I usually buy them from amazon.com. SACD and CD are comparably priced there. It's best if you buy just a couple of SACDs and hear for yourself. If you like classical music then try RCA Living Stereo series. You'll find many of them at around $10. If you like jazz then try "World's Greatest Audiophile Vocal Recordings" from Chesky records. Decent compilation, excellent sonics.
Check out sa-cd.net as they have reviews and links for several sites for all sa-cd's currently available. For even better prices, check out mdt.co.uk as the pound is not too strong against the dollar and they run specials that change a lot but some great deals can be had with reasonable shipping. Also, Telarc SACD's are all on sale at Concord Music ($13.98 each) and if you buy four, the fifth is free so that makes them just over $10. each and you get free shipping on orders over $50. Ebay is also a decent source for cheap SACD's as is Amazon on some titles (but Amazon is more money most of the time than mdt.co.uk and Concord Music and often cduniverse as well.....
Hope this helps.
Did you know that in double blind listening testing conducted by the AES, no difference between SACD and Red Book was observed? That is not to say that multi channel SACD's don't sound different, they do. Only two channel have not. So, unless you are interested in multi channel, save your money. I have Miles/Blue in multi channel and it does sound better then the mixed red book.
Having heard the SACD on many fine systems/equipment,I'm not a believer.Many will disagree,but I find the high frequencies not-to-my liking.Technology dictates that this should be the way to go-BUT! Multi-channel may be excluded,no experience there.Still a two channel retro-technology person.
On my modded Sony SCD-1 the benefits of SACD are recoding dependent; with some being better than others. In general SACD out performs redbook in areas of inner detail(more organic) within the music and perhaps improved high frequency extension. However some redbook recordings (hybrids) are very good such that the benefits of SACD are reduced or maybe nonexistant.
I believe one needs to know what to listen for to hear the differences and ones system needs to be able to resolve it.
I purchase my SACD's (hybrids) from places like amazon and elusive disc. I listen primarily to classical and jazz (female vocals).
Thanks for the responses. For the multi-channel SACD: does one have to have more speakers than a standard 2-channels setup to listen or to get the benefits? Or, does "multi-channel" have something to do with the mixing and recording?
It sounds like a hit or miss for SACD. I will check out sa-cd.net and see what they have to say. I see alot of the recordings that are available, I already have in redbook. I listen to mostly jazz and classical.
I suggest you check at least one title, for example Stravinsky: The Firebird (Mercury Living Presence SACD)
and then judge for yourself whether your red book CD improvements were worth the money, and how much truth there is behind Boston audio society study published by AES...
Go for a hybrid,You can have your cake and Edith too.LOL!
I'm not sure how they did the double blind AES test but if they couldn't hear the difference, they're "doubly deaf".
On good recordings, sound quality is noticeably better on SACD in terms of inner detail and highs especially. Music has more body and air. It isn't subtle.
While most SACDs sound clearly better, there are a few 2 channnel mixes that do not since they weren't re-mastered well or the same, or multi-channel was the focus. Roxy's Avalon & Brubeck's Take Five were big dissapointments to me. I was surprised about the latter as Jazz is usually good and that recording was one i thought they'd take care with.
However, there's no comparison between the 2 versions of Krall's Love Scenes. The SACD just blows away Redbook. That's enough proof for me as the CD recording is damn good - one of the better in my collection of hundreds. A comparison of Allison Krauss on both formats would yield similar striking differences. If you like classical music, strings, especially violin, can be tough to listen to on CD, but just beautiful on SACD.
I don't own hundreds of SACDs but I'd guess around 10-15% of the time SACD recording is only so-so and not better than CD. Pop's the trickiest I think.
SA-cd.net is great and the best place to find music on the format. If you link your purchase though the site you're making a donation to it!
Good luck and happy listening!
I had a listen to a Sony 9000ES level 6 mod with Uber Clock with high end Thiel speakers and Ayre amps etc and compared the Bowie Ziggy Stardust SACD ,EMI remaster and the new SHM copy.The SACD was best and SHM very close with the EMI remaster was NOISE with no separation to the instruments. On my own setup I didnt think the EMI was so bad so it takes a HIGH END setup to show up the poor quality.We also demoed many different SACDs and the different sound staging for different music showed what this Sony mod player can produce.I was very impressed..Eamonn
Until recently, I had become convinced that redbook on the best units was more dynamic than sacd but that sacds had a better soundstage. But the Exemplar moded Oppo has changed that. Sacd is clearly better IMHO. But I would also argue that redbook off a harddrive is better than off an optical drive, and you cannot put sacds on a harddrive.
I will leave the difference between SACD/REDBOOK to ones own preference. I still think that SACD remains a 1-bit System, I still hear limited dynamics compared to the best Redbook. SACD still has a larger soundstage and better imaging as well as depth. Quality of SACD Disks seems to be just as varied as CD, Redbook or otherwise.
Multi-channel SACD/DVD-Audio is a whole different animal. They have a much larger soundstage, way better imaging and depth. They also have way better dynamics, or is it the impression of better dynamics. Haven't heard a Multi-channel Disk on a real high quality Multi-speaker system. I have been too busy enjoying Multi-channel Down
Mixes to 2-channels via a Pioneer Universal Player. This seems to be miles ahead of any 2-channel optical Disk that I have ever heard!
Will all of this stuff disappear in the wave of Downloading? That would be one hell of a loss!