. Actually it was the software, or lack thereof that helped make my choice.Got 1,000 or so cds.How many you got?
I've been laughing at the SCD-1's op amp output stage since it came out last year. Go back and read "CD-vs-SACD-vs-DVD-vs-vinyl".
Carl!!!! YOU talk about ME??? HA,HA!
Had similar experiences with the SCD-1 and returned it after about a week. Maybe it should have broken in more (played it 24hrs a day) but it sounded thin and lean. high end was marvelous - but no body to the sound.
I would submit that it needs about 300 to 400 hours of break in for both the DSD and PCM sides. I find that with SACD's it is just the about the best thing I have heard and on par with a +20K Basis/ARC REF Phono stage system, that I have heard. Newer direct to DSD recordings such as the Groove Notes Jacintha SACD sound absolutely marvelous. Sorry to hear that you didn't like the unit.
Listen to your turntable, if you do not have one get one. Then sit back and watch all this super 24/96 super cd stuff get redesigned and modified,to sound like your turntable. .
So far I still prefer Wadia's digital interpretation over SACD. The highs are great on SACD but the lows are lacking true tonal definition and deliniation. Strings appear to be overly bright- this on all speakers. Midrange is great though. Overall compared to everone elses CD interpretation the SACD is superior to other CD players except the Wadia sytems.
It's good to know that you know this for a fact, John.
I attended the Sony SCD 1 exhibit at the last High End 2000 trade fair in Frankfurt. I also attended the Audio Note exhibit where they auditioned a DAC 5 Signature with all-out tube output stages and no brick-wall digital filter. Even at 44.1/16bit I liked the Audio Note DAC 5 better than the SCD 1. It made me wonder what the SCD 1 would sound like if it had tubes in its analog output stage. Despite the low-pressure demonstration speech ("let your ears decide if the technology has succeeded") the marketing at the Sony exhibit was very systematic. They really want to sell this format to us (SONY was suffering some capital loss a year ago). I filled out a form to enter a contest to win a free SCD 1 player after the demo. A few weeks after the trade fair, I started receiving photocopies of reviews of their new low-cost SACD player (now available here in Europe, but not yet in the United States) with a cover letter that stated I should hear in a few weeks who actually won the SCD 1 giveaway. I am still waiting... Also, who can actually hear the ultra-high frequencies (100KHz) reproduced by the SACD format? And the Sony speakers look strangely like Thiels with only these extra-planetary-looking super-tweeters attached at the top. The audio magazines in Europe rated the new low-cost SACD player below many normal CD players that cost about twice as much. It made me think that if you have a 44.1/16bit set up (player and DAC) at anything more than $10,000, then you probably have a better sounding set up than the SCD 1. If you want more presence (something the SCD 1 excells at) get a good digital preamp (Z-Systems or T+A or Accuphase) and equalize the presence frequencies. It seemed to me at one point that the SCD 1 was producing a subtle re-equalization of recordings to enhance liveliness.
Slawney, who ever you are, your impressions of the SACD are nearly identical with my own. I did not hear it at the Frankfurt show, but did at CES in Vegas. I especially agree about the Sony people wanting to sell this to us, and the presence, or hyped top end frequencies tonal balance comments you made. The upper frequencies are so tilted up and the midrange is so void of any real "body" it is almost as if Sony is trying to convince us that their new digital format can do "ultra highs." Regardless of what this new format measures, it certainly falls short on musical presentation, and the ability to convince the listener that they are hearing analog. And, analog is what real music is, when heard live.
Albert,can you explain your remark"analog is what real music is,when heard live" Thanks,Dave
Albert means that music in real life hasn't been digitized. Look, I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here, but only a handful of people seem to know that the SCD-1 has horrible op amps for its output stage! An op amp would destroy so much of the musicality and fidelity of the signal upstream from it, that there's no way the SCD-1 would allow you to hear what the SACD process really sounds like anyhow...It only allows you to experience the "sony sound", and that's not worth listening to except with a Walkman, IMO.
Hi Carl, you have made your point about op-amp shortcomings very clear several times from your posts. I've heard the SCD-1 during the launch. I had a good impression of smoothness and extension both ends. But it was an all Sony setup with Straightwire cables. Digital conversion to anolog using large scale integration (LSI) devices, which includes house "tweaked" op-amps is unavoidable somewhere along the chain. IMO its technically impossible to even attempt to integrate the vast digital content read from the disk using just discrete devices like transistors/tubes alone. Audiogon posters would be naive to believe that Sony in this business, would not tweak in a housesound somewhere; in the case of SCD-1 in the output op-amps. Also op-amps are highly repeatable, cost effective in manufacture and not easily copied (if it's proven successful later on). Why are audiophile interests being compromised for something nothing related to hi-end audio??
DACs are designed many different ways by highend manufacturers, and I was referring to the op amps that comprise the line level output stage. There's no reason to use op amps in this stage, other than to be chaep and stupid in your audi philosophies. Sony has such attitudes, and they primarily are a mass market conglomerate. We all know this, and are not naive about it.
David99. My remark about hearing analog when you listen to real music, means live acoustic music, not the giant stereo system on stage at a concert. Although, it is also possible to hear analog from those systems as well. You can also hear analog in many Church's on Sunday, in the form of their live coral group, often accompanied by piano or organ. There are night clubs where live acoustic Jazz is performed. Even classical performances around Christmas time in shopping malls, where Cello, Violin and Piano tempt shoppers to extend their stay. All of these forms I've described are pure analog, in the literal and truest sense. Music emanating from these human powered instruments (including voice) is analog. When a tape recording captures these musical performances, the process begins of either keeping the music analog (as the original) or converting it to digital. However, in the end, the signal has to go BACK to analog for us humans to hear and enjoy it! So, I personally prefer to keep the entire chain analog from beginning to end, and save all the conversions.
Perhaps a way of putting it is that the SCD 1 makes good digital "conversions" but wretched analog "signals." It's impossible for it to grasp the movement of the SACD format without letting some of the sound escape.
Albert's right. Buy a table if you want the highest resolution source-and one that is consonant with music. Digital is for weenies.
Gee, Skull, that's interesting. Have you heard an excellent 24/192 system?
Maybe I can't hear, but I have witnessed the 2 SACD systems, Accuphase and Sony SCD-1 trounce all over Turntable setups. These were in mega expensive setups, but the turntable was in the same setup. Everyone in the room thought the SACD system sounded much more lifelike and flat out enjoyable. I have nothing against vinyl (I am not about to fiddle with it), but I just happen to think DSD is the ticket.
Let's hope that consumers just happen to agree with you...perhaps if the retail price of each title were lowered to match that of CD (and also if more than merely a couple of labels released titles in the format), we would see if this format can gain wide acceptance. I doubt it will happen, though. I like vinyl, and it trounces over CD just fine, and yet CD's are still enjoyable to me also. I'm glad the majority of audiophiles feel the way I do, frankly. We like to enjoy what's available NOW, and not wait for it for years and years, helplessly hoping...
I agree. With the right setup, CDs are "more than OK." SACDs, in the two lengthy auditions I have had, are very inconsistent. One disc makes your mouth water, the next sounds brittle. In all cases, the bass sounded very well defined but somehow a little recessed. Have we gotten used to the "Wadia sound?"
I had the opportunity the other day to hear the SACD format for the first time - I've really been putting this off! The associated equipment was the Vandersteen 2ce (I was there to audition these!) new McCormack 125, McCormack pre (?model) all run with silver cables and interconnects (?brand). At first we were listening to "normal" CD's and I found the Sony SACD-1 to be overly bright with a very thin midrange and not much depth. The dealer was nice enough to replace the SACD-1 with a Parasound CD-2000. I felt the sound was much smoother with the Parasound, overall. THEN, the dealer put in an SACD disc. All of a sudden the highs were clean, crisp and the mid had warmth and the soundstage got deep - a HUGE difference! Anyway, I'm not going to do anything yet due to the limited # of titles but it did get me excited about what could come in the next couple of years. Listining to the SACD was the closest I've EVER heard digital come to analogue!
Get a good turntable and cartridge and hear Analog! Wait until digital gets figured out(years) and spin some records.
Albert you hit the nail square on the head.Music is analog.Thats what our systems process.Not bits and bites.What makes one CD player better than another.The better the digital to Analog conversion is.Sit back and wait about 2/5 years when they may have figured it out.Dont let Sony and the others do R&D with your hard earned green.I take great joy in putting friends in the sweet spot and switching from CD to Vinyl.The most heard comment is.I thought CD's where supposed to sound better.Though I would never get rid of my Cd player.There are times when one just wants to sit back and enjoy the convinience of loading 6 dics in the tray and not moving for a few hours.Enjoy the music.