I'm finally taking the plunge and buying a universal player. I've been browsing the Acoustic Sounds catalogue to see what is available on some of the new formats and developed a few questions I'm hoping to get some help with:

1. Is there any sonic difference between DVD-A and SACD formats?

2. I noticed some discs are "Hybrid Multichannel SACD". Do these play as stereo on a two channel system? Is there any disadvantage buying a multichannel disc to be played on a stereo rig? (I recall some folks arguing that the old Quadrophonic LP's were inferior to standard stereo versions of the same recording.

3. Some discs are labeled "SACD Hybrid Stereo" which I suppose means play either as standard CD's or SACD's. If you have a machine that will play both do you get to choose which format to playback or does the machine default to, say, the "highest resolution" format?

4. Anything you all think I should be considering as I build my multiformat collection? Are the "higher resolution" formats (DVD-A, SACD) worth the extra money?

Thanks to all.
1. Yes but they are insignificant since they are small and there is little overlap in repertoire.
2,3. There is no disadvantage. All (well, almost all) SACDs have a stereo track. Almost all, have a multichannel track. All Hybrid SACDs have a CD-compatible track. These are independant. Your player should have the controls to let you choose which you want to play for your particular context and/or preference.
4. IMHO, yes.

You'll get a few opinions on some of your questions, here are mine:

1. Sonically, both of the new formats are in my view better than redbook CD, and I could live happily with either of them. They are a bit different from each other, SACD to me sounding a bit smoother overall, but both offer excellent sound.

2. Multichannel SACDs have a two channel mix on them, so they'll play on two channel players. It will sound as good as a normal two-channel version of the same disc; the question is how well the engineer and producer did the two-channel mix from the multichannel mix.

3. Machines will vary as to their default settings, I believe, but their displays will show whether the CD or SACD layer is being played. On my SCD-777ES, there is a button to push, and it will stay on SACD if I don't listen to a CD; once it goes to a CD, I have to re-set it by pushing a button to get the SACD layer.

4. You'll get plenty of opinions here, and you can check the archives. I think they are worth the extra money, but CD has made a lot of progress, and the improvements over CD are subtle enough that if you have been brought up listening only to CD you might feel that SACD/DVD-A are too soft-sounding and not as clean or "sharp" sounding, and not worth the extra money. If, like me, you were raised on analog and vinyl, they are closer to the real thing than CD and have a lot of the naturalness we associate with vinyl and are worth every penny. Both formats, unfortunately, have been unsuccessful in the marketplace as a replacement for CD. If you like classical, SACD has a very good catalog, and a lot of smaller labels in the classical area have been putting out new releases on SACD, so there is hope that SACD will continue as a niche product at least with that genre of music; if you're into pop, I'd say stick with CD.
The sonic quality of both formats has the potential to be superior to CD, but the recording and mixing of the particular disc is very important. Some CDs sound better than some DVDA, but this is not the general case.

The most valuable aspect of SACD and DVDA is their multichannel capability. Properly implemented (which is often not the case) multichannel is a giant leap forward. Unless you can swing a good multichannel system SACD and DVDA may not be worthwhile.
I sold my Shanling T200 after 6 months ... great player, but the quality of the recordings ... VERY DISAPPOINTING. I only owned 45 discs, but only 7 or 8 of them were clearly superior to standard CDs. Just not worth the extra expense.