Sorry about your loss. I would be devastated. Sacds sound great, but what did you have that you lost? Vinyl? CDs? I believe that, in all formats, some sound good and some don't. I have some great sounding CDs. If you are replacing CDs, I would research how they were recorded and transferred to SACD. Some sound no different than CDs. Some blow you out of the water! Check some reviews of the sacds, and cherry pick the good sounding ones. All the others you could probably get really cheap and save alot of money. And...a good DAC goes a long way...
If you are asking whether your CD player should decode SACDs, then it probably should -- but most better CD players will.
If you are asking whether it makes sense to concentrate on SACD playback or SACDs, then don't bother. It is largely a dead format. DSD decoding is worthwhile in a DAC but don't think your question is oriented toward that.
No you are not right.
Recording and mastering quality varies according to the provenance of the Master tapes used. Earlier generations are usually better, but a lot depends on aging and wear and tear, alignment issues etc
Then it's down to how they were mastered and by whom and what equipment they used. A lot of recordings since 1990 have suffered from too much radio friendly compression and are revealed as victims of the loudness wars when played on a full bandwidth system. They often sound lifeless and have squashed dynamics. Hence the use of sites like Dynamic Range Database.
Last but not least the format of choice (vinyl, CD, SACD, Download).
Luckily you shouldn't have to worry too much about a recording unless it's a particularly bad recording. Steve Hoffman Forums is a good place to start but beware that even there consensus is often hard to find.
This is strange seeing how we audiophiles normally agree on most issues. Sorry.
The real problems begin if you want to hear Elvis or the Beatles as they sounded originally!
The great news is that there's never been a better time price wise to buy CDs.
I wouldn't crawl over broken glass to get an SACD player. I have one and, as others have commented, can say from experience SACD sound isn't automatically better. If you find an affordable CD player that also does SACD or, better yet, a high value universal player (Oppo?), sure get it - but if money is tight, don't go out of your way for the SACD capability.
Did the flood ruin your gear and library or just your gear? I'm wondering if you can clean and thereby save your CDs. If rehab/recovery is possible, consider getting something that will let you rip them to hard drive and playback via DAC. Cocktail Audio has something that is all in one. Unable to comment about sound quality. I find playback of ripped CDs via an Auralic Aries Mini sounds better than playing the actual disc. There are other options than the Aries Mini too. Good luck. Sorry to hear about your losses.
SACD solves my two complaints with CD and most other digital formats: 1) it restores the flow to music, and rids that sense of the music sounding chopped up, and 2) it provides the sort of low-end foundation and solidity to the music missing in those other digital formats. Yes, I have some poorly recorded SACDs, but they still do not commit the two aforementioned faults.
My biggest problem with SACD is the same thing as my biggest disappointment with SACD - the format flopped. And because of that, very little SACD content exists. Had the record companies stayed on board, I would have likely triplicated (already vinyl and CD) my library with SACDs. And oftentimes, what content does exist costs a lot. Content's enough of a reason not to worry about whether your player supports the format. If the machine you buy plays SACDs, that's certainly not a negative. But sadly, it's no longer one of my top priorities in a machine I'd buy
I am a person who has tried a lot of tweaks over the years. Some didn't help or made things worse; and yet most have found a place as a permanent part of my system(s). I have a fair number of SACDs and they sound really good, but not necessarily better than my standard CDs.
I also had a high end analog set-up which blew away early CDs, but newer ones have come a long way and there are a lot of things that can be done to improve these red book CDs and bring them to a very competitive level with high end analog rigs.
I am one of those who went away from SACD. They sound good when the whole recording chain was done via SACD. Unfortunately, there are a few audiophile records, most is unimportant.
The Majority of SACD use the 44.1 master and it is converted to SACD. Most sound clear but sterile/boring.
Maybe (or for sure) I am a minority, had SACD Player, sold it and the one in use is for regular CD only. From my experience, the best sounding CD’s are those which were made in the 90’s, at the beginning of the Digital Hype. Most Studios still had - some - analog units in the mastering chain (AAD).
There are endless cheap 2. hand CD’s available, you can buy a dozen for small money and when you really like one or the other you can look for the expensive SACD. I did it that way at the end.
What is generally very good, imo better, is XRCD from Japan.
@jimmycg,Sorry for your loss. I can very well imaging what you must be going through. A few days back, a pipe from the mains to the whole house humidifier developed a pinhole leak and an unfinished portion of my basement had a bit of water. That was scary enough for me.Like most of the posters said - it depends on the mastering process. I have a few SACDs that I enjoy. Whenever possible, I try to get the SACD instead of the CD. Acoustic Sounds produces good SACDs and new ones keep coming. Get a player that plays SACD as well as acts as a DAC for DSD files. So you now necessarily have to buy SACDs. Instead download the DSD files. I like my SACDs and enjoy them. If you like your SACDs and can get a SACD player, got for it. Let the other posters not detract you.
A tip that I would like to share - when ever you go on vacations, or even a 2 day trip, shut off the water mains. Then drain all water from any one outlet in the sink, bathroom, kitchen, wherever.
Out of 350 discs I have 42 with layers that won't play on a red book only CD player. (That number may go up sharply now that I've found Dutton Vocalion, who sells SACDs for $20 here https://www.duttonvocalion.co.uk/ and on Amazon) Of those 42 there are perhaps 5 that sound no better to me than the red book layer and only one that actually sounds better in red book. That makes a universal player a must for me. On some, Beck - Sea Change, Norah Jones - Come Away With Me, Jennifer Warnes - The Hunter, Neil Young's Greatest Hits (DVD-A) for example, the difference is breathtaking.
I am using an Oppo BDP-95 in my main system. I still have my first UP, an Oppo DV-980H. They are quite good for the money. I replaced it in my smaller system with an Oppo DV-983H, which is awesome for the money; but only come up rarely. I'll be selling the 980 now, but I wouldn't post it here, where people post asking "What's the best DAC for red book in the $15,000 to $20,000 range." I don't think many would even read an ad for a sub-$100 UP. I am not judging; I'm just not in that league....yet. ;^)
I am in the camp that is in disbelief that anyone could NOT affirm that a well produced SACD doesn't sound sound SIGNIFICANTLY better than it's CD counterpart. I refer here specifically to multi-channel. Listen to Steely Dan "Gaucho," Roxy Music "Avalon," Peter Gabriel "Up," Diana Krall "Girl in the Other Room," or Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms," and I think anyone would be hard pressed to state "no difference." After all, compared an average CD with no more than 750 Mb of data to a multi-channel SACD with 10 X the data and there is a REASON why the fidelity is so AWESOME. What is true is that the platform failed, sadly, but if you can find any of these coveted titles at a good price, get them while you can! A good choice would be any OPPO model and would encourage anyone to try to get the latest 4K model which is simply superb and while the CD player is good, it is not = to some of the higher end players. But the SACD player and video is over the top great!
Generally, you are right. In most cases, an SACD will give you a more realistic soundstage and better instrumental timbres. This is especially true if the SACD was made from a very good analog or DSD master.
Unfortunately, there are some SACDs which were made from CD-format masters, and you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.
And there are some Redbook CDs (like most of JVC's XRCDs) which were recorded and produced with such great care that they rival SACD in sound quality (though IMHO imaging is never as 3D as an SACD).
All things being equal, the quality of the recording (and physical production of the disc) make huge differences.
The last factor is the playback device. The first time I heard an SACD, it was on the Sony SCD-1 ($5k) and it was glorious. The next time was on a $250 Sony 'universal player' and I was not impressed.
I personally would not buy a player that doesn't handle SACDs or a DAC that cannot decode DSD64 and probably DSD128 (double DSD).
@krell_fan1 "I am in the camp that is in disbelief that anyone could NOT affirm that a well produced SACD doesn't sound sound SIGNIFICANTLY better than it's CD counterpart."
I share your opinion.
My best friend is a musician, does a lot of recording and production, and skirts with the idea of becoming an audiophile. He often tells me about how the conversion down to 16/44 is like driving on a smooth as silk superhighway, and turning off onto a dirt road. He considers it the most depressing part of his work.
Several years ago, he wanted to hear a piece he found in my collection. I told him it was an SACD, and we talked for a few minutes about it. Like so many outside this world, he asked a technical / spec question, as that's what they focus on, "How many bits?" I answered, "1 bit." The look of scorn on his face was something I wish I captured. Anyway, I told him Philips and Sony introduced SACD to replace the CD, with the goal of better replicating the music's analog waveform. The spec of a sampling rate 64X higher still didn't impress him. Anyway, pop the disc in, begin playing, and within a second or three the look on his face became just as priceless as the previous one. For the next year or so, he kept talking to me about the absurdity of this format never taking off, no one even hearing about it, and how massive a sonic improvement it represented as he heard it himself
Good morning all. I'll start with a simple truth: the more "revealing" in nature your rig, the more noticeable the sound difference will be between formats; via items such as quality of the source component; slew rate of amp; neutrality of interconnects, transparency of wires, and finally, SPEED of speaker drivers. There are many highly regarded speakers and amps that do not give huge detail, which makes them 'forgiving'. I own and have bought a good number of albums in all formats for the very specific purpose of carefully comparing the difference. And I refer back to them now and again, sometimes just to enjoy the strength of a particular format. In almost every case, taking all the elements of music/sound into consideration, that we out here discuss, I find SACD ultimately to be superior on the whole. As a caveot to that, I do find that Sacd hybrids suffer huge variances in quality, and relegate to reviews before purchasing them anymore. Blu ray Audio has its strengths, but I find many of the recordingsvto sound thin in comparison to sacd, especially in surround mode. My Rig: Oppo UDP205, Silnote M1 Orion XLR, , Parasound Halo JC1, Audio Magic Liquid Air (mid/tweeters) w/ Analysis Plus Black 8 (woofers), Paradigm Tribute 30th Anniversary with Paradigm Signature V3 surrounds via Parasound Halo A51, Silnote Poseidon II and Morpheus II Ser II RCA interconnects, and a combination of MIT 3 and Jenvings Supra 3.4S Wires, with Paradigm SUB 15.
Hello, and I too am sorry for your loss. Funny, we say that for a death in the family, but somehow the loss of a good hifi system can be very painful. I also agree that it's certainly worth buying a SACD player, but no one has mentioned Marantz and their players are exceptional for the money. I own an older DV 6500, which is a cd/dvd SACD player. It was well known, originally, that the DAC of the SACD player has to be of higher quality and bits so as to take advantage of the surround processing engineering in the SACD. So, even normal cds and dvds have a better timber or lack of instrument coloration (especially stringed instruments such as piano, acoustic guitar, etc.) and sound better than a plain cd/dvd player. It is true that this is why we own good analogue, as in turntable. So, having said all of this, if I were you I would focus upon a good turntable and vinyl, while getting a cd/dvd player that accepts SACD as secondary, for movies and music.
Sorry for your loss. Like other comments read, it depends on the SACD. Sound quality varies depending on how they were made just like cd's, but the good ones are excellent. As far as XRCD, I always found them too bright and unlistenable, but that's to my ears. I know some people like them. I have an OPPO 105 which is to me is an affordable way to listen to any format. A really good CD player can better the OPPO on some CDs, but then you loose the versatility.
It just popped into my head that SACD failing drove me back into vinyl with a real commitment. So where I put many thousands of dollars into both software and hardware over the past decade plus simply came down to this.
Although I’ve heard very good CD players and DACs, even as far as things have come today, they don’t satisfy me the way records do. SACD did
SACD as with vinyl has really never died.
New ones are arriving from Japan every week. In the classical music catagory, new labels, as with Pentatone and Linn are issuing splendid re-issues and new recordings. To my ears they do sound superior to the usual red book 16 bit CDs.
I love my vinyl, 7 1/2 i.p.s. reel to reel tapes, Hi-Rez 24 bit downloads, Pure Audio Blu-Ray, and SACD. They all reproduce the master tapes better than CD. There are always ‘stinkers’ in any of these formats. And there are a few CDs that sound really fine.
Perhaps SACD flopped as did DVD Audio in the USA. We live in an era of iTune downloads with their limited bit rate. But, even with some pop albums they are perfectly fine.
Still again in classical music the SACD is gaining momentum again.
Now, if only the Japanese issues wouldn’t be so very expensive.
SACD are expensive. Used Cds can be had for a buck a pop at store like Half Price Books.I bought thousands of $1 $2 CDs there.You never see SACD used, and if so, they are very expensive.
My experience is SACD typically have no background. No 'air' of the room or environment. Just the music from a black hole.I just bought a SACD player mainly because it decoded CDs via Toslink so well... Using DSD. (Marantz SA-10)
I would not bother buying SACD. I own less than twenty, and most of those are Bob Dylan dual layer I got on sale. On the other hand I own 2,500 CDs. after dumping a thousand CDs in a weeding frenzy.SACD do NOT sound any better than good CDs. And both formats are all over the place for actual sound quality when played back in a quality system.
So for the OP my suggestion is buy the SACD PLAYER, but actually buy used CDs dirt cheap. eBay has tons for dirt cheap, so does Amazon marketplace. (I bought piles from Amazon for a few bucks, Usually the shipping was way higher than the cost of the $0.50 CD!)So to maximise value. Go for the CDs.
Have been following your lead for over a year and find the CD approach, when up sampled with SoX in JRiver, provides an audio result fully equivalent to SACDs.
BTW, some SACDs are notable, especially the Grammy award winning Dire Straits "Brother in Arms." In a 5-channel environment, this one is riveting.
I never wrote for a magazine. There are over 1.5 million women named Elizabeth in the USA alone. Two other Elizabeth who share my last name (not related) who bank at my bank!!!. So I would say no, I am not that person.Where I worked I used an unusual nick name since the place had six Elizabeth working there. Having a common name is OK , but not much fun.
Re SACD, the proof is in the pudding. I pulled out an old Sam Cooke SACD ( Portrait of a legend) last night and boy did it sound great. While I do have a few cd's that sound as good, it is a joy to hear older classics redone in SACD. I would put the Stones, AKUS, Elton John and even Junior Wells into this grouping. I know everyone is into streaming these days but if you have them, pull out a few you haven't listened to in a long time - you will be in for a treat!
@Elizabeth , I'm really sorry that you haven't heard how good SACD can sound. I'm really perplexed when you say that SACDs lack air and ambience. I've found just the opposite, that a well mastered SACD gives me room ambience that even the best CDs cannot match.
I'm not questioning your ears, but there's got to be something 'wrong' for you to hear less 'air' on SACD than Redbook CD. Not trying to argue, but I bet that one day you will hear this yourself. (When you do, remember me ;-)
Oh, and I'm definitely talking 2-channel... and even mono.
I would say that, in my setup, most of the time my SACDs do sound better than the "regular" CD, MQA from Tidal and high-res downloads, but not always.
Most of the time the mastering seems to produce a more "musical" result, but not always. With just a few of my SACDs I wonder if the mastering engineer ran the CD quality digital files thru some sort of "up converting" algorithm. I have the latest CD master of the Steely Dan "Aja" album, which IMO sounds significantly better than the SACD.
SACDs sound amazing on my Sony SCD1. So do Redbook CDs. SACD does seem to have more air, detail, and soundstage.
One concern I have is maintenance of the laser assembly for SACD. If I understand correctly, the Redbook section is fixed in position whereas the SACD section requires manual calibration with reference discs and an oscilloscope. No one seems to have these reference discs available. If anyone knows, please share that info.
So where would you find a high-end SACD player to replace what was made back in the day?
I purchased a used SCD-777ES as a backup. The transport assembly required repair to play any disc. It now reads single layer SACDs but will not read SACD layer on a hybrid disc. I am SOL on fixing the laser without proper calibration.
Fortunately, the SCD1 still reads all formats perfectly.
My SCD777ES will also not read the SACD layer on dual discs.But will play SACD only discs.
It no longer matters, since I bought the Marantz SA-10.
(I was able to audition the Marantz for five days. I listened to the SA-10 drive play SACDs, CDs and via the Toslink from two five disc changers. The Marantz definitely had better sound than my Sony SCD777ES playing SACD or CDs.. And showed me more info from my CDs played on the changer via Toslink than I had heard before. Some folks like SACDs a lot. I’ll take a well recorded CD any day. SACDs are generally well recorded (or they would not bother to make the music into a SACD!) so comparing all CDs to SACDs IMO is unfair.
Plenty of average CDs, and only a percentage are well recorded enough for me to call them amazing. But the good ones are equal to any SACD.
Hey folks, to prove there's still life in SACD, check out:https://www.channelclassics.com from the Netherlands.
If all of my music sounded as good as the SACD of Vivaldi's Le Quarto Stagioni that they put out, all of my music would be on SACD. Rachel Podger and her Brecon Baroque has the best interpretation I've heard.
I just got it in the mail and it was an emotional ride like I've hadn't had in years. Anyway, SACD done right sounds fantastic.
All the best,
@krell_fan1 I would also say Fleetwood Mac Rumours, Stevie Ray Vaughn-Sky Is Crying, Moody Blues-Days Of Future Past, The Doors-L.A. Woman, and Eagles Hotel California are all game changers on SACD. The ones you listed and these to me justify the expense of an SACD player. Some of the Oppo units do a good job for the low cost and the ability to use them as network players for DSD if you can't find the SACD version of a particular title. If you have a little extra and can swing the nuforce editions they sound very good.