Perfect Solution for Hi Res Mayhem

As almost all of us here, I am tired of wasting my precious time (otherwise would have spent on listening to Music) researching and thinking where this new format war is taking us. Finally I drew the following conclusions:
1. Multi Channel will take at least two decades before they attain the maturity two channel music has attained. So, why ruin my taste, I will stick to two channel.
2. Since I have neither Vinyl gear nor software, going down that path is a totally new investment, which IMHO is not justified given the low availability of software.
3. SACD has clearly more titles compared to DVD-A and DSD seems to be promising technology and two channel SACDs I have listened to sound pretty good, Vinyl like.

So, am I gonna jump the guns and spend mega bucks on a Accuphase, Lindemann, dCs or a Meridien? No. I have come across two cheap but well built Chinese SACD players. Now do not get put off by the fact they are Chinese. Even though we do not like to admit, some of the highly regarded gear are now either made in China or parts are sourced from there.

The two contenders are Shanling SCD-T200 and Xindak SCD-2. and they both have Tube output stages, and the conventional wisdom says they will definitely sound better than the Solid State analogue output players.

Shanling appears to have spent lot of money on looks, and it is a top-loading player. So, I think Xindak is the way to go. SCD-2 retails around USD 1700.00 in US and is two channel. Only draw back is it has no up-sampling for Redbook cds.

Appreciate your valuable opinion on my conclusions and better yet, if there are any Xindak owners here please let us know how they sound.

Amal- Though I completely agree with your decision to focus on two channel sound, I'm a little perplexed about some of your other decisions, or I should say the reasoning behind them.

I find it rather interesting that your rationale for not getting into a vinyl system is because of the perception of "low availability of software" while SACD is your preferred direction while it has extremely limited software available. I'm not suggesting that your choice is incorrect for you, but I just find it interesting as to the perception that vinyl is limiting while SACD supposedly has such a bright future.

As for the Shanling vs. Xindak, I'm not aware of any "conventional wisdom" that suggests that a tube output stage ensures better digital playback. I'm a tube enthusiast, but I've heard several less than stellar tube stages. A properly designed ss output stage can outperform a mediocre tube stage. You will have to listen to the units before you can determine which output you prefer. Of course, the many mods available for these units will also play a large roll in determining your preference as well. The nice thing is that at least the Shanling has both tube and ss outputs so that you can compare them yourself. I'm not sure if the Xindak has this feature or not.

Does your particular application preclude the use of a top-load machine, or is there a perception that top-loading players are somehow inferior? I have no preference about either player, but I would hope that you are aware that many of the finest transports in the world are top-loading.

Again, I'm not suggesting that narrowing your choice between the two players you've identified is incorrect, but I do wonder about the accuracy of some of your rationale. In the end, it's all about the music. Enjoy!
Umm, there is a LOT more music available of vinyl than SACD, and you could put together a respectable analog rig for less than $1700. Now THAT is hi-rez.
Dear Jcb,

Thanks and appreciate your view. My statement on Vinyl software availability reflects the situation where I live, Middle East. Sony is very strong here and they flood the market with cheap SACD/DVD combo players and at least three major stores here have started selling SACD titles.

While vinyl remains a very tempting choice, for practical reasons I had to adopt SACD. A friend of mine recently bought an entry level second generation Technics TT. He started buying 180g LPs on the net, but spends more time fighting insurance claims with courior companies for damaged records, than enjoying music.

Xindak SCD-2 has tube output, while SCD-1 has solid state.

As for top-loading, I have heard that most of the OEM transports are manufactured as front loading, and CDP manufacturers 'tinker around' to make them top-loading, which does not always produce good results. Please corret me if I am wrong. I assume the finest transports you are referring to are native top-loading drives.

I think multi-chanel is gimmicky, it reminds me of different "concert halls" from a cheap Sony or Pioneer reviever, sounds like it too, even in very expensive systems I've heard at dealers specially designed showrooms. I am not a bit impressed with SACD or DVDA, even in 2ch. I have well recorded redbook that is as good as SACD when played through a good dac, for instance with a $34K dCS SACD/CD setup, and very nearly done as well with a Musical Fidelity A3 24 Dac.

I found the difference trivial and in turn dissapointing with "hi-rez." I don't think my ears are not broken, either, as many dealers and friends have voiced the same opinion. Many audiophools relish in the trivial, stupidly small differences in sound, I'm no such fool, but surely the difference do appeal to some, which is cool. I tend to agree that analog is a better way to go, if for nothing else to be able to get to listen to the great recordings of the 60's that are just awful on CD and/or have never been remastered. Also, LPs are about $1-$3 used here for most titles, which is pretty good motivation for me to put together a cheap vinly rig.