I would not underestimate the musical information and listening pleasure that can be extracted from the redbook formatted cds.
But if it makes you nervous, you might consider an excellent cd player that just so happens to do SACD as well.
I find that the largest benefit of SACD is not in the format so much as in the recording (new albums)or remastering process (Dylan) used when the material is giong to go onto SACD. It is an audiophile format and the engineers know that it is going to be picked apart. The 16 bit layer of dual layer SACD's sounds spectatcular most of the time.
As long as your current system makes you happy I wouldn't start selling it just yet. It's always fun to audition new gear though.
If you have an extensive CD collection, you can't replace it with SACD, because the SACD versions of 95% of it don't exist, and never will. I second Big's comment that the major difference is in the remastering, not the higher resolution. And remember that in the vast majority of hybrids, the SACD and Redbook layers use different masters, so when you compare them you're comparing the mastering, not the bits.
I had an ear opening experience this weekend during a comparative listening session when a fellow Audiogoner brought over his hybrid SACD/CD copy of Pink Floyd's DSOTM. He wanted to demonstrate how you could clearly hear the distant voices at the beginning of the album. He played the multi track SACD layer and sure enough the voices could be clearly heard, and there was very, very little noise in the track. When we swtiched to the 2 channel SACD layer, there was a significant amount of hiss and the voices couldn't be heard nearly as well. The redbook layer was quite close in quality to the 2 channel SACD version. I mention this as an example of how SACD vs. Redbook can be nearly indistinguishable if no attention is paid to the SACD re-master. On the other hand, when care is taken to re-master the original tape...as was obviously done for the multi-track layer...the results can be stunning. But I wonder how the redbook layer would've compared had the same attention to detail been paid to the redbook layer as to the multi track SACD layer?
Thanks to Stehno, Bignerd100, pabelson and Tvad for your comments -t is helping me get a better feel for what is going on.
Stehno, do you have a player in mind that does this (emphasizes high quality rebook play, yet play SACD for less than 2K)
Sound like the ocnsensus so far is that if you stuck to very carefully done redbooks, they would near SACD quality, but human nature being what it is we can expect good improvements such as Pink Floyd's on reissues because of the extra care given to SACD.
There is no point in paying extra for SACD, in my opinion. It's nice to have as a curiosity for those certain SACDs that are exceptionally well produced. But, SACD and DVD-A are dead for all practical purposes. The next step is hi-rez downloadable music files and players. There are several good CD/SACD players that do redbook very well and offer SACD as a bonus. If you can pick up an Exemplar Denon 2900 for $2000-$2300, that would be my first choice. The Sony SCD-1 would be my second choice if for no other reason than it's status as the first true statement CD/SACD player, and the resultant strong re-sale value.
I heartily suggest that you check out SACD. You can find threads on here that will direct you to great recordings, or if you request, I'll suggest two or three for you. Especially if you like jazz or classical, there are many, many great SACD recordings. In my experience, the best SACD stomps the lights out of redbook CD.
Moreover, you can get this killer performance in a relatively inexpensive unit.
But that's just my experience. You owe it to yourself to check it out for yourself and make up your own mind.
I have a question that is directly related to this topic. I got into SACD because some of my favorite artists were being remastered (Police, Peter Gabriel, Dylan, Miles Davis, etc.) into the format. To my ears, the SACD of Ghost in the Machine is far better than one of the earlier redbook versions of that same album. Now, sticking with the Police for the moment, there discs have been remasterd several times since there original transfer into digital back in the 80's. So, in cases where discs are hybrids and contain both SACD layers and redbook layers, is the redbook layer the most recent remastering pre SACD?
I owned an Exemplar Denon 2900 for 5 months before I just sold it. Before that I owned the Sony XA777. The Exemplar completely bested the XA777 on redbook, but I found the two equivalent on SACD. The redbook performance of the Exemplar 2900 had me buying the recently remastered version of several Miles Davis CD's instead of looking for the SACD's. That player made me think twice about my investment in SACD.
I have about 140 SACD's now, and only about 25 of them are non-hybrid. Most of it is music I did not repurchase but was new music to me. My experience with the Exemplar Denon 2900 has me questioning what kind of player will be next for me, an awesome redbook player, or, a Universal of some kind.
Good thread, thanks,
Tvad,funny you should mention DSOTM.That SACD caused some grumbling.
the multichannel SACD remix has been done with care and taste, and the two-channel SACD version is a straight digital transfer from the analog master tape. But the CD layer...?
JI describes it as sounding "less detailed and more congested...more forward than the SACD layer, and much louder than my original Harvest/EMI (Japan) CD
The Multi/SACD layer is considered revelatory as you say,and glorious.Many things on the masters formerly left off concurrent releases where included in this Multichannel SACD mix
However they chose to aim the redbook layer mix towards listening for mobile or noisy enviroments.Then only did a straight transfer from DSD archive mastering for 2channel SACD,no touch ups or even cleaning the hiss!
It is cooked.
Compressed and limited to the point that many prefer even the more congested of other versions.
Wealth of Dark Side ink on this linkhttp://www.stereophile.com//asweseeit/851/
sorry that block of text from review should be in quotes as follows(I hit submit vs edit!!)
"the multichannel SACD remix has been done with care and taste, and the two-channel SACD version is a straight digital transfer from the analog master tape. But the CD layer...?
JI describes it as sounding "less detailed and more congested...more forward than the SACD layer, and much louder than my original Harvest/EMI (Japan) CD"
Clbeanz, I listen to strictly 2 channel. It bums me out that there is such an outstanding version of DSOTM on multi-channel SACD and nothing similar on 2 channel SACD or redbook. Frankly, it seems pretty lazy on the part of the record company...but I'm sure this is discussed already on the thread you highlighted...
I can understand Parabales question about what machine next. I am debating between NorthStar 192 transport and 192 DAC for redbook at $2,700 new, versus The Dennon mods or Marantz SA 8260 for both red and SACD.
Gammajo, I've been using a Sony SCD-1 SACD/cd unit for the last 3 years without complaint. You may find that it's build quality and construction is unparalleled for it's price range and it's sonics should match just about anything near it.
I would imagine that you should be able to find a used one for under or around $2k.
In was a SACD - DVD-A early adopter (dummy), and have about 40-50 of them.
I'm getting tired of buying the same thing once again, in another format, and suspect we'll have something yet again when the blue ray DVD format hits the market.
While my DSOTM, American Beauty and other discs are fun novelties when friends come over, the format is dead / dying, and I'd put $ into the redbook format disc playback, as we know (we think), that they'll be around for a long time.
So, in cases where discs are hybrids and contain both SACD layers and redbook layers, is the redbook layer the most recent remastering pre SACD?
Not necessarily. It might be based on the SACD mix, or it might be something entirely different.
If your tastes tend toward Jazz and Classical then there are plenty of titles to chose from (IMO). Most of all the new releases of the last couple of years are now hybrids. Which means they are backward compatible and is the way SACD should have been released in the begining; again IMO. Small labels such as Hyperin, Channel Classics, Fidelis and the such are releasing new issues on hybrid discs. I find there sound especially on SACD to be astonishing especially when compared to the redbook layer.
I am espeicially fond of the Patricia Barber releases on the Mobile Fidelity label. I have both the redbook original and the Mo-Fi release and the SACD is simply superior to the redbook original. I also have several on the Pentone Label of Mozart symphonies that are outstanding as well same goes for the Fidelis releases.
I do believe that SACD will be a niche market for audiophiles and will probably never amount to much for the mass market. Vinyl was written off for dead many years ago but there still seems to be a strong cult following with new presses being marketed all the time. Just my thoughts; fun thread.
What initially attracted me to SACD was the remastering of my favorite artists (mentioned in my last post). What has kept me interested is the Jazz and Clasical stuff that has come out. Most of my SACD's are Jazz and Classical. I too think SACD will continue to thrive as a niche format for mainly these two genres of music. I was not a big Jazz music listener until I started hearing some Jazz SACD's.
For some time now I have refused to buy non-hybrid discs. Thanks for restating my question Pabelson. Maybe there is not definitive answer to my question about what version the redbook layer of SACD's is? Great discussion,
Thanks to everyone for thier input on this thread. I have decided to upgrade my redbook and am purchasing the NorthStar 192 Transport and DAC, used from a fellow gon'er. All the comments on the beauty of SACD were much listened to and appreciated, but bottom line for me was my existing 600 plus CD collection, not wanting to garner new music with decisions mainly by format, and format uncertainites. Figure I will give it a few years and see what shakes out. I praise the early adopters as they drive the markets and constantly encourage improvements.