Interesting. I have resisted buying either SACD or DVDa - becuase of the lack of titles, lack of unified format (i.e there shoudld be 1 HD CD format only) and lack of digital outputs.
The fact of the matter is that I am their target audience (as most of everyone here is) and they failed to sell me.
I do have a few Chesky and other lable 96k audio on DVD. (forget what that bastared format is called) I bought them becuase I knew they would play on mst any DVD player and my D/A would decode them. They sound excellent BTW.
I recently got some new gear, a powerplant P500, and GCC-100 control amp. I thought it sounded harsh in the highs, as others have mentioned. Since I could return the GCC100 within 30 days (there was no way I was returning the P500- best upgrade I have ever made) I got my vinyle rig going, which had been down for 6 months after a sytem move and reconfigure.
The vinyl was simply outstanding- no trace of treble hardness or whiteness I hear with the CD (even though an upsampling converter - which does do quit a good job over non upsampled)
LP's made me realize just how good the GCC100 is.
I have since tried changing speaker position- much closer together with no toe in (after reading that many tweeters are smoother off axis) This has helped quite a bit, and
now the systems is quite good and livable with digital.
I'm now looking into refurbing my older WTT table with new fluids, belt and new Shelter 501 - it really needs it and hopefully will sound even better than it does now.
I have been holding off on the new formats waiting for the clear industry standard to emerge. I am still waiting many years later. What would be great for us audiofools is to have a simple 2 channel CD recording that uses 96K with the end result being higher quality recordings. Ideally the 'new' generation disks would be able to play on existing machines as well. Don't hold your breath waiting however. I do not ever see it happening. The vast majority of people do not have the system to hear the differance between the 2. Recording companies and distributors do not want to bother.
I listen to vinyl about 70% of the time and have resisted upgrading my digital source because of all of the possible new formats and my feeling that none will be as good as vinyl. I was however very surprised after auditioning a Balanced Audio CD player. WOW! This played redbook CD's better than any SACD I have ever heard, it was full, musical with the depth, warmth and liveliness that I love in my vinyl. Only draw back was the near $6000 price tag. I do not think we need a new format, just improvement in hardware bringing the cutting edge sound to a more accessble price point, or perhaps higher paying jobs!
I was at a local electronic store today and they had an entire aisle of DVD-A and SACD. I was impressed. I browsed the titles and probably found 5 titles I would like to hear. Not much. Worse, I went over to the player section and they didn't have any SACD or DVD-A players for sale. It didn't add up.
I'm done with SACD. I went for the ride (to the tune of about 150 SACD's). I have sold all my single layer SACD discs, my SACD player, and have never looked back.
SACD was great. It got me into jazz music. In the end, though, I found a good redbook version of most CD's were, on a good redbook rig, equivalent to the SACD version.
Now that I have transferred all my music to a computer based music server, I find my priorities changing dramatically. I am also buying music like crazy again....and loving it.
I agree 100%. Really wanted SACD to succeed, bought more than 100 to help the cause, many of which I have never listened to twice. Too bad. Vinyl DOES rule, and CD isn't bad. Dave
Yes, sir the BAT CD VKD5 I think is one I heard , VERY nice, but I love the wadia on redbook too... both great players, and I am glad people that are truly into the music found the path... SACD is nice but put the money where it really shakes things up, a good transport and even vinyl, its far more rewarding in the end I have found.
I too have found many SACD's underwhelming. There are many LP's and redbook CD's that sound much better than most SACD's. Also, on my Mac C-2200, the VU meters show some sort of signal BEFORE the music starts, and the meters hang just above zero for about 5 to 10 seconds at the end of a SACD after the music stops. Redbook CD's do not do this, nor do DVD-A's. I have asked a number of "experts", including TAS editor Bob Harley. Nobody seems able to explain this.
Hmm, thats weird, some technical transfer issue... I have read some very strange things about sacd haveing almost a dog whistle effect on some younger humans and animals, with an ingrained kinda hi freq, pitch, I have heard this on a Bowie SACD that was the worst SACD recording I have heard to date.
Don't quote me on this but I read somewhere that Sony has admitted that SACD has a fundamental flaw in the recording process. Here's the kicker, they have adopted a new scheme (forgot what's its called maybe digital experts can help here) which is basically PCM!*>)
I can say this, that :
Sure Chesky and whoever can lay down Classical and Patricia barber all day, and be succesful on SACD...but for the more mainstream Audiophile it seems that many of the recordings are done on Hi-res just for that reason, to get the Audiophile to return to purchase another Sony stamped product that is in no way superior to its predecessors..
Now Dark side of the moon, for obvious reasons they could not fake the Upgrade as easily because all eyes and ears were watching on that one... but for most of the selection, Bowie, Neil young, or even Slipknot(I could care less but for a point) it becomes more of a marketing thing, and not even a very good one, because they have not pushed the format hard enough and In my Opinion, the last 5 years of Standard CD recording's Have truly Enhanced quite a bit, possibly due to the threat originally from SACD, I don't know, but just about any 2005 recording you purchase will unlikely fall short of your expectations to pretty good sound quality... I have even replaced some old 80's and 90's Cd's with current re-masters from about 2002 on up, and they absolutly sound as good as new Albums and even SACD... Why? Again I have no idea accept that the Standard Digital industry is finally catching up with itself, For Example BECK, SEA CHANGE is a very new Album, whether you are into the music or not I have tested it on the Standard CD and the SACD only release, the Standard Was as good if not better in some ways, Bass responce and all, had very good weight and overall very full nice smooth sound, Now the SACD was something Special in the Surround MODE, but casual Listening Head to Head 2 channel I would take the CD version... Whats my point, Nothing but the fact is technology has definatly advanced, but for Who? I think the old 16 bit system is starting to show its true capabilities as well if the recording is properly done in the first place. Surround sound Does still have its place, And Hybrid SACD's do sound excellent on the Redbook playback as well as SACD.
Man....a lot of SACD bashing out there.
I have always felt that SACD would only appeal to a small slice of the public, namely the audiophile.
Look how popular MP-3 has become. Low res (MP-3) beating the pants off hi-rez (SACD and DVD-A). Really does not make any sense. Most of the public is looking for convenience over sound quality. They could care less about the sound, much less pay more to get it.
Just get a nice universal transport and enjoy the best of all formats, except vinyl of course.
I have a Theta Compli universal trasport hooked to a Theta Gen.VIII DA/Preamp.
Life is great!
No its not bashing, its just getting to the facts of the opposing formats and the advantages and disadvantages, but in 1999 I think SACD had a chance, and CD was a bit lower tier, but recordings now seem to be competing pretty well on standard DVD and CD... Its tuff.
I agree with you highly, Gfroman.
I'm pretty much starting to feel the same way...i too have the Beck 'Sea Change' CD and SACD...for me...the sacd sounds better...but now all that much...and that is through the same player...an el cheapo combi player. If I were a diehard classical & jazz buff i probably would have bought more SACD's, but of the 20 or so that I have...there were only a couple that I REALLY wanted...other than that i was just buying stuff that in my mind was "ok"...but there were plain old redbook CD's that I would rather have had at the time...but wanted to wait to see if it would come out on SACD. Years later...no luck. My next DVD/CD player probably won't have SACD...at least it wont be a priority.
Interesting to hear so many points I can identify with having been down a similar route.
It has long been my contention that the formats have failed to attract even large sections of what should have been the early adoptors.
It's funny how many people are saying how bad SACD is, and when it first came out everyone was saying how incredible it was. I guess we have a banwagon going both ways.
On a well recorded SACD, the sound is better than CD period. If it wasn't true, then no one would have bothered. I originally argued that SACD didn't fit and wouldn't make it back when everyone over hyped it. I like Vynil the best and I enjoy redbook. I didn't go for an SACD player all this time and ironically I ended up getting a XA777ES just for the transport. I will be getting a DAC soon.
I have 2 SACDs - yes 2. One of them (a newer recording) sounds better than any redbook I've heard, but nothing like the sound of my TT.
I agree that it is a mess and doesn't look like it will replace redbook, but let's not pretend now that the sound is worse than redbook (on pure DSD recordings).
Only question I have is , Who said it sounds worse then redbook once on this thread? Anyway, my only point was many redbooks that are newer do sound as good as many of the SACD's but not on a Sony player, but on very good redbook machines. I don't think anybody said all SACD's sound bad, just not that special, unless the redbook is from 92' then a remastered on a SACD or hybrid sounds better, thats all.
To answer your first question, Irishdog said "I too have found many SACD's underwhelming. There are many LP's and Redbook CD's that sound much better than most SACD's" in the above post.
I re-read my post and didnt see where I made a blanket statement about All SACDs or All redbook anything. So, Im not sure where you are getting that.
True, sorry.... but I have to say I just decided from the thread to try another comparison, I bought a 2003 release of the Peter gabriel Shaking the tree, a best of kinda compilation, its a remaster I got from best buy yesterday and there is an SACD only disc I have too which is no longer used as I do not have the player, but going off memory as I heard that disc 100 times on my SACD, I can say the CD is just as good in general, and the SACD is only in 2 channel anyway so it would have some possible advantage if in 5.1 maybe? Again not slamming the format but, found the Redbook equivelant with a very good player, so it makes SACD less relevant, unless they had hundreds of titles worth buying for all music types.
I don't want to come off as a defender of SACD at all. If you get a chance, pick up Ray Brown, Monty Alexander, and Russell Malone SACD from Telarc. It has more of a natural sound then Peter Gabriel's processed music. It sounds better than any Redbook I've heard. I only listen in stereo, so I am not interested in 5.1.
By the way, I think we agree that SACD doesn't make enough of a difference to justify given the limited software. My SACD player was purchased as a transport for Redbook only. So, if it weren't for that I wouldn't even have the capability.
I am sure Acoustic music and classical in general are far better on a lot of SACD's due to the compression factors on CD, the same as vinyl not haveing that compression effect, but as you put it Processed music is definatly a different animal for Rock type style on CD and SACD, but I will correct my main statement and say More Modern Mainstream music gets little benifit from the SACD process as the CD counterpart if relatively current recording sounds just about as good. I am admitting however I listen to mostly rock, and some caught in between stuff like Bluesy, or Jazzy style, so Raw Voice, Piano, Acoustic guitar does in general sound better on Vinyl and SACD. So I will stand corrected and clarify. Thanks Robm321
I, too, am disappointed with SACD. For instance, the remastered redbook layer on my Dylan hybrids sound marginally better than the SACD layer. On some, they are equivalent. But on none, does SACD outshine redbook.
An average sacd sounds better than an average cd. I have about 500 sacds and in many instances I have the same recording in both. Apart from XRCD24s and HDCDs, redbook lacks the completeness of sacd. You have less of the feeling of being present at the recording venue. Also the transient attack on cd is slower than on sacd. I will continue to buy sacds when I can, and there is no question that those recorded in dsd are superior.
It will be a sad day in several years, when sacds are no longer being released.
If your player can play HDCDs and there are thousands of these including many recent popular releases, it is far superior to ordinary cd. Similarly, while XRCD and XRCD2 were very good, XRCD24 is much superior. Unfortunately, JVC has not released many.
And then there is vinyl. As yet I have heard no digital source that equals vinyl, but what a pain it is, unless you have the laser tt.
Competely agree with Tbg except SACD availability seems to mainly restricted to classical and classical jazz...yeah Rolling Stones, and Dark Side of the Moon but we need a lot more for rock, fusion, jam band, etc! Hey, where arwe the Beatles? I am big fan of SACD, but a bit frustrated too.
IMO SACD is superior to CD all things being equal BUT a good CD recording WILL outshine a poor SACD recording. I have an inexpensive Sony SACD player and overall I find the dynamics a little better than on CD giving more of a larger, live type sound than most CD recordings. That being said though I am still very dissapointed that HDCD kind of fell by the wayside. IMO HDCD made a vast improvement over regular CD recordings. I think most recording companys are really missing the boat on this one. My favorite to date is still Patricia Barber's Cafe Blue on gold HDCD CD disc. A standard by which I still judge most others including SACD. The advantages of HDCD are that they generally do have superior sound compared to regular CDs, are still compatable with non HDCD players, and best of all cost NO more than a non HDCD disc would. This keeps HDCD and non HDCD owners happy. For comparison, there are a few SACD's that I would not mind having but I can't justify spending $30.00 on one unless it is really one of my favorites. I still have my EAD CD 1000 with HDCD that I bought about 10 years ago when HDCD was being promoted and now I was contemplating getting a higher end universal player but now with the advent of Blue Ray or HD DVD, SACD and DVD Audio my be almost obsolete so what's a person to do? In one sense I wish we would get ONE high end format that can do everything and NOT have to keep hoping and waiting for some of these other formats to prevail while they end up being obsolete "white elephants" before they get off the ground.
I believe to appreciate SACD you should have a good
SACD player, and try to find a good SACD disc, preferably
those are being release from Mark Levinson,Grove note,
Chesky, Mobile Fidelity, and some Telarc, FIM, and
tell me if you still think SACD is not superior,then I
believe you just cant tell what is SACD is all about.
Before I open the thread, I bet Ben Campbell would
be posting, and I am right.He will never agree that SACD
is superior,I think He has not heard SACD at its best.
I do have vynil, sometimes I cant tell the difference
between my SACD and vynil, I do have a very good
SACD player.I will continue to buy good SACD as much as
I can, especially the pure DSD, I agree with TBG.
If SACD is not that superior, you think Mike Lavigne, who
has a state of the ART system, will spend his money to
buy expensive SACD player? I trust Him,just by looking
on His system, you can tell He knows about audio.This is
only my opinion.Thanks
A friend who works for a major audio retailer that sells lots of digital gear including SACD contends in no uncertain terms that SACD is dead, not that it's dying, that it's dead already. Sony killed it is one of the big reasons. And I keep hearing people remark about the certain sameness about the sound of SACDs that isn't the case with redbook CD. I don't sell any digital gear at this time so I have no ax to grind, but to hear someone in such a position offer such a firm informed opinion seems to be proof enough.
You make a good point. With Rock, etc. kind of music, SACD wouldn't provide much benefit. SACD doesn't benefit much from amplified music from what I've heard.
Oh well, until the next format comes along to tease us, I guess it's Redbook and of course vinyl.
Jactoy when have I ever said that SACD is not superior?
You've made the accusation now direct me in the direction of that quote.
What I have said is that I accept on the right equipment due to it's technical superiority SACD will sound superior but I haven't heard the best of SACD equipment.
The main point of many of these posts is that SACD is not a clear improvement for many.
People who own SOTA equipment really required the levels below to support the format.
If you are going to quote me you should really pay attention to what I've said.
If you want to hear the problems associated with SACD I suggest you reread this thread.
Did I brain wash all these people?
Ben, I don't know why anyone needs to post that sacd has not taken off as some had hoped. If it is to discourage some from taking the plunge, it is unwarranted. I buy too many of the sacds that are released each month and would not be without a unit that will play sacds. To suggest that others avoid buying because supposedly the format is dead is to deny them the delight at sacd's superiority, if they are so foolish to heed the notion that it is dead.
If at some point new sacds are not released, existing ones are no longer available, and players also are unavailable, I will be unhappy and concede that sacd is dead. I see no evidence of any of these now.
Top notch DVD-Audio discs and top of the line CD's are superior to SACD in one respect:
Because of the limitations of the one bit DSD system in the high frequencies, DVD-Audio's and CD's actually have better dynamic range above about 8khz than SACD's, and much less ultrasonic noise.
I have read this from several sources.
I personally have excellent hearing acuity in the high frequencies.
In my experiences, top flight SACD's do sound better than top flight CD's in the lows and the mids, sometimes much better. I do however hear some limitations in the highs on most SACD's, IMHO, especially compared to top-notch Advanced Resolution Stereo 2 channel tracks on some DVD-Audio discs, and on some exceptionally recorded CD's.
Vinyl is superior to all of them, however, IMHO.
Tbg you are as bad as Jayctoy where did I say SACD was dead?
Please remember the music review website I set up FOR Audiogon members has a SACD section.
I think I've done more than most for SACD in a positive sense even if I did not embrace the format.
To answer your other point Tbg you can see from this thread many audio fans have been disapointed by the format.
Are we just to be sheep and not share our experiences?
Some of these comments are beyond silly and I don't really know why I'm getting singled out.
Ben, I think there is a major difference between many being disappointed and, as you say, sacd being dead. Many, myself included, were greatly disappointed by redbook. This format has greatly improved in the last four years.
Audio-girl, I think what kills the vast majority of dvd-as is copy protection. I have two dvdas that I listen to. I have many with both dad and dvda encoding. I also have many Classic dads. These are better IMHO.
I entirely agree about vinyl being superior, but it is still a pain in the ass.
Tbg-sorry but PLEASE show me where I wrote SACD is dead?
I'm getting more than a little angry now-if you can't read what I've written and explained then please do not mention me by name nor attribute statements I have NEVER made.
To You Ben Campbell
dated 11-12-03, this are your words,on this thread,
SACD 2 Channel VS Redbook 2 channel
Redbook is still superior format in my book,Since if I want
to buy new music, I can listen to it in REDBOOK.
But it is pretty complicated issue, I FOUND SACD INFERIOR
As format for several reasons and sold all my SACD but
kept my hybrids for the Redbook layer.
Ben, I ussually read your post, thats why even without
reviewing them, I know the words above were said.
I do agree with TBG all way again.thanks
Jactoy nice editing I say Redbook is a superior format regards availabilty.............note I say technically SACD is SUPERIOR.
The full original reply.
Perhaps it would have been prudent to ask Matchstikman his budget and his system.
There are others who think based on what they've heard on SACD that it DOESN'T make a very big difference on playback quality at all especially down at the entry level to moderate level of things.
There are some of us who have heard inferior SACD discs in comparison to their Redbook versions.
It is also rich imho to make such statements when some of the above have already admitted that on certain hybrids the Redbook layer is better.
It also depends how you determine "superior"-are we talking technically,sonically or as a format?
Redbook is still the superior format in my book since if I want to buy new music I can actually buy it and listen to it on Redbook.
There's no doubt technically SACD is superior,I also respect those who have heard the improvements SACD brings to them on their systems-again other haven't.
But it is a pretty complicated issue-I found SACD inferior as a format for several reasons and sold all my SACD discs but kept my hybrids for the Redbook layer.
I'm still waiting for the SACD is dead quote you both seem to think I made........
Oh and Jactoy you said of me "He will never agree that SACD
is superior" and there is the proof from 2003 where I say technically it is.
I'm not really expecting a reply as I think this thread speaks for itself.
Ben, I wish you are my neighbor, I will let you listen to
my system, with SonyModwright9000es sacd player.This
would wake you up,how good and superior is SACD compare to
Redbook.Let me tell you I do appreciate your participation
in this forum.Thanks
Ben, I certainly concede that you never said sacd was dead, but you did say, "The main point of many of these posts is that SACD is not a clear improvement for many. People who own SOTA equipment really required the levels below to support the format." This concedes the point in my opinion. But even if not the thrust of the thread is that sacd is dead.
Again my point is that I see little that concerns me yet, and I see no reason to post such claims.
Tbg you are a SACD fan and you see little to concern you.
Badly mastered SACD's?
Lack of availability of titles?
Major artists rejecting the format?
Audio fans who have concerns about the format?
I can freely accept you are enjoying the format but isn't it the case potentially it would flourish if these issues didn't exist?
Isn't it the remit of forums for people to post their opinions?
I mean if someone thinks their valuable money could have been better spent-isn't it fair to help others hear their opinion?
Please also explain why I have a seperate area on my reviews page for a dead format?
And why if I had the cash why I would buy the Meitner equipment?
I think you are missing the point also.
Badly mastered SACD's?
Lack of availability of titles?
Major artists rejecting the format?
Audio fans who have concerns about the format?
...isn't it the case potentially it would flourish if these issues didn't exist?
I don't think the broad music buying market gives a hoot about Hi Res music formats or playback systems, and that's the primary reason why SACD and DVD-A are dying. Most owners of consumer electronics can't hear the difference between redbook and SACD, and therefore won't pay extra for an SACD disc. It's basic market economics.
Tvad this thread was started by audio fans for audio fans and so were the questions I asked.
With all due respect it's nothing to do with Joe Public;it's the fact audio fans are finding problems with the format.
Is there another way I can say this to get people to read it correctly?
Ben, my comment was off the point of the original poster. You win. Feel better?
Ben, I must admit that I am at a loss in understanding your comments. How do you know if this thread was posted for audio fans for audio fans? And how is this relevant? Why would I know why you have a "dead format" section, and does this contradict your statement that you never said sacd was a dead format? Again why is this relevant?
I can think of multiple hypotheses as to why some don't hear benefits from sacd, and I doubt whether your four explain why sacds have not flourished.
Again your posting as well as those of others to the effect that sacd is dead, don't make it so. They may, however, discourage some from trying sacds out of concern that their investment might be lost. I probably should not be too concerned about this as many of your ilk said this about LPs, yet quality has willed out. The sky isn't falling, Chicken Little.
Hey TBG, does that mean that now not only we have to worry about old Audiophilia Nervosa, but we are in danger of developing Audio Necrophilia Nervosa as well? I feel so honored to be counted among the new audio necrophile breed!
Was it perhaps a little wiff of decay that I smelled last time I sniffed the iridescing surface of an SACD platter? Oh well, I guess we will be discussing the impending doom of SACD for the next 20 years, and at that point we will call it NOS and spend hundreds of $$$$ per disk and feel so lucky for the privilege!
This afternoon I am visiting with a friend to listen to his new X-01 SACD player. I'll remember to wear black and listen mournfully to the gorgeous sound coming from its system. And I will shed a wistful tear or two when he plays his favorite SACD cuts for me! So gorgeous and already an audio fossil?! Ah what cruel destiny! But. . . Audio Necrophilia Nervosa. . . here I come!
I think the sensible answer is that when SACD's are good, they ARE better than most redbook CD's. The problem is that there are so many SACD's that either are poorly mastered, or will only sound their best when reproduced in a full surround system. The early Sony two channel SACD'd are mostly excellent, as are the Telarc re-issues of the 50Khz Soundstream masters, and the new RCA (BMG) "Living Stereo" SACD's and the Mercury "Living Presence" releases. Many of the others, like the Linn releases sound bloated and dull in two-channel, and are not worth the $20 bucks plus they get for them.
It is true that SACD offers an improvement over CD, but the difference is only obvious on superior playback equipment. On the other hand, DVDA offers much more than high resolution, and therefore has a better chance of support from the mass market. Audiophiles, who may never access the video and other special features of DVDA, can go along for the ride.