In My system the Redbook version on a older Cd player sounded better than the SACD.
14 responses Add your response
Ben, I think your experience sums up SACD.
The two things I hear SACD do much better than CD are the two things you listed. First, there is a foundation to the music's lower registers that is absent from all but the exotic CD players of the world. I would say that from 200 Hz on down, SACD is much closer to what we are aiming at; reality. No other upgrade, preamp, amp, or speaker can provide this level of improvement when spinning CD.
Second, SACD is more clean and clear than CD. Much more. You mention detail, and I think that is a fair description. Midrange and treble offer that greater insight into the music, but not in a harsh, sterile, or anylytical way. Rather, it is more flowing and graceful. I often think it's analogous to a cable upgrade in this area.
No, I still think that vinyl is superior to SACD. Mostly, in terms of realness. It may always be that way. But, for now, SACD is the format that will take the baton from CD leading us down the next road. Once companies beyond Sony and Philips start to really work on this technology, it will move in the direction we want to go, upward. Some company will be the Audio Alchemy of SACD. I just read that Musical Fidelity will be introducing an SACD player. As will Audio Aero. The drip is getting faster. DVD - A is not where our way lies. 5.1 channel and the need for a tv monitor? No, thank you.
Instead of chasing Sony's "new, more, and better" by throwing in multichannel, SACD high - end companies should invest in making this a better sounding stereo format with the same determination that they improved upon Sony's interpretation of what CD sounds like. I don't mean to say that multichannel SACD players should not be produced. If the software has multichannel, the player should reproduce it. Just that I have heard multichannel(hated it), and will keep my system stereo for the forseeable future.
On Kind Of Blue, my experience also parallels yours. I especially like the improvement in upright bass. More shimmer to the cymbals is also appreciated. Better in every way to the 20 bit CD. If you are a Kind of Blue lunatic with a SACD, you need to buy the SACD!
Trelja-er think you picked me up wrong the Mastersound CD sounded better on the bass than the SACD!
My girlfriend who's hearing is much better than mine agreed also.
She did mention the bass was more subtle on the SACD but overall she could hear much more detail (fingers on the strings on the opening bars)on the CD.
I think from the very very little I heard your description in general is true about SACD but not with So What in my system at the moment that is why I asked the question.
I found this track to be a major disappointment and what worried me a little it was the only track I was really familar with.
I had to break in both the redbook and SACD circuits on my 777. It took a long time but it's a dramatic improvement. Try your A-B comparison in a month or two (and if you only have a few sacds, leave them on repeat play to facilitate the break-in when you're not listening), then do your critical evaluation. To my ears, post-break-in, SACD sounds more like analog (and I play tons of vinyl) than redbook. The new Let It Bleed (Stones) SACD is amazing: it sounds like you're in the studio with the musicians and no amps or electronics. I suspect that if the music biz goes to all SACD processing (DSD from start to finish rather than old analog tapes converted to SACD), we'll be in for many treats...
Ben, I apologize for misinterpreting your post.
I do not yet own "Kind Of Blue" on SACD, but I was fortunate enough to borrow a copy. As I said, the difference was most notable on upright bass and cymbals. I also was able to hear much deeper into the recording. The difference was night and day, and that is compared to my 20 bit CD which is supposed to be the best sounding CD version of KOB.
If you are a jazz fan, give a listen to Charles Mingus "Mingus Ah Um" SACD. You will be very impressed with the sound of his playing. It provides a great insight into the superiority of SACD over CD. Especially, below the midrange.
Hey Ben, I'm not familiar with either the SACD or Mastersound (mine is the Columbia/Legacy), but...the details that you mentioned (fingers on strings) are the sorts of details that tend to rise to the top and become more audible the more a signal is compressed. Compressing the bass *could* produce the differences that you noticed. I'm not saying that's necessarily the case in this situation, but it's ALWAYS possible with modern redbook CDs (the labels have all gone compression crazy). One way to tell if that is the case is to listen to the dynamic range of both. If one is compressed more than the other it will not have the same range. Of course, a compressed signal could sound better. It all depends.
By the way...were you playing the redbook CD on the same machine, or a nicer CDP?? If you used different players, the difference could be due to better redbook CDP vs. cheap Sony SACD circuitry.
My experience has been extremely positive with SACD. I find myself purchasing only SACD's because I find redbook so uninvolving. At this point in time SACD is as close to analog as digital gets (IMO). Of course others will beg to differ and that is their perogative. I for one believe SACD is where digital is going and will be the format of choice in years to come (IMO).
You have hit smack into one of two problems fundamental to SACD, muddy fluctuating bass and poor high frequency articulation. Poor stability in the analog conversion results in rounded fluctuating very low frequencys while fundamental restrictions in the sampling accuracy results in sandy high frequency above about 10Khz. These two restrictions are balanced with the use of tube equipment however which are already weak in the base and tend to roll off high frequencys and smooth them out. This may explain why so many audiophiles do not here these two problems which are engineered into the format.
Wow Chuck! I can't believe that the only cd's you are purchasing are SACD. Doesn't this limit your choice of selections? I like SACD, but I place the selection of titles and artists far ahead of format. Also, what type of redbook player are you using that makes regular cd's so uninvolving that you no longer purchase them?
Just to follow up,I am breaking in the unit as described,I was aware of the amount of break in that was required.
I use the Sony as a transport for CD-I have an old (but good imho)Audio Alchemy Dti/DDE V3/PS2 set up with a line-stage tube stage (MF X-10d)with NOS tubes (Amperex).
I'm going to try and pick upone or two of The Stones SACD's.
They've not all been released in the UK yet due to some distributing balls up.....
Since I only listen to classical and very little jazz the limited selection has not really been an issue for me; yet. Also given the fact that I don't typically buy a lot of software (cd's) anyway. I have been strictly digital since about 1991 and my readbook collection currently numbers around 100 discs. I have already accumulated about 12 SACD's; not many by most peoples standards, but alot for me since I have only had my player for 6 months.
I did misspeak slightly when I said that I do not buy redbook CD's because I just ordered a GLENN GOULD plays William Byrd cd and in most cases the redbook cd's sound very good.
Having said that, redbook to me sounds rather sterile and uninvolving when compared to SACD or Vinyl, with vinyl being the superior format(IMO). I have a good friend who is into vinyl and his set up is what I would deem very good but not great. SACD (IMO) is as close to vinyl as digital gets with none of the hassles of vinyl.
I use a SCD-1 for redbook and SACD playback. I have had a few high end redbook players in my system and all of them had their pluses and minuse. I did not find a significant difference between any of them on redbook. I did feel that of the players I auditioned, the Accuphase DP75V, was the superior redbook player and would be my first choice for pure redbook playback.